If you’re a whisky drinker and bought a bottle of Hobart’s Sullivan’s Cove French Oak Cask single malt in the last six months, you might want to check and see if it’s from barrel 525.
If it is, that $100 bottle is now worth more than $1000.
Last night in London, the Tasmanian whisky was named the best single malt in the world, beating its more fancied rivals from Scotland, America and Japan.
It caps off the best Australian whisky award they received in 2013 with barrel 434 (and again this year) at the prestigious World Whisky Awards.
It’s a major coup for the little Hobart distillery which started out 20 years ago as a tourist attraction. At the time, you, ahem, certainly didn’t go there to drink whisky.
That turnaround isn’t lost on marketing manager Bert Cason.
“We think it’s hilarious that we used to make the worst whisky in the world and now it’s the best,” he told Business Insider.
Distiller, manager and part-owner Patrick Maguire deserves a lot of credit for the achievement. “Pat’s obsessive about making the best whisky,” Cason said.
Everything is done by hand at Sullivan’s Cove, including the bottling. The whiskies are 12-to-13 years old when bottled and the team hold monthly tastings where they sample 20 to 30 barrels to decide which ones are ready for bottling.
It’s a very scientific process, as Cason explains.
“Can I see myself drinking this barrel all day?’ is the basic premise,” he said. “It’s been a very good philosophy for us.”
They didn’t pick the whisky they thought was the absolute best for the awards when they entered last September. They just grabbed the latest bottling – one of 516 from barrel 525. As a result, just three bottles remain at the distillery. Cason has one at home “half full”.
The rest are on shelves at outlets such as Dan Murphy’s, so keep an eye out this weekend.
The award is no fluke. A few years back, whisky guru Jim Murray gave Sullivan’s Cove his highest Australian score ever for one of their distillations. One of those bottles now sells for more than $1200 on the whisky market, so you can expect the 525 to be worth even more.
Good luck finding one in your bottle shop this weekend, because you’ve scored a real bargain. If you haven’t got one, here’s what the judges said about the Sullivan’s Cove single malt.
Tunnock’s Caramel wafers. With a touch of smoke. Excellent balance. Ed Bates
Toasted almonds, grated nutmeg and some fruit toast on the nose. Burnt almonds, autumn fruits stewed with golden raisins. Light, peppery and intriguing. Seáneen Sullivan
Keeping it simple in a very good way. Honey, vanilla and haystacks. All combine with apples and caramel. Jason Thomson
Campfire smoke that enriches the malt and wood. A match made in heaven with a smooth buttery feel. Joseph Cassidy
Great balance, lovely spices come through with time. Jamie Milne