by Suzan Ryan: editor – bars&clubs magazine
Sydney’s multiple award-winning whisky bar The Baxter Inn is set to open a new barrel and tasting room downstairs at its Clarence Street venue.
Not content to offer one of the country’s most diverse and comprehensive whisky collections, The Baxter Inn general manager Lewis Jaffrey says the new tasting room will offer guests a relaxed yet unique whisky experience by providing access to the spirit as it matures on site.
“Initially we visualised the downstairs space as a wine cellar [but] about seven or eight months ago we decided to think about using the space for something else,” says Jaffrey.
“Barry Chalmers, part of our executive whisky team, suggested we use it to showcase original and rare whiskies – not just sell rare whiskies but also to create a tactile experience where our customers can taste, smell, touch and see the whiskies as they go through the aging process.
“We had barrels custom made by coopers in South Australia and Queensland using Australian coopered ex-American Oak.
“Each of the barrels will give something different to the whisky – using wood from port, sherry and bourbon. We will also have a small still on site. There will be whisky on show at different stages – we will have both new-make and aged, which is still a pretty aggressive drop at 65 per cent.”
Jaffrey says the new tasting room will be a comfortable and relaxed private area with a lived-in feel.
“Décor elements may include bits of charred barrel wood, barley, hand-blown decanters and crystal glassware.”
The barrel room will fit a maximum of four guests and feature a dedicated bartender who can tailor the tasting experience to suit guests’ requirements. Jaffrey says the room will be ideal for guests who want to celebrate a birthday or special occasion, or learn more about whisky via a bespoke experience.
The whisky tasting room is set to open before year’s end.