Whisky Magazine Issue 96
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Whisky is like Coca Cola in this city. Then there is always plenty in reach. But if you are looking for more intriguing, hard to find whiskies, then put Chris Middleton's guide in your pocket and head out to discover Sydney's most exciting whisky destinations
First of all, a few words of warning. For a city and country whose preferred spirit is whisky, Australia is strangely not awash with thousands of rare and small whisky labels. Even Australian malts from the southern States are still hard to find in Sydney. Australians are pragmatic people and want value. Moreover, they want a bargain. Insanely priced imported whiskies don't get much of a look in other than as objects of more money than sense. So the whiskies tend to skew heavily towards popular and mainstream brands. For whisky dogs seeking unusual, interesting and idiosyncratic whiskies from indie distilleries and limited edition expressions from the large distilling companies in America, Scotland, Japan and elsewhere, there are plenty to choose from.
Some of these bars are manned by pretty adventurous whisky hunters too. They live for whisky. They don't preach. They just want to share their discoveries with you. These Indiana Joneses of whisky make special safaris to into the interior of America and the wilderness of Scotland to bring back a few rare beauties.
When they hear a friend is off to San Francisco they badger them to pick Old Potrero rye; in when Texas ‘get me Garrison's bourbon', or skiing in Colorado ‘drop by Stranahan's will ya'. There is a good selection of American whiskies down here as Bourbon is Australia's favourite whisky. In fact we drink twice the per capita of bourbon than Americans. When it comes to great whisky, geography is not the main criter...