Trapper's Hut. The elusive Tasmanian private bottler.
Trapper’s Hut was the first actual private bottler of Tasmanian whisky and not much is known about the brand. The actual Trapper’s Hut website hasn’t been updated since 2015, but Tasmanian whisky fans know that single cask releases have been put into the market since then. This of course makes the brand extremely rare with few reviews AKA highly sought after. If you get the chance to try it, try it!
The name Trapper’s Hut comes from the local Tasmanian settlers who would go into the bush and wilderness and live in huts as they foraged. It’s somewhat of a homage to these brave people. Trapper’s Hut Whisky technically does have a home that is located on Bruny Island, Tasmania. The only way to get to Bruny Island is via ferry. You can catch the ferry to North Bruny island from a small town called Kettering just south of Hobart. North and South Bruny are basically uninhabited with only about 600 permanent residents. Anything that these residents need is back on the mainland. Although on a map it looks relatively close to Hobart, the island is deceptively large and difficult to get around. Primarily covered in thick forestry and brush. Bruny has three basic areas including North Bruny, The Neck and South Bruny. The House of Whisky Bar on North Bruny is basically the "Trapper's Hut" and home of the Trapper's Hut whisky since there is no distillery. This remote whisky bar has a selection that reaches far beyond the few bottles of Trapper's Hut that they have left. The bar has one of the largest selections of Tasmanian Whisky that I have ever seen. Let’s just say it is worth the boat ride for any whisky lover.
The actual Trapper's Hut label was created in 2008 when the proprietors were able to acquire a few ex-bourbon casks of Sullivan's Cove single malt that had been distilled between 1999 and 2000. These casks were patiently waiting and maturing spirit, but the spirit didn't really fit in with any of the Sullivan's Cove product line or fit their needs. In 2008 all of the casks were nearing 10 years old and that was easily some of the oldest matured spirit in Tas. All of the original casks were 200 liters and American oak ex-bourbon. The first cask ever bottled and released was cask HH348 in 2008. From here the releases would continue to flow out, one single cask at a time.
Being such exclusive and limited single cask releases, you can typically only find Trapper’s Hut when they are first released and then they are gone. Releases have been launched in all different bottle sizes including 700 mL, 375 mL and 150 mL. The front label is quite unassuming and then on the back is where you will find the cask number. This is how you can track and follow the casks you have tried. The Bruny Island House of Whisky has really become of the home of the brand for enthusiasts.
The Trapper’s Hut brand is still releasing limited single cask releases, but also working towards a way to continue the brand. Of course these casks will eventually run out and Sullivan's Cove is increasing in popularity and not likely to sell of any more spirit or casks. Are they opening a distillery on the island?? I haven't confirmed the rumors, but that is what Trip Advisor will tell you! Stay tuned and keep an eye out for this brand!
I was able to try the pricey spirit right on Bruny Island at The House of Whisky. Here is my review.
Cask HH507 @ 15 Years Old 45% ABV
Nose: Honey, vanilla, apple cider, some oak and green apple.
Palate: A bit of a sharp start for a 15 year old, but mellows out into an ex-bourbon gem. Creamy vanilla, lemon meringue pie, lemons, citrus, slightly sour. Maybe some dandelions.
Me on one of the remote beaches on North Bruny Island after my Trapper's Hut dram! Don't mind the 2nd dram that happened to be Japanese whisky. A somewhat beautiful island with "The House of Whisky". This is a dreamland.