I've opened this thread in a seperate window so that I can attempt to address each of the issues that you guys have mentioned.
I'm Ryan Marshman, I work for Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie, Tasmania. Prior to joining Hellyers Road, I worked for Nicks Wine Merchants, in Melbourne, Australia. Whilst I was there, I compiled what I believe to be is the first guide to Australian whisky. You can download a copy here. http://www.nicks.com.au/Index.aspx?link_id=76.1610
I'll mention also, that if you're interested in trying any Australian malts, and you live in Melbourne, that Nicks Wine Merchants Armadale store has tasting bottles open of most of the producing Australian distilleries for you to try without any obligation.
@rmcq With regards to Lark & Sullivan's Cove being too young to enjoy, that's a fair observation, quality has dramatically improved of late, and they're becoming enjoyable, eccentric whiskies to reach for on the odd occasion. Sullivan's Cove is unreasonably priced, and that won't change. Lark's however have released some simply stunning single cask whiskies offering exotic flavours that are unlike anything else produced anywhere else in the world. They're fat, oily, spicy whiskies that call for a special occasion or mood. They're not everydayers, that's for sure.
Regarding the pricing;
Hellyers Road whiskies are bottled at 46.2%, and are vatted from full size, first fill casks aged from 5-8 years. They retail around $80, and are very reasonably priced, compared to entry level Scottish whisky. This pricing is subsidized by the parent company, Betta Milk.
Bakery Hill whiskies are matured in first, second and third fill ex-bourbon oak. The casks are broken down on arrival from the US and are re-coopered in to smaller casks 50,100 & 150l in size. Bakery Hill bottles single cask whiskies at 43% & Cask Strength at around 5 years of age. At this stage, stock sold by Bakery Hill is still investor stock, which is inflating prices. They can be absolutely glorious malts, the price of a good cask can be easily justified. You might scratch your head if you get a dud though. Ask your retailer.
Larks are in the same boat as Bakery Hill regarding pricing and the trials and tribulations of single casks.
Great Southern's pricing policy is ridiculously expensive, given the quality and inconsistency of the whisky on offer.
Sullivan's Cove is improving, but still struggles to justify the $100 for the "Double Wood" 40% and the $150 for the cask strength whiskies. Avoid the Port wood at all costs, but the Bourbon wood generally offers a nice, crisp, punchy malt with a truckload of flavour.
@jmrl Small Concern is done and dusted, a personal spat between the proprietors forced the collapse of the company.
@dramtastic Sullivan's Cove distill their whisky from wash made at Cascade Brewery. There's no peat allowed in there!
@AshDLS The industry won't sell their whisky to VC, Dan Murphy, Coles, Woolies or anything of the sort. Anything you find in VC or First Choice is residual stock from a drop they did a few years back. It's likely that the product is poor.
@Everyone - In Australia at present, there's a $66 excise per litre of pure alcohol, so each bottle produced here attracts around $30 in tax alone. Once small distillers begin to receive the same tax relief that small wineries receive.
My battery is running very low, so I had better submit this before it dies and I lose it all. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.
In closing, I guess when considering prices, you need to compare apples with apples, Lark's which is distilled in a 1600L still, then matured in a 100L cask is an artisinal product not designed to be approachable by everyone, it's designed to be enjoyed by the enthusiast on a special occasion. Glenfiddich probably distill more in a single batch than the entire output of the Australian industry, and it's intended to be cheap, clean and cheerful.