Sometimes it’s easy to say something has been a long time coming, but in the case of Bar White Oak, it really is a labour of love and ultimately realisation of a dream come true. Bar White Oak is officially Australia’s biggest Japanese whisky collection set up as a bar-in-bar ‘consumable exhibition’ inside our Partner Bar Whisky & Alement, Melbourne. Curated by Kelvin Low, Brooke Hayman and Julian White for Society members and the discerning patrons of Whisky & Alement, this unique pop-up is a mouth-watering adventure into most of the truly great Japanese whiskies from yesteryear and today.
For those who have had the opportunity to explore the myriad of tiny boutique bars in Japan will know exactly what the goal in look and feel for Bar White Oak is. The bartending space which accommodates just one person serving, or already affectionately known as the ‘phone box’ part of the bar, is the epicentre of what it’s all about. Kelvin Low last night manned the bar with members enthusiastically having first dibs at opening bottles, including some now truly mythical Society casks from the likes of Karuizawa, Hanyu, Chita, Hakushu and Yamazaki.
On Sunday 15th May 2016 the SMWS hosted the very first opening of bottles at the bar in our exclusive member’s Preview Experience which doubled as a soft launch for the consumable exhibition. Suffice to say, the mere mention of Society single casks from Japan along with 130+ other malts on offer meant that tickets vanished in record time. We started the afternoon with a bit of an introduction to Bar White Oak, what the Society has been up to, and then poured a rare Ichiro release and a now very rare SMWS 124.4 ‘Full of secret pleasures’. The Ichiro was a blended cask strength release from Kanda Festival Japan, which never went on sale (don’t ask me how I got one) that I saved up to open with our members, followed by the dearly-departed SMWS 124.4 which is a 1st fill sherry butt Miyagikyo 17 year old single cask. Sublime.
Society members get $5 off all Society single casks at Bar White Oak until sold out, and I really encourage every member to get down to Whisky & Alement in the next few weeks to get some incredible drams in your glass at one of our premier whisky bars in Australia.
Whisky & Alement is open 7 days a week. http://www.whiskyandale.com.au/
Matt Bailey, National Ambassador.