Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Always Read The Label - Sullivans Cove French Oak Cask Matured


Sullivans Cove French Oak Cask Matured
Recently I was somewhat excited to see the Sullivans Cove Single Cask Malt whisky appear in Dan Murphy's. After my grumbling about the price of Australian whisky, how it is cheaper to buy it from the UK and ship it back than it is to buy in your own backyard, for $120 AU I did not tin twice about grabbing this from the shelf and handing over some hard earned cash. Well my over eagerness did the damage and I should have 'looked' twice. THIS IS NOT the whisky we had for a tasting at a whisky club in 2010 and THIS IS NOT the whisky I had and praised at Whisky Fair 2011 last year.

To cut a long story shortish, Sullivans Cove have deliberately re-used old packing form the Sullivans Cove French Oak Port Cask Matured Single Malt Whisky and stuck a few strategic stickers to change the name. OK so maybe the visual deception was not deliberate and more so thrifty on their part but I was still caught out and rightly disappointed when I opened the bottle. Lesson in marketing, don't make all your products look exactly the same right down to the name and label. To be a stickler on the issue even if you go to the Sullivans Cove website where they have the prices the image shown clearly is not the product being sold. Even the documentation that came in the package still only spoke about the 3 single cask expressions. Lazy ass slackers!

So moving on and passed the mixed up I actually am not too fond of this expression because I have tasted the original French Oak Port Cask, Cask Strength and adored it.

Sullivans Cove French Oak Single Cask Malt Whisky
Location/Region: Tasmania, Australia
Alcohol: 47.5%
Barrel No.: HH0513
Bottle No.: 072 of 524
Barrel date: 10/10/2000
Bottled date: 10/06/2011

The nose has all the nuances of caramelised sultanas and fruit cake. Rich and luxurious in scent finishing with dried apricots and dark chocolate.

To taste smooth over the tongue with lot's of cinnamon, baked fruits, vanilla and caramelised sultanas. Spices burn in the back of the throat and the alcohol becomes much more in the forefront while everything else feels a little stretched. There is also a mild chew in the pallet I have found familiar with all the Sullivans Cove expressions.

The finish is certainly long but the spices reappear in the throat for sometime after.

Overall the balance I feel a little off as the sweetness is overtaken quickly by the spice burn which lingers longer than wanted. A little disappointing.

My expectations where high and I thought I was buying the French Oak Port Cask, Cask Strength so I do find it hard to look past it. By far this expression has nothing on what has made Sullivans Cove famous back in 2010 by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible awards. At $120AU a bottle I think it is way over priced.

Overall if I was to give a dram than it would be a 5 1/2 out of 7. Personally Sullivans Cove, in my books, still make the best Australian Whisky but this expression falls short of the mark. Once you have tasted the nectar of the gods it is hard to go back to water. Seriously though if you have not tried a Sullivans Cove then do so regardless of what I have said here because even this is good.

I look forward to trying some new expressions in the future but will be wary of buy this one again if I can get my hands on the original Port Cask (I hope they still make it).

As a side note I took this bottle to the snow recently and drunk 3/4 of it in 48hrs. That is not so bad eh?

4 comments:

  1. HHO 511 is a ball-tearer HHO 234 is a bit less complex.

    my reading between the lines Each cask is a little different
    Later ones are better ,standouts in between.
    Terry

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  2. Cask 537 is very good, solid 94+ in my book and very similar to description of recent 525 world medal. Found 4 bottles in a store in Australia. Lucky me.

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  3. I have seen some real variations from barrel to barrel in this expression but that is what single cask is all about. Great for Sullivans Cove to have won the award especially now every one is just buying up bottles everywhere. I think though many people are going to walk away disappointed with the batches they have purchased not knowing how different each barrel batch is. The amount of questions I get about it and barrel numbers is crazy.

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