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Where do you buy your scotch single malts?

By 23 September 2011 56

I’ve been getting into scotch lately, and wondered whether any of you fellow scotch drinkers knew of quality distributors to buy a new malt from. The selection available at places like Dan Murphy’s, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and Candamber Wines is pretty limited; are there smaller sellers who have a larger range or specialise in fine spirits in Canberra?

I’m also interested to hear what your favourite scotches are, and where you like to go to order a dram. It seems from previous RiotACT posts that there are quite a few scotch drinkers in Canberra and I’d like to have a list compiled of great places to purchase from.

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56 Responses to Where do you buy your scotch single malts?
#1
johnboy10:27 am, 23 Sep 11

First Choice in Braddon is my go-to for quality booze.

As for which malt? Islay is the bomb if you want smoke and salt.

Lagavulin for mine the king, but many other solid contenders some of them quite affordable.

#2
2.010:27 am, 23 Sep 11

First Choice in Phillip FTW

#3
Jim Jones10:33 am, 23 Sep 11

I’ve had a massive amount of awesome different scotches from Dan Murphy’s – not sure what you mean by ‘limited selection’:

Ardbeg
Aberlour
Glenfarclas
Glenfiddich
Glenlivet
Glenmorangie
Glen Moray
Isle of Jura
Laphroaig
Speyburn
Talisker

as much as I can remember right now anyway

#4
poetix10:44 am, 23 Sep 11

Jim Jones said :

I’ve had a massive amount of awesome different scotches from Dan Murphy’s – not sure what you mean by ‘limited selection’:

Ardbeg
Aberlour
Glenfarclas
Glenfiddich
Glenlivet
Glenmorangie
Glen Moray
Isle of Jura
Laphroaig
Speyburn
Talisker

as much as I can remember right now anyway

Surprised you can remember anything at all after that lot!

#5
Snoman10:49 am, 23 Sep 11

Online, though First Choice and Dan Murphy’s in Phillip are both great.

I’m new to Scotch but enjoying Dimple15 or Glenfiddich18 which seems a little softer. Kingos, Phoenix and a few other places in the city don’t charge too much for some decent nips, head in on a quiet afternoon with some whisky-drinking friends, buy a few different ones and share some opinions.

#6
Thumper11:32 am, 23 Sep 11

I’m partial to Chivas Regal.

#7
Jim Jones11:34 am, 23 Sep 11

Thumper said :

I’m partial to Chivas Regal.

And do you drink it with Coke or Ginger Ale?

#8
StarW11:39 am, 23 Sep 11

Glenkinchie – just noticed it on Liquorland Direct online for a decent price.

#9
Onceler11:42 am, 23 Sep 11

Recently I’ve enjoyed some Dalwhinnie and Glenmorangie. (I haven’t developed a taste for the smoky & salty yet.) I’ve got a bottle of Glenkinchie on the go at the moment, but it’s a bit uninspiring.

#10
tiliqua12:01 pm, 23 Sep 11

Mmm Lagavulin, that salty seaweedy iodine flavour is very distinct, very much a love it or hate it proposition. I’m also very fond of Glenmorangie port and sherry cask aged malts (Quinta Ruban and Lasanta) if you’re after a more mellow and almost sweet whisky.

#11
Jim Jones12:12 pm, 23 Sep 11

tiliqua said :

Mmm Lagavulin, that salty seaweedy iodine flavour is very distinct, very much a love it or hate it proposition. I’m also very fond of Glenmorangie port and sherry cask aged malts (Quinta Ruban and Lasanta) if you’re after a more mellow and almost sweet whisky.

plus one billion for the Glen Morangie – I reeaaaallly like the Lasanta.

Tallisker still the big fave though, particularly nice with a fat cuban cigar and some classy jazz: Ornette Coleman’s ‘A Shape of Jazz to Come’, or mid-period Miles Davis.

#12
BallOfMonkey12:13 pm, 23 Sep 11

The bottle shop in Campbell has some nice bottles, and the owner is quite passionate about his single malts. Vintage Cellars in Manuka also has a good range of some of your more traditional single malts, as well as a variety of Bruichladdich. If you’re after a bit of a tasting evening, I could also recommend an evening at the Pheonix as their Wall ‘O’ Scotch is fairly impressive.

From a personal perspective, I would recommend not going towards the older Scotches (18yr plus) until your palate has come to terms with the 12 and 15 yrs. As a relative newcomer to single malts I’ve found that I haven’t been able to truly appreciate the older malts yet.

Give Glenfarclas 15yr a go, it’s a fantastic drink

#13
Ben_Dover12:24 pm, 23 Sep 11
#14
jk_14212:30 pm, 23 Sep 11

From memory, Cox Kelly in Civic on University Ave across from Uni Pub had a collection of scotches that you wouldn’t normally find in the bigger shops. Good beers as well!!

I’d recommened giving Tasmanian whiskey a go. Bought a bottle of single malt from Lark Distillery when I was in hobart and I love it. Not sure if you can buy it in Canberra though. Pretty expensive as well…

#15
smiling politely12:36 pm, 23 Sep 11

+1 First Choice at Phillip. I’m with everyone who says Islay whiskies (I shall forever be a Laphroaig man) but recommend starting off with some Speysiders if you’re new to the game. Get to know your regions and start exploring.

Inevitably the issue of ice gets raised in these threads, with the usual answer of hell no. A little bit of water is quite acceptable and can help to bring out the flavours.

#16
Thumper1:33 pm, 23 Sep 11

And do you drink it with Coke or Ginger Ale?

F*ck no. Coke goes with the $20 bottle from the lowest shelf at Woolies :)

#17
johnboy1:34 pm, 23 Sep 11

I think that was a comment on the blended nature of Chivas.

#18
Thumper1:36 pm, 23 Sep 11

I think that was a comment on the blended nature of Chivas.

I gathered that. But I’m not a scotch snob. I just like drinking it.

#19
Jim Jones1:41 pm, 23 Sep 11

Thumper said :

I think that was a comment on the blended nature of Chivas.

I gathered that. But I’m not a scotch snob. I just like drinking it.

Like anything, once you’ve had the good stuff, it’s hard to go back.

Good beer is readily available in Australia, and I make home-brew myself, so the notion of drinking VB is just … anathema.

Scotch is a bit similar. Chivas is better than bottom shelf mixer spirits (and the fact you can buy small hipflask sized bottles is handy for parties and boring social outings), but once you start exploring the really good stuff, you’ll probably never come back.

#20
las2:16 pm, 23 Sep 11

Its almost impossible to find rare or unusual scotches in Canberra. Having lived in Scotland for a while I got used to the idea of every shop having a dusty old section filled with limited editions for 50 quid… The selections at first choice etc are average at best and don’t really reflect the true variety out there, so go online, go overseas, go anywhere because Canberra doesn’t cut it.

PS. Come back filthy’s, only place that used to have a decent selection.

#21
Thoroughly Smashed3:28 pm, 23 Sep 11

While not comprehensive I wouldn’t call Dan Murphy’s selection limited. Their regular prices are better than I’ve seen anywhere else and they have specials semi-regularly.

As for a contribution to the thread, there’s the Distinct Whiskey Company, which has a few that aren’t available widely in Australia. They do charge a lot though.

To search for what’s available and for how much, everyone should know Boozle.

johnboy said :

I think that was a comment on the blended nature of Chivas.

I think it’s more to do with the fact it’s one of the most maligned 12yo Scotch Whiskies out there. Blended malt whiskies can be very good. That said I haven’t tried Chivas since I could appreciate whisk(e)y so I’ll reserve judgement.

#22
Postalgeek3:37 pm, 23 Sep 11

I’m with Thumper on that one. The art to single malt is as much where you drink it and who you drink it with as the actual drop itself.

For example, a poor quality drop will taste far better shared from a flask two days hard slog into Namadgi with good friends than a great scotch will ever fare when shared with a whiskey snob who won’t shut up.

#23
The Frots4:04 pm, 23 Sep 11

Thumper said :

And do you drink it with Coke or Ginger Ale?

F*ck no. Coke goes with the $20 bottle from the lowest shelf at Woolies :)

Absolutely +1

#24
dr. faustus4:51 pm, 23 Sep 11

For those Southside, Plonk at the Fyshwick markets now has a few, including a few Australian varieties that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Canberra. Not a huge range, but a few decent ones.

As mentioned above, Vintage Cellars in Manuka has a decent selection, and the Durham in Kingston has a reasonable range behind the bar – nothing too exotic, from memory, but a good selection of the usual suspects.

Anything a bit unusual, however, and I agree you’ll probably have to go online (if anyone manages to find a bottle of Benromach in Canberra, however, I’d love to hear about it).

#25
Axman67:11 pm, 23 Sep 11

Thanks for all the replies, I’ve now got a much better idea of where to look next time. I’ll definitely be checking out First Choice next time I can, and I should have remembered Cox Kelly in Civic. I’d have to agree that I was wrong about the range available at Dan Murphy’s, it’s pretty decent (though Dan Murphy is a huge Liberal benefactor, which makes me less inclined to give him my cash).

For the record, I’m a huge fan of Laphroaig. Talisker is the other bottle I own (poor uni student means saving for booze), but I’m looking to expand my collection. I think my next purchase might be a Dalwhinnie, though I’ll have to find somewhere to try it first.

For those who’d like to more about scotch, you should definitely check out Ralfy’s youtube channel, it’s very informative, and often deviates away from scotch into other related liquid gold. You’ll feel like an expert in no time (and want to spend a hell of a lot of cash on new scotches).

#26
johnboy7:31 pm, 23 Sep 11

You’re thinking of jim murphy, and he’s dead.

#27
bigfeet8:03 pm, 23 Sep 11

Postalgeek said :

I’m with Thumper on that one. The art to single malt is as much where you drink it and who you drink it with as the actual drop itself.

I couldn’t agree more. I can’t tell you what we drank whilst sharing flasks and bottles with other trampers we met along the 8 days of Hadrian’s Wall Path.

But I can tell you that they are my finest scotch drinking memories.

#28
Thumper8:52 pm, 23 Sep 11

Okay, I’ve bought a single malt 12 year old Glenlivet.

Shall report back later :)

#29
LSWCHP10:03 pm, 23 Sep 11

JB is correct regarding Islay malts. There’s nothing else like them. Laphroaig (IMHO) is the best of those. I bought my first bottle when I was 17 (yes yes, I know…). I prefer it neat, but I have enjoyed it with a few drops of cool water. Lagavulin runs a close second.

In my version of heaven, there’s a frosty winters night outside but it’s warm inside because the fire is crackling, my little terrier is snoozing at my feet and I have a glass of Islay malt in my hand.

#30
Alex Mason12:56 am, 24 Sep 11

johnboy said :

You’re thinking of jim murphy, and he’s dead.

Oh really, well in that case, maybe I’ll be buying more from the Mall in the future then. Thanks for the clarification!

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