At the moment, the Australian whisky scene is transforming. We've seen whisky-focused bars open across Sydney offering an impressive array of single malts, we're curious about local distilleries, and the demand for the amber liquid is higher than ever.
Hosted by the Oak Barrel, this year's Whisky Fair, now in its fourth year, takes the serious whisky drinker further with a carefully curated – yet vast – selection of over 150 single malts. In selecting the bespoke, the unusual, the rare and the independent bottlers, Oak Barrel spirits buyer and educator Dave Withers has us thinking about the past, present and future of whisky in Australia. While many of us started out with Scottish whiskies, it looks like innovative micro-distilleries and unusual drops from craft distillers around the world are the shape of things to come. However whether you wish to try the whisky that has been matured to dubstep is up to you.[fold]
Local distilleries have seemed a little elusive until now, as the practice has only returned on a wider scale in the last 20 years or so. It's certainly a welcome revival and the fair presents must-try whiskies from Melbourne, Western Australia and Tasmania. One drop that aligns with an ethos of local and sustainable produce is Tasmania's Belgrove aged rye. Premiering at the Whisky Fair, producer Peter Bignell built the still by hand, uses rye grown on his own farm and powers the distillation process using biofuel. You can also try an Australian whisky poured straight from the cask and others made from heirloom grain varieties.
This is familiar terrain for the Oak Barrel. The long-standing independent store prides itself on its selection of over 350 whiskies with a focus on independent bottlers and rare whiskies. Its specialist, trend-setting approach has earned two nominations by Whisky Magazine for the Icons of Whisky award.
The Sydney Whisky Fair will take place on Friday September 6 and Saturday September 7 at The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Thanks to The Oak Barrel, we have one double pass to give away, email firstname.lastname@example.org with Whisky in the subject line to win.