Rare Hare Spirits "The Tempest" Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky Review


Did you know that whisky is distilled in Tasmania? This tiny island started legal distillation a few years before Scotland! However, in 1839, due to crummy politics and fears of limited barley supplies, the island declared distilling illegal and instituted its version of Prohibition.


Much of the blame went to Lady Jane Franklin, the teetotaling wife of Tasmania’s governor, Sir John Frankin. She claimed barley should be fed to pigs, not used for making beer and whisky. Some residents suggest that if not for Lady Jane, Tasmania’s whisky industry would be more significant than Scotland’s.   


It wasn’t until 1992 that distilling was once again legalized. It took time to get things rolling again.


“As Australia’s oldest operating whisky distillery, we have always made all our single malt whisky from scratch – mashing and fermenting Tasmanian malted Barley. We’ve been distilling whisky since 1999 at our distillery on the beautiful North West Coast of Tasmania, and this sense of permanence distinguishes us because it’s allowed us to know exactly what whisky in every barrel we fill, and finetune our processes to the climate around us.”Hellyers Road Distillery


Hellyers Road sends peated malted barley through a pot still that takes three days to run. The distillate then goes through a second slow cycle. Only standard, 53-gallon ex-Bourbon barrels are used for aging. Tasmania has a unique climate with water that travels from a few thousand miles away in Antarctica. Hellyers Road describes it as akin to “soft rainwater.” Winters are short; summers are long and hot, yet not harshly humid.  


Rare Hare Spirits is owned by PB Spirits, LLC. Who is behind PB Spirits? You'd be correct if you guessed Playboy (yes, that Playboy). PB Spirits was founded in 2022 and launched Rare Hare Spirits to offer ultra-premium spirits to select markets worldwide. So far, those markets include the United States, the European Union, and Asia Pacific. Rare Hare has had four releases to date:  1953 (a 17-year Bourbon finished in Cognac casks), Lucky Bastard (a 30-year Canadian whisky), and Lapine (a 60-year Cognac). The latest is called The Tempest.


The Tempest is a Tasmanian single malt whisky that spent 17 years in former Bourbon barrels, followed by a three-year finish in former Port casks. The whisky carries a 20-year age statement and is packaged in 700ml bottles at 42% ABV (84°). The suggested price is $999.00. It can be acquired through the brand’s website and “finer” spirits purveyors.


I thank Rare Hare Spirits for providing me with a sample of this whisky in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover how it tastes.


Appearance: I poured this Tasmanian single malt into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. It was the color of tarnished brass and formed a medium rim that shed a thick curtain of tears.


Nose: The Tempest was incredibly aromatic. I smelled maritime air, vanilla, raisins, plums, dried apricots, leather, and cocoa. I pulled the air through my lips and encountered salted caramel.


Palate: This whisky’s soft texture was like velvet. It slid across my tongue and down my throat. The first things I tasted were toasted coconut, apricots, and raisins. Next came salted vanilla, honey, and figs. The back featured plums, chocolate, and a hint of ash.


Finish: Long, lingering, and a bit smoky, the finish included salted vanilla, apricots, coconut, and plenty of figs and chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The reality is that most people do not purchase $999 bottles of anything. As such, the value statement component of my rating is irrelevant. However, the Bottle, Bar, or Bust category still describes a spirit as Marvelous, Mediocre, or Malvolent.


There are times when your mouth and eyes seem connected. As I sipped The Tempest, my eyes rolled back into my head. This was one of those experiences – it went far beyond drinking whisky. The Tempest is luxurious.


I have no idea what a great whisky bar might charge for an ounce. However, if you sought to experience a real treat, I would ask the bartender to pour The Tempest. If this was on a store shelf and I could afford the premium, I’d buy a Bottle, hide the receipt from Mrs. Whiskeyfellow, and enjoy The Tempest behind closed doors. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.