Tasmanian Tweet Tasting and Virtual Tour
So I love whisky (I know this isn’t news), I love travelling to distilleries too, however sometimes it’s too far, so I was delighted when I was invited to join Overeem Whisky (@OvereemWhiskyUK) for a virtual tour (although if you ever want me to come over, just shout guys) and to sample some New Make, A fantastic Sherry Cask and a UK exclusive (yes you heard me right, an exclusive) of bourbon Cask 0065, oh did I mention that it’s super rare too, as in only 50 bottles rare, no, well it is!
So the tasting kit is super cool, with New Make Spirit, Tasmanian Spring Water, Tasmanian Peat, Tasmanian Barley, Sherry Cask 0030 the extremely rare Bourbon Cask 0065, there’s even a bottle of Cascade Blonde to give us an idea as to the wash and a tiny, mini stave (which I love).
The tasting started with a lovely hello from the founder Casey Overeem followed by Jane Overeem “taking us” to Lark Distillery for a quick chat with Chris Thomson – Head Distiller. Lark have been producing Overeem wash for over seven years, they also have a seven day fermentation process which is one of the longest in the world.
Some other fun facts are: the water provided comes from Mount Wellington and is so pure the Australian Olympic Team travel with it, maybe we should start making Team GB drink it?
The Franklin barley is malted by Cascade Brewery in Tasmania, it is then mashed in and becomes wash at the Lark Distillery to Overeem exact specification. Franklin barley produces a rich, oily, heavy style which produces an intensely flavoured wash.
So it was time to open the bottles, but don’t get too excited we started on the water, it was unusual for me too, but it was so interesting, you really could detect the earthiness, almost as if you had taken mineral water and added a handful of fresh soil and fresh moss. Continuing our virtual tour we looked at the Mashing In video and the Wash process.
Now on to the beer, I have to admit I do not like beer, ales, IPA, any of it. I’ve tried really I have, but I confess I like my lager, and I like it Stella, Red Stripe, Grolsch like. So I was a little nervous about this, but it was good, really good. Bursting with citrus notes, lemon and limes, but with a big wheat kick. Very fizzy with a gentle cereal sweetness, peaty earthiness, and some floral notes too with gentle rose and geraniums. It seemed a hit with my fellow tasters too.
So on to distillation, a fantastic 1,800 litre wash still and a 600 litre Spirit Still. They produce 120 litres of New Make Spirit per run. The wash comes down from Lark Distillery and is about 7/8% its heated to about 94 degrees in order for the vapours to traverse the Lyme arm. The process ends in about 100 litres of New Make, find the details I’ve left out here.
Now for the really fun part, it’s time to sample the New Make, this comes in at 63.7%. This is the best new make I’ve tried so far, there are not only malty horlick notes, but also pineapples and limes, but also a delicious milk chocolate and vanilla pod notes. It’s very sweet, and creamy and thick, and once cut with the Tasmania water, there is a slight earthiness. There was definitely a Mezcal quality to it. It was highly drinkable as is.
Last on the virtual tour is the maturation process. With a mix of French and American Oak 100 and 200 litre barrels. South Australian Cooperage visit the local wineries and hand select the barrels for Overeem they then take them back to the cooperage and cut them down to size. The port and sherry cask whisky is matured in 100 litre barrels for at least five years.
Sherry Cask #0030
So on to the Sherry Cask #0030, on the nose there are big meaty flavours with a touch of BBQ sauce. It’s Sweet, slightly effervescent and reminds me of the pink and blue bubblegum sour bottle sweets, before plums and rich hoisin sauce, strawberries and Sawdust enter the fray. there is a touch of liquorice coming through with all spice and star anise and warming cinnamon with a dash of black pepper, there are raisins and blood oranges, treacle and soot.
Now on to the palate. It’s sticky sweet, with the typical sherry notes coming to the fore, there are red fruits, stewed stoned fruits and wonderful Chrismas cask spices, the peat is very gentle but lends an espresso edge, with a touch of burnt toast.
Before deep plum flavours wrapped in puffs of peat smoke come into their own, there is a hint of fresh tobacco leaves, toasted coconut, with a little paprika lurking in the background too.
Once the water is added those berry flavours explode, the sour sweetness meets fruit salad sweets, chalk lollies with strawberry laces there is a still a slight nutty edge, the main consensus among the tasters, was that this was a fruit laden, sweet shop, fresh baked pie kind of dram, and if that isn’t enough to make you want to try it I don’t know what is!
Bourbon Cask #0065
Single cask, ex-bourbon (Heaven Hill), quarter cask, cask strength at 63.7%. Cask 0065 is the only Bourbon being bought into the UK. 50 bottles only! It’s incredibly rare and premiers here in the UK tonight on this tasting.
On the nose you find beeswax and bath sealant, this isn’t an unpleasant note and is subdued by honey sweetness and soft whipped double cream. There are sticky toffee pudding notes with sticky dates with a gentle warm hay note.
Vanilla comes into its own, pod upon pod, wrapping iteself around the sense like a warm blanket. There is a slight whiff of suede, and creme brulee with the burnt sugar crust really coming into its own. Soft, desert wine poached pears add some depth, there’s buttery crumbly pastry and intensely rich toffee.
On the palate you find more of the same. The vanilla is there is full HD, it’s soft, creamy and delicate then we change direction and it’s all about the fruits. Keeping with desert theme there are banana’s en flambe, griddled mango brushed with honey, fresh pineapple and tangy kiwi. Fresh papaya and Cantaloupe melon bring a delicate sweetness. There is still the pear drop acidity and the woodwork room at school, with MDF shavings filling the air. There’s manderin and Lychee which carry through a perfumed orchid note, the peat is so gentle, that it brings a slight note of the damp forest and then takes its leave.
Time to add the water. With water, a nuttiness comes through that wasn’t present before, there’s a bitter edge like Brazil nuts but with the silky sweetness of almonds and in comes coconut, both flesh and husk. Croissants with cherry Jam and soft butter caress the palate and there are cereal notes, sweet and biscuit like.
I love the finish! it’s toffee chewy till the last, and those fruits linger on before the vanilla takes over and you start all over again, a real stayer!
In conclusion wow, if you haven’t picked up any of the Overeem whiskies yet you are missing out, you need to give this a try. This is world whisky done right! If you want one of the only 50 bourbon cask bottles, get in line, behind me that is.