Grain to glass whisky. Single malt. Single cask. Small batch.
Hillwood is a contemporary Australian whisky. Made in the tradition of Scottish single malt, but given a distinctive edge from the wild Tasmanian landscape and our artisanal family approach.
Hidden in a unique micro valley on the banks of the Tamar River, Tamar Valley Distillery offers a rare kind of serenity perfect for sleeping barrels to age. No rush, just time. A haven of privacy and seclusion where you can hear the wind in the trees and simply forget about the rest of the world.
Hillwood is our namesake and the place our family chose to build Tamar Valley Distillery. A small rural town about 20 minutes from Launceston, it’s a pure, unique community with no shops and no interruptions. Abundant with clean air and water, a place where we co-exist with nature and the land.
The Tamar River is the heart of this region. Also known as kanamaluka – from the revived composite Tasmanian Aboriginal language – it’s a 70-kilometre estuary subject to large tidal movements and bordered with rare black eucalyptus leaning towards the water banks.
Tamar Valley Distillery is architecturally designed and built. The orientation towards the river, the warmth of the still and the rich smell of native Tasmanian bushland makes the distillery feel like home. With every drop of our single malt, bend along the river’s edge with us and inhabit our town.
Northern Tasmania has some of the cleanest water in the world, making it an ideal place for producing world class whisky. Our water is tapped from a natural permian age glacial spring and is the heart of our developing spirit.
Full of essential minerals, the water is gently filtered through glacial rock deposited over 250 million years ago. If you talk to locals, you’ll discover that the springs have never been known to dry up, whether seasonally or due to drought. Some might say the water offers magical properties – we know for sure it makes excellent spirit.
Rainwater runoff from a distant range of hills is drawn underground. The gravel beds and Permian Tillite are the aquifer which purifies the water. The water emerges from underground in a pristine condition with no suspended solids or microbiological contaminants. It is suitable for human consumption without any filtration or treatment.
Small handcrafted casks store our double-distilled spirit, which means each release of our single malt is very limited, with only 30-40 bottles per cask. The Tasmanian vineyard casks (French oak barrels of pinot, chardonnay and merlot) are locally sourced and filled on-site. Paul’s brother, Brendon Herron, is a gifted craftsman who lends his trade to coopering these casks by hand. Our other casks are made up of French oak barrels of port and sherry, and American oak of bourbon.
At least two years of ageing is guaranteed by law. We are in no rush to release our special product to the world; instead we prefer to give our whisky the time and stillness it needs to richly develop the flavour and character. Once the finished spirit matures in the wooden barrels, it is ready to bottle. Hillwood Whisky will never be chill filtered or advanced with artificial colourings or preservatives.
From grain to glass, our releases are 100% made by hand.
In fact, we’re one of a few select distilleries who create everything from scratch, each step of the way. We mill onsite, create the mash, ferment, distill, barrel age and bottle all on our Hillwood property.
Only the best local raw ingredients are selected. We use the highest quality yeast to produce our wash which ferments longer than your standard whisky and gives it the distinct flavour we’re proud of.
The still is where the magic happens. The 600L copper pot is an original family design, primarily powered with renewable energy.
Joining forces with legendary local craftsman Terry Harper, we created 16 revisions of the still design before we were happy with it, and then we continued to enhance aspects of it throughout the build process.
Terry incorporated distinct features into the design – a longer lyne arm, wider swan neck and modified internal structure – which contribute to Hillwood Whisky’s unique flavour. The heating system design ensures that contents of the still can never be overheated. The still also pays respect to our love of all watercraft – it has a ship’s porthole for viewing and cleaning, manufactured almost 100 years ago by the same company that built the Titanic.
The Herron family
Born and raised in Northern Tasmania, Paul Herron is the Master Distiller and head of the family, and Daniel, Joel and Oliver are the triplet sons, spurring along Paul’s creative practice and combining their skills to produce a whisky abundant in flavour and heart.
The Herron family’s love of whisky came from their love of making things. Generational craftsmen, with a history of creating with their hands, they saw whisky distilling as a challenge they could undertake together.
The idea was actually decades in the making. The original seed planted by a family friend on one of their regular sailing adventures on the Tamar River. Back when the boys were young, playing on small dinghies along the estuary. What started as a “silly idea”, gradually evolved into a rush of excitement to build a small distillery from the ground up, in the community they loved best.
Single Malt was the only direction for the Herron family. They loved the idea that it required at least two years ageing to become ‘whisky’ and ready for consumption. They’re a family who prefers not to rush things, instead their small-batch releases rely on the pureness of time and patience to evolve into the best product it can be. And they’re staying true to single malt production, making no plans to diversify into other “quick to market” spirits.
It’s their love for time honoured traditions that bonds them together and filters it’s way into each of their Hillwood Whisky releases.