Water of Life – Overeem Distillery
As part of our whisk(e)y-centric series, we have covered a wide range of Tasmanian distilleries, most of which I have had the privilege to visit and meet the protagonists behind the still. The one that almost got away and that has been ranking high on my list has been Overeem.
The back story is complex: When the founder Casey Overeem retired in 2014 after seven years of producing excellent drops, the distillery continued under the umbrella of Lark before Australian Whisky Holdings (AWY) acquired it.
The great news is that Overeem ( https://overeemwhisky.com/ ) will transition back into the hands of the family that founded it as Jane Overeem and her better half Mark Sawford, i.e. Sawford Distillery, have bought it back with settlement set for June 2020.
Given that Overeem was one of the founding distilleries on terra australis, what gets me excited about the distillery re-emerging is that there is a commitment to not only honour but revive the DNA that informed Casey’s meticulous work, which led to its emissions being decorated with awards on not only national but international terrain – prospects of plans about expansion via distribution in the UK should get anyone in the old world excited who is remotely into great single malts, specifically of the high calibre that Tasmania has consistently delivered.
While I am typing this, I am indulging in a dram of the alchemy that has channelled in a single French oak Port cask that has been chopped down to hold mere hundred litres. Not unlike with one of my favourite whiskies, i.e. Laphroaig’s Quarter Cask, the small cask size increases the speed of interaction between the wood, the liquid and the air, producing a more intense flavour, which is hinted at by what tickles the nostril upon approach: A bouquet of white flowers, vanilla, ripe summer fruits (strawberry, plum, nectarine and redcurrant) with a sweetened cream drizzled over the top. The delicate part is that it is pervaded in a subtle manner by oaky, peachy undertones.
On the top of the mouth, the savoury sweetness the nose hinted at takes a welcomed left turn towards a deeper, darker rich fruitiness, highlighted by nuances of liquorice, peppery spice, toasted vanilla and dark chocolate. Delicious.
An elongated complex finish is well-calibrated between the coordinates of tannic oak, the essence of sweet dark fruits and the most subtle wafts of smoke, which makes one lust to try the cask strength version as the balance between spirit and the character infused through the port cask treatment is superb.
image from company website