Since Julian White and his business partner Brooke Hayman opened Whisky & Alement in 2010, they’ve amassed a considerable collection of whisky.
“We’ve been over to special distilleries in Scotland, in Japan. We’ve visited collectors in Italy and bought bottles directly out of their collections,” says White. “I’ve also attended auctions in the UK and brought the bottle back to Australia.”
In December, White and Hayman will offer public access – for the first time – to their rare-whisky cellar filled with singular, very valuable bottles from around the world. Those who score an appointment will be able to taste and purchase drops from Japan, Scotland and elsewhere.
One such bottle is a limited-edition collaboration between Japan’s Ichiro’s Malt and Kusuda Wine, which was aged in ex-pinot noir casks giving the whisky “some real muscovado and poached pear flavours”, White says.
A so-called batch six Aberlour A’bunadh is another highlight.
“Batch number one to five didn’t actually have a number put on them,” White explains of this whisky from north-east Scotland’s single-malt distillery belt. “So essentially this is the first numbered Aberlour A’bunadh. And even though … Dan Murphy’s … would have a bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh, we have the first numbered batch, which is pretty special.”
As for the most rare and difficult to find, White thinks it might be a bottle of 11-year-old Port Ellen whisky.
“Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983, so this one was bottled in, I think, 1993,” he says. “The fact that it’s still around after all that time is pretty amazing, so its become extremely sought after.”
Prices will range from $80 up to $3000 and more.
Whisky & Alement’s cellar can be accessed by appointment only from December 1 to 22. Appointments can be made by calling the bar directly on (03) 9654 1284 or emailing Julian White at Julian@whiskyandale.com.au.
For Melbourne’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.