NOLA Smokehouse & Bar transports you to New Orleans in the heart of Sydney’s Barangaroo. With an impressive collection of 600 whiskeys at the bar, how does one go about choosing what to drink?
NOLA has recently introduced a range of eight American whiskey flights, each is designed to highlight a different style of whiskey. The choices are ever so tempting whether you’re new to American whiskey or a seasoned drinker. Here’s brief overview of each of the American Whiskey Flights on offer including an in-depth look at two popular flights.
1. The Bourbon Flight
The Bourbon Flight ($40) features Elijah Craig Small Batch, Bulleit 10yo, Maker’s Mark 46 and Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel. For a spirit to be labelled as bourbon, it must be produced in the USA, may not exceed 160 proof (80% ABV), must be stored at no more than 125 proof in charred new oak barrels, and must be distilled from a fermented mash of no less than 51% corn. The focus of this flight is to highlight the various differences in flavour profile for bourbon across popular brands.
2. The Age Flight
The Age Flight ($50) features Booker’s 7yo, Eagle Rare 10yo, I.W. Harper 12yo and Johnny Drum Private Stock 15yo. This flight is about discovering the characteristics that different ageing times, from 7 years, to 10, 12 and 15 years impart on the whiskey.
3. The Rye Flight
The Rye Flight ($65) features Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, Koval Single Barrel Rye, Whistlepig 10yo Straight Rye and Willett Straight Rye.
All rye whiskeys, be it American or Canadian must contain a minimum of 51% rye grain in the mash bill. The Rye Flight is about experiencing the various flavour profiles that are the result of different ageing and various rye content.
Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey (45% ABV, 80% Rye) is aged for six months in charred new oak quarter casks. Spicy upfront with black pepper and herbaceous, it finishes a little on the sweet side. More suited to cocktails than sipping as it exhibits characteristics of a young whiskey.
Koval Single Barrel Rye (40% ABV, 100% Rye) is aged for three months and makes a good introduction into rye whiskey. Easy to sip, well rounded with clean rye whiskey flavour on the palate. Koval is known for using only the heart cut of the distillate which contributes to its unique flavour profile. Read our interview with Sonat Birnecker Hart, President of Koval Distillery.
Moving to Vermont, Whistlepig 10yo Straight Rye Whiskey (55% ABV, 100% Rye) is the highlight of this flight, aged in Vermont oak and finished in bourbon barrels. The nose is spicy and sweet with subtle oak influence. The palate is rich with a noticeable viscosity, loads of spice to chew on and a sweeter, bourbon-like finish. An exceptional whiskey to sip and use in cocktails as it lends a lot of body in a stirred drink.
Willett Straight Rye (55.6% ABV, 63% Rye) has subtle grassy and herbal aromas and an intense, viscous palate that is dry and spicy. It benefits from a drop of water to open the flavours which linger with spiciness.
4. The Flavoured Whiskey Flight
Don’t let the world “flavoured” deter you from this flight. NOLA has sourced some rare to find whiskeys not distributed in Australia to make up the Flavoured Whiskey Flight ($90). It features Maker’s Mark Mint Julep, Knob Creek Smoked Maple, Seven Stills Chocasmoke and Balcones Rumble.
Maker’s Mark Mint Julep (37% ABV) is essentially a bottled cocktail with a fresh, strong and sweet minty flavour with the bourbon in the background. Sip it over ice or as an after dinner drink to aid in digestion.
The aromas from Knob Creek Smoked Maple (45% ABV) will remind you of pancakes. The whiskey is essentially Knob Creek 9yo flavoured with maple syrup. At 45% ABV, it’s sweet upfront with maple flavour followed by a little alcohol burn which cuts through the sweetness and leads to a smoky finish with hints of dark chocolate. Manhattan and Old fashioned cocktails come to mind when sipping this spirit.
The star of this flight is Seven Hills Chocasmoke (47% ABV), an expression made from chocolate oatmeal stout fermented with smoked barley. Seven Hills is a brewery and distillery in one. They brew their own beer then distil from it. The whiskey has dark chocolate notes and subtle smoke on the nose but the palate is big on flavour. It’s surprisingly dry and has a long lingering smoky chocolate finish. Ask for it by name.
Balcones Rumble chimes in at 47% ABV as well, crafted from fermented Texas wildflower honey, mission figs and turbinado sugar. Suble aromas lead to floral notes, white peach followed by caramel notes. The finish is long and chewy.
5. The Michter’s Flight
The Michter’s Flight ($80) features Barrel Strength Rye, Toasted Barrel Finish Rye, 10yo Single Barrel Bourbon and 10yo Single Barrel Rye. Michter’s is based in Louisville, Kentucky and they produce some of America’s finest whiskeys. This flight takes you through the difference various barrel ageing and charring techniques can have on a whiskey. You can read more about the whiskey in our feature on Michter’s Whiskey here.
6. The High West Flight
The High West Flight ($85) features the following expressions: Campfire, Bourye, Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye, four whiskeys from the High West distillery in Park City, highlighting the brand’s exciting blend of various styles, ages and mash bills.
7. The Whistlepig Flight
Moving into the discerning drinker category, The Whistlepig Flight ($120) features 10yo Straight Rye, Old World Madeira Finish, 15yo Straight Rye and The Boss Hog Iv: The Black Prince. You’re in for a real treat as some of these whiskeys are finished in ex port, Armagnac and Madeira casks.
8. The Seven Stills Flight
The Seven Stills Flight ($130) features Laughing Monks, Sea Farmer, Whipnose and Czar (not the entire range as shown in the photo above). Inspired by the original seven hills of San Francisco, California, Seven Stills have created a unique range of whiskeys in collaboration with local artists and craftsmen. This flight is an exciting mix of whiskeys that have been distilled from various styles of beers. These whiskeys are exceptional and if you’ve tasted Seven Stills Chocasmoke from the Flavoured Whiskey Flight, you’re be sure to return for The Seven Stills Flight.
The team at NOLA led by Bar Manager Glen Wheeler is highly knowledgeable and we recommend you come in for a flight on a quieter night to ensure they can dedicate appropriate time to talk you through the various expressions. If you’re a small group, you can book the room at the back of the bar and have your own private tasting. Either way, the first American whiskey flight you experience will have you returning for another.
NOLA Smokehouse and Bar
Address: Tower 1, 200 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW 2000
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