In assessing the allure of Sullivans Cove’s whisky it is worth first stopping to list the incredible rack of awards the distillery has received in recent years.
The World’s Best Single Malt was awarded to Sullivans Cove’s French Oak Cask in 2014.
Jim Murray’s Liquid Gold status was awarded to their American Oak in 2015, where it received the best score ever achieved by any Australian whisky at 95.5/100.
It also has a three-year winning streak as of 2015 for Best Australian Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards.
These awards serve only to underline what makes Sullivans Cove Whisky such a unique proposition. But behind the glitz and glamour there’s unmatched tradition and hard work.
These are the words the distillery has chosen as its strapline, infused with just a little bit of dark humour about Tasmania's penal past. It seems to convey the sense of times gone by, when men had to utilize all their craft, skill and wit to achieve astounding results in the beautiful but harsh and unforgiving environment Down Under.
What else could the Maguire family yearn for under such conditions, than to produce the crowning achievement in distilling - whisky?
Tasmania provided them with the best of opportunities for making perfect whisky. The locally grown barley is almost destined to become the best whisky malt there, thanks to the climate, fresh, crystal clear water and strict quarantine regulations.
The copper pot stills that Sullivans Cove uses are handmade by local craftsmen according to tradition. What is more, after the ingredients leave the stills they are aged into Ex-American Oak Bourbon or Ex-French Oak Port barrels, each of which is “picked by eye” by the distillery.
Just one more detail that clears up some of the mystery behind the many awards.
It stands to reason that there are some more things that ensure that the perfect whisky always leaves Sullivans Cove Distillery cellars. Chief among them is a “no mixing between casks” rule. That’s right; the whisky connoisseur can rest assured that liquor in his bottle comes from one barrel and one barrel only. A bottle that is of course filled, capped, and labelled by hand.
If you understand a little about whisky distilling, you may wonder which method Sullivans Cove use to reduce the 70% ABV (Alcohol by volume) to a strength appropriate for bottling. As expected from such a well-regarded distillery, no chill filtering is used in the process.
The makers do not hasten things up even in the face of overwhelming demand, and choose only to use fresh water for this purpose. Afterwards, they allow the whisky to settle for four months. Thanks to this, no loss of viscosity, colour or flavour is experienced.
Single malt distilled in Sullivans Cove Tasmanian Distillery conveys notes of dark chocolate, fine red wine and hints at tropical fruits, which upon hitting the nose develop into pepper, cinnamon and a touch of grape and honey on the palate.
At the finish, the whisky leaves the flavour of a dark sugared fruit cake, filling the mouth with its full body. Sullivans Cove single malt right deserves its title as one of the finest whiskies in the world today.
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