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Saturday 12 September 2020

Distillery and history make a perfect day-trip destination from Hobart

Take a historic sandstone house built in the 1840s; add in one of Tasmania's best boutique distilleries; a country-style cafe with friendly service and a courtyard with live music on summer weekends.

Throw in beautiful gardens and whisky tours and tastings and you have Old Kempton Distillery - just a 40-minute drive north of the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.

In addition to a range of single malt whiskies, distlller Matt Fontaine (below) crafts Embezzler Gin, Barley Vodka, Lavender Malt and Apple Liqueur - distilled from Tasmanian apple cider.

The whiskies are matured in 20- or 100-litre single casks, previously used for ports, sherries or pinot noir wines.

Dysart House was once a colonial inn; nowadays it is a stylish spot in which to sink into a leather chair and sip on something special.

It was built in 1842 by convict embezzler turned-innkeeper, William Ellis, and was one of the finest inns on the road from Hobart to Launceston. It was recently home to writer and arts patron Leo Schofield before being purchased by businessman John Ibrahim (not that one). 

The brick stables, once home to 22 horses, now house Old Kempton’s Tasmanian-made copper still, while a new distillery is almost completed.

The on-site distillery tour offers the chance to see how the various spirits are made in copper pot stills and aged in small oak casks, followed by a bespoke tasting of your favourite styles.

Non-drinkers can enjoy freshly made scones, a gourmet platter or a choice of daily lunch specials - house-made pies anyone?

For serious whisky lovers there is the membership of the Tasmanian Whisky Club, which offers exclusive releases four times a year, while there are also regular three-day distillery courses offering an up-close look at the distilling business.

Old Kempton Distillery, Dysart House, 26 Main St, Kempton, Tasmania. (03) 6259 3082.

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