The 2021 Sydney Whisky Fair and Sydney Whisky Forum will take place from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 August, retaining its traditional place on the last weekend of August.

Sydney Whisky Fair, Australia’s favourite whisky festival, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019, before being scuppered by 2020’s uncertainty. In it’s place was the inaugural Sydney Whisky Forum, a series of virtual panels, discussions and tastings with guests from all over the world. The Forum culminated in two nights of tastings at Archie Rose, where we launched an exclusive single cask rye.

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This year the two events will run concurrently, providing both world class whisky tasting experiences and an information base for whisky lovers and industry featuring experts from all over the world.

Firm details of events, exclusives and the format of the 2021 edition will be revealed in the coming months, but for now: keep this week free.

Click Here for the Sydney Whisky Fair 2019 Gallery

Highlights from Sydney Whisky Forum 2020:


Well, hasn’t 2020 been a year.

From devastating bushfires to global pandemics, they’ve affected every aspect of our lives and their impact will be felt for a long time to come.

To get straight to the point and answer the plethora of requests we’ve received in the past two weeks, unfortunately the current state means that Sydney Whisky Fair 2020 will not take place in its usual time slot of the last week of August.

We will continue to monitor the situation towards the end of the year, but at this stage do not have a proposed date for a physical event of that scale to take place.

We will mark the Sydney Whisky Fair week of celebrations August 24-29 in a different manner, which will be announced soon.

There are a few reasons for this, with the safety of our customers, exhibitors and staff members the top one:

  • Preparations for Whisky Fair start the day after the previous one finishes and while we were planning big things for 2020 right up until the lockdown period, that three months pause has meant that we don’t feel 100 percent confident that we can deliver an event up to the standard of Australia’s favourite whisky festival.
  • We feel like that cut-off, point-of-no-return for preparations to have kicked back into gear was a couple of weeks ago and there is still no absolute stability on what the next weeks and months will look like. The recent second wave in Victoria is an example of that.
  • Interstate travel is still an unknown and even if all borders are open and flights operating, we don’t want to pressure our star exhibitors into travelling when they’re not comfortable. A big part of what makes Fair so special is the gathering of distillers from around Australia and the world and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
  • The situation around Australia and the world is continually evolving. We don’t feel 100 percent confident that measures for social distancing and overall capacity today or next week would still be suitable for the last week of August. We’d hate to find ourselves in a position of having to refund tickets and disappoint people for things that are potentially out of our control.

As disappointing as it is to not hold an 11th annual Sydney Whisky Fair – particularly after the joyous success of the 10th anniversary last year – we’ve still got some tricks up our sleeves.

In times of great disruption there is also opportunity and we’ve loved the various virtual tastings we’ve shared with you. We’re currently investigating some new ideas for events – physical, virtual and both – that we hope to be able to announce soon.

Physical in-store tastings will absolutely come back this year, and we expect that to happen on a small scale from August. We will be looking towards quality over quantity.

One thing is for sure, whatever we do it will be up to The Oak Barrel and Sydney Whisky Fair standard. Expert hosts, rare and unique whiskies, and rooms full of knowledge.

We will be marking the Whisky Fair Week – August 24-29 – in some respect, with details of that to come soon.

While we are working what the end of the year looks like, we’d also encourage you to consider visiting your local bar and taking a trip to one of the many excellent destinations in regional NSW.

As much as no Whisky Fair sucks for us, it has been a far tougher year for those who put food on our table and drinks in our glasses.

– Here’s to sharing the spirit with the OB Team soon.




The 2020 edition of the Sydney Whisky Fair will retain its traditional place on the calendar with the last Friday-Saturday of August falling this year on the 28th and 29th.

The event, which has evolved from a single day to a stand-alone to a week and month-long celebration of whisky, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019 and was the biggest yet. 39 tables featuring distilleries and importers from Australia and around the world showcased rare and unique drams for punters who came from all around Australia.

The eleventh edition will be our biggest yet.

whisky fair 2020 lifting spirits black
Not only will the Fair itself take place on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 August, but the now-famous Australian Distiller’s Dinner will once again take place on Fair eve, this year Thursday 27th. Our annual look at the Tasmanian scene, hosted in recent years by Heartwood’s Tim Duckett, is also locked in for Wednesday 26th.

This year will also see the addition of events on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th – details of those nights to be confirmed. There will also be a range of events under the ‘Whisky Fair Masterclasses’ banner throughout August.

Tickets to the Fair will go on sale in June. The event is run to a strict capacity to ensure we can showcase the very best in whisky, so the release of tickets will once again be staggered across a number of weeks – with pre-sale options given to members of The Oak Barrel, the promoter of the event. Exact ticket details will be provided in the coming months.

In 2019 the tagline for the event was “So Much Joy”, a celebration of the evolution of Whisky Fair but also the domestic whisky scene in a decade. Whisky is intended to be shared, to be enjoyed, to make moments special and unforgettable. This year the tagline will be “Lifting Spirits”, because that’s what we do with every dram.

More details and special announcements in the coming weeks and months, but for now save the dates and let the anticipation build. Less that 200 days to go now…

See the photos from the 2019 tenth anniversary here.


The Oak Barrel was established in Sydney in 1956 and is one of Australia’s oldest independent bottle shops. Promoters of Sydney Whisky Fair, The Oak Barrel has been awarded on multiple occasions at the Icons Of Whisky awards and was named overall Australian Bottle Store Of The Year at the Australian Liquor Awards in 2019, 2017 and 2016. 


Can’t wait until Whisky Fair, or want to re-live the fun? Join us at The Wild Rover.

The Oak Barrel and Sydney Whisky Fair are once again proud to share a dram with The Wild Rover as our official partner bar of this year’s event. A speakeasy-style whisky and cocktail bar just a couple of blocks from our site (two minutes’ walk, three minutes if you catch the red light), the Rover is often regarded as one of Sydney’s best bars.

For us here at The Oak Barrel and Whisky Fair, Rover has become our home away from home. A welcoming, jovial haunt that’s as enjoyable to perch at the bar on a Monday night as it is in the throes of the weekend. We’ve been known to regularly work our way through the ever-evolving whisk(e)y selection, delve into new flavours in their brand new cocktail list or keep it simple with wine and Green Smoothies* and we can highly recommend it.

The Rover also has its own Whisk(e)y Club, The Whiskey Co-Op. Once you’ve signed up as a member you can come along to any of their free members tastings, which run every three-to-four weeks throughout the year. Drawing in brand ambassadors and whisky experts from around Australia – and the world – the tastings cover whiskies from all around the world. Sometimes they even let The Oak Barrel host. Pretty loose, but lots of fun.

Sydney Whisky Fair is one weekend of the year. For every other Friday and Saturday, there’s Rover. Next time you’re in the area, pop into Rover for a drink and a feed and say g’day – we’ll be sitting on the other side of the bar.

You never know. You might even see some special Oak Barrel whiskies behind the bar in the very near future… More details on that soon.


It’s that exciting time of the year when we can now count the sleeps until Sydney Whisky Fair begins on one hand.

Whiskies have started to arrive, distillers are boarding planes, soon Sydney will be crawling with whisky lovers from all around the country for our favourite whisky festival of the year. In 2019, the Fair’s 10th Anniversary, we’ve our biggest and most diverse selection of whiskies yet. With new releases from Scotland and other parts of the world, we’ve also got our biggest ever collection of home-grown whiskies.

Across 39 tables at Australia Hall, right above The Oak Barrel, we trust you’ll discover something new, taste something amazing and make new friends throughout.

One reality of having such a diverse array of whisky is that, you will not be able to try everything. It’s basically impossible and we certainly don’t suggest you attempt it. In fact, we strongly suggest you take five or ten minutes to flick through the program (a digital version is below this article) and plan your session. Look for the new, look for things you haven’t heard of before.

In order to help with this task, Event Manager Scott Fitzsimons has gone through each of the presenters and highlighted a dram from each that we’re excited about – and think you should be to.

Thanks again for supporting the Sydney Whisky Fair, which is well and truly sold out again this year. A reminder that even though we’re at Australia Hall this year, entry will be through The Oak Barrel as usual.

In alphabetical order, here’s a selection of drams that should be on your hit-list.


We can almost call them veterans now and India’s Amrut always have something new on their table. Lots of big flavours here, but none bigger than the 60% Amrut Ex-Rye Single Cask, an Australian bottling. Just 120 bottles kicking around, so tastes of this will be rare.


There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said about Archie Rose’s first whisky release. Batch 2 of the Archie Rose Rye Malt is going to be express driven to The Oak Barrel to ensure it makes Session 1 in time, lucky they’re only just down the road.


One of our favourite ‘world whisky’ distilleries, but also one that flies under the radar. The line-up of drams from Warengheim’s Armorik get stronger each year and in 2019 they arrive with something they’ve been working on for a long time – Armorik 10 Ans. A decade in the barrel, get to this one early in the session.


We celebrate the contributions of this Victorian distillery in 2019 as they gear up to celebrate their 20th anniversary. One of the first supporters of Whisky Fair, David and Andrew Baker may be quiet achievers, but those achievements are glorious. A rare Sydney visit, taste why their single cask Bakery Hill Sovereign Smoke has been turning so many heads.


Peter Bignell: one of Australian whisky’s true characters and greatest ambassadors. Yes, there’s going to be lots of excellent aged whisky on this table but when there’s a special bottling of a 60% unaged, peated spirit called Belgrove Bogan Burn-Out we know where we’ll be starting. This is peak Bignell.


Last year it was hard to choose between the excellent value regional-inspired Scotch whiskies from BBR, but if reputation is to go by make sure you dig into the Berry Bros & Rudd Classic Speyside. Another one to do early in the session so the nuance and softness isn’t clouded by palate fatigue.


It’s hard to go past the excellent and newly-landed 21-year-old and the palate-grabbing peated cask strength, but the BenRiach 2005 Single Cask Peated Port might just be loud enough to yell over the top of everything else. Excellent value too.


While obvious bias has us leaning towards the Whisky Fair OAKBARRELBLACKGATE2019 release as a must-try at Black Gate’s table, make sure you try Black Gate BG067. These heavily peated single malts from New South Wales’ Central West have our eyes wide with optimism for the future.


One of whisky’s most diverse bottlers, we’re excited to have Boutique-y at Whisky Fair properly for the first time. Anything with the name ‘Inchgower’ written on it always has our interest, so we’ll be gravitating towards a very well-priced Boutique-y Whisky Co Inchgower 17-Year-Old.


It’s a consistent line-up from Corowa, as we’ve come to expect, so start at the start and let them take you through. Make note of the Corowa Mad Dog, matured in ex-muscat casks, it’s quintessentially them.


One of Australia’s best-loved new distillers, Crafty’s making the journey over the mountains from Capertee. A lot of the focus will be on the just-launched Laga Cat, but make sure you try Craft Works The Capertee – usually only available through the distillery door when its open… or the pub.


We’ve held back some of the very last stocks of the Fleurieu Fountain Of Youth, a cask strength, sherry cask which has won pretty much every award it’s been entered into this year. When it’s gone, it’s gone.


New Irish whiskey into Australia is always a good idea and the Dublin Liberties new arrivals are excellent fun. Make sure you dip into the Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey, a collaboration with one of the world’s best bars that’s as enjoyable and approachable as we could’ve hoped for.


An excellently versatile spirit, you can get a lot of different things out of a Glenglassaugh dram. If you’re not familiar with the DNA, or if its been a while, take the time to sit with the Glenglassaugh Revival. It flies under-the-radar too often.


They debuted last year thanks to some express-air-mailed bottles and now we’ve actually got some proper quantities of GlenAllachie! The latest batch of the GlenAllachie 10-Year-Old Cask Strength is a corker.


It wouldn’t feel like Whisky Fair without ‘farclas and it’s hard to step by their veritable Glenfarclas 21-Year-Old. Elegance in a glass.


The Campbeltown distillery that’s oft-overlooked but enjoying a growing renaissance at the moment, their cask strength Glen Scotia Victoriana expression sums up everything we’re loving about the distillery’s latest phase.


A fresh name for Whisky Fair this year, a lot of these expressions will be new to Sydney-based whisky lovers. If there’s something you can’t miss, it’s the Hobart Sauvignon Blanc Botrytis Finish which is being released for the Fair. Just 91 bottles in the very limited release, it’s suitably new world and an excellent example of the experimentation the Australian climate grants us.


As probably Australia’s best whisky bar you can be sure that anything the team behind Melbourne’s Whisky & Alement import themselves is going to be of a very high quality. Such as a single cask Hidden Spirits Mortlach 17-Year-Old. The name alone should get you excited enough.


Returning with their latest expressions, one of which is a little bit different. Iniquity Batch 17 was created by fans during a blending night in Adelaide earlier this year. Just released, taste a truly democratic dram.


There’ll be whiskies from both their Old Pulteney and Knockdhu (AnCnoc) distilleries and we’re quite excited about welcoming the new-look former into Fair. The Old Pulteney Huddart has been matured in ex-peated whisky casks, which has yielded excellent results for them in the past.


If you love sherry casks the Joadja stand is a must-visit. This young New South Wales distillery make their first proper Fair visit with sherry cask bombs. For something great straight out of the bottle, sample Joadja Batch 7 Pedro Ximenez Cask at 48%.


A cult-loved distillery whose fans are as dedicated as they come, we pushed to make sure the new-look line-up from Jura was here in 2019. Some interesting wood treatments, we reckon the Jura 12-Year-Old might be a bit of a crowd favourite.


Drink Laphroaig Lore and be happy, it’s not rocket science. When you get around to dipping into the peated stuff have one or two of the other expressions before Lore, it’ll tone down the intensity and highlight the complexity.


One of the most consistent Tassie distilleries and now they even have regular bottles to supply us! For something a little bit special, we’ve got a very small amount of the Lark Wolf Of The Willows 2019 beer barrel aged expression to throw around…


One of the toughest tables to pick if you only had time for one, their apera, tawny and bourbon casks all showcase very different elements of this Tassie spirit. If you pushed us, the Launceston Bourbon 46% is excellent and we certainly wouldn’t say no to another dram of that.


A selection of excellent independent bottlings from distilleries all over Scotland, but there’s something here we don’t see very often: Wardhead 1997 21-Year-Old bottled by Liquor Library, Whisnick and Hevetica Bar. Don’t leave Fair without trying this.


Scottish spirit uniquely matured in Burgundy caves, there’s nothing quote like these whiskies and the Michel Couvreur Overaged is an excellent example of the style. Speaking of age, this table might slip some old Armagnac into the event. If you like old spirit, this is where you need to visit.


If you haven’t tried the Redbreast Lustau sherry cask finish that you definitely need to do that, but we’re loving the innovation in the Irish industry and so the Method & Madness Pot Still (finished in chestnut barrels) wins our must-try tip here.


A new era for the Tassie highland distillery, but the DNA of their spirit is consistent. We’ve always felt that Nant works excellently in ex-bourbon casks and that’s’ no different here, reintroduce yourself with the Nant Bourbon 43% expression.


It’s big, it’s rich, it’s juicy – Overeem Port Cask Cask Strength at 60% is always hard to go past. Be wary though, trying this sets a very high bar for everything else you’ll experience after.


The very first release of the Riverbourne Enigma is breaking cover at Fair this year, a fire-breathing peated port expression that takes no prisoners. Almost certain to sell out, we’re not sure when you’ll be able to try batch one again if you don’t get to it here.


Our pick for the Society stage is the experience, step out of the Fair for a few minutes and let them guide you through a mini-masterclass of Society drams. If we have to pick… SMWS 76.144 ‘I Caught The Darkness’.


A couple of Australian exclusive casks at this table, plus the appearance of the independent bottler’s own distillery. If you like your whiskies big and don’t mind a bit of sweetness, Edradour SFTC Sauternes Cask at a very nice 61.1%.


This is another new Tasmanian distillery and another distillery from that state whose spirit works very, very well with ex-bourbon casks. However, we’re going to lean towards Spring Bay Rheban Port Cask at 58% – a powerful, but gentle, expression.


Starward is about as much fun you can have with whisky. We’re going to start our Fair with Starward Two -Fold and we’re going to end our Fair with Starward Two-Fold.


There’s more TIB bottlings from the mainland than from Tasmania this year (controversial!) and these Fleurieu casks are absolutely humming. For something a bit different though, and something we think we should be looking at more often, try Tasmanian Independent Bottlers The Craft 1 – a blend of mainland distilleries. We love the idea of exploring what flavours we can create in Australian whisky outside of boundaries like ‘single malt’.


Timboon Shagger’s Reserve Mk II. A hit from last year that sold out at the Fair, Shagger returns from this Victoria distillery. A rough-and-tumble, roll around in the hay dram, it’s at odds with Timboon’s usual soft, stately style.


An American single malt that is born from the craft brewing scene, our burgeoning whisky scene carries a lot of similarities to theirs. Try Westward Single Malt and ask questions about yeast.


A diverse selection makes it hard to pick just one here and we’re very sorry to our guilty love Fettercairn, but the Canadian Shelter Point Cask Strength at 58.7% has come into the country in such limited quantities that you’d be mad not to try it here.

See the full program for the 2019 Sydney Whisky Fair below (subject to changes).


The final allocation of tickets to Sydney Whisky Fair are now on sale and open to the general public.

The Oak Barrel member pre-sales have now been completed, you are now able to purchase both Members and Guest tickets – and you can now purchase tickets for friends and family as well.


Oak Barrel members will need to log in to their account on the Oak Barrel website in order to purchase tickets at members’ prices.

There is a limit of one members’ ticket per paid-up Oak Barrel membership. So if you want to come with a group of friends (and they’re not already members) please be aware that they require guest tickets!

This is the last allocation of tickets to the 2019 Sydney Whisky Fair, the 10th Anniversary celebration.


The final allocation of tickets to Sydney Whisky Fair are now on sale, with tickets available to Oak Barrel members for 24-hours.

During the 24-hour pre-sale members will be able to purchase one ticket each, meaning each member must log in individually. We do this to ensure that every member gets a fair and ample chance to access tickets to Australia’s most in-demand whisky event.

Following the 24-hour pre-sale period, tickets remaining from the first release will be opened up to the general public – 11am Thursday 20 June.


Oak Barrel members will need to log in to their account on the Oak Barrel website in order to purchase members tickets.

There is a limit of one members’ ticket per paid-up Oak Barrel membership. So if you want to come with a group of friends (and they’re not already members) please be aware that they require guest tickets!

This is the last allocation of tickets to the 2019 Sydney Whisky Fair, the 10th Anniversary celebration.


The historic Australian Hall will be the location for the tenth anniversary of The Oak Barrel’s Sydney Whisky Fair 2019.

With the first release of tickets promptly selling out earlier this week, we are delighted to confirm that the event will return to the Hall – located directly above The Oak Barrel – for the Friday 30-Saturday 31 August event.


It will be the third time that Whisky Fair will have been held in this largely unknown piece of Sydney history, with the 2014 and 2017 events being held there. Not always available, due to tenants, repairs etc., Australia Hall gives us the opportunity to present a more open, spacious event. While we love the intimate, house party nature of the Cellar Room and Warehouse space, the ability to also allow more exhibitors in to showcase is a deciding factor.

Capacity for the event will subsequently be increased, although the strict ratio of attendees-to-whisky stalls will be kept intact. We’re passionate about making Whisky Fair as user-friendly as possible, so that you can ask the questions to want to ask and spend the time with distillers you want to spend.


Australia Hall is in the same building as The Oak Barrel and entry and exit to the event will still be through The Oak Barrel bottle store.

Located at 150-152 Elizabeth St, the structure in which The Oak Barrel (ground floor) is located was built in the early 1910s, with Australia Hall added in the 1920s. An important building in Sydney’s history, it has long been a meeting place for diverse groups of Sydney’s communities – from indigenous Australians to German migrants, Christian societies and Greek Cypriots clubs. The indigenous community have a strong association to the building as the site of the Day of Mourning. It was added to the Australia Heritage Database in 2008.


Tickets to Sydney Whisky Fair’s tenth anniversary event are on sale now.

Whisky Fair 2019 Sessions

Session 1: Friday 30 August, 5pm-8pm
Session 2: Saturday 31 August, 1pm-4pm
Session 3: Saturday 31 August, 5.30pm-8.30pm


The first release of tickets to Sydney Whisky Fair 2019 are on sale now, with the general public release now live.

The Oak Barrel members’ pre-sale began 11am Tuesday 11 June, with the general release beginning 11am Wednesday 12 June.



11/06/19 11.52am: Sydney Whisky Fair tickets have sold at record speed again in 2019, with approximately 25% of the entire event capacity selling within the first hour of pre-sale. What makes that even more noteworthy is that during this members’ pre-sale, tickets were limited to one-per-member in an attempt to slow down sales.

12/06/19 10.17am: More than half of the allocation for the first release has sold during the members’ pre-sale ahead of the general release at 11am.

During the 24-hour pre-sale, Oak Barrel members must log into their account at to access the tickets. If you are not logged in under your active members account, you will not be able to view the tickets. Pre-sale tickets are limited to one-per-member. Therefore, each member must log in individually to secure their ticket. This is to ensure that all members can a fair opportunity to secure tickets to the Fair, which has sold out for the past seven years.

Once the pre-sale has elapsed, you will be able to purchase multiple tickets during the general release from Wednesday 12 June. Members should still log-in to receive their discounted ticket price.

For further details head to the tickets page or contact us.


With tickets to Sydney Whisky Fair 2019 set to go on sale next week, we thought we’d reveal a few more exhibitors for the 10th anniversary event.

It’s a veritable Tasmanian invasion in this announcement with some familiar names and Whisky Fair firstcomers from the apple isle. Having sampled their wares in recent visits down south, we’re happy to welcome Hobart Distillery and Spring Bay to Fair for their visits. We’ll also have the current distillers from Lark, Overeem and Nant on board and the always-welcome Belgrove with some innovative rye creations.

Further distilleries, from Australia and the world, will be announced over the coming weeks. Make sure you’re ready for when tickets go on sale.

Second Distillery Announcement

Belgrove (TAS, new releases)
Hobart (TAS, first appearance)
(TAS, new releases)
(TAS, first appearance for five years)
(TAS, new releases)
Spring Bay
(TAS, first appearance)

They join the previously announced Australian distillers:

Corowa (NSW, first appearance)
Fleurieu (SA, 2019 Australian Champion Whisky)
Iniquity (SA, new releases)
Joadja (NSW, first appearance)
Timboon (VIC, new releases)