See this post for more background on Sullivan’s Cove distillery. Sullivan’s Cove sources it’s malted Tasmanian barley from nearby Cascade Brewery. Cascade uses the finest Franklin barley from the island and a unique recipe specifically created for Sullivan’s Cove’s whiskies. The wash arrives at the distillery at around 7.5% ABV and is double distilled in a traditional copper pot still. The resulting spirit reaches an ABV of 73% and has taken on a malty sweetness which is ready for barreling. Sullivan’s Cove dilutes the spirit to 63.4% for barreling and they age their malt for at least ten years or more. For the Double Cask expression each unique batch is a combination of one French Oak Port barrel and two American Oak Bourbon barrels. Before bottling they dilute the whisky with pure Tasmanian water to 40%ABV. There is no age statement on this bottle but they advertise that they use barrels ten years or older for their signature entry level whisky. This is quite an anomaly for world whiskies that they allow for full maturation. Many world whiskies tend to cut aging a bit short in order to stay afloat from a business standpoint.
Nose: bright, oranges, lemon zest, vanilla, oak spices, beeswax
Mouth: soft, herbal, honey, candied orange peels, pear, chocolate
Finish: ginger, citrus, peppery, white zinfandel
Verdict: There’s loads of citrus on the nose: oranges, lemons and limes. I’d characterize it as bright and inviting. There’s also vanilla, oak spices, and a tinge of beeswax. Once again, Sullivan’s Cove has achieved a very balanced nose. The palate starts out soft with herbal essences then evolves into sweet honey. I also detected candied orange peels, chocolate and a peculiar pear flavor. The finish is peppery up front with hints of ginger. Then there’s citrus and finally a bittersweet flavor that reminds me of White Zindandel wine. Am I imagining things or do all of Sullivan’s Cove whiskies share this distinct finish which strongly resembles White Zinfandel wine? I couldn’t put my finger on it when I tasted the French Oak, but after tasting the Double Cask I’m convinced. It’s likely the result of the French Oak Port barrel. Anyhow, this Double Cask release is a great entry to Sullivan’s Cove range. It’s easy to sip, but lacks the extra punch of the French Oak. It might not be a bad idea for them to up the strength and bottle the Double Cask at 47.5% ABV.