The Oak Barrel: Wine, whisky, spirits, craft beer and cider

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  • GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 9 24-Year-Old

    GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 9 24-Year-Old

    Batch 9 of The Grandeur, the peak of GlenDronach’s expressions.

    This edition is a 24-year-old, selected by new Master Blender Rachel Barrie from sherry casks distilled in 1990, 1992 and 1993. Bottled at 48.7%, there were just 1,487 bottles produced, each individually numbered.

    The GlenDronach distillery, located in the highlands east of Speyide, is synonymous with sherry cask maturations and are one of the few distilleries that have delivered consistently brilliant sherried expressions in the past decade.

    Rachel Barrie’s tasting notes:

    “The expression offers a carefully woven tapestry of stone fruit, baked quince and glazed cherries on a bed of sandalwood, roast chestnuts and subtle musk-scented leather. The freshness of oak balsam lifts and lengthens throughout, sustaining the exceptional balance and complexity. With an elegant, deep and perfectly integrated palate, Grandeur combines a myriad of sherry cask tastes in each sip. As time slowly passes, the taste lengthens and deepens towards an elegant dark chocolate mint, raisin and angelica root velvet finish.”

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  • La Violetta Ye-ye Blanc 2017

    La Violetta Ye-ye Blanc 2017

    86% Riesling, 10% Gewürztraminer, 4% Viognier. The riesling at the heart of this blend comes from a vineyard 15 km south-west of Mt Barker. It shows loads of pure floral intensity, a conversation starter with the other varieties that contribute aromatic complexity and textural elements: old vine, dry-grown Gewürz and a splash of Viognier from Perth Hills. Around 15% is fermented in old oak barrels on solids to round out Riesling’s linearity with some lees-derived gloss, giving context to the structural phenolics. After a shaky start, 2017 turned out to be a brilliant year for aromatic whites in Great Southern, with the mild season bringing exceptional fruit intensity, purity and drive to the wines.

    Freshness, balance and aromatic intensity typical of the vintage, with scents of lavender, wet stone and crystalline citrus. The acidity is matched by the depth of fruit, providing a canvas for the complexing textures of mineral phenolics, lees contact and barrel fermentation to disappear within. Fully drinkable this, glass after glass.

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  • Cotswolds Whisky Batch 01/2018

    Cotswolds Whisky Batch 01/2018

    One of the first single malt releases from England’s Cotswold distillery.

    A very impressive introduction, this has a well-balanced malt backbone with fruits, brown sugar and oils.

    It is distilled from Odyssey barley, grown locally in the Cotswolds, with a 90-hour fermentation to help build fruity notes, evident in their new make. It is matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky and American Oak ex-red wine casks.

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  • Houraisen Shiso Kaoru Umeshu 720ml

    Houraisen Shiso Kaoru Umeshu 720ml

    A shiso (Japanese herb) infused umeshu liqueur with a fresh, fruity-dry and herbal flavour that’s incredibly refreshing over ice or even in a martini.

    Sekiya Brewery have been making saké since 1864 in Aichi prefecture, about half way between Tokyo and Osaka. A truly innovative brewery that owns 22 hectares of their own rice paddies and have in collaboration with the local agriculture bureau developed their own unique rice strain as well as setting up a separate brewery specifically to educate people on the production of ginjo sake.

    The water source for Houraisen is one of the soften in Japan with no detectable magnesium or calcium and the average rice polish rate is 50% which provides an incredibly smooth sake, that when combined with ume fruit and shiso makes for one amazing drink. Delicious.

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