I have long been intrigued by the tasting notes of those that know their drop and the way distiller Casey Overeem describes his Single Cask, Single Malt Whisky – Port Matured 43% is no exception:

  • On the Eye: deep gold & brassy
  • On the Nose: moderately intense aromatics, fruit chocolates, caramel, butterscotch, Turkish delight, crème brule, plum pudding rum soaked raisins, hint of cider
  • On the Palate: creamy texture, sweet and delicately spicy, fruitcake, caramel, liquorice & sweet malt
Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Overeem Whisky (photo supplied)

Casey Overeem: Hand Crafted Tasmanian Whisky

by Roger Findlay

I’m using my imagination now and see the deep gold twirling in my favourite glass. My nose is picking up the vapour laden with some of my favourite things. Plum pudding, caramel and the exotic Turkish delight. I stoke the fire and recline in a well-worn leather chair. It’s cold outside and I fancy a fat cigar from the wooden box handed down from my great, great grandfather, William Anderson Findlay. The time has arrived to sample the liquid gold distilled in Hobart, Tasmania.

Old Hobart Distillery is located in Hobart and started producing hand crafted whisky and other spirits in 2007. It seemed a logical decision as Tasmania produces the essential ingredients of water and barley in a pristine environment second to none.

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Old Hobart Whisky (photo supplied)

The family-owned business is headed by Casey Overeem whose interest in distilling goes back to the 80s when he visited a relative’s house in Norway. A micro-distillery in the cellar inspired Casey and, on his return to Tasmania, he started experimenting.

This phase went on for many years until 2005 when Casey secured a distillers licence. Before production commenced, Casey visited fifteen distilleries in Scotland to get a better understanding of the process and he is most grateful to those that imparted information that prepared him for the task ahead.

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Hobart Distillery (photo supplied)

Using a world-class still, made in Hobart by Knapp Lewer Contracting, production commenced in 2007 and has since ramped up to full production with all expressions of whisky under bond.

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Overeem Distillery (photo supplied)

For maturation ex-port/sherry/bourbon French and American oak barrels are hand selected and coopered into casks with a lesser capacity of 100 litres to guarantee an exclusive intensity.

Throughout the maturation process, casks are closely monitored and tested to ensure that the product is decanted at the optimum level of maturity.

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Old Hobart Distillery (photos supplied)

In December 2011 the Old Hobart Distillery released Overeem Single Malt Whisky with a choice of port or sherry cask matured and the first release of a bourbon cask matured will be from 2016 onwards. Each whisky is bottled as single cask and individually numbered to identify the exact cask and bottle.

Award-Winning Tasmanian Whisky

On 1 July 2012, the Malt Whisky Society of Australia met at the Rob Roy Hotel in Adelaide for a blind tasting of many world-class whiskies including several from Australia. An expert panel was assembled for the judging and with the well-known Scottish whiskies Laphroig and Ardberg taking out one and two, the Overeem Port Matured 60% received the highest score ever achieved by an Australian single malt whisky. The score of 87.3 put it in tenth place overall and way above the Glenlivet in twentieth position.

That’s not all. Overeem Sherry Matured 80% finished a creditable twelfth and other entries finished twenty forth and thirty second attracting a second medal. Just three weeks later the inaugural Whisky Show was held at Tattesrall’s Club in Sydney. The Australasian Whisky Awards were limited to spirits produced in Australia and New Zealand with just two categories – single malt and single malt cask strength.

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Casey Overeem (photos supplied)

Once again the Overeem product fared well being awarded first and second in the single malt category and first in the single malt cask strength. After being announced Supreme Winner, Casey Overeem had this to say:

“We are proud of what our whisky has achieved since its launch in 2011. Our dream has always been to share our whisky with the world. We now have that opportunity and take great pleasure in standing beside so many world class whiskies.”

I never did light that cigar nor did I sample Casey Overeem’s liquid gold but what I did do was find out where I can buy a bottle!

Casey Overeem - Old Hobart Distillery

Tasmanian Whisky (photo supplied)

While Casey is busy distilling, casking, maturing, monitoring, bottling, marketing and everything else that a successful businessman does, I am asking you all to go on line and have a look at the Old Hobart Distillery website. He’s got a world class product at a reasonable price and it will make you a very contented person indeed.

Thanks to Jane and Casey Overeem for providing the notes on which this article is based and to Nick Osborne for allowing Think Tasmania to share his professional photos.

Map: Old Hobart Distillery, Tasmania…

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