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Sullivans Cove Double Cask American & French Oak

State of Origin: The Double Cask!

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

10th Aug 2012


Sullivans Cove Double Cask American & French Oak
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This is the last review in the series for the State of Origins Australian whisky tastings that I'll be writing unless I'm able to pick up a bottle of Limeburners M58 which was my favorite whisky in the tasting line up.

My wife, brother and sister in law had tasted quite a few different whiskies at the State of Origin, sadly many of them had left us disappointed.

We'd tried Bakery Hill Classic Malt, Southern Coast Distillers Batch 5, Lark Single Barrel and now Sullivan's Cove Double Cask.

As we sit there nosing the whisky I'm still talking to Cameron, the owner and head distiller at Limeburners.

After this review I'll be posting the interview with him. I hope to be able to snag the M58 which he brought as a special treat. We wound up trying two of his whiskies this night. The M80 which was the current release and then he surprised everyone with the M58 which was his newest peated whisky (which runs $250 or so a bottle)

But back to Sullivan's Cove.

As we nose the Sullivan's Cove everyone around the table glances at the person next to them, then to the person from across of them.


The nose is strictly two aromas which we're informed comes from the American Oak and French Oak.

Vanilla and Cocoa.

That's it.

Vanilla from the American Oak.

Cocoa from the French Oak.

Nothing else.

Hopefully it'll taste better.

So we decide to taste.

Taste follows nose, exactly.

Vanilla and cocoa.

Again that's it.

Smooth, easygoing and boring.

The finish is again the same, vanilla highlights with cocoa at the end.


I'd heard some very good things about Sullivan's Cove. But everyone at the table was so disappointed and bored with this whisky.

Even worse a bottle of the Double Cask would normally run around $100 AUS.

Too much for a bottle like this. Maybe if this had been at Cask Strength it'd be much better. Not sure.

This isn't a bad whisky as in it tastes bad or unpleasant. It's completely and utterly none offensive. It'd actually be one of those whiskies I'd introduce someone who was new to straight spirits not taken in shot form to. It wouldn't scare them.

However while it's busy not scaring the whisky newbies, my family has just fallen asleep.

I'll give Sullivan's Cove another shot, I always love trying new whiskies, but I won't buy a bottle of Sullivan's Cove until I know that the Double Cask was just a random fluke.

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Jason0142 commented

Is there any Australian whisky's you'd recommend? As an Aussie myself I'd love to try one out but they all seem stupidly expensive.

11 years ago 0

systemdown commented

@SquidgyAsh Maybe you got a bad one? The Double Cask I tried was pretty damned good.

11 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

@Jason0142 So many of the Aussie whiskies are over expensive and part of the problem is that so many are single barrel releases which mean that quality fluctuates so much. You can have one bottle that is absolutely brilliant and then you can have another bottle that's just good. And sadly the price point for most of them is so close that you don't want to shell out $200 or so dollars for a whisky that's just ok.

I've enjoyed every single Limeburners I've had so far. Some definitely more then others. If you go here www.distillery.com.au/whisky.html I'd personally be eying the M85. I haven't had it yet, but I've had 6 or 7 different Limeburner batches so far and I'd have no problem shelling out $130 or so for a bottle. I've actually requested to be notified whenever they release a new batch so I can just automatically grab it.

Hellyer's Road is another one that I've enjoyed and from what I've seen it runs at around $85 or so a bottle. I've had I think their classic malt once and enjoyed it. Wanted to buy it on the spot. I've just picked up the Hellyer's Road Peated for around $70ish (Mind you I get a wee discount since I work for a company that sells it.) I'll let you know what I think, but I've heard nothing, but good things about it.

@Systemdown I KNOW!!! I remember you telling me how much you enjoyed it when you first tried it so I was looking forward to it when I saw it was on the tasting, but it was sadly the clear loser of the night at the table. I was sort of wondering at first if it was just me, but everyone else pretty much seconded my thoughts.

Personally I'm starting to wonder a little bit about the whisky bar Helvetica. I was there last night and we ordered a Glenmorangie Astar for my sister in law, a whisky that I've had quite a few times before and enjoyed each and every time. When it came out (I watched them pour it from the bottle) as she was nosing and tasting she said it smelled like soap which blew my mind. I asked her to see it and it really was very soapy. And flavor profile was very similar, almost like soapy fruit. I've had a few other whiskies there where the flavor profile was really off or just nothing like what other people were saying was their experience. I don't want to get into too much detail out of PM because I don't want to bad mouth them, but I too am wondering if it was just a bad bottle for WHATEVER reason. I'd be happy to try it again though :D:D:D

11 years ago 0

systemdown commented

The Double Cask just won silver: whiskyintelligence.com/2012/08/…

And the French Oak (which I'll be sending you a sample of) won Gold.

Sure the bottle you tried wasn't oxidised or something? Really strange. The "flatness" and one-dimensionality of the whisky might suggest such.

11 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Honestly I really wouldn't be surprised if it was oxidized. Like I said I've been having dodgy experiences at the bar. The Hakushu 18 yr old (my favorite Japanese distillery to date) was also awful as was the Glenmorangie Astar which I also love so like I said I really wouldn't mind retrying the Double Cask and correcting the review. I look forward to the French Oak though!!

11 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

is there any way to put this at just a neutral review until I can get a chance to try a fresh bottle of the Double Cask? Or a score that would suggest as such?

11 years ago 0

systemdown commented

No reason to change your review - it's a valid review at a given time point for a given whisky. Maybe just leave a note for yourself to update the review in future with a score that reflects both this experience and the experience with a fresh sample (as I think it's good to reflect how a whisky changes with time, some do better than others, this seems like one that doesn't handle oxidation well).

11 years ago 0

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