The explosion of small bars in recent years has fired up a boom in whisky drinking, with the palates of connoisseurs getting indulged with a broad, international range of top tipples. The 1867 Lounge embraces a high-end mix of well-aged spirits from all over the world.
American ryes, the spicy cousin of bourbons, are still up there, with production having grown by a whopping 800 per cent over the past decade, according to the US’s Distilled Spirits Council. Brands such as Bulleit Rye, with its smooth tones of maple and oak, are the perfect base for a Birdcage (Bulleit rye whiskey, bitters, ginger beer, lemon, $16).
Japanese whisky, has been taking on Scotch at its own game for some time, and continues its rise with offerings such as the effortlessly smooth Hibiki 12 year old blended whisky ($20), which is matured in plum liquor casks and is Suntory’s highest-class blend. Or try the top-rated, character-laden Nikka ‘From the Barrel’ ($14), from the distillery founded by Masataka Taketsuru, an inquisitive sake maker who travelled to Scotland in 1918 to learn the craft and returned to Japan as its first master blender.
Other trends to watch out for include the continuing drift away from traditional styles and towards an increasing demand for premium blends, and more complex, craft-style flavours and specialty cask finishes.