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Issue 119 - Take the road less travelled

Whisky Magazine Issue 119
April 2014

 

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Take the road less travelled

We visit a distillery named after a famous explorer of 1825, Henri Hellyer

My first encounter with Hellyers Road Distillery happened before I even hit the road to Tasmania. In order to prepare for the eagerly anticipated trip to Australia, I was sent four bottlings to taste. I was struck by the balsamic note I picked up in most bottlings. An aroma of intense pine needle, almost eucalyptus like. Which brought to mind images of a distillery nestled in a remote glen and surrounded by a pine forest… Totally imaginary. The distillery is located on the outskirts of the coastal town of Burnie, in North West Tasmania. Adjacent to the signpost to the distillery is the huge building of Betta Milk Co-operative, owned by Tasmania Farmers (35 families are involved) which Hellyers Road distillery is a subsidiary of. This giant dairy which was founded in 1956 sells 11 million litres of milk, i.e 30% of the milk consumed in Tasmania (500,000 inhabitants).

Seen from the road, the entrance to the distillery is not especially attractive. But once you walk past the cars, you enjoy a spectacular view over the Emu valley's lush fields and gentle hills. The icing on the cake, was a stunning rainbow which perfected the scenery that day.

Established in 1997 and first producing in 1999, the distillery derives its name from one of the first explorers of the region – Henri Hellyer, employed as chief surveyor of the Van Dieman's land, set foot on North Tasmania in 1825. A determined visionary, he managed to open a road into the wilderness and developed the first comprehen...

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