An intimate meeting with the Appreciation Society
Hidden away in the back of the Kirketon Hotel in Darlinghurst, is where you’ll find one of Australia’s best cocktail bars. There’s no signage but any discerning Sydney bon vivant would have discovered Eau De Vie at some stage. Having opened its doors in 2010, Eau De Vie quickly rose to become one of Sydney’s most beloved bars. And since then, owner Sven Almenning has opened Eau De Vie in Melbourne. Both have won a number of national and international awards. They’re also known for hosting unique cocktail events including the latest initiative from Eau De Vie Melbourne co-owner, Greg Sanderson – The Eau De Vie Appreciation Society.
This special monthly event focuses on a different, cherished spirit each time. Hosted in an intimate setting, the sessions are held in Eau De Vie Sydney’s Whisky Room. The Appreciation Society aims to further educate Sydneysiders about the art of spirits and food pairing and beyond.
It’s for anyone who has a passion for the finer things in life (hello, that’s us). So we were very excited to receive an invitation to their first event last week. The spirit in focus- Japanese whisky!
Making our way through the venue we notice that the dark walls of this 1920’s speakeasy inspired bar are adorned with locked glass cabinets, filled with rare and treasured bottles from all over the world. The dimmed lighting flares over the dark leather sofas and low wooden tables are set with whisky flights and charcuterie.
We’re welcomed with a classic whisky highball and greeted by Almenning and Eau De Vie’s head of Whisky, Geoff Fewell. Being a well-renowned influencer in hospitality, Almenning is not shy in front of a crowd. The man behind The Speakeasy Group (Eau De Vie Sydney & Melbourne, The Roosevelt, Boilermaker House and Mjolnir) is always dressed to impress. On this occasion he’s wearing a Miami Vice style ensemble complete with white pants, a pink shirt, tailored blue jacket and a fedora. This Norwegian native keeps us engaged as he takes us through his journey through a world of whisky.
Fewell too exudes passion for the spirit as he talks us through tasting notes and a quick history of the whiskies in front of us. We start off with Ichiro’s Malt (Malt & Grain, Multi Region, 46%), a typical Japanese blend. Described as a light drinking whisky, Ichiro has a prominent tone of toffee on the palate, with notes of barley and malt.
In order to truly experience all of the notes, Almenning suggests that we dilute our whisky with a drop or two of distilled water, in order to avoid a numbing of the palate. Curiously tasting our way onwards to the Yamazaki 12yo (Osaka, 43%), this leading Japanese Whisky has a delicate finish.
As Fewell moves through the whisky samples, the soft noise of indistinctive chatter from Eau De Vie’s main bar makes is way through the walls. Suggesting a busy clientele, Eau De Vie has managed to attract a loyal following of cocktail and whisky lovers.
Tuning back into the session, Fewell leads us through more whisky including Nikka from the barrel and the White Oak Akashi.
We finish with a 15yo Yoichi from Osaka (45%). The powerful opening scents of caramel fudge and light vanilla malt hits the nose. This delicious and creamy malt is more than a perfect way to end the tasting session. With a finish that’s long and beautifully bittersweet, Yoichi also retails for $600 a bottle!
If you are considering joining the Appreciation Society, please do. The sessions will run towards the end of each month with dates released closer to the date. Pricing of the tickets varies between $65 to $85 and can be purchased on Eau De Vie’s Facebook page and the Eau De Vie website.
Below are the upcoming Appreciation Society sessions
- March – Love Thy Peat Monster with peated whiskies
- April – King of Cocktails: A Tale of the Martini
- May – Around The World in 8 Cocktails
- June – Ride the Green Fairy: Absinthe Debunked
- July – Chocolate & Whisky: A Match Made in Heaven
- August – A Taste of Australian Whisky
- September – Drink Like a Pirate The Eau- de- Vie Way
- October – Disco Drinks Reimagined The Eau- de- Vie Way
- November – Champagne, Caviar & Cheese: À La Française
Here is the full list of whiskies we tried at the February Japanese Whisky session.
- Ichiro’s Malt, Malt & Grain Multi Region, 46%
- Yamazaki 12yo, Osaka, 43%
- Shinsu Mars, Iwai Tradition Wine Cask, Kagoshima, 40%
- Nikka from the barrel, Multi Region, 51.4%
- White Oak Akashi, Hyogo, 46%
- Yoichi 15yo, Osaka, 45%
For Eau De Vie’s full whisky list click here.
Eau De Vie
229 Darlinghurst Rd, Sydney NSW 2010
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 6.00pm – 1.00am, Sunday: 6.00pm – 12.00am