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Masters Of Whisky Tasting: Diageo Legend Mike Collings


The Oak Barrel is pleased to confirm the second night in our Masters Of Whisky, with a very special guest who’s had a huge influence over the way we drink whisky.

Mike Collings spent over 35 years in the whisky industry and while he might not be a modern household name, the whiskies he helped develop are. Collings, who now lives in Adelaide, worked with Diageo – and its predecessor United Distillers – from the late ‘80s as the whisky industry was recovering from one of its biggest downturns in the past 70 years. As Marketing Director he was tasked with developing the Classic Malts series, a now legendary introduction of single malt whiskies to the world.

At the time single malt whiskies was still a very new idea for the majority of the whisky drinking community, but releases from distilleries like Lagavulin, Talisker, Cragganmore, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar helped drinkers fall in love with the concept. Collings was integral to the launch of these whiskies – and the ever-growing Johnnie Walker stable, including Blue Label – as the company increased its worldwide share of the malt whisky market from 4 percent to 20 percent.

With more experience, stories and myths than most people’s ‘whisky’s I’ve tried lists’, Tuesday 24 April will be a very special night with a selection of whiskies personally developed by Collings.

Four of the whiskies will be Diageo/UD classics, while the other two will be Collings’ latest creations under the Spencer Collings label. They are the Founders Reserve, a gorgeous cask strength release that was a sold-out revelation at Sydney Whisky Fair 2016, and the exquisite Imperial Tribute, which is only bottled too-order.

What we’ll be trying:

Talisker 10-Year-Old
Cragganmore 12-Year-Old
Lagavulin 16-Year-Old
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Spencer Collings Founders Reserve 10-Year-Old
Spencer Collings Imperial Tribute

WHAT: Masters Of Whisky With Mike Collings
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Tuesday 24 April, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: $30 for members, $40 for guests

Scott Fitzsimons