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Down on the Tasman Peninsula, surrounded by national park and native reserves, sits Australia’s southern-most whisky distillery. McHenry Distillery is a family run business that produces an award-winning range of whisky, vodka and gins, each of which encapsulate the very best of the state. 

With a name like McHenry, William McHenry was almost destined to enter the whisky business.  When he, his wife Alison and their children moved to Tasmania from Sydney in 2010, they saw the perfect opportunity to start something new, combining William’s chemistry skills with the natural resources at their fingertips.

The Tasman’s cool climate and high average rainfall, as well as the distillery’s proximity to the sea, creates the ideal conditions for ageing whisky, while the state’s pristine environment is ideal for growing barley, the chief ingredient of the brown spirit. The distillery also happens to be home to three springs, which provide a constant supply of cold, pure spring water.

As Head Distiller, William converts these raw resources into a selection of craft spirits. The limited-release McHenry single malt whisky is produced in a handmade copper pot still before being aged for five to 10 years, depending on the size of the barrel. As it is unpeated, the whisky has a more delicate flavour than traditional Scotch whisky. The first batch of the five-year-old whisky was well received and now the release of the 10-year-old whisky is eagerly awaited.

While waiting for the whisky to age, William and his team distill vodka and gin, the latter of which they are building a stellar reputation. They make four mainstream gins in a column still: an aged gin, a sloe gin, a navy gin and a Classic London dry gin, using botanicals such as star anise, coriander seeds, cardamom and orris root. They also make limited release seasonal gins such as saffron and orange blossom-infused summer gin, as well as a damson gin made with plums steeped in Classic dry gin for over 12 months.

These seasonal gins are only available to try at the distillery’s Cellar Door in Port Arthur. With stunning 180-degree views of the Hartz Mountains, Storm Bay and Hobart, it’s the ideal spot to enjoy all that McHenry’s has to offer.

The Classic dry gin is a natural choice for pre-dinner drinks and is spectacular combined with antipasti on a summer’s day. The single malt whisky also matches well with venison dishes, but William said the best pairing for all their spirits is, of course, good company.

For those gin aficionados, McHenry also offers a four-hour gin-making course, which runs somewhat like a cooking class. After tasting a range of well-known gins to identify each spirit’s main botanicals, participants invent their own recipe and are shown how to make gin in individual stills. Combined with a gin-matched degustation lunch and a 500ml personalised bottle of gin to take home, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

From its iconic spot in Port Arthur, McHenry Distillery transforms Tasmania’s finest natural resources into outstanding craft spirits. William captures the essence of his home in each bottle, available for all to enjoy.

Locate McHenry Distillery

229 Radnor Road, Port Arthur TAS


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