Bringing you guys something a little different today…. a whisky bar review! I had been coming to Whisky & Alement for a number of years now, even back to when they were called ‘Chez Regine’. Whisky & Alement have really expanded their whisky range throughout the years, and have always been one of the go to places in Melbourne for one’s malt addiction.
It’s an intimate affair inside Whisky & Alement. It’s a small space with close and limited seating. The chances of getting a seat is higher if you come in a small group, be prepared to wait or get relegated to the smokers area if you come with a bigger group. I’ve made this mistake before, and this made me feel quite claustrophobic. Luckily on this particular occasion, it was just myself and Helen so we were able to get a spot at the bar straight away.
Their whisky range here is massive, and can be very overwhelming. Most whisky drinkers will have a country and region which they prefer, and their menu does cater for this in order to make your selection easier. Anyone that’s new to the game can ask the bartender to recommend a single malt and they’ll be more than happy to pass on their recommendations. I’ve been drinking scotch whisky for over 6 years but I still consider myself a beginner, I have a certain flavour profile which I love and stick to. I prefer peat monsters from Islay, Scotland.
Peat is not to be mistaken with smokey. I would describe the flavour of peat as more of an earthy, soil, decaying vegetation taste. Smokey is like what you’d smell/taste from a burning campfire. Doesn’t sound very appetising does it? Well I can tell you the peaty flavour profile is highly addictive, ever since Helen had started appreciating peaty whiskies, my collection at home has vanished!
On this particular occasion, the drink of choice was Bowmore 15 and Ardbeg Corryvreckan. The dark green Ardbeg bottle always gets me excited, it sends out a message ‘don’t mess with me’, but you gotta live life dangerously sometimes! True to it’s word, when I nosed the Ardbeg, it smacked me in the face! The 57.1% alcohol content is no joke, certainly not for the faint-hearted. I had to put a few drops of water in to tone the beast down, only then was I rewarded. The taste of peat was prominent, along with hints of salt, smoke, and pepper. As good as it was, I personally preferred the Ardbeg Uigeadail, one of my favourite whiskeys of all time. We both didn’t enjoy the Bowmore 15 at all, it was pleasant enough on entry but then it hits you with a strong smokey bitter aftertaste. You win some, you lose some, that’s the beauty of trying whisky at a place like Whisky & Alement, it saves you money from buying a whole bottle!
Overall it was a peaceful Sunday afternoon… you guys may gasp at us for drinking at this time of day, but we would rarely have more than one shot each when we’re at a whisky bar. We drink it really slowly and appreciate every sip, because the intention is not to get drunk, but to enjoy the moment so to speak. The bartenders here are professional as always, they will not bother you if you don’t want to be bothered, but they’ll always welcome whisky talk if you wish to head down that path. I will finish up with a word of caution: the alcohol content is really high in whisky, so make sure you find appropriate transport home if you choose to have more than one shot. Happy whisking!
Whisky & Alement
Approx $20 AUD per person
Address: 270 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9654 1284