Whether you have it on the rocks, sour or mixed with Coke, whisky is a spirit that we Aussies love to drink. So much so that our go-to alcohol store Dan Murphy’s, stocks over 650 local and international varieties.
While it might be difficult to sample 650 different blends, the annual Whisky Showcase event – held this year at the Fox Car Museum in Docklands – showcased 40 of the finest whiskies from across the world, as well as some from our own backyard.
Scotland might be the home of whisky but it was The Hakushu, 18 year old, single malt, hailing from Japan, that stole the spotlight. There were queues of guests lining up to cash in a special token to claim their sample of the $598 bottle and it was worth the wait.
With only four distilleries in Japan brewing The Hakushu, its rarity, plus the barrel time are the largest contributing factors to its price.
Whisky Lesson #1: the longer whisky sits in a barrel to mature, the higher the amount of “angels’ share,” which is the term for the amount of alcohol, which evaporates.
2% loss per year is the average so given that The Hakushu is aged for a minimum of 18 years, the angels’ share is quite high. This process however, also contributes to the overall maturation and smoothness of the spirit.
After sampling even just a small sip, even someone with little whisky drinking experience like myself, could tell this was a premium blend.
Spirits Product Expert from Dan Murphy’s Prahran, Daniel, shared some guidance about how to get the most out of any whisky.
“If you want to get the most aromatic flavour profile out of every whisky you drink, adding water is essential!”
Whisky Lesson #2: the flavours infused into whisky are contained in oils within the spirit. By adding water to whisky, you’re allowing those oils to secrete and the flavours to become more pronounced.
Daniel says the general rule of thumb, although this does differ according to personal preference, is a water to whisky ratio of 1:3.
Moving onto two of Scotland’s finest, Longmorn’s and Aultmore’s single malt, scotch whiskies both tasted far more complex than any we’d previously sampled, thanks to Daniel’s advice.
The main American representative was Mitcher’s Bourbon, distilled in Kentucky. The suppliers said it’s only been recently, in the past five or so years, that American whisky has really boomed.
The bourbon has a rich, caramel flavour with notes of oaky vanilla and subtle spices. The reason it has such identifiable flavours is in part, due to it having less water, to provide a fuller, bolder, round-mouth feel.
The premium quality of all the whiskies on offer, felt even more luxurious, thanks to our surroundings.
The Fox Car Museum is home to the private collection of Lindsay Fox. The walls of the venue are lined with Mercedes, Ferrari, Bentley and other cars that look like they’re just begging to be raced around the Albert Park track.
Ferrari race cars effortlessly impressed guests but so too did the vintage, 1950’s era Bentley’s.
For whisky and car connoisseurs, this was an event not to be missed. But the rich history and complexities of such a versatile spirit are something that even someone who only enjoys the occasional whisky and Coke, would definitely enjoy!
Want to know about more Melbourne food events? Follow Juliana on Instagram @juliimare.