The whisky mavens at Melbourne bar, The Elysian Whisky Bar, have found a way of giving customers something they would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world, let alone at any other bar in the country: their own independent whisky bottling.
Co-owner Kelvin Low explains that their latest addition to the bar, which is a 51.8% alcohol, 19 year old whisky from the Glenrothes distillery and aged in a single oloroso sherry cask, came about as a collaboration between their bar and five others.
“We got involved in this project on our third day of trading,” says Low. “I have known the owner of The Drunken Master Bar, based in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, for quite some time now. We were just chatting one day, and I was asking to have some of his bottlings to have on our back bar. He then replied with this label, and with our bar name on it, and said that he would love for us to join in on this project. It was too good for me to say no.”
The cask gave up 190 bottles of the stuff, which was then shared amongst the six bars. It’s essentially an independent bottling, selected by Low and the other bars, which they’ve then labelled as their own.
“The bottler and the person that had the cask of whisky is The Whisky Agency, a company based in Germany,” Low says. “They have been around for a long time, and have bottled some pretty amazing liquid through the years. The Drunken Master Bar headed this project, tried samples, chose this barrel of whisky, and invited his friends, us, to join in with him. I would say it is not too hard to do something like this, but to get a good cask to bottle, that might be tricky. There are lots of bottlers around, but not all bottlers have great barrels. For any bars who want to do something like this, they have to be very selective.”
As far as the whisky itself goes, Low offers these notes:
“The nose has intense sherry notes, lots of raisins and dates, brown sugar, maple syrup and some savouriness. Palate is rich and juicy with the right balance of tannins, dark chocolate, medium sweetness, no sulphur notes, and a bit of honey. With the addition of water, all the lovely sweetness appears, with even more honey. The finish is long.”
We suggest you head into The Elysian Whisky Bar yourself to give it a go.