Dram Review: Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask HH0339 Aged 17 Years

[47.5%・ 17 Years Old・Distilled in 2000・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Cask No. HH0339・Single Cask Release of 195 Bottles]

Nose:

A bit shy at first only showing rich vanilla and a poised oak note, in time notes of Anzac cookies and cooked oats surface along a subtle hint of floral fragrance, as the wood develops.

Palate & Finish:

Pleasantly tropical and fruity, pears and white fruits with a smooth underlay of oak and chocolate covered toffee crisps.

Soft finish, traces of lychees and rice paper with a subtle café ah lait note coming on.

Thoughts:

A bit shy at first on the nose but once it has time to open up it really shows those polished subtleties that reflect how well the Sullivans Cove spirit ages in time.

Perhaps collectively we are guilty of shaping the current climate of Australian whiskies, of putting young distilleries in positions to struggle; oftentimes we are too keen to indulge in and over-celebrate the bold white noises too easily without asking for more, because we do not know subtle elegance in Australian whiskies, in the past decade we just do not come across expressions often enough that are poised with complex, texturised nuances that challenge the sophistication of one’s palate. We are too content with colour and strength and flavours of the first few moments that we forget that real flavours can come in waves that are truly wonderful.

I am optimistic in another decade or so we will see most operating Australian distilleries making the leap, but right now Sullivans Cove is one of may be two, three distilleries in Australia that offers something elevated.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Sullivans Cove Double Cask Bottled for Whisky + Alement (DC-WA1)

[50.3%・10 Years Old・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling for Whisky + Alement・Cask No. HH0042, TD0225・Limited Release of 218 Bottles]

Nose:

Rather a grand presence of thick, gooey honey, buttero leather, lemon zest and French vanilla, slightly burnt butter off the crust of pastries fresh out of the oven with some hay and coconut flakes at the back.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasant more-ish delivery of fine honey with some playful crystallised sultana and creamy mango pudding dressed with salted caramel.  Toffee treacle dripping across walnuts and pecans as the malt retains this certain crispness.

The syrupy note seasoned with nutmeg stretches out for a lovely earthy finish.

Thoughts:

A project led by Ms. Hayman and Mr. White of Whisky + Alement, a drammer’s take on Sullivans Cove. My takeaway? get experienced people involved.

A proud Australian distillery owner often wears many hats, he or she is typically a brewer, distiller, distillery manager, blender and marketer amongst other things.  Working day in and day out at a distillery would naturally give a unique perspective on how to best distill a spirit however the same cannot be said about curating an expression: Which casks to pick? What’s the vatting ratio? Which ABV to bottle at?  These are just a few questions that often go unanswered resulting in a release of a single cask cask strength Australian whisky by default.

I have great respect for both Brooke and Julian’s palates and I think their years at Whisky + Alement allowed them to offer an unique take; perhaps they were inspired by a certain small batch whisky they have come across previously and wanted to see if the same formula would work with Sullivans Cove casks.  One have to drink a thousand whiskies to know a thousand ways to make a whisky.

I have always liked the idea of a small batch at 80:20 ratio ever since the Last Vatted Malt.  For the Double Cask, the Tawny cask added to the depth and I really like this sweet, earthy note it carries.  The age also makes the whisky more graceful in my opinion.

And so I say this is my favourite Australian whisky of 2018.

☆ [Recommended]

Cheers Julian for helping me acquire the bottle, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Liquor Library and La Maison du Whisky Sullivans Cove 12 Years Old

[58.0%・12 Years Old・Bottled in 2018・Liquor Library and La Maison du Whisky Bottling・Cask No. TD0114・Single Cask Release of 268 Bottles]

Nose:

Concentrated grape juice and crystallised raisin sugar, the exotic musk marries the buttery and syrupy goodness.

Palate & Finish:

Incredible burst of pleasurable wine-y sweetness gelling with rich toffee and sticky honey, as a buttery chewiness moves in. Peanut brittle and Vienna almonds coated with a concentrated muscat grape nectar.

Finishes nutty and dry, a herbal hint much like a lip bite, long and satisfying.

Thoughts:

Like a perfect marriage between wholesome honey and late harvest Riesling.

Cask well picked as an independent bottling.

☆ [Recommended]

Cheers Jose for helping me acquire the bottle, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Heartwood Convict Resurrection

Tasting Notes:

Style: Sweet and Very Spicy

Nose:

Spicy punch followed by robust cherry and dried plum notes, a nice fruity breeze at every breath. Moments of dryness reminds me the delicious scent of popcorns and parched rice!

Palate:

Cherry liquorice with fiery chilli, in unbelievable strength!! The spice erupts and ignite like burning flames! The liquorice dissolves and juicy blackcurrants and blue berries rolls in. A slight touch of caramel which slowly melts with the chocolate sauce towards the end.

Finish:

Reminiscent of cherry and blackcurrants mixes with chocolate malt biscuits and oak. Rather soft and humble finish with a good mix of flavours.

Thoughts:

Super strong whisky, no doubt as it has a whopping abv of 72%. Adrenaline pumped, sweated and nostril flared, this is a wake-up whisky (and too bad I am reviewing this before I sleep) as it works miles better than coffee! The sweetness from port was big enough to support and control the crazy strength. I love the oscillation – just as I think it is getting too spicy, the sweet cherry notes come to the rescue, and vice versa.

(72%/2014/14 years old/NC/NCF/CS/SC/Cask Number:HH0239/115 of 450 Bottles)

-EC