Water of Life – Sullivans Cove
Sullivans Cove is quite something.
Not that the Australian and specifically Tasmanian whisky scenes lack allure – au contraire – fantastic distilleries are not only mushrooming but the established ones keep releasing expressions that make me wish that they would not be as sought after as they are. However, then there is Sullivans Cove, a distillery that as one of the first Australian ones elicited awe when merely mentioned to whisk(e)y fanatics around the globe.
The distillery and its limited expressions have experienced a meteoritic rise that has yet to reach its peak and new expressions tend to be sold out within minutes. The reasons for this will unfold once you indulge in one of their drams – an experience which yet has to not result in me smacking my lips and indulging in the respective lingering finishes.
Needless to say that I was more than mildly excited when I became aware that Sullivans was going to release a curated selection of limited Single Cask Brandies, i.e. Sullivans Cove XO, which is the result of a collaboration between the distillery and Tasmanian wineries from the Huon Valley, which is known for its salmon industry. Needless to say that it would not be Sullivans Cove if they did not age the respective drops in the French or American Oak barrels that have somewhat become a trademark for the distillery.
Sullivans Cove XO was the first one we sampled, and it became instantly apparent that Sullivans Cove’s still seems to lend itself well to the production of brandy: Claiming that the flavour profile is bold and intense would be an understatement par excellence with a lingering taste of the woody spice from Australian port-style fortified wine barrels it was matured in.
The Double Cask Brandy takes things up a notch for me as an array of tasks of have specifically selected in a bid to create and calibrate specific and individually different flavour profiles. After having matured in between ten to fourteen years and housed in ex-wine casks that cover territory from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir, the result is a complex flavour profile that you want to take time for to experience it in full. I find it hard to stop swirling it and let it go down the hatch, which resulted in frustrated company as conversations had to be put on hold.
The nostrils are teased with fruits of the tropical variety and dominant whiffs of almonds. What then materializes on the palate would take a while to accurately describe and do justice to. There’s a wonderfully vanilla sweetness, fruit and berry notes and just the right amount of tannins, that strike a balance between sweet and savoury with a sheer endlessly lingering finish that I have yet to experience in another brandy.
Let’s close this celebration of Sullivan Cove off with one of their most recent whisky expressions, shan’t we?
To celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary, Sullivans released a limited-edition Double Cask, i.e. “DC100” with the defining feature that it has been matured in some of the distilleries oldest French oak and ex-bourbon casks. I could not way to indulge in this one and was not disappointed.
The aroma is already a delight in itself as it offers a well-calibrated melange of fruits, vanilla, musky leather and citrussy notes.
On the palate the volume is turned up on rich sweet, honey-esque flavours that are pervaded by minty chocolate nuances and a wonderfully smooth velvety texture. Sounds like a treat in liquid form? Well, it is.
Tropical flavours dominate the finish that rests on a foundation malty and nutty notes, which provides a nice counterpoint.
Not sure if by the time you read this, any of the expressions will be left to purchase, but if you are remotely interested in spirit, you want to sign up for SC’s mailing list to have first dibs on their emissions.
See also: Water of Life - Sullivans Cove
images from company website