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  • Kilchoman Sanaig Single Malt

    Kilchoman Sanaig Single Malt

    New for 2016 and added to the core range of Islay's farm distillery Kilchoman.

    Flavour wise, this sits in between the much-loved bourbon cask Machir Bay and sherry cask Loch Gorm releases as it has been created from whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. The Sanaig leans towards the sherry influence, however, given the high proportion of Oloroso casks in the maturation process.

    The end result is a balance of Kilchoman's fresh smoke, sweetness from the sherry casks and a citrus spice.

    Un chill-filtered, with all the natural colour coming from the Oloroso sherry casks.

    Distillery Manager John MacLellan says, "A beautiful marriage of bourbon and sherry maturation balanced with classic Islay peat smoke and light citrus sweetness”.

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  • Oak Barrel Whisky Fair 2016 Bottling Cask 37

    Oak Barrel Whisky Fair 2016 Bottling Cask 37

    An exclusive for the Sydney Whisky Fair 2016, this is a “very Australian”, but somewhat secret whisky.

    We went through a number of cask samples throughout the year (from Scotland, Australia and elsewhere) and as well as sampling these in house, we sought the opinions of our close friends and fellow whisky fiends. When the sample of what for now we’ll call “Cask 37” was put in front of people there was a common reaction: “This is Australian.”

    Rich, spicy, sweet and full-blooded, there’s no denying this has come from home. That’s a pretty remarkable response given the relative youth of the Australian whisky industry as we know it today.

    Yes, “Cask 37” is Australian. It was distilled in January 2010 and poured into a 100 litre ex-sherry cask. Having been bottled last week (the first week of August) it’s a little over six-and-a-half years old. In that time, it spent quite a few days in a warehouse that experienced “quite a few” 40 degree Celsius and above days.

    The distillery that “Cask 37” was distilled in is now closed – there is a finite amount of spirit available from the distillery. We’ll disclose the distillery and location on the side of the bottle, but for now we’d like to keep you guessing. The distillery comes with a bit of pedigree too. Jim Murray once wrote in a previous edition of his Whisky Bible that the distillery had produced “One of the most astonishing whiskies it has been my honour to taste.” The real trainspotters might be able to pick the distillery from that line alone.

    (If you haven't guessed it, the distillery is discolsed on the bottle's label - check the picture.)

    “Cask 37” has been bottled at 55% (down from the natural cask strength of 67%-odd). Although we arguably prefer the complexity at even lower with a few drops of water, we wanted to give you the option. The cask yielded 103 bottles at 700ml. The label artwork has been drawn by Sydney artist Hannah Marjorie, specifically commissioned for her unique Australiana-style.

    Blind tasting notes by The Oak Barrel’s Scott Fitzsimons:

    Nose: Perfume and oak. Nutmeg spices. Cloves. Pretty typical Aussie cask, but there’s a little bit of subtle maturity underneath. Raisins. Vanilla. It’s either a port or a sherry cask, and the oak is pretty prominent. It’s soft though.

    Palate: Rich and spicy. Oak tannins. Brown sugar. With water it’s still syrupy, nice jolt of spice and then much smoother into the finish.

    Finish: Drying and of a really good length for an Australian whisky. Somehow a little oily as well – quite syrupy. Lingers on the sides of your mouth. With water the fragrant oak return. Touch of moss, really enjoyable. Probably enjoying this more with a dash of water, brown sugar really lingers.

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  • Inkwell 'Road to Joy' Shiraz Primitivo 2014

    Inkwell 'Road to Joy' Shiraz Primitivo 2014

    Road to Joy is a single vineyard Inkwell estate blend of 86% Shiraz and 14% Primitivo. Wild-fermented, without additions on site and barrel aged in French and American oak for eighteen months. Grown in thin loam over the Pirramimma Sandstone formation. Minimum effective SO2 added. TA 5.92g/l, pH 3.86, Alc/Vol 14.2%.

    Tasting Note: A warm and inviting blend that marries the brambly flavors and acidic lift of Primitivo with Inkwell’s dark and savoury Shiraz. Inkwell’s savoury all-rounder whether with pizza and BBQ’s or a roast meal and a warm fire. 

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  • Paul John Single Cask #987 Oak Barrel Exclusive

    Paul John Single Cask #987 Oak Barrel Exclusive

    An amazingly tasty cask strength, single cask whisky bottled exclusively for The Oak Barrel.

    It is the first ever single cask bottled for Australia from the Paul John Distillery in Goa, India. The cask shone through of cask evaluation process as a clean, elegent, soft, sweet and very tasty whisky from a new world distillery.

    Bottled for Sydney Whisky Fair 2016, this was distilled and filled into Cask #987 in February 2010. The 200 litre American oak ex-bourbon cask was matured in their underground cellar (Cask Cellar – 1). Bottled June 2016, the cask yielded 180 bottles only.

    You can read the full story of how the cask came to be here.

    First impression tasting notes from The Oak Barrel’s Scott Fitzsimons:

    Creamy vanilla, fruity, fresh Macadamia nuts, brown sugar, almonds. After a while that fruit becomes banana, peach.

    The palate is sweet with texture to spare, exotic spices on the back palate. Good finish, but there’s not a lot of time to think about it as you’re going back for more pretty quickly.

    Addition of water gives hints of caramel and nuts and brings the rich sugars to the fore on the palate.

    Really soft and surprisingly very little oak influence. Finish is medium length and quite elegant.

    Updated thoughts from the first bottle cracked off the boat:

    The rich barley and nuttiness is still there. I've wanted to use Macadamia nuts in a tasting note for ages and I can honestly say that they're all over the nose here. Great legs in the glass. Spices on the palate, but the alcohol isn't over the top given the strength. NIce and oily on the finish. The fruit comes out on the nose with time. Yep, standing by a lot of those first impressions and it's as I remember it - phew!


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