Rare Hare The Tempest Review

It's a whisky as impressive for its variety of flavors as for how those flavors develop. Even if I had Bill Gates's bank account, I wouldn't want to drink something like this all the time or casually when I did. I want to think that's by design.

Rare Hare The Tempest Review


Drew's NOTES

SHARE WITH: The ghost of Hugh Heffner (if he drank), your whisky-obsessed friends who have tried everything else, and Australian whisky fans (if you know any).

WORTH THE PRICE: Because so little of it gets to America, I don't spend much time following Australian whisky-makers. But Helleyers Road, the oldest distillery in Australia, is a name I know by reputation. This is also the oldest Australian whisky I've ever encountered. And it's very, very good and very, very unique. Does all of that taken together justify a $1,000 price tag? Not to 99.9999% of people, but this is probably one for the collection for those lucky few with piles of money and a burning desire to one-up their yacht club pals.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle – only for the jet setter. I would suggest trying a pour at a bar if you're feeling flush, but the only bars that will carry this are probably at the swankiest spots in Dubai or Las Vegas. I guess what I'm saying is just make friends with rich people.

OVERALL: First, the obvious clarification. This is not bourbon. It is single malt. We at Bourbon & Banter have been known to dabble in brown spirits, not of the bourbon persuasion. Since Matt Self enjoyed Rare Hare's inaugural release, a hyper-aged bourbon that dropped in 2022, we've been keeping track of whatever this Playboy-inspired brand can throw at us. And this bottle is quite the curveball.

The aroma is unique and expressive, kicking off with peach pound cake and cigar wrapper, old furniture and dried apricots. It's warm with a syrupy texture and gentle spun sugar sweetness. The palate presents initially with lots of oak - twenty long years worth - delivering herbal tea, ginger scones, and allspice. The same stone fruit on the nose forms a foundational element on the palate with notes of apricot tart, Haribo peach candies, and then darker cherry compote, all of which suggest a more generous sweetness than what you get. Instead, things build carefully and deliberately across the midpalate until a more saccharine flourish of toffee, nougat, and orange marmalade arrives on the long, warm finish.

It's a whisky as impressive for its variety of flavors as for how those flavors develop. Even if I had Bill Gates's bank account, I wouldn't want to drink something like this all the time or casually when I did. I want to think that's by design. A whisky this interesting and this expensive should be built to savor, appreciate, and show off.

You've never tasted anything like it, folks, and, unfortunately, at this price, you probably never will.


In its quest to deliver its fourth ultra-premium release, Rare Hare partnered with one of the pioneers of Tasmanian whisky making, the acclaimed Hellyers Road Distillery, one of Australia’s oldest and most revered distilleries. Hellyers Road Distillery is Tasmania’s first single malt whisky producer to emerge during this renaissance, and its aged expressions are only now becoming available in this post-prohibition era. We named this special expression “The Tempest,” a nod to Shakespeare’s tale of nature’s power and deliverance.  The Tempest is smooth and mellow yet delivers a tour de force of flavors and a long finish to savor. It is the perfect embodiment of Tasmania’s temperate maritime climate, where hot summers, short cold winters, abundant sunshine, and low humidity create the perfect storm for producing exceptional single malt whiskey. 

Hellyers Road Distillery employs a centuries-old pot still distillation process that spans three days, followed by a secondary slow still distillation to yield a whisky of unparalleled quality and character.  The air currents that bring rain to Tasmania’s western shores originate in Antarctica, traveling thousands of miles across the open ocean before reaching the island. The resulting water source is akin to soft rainwater, a unique characteristic not found in other regions producing single malt whiskies. The malt and barley used to create this small-batch elixir are locally sourced and benefit from the rich soil and unique Tasmanian climate.

While most Tasmanian whiskies are aged in small barrels to accelerate maturation, Hellyers Road Distillery aged this whisky for seventeen years in standard-size bourbon casks, and then aged it for another three years in port casks. 

Experience the inviting scents of freshly baked biscotti and butter snaps with notes of vanilla nougat and elderflower. Citrusy marmalade aromas add a delightful twist.

With each sip, a velvety texture envelops the palate, revealing layers of ginger and stewed apricots. Vibrant orange citrus notes give way to luscious flavors of sultanas and grapes, creating a rich symphony of taste.

The finish is warm and lingering, with toffee notes taking center stage. The cask strength expression showcases the power and elegance of the Tasmanian terroir.

Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.