Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brisbane Partner Bar - SMWS at the Gresham

On the 13th August 2016, my whisky-loving sister and I were lucky enough to be invited to the latest Scotch Malt Whisky Society launch at Brisbane’s The Gresham. This is a heritage listed bar, and I can’t think of a more suitable venue for whisky lovers. Upon arrival we were ushered to the back room, its cedar walls surrounding old leather club chairs and Chestermans. Two whiskies awaited each of us for nosing and tasting, with Matt and Stuart there to take us through the whiskies and the Society.

Being a novice at nosing whisky, I asked Matt Bailey, Scotch Malt Whisky Society National Brand Ambassador for a couple of tips. Besides taking one’s time, Matt recommended keeping the mouth open to aid the nosing process. Watering a little (if we must) can also help release different flavours of these cask strength whiskies, all of which led to a rousing aroma of leather and tobacco with whisky number 1. This was an 8yo Speyside whisky from Strathisla Distillery (58.16), which we toyed with for a few minutes. Whisky number 2 was from Isle of Arran Distillery (121.87), and a dash of water released smooth butterscotch and vanilla tones, making for repeated tasting just to be sure.

After the tasting, we headed back out to the main bar, with huge ceilings and original fixings reflecting its origin as an extravagantly-designed 1881 bank. With 16 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles on offer (at the time of launch), we are spoilt for choice. We moved to a Bourbon from Rock Town Distillery (B3.3), with the SMWS label noting “treacle buns in a sawmill”. A richly-coloured and smooth bourbon, I’ll definitely be back to indulge in this gem. Finishing with a light Highland whisky from Clynelish Distillery (26.115)—which was our pick of the day—we were left with that warm feeling that only a good whisky experience in a handsome bar can provide.

Get in the Gresham!