Narrator: This is the world's best single malt Whisky. It was distilled by Sullivans Cove, a small distillery on the outskirts of Hobart, Tasmania. Over the last few years, Sullivans Cove and a number of other Tasmanian Whisky distilleries have been developing an international reputation for quality. For Patrick Maguire, master distiller at Sullivans Cove, there are some very Tasmanian advantages that support his craft.
Patrick: We've got excellent quality valley, fantastic water for brewing with, and then there's the distillation process. So once we get the wash, we distil it twice so it's a double distillation but we're not automated.
Narrator: The successful artisan approach to Whisky distilling in Tasmania has attracted serious international interest. Edinburgh's up-market newspaper, The Scotsman, ran a headline. Male 1: Best Whisky in the World Award goes to Tasmania. With hints of Tunnock's Caramel Wafer, honey, and campfire smoke, it sounds like the archetypal Scottish dram. But this single malt is lovingly made at a small distillery in Tasmania and has been recognized at the World Whiskies Awards in London organized by Whisky Magazine exactly 20 years after the distillery opened in Hobart.
Narrator: The newspaper noted that Sullivans Cove had to fend off challenges from more than 300 entrants including such famous Scots distilleries as Glenlivet, Bunnahabhain, Aberfeldy, and Glenkinchie. The Sullivans Cove approach to traditional distilling is very personal.
Patrick: Age distil all that [inaudible 00:01:58] at the time. We'll operate the still and cap the runs as they see fit so it's a personal thing, the way it flows, smells, taste. It's not a matter of the tap [inaudible 00:02:10], let's cut the run. Does it feel right? Does it look right at the moment? We cut the run when it feels right. So that's a more personal approach.
Narrator: Patrick's personal influence continues right through the distillation and bottling process.
Patrick: When it comes to bottling the Whisky years later after it's matured, we don't just say, "Okay, this barrel's turned 12. Let's bottle it." We would taste a series of barrels. They could be a 10-year old, it could be a 14-year old. If that barrel is ready at the time, we'll bottle it. So if it passes my taste test, we'll bottle it. If it doesn't, it will sit on the racks until such time as it's ready.
Narrator: The reward for absolute attention to detail for over a decade is hard to comprehend.
Patrick: Well, we've just won the most prestigious Whisky award that you can win on the planet which is the World Whiskies Award's Best Whisky in the World, so you don't get any better than that. It's not something that we expected to win. We've won the Best Australian Malt Whisky, the Best [inaudible 00:03:16] Whisky, the Best of Australasian Whisky. But to win the big one, we're up against the giants in the Whisky world, the giants from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, for us to win that is a very major achievement and one that we just can't believe but very welcome.
Narrator: For Jim Murray, author of the world's leading Whisky guide, the "Whisky Bible," a win by a Tasmanian Whisky as the World's Best Single Malt Whisky is no apparition. In a recent interview on ABC Television's landline program, Jim disclosed he had predicted big things for Tasmania on his first visit to the island state.
Male 2: When I was there 10 years ago, the early mistakes were being rectified and you thought, "I've got to watch this very, very carefully." And in the "Whisky Bible" over the last 10 years, Tasmanian Whisky has been scoring consistently high from a whole bunch of distilleries, not just one but a whole bunch of them. Yeah, and they've got a lot to be proud of. Patrick: Best Whisky in the World, that's certainly helping put us on the map.