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Waubs Harbour Distillery: Tasmanian Alchemy by the Ocean.

In the vast landscape of Australian distilleries, Tasmania stands as a beacon of exceptional craftsmanship, and within its realm, Waubs Harbour Distillery emerges as a testament to dedication, quality, and a profound connection to the island’s heritage.


Founded by brothers Tim and Rob Polmear, with Rob’s expertise as the former head of production and distilling at the esteemed Lark and Overeem Distilleries, Waubs Harbour Distillery is not merely a distillery; it is a harmonious blend of Tasmania’s coastal context, aboriginal roots, and the pursuit of excellence in distillation techniques.


Nestled within the walls of a converted oyster hatchery, the distillery derives its name from Wauba Debar, a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman. Here, the alchemical transformation of ingredients into whiskey is akin to a scientific exploration. Guided by a forensic understanding of the spirit's components, the in-house lab becomes a playground for experimenting with fermentation, yeast cultures, and the nuanced dance of flavours.


Waubs Harbour's unique DNA is meticulously calibrated, combining the influences of the salty maritime terroir, pristine Tasmanian water, and barley with natural oiliness and rich flavours sourced from across the state. What sets them apart is their experimentation with local organic peat, incorporating decayed coastal reeds, the melaleuca tree, and salt bush—a nod to the authenticity found in Islay whiskies.


Limited Release: Great Southern Reef


Waubs Harbour Distillery's Limited Release, the Great Southern Reef, is more than just whiskey; it's a commitment to conservation. With only 591 bottles crafted, this maritime single malt whisky supports the Great Southern Reef Foundation. Crafted within earshot of the ocean and enveloped in salty air, this limited edition is a true reflection of its coastal origin.


Matured in ex-Apera Sherry casks and finished in 40-year-old ex-Tawny Port casks from Murray Street, the Great Southern Reef embodies complexity and depth. The marriage of Apera stewed fruits and a salted caramel backbone creates a symphony of flavours that can only be achieved through the expertise of a seasoned distillery.


Bottled at 43% ABV and never to be replicated, it stands as a unique expression, available exclusively in Australia.


Waubs Harbour Distillery's collaboration with the Great Southern Reef Foundation underscores their commitment to environmental stewardship. By raising awareness about the interconnected reef system around southern Australia and Tasmania, they align their craft with a cause, fighting against the impact of climate change.


As you draw near, the aroma unfolds a delicate interplay of apricot, pear, rich brown wood sugars, and a medley of kitchen spices that gently titillate the senses. The nose becomes a choreography of scents, akin to a captivating dance, where notes of apricot danish and almond croissant gracefully intertwine, weaving a tapestry of complexity that continues to evolve.


On the top of the mouth, a striking salted caramel backbone takes centre stage, providing a robust foundation. This savoury anchor perfectly complements the indulgent sweetness of buttery stone fruits derived from the Apera cask, creating a harmonious duet. The Apera-induced fruitiness is seamlessly counterbalanced by the nuanced richness of the aged Tawny treacle, offering a sensorial journey that unfolds on the taste buds.


The grand finale, the finish, is nothing short of a lingering symphony. It's an orchestra of flavours, each note harmonizing with the next. Sweet apple, succulent pear, plump sultana, and the deep richness of treacle entwine in a melodic celebration. This enduring resonance is not merely a conclusion but a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that has matured by the ever-influential ocean at the heart of Waubs Harbour Distillery.


Each sip becomes a voyage, a tale of artistry, where the flavours linger like the fading notes of a mesmerizing melody, leaving an indelible imprint on the palate and memory alike.


In every sip of Waubs Harbour’s offerings, one can taste not just the whiskey but the essence of Tasmania—the land, the history, and the untamed beauty of Van Diemen’s shore.


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Words by AW.

Photo courtesy of Waubs Harbour.


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