“I was always looking for somewhere to build my whisky dream,” says John Ibrahim, owner of Callington Mill Distillery. “I went up to Callington Mill and saw the mill itself – it’s the only windmill of its kind in the southern hemisphere and six storeys high. It’s just majestic to look at.”

It’s been a long process for Ibrahim to realise his whisky dream. But like so many before him, Tasmania and the wildness of its winter provided the ideal setting.

A former property developer in Sydney, Ibrahim fell into the world of whisky by accident. Looking to buy a hobby farm, he purchased Dysart House in Kempton. It was only after purchasing the site that Ibrahim discovered he’d just pipped whisky legend Bill Lark – of Lark Distillery – at the post to buy the property.

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“That’s when [Lark] approached me and said, ‘Look, you beat us to it,’” says Ibrahim. “‘We were going to build a whisky distillery here. Would you lease us some land and build a whisky distillery here?’ So we decided that I’d own a bit of the whisky business. I went to the meetings and I fell in love with it.” A bottle of Lark whisky sent to Ibrahim sealed the deal. “I thought, ‘Wow, there’s something magical happening in Tasmania.’” It inspired Ibrahim to find his own site, leading to his discovering Callington Mill. Located 30 minutes north of Kempton, in the historic town of Oatlands in the state’s Heartlands region, Ibrahim’s vision saw the mill come full circle. Built in 1837 by a man named John Vincent, the mill was used both legally (to mill grain) and illegally (to distil whisky). Thanks to a custom build, and two years spent on design and construction, it’s now a state-of-the-art hub of whisky-making. “I wanted to make Tasmanian single malt with Tasmanian ingenuity and technology,” says Ibrahim. “That was very important, I thought, for provenance and story.”

The barrels required to age the new spirit are provided by port and sherry producers in Portugal and Spain – the same used by luxury Scottish single-malt brand Macallan, says Ibrahim. The Quintessence whisky was produced entirely by Callington Mill, while the triple distilled strawberry-gold Emulsion and the caramel-smooth Symmetry are the result of some of Ibrahim’s collaborative efforts. Visitors to the expansive site can dine in the on-site restaurant, peek behind the curtain on a self-guided distillery tour, and even blend their own one-off whisky to take home. Ibrahim has restored the whole site, gently combining 19th-century history and modern technology.

In the process, he’s become completely enamoured of Oatlands, the town in which Callington Mill is located, and is keen to show off its charm to distillery visitors. For those looking to warm their souls during a visit in the winter (or the Off Season) Ibrahim has a few recommendations.

“Oatlands is a town frozen in time, historically,” he says. “You’ve got only locally produced wines and spirits and cheeses and produce within a radius of 20 kilometres. And you’ve got The Kentish Tasmania, that offers beautiful lunches. Raffah House is an elegant place to stay – beautiful location, absolute luxury. Imbibers – again, you step back in time.”

By the time winter has set in, Lake Dulverton will swell with the cool-season rains, and the fishing (trout, in particular) is at its best. Nature continues its display at the lake, with Ibrahim pointing to dozens of rare species worth spotting, including the wandering whistling duck and sharp-tailed sandpiper. However you spend your winter days exploring Oatlands, the new distiller hopes it will likely always end the same – warmed with a locally distilled dram.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Tasmania. Explore more wild, weird and wonderful experiences during Tasmania’s Off Season.