Tasmanian tastings

Tasmanian whisky is a little industry making a big impact on the world stage.

14 October 2021


Tasmania is the epicentre of Australian boutique whisky brewing.

When it comes to whisky, a drop of water is a great thing because it releases hydrophobic elements. Now, what does that even mean? It means you can detect the scents, and it will be more flavoursome to the palate.

I’m not sure if the Scots would agree, but in Australia, we’re not so big on ceremony, but we are all about taste. And that is what the boutique whisky distillery Old Kempton Distillery is about.

Distilleries are a relatively new public attraction for Hobart, with the first commercial distillery opening in 1989. However, Tasmanian whisky has been being distilled since the 1820s in illicit stills.

The landscape and Hibernian links lend themselves to a dram.

Set inside a majestic stone building named Dysart House around 40 minutes from Hobart is Old Kempton Whisky set in the picturesque town of Kempton. This is not just about having a dram and going on your merry way.


Unique to Old Kempton is their Lavender Malt. It is a divine colour and would look amazing on any table. Made with a secret recipe and combined through copper stills, this Lavender Malt has hints of honey, spice and lavender!

You can serve it from the freezer, neat over ice cream or with soda and ice. It’s a great gift to bring home with some of the other goodies which fill the cellar door, such as locally made Olde Spikey Bridge Peanut Butter, Tassie Settlers Whisky Sauces, Van Diemen Providore products and Port Arthur Lavender Farm products.

The newly built distillery building is home to 600 litre, 900 litre and 2,000 litre stills – created to help streamline production while still keeping the small artisan distillery feeling.

There’s an all-day café with Devonshire teas and even a distillery course ($2,275 per student and is a three-day course), or you can buy and mature your own 20-litre barrel of whisky.

Yes, you can purchase a whole barrel of whisky!

The oak barrel is carefully selected and reconditioned from a range of sherry, port, pinot noir, bourbon and other barrels before being filled with Old Kempton’s handcrafted single malt spirit made purely from Tasmanian barley and water.

A 20-litre barrel, after maturing for over two years in our old stables bond store, can expect to produce anywhere between 22 to 30 bottles (at cask strength) or 30 to 40 bottles at 46-percent alcohol (whisky is released in 500-millilitre bottles).

You can visit and taste your own barrel as often as you like and even sign it. It is yours to keep at the end of the maturation. The price is $2,475.

Old Kempton Distillery runs tours daily. Each tour includes:

    • a brief history of Dysart House,
    • a history of Old Kempton Distillery,
    • behind the scenes tour of the working distillery,
    • a fully guided tasting of four Old Kempton Spirits  (you can choose between whisky, liqueurs and gin)

Tours and tastings are $35 per person, however, discounts are available for group bookings and on event days. Tours are run at 1.30 pm every day.

Premium Tours and Tastings run at 11 am every day. They include all of the above and the following:

    • Tasmanian antipasto platter for two
    • bottle of premium Tasmanian Wobbly Boot wine
    • Tea and coffee
    • Exclusive tasting of new, unreleased single malt whisky
    • Premium Tour and Tastings are $180 for two people.



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