Water of Life - Sullivans Cove Special cask release and Hobart Gin
It is a shame that the world started to appreciate the liquid emissions of Tasmania’s Sullivans Cove distillery as it makes it harder and harder to get a hold of their excellent regular releases, let alone the rarer special editions.
Sullivans Cove’s Special Cask is reserved their rarest variant, the uniqueness of which has been cultivated to be awarded to the styles that do not fall into the French / American oak dichotomy (and occasional Double Cask release) their main releases are usually fall into.
Not that there are any Sullivans Cove expressions that are not delectable, but the Special Casks are usually the cherry on top with each release and the single cask it will be derived from being unique, no matter if it is wine barrels, virgin oak, refills, or something else entirely – the common denominator is that you are getting something unique and, well, something that will usually sell out in record time.
I was lucky enough to get a taste of the TD00263 Special Cask release. With floral notes tickling the nostrils and hinting at what the palate was to be caressed with, what materialized on the taste receptors was an interesting melange of fruity flavours, caramel and honey, which culminated in an elongated oaky finish. Excellence in liquid form and a shame that it won’t enter the regular core range.
Given my appreciation for Sullivans Cove’s whiskies, it should not be further wondrous that I was intrigued when I learned about the release of their gin range, specifically Hobart No.4 ( www.hobartno4gin.com ), which is a Tasmanian barrel aged Single Malt Gin based on the pillars of four native Australian botanicals – that being lemon myrtle, anise myrtle, wattle seed and Tasmanian pepper berry.
Finding a good sipping gin that does not demand the adage of tonic can be challenging, yet I’d find it sacrilegious to add anything to Hobart No. 4 as its texture, body and overly malty character make it a delight to have it neat.
While other distilleries use gin, moonshine and other emissions to tide them over while they wait for their whiskies to mature, the refined Hobart No. 4 with its malt spirit base and dry finish is a complex accomplishment that plays in a league of its own.
While the gin market shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to the mushrooming of new distilleries, Sullivans Cove has set the benchmark when it comes to showcasing what gin can be by itself with the perfect calibration of the ingredients creating a much bigger whole than the sum of its individual constituents would suggest.
Image from company website