Blind Whisky Tasting With SMWS: Training For The Champs! [In-Store & Virtual!] (Thu 3 Jun)

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Back after we had so much fun last year, The Oak Barrel is teaming up with our friends at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for another evening of blind tastings!

To be held both in our tasting room and virtually around Australia, whisky lovers will receive a pack containing six 15ml samples of whisky. You’ll know the ABV – but that’s it! 

We’ll then taste through the whiskies together, with SMWS's Australian Brand Ambassador Matt Bailey, picking them apart without preconceptions that come with distillery names and labels, but on flavour and texture alone. 

You can see how it went down last year, when we held a similar evening as part of the Sydney Whisky Forum

This tasting is being held – in part – to celebrate the return of (and provide training ahead of) the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship or “The Champs”, which is promoted by SMWS. Held in its current form since 2008, the Champs are a biannual event where whisky lovers from all over Australia come to test their taste buds. 



Tasting a range of whiskies blind, the aim is to match the whiskies to drams from a list provided. 

Although there is a serious edge to the event (prizes are big and the prestige is high – Whisky & Alement’s Brooke Hayman is the current champion) it’s also one of the most enjoyable evenings on the whisky calendar. Given The Oak Barrel’s (lack of) achievements in recent iterations, it’s more the fun side of the event that we approach…

Having to take 2020 off due to restrictions, The Champs will be back again in 2021 – Saturday 24 July, with The Oak Barrel returning as a proud sponsor once again.

You can stay up to date with The Champs here.

This event will be run in-store, with a capacity of 20 people, and online - with 15ml samples sent out across Australia. Please select which option you would like, as these are not transferable. That is, if you select the online option the samples will be sent to you and you will not be able to join us in the room due to capacity constraints.  

For those participating online, links to watch and join the event will be sent out the morning of the event - so they're top of your inbox!

We will stream through Facebook and YouTube as well as Please note, to ask questions during the event you will need to be on the Facebook or YouTube platforms.

What We’ll Be Trying:

Secret Whisky #1
Secret Whisky #2
Secret Whisky #3
Secret Whisky #4
Secret Whisky #5
Secret Whisky #6

They might be SMWS single casks, they might be official bottlings, they'll all be premium, delicious whisky. 


WHAT: Blind Whisky Tasting With SMWS & The Champs!
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney, 2000 or Your House
WHEN: Thursday 3 June, doors open 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start. Live on Facebook, YouTube and from 6.30pm
TYPE: In-person and virtual
PRICE: $50 for members, $60 for guests (free shipping for virtual packs)

For virtual tasting tickets with sample packs, please order by Monday 17 May to ensure we can ship them to you in time.


•To purchase a ticket please add this item to your cart and process at the checkout. Please note, for the in-store tasting there are no physical tickets - your name will be on the door.

•We offer one members-priced ticket per paid-up membership. Members will receive their discount once the ticket is added to the cart.

•If you are a member and add more than one ticket to your account, the remaining tickets will be charged at guest prices.

•Please advise any friends that are members that they will need to log into their own account to purchase members tickets.

•If you are buying a gift for someone else, please specific their name in Order Notes during the checkout process.

•Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable, so please make sure to check your dates before booking.


In 2021 The Oak Barrel will once again host a series of intimate, enjoyable and wide-ranging whisky tastings, but now they’ll be over a few different formats.

Our in-person tastings will return to our Cellar Room, which will now be capped to 20. This will not only ensure the safety of customers and staff, but also ensure that the events are as comfortable and as intimate as they can be.

These tastings will encompass a wide range of whisky themes, from the classic ‘Whisky Appreciation’ nights to nights based around specific countries, regions, styles, distilleries and bottlers. Hosted by in-house whisky educator Scott Fitzsimons, we’ll also welcome special guests from all around the country to present in front of you.

This does not mean the end of our successful virtual tastings, however. With international travel still uncertain, we’ll be calling upon international guests to join us in a virtual capacity. In these cases we’ll make up tasting kits, which can either be sent around Australia or picked up and enjoyed in store with us in front of the big screen.

We look forward to a big year of sharing great drams through 2021, the 65th anniversary of The Oak Barrel.

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