Heartwood Tasting: Making Stuff Up As We Go Along


Whatever you do, don’t call this a masterclass.

Tim Duckett is a man who had a plan to bottle a range of Tasmanian whiskies that he and his friends liked to drink. He called that series Heartwood and six years since the first release, the series has become one of the most awarded, cult-loved, infamous and sought after whisky labels in Australia.

The Oak Barrel has long loved the weird, wonderful, high-octane, soothing, offensive, beguiling and just-plain-Dinosaur whiskies Duckett has released under the Heartwood label, and he’s been a long-time Sydney Whisky Fair exhibitor. Problem is, in August 2017 there’s physically not enough Heartwood in existence to pour at the Fair.

No worries, we’ve come up with another plan. Making stuff up as we go along, as Tim would say.


Mr. Heartwood said he’d come up to Sydney to be a guest at the Fair, and to host an evening of whiskies and chatter. Certainly not a masterclass, more an evening of friends (old and new) in a room sharing drams. Given the lack of Heartwood available, the alchemist said he’d bring up some samples from around Tasmania, be they new make spirit, young whiskies drawn from a cask, or pre-release samples.

Fair play, we said, but we also thought we might be able to add a bit to the party as well. Delving into our own archive – and picking up some bottles – we reckon we’ve put together a line-up that would make any Heartwood devotee salivate.

For this evening of whisky jolliness we’ll be cracking Tim’s first ever Heartwood release Mt Wellington, a 12-year-old bourbon cask from the Tasmania Distillery (the home of Sullivans Cove) that was distilled by Bill Lark. Then we’ll move on to Release The Beast, a decadent cask from Lark Distillery bottled soon after MW.

Both of these expressions have achieved mythical status for keen drinkers and collectors, and one of them remains in the top three Australian whiskies ever tasted by The Oak Barrel’s resident whisky buyer.

We’ll then move into some award-winners that were released in very limited quantities. There were only ever 100 bottles of The Good Convict and they were all gone before a man-in-a-hat called it the Best Southern Hemisphere Whisky in a 2016 Whisky Bible. Then we’ll try the winter edition of the ‘Sullivans Cove-meets-Lark’ Any Port In A Storm release.

To make things even, Any Port In A Storm was named Best Southern Hemisphere Whisky in a 2017 Whisky Bible.

Tickets are strictly limited (we’ve got 500ml bottles, this is definitely one night only) and this tasting is part of the Sydney Whisky Fair Masterclass series, which allows us to host some truly awesome nights of whisky in the lead up to this year’s Sydney Whisky Fair.

What we’ll be trying:

Heartwood Mt Wellington 62.4% (Tasmania Distillery, bottled 2011)
Heartwood Release The Beast 65.4% (Lark Distillery, bottled 2012)
Heartwood The Good Convict 71.3% (Tasmania Distillery, bottled 2015)
Heartwood Any Port In A Storm Winter Edition 69.9% (95% Tasmania Distillery 5% Lark Distillery, bottled 2015)
Plus whatever Tim decides to bring up with him!

WHAT: Heartwood: Making Stuff Up As We Go Along
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Wednesday 23 August, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $130 / Non-Members $150
TICKETS: SOLD OUT (Email scott@oakbarrel.com.au for wait list) 

New Whiskies In Store

Whisky Fair Masterclasses

Photos From 2016’s Whisky Fair

Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking. Whiskies subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances.