Thursday, April 9, 2009

Search for a decent drop?

Like all connoisseurs who aren’t fortunate enough to reside in the British Isles or the great Scottish land itself, I am always on the lookout for new retail outlets selling a different or unique selection of Scottish whisky. Two places in particular I recently visited are definitely worthy of mention on the blog.

At first glance the Oak Barrel [152 Elizabeth St, Sydney] would seem like a shop established at a time when the Lord Nelson had not yet opened its doors. Its old, stone exterior is reminiscent of somewhere in the Rocks rather than tucked away at the southern end of Elizabeth Street near China Town. Inside is expansive and the floor seems to reach far into the depths of the building in which it is lodged. Specialising mainly in fine wines, this obviously takes up most of the floor space. However it’s whisky choice is far from underweight. It was wonderful to see some real premium styles of which I have never witnessed the like, in Sydney before. The Edradour 'Straight From The Cask,' for example, is a small square, squat looking bottle, housed in a jagged wooden box straight out of the 1700’s. I’ve never laid on eyes anything like this before. It was beautiful! The cost of 700 bucks (from memory) was a mere triviality, I was ready to pay. Also a Bunnahabhain 1966 and a Bunnahabhain 1970, priced around 550 and 900 bucks respectively, also had the cogs turning in the back of my mind. Bowmore featured along with an expensive Japanese malt of which I can’t remember the name. All in all it was a real treat to visit and I highly recommend it should you be in the vicinity. The photo below also features my trusty whisky sidekick.
A light stroll across a couple of streets to Pitt and you find yourself in a much more modern establishment which goes by the name of Red Bottle [381 Pitt St, Sydney]. Fitting in perfectly with the neon lights of surrounding shop, this hip, chic outlet has plastered it’s shop front with beautiful pictures of single malts. I knew I was in for something special. On entry, it was the ceiling to floor glass cabinet of premium, oh yes premium, whiskies which took my breath away. The main eye candy (for me) is the bottom shelf containing a complete selection of all current Ardbeg releases. These include the 10 yr old, Uigeadial, Airigh Nam Beist plus the magnificent Lord of the Isles – ah I was in heaven. However, don’t be put off non peat eaters…there was a very fine Highland Park 25 yr old on special for a mere 200 bucks (D.T.W.C. funds may not be far off this one). This shop also had the largest range of Macallan 18’s I have seen in this country. The cabinet was filled with plenty of other premium versions of well known names including Tamdhu, Glenfarclas, Glenmorangie. Well worth the visit.
So if you’re looking for a new whisky outlet, which has a unique selection of whiskies to choose from, I highly recommend getting along to one of these great places.

Hope this helps in the endless search for a decent drop.

El Capitan,