First published on 28 May 2013. Updated on 21 Jun 2013.
It’s all whisky, all the time at Whisky and Alement. From stocking 450 plus whiskies to running classes on the the amber fluid, they’ve got all bases covered when it comes to whisky appreciation.
Julian White and Brooke Hayman are the co-owners of the re-branded Whisky and Alement (formerly Chez Regine). They’re so passionate about whisky they hold non-stop weekly and monthly whisky-tasting sessions. Blind tastings every Saturday see whiskies from all over the world do battle. (Guess what? Not everyone always goes for the 18-year-old Scotch.)
The Single Malt Club, or SMC, has been running monthly for the past few years. The night involves international and local whisky distillers showcasing their wares. Local whisky distillers? You betcha – Australia is home to 12 single malt distilleries, and W + A has had 11 of ‘em visit the bar. (And that’s only because the twelfth hasn’t actually started producing whisky yet.)
Whisky and Alement gets in big names – Chivas is one – but "we very strongly oppose being dominated by particular brand,” says White. That’s why they focus on inviting in a variety of distillers. The SMC in May featured the newest Australian whisky on the market, Starward, from Essendon. Founder David Vitale brought along five whiskies – from what’s on the shelves to a not-ready-to-be-released-yet concoction that needs another year or two in barrels before it’s released. (Talk about an advanced tasting!) Learn about colour, flavour, and smell as you taste the whiskies. There’s even a take-home paper for you to jot down notes, featuring the Whisky Tasting Wheel diagram. Suggestions for tasting notes range from ‘peaty’ and ‘toasted’ to ‘cabbage water’.
There aren’t any cabbage water-tasting whiskies at W & A, though. Says White, “You’ve got to prove yourself. If we think it’s crap we won’t have it here.” So if you want to learn about only the good whiskies, get yourself into one of Whisky and Alement’s classes for a wee dram or two.
Single Malt Club, last Mon of the month, 6-8pm. $40.
Introduction to Whisky class, Sat, 3pm or 5pm. $50.
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