Life Eat & Drink Neat drop: five great Australian whiskies

Neat drop: five great Australian whiskies

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Small Australian distilleries are putting the country on the map as some of the world’s best boutique examples of whisky.

• Top drop: five great wines for less than $20

Whether you’re a whisky sipper from way back, or looking for that perfect gift, here are five top-class whiskies you have to try.

Sullivans Cove, French Oak Single Cask, Tasmania. 

Sullivans Cove

Price: $130

Why it’s so good: Sullivans Cove French Oak Single Cask variety won ‘The World’s Best Single Malt’ and ‘Best Australian Single Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards 2014, described by its producers as a “big, fat, chewy whisky full of rich toffee and molasses notes”. Judges said the French Oak Single Cask entry was “light, peppery and intriguing”, “a match made in heaven with a smooth buttery feel” and “keeping it simple in a very good way”.

Where to buy: Dan Murphy’s, and inquire at any other local liquor stores.


Sullivans Cove, American Oak Single Cask, Tasmania. 

Sullivans Cove

Price: $130

Why it’s so good:  Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask varietal was awarded 95.5 points in the Whisky Bible – a hand-picked selection of whiskies from around the world compiled by Englishman Jim Murray, bestowing the honour in its 2015 edition. Mr Murray says “…(it’s) hard to imagine a malt whisky being more malt whiskier…few distilleries do weight on delivery better than this one…exemplary malt whisky: absolutely beautiful”. It was twice named ‘Best Whisky in the Rest of the World’ and the first Australian whisky to achieve ‘Liquid Gold’ status in the Whisky Bible, by scoring 94 points or above.

Where to buy: Dan Murphy’s, and inquire at any other local liquor stores.


Lark Distillery, Single Malt Cask Strength, Tasmania 

Lark Distillery

Price: $132 – $158.95 (700ml)

Why it’s so good: Mr Murray rated Lark Distillery’s Single Malt Cask Strength 94 points in the Whisky Bible, crowning it ‘Liquid Gold’ status. Producers describe this blend as possessing “floral and fruity notes on nosing the whisky and at the front of the palate on tasting”, the whisky then opens up across the palate with a hint of plum pudding and the rich oily malt, finishing with that delicate hint of Tasmanian Highland Peat”.

Where to buy: Dan Murphy’s, Lark Distillery and inquire at any liquor stores.


Limeburners, Single Malt Barrel M61, Western Australia 


Price: $500

Why it’s so good: Limeburners Single Malt Whisky Cask Strength M137 won a silver medal at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition. Matured in an ex-bourbon American oak cask and finished in an old Australian Sherry cask it exhibits spice and grape aromas when neat, a splash of water unleashes malted barley, fine sherry and vanilla with hints of butterscotch and raisins.

Where to buy: Online at Great Southern Distilling Company (Limeburners).


The Nant Distillery, Single Malt, Tasmania  

Nant Distillery

Price: $165

Why it’s so good: The award-winning Classic Collection of Nant Single Malt Whisky – matured in American oak bourbon wood, French oak port wood, American oak sherry wood and French oak pinot noir barrels. In his 2013 Whisky Bible, Mr Murray rated Nant Distillery as the maker of one of the top 50 whiskies in the world, saying “something majestic is happening here”. Producers say it’s their traditional pot still distillation methods combined with smaller barrels and the choice of timbers tha contribute significantly to Nant’s quality and flavour profile.

Where to buy: Nant Distillery.


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