Whisky Advocate

Guest Review: World Whisky – Australia

November 11th, 2010

Sullivan’s Cove, Bourbon Cask HH0104, 60%, €95
Patrick Maguire, who now heads up Hobart’s Sullivan’s Cove distillery started work with Bill Lark before taking over Sullivan’s Cove in 2003. A French-design brandy still produces a very floral, sweet, and full-flavored spirit with notes of lime blossom and wood sap. It’s a bold distillate, but there’s sufficient sweetness and fragrant spice to balance.  (Dave Broom)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 86

Lark Single Cask LD126, 43%, €99
Although the Aussie whisky-making industry started in Tasmania, the distilling bug is spreading across the country. Small-scale the distilleries may be, but the use of brewer’s yeast, local peat (in Tasmania’s case), and wood sourced from the wine industry has immediately given Aussie whisky an identity of its own. Yes, it’s tiny, but every great new whisky, no matter where it is from, chips away at Scotch whisky’s hegemony. Tasmanian-based Bill Lark is the founding father of the modern Australian whisky industry. He uses local peat and ages in small casks — and only does single cask releases. This means that by the time a tasting note is written the whisky has gone, but here’s what I thought of one of them. There’s a glimpse of some fresh malt, but it is the heightened aromatics that are the most interesting here. Lark points to the yeast mix as the origin of this scent. His small stills, however, give a muscularity to the palate, while the oak is in balance.  (Dave Broom)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 84

Bakery Hill, Double Wood, 46%, $71
Tasmania may be setting itself up as the Speyside of Australia, but there are a growing number of distilleries on the mainland, such as Bakery Hill in Bayswater on the Dadenong foothills of Victoria, which was started by David Baker in 1999. Working with tall stills, his aim is to make a lightly fragrant spirit, and certainly that intense banana-like quality is there on nose and palate while the use of sherry casks adds a fruitcake and golden raisin depth.  (Dave Broom)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 82

2 Responses to “Guest Review: World Whisky – Australia”

  1. DavidG says:

    Lark appears to be coming to the US – an Illinois-based distributor has gotten TTB approval for four different bottlings.

  2. Andre Girard says:

    The Sullivan’s Cove double barrel is a very singular single malt, with an honeyed and citrus nose. The wood influence is very present – kind of new wood feeling – and the chocolate like finally rocks.

    I’ve just opened a bottle of port cask bottled at 60% abv, and it doesn’t show as much complexity as the double barrel. Seems there’s too much port influence in this one and the finally is too short also.

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