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Sullivans Cove French Oak Single Cask

A Lot of Batch Variance

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@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

19th Sep 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I read about Sullivan Cove's award winning single cask whisky only quite recently after it won some of the top accolades at the World Whisky Awards this year.

I don't really care much for awards, mind you, but this one truly deserved all the praise it was getting. It was cask #525 which was responsible for taking the whisky world by storm.

I was lucky enough to sample that and was suitably impressed. OK extremely impressed. Here's a link to that review if you don't believe me connosr.com/reviews/sullivans-cove/…

Now I was quite curious to see how the other casks would play out. After a bit of hunting I managed to get my hands on Cask 537.

While quite competent it does not hold a candle to the award-winning Cask 525 which, in my opinion, is asking for a lot. And it is precisely the reason why whisky fascinates me so much. The same spirit matured in exactly the same way can yield such contrasting results.

Nose: Clove. Cinnamon. Chocolate. Red plums. Lots of berries. Black peppers. Mocha. Caramel Marchiato. Red grapes. Overwhelming red apple. Sandalwood. It's a nice unusual offering with the French Oak imparting a lot of spices.

Palate: Not a lot on offer here. Oak. Apples. Brown dates. Chocolate mocha. Cinnamon. And did I mention oak? Doesn't deliver the same level balance and intensity as 525.

Finish: Medium. Cinnamon. Oak.

While this sample may not have lived up to it's brothers' stellar reputation I respect the art of the single cask process. Spirit the way it's supposed to be.

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Victor commented

@MaltActivist, I think that it is very useful and very perspective-giving to point out the variations in whisky of the same name, label, and production specifications. One of the great short-comings for the novice whisky-drinker is in not having enough experience in having sampled multiple bottles of the same whisky to know how very much variation exists even when the labels are identical or near-identical.

Different casks, different batches, different whisky...whisky making is not an assembly-line process. 87 pt whisky ain't so bad, either. Thanks for your review.

5 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

Thanks for stopping by @Victor - hope you're well.

While not stellar this particular batch is not all that bad. I just expected more that's all. I wish all distillers were proud to talk about variances in their batches. Would make for a more honest world.

5 years ago 0

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