For the past five years, David Vitale has been proving that the quality of a whisky isn't necessarily linked to its age (nor proximity to a Scottish loch). He's the man behind the ballsy and young, yet elegant Starward whisky, which he produces in his distillery at Essendon Airport.
Vitale has recently expanded his operation, opening a cellar door and bar.The bar has a capacity for 100 and features a bar top made from a 75-year-old repurposed French Oak brandy vat. It's here you can taste your way through the Starward whisky range including single cask releases (right now they're showcasing a batch aged in ginger beer barrels), as well as their own seasonal gin, and a pale ale which they also make on site. The beers and gin are new products for the distillery and are only available at the bar.
This is essentially an interactive booze school. Education comes freely over the bar from Vitale and bar manager Paul Slater, who is also creating simple cocktails, but if you want to get an advanced talking to, you can sign up for a 90-minute masterclass.
Open Fri 4-11pm; Sat noon-5pm.
New World Whisky Distillery, Larkin Street, Essendon Fields, 9005 4420, newworldwhisky.com.au