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Sullivans Cove: A Tapestry of Tenacity and Tasmanian Terroir.

Imagine a scene straight out of a Jane Austen novel: a quaint distillery tucked away in the suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania.But instead of gossip and lace, Sullivans Cove hums with the quiet vibrancy of bubbling copper stills and the promise of liquid gold. Their story, like their award-winning whisky, unfolds in layers – a testament to tenacity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of flavor alchemy.

Born in 1994 from Robert Hosken's vision, Sullivans Cove's early days were a bit like a wonky waltz. Legal hiccups and a few missteps threatened to extinguish the distillery's flame.

Ownership changed hands in 1998, ushering in a period of uncertainty that could have sent the whole operation belly-up. But the spirit of innovation, much like a stubborn weed,refused to be uprooted.

Enter Patrick Maguire in 2004, a prodigal son returning to the copper stills he once called home. With a consortium of investors by his side, he orchestrated a grand revival for Sullivans Cove. Think distillery relocation, brand refresh, and a whole lot of "let's get this show on the road!"

By 2008, the core range arrived – American Oak, French Oak, and Double Cask – each a meticulously crafted love letter to quality.

These weren't your grandpa's dusty bottles gathering cobwebs in the back of the liquor cabinet. Sullivans Cove was crafting a new standard, a whisky experience worthy of a standing ovation.

Then came 2014, the year that etched Sullivans Cove's name in whisky history with a diamond-encrusted Sharpie. Their French Oak release, cask # HH0525, stunned the world by claiming the prestigious title of World's Best Single Malt.Imagine a symphony of toasted nuts, dried fruit, and warm spice waltzing on your tongue, all leading up to a creamy vanilla and cereal grain finish – pure ambrosia for the whisky aficionado.

This international recognition transformed Tasmania from a hidden island gem to a full-blown whisky pilgrimage site. It was like a gold rush, but instead of dusty prospectors, it was whisky enthusiasts with insatiable taste buds.

Recognizing the need for expansion, Patrick and his team, with the wisdom of Gandalf himself, entrusted the reins to Adam Sable, a seasoned whisky aficionado, in 2016. It was a smooth transition, with Patrick and the existing team staying on board to ensure the knowledge transfer was as seamless as a well-aged dram.

Heather Tillott, Patrick's protégé and a whiz in the art of winemaking, then brought a new dimension to the party. Under her expertise, Sullivans Cove delved into single cask brandies, a venture that yielded results that would make Bacchus himself blush.

Their XO brandy, a collaboration with esteemed Tasmanian wineries, showcased the remarkable versatility of the distillery's stills.

Aged in seasoned French or American oak barrels, it boasts a profile that's both bold and nuanced – a tapestry of dried fruits, caramelized sugars, and lingering hints of woody spice.

If the XO was a head-turning beauty, the Double Cask Brandy is the life of the party. Through meticulous cask selection,a complex symphony of flavors emerges.

Each cask, from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir, imparts its unique character,adding subtle notes that enrich the overall profile. It's a spirit that demands your full attention, a slow savoring to unlock its multifaceted personality.

To commemorate their 25th anniversary, Sullivans Cove unveiled the DC100, a Double Cask masterpiece. This anniversary edition is a testament to their dedication – a symphony of ripe fruits, creamy vanilla, and zesty citrus,culminating in a delightful minty chocolate finish. The luxurious texture elevates the experience, making each sip a celebration of a quarter-century of expertise.

Sullivans Cove's creations have character. Like a salty sea dog with a heart of gold (and a surprising fondness for floral arrangements), they're a delightful blend of rugged complexity and unexpected nuance.

Here's the thing about Sullivans Cove: they don't play the "older is better" game. They bottle their whisky when it's damn well ready, not a moment sooner. Think of it like letting your sourdough starter mature – you wouldn't bottle it before it's bubbling over with tangy goodness, would you?

And for the whisky wonks out there, each bottle comes with a little tag that's like a cryptic treasure map to the liquid gold within. It hints at the "alchemical magic" (their words, not mine) that went into crafting each expression. But fear not,dear whisky detective, the full story awaits on their website, ready to be unraveled with a few clicks.

Sullivans Cove isn't about mass production. Each bottle is a unique release, a testament to their meticulous, "we-don't-cut-corners" approach. It's like a bespoke suit for your taste buds, tailored to perfection and guaranteed to turn heads (or at least get a few appreciative sniffs) at your next whisky gathering.

Finding a bottle of Sullivans Cove might be a challenge, akin to stumbling upon a unicorn frolicking in your backyard. But the hunt itself adds to the allure. Because when you finally raise a glass of this Tasmanian treasure, you're not just sipping whisky, you're experiencing a story of passion, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of flavor perfection.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Sullivans Cove.


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