18 December 2013

Whisky Insiders Interview - Mark Littler

Hellyers Road Distillery

Head Distiller


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve now been in the industry for 11 years. I started work with Hellyers Road in 2003 after a background in the Dairy Industry, which remains my ‘second hat’.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
There have been several highlights but I think being chosen as ‘Best New World Whisky’ in blind tastings conducted at Whisky Live Paris in September this year was right up there. It was for our Pinot Noir Finish variety.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
I certainly can. It was a tried and true favourite of my fathers; Glenlivet. I still enjoy the odd dram of it every now and then but I sincerely believe Hellyers Road is up there with the best from anywhere!
What does whisky mean to you?
It’s a major part of my life now. The success of Hellyers Road has given me the belief that we are producing single malts that will stand the test of time.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Our aim is to take the Hellyers Road brand to the world which we are achieving by stealth, hard work and patience. A greater footprint in Europe and Asia would be a nice landing place five years from now.
What was your last dram?
A Hellyers Road 10 Year Old Original. It’s my favourite of the six varieties we produce. I do like trying other single malts to compare them to our varieties. The most recent of these would have been from the Bowmore range.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I really enjoy Tasmania’s Bruny Island Cheese and crackers complimented with our unique, award-winning Pinot Noir Finish single malt. To me the flavours of this beautiful creamy cheese combined with the peppery and spicy nose of the Pinot Noir is a delightful match.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Following a hard day’s work, a nice meal and whilst enjoying a good book. Also when spending time with my family, although I normally wait until the kids are in bed before I imbibe.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Tasmania is the island state of Australia with climatic conditions that are very conducive to single malt production. We have several fine distilleries here that are grabbing serious attention from single malt lovers everywhere.
The Tasmanian State Government has recently recognised the success of the industry and is helping to initiate a Whisky Trail, designed to attract tourists who are single malt lovers.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without Hellyers Road. It plays a significant part in my life, aside from it being a quality spirit!
Many thanks to Mark Littler. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!