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Whisky & Spirits

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  • $399.00
    $359.10
    North Star Vega 40-Year-Old Blended Malt Whisky

    North Star Vega 40-Year-Old Blended Malt Whisky

    A fantastic value blended malt from North Star – the second edition of Vega has stepped it up to a stunning 40-years-old.

    North Star are a new indie bottler out of Glasgow and this Vega expression has been one of the biggest head-turners for the whisky community since their launch.

    Limited to just 400 bottles, this has sold out around the world before reaching Australia. An exquisite expression showcasing all the hallmarks of old whisky – dusty books, church pews, dried fruits, this is astonishing value.

    All components of this 40-year-old blended malt were distilled October 1977 and remained in cask until January 2018. This has been matured in both Spanish and American oak.

    Non-chill filtered and natural colour, it is released at cask strength 43.1%.

    Incredibly limited.

    Serge of WhiskyFun.com gave it a fantastic 90 points:

    Nose: Doesn’t feel very ‘blended’, and does feel very classically sherried, without excesses, with a perfect chocolate-iness, some cigars, a touch of hessian, some blackcurrants, some old oloroso, a little earth, whiffs of clean old wine barrel, and a handful of wild mushrooms. Proper raw chocolate beans, torrefaction, roasted coffee… Everything’s just impeccable.

    Palate: It’s the freshness that’s pretty impressive, the fruits (freshly squeezed orange juice with cloves), and the light chocolate/coffee/clove combo. Gets then more oloroso-y, darker, with more bitter chocolate and ‘crunching coffee beans’. Mexican mole sauce. Body and strength are just perfect.

    Finish: Medium, on oranges and chocolate. Jaffa cake, orangette, Demerara sugar. A touch of beef bouillon and black tobacco (Gauloise) in the aftertaste, plus mushrooms, penny buns, shitake…

    Comments: Did you notice that we haven’t used the word ‘oak’? Not even once?

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  • $215.00
    $193.50
    North Star Islay 10-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    North Star Islay 10-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    A single cask, cask strength whisky from an undisclosed distillery on Islay that has spent time in an ex-wine cask.

    This cask has been released by Iain Croucher’s Glasgow-based independent bottler, North Star. This is part of their fourth series of releases.

    This was distilled October 2007 and bottled February 2018 as a 10-year-old. Originally matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, it was transferred to an ex-red wine cask from Bordeaux. The latter casks’ influence is visible even before you open the bottle – what should have been straw coloured has a distinct copper tinge.

    Bottled at 57.6%, there are 326 bottles worldwide.

    While we don’t know officially where this was distilled, the leather armchair-evoking ash and smoked fruits hint that this could be from a distillery starting with ‘L’, but a different one to what Croucher has bottled previously.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Sweet soot and ash.

    Palate: Smoked cherries and marmalade.

    Finish: Sweet citrus and the reek of peat.

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  • $185.00
    $166.50
    North Star Aultmore 11-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    North Star Aultmore 11-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    A full bodied, sweetly rich Aultmore in a rare showing of the distillery in cask strength, single cask nakedness.

    This cask has been released by Iain Croucher’s Glasgow-based independent bottler, North Star. This is part of their fourth series of releases.

    This was distilled at the Speyside distillery in October 2006 and spent 11 years in an refill ex-bourbon hogshead when it was bottled in February 2018. At 52.3% the cask yielded just 150 bottles worldwide.

    Aultmore found fame as a key component of the Dewars blend and it is usually on the sweeter, fresher end of the flavour scale. This particular cask is fuller, however, the cask strength nature giving oils and heavier sweets.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Caramel, toffee, light spice and ginger sponge.

    Palate: Angel cake, nutmeg and light oak.

    Finish: Ginger, orange sweetness and lasting spice.

    Tasting notes by Serge at WhiskyFun.com:

    Nose: Very nice, with some fudge, cappuccino, shortbread and butterscotch, custard, brioche, Ovaltine… Not much to add, this is modern in the best sense of that word. With water: lovely waxy tones ala Clynelish. More raw barley as well.

    Palate: Really very good. Lemon liqueur, mocha, panettone, custard, orange blossom, fudge… In short it’s one of those newish Scottish bourbons, with extra-care given to the wood. Again, nothing against that. With water: it is perfect, everything was under control, it’s full and oily, it’s got pastries and just a few spices (caraway)… But the finish will tell. The finish always tells…

    Finish: Indeed the oak’s a little louder, with more tea tannins, but no scandal.

    Comments: wondering if that refill HHD hadn’t been rejuvenated (scratched and re-burnt), since it’s bright as a penny. In any case, very very good whisky. 

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  • $539.00
    $485.10
    North Star Ardbeg 12-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    North Star Ardbeg 12-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    A very chance to try a single cask, cask strength Ardbeg that has been labelled as such, this is a powerful, pungent expression from the famous Islay distillery.

    This cask has been released by Iain Croucher’s Glasgow-based independent bottler, North Star. This is part of their fourth series of releases.

    This was distilled March 2005 and bottled February 2018 as a 12-year-old. It was matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead which yielded 332 bottles worldwide at 51.9%.

    Ardbeg is one of Scotland’s most famous distilleries with one of the most intense cult followings in the industry. This 2005 vintage is part of the distillery’s modern era, which has seen consistent distilling and character moulding since Glenmorangie purchased it in 1997.

    The distillery has appeared in independent bottlings, but almost never under its true name. This is a very rare example of an independent bottler being allowed to use the distillery’s name, and that is reflected in the price North Star had to pay to secure the barrel.

    Quite a spirit driven Ardbeg, there are not the sweet cask influences we usually see on the official bottlings. Instead, this is a brash, intense expression that takes time and a willing palate to unravel. The benefits are evident to those who have both of those.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Pungent peat and pineapple.

    Palate: Salted smoke and black cherry tobacco.

    Finish: Is there such a thing as sweet gunpowder?

    Tasting notes by Serge at WhiskyFun.com:

    This is clearly new regime Ardbeg, so this should be interesting. We’ve already tried these vintages but those were always bottled as ‘Kildalton’, or any other fancy name, never as Ardbeg if I remember well…

    Nose: A working kiln, peat smoke, burning oak, dried kelp, a touch of tarmac but less than in earlier decades vintages, new bicycle inner tube (as long as some bicycles still have inner tubes), perhaps a wee touch of phosphorus, bone-dry artisan cider… With water: wash, damp textile, sourdough, baker’s yeast and leaven… The cask’s been pretty lazy, and that has been a blessing.

    Palate: More extreme than I would have thought. Could you smoke a blend of grapefruit juice and ultra-ristretto coffee? It is extremely dry and bitter, and I really enjoy this. Noilly-Prat, Fernet-Branca, cold-distilled manzanilla (should anyone be crazy enough to do that)… With water: should you add enough water down to approx 15% vol., you would get manzanilla. Mustard, smoke, salt, seawater.

    Finish: Very long, extremely sooty and ashy. Remember you just had the ashtray?

    Comments: Extreme and good. So extremely good, but please do not try to pour this to total beginners

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  • $175.00
    $157.50
    Baker Williams Lachlan Whisky First Release

    Baker Williams Lachlan Whisky First Release

    The first release whisky from the Baker Williams distillery – offered at their standard 50%.

    The Baker Williams distillery was established in 2011 by Helen Baker and Nathan Williams. Located in Mudgee in New South Wales’ Central West, they have been making craft spirits and liqueurs in the otherwise wine-dominated region.

    The Lachlan – their first release of whisky – takes its name from Helen and Nathan’s first born.

    Distilled from malted barley, wheat and rye grains, this is a dry, crisp expression – both savoury and spicy.

    Matured in a 100-litre port cask, there are just 93 bottles of this first release at the strength of 50%. It was distilled 27 November 2015 and bottled 23 March 2018 – a day after the cask strength offering.

    Autumn leaves and ground spices on the nose, with a savoury palate of oak and husky grain. Dry finish with toasted oak and spices.

    Of the release, the distillers say, “There were a number of parallels in bringing to life our first whisky and bringing little Lachlan into the world. You make significant investments; encounter plenty of nervous energy, face some unexpected challenges all mixed with a good dash of luck along the way.”

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  • $92.00
    $82.80
    Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto

    Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto

    A trailblazing Italian liqueur, quickly becoming a favourite of Australian bartenders.

    Named the Best New Spirit/Cocktail Ingredient at the 2017 Tales Of The Cocktail event – arguably the most prestigious annual worldwide gathering for the scene – Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto is now spreading around the world.

    A citrusy, floral liqueur made with a range of Italian sourced ingredients – it’s used for cocktails and as an aperitive. The Rosolio style of liqueur dates back to the 15th century, but is rarely seen in the modern world.

    All the ingredients sourced from Italy; bergamot from Calabria, cedro from Sicilia; roman camomile from Tuscany, lavender, gentian, yellow roses and melissa balm from Piemonte. The neutral grain spirit base, bottle and stopper are also Italian.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Lightly citrusy with hints of rose and lavender.

    Palate: Fresh tones of ripe citrus fruits are balanced with a light bitter and floral spice before giving way to a complex and long-lasting finish.

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  • $182.00
    $163.80
    Ardbeg Grooves Single Malt Whisky

    Ardbeg Grooves Single Malt Whisky

    The 2018 limited edition Ardbeg Day release from the famed Islay distillery – Ardbeg Grooves has arrived in limited quantities.

    Inspired by the free spirits of the ‘60s and described by the distillery themselves as “intensely mellow”, this has been crafted from their “grooviest casks ever”. Those casks in question are heavily toasted ex-red wine casks, the heavy char opening up the barrels with deeper “grooves” than normal.

    In real terms that brings out more wood spice as the whisky penetrated further into the oak.

    On allocation in Australia.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Intense aromas of smoked cinnamon and paprika, antique leather and saddle soap, with classic Ardbeg scents of pine resin, tar and briny sea spray in the background. A distant hint of a fragrant bonfire by the shores of the distillery and, finally, an unusual savoury note, like chilli-seasoned meats. A little splash of water releases some beautiful, unexpected aromas: lavender scented soap, ground white pepper, floral and herbal notes entwined. Fresh flowers mix with coriander leaves and mint.

    Palate: A powerfully salty mouthfeel drifts into sweet vibes of treacle toffee, vanilla popcorn, salted fruits (peaches) with soot and tar. Again, those distinctive savoury notes of smoky BBQ, paprika and mustard spice, fading into an unexpected haze of smoked pears and apples, almost like pear cider.

    Finish: Smoked paprika and bonfires with a mellow sweetness throughout.

    SEE THE FULL ARDBEG RANGE HERE

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  • $499.00
    $449.10
    Ichiro's Malt Chichibu IPA Cask Finish

    Ichiro's Malt Chichibu IPA Cask Finish

    A limited edition Japanese single malt from the Chichibu distillery which has been finished in IPA ex-beer casks.

    A collaboration with a local craft brewer, they matured an IPA in ex-whisky barrels from Chichibu, which they then returned to the distillery. They were then used to finish a whisky, with the hop flavour discernible on the finished product.

    The Akuto family, whose history with sake production dates back to the 17th century, had previously run the Hanyu distillery. It closed in 2000 and then when under new ownership dismantled in 2004.

    Ichiro Akuto, whose grandfather had built Hanyu, managed to secure much of the maturing stocks around that time and took them to market as Hanyu whilst planning his own, new distillery. That would become Chichibu, which was opened in 2008.

    Arguably Japan’s most progressive distillery, they are a hands-on distillery that employ traditional whisky production methods. They are also the only distillery is the world to utilise mizunara oak washbacks.

    There have been a number of limited release expressions from Chichibu, only a handful of which have made it to Australia.

    Bottled at 57.5%, there are 6,700 hand-numbered bottles in the release.

    As well as the prominent hop notes, there’s honey, grain and citrus.

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  • $99.00
    $89.10
    Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz 2018 Release

    Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz 2018 Release

    A deep, dark gin from Victoria's Four Pillars distillery which has been steeped in Yarra Valley shiraz grapes.

    One of the most anticipated gin releases of the year, this annual release is incredibly highly sought after and a guarantee to sell out.

    The grapes, sourced from local wineries, are steeped in gin for eight weeks and then pressed to extract a gin-based, full coloured and full flavoured sweet juice. That has been blended in with some of the distillery's trademark Rare Dry gin to create the Bloody Shiraz Gin.

    At higher proof than sloe gins (which are often sub 30%), this is a richer bolder take on sweet aperitif style gins and fantastic cocktail fodder.

    Because of the ph in the shiraz grapes, the gin may turn a shade of pink when mixed with some tonics or sodas.

    The 2018 release (the third) is being described by the distillery as their best yet and a big step up from the otherwise fantastic 2017.

    In their words the 2018 is, “much richer and more vibrant than 2017, carrying really beautiful purples and reds to bottle. Flavour-wise it’s showing dark fruit, red berry and spice.”

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  • $279.00
    $251.10
    Octomore 8.4 Virgin Oak Single Malt

    Octomore 8.4 Virgin Oak Single Malt

    Arriving in Australia in 2018, Octomore’s 8.4 sees time in virgin oak casks.

    Distilled at Islay’s Bruichladdich and given the name of a nearby farm, the Octomore series is designed to push the limits of how much peat and smoke you can inject into a whisky.

    Distilled in 2009 from Scottish barley harvested in 2008, this was bottled at 58.7% as an eight-year-old. Peated to 170ppm.

    Balancing the impact of fresh virgin oak, 20 percent of this release was matured exclusively in virgin, the remaining 80 matured in first-fill American oak before being finished in the virgin oak casks which were used for 7.4.

    12,000 bottles globally.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: A little smoke but gentle and warm. The oak comes with sweet honeyed malt and banana bread. The phenolic muddy notes come again now with a peppery, floral edge. With time the oak gives more and more, toffee popcorn, vanilla fudge, coconut, cinnamon. The smoke fades back a little now.

    Palate: A rich texture feels like honey as it slowly builds the flavour of the sweet mellow oak. Leather and toasted wood combine with the delicate smoke. There is balance here as there is no oak notes without an equal and complimenting note from the smoke. Praline, coconut, clove are matched with barbeque, burnt heather and iodine. The spirit behind the smoke and oak brings a lemon and salt spray hit once opened with spring water as well as hints of mint and stewed apple.

    Finish: Clove, aniseed and coffee grounds fade to peat smoke – the typical, classic Octomore finish that always lingers in your mind.

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  • $315.00
    $283.50
    Octomore 8.3 Islay Barley Single Malt

    Octomore 8.3 Islay Barley Single Malt

    Arriving in Australia in 2018, Octomore’s 8.3 is the most heavily peated Octomore ever released.

    Distilled at Islay’s Bruichladdich and given the name of a nearby farm, the Octomore series is designed to push the limits of how much peat and smoke you can inject into a whisky.

    Distilled from Islay barley harvested in 2010, this was distilled in 2011 and bottled at 61.2% as a five-year-old.

    The .3 series usually sees a bit of wine cask maturation, 44 percent of this was matured in ex-Paulliac, Ventoux, Rhone and Burgundy casks. The rest was matured in American oak ex-bourbon.

    According to the distillery, “The autumn of 2010 was wet and windy. A late harvest saw Octomore farmer James Brown facing heavy losses from greylag geese and herds of wild red deer, resulting in a precious little yield. Malting the this Octomore grain produced results that were unprecedented, the readings came back at 309.1ppm. The nature and variety of Octomore depends on far more than simply number, but these were staggering.”

    Very small allocation on offer.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Toasted oak and muddy/peaty smoke, bandages. Maple syrup, fresh linen, sea shells. Evokes a memory of lying in the heather on the peat moss, the warm sun coaxing the scent from the wild fowers. The fruit is cherry, peach and mango, with crème brulee and toffee from the oak and barley.

    Palate: Initially a surprise as the stellar level of peat is bitter and over-whelming. Another sip opens with up with cherry and peach and toasted sweet oak, dark chocolate, boot polish and seaweed. At this level the peat is like a thunder cloud, darkening the atmosphere. You can feel it in your bones.

    Finish: Complex, crème brulee with caramelised brown sugar slightly overdone. Dark plum, orange and kiwi sit well with the malted barley sweetness. The peat smoke is a tremendous presence o ering roasted coffee, burnt heather and a place in your memory forever.

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  • $215.00
    $193.50
    Octomore 8.1 Scottish Barley Single Malt

    Octomore 8.1 Scottish Barley Single Malt

    Arriving in Australia in 2018, Octomore’s 8.1 is an eight-year-old heavily peated whisky.

    Distilled at Islay’s Bruichladdich and given the name of a nearby farm, the Octomore series is designed to push the limits of how much peat and smoke you can inject into a whisky.

    8.1 was distilled in 2008 from Scottish grown-barley in the 2007 harvest. The barley was peated to 167 ppm. It has been matured in first fill American oak ex-bourbon casks. Bottled at 59.3%, with 42,000 bottles globally.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Initially smoke, tar, peat ash hint of muddiness/wet peat moss. Candied orange, pepper, chocolate, macaroon, vanilla fudge and lemon meringue pie.

    Palate: Liquid gold, soft and delicate texture from slow distillation. Superb fruit/smoke combination. On the lips there is soft kiss of salt spray, ozone fresh. Sweet oak gives vanilla, fudge, marzipan and walnut. Melon and citrus come through on a floral breeze. Many layered there is a lot find in this Octomore.

    Finish: Wow! Smoothness, sweetness and then smoke. A texture like no other, satin soft and devilishly warming. The American oak influence is in perfect tune with the smoke and soft fruits delicately, skilfully coaxed from the still during exceptionally slow distillation. Vanilla, honey, citrus rise up to be met with sea spray and leather, smoked mussels mix with autumn bracken and crème brûlée.

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