We recently headed into Old Soul Whiskey Bar on a lay day to meet with managers: Lachlan, Dane and Josh, and to check out their new setup and range of Whiskys and cocktails. The bar was originally a live music bar called Solbar, which has recently moved down the street, and hence the name ‘Old Soul’ was born.
Only being launched this year, the new bar has attracted a solid following of people who all enjoy their funky tunes and laid back atmosphere. There are many different atmospheres that can be seen in the building, before 9pm the bar can be compared to your typical Whisky bar or lounge bar. The music is velvety, most people are sitting, and a few people are admiring the top shelf of Whiskeys and liquors on offer.
After 9pm, the bpms are picked up a little bit and a groovier mood can be felt around the bar as more people begin to come through the doors. By 11pm the bar is in full swing and is virtually a small club with a mixture of people sitting around, dancing and hanging around the bar with friends. There’s two times in the night that people will be prepared to pay top dollar for a quality Whisky. Firstly, before 9pm when you can buy a nice drop, and take the time to enjoy it in an easy-going and classy environment, or after 11pm when some people tend to lose their train of thought and they may state to the barman ‘give me the best thing you got‘.
Knowing the Sunshine Coast night scene I was skeptical if Old Soul was truly a Whisky bar or if they had just chosen this label to be different. After talking with Dane and Lachlan, they assured me that they weren’t all talk and they had a lot to back up the fact that they were truly a Whisky bar. Here’s what we found out…
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Thankfully the guys at Old Soul don’t try and pretend they are Whisky connoisseurs and they were quick to admit this when they explained the development of their drinks list. They said that when they reached this issue they contacted Dan Woolley straight away to have him handpick a killer Whisky range for the new bar. Dan is the Whisky Ambassador for World of Whisky and also owns the largest private whisky collection in the southern hemisphere.
Lachlan said: “We were going to go explore and research the best whiskies but we kind of realised we don’t have the specific expertise as well as the time to get a fully functioning whiskey list that will comprehensively cover all the whiskies we need, so we just talked to Dan Woolley who knows pretty much all there is to know about Whisky.”
Deciding to go straight to the experts on such an important part of the development of the bar has evidently paid off and has left them with a very impressive and sound whisky list that easily proves their claim as a Whisky bar and solidifies their reputation.
The Old Soul Whisky List is displayed by region: Scotland, America, Cognac, Australia, Japan, Ireland and Canada. Lachlan took us through each region and demonstrated his knowledge of all of the areas…
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Like the majority of Whisky bars, there is a high emphasis on the Scotch Whiskys as these are generally some of the most popular. Starting in the Lowlands of Scotland, Lachlan explained all of the different characteristics of each different Scottish region which are displayed over the full two pages of the menu, these are: Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Campbeltown, the Islands and Islay. It was evident that he was quite knowledgeable of the differing peats and flavours from all of their range.
Their Scottish region features some classics such as Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Talisker, and Glenfiddich, as well as some absolute gems that are a little less known. Their collection of Islay and Island Whiskies are all time and featured some beautiful flavours which are both smoky,powerful and very peaty. Their top-shelft Islay, The Octomore 6.1 is the most heavily peated Whisky in the world and is extremely powerful, with an alcohol volume of 57% and has 167 ppm (parts per million). They have truly have chosen some of the best drops of Scotland and have kept the pricing very affordable in comparison with most other bars.
My recommendation would be to head into the bar, and give a short description of flavours you like or the level of your palette and one of the knowledgeable staff will serve you something to try.
The next section on the list is comprised of American Bourbons, Ryes and Tennesse Whiskies. We didn’t have too much time to spend dwelling on the last few sections so we asked Lachlan to show us what he thought were his best bottles. He lined out the Eagle Run 17 Year Old, Woodford Reserve Four Wood , two Woodford Reserve Ryes, and a Thomas Handy Straight Rye on the bench. These were all absolute class and demonstrated that their range was truly at the top level. In addition, the Eagle Run 17 Year which Lachlan showcased is acclaimed as one of the best bourbons in the world and Old Soul is one of six bars in Queensland who actually stock it.
As the list is obviously new Old Soul have been able to provide a fantastic Japanese Whisky section which includes the most of the Whiskies from the award winning Suntory range such as the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki. The single malt Yamazaki is one of my favourites, but you will need to try the full range to find what suits you the best. Both the single malts and blends are all quality Whiskies and I would easily recommend you to try any of them. The Nikka 15 Year Old blend (in the small bottle in the photo) is an absolute treat and my favourite Japanese Whisky I have tried to date. This blend of malt and grain whisky has a rich and distinctive flavour thanks to the fact that in it’s second maturation it is married together in Japanese Plum wine casks just before being bottled.
The last few Whiskies from Cognac, Ireland and Canada all feature your classics such as Jamesons (Blended, 12 year and 15 year), Hennesy (VSOP and XO) and Canadian Club. The last Whisky that I am glad we got to try was the Castle Glen from the Australian Whiskey Company. This was surprisingly a fantastic Whisky for it’s price and maturation and is the only Whisky produced in Queensland. Being produced in Queensland allows for a quick maturation period for their casks because of the sudden temperature changes in the climate. It actually makes the drink more enjoyable knowing that it has been produced only hours from where the bar is actually located.
I was delighted to hear that a lot of the staff from Old Soul and Solbar actually do their own infusions which are available to customers. These include a Cherry infused Bourbon, an Apple Cinnamon and Vanilla Bourbon, Home Spiced Rum with Chinese Five Spice, Spice Sweet Vermouth with Cherry Brandy and Vanilla, Butter Washed Mount Gay Black Barre;, and Coffee Infused Vodka.
Two very interesting infusions are the Old Fashioned and Soul Blood. The Old Fashioned is crafted in 2 barrels with buffalo trace maturing for 2 months before the Whisky is poured into glass bottles and ready to serve. The Soul Blood is comprised of Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Drambuie, Dark Chocolate Liqueur and Vanilla Liqueur. If you want something sweet, go for the Cherry infused Bourbon which is an absolute delight and extremely easy to drink, for something a little more flavoursome definitely try the Old Fashioned.
Overall a very impressive range thanks to an expert selection by Dan Woolley and a strong desire to provide a quality range by the guys behind Old Soul. If you have an interest in Whisky or just want to taste a few quality drops then I would definitely recommend heading down on a Friday or Saturday night and see the friendly staff at Old Soul. To see their full drinks menu and range of cocktails scroll down…
FULL DRINKS LIST