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Latest Whisky & Spirits News

Heartwood: Special Archive Release and Tasting!

The Oak Barrel is pleased, proud and excited to announce a very special tasting evening and archive offering from one of Australia’s best loved whisky producers – Heartwood.

The country’s best known independent bottler, Tim Duckett – aka Mr Heartwood – has repeatedly pushed the boundaries of Australian whisky and allowed us to taste expressions that have redefined what we can expect from premium Australian whiskies.

Ever since his first release – Mt Wellington – Duckett has rolled out whiskies created from barrel sourced from the Lark and Tasmania (producers of Sullivans Cove) distilleries. Some of them have been single casks, others vatted from a couple of casks and others blended malt creations from across the two distilleries.

Always bottled at cask strength, which in the Tassie climate reaches into the low-to-mid 70% ABV, they’ve been powerful, elegant, daunting, challenging and many other superlatives.

They’ve never ever been boring.

The expressions sell out almost exclusively through mailing list and pre-order these days, with only a handful ever making it to wider retail. (The Oak Barrel’s modest allocations are a privilege, not a right these days.)

A regular for Sydney Whisky Fair, a simple lack of releases will keep Duckett away this year, so we’ve organised a very special evening the week of the Fair.

Showcasing some early releases (including Mt Wellington), some award winners and a bunch of drams for the future which Tim will bring up, it’s going to be one hell of a fun night.

TASTING DETAILS HERE

To coincide with that announcement, The Oak Barrel is pleased to offer one of the most comprehensive collections of Heartwood back releases we’ve ever seen.

Sourced from a verified private collector, the collection includes some of the earliest releases (Vat Out Of Hell, Release The Beast), some of the most highly acclaimed Heartwoods (Devil In The Detail, Mediocrity Be Damned, members of the Convict series Convict Unchained and Convict Redemption Batch 2, Lost Convict), series releases (The Toddler, Beagle 2, Beagle 4, We Are Cousins / Twisted Cousins / Brothers) and plenty more.

Some of these releases we haven’t seen on the open market since their release and we can’t guarantee they ever will. Only one of each to sell, we’ve kept our margins as tight as possible to pass these into the hands of Australian whisky lovers like us.

(Although international demand for Heartwood is insatiable due to an absolute lack of supply, we are only selling in Australia – sorry.)

See the full release of Heartwood Archive bottles here, we’ve even thrown in a couple of Smith’s Angaston bottles for good measure.

Heartwood Any Port In A Storm Summer Release

Heartwood Calm Before The Storm

Heartwood Convict Redemption Batch 2

Heartwood Convict Unchained

Heartwood Dare To Be Different

Heartwood Devil In The Detail

Heartwood Devil May Care

Heartwood Mediocrity Be Damned

Heartwood Release The Beast

Heartwood Beagle Batch 2

Heartwood Beagle Batch 4

Heartwood The Lost Convict

Heartwood The Toddler

Heartwood Vat Out Of Hell

Heartwood We Are Brothers

Heartwood We Are Cousins

Heartwood We Are Twisted Cousins


Posted: 10/08/2017
Exquisite New Whiskies From Adelphi

Laphroaig, Bowmore, Miltonduff... all of these distilleries plus some very special other releases have arrived in store as part as the latest shipment from Adelphi, one of our favourite independent whisky bottlers.

What puts Adelphi apart from other independent bottlers is that they only purchase mature stock, they’re not maturing barrels themselves. Everything they purchase – and therefore bottle – is of exceptional quality. They don’t have average casks they need to be used somewhere, if it’s not an absolute premium whisky, they just won’t buy it.

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SEE ADELPHI RELEASES HERE
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It means that their pricing reflects the current market. For example, a 20-year-old Macallan is going to cost more than a 20-year-old Benrinnes because they’re paying current market rates for the cream of the crop. Having said that, some of this whiskies in this allocation are exceptional value. Take the 20-year-old, single cask, cask strength, ex-sherry cask Laphroaig. Independent bottlings from the famed Islay distillery are very rare, but even so at $400 it’s hard to go past for real Laphroaig nuts. Put it alongside the current official bottlings of 25-year-old (over $700) and 30-year-old (over $2,000) and even before you taste how sublime the dram is, it becomes pretty hard to go past.

This allocation also has a penchant for sherry cask maturation, which is unfortunately a rare treat these days. The cost of good quality sherry cask has risen to as much as five times the cost of an ex-bourbon cask and distilleries are being forced to pull back on them, or raise the prices of their end products. To try such a range of exquisitely matured sherry casks (Laphroaig, Bowmore, Breath Of Speyside, Glover Batch 4...) is indeed a rare treat.

The Breath Of Speyside single cask expression from an undisclosed distillery (we have a hunch, ask us in store) is also a stunning dram for sherry cask lovers. Just gorgeous at its age and under $200 for members.

Read through below to see the latest arrivals from Adelphi, or click here to see our full range. (The array in store looks pretty damn impressive as well...)

ISLAY

Laphroaig 20-Year-Old 1996

A refined, classy Laphroaig that still showcases all the distillery’s medicinal hallmarks.

Bowmore 19-Year-Old 1997

A left-of-centre Bowmore that has intense aromatics and grounded smoke.

SPEYSIDE

Miltonduff 33-Year-Old 1983

Gloriously well aged from this thick and oily distillery.

Cragganmore 30-Year-Old 1986

Great value after three decades of aging with waves of complexity.

A Breath Of Speyside 10-Year-Old 2006

Sherry-lovers dream, rich, sweet and vibrant right on ten years from a secret distillery.

HIGHLANDS

Glen Ord 12-Year-Old 2004

Notoriously grassy spirit smothered in an active sherry cask

FUSION

The Glover Batch 4 18-Year-Old

Japanese-Scotch fusion that swings towards the latter with sherry cask mainland whisky built upon flourishes of resinous Hanyu.


Posted: 03/08/2017
Great Ben Nevis For A Great Whisky Cause

It’s pretty exciting times here at The Oak Barrel as we get to walk into work each morning and see a whole row of Ben Nevis expressions on our whisky wall – a sight achievable recently thanks to an influx of single casks by independent bottler Douglas Of Drumlanrig.

Although Ben Nevis can be a lot of things, we’re huge admirers of the Fort William distillery’s whiskies for their old school oiliness, fruitiness and robustness. But there’s another reason to get excited about these releases.

There’s been a lot of discussion regarding barrel investment schemes in Australia recently – that is the fundraising method of selling whole barrels of new make spirit or immature whisky by upstart distilleries who need capitol. A perfectly legitimate and enticing approach to getting over the hump of early year costs, the schemes carry a certain amount of risk for both parties.

Which is why the Corowa Distillery, a new operation in southern New South Wales, have erred away from the tactic. Instead they’ve purchased ten casks of Ben Nevis spirit, bottled by indie bottler Douglas Of Drumlanrig, and are now selling them to Australian whisky lovers to help fund their early years of all outgoing, no incoming, balance sheets.

The theory is that if you want to help support the Aussie whisky industry, we’d like you to have a drink of something right away!

The casks themselves are quite fascinating. Nine of the ten are 16-year-olds in ex-bourbon casks, all filled consecutively in the latter months on 1998. Given their specifications are almost identical, these should all taste the same – but that’s not how whisky works. Each cask is unique and after 16 years of maturation there’s a fascinating spectrum of flavours, though most are in their own ways ‘typical’ Ben Nevis.

The tenth is an 18-year-old sherry cask that we think is just hands down a world-class whisky. Pleasingly approachable on the nose, the layers, complexity and weight of the whisky reveals itself over time (we’ve even poured a big glass and waited hours with this one).

Take a look through the whole collection here, which – for single cask, cask strength, whiskies – are very competitively priced.

Ben Nevis is one of the more traditional distilleries in Scotland and is often regarded as a “whisky drinkers’ whisky”.

The distillery was built in Fort William in 1825 by ‘Long’ John Macdonald. An early success in the hands of his son Peter, Long John’s Dew Of Ben Nevis became a sought after blend (which is still available under the name Nevis Dew). A second distillery – Nevis – was built to keep up with supply and with its own cottages for workers employed around 200 people at its peak.

Nevis was closed in 1908 when the whisky boom crashed, but the original Ben Nevis survived through to 1941. It started back up again following the was in 1995, to fall silent again in 1978.

After that period of intermittent production during the ‘70s and ‘80s, a tough period for whisky distilleries in general across Scotland, the distillery was bought by the Japanese company Nikka in 1989. Fifty percent of the distillery’s new make is shipped to Japan for maturation and eventual use in Nikka’s blends.

Pleasingly, the Japanese ownership has left Ben Nevis to their own techniques and the distillery continues in its own traditional methods. Ben Nevis still uses wooden washbacks and brewers yeast. They’re understood to be the last distillery in Scotland to still use the latter, distillers yeasts have been developed for higher yield and stainless steel washbacks are the norm.

They employ a slow distillation to coax out plenty of fruit whilst keeping structure and five of their six warehouses are the traditional dunnage style. The 50 percent of spirit that remains in Scotland is used for the Nevis Dew and Macdolands Of Glencoe blends and their own single malts. Independent bottlings by the likes of Adelphi, Signatory Vintage and Douglas Of Drumlanrig are also highly sought after.


Posted: 20/07/2017
The Future Of Sullivans Cove Masterclass

Sullivans Covethat Tasmanian whisky, the one that one that award and that has become so hard to find.

It took Patrick Maguire years of toil to become an overnight success. After joining the distillery in 1999 and taking control in 2003, Maguire has – more than most – seen the highs and lows of the modern Australian whisky scene first hand.

Certainly, 2014 was a monumental year for the small Hobart distillery and the wider Australian community when their French Oak Port Cask expression was voted the World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards. But 2017 may serve to be an even more pivotal period for the distillery.

Casks distilled at the ‘new’ Sullivans Cove Distillery are starting to come online (TDXXXX named barrels are beginning to replace the old HHXXXX casks) and experiments laid down in the past decade are coming to fruition.

What a better opportunity, then, to take a good hard look at (and drink of) the future of Australia’s most famous whisky distillery as part of our Sydney Whisky Fair masterclass series. That driving force, Patrick Maguire, will travel up from Tasmania for an evening tasting at The Oak Barrel – the latest in his many visits to our Cellar Room.

Earlier this year Sullivans Cove released Special Cask, a single French Oak cask (barrel TD0202) which was previously used to mature Australian chardonnay. It was the distillery’s first new release in over a decade and sold out quite promptly, despite a $750 retail price which may have put it out of a few price ranges.

We’ve secured a Special Cask to crack open with Patrick, but we’re not stopping there.

Keeping with the theme of looking forward, rather than backwards, we’ll also be sampling something so secretive that we can’t tell you what it is, because we honestly don’t know.

It will be a pre-release of another ‘special’ cask (whether it’s called Special Cask or not we’ll have to wait and see) and may be at a slightly higher ABV than their usual releases. What we do know is that it will be Sullivan’s next limited release and we’ll be trying it before it hits the market at this event.

The third element of our looking forward will be a sampling of the distillery’s current new make – the DNA that will shape the style of Sullvans Cove Distillery for the next five, ten, 15 years.

Combine them with the current releases of their core range – the Double Cask, American Oak and French Oak – and we’ve got an evening that’s sure to be something very special.

Tickets are strictly limited (definitely one night only) and this tasting is part of the Sydney Whisky Fair Masterclass series, which allows us to host some truly awesome nights of whisky in the lead up to this year’s Sydney Whisky Fair.

What we’ll be tasting:

Sullivans Cove Double Cask
Sullivans Cove American Oak
Sullivans Cove French Oak
Sullivans Cove Special Cask
Sullivans Cove new make (not available for purchase)
Sullivans Cove Pre-Release Sample (details revealed on the night)

WHAT: The Future Of Sullivans Cove With Patrick Maguire
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Tuesday 15 August, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $75 / Non-Members $85
TICKETS: The handful of final tickets will be issued via ballot. Please email scott@oakbarrel.com.au with 'Sullivans Cove Masterclass' in the subject line and your Oak Barrel member details. You will be notified if successful.

New Whiskies In Store

Whisky Fair Masterclasses

Photos From 2016's Whisky Fair

Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking. Whiskies subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances.


Posted: 18/07/2017
Adelphi Whisky Masterclass With Alex Bruce

As part of a whirlwind visit to Australia and New Zealand, Alex Bruce – Managing Director of independent whisky bottler Adelphi and their distillery Ardnamurchan – will be returning to the Oak Barrel for a masterclass tasting.

Bruce is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable persons about Scotch whisky to have ever graced our Cellar Room, so we’re delighted to welcome him back. He’ll regale us with stories from Adelphi and the distilleries they work with, and Ardnamurchan, which already has a cult status despite not yet having a whisky on the market.

(The release of their very first ‘spirit’ sold out in mere hours.)

On the night we will go through a selection of the Adelphi range, tasting single cask releases that have been sourced and selected by Bruce and Adelphi collaborator, industry icon Charles Maclean.

We’ll also sample a couple of Adelphi ‘creations’, the staples that underpin the bottler’s worldwide reputation.

Full line-up of bottles to be confirmed in the coming days, but join us this July for an evening of pure Scotch whisky fascination.

Tickets are strictly limited and this tasting is part of the Sydney Whisky Fair Masterclass series, which allows us to host some truly awesome nights of whisky in the lead up to this year’s Sydney Whisky Fair.

What we’ll be tasting:

Adelphi Glenborrodale Batch 3
Adelphi Liddesdale (21-Year-Old Bunnahabhain) Batch 10
Adelphi Breath Of Speyside (new!)
Adelphi Glover Batch 4 (Scotch – Japanese single malt hybrid)

Plus expressions from:
Bowmore
Laphroaig

WHAT: Adelphi Whisky Masterclass With Alex Bruce
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Monday 24 July, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $35 / Non-Members $45
TICKETS: SOLD OUT


Posted: 13/07/2017
Smoky Whisky Masterclass Through Islay With Port Askaig

It’s quite remarkable that such a little island is famous for producing whiskies of such force.

For as long as single malts have been consumed, Scotland’s Islay – a small Island in the Inner Hebrides with a population of about 3,000 – has been synonymous with heavily peated, smoky whiskies.

Once you’ve been to Islay it’s an experience that you’ll never forget, but also one you’re reminded constantly of every time you open a single malt raised on that cold, wind-swept landscape.

With the mercury dropping, it’s evident that The Oak Barrel is overdue for a smoky whisky masterclass, and we’ve just the theme for this July.

A whole range of new expressions from Port Askaig – from an 8-year-old right up to a 30-year-old – have landed in Australia. So we’re going to open them in a parallel tasting for a full on evening of peat, smoke, brine and fire.

Port Askaig is a tiny port village on the east coast of Islay. With a hotel, a dock and not a lot else – there is one obvious thing missing from the town: A distillery.

The Port Askaig whiskies are an independent bottling label from London’s The Whisky Exchange, one of the biggest single malt whisky institutions in the world. The label bottles single malts sourced from around the island, without disclosing their source.

Port Askaig have almost certainly bottled whiskies from a number of different distilleries over the years so it will be fascinating to (attempt to) discern where these have been sourced from in this sit-down masterclass tasting.

What we do know is that these are quintessential Islays – big and robust at youth and delicate and autumnal with age.

To top it off, we’re delighted to be welcoming one of Australia’s most entertaining and most knowledgeable whisky experts back to The Oak Barrel. Mr James Buntin has spent the past few years playing whisky ambassador throughout the UK, but has been lured back to the colonies. We’re really going to enjoy having that big, booming Scottish accent in our cellar room once more.

Tickets are strictly limited and this tasting is part of the Sydney Whisky Fair Masterclass series, which allows us to host some truly awesome nights of whisky in the lead up to this year’s Sydney Whisky Fair.

We’ll be trying the following:

Port Askaig 8-Year-Old 45.8%
Port Askaig 15-Year-Old Sherry Cask 45.8%
Port Askaig 19-Year-Old 50.4%
Port Askaig 30-Year-Old 45.8% (2015 Release)
Port Askaig 100 Proof 57.1%

Also, from the Elements Of Islay series…

Elements Of Islay Peat Pure Islay Blended Malt 45%
Elements Of Islay Peat Full Proof Blended Malt 59.3%

WHAT: Smoky Whisky Islay Masterclass With Port Askaig
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Tuesday 25 July, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $45 / Non-Members $55
TICKETS: SOLD OUT

Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking. Whiskies subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances.


Posted: 04/07/2017
Introducing: Single Cask Scotch Whiskies From North Star

If there are a few phrases that make the team at The Oak Barrel particularly happy they are “single cask”, “cask strength”, “un-chill filtered”, “natural colour”… you get the jist.

In recent years as our whisky shelves have expanded, so has our selection of independent bottlings. We love our Gordon & MacPhails, our Adelphis, our Signatory Vintages, our Rest & Be Thankfuls (we even love bottling ourselves!). So it’s always exciting when a new mob pop into view.

Enter North Star Spirits.

Based out of Glasgow, they bottle a whole range of whiskies and spirits from single cask Scotch, to bourbon, rum and even fortified wine (!).

Honestly, we don’t know a lot about the back story of the company but we’ve always believed in letting whiskies talk for themselves.

Having tried the range from their Cask Series 001 we’re happy to report that there’s another indie we’re looking forward to a long relationship with.

We’ve often pushed the idea of ‘No Rules’ with indie bottles (not least with our series of independent bottlers-only masterclasses), the thought being that once a cask of whisky is in the hands of anyone but the distillery themselves then all bets are off. Whoever owns that cask can do whatever they want with it.

It means you can get some exceptionally unique, fascinating and pure expressions from distilleries you may have heard of, and many you may have not.

Having gone through these North Star releases, it looks like they’ve opted for the left-of-centre. There’s distillery character in all of these releases, but they’re unlike most of what we’ve tried before from their respective distilleries.

Now the bad news. This Cask Series 001 is super limited. We've only got one of most of these bottles. But hopefully there's more on the way...

Tasting notes below, click through for more detailed info.

 

Port Dundas 2004 12-Year-Old

Nice clear colour in the glass, so expecting a lot of spirit character here.

Nose: Light caramel, a drizzle of brown sugar, slightly grassy with a touch of pine. Quite shy and delicate, but there’s a bit going on. A bit more time and there’s olive spread, rocket, mocha and cloves.

Palate: Nice and creamy, coating. Vanillas with the slightest of oak spice. Corn grain. Well balanced.

Finish: Medium length, with subtle spices, ever so drying.

Comments: Big fans of Port Dundas and this is quite a unique take on it. Not a huge amount of oak influence, so this dram trades the excess of creamy butters and vanilla for freshness and delicate spices.

 

Tormore 1988 28-Year-Old

Nose: Lots of spice and potpourri, old perfume, Grandma’s loungeroom. Quite a delectable old-time-y nose, not quite the ‘church pews’ aroma we see in 30-year-olds and up, but this is certainly showing all the poise of its age. Creme brule, lemon tart, green apple, stewed pear. Myer’s perfume stall at closing time. Green oak. This could go on for a while...

Palate: Forest floor, wet canopy, overripe pear. No burn. The flavours are quite heavy – maybe even clumsy – but the texture is actually quite light and silky. Quite lean.

Finish: Good length, not quite as outstanding as the start, but with lingering old vanilla and the return of that potpourri in the next room.

Comments: One of the better noses from a recent bottling. Not the sexiest release of all time, but this is Tormore and that’s kind of un-cool, which is what makes it great.

 

Bunnahabhain 1990 26-Year-Old

Nose: Vanilla cream, white grapes, lanolin, garage fumes, banana bread, varnish. There’s an intensity that’s forceful, but still quite elegant. Big in the glass, but it doesn’t chase you out of it. With time a fair hit of malt with a rich toffee sweetness that climbs over the top.

Palate: Spice that wasn’t present on the nose – spice from oak, cloves and anise. Otherwise gentle, touches of vanilla and old cut grass.

Finish: Medium and subtle. Touch of tobacco leaf helps drag it out a bit.

Comments: Neven know what you’re going to get with Bunnahabhain. Really interesting if a touch scattered, it could be pretty divisive.

 

Glenrothes 1996 20-Year-Old

Nose: Soft vanillas, coffee beans, fresh cut barley. Then, snow peas, parsley... in fact this is a veritable vege garden. A bit of carrot maybe, lemon grass. Even though it’s void of any ‘medical’ note, this certainly smells healthy. A touch of polished oak as an elegant perfume pushes through.

Palate: Pretty classic. Spice from a bit of heat, a bit of damp cellar. The vege garden from the nose after a monsoon.

Finish: Good length, the spice from the palate carries a fair way through. The fleeting softness from that initial nose returns, reminding us that this was in fact distilled at Glenrothes.

Comment: Another unusual expression from North Star – there are real Glenrothes hallmarks here, but that walk through the fresh vege garden was something quite unique.

 

Ardmore 2008 8-Year-Old

Nose: Smoked meats, burning kindling and someone’s cooking something on the barbie with a honey glaze. The richness in the soft smoke is sweet and clean. Coal fireplace in the country. With time, lemon flavouring, orange lollies, burning eucalypt leaves and then more charred meat over an open flame.

Palate: Peat fires, turned earth. It’s a very grounded palate – classic peated highlander. Earthy spices.   

Finish: Short to medium (albeit moreish) immediately, but the smoked meats and barbecue notes linger once you thought they’d gone. Roasted malt and ground coffee beans, too.

 

Arran 1996 20-Year-Old

I think we lost this sample. Our bad. Luckily they write some notes on the side of the bottle as well.

Nose: Mint leaves and orange segments.

Palate: Spiced honey and white pepper.

Finish: Toasted oak and lemon marmalade.

 


Posted: 28/06/2017
Rediscovering Scotland's Historic Glen Garioch Distillery

The proliferation of Scottish single malts in the past decade has truly been a bonanza for the intrepid whisky drinker, and here at the Oak Barrel we’re lucky enough to be forever finding new gems or discovering old friends.

One distillery that sits somewhere in the middle of being an old friend and a new discovery is Glen Garioch, which after a chameleon-esque history of changes is remerging as a single malt force.

Glen Garioch – pronounced Glen Geerie – was founded in 1798 in Scotland’s Eastern Highlands. That makes it one of Scotland’s oldest operating distilleries. Record keeping in the 1700s was purposefully lax, one certainly didn't want the authorities knowing how much whisky you were distilling, but Glen Garioch is amongst the group of formative establishments. It was originally a tannery and then a brewery before the transformation into a distillery at the end of that century.

For the most of the 20th century, the distillery produced a peated highlander style, similar to that of its neighbour Ardmore, until the distillery was closed (one of its many closures) in 1995. Opened again in 1997, the distillery had decommissioned its own floor maltings and moved to unpeated malt.

The disuse of peated malt wasn’t at the expense of richness however. Their stills are squat and short-necked, which is pretty familiar for Highland distilleries, but they have unusually long lyne arms, particularly on the wash still. Combine this with a distinctly short spirit cut (just 69% to 75%) and they're producing a new make with is equal parts spicy, fruity and meaty. If they’re rushing spit through their still to keep a meaty richness, the long journey down the lyne arm is bringing out the orchard fruits.

With an annual output of just over one million litres of alcohol per year – or 100 or so barrels a week – they are on the smaller end of the Scottish scale. Owned by Suntory’s Morrison Bowmore, they’re also mainly producing for single malts, even if they’re not a prominent Australian sight yet.

As part of the revamp of the offering, their core releases are now presented at the pleasing ABV of 48%. That’s not particularly viable financially for, but it’s a nod to richness and structure that we don’t see all that often these days. Both sides of their spirit – the fruit and the weight – are evident in the final whisky.

We currently have limited quantities of two expressions, the entry-level Founders Reserve and their veritable 12-year-old, available in store now.

GLEN GARIOCH FOUNDERS RESERVE

$99 or $89.10 for members: Rich malt with a honeyed sweetness, touches of oak.

GLEN GARIOCH 12 YEAR OLD

$110 or $99 for members: Toasted oak with more defined fruits (citrus, tropical), and a creamy texture. Solid finish too.


Posted: 22/06/2017
Glenfarclas Vintages Masterclass With Ian McWilliam

This July The Oak Barrel will be hosting a very special Glenfarclas whisky masterclass, which for many of us will include some one-in-a-lifetime whiskies.

Joined by distillery stalwart Ian McWilliam, we’ll be cracking single casks and vintages from 1987 all the way through to 1966.

The Oak Barrel has long been a lover of Glenfarclas whiskies – you may remember we bottled our own exclusive release a few years back – and our businesses are similar in more ways than one. Both have very proud histories (the Grant family bought Glenfarclas in 1865, The Oak Barrel was founded in 1959) and remain fiercely independent and family owned.

Most importantly, whenever we celebrate Glenfarclas in our Cellar Room we tend to have a lot of fun together. (Anyone remember last year’s marathon masterclass?)

Ian McWilliam has long been an integral part of the Glenfarclas, having started with the family business in 1991 (he’s been there over 26 years). McWilliam grew up in the region near the distillery and he joined their team shortly after finishing school as Assistant Head Warehouseman.

McWilliam spent 14 years on the production floor, helping craft the whiskies that are being bottled today, before he moved into the sales side of the business. His intimate knowledge and experience with Glenfarclas makes him one of the most highly regarded, and entertaining, whisky presenters in all of Scotland.

With McWilliam bringing across a couple of bottles from their legendary Family Cask, single cask series, The Oak Barrel will also be digging into the archives to present a 1977 vintage and the stunning 1966 Fino Cask. The latter was matured in oak which previously held the exclusive Fino strain of sherry and the bottle is worth around $2,500 in itself.

This evening of guiltily good whisky is part of the Sydney Whisky Fair Masterclass series, which allows us to host some truly awesome nights of whisky in the lead up to this year’s Sydney Whisky Fair.

We’ll be trying:

Glenfarclas 21-Year-Old
Glenfarclas £511.19s.0d Family Reserve
Glenfarclas 1987 Family Cask
Glenfarclas 1978 Family Cask
Glenfarclas 1977 Family Cask
Glenfarclas 1966 Fino Cask

WHAT: Glenfarclas Whisky Masterclass With Ian McWilliam
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Wednesday 19 July, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $75 / Non-Members $85
TICKETS: SOLD OUT

Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking. Whiskies subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances.


Posted: 21/06/2017
Oak Barrel Cocktail Club: Make At Home With Aussie Tipple

Unfortunately this event has been postponed due to illness. We we announce a new date soon.

The Oak Barrel’s Cocktail Club is proud to return with its first sitting in 2017 – ‘A Cheater’s Guide On How To Make Cocktails At Home With Aussie Tipple’.

A sit-down evening of good booze, education and a few laughs for good measure, we’ll drinking (and learning how to make) some of the easiest, tastiest cocktails for home.

If you love a good cocktail but shy away from making them at home (lack of time, equipment, skillz etc.) then this is for you.

Enter the Aussie Tipple Co.

Launched on the market in late 2016, Aussie Tipple provide bottled cocktails made with premium Australian spirits. These aren’t supermarket drinks, these are serious, top-restaurant grade cocktails made with hand-picked ingredients.’

Aussie Tipple's Kathleen Davies will be on hand to shake up cocktails and talk about the Aussie products inside each drink.

On the night we’ll be indulging in the following classic drinks, all with an Aussie twist:

Dry Martini (a dry style with Stone Pine gin’s fabulous citrus notes pushing through)
Negroni (classic and refreshing, with plenty going on at over 30%)
Rum Old Fashioned (a different take on an old fashioned, but Black Gate’s rum is a star here)
Espresso Martini (seriously creamy and tasty using a coffee liqueur from Tasmania’s Belgrove distillery)

The Oak Barrel’s Cocktail Club started accidentally in 2016 during a fantastic tasting in our Cellar Room to launch a new gin. It exists to host cocktail nights at The Oak Barrel to showcase Australian craft spirits in classic or new world cocktails.

Unfortunately this event has been postponed due to illness. We we announce a new date soon.

Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking. Whiskies subject to change without notice due to unforeseen cincumstances.


Posted: 02/06/2017