What could be more Tasmanian than a heritage apple cider aged in whisky casks?
Two of the Apple Isle's highest profile craft drinks producers, Sullivans Cove Whisky and Willie Smith’s Cider, have joined forces for a new Whisky Aged Cider which launched last week.
Willie Smith’s Cider co-founder and managing director Sam Reid said: “We always love working with the team at Sullivans Cove.
"We’re like minded in our love of highlighting quality Tasmanian produce – our Huon Valley apples and their Midlands barley – and the incredible drinks they can become.”
The 2019 release is the first time the collaborators have used Willie Smith’s heritage cider apples – in this case the bitter-sweet apple Yarlington Mill – with the cider then aged for six months in Sullivans Cove barrels.
Sullivans Cove head distiller Heather Tillott said: “Yarlington Mill has toffee apple and caramel characters but fairly high levels of tannin, so we chose to balance this by ageing the cider in our American Oak casks, with their low tannin and high vanillin.”
Four of the six casks were originally used for Bourbon maturation, the other two were used for decades for Australian Tawny, all six subsequently aged the Sullivans Cove Single Malt spirit for 11-12 years.
“The Bourbon casks are excellent for giving a broad, sweet, vanilla, summer fruits and textural balance to anything they go near, and it’s exactly what they’ve done here! They’ve allowed the cider to shine through, which is just what we were after,” said Tillott.
“We also used two fun little Tawny casks as American oak aged Tawny is big, raisin-heavy and dripping in thick dark syrupy notes and the intensity of cask lives on in this cider - there are raisins and butterscotch throughout.
"But the real strength comes through in the finish with the typical earthy notes of an Australian
Tawny: mushrooms, licorice, fennel, leather, pepper, cocoa and mint.”
Just 1,200 bottles of the Willie Smith’s Sullivans Cove Whisky Aged Cider were made, and they retail for around $50.
Available at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed and the Sullivans Cove Distillery as well as independent retailers, bars and restaurants Australia wide.
It is also available to purchase online at www.williesmith’s.com.au/shop