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What's Happening Now: Try Some Free Whisky at the Sydney Whisky Week!

While many a malt maniac like myself look on with envy at people in Europe who are able to attend the Coachella of the whisky-verse, we often forget there are some equally vibrant events happening in our part of the world. 



You may not have heard of it, but Down Under, we actually have the Sydney Whisky Week - a one-week-plus festival founded in 2021 to create the "ultimate playground" for whisky lovers. The festival is a celebration of Sydney's best whisky bars and global whisky brands and provides you an immersive celebration of the malt (grain and sometimes corn) spirit we all love.

This year, Sydney Whisky Week starts on Friday the 13th May 2022 and runs up until Saturday the 21st May 2022. The festival brings you free whisky samples on offer at participating bars, special whisky-paired dinners, tasting sessions as well as "meet-the-distiller" events! There's supposed to be enough whiskies to excite you whether you're a beginner of malt maniac.



Score Free Whisky

Let's not kid ourselves - nobody can say no to free whisky. Provided that you download the Sydney Whisky Week's official smartphone app (details below), you'll get to collect free pours of whiskies from the six major sponsor brands on board: Bushmills, Ledaig, Hellyers Road, Manly Spirits, Shinobu and Westward Whiskey. 

So which bottles are available?


Bushmills 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey 


One of the most well-known brands here is Bushmills, which would be offering a free pour of the Bushmills 10-year-old single malt whiskey. This is triple-distilled, giving it approachable notes of elegant honey and vanilla- incredibly easy to drink. Quite a perfect introduction to the world of single malts for beginners.


Ledaig Sinclair Series Rioja Cask Finish


From Tobermory Distillery in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, comes the Ledaig Single Malt (pronounced "le-chig"). While the distillery does produce unpeated whisky under the Tobermory label, the Ledaig is a moderately peated variant from the distillery.

Tobermory is offering a free sample of the Ledaig Sinclair Series Rioja Cask Finish Single Malt. Rioja red wines are full-bodied and well-balanced wines from Spain. The Sinclair comes with a delightful red glow and marries aromatic peat smoke from the spirit with ripe and sweet red fruits. Just enough heat and mild spice for a chilly Australian night!  


Hellyers Road 12 Years Old Original 


Any Australian whisky fan worth their salt would probably list Hellyers Road amongst one of the most respectable Australian single malts. Their expressions runs a whole gamut of styles, from the rich and sweet to the fresh, floral and light-bodied. 

Hellyers Road is offering a dram of its 12 Years Old Original Single Malt, which was aged in American oak. Oily texture with notes of sweet vanilla, caramel and light lemon, ends of with a finish of burnt toast and toasted coconut flakes. 


Manly Spirits Coastal Stone Shiraz Cask Australian Single Malt


"Manly" in Manly Spirits doesn't imply that only men are suited to drink the spirits made by this company.

According to the Historical Records of New South Wales, in 1788, Navy Captain Arthur Phillip landed on a cove in what is today Sydney. He wrote of the Australian indigenous people living in this area: "Their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place". 

And just like that, with a stroke of pen and wave of colonial inspiration, this cove became known as the Manly Cove, in the Manly suburb of Sydney. It seems that the early Brits get to name everything!

Manly Spirits Distillery, opened in just 2017, operates out of the same Manly suburb in Sydney. It produces both gin and whisky. 

They would be offering a special edition expression called the Coastal Stone Shiraz Cask Single Malt which pours out bright red as it had been matured in ex-Barossa Valley Shiraz while placed on Sydney's Northern Beaches. This expression is sweet, delicate and subtly spicy, with a counterbalance of mild maritime brininess. Certainly an unusual sounding one I'd like to try!


Shinobu 10 Years Old Blended Pure Malt Mizunara Finish


Shinobu Distillery hails from Niigata, Japan, a place known for its "three white treasures": snow, rice and sake. The distillery's founder, Ken Usami, has been running a craft beer brewery called Niigata Beer for two decades. 

Do note that this expression was not actually distilled by Shinobu Distillery. Shinobu Distillery is currently still under construction and is only expected to begin distilling by first quarter 2022, Ken Usami was already itching to blend some stuff. He therefore created a line of world whisky blends that have been matured in Japanese Mizunara oak to add a touch of Japanese flavour. The Shinobu 10 Years Old Blended Pure Malt Mizunara Finish is one such bottle.


Westward Oregon Stout Cask Single Malt Whiskey


Topping off this globe-trotting list is Westward Whiskey which is made in Portland, Oregon - the West coast of the United States. Westward Distillery is developing a unique style of American Single Malt as they age single malt spirit with virgin American oak casks - the same way one would make bourbon. How should an American single malt taste like? Westward thinks it has the answer.

Westward is offering free samples of its Stout cask-finished single malt, which began maturation in virgin oak before being transferred to a seasoned Stout cask and aged for one year. 


How to collect my free whiskies? 

To score your free whiskies, simply (1) download The Whisky List from Google Play or App Store. Then, (2) tap "Sydney Whisky Week" on the first page and then "Bars". (3) Get to a participating venue and show the bar staff that you have checked-in for that bar!



Download the app here.


Participating Venues (Where you can claim your free whisky!)

At present, the participating venues include:

  • Archie Rose
  • Banchō
  • Highlander Bar
  • Jolene’s Sydney
  • Kittyhawk
  • NOLA
  • The Doss House
  • The Roosevelt
  • Webster’s Bar

Check https://sydneywhiskyweek.com.au/ for any updates on new venues.


The Whisky Show Finale 


The highlight and finale of Sydney Whisky Week is a mega whisky-tasting event known as The Whisky Show to be held on 20th to 21st May 2022, where over 40 whisky brands and 100 different whiskies would be flown in from Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Japan and the US. 

The Whisky Show has been running for over a decade, and promises to share with people new, interesting and exceptional whiskies.



Sydney Whisky Week (Event Details)

Ticketing Website: https://sydneywhiskyweek.com.au/

App Download: https://wsky.me/app

Dates: Friday 13 May 2022 – Saturday 21 May 2022

FB: @sydneywhiskyweek

Email enquiries: sydneywhiskyweek@thewhiskylist.com.au