You may struggle to remember since it seems like decades ago now, but towards the tail-end of 2020, an inaugural four-day whisky festival slid into the cobblestone contours of Sydney’s historic The Rocks. Dubbed Whisk(e)y On The Rocks (henceforth referred to without the ‘e’ not because we don’t dig American and Irish Whiskey – we very much do – but to make it a bit neater), the November festival packed in presence from the likes of Glenfiddich and Starward, as well as a whisky trail highlighting the area’s best bars, pubs and restaurants. Well, it’s back. And this year, Whisky On The Rocks has an earlier edition, kicking off April 28th and wrapping up May 1st.
With Sydney’s most historic precinct as its backdrop, Whisky On The Rocks will pull together various stalls and experiences curated by the likes of Johnnie Walker, Talisker, Monkey Shoulder, Glenfiddich, Wild Turkey, Sheep Dog, and Fever-Tree.
All participating brands will be scattered across three distinct “Whisky Zones,” which ticket-holders will have 2.5 hours to explore along Campbell’s Cove, First Fleet Park and Playfair Street. Why just 2.5 hours? We’re not quite sure, but that should still be a decent amount of time to get across pop-ups like the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer Bus, the Monkey Shoulder Mixer Truck and the Fever-Tree Highball Garden.
If you like your liqueurs, Sheep Dog will also be there with a custom van so you can sample a range of Peanut Butter flavoured whiskies neat or in cocktails.
Along with the party-minded Johnnie Highball Food Truck, which will serve blood orange and lemon highballs with a range of snacks, one of the more essential branded experiences will likely be the Talisker Boat House. Ol’ Talisker has focused on salt and smoke for its corner of the festival, with freshly shucked oysters and a distinct Scottish vibe.
Playfair Street should be a good spot for the festival as well, seeing as the highly-decorated Maybe Sammy team will be working with Mr Black to showcase coffee with whisky.
Given tickets are only $35, providing you with a time limit to wander around all the whisky zones seems fairly reasonable. And aside from that, you’ll have access to the specialised Whisky Trail all throughout the festival. For this edition, the free-entry trail matches brands with different venues so Glenmorangie will be at Maybe Sammy, Benriach will be posted at The Push, Woodford Reserve cosies up with Harbour Rocks Hotel, Westward Whiskey gets Doss House, Wild Turkey takes over The Glenmore, and Dubliner Irish Whiskey camps out at The Mercantile.
The relatively new Hickson House Distillery will also feature along the trail with “craft Australian whisky brand collaborations” according to a media release.
Tickets include a 2.5 Whisky Zone session with 8 whisky samples and access to the Whisky Trail at any time.