Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tassie Whisky is the bollox

ONE of the world's foremost authorities on whisky has brought a Tasmanian distillery to the attention of whisky connoisseurs worldwide.

In this year's edition of his Whisky Bible, UK whisky guru Jim Murray is effusive in his praise of the Tasmania Distillery, at Cambridge.

He rated its six-year-old Sullivans Cove Bourbon Cask an impressive 95 points out of a possible 100, describing it as "sensational, truly beautiful and brilliant".

Murray said the result was the "biggest Australian comeback since Larwood and Voce taught them how to bowl", referring to England's Bodyline cricket series bowlers.

Murray tasted 3600 whiskies before rating them for the Whisky Bible, with just three Scottish whiskies rating 97 and another 25 given 96 points.

Distillery manager and part-owner Patrick Maguire said yesterday the high ranking was great news for Tasmanian whisky producers.

"There are three distilleries operating in the state and another two coming on line this year and I believe we all make excellent whisky," he said.

The Tasmania Distillery was established in 1996 by Robert Hosken and was originally located on Hobart's Gasworks site, between Macquarie and Davey Sts.

Mr Hosken later sold the distillery and it went into liquidation in 2003.

Ironically, it was the whisky made by the former owners that Murray rated so highly.

Mr Maguire's group bought the stock and plant and relocated it to Cambridge.

He said half the flavours and all the colours came from the cask.

"We use American oak casks previously filled with bourbon, or French oak casks previously filled with port," he said. Other Sullivans Cove malts were also rated highly by Murray, with the six-year-old Port Cask scoring 90 points and the Double Cask rated at 88.

Outlets that do tastings and sales of Sullivans Cove whiskies are the Barilla Restaurant, the Tasting House at Richmond, the Forest and Heritage Centre at Geeveston, the Tasmanian Scottish Centre at Ross and the Gourmet Delicatessen in Elizabeth Mall.

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