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September 26, 2023

This analogue whisk(e)y club is a seriously rare drop

NOLA's 23 Club is the zig to the zag of subscription-model drinks clubs, instead offering an ultra-personal experience of the world’s rare and best whiskies.

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  • This article was produced in collaboration with NOLA Adelaide.

NOLA Adelaide’s general manager Jaime Fraser is not fazed when asked if one nip will be enough.


NOLA’s 23 Club @ NOLA Adelaide
28 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide 5000
Sign up here

The iconic bar is launching NOLA’s 23 Club, a club so exclusive it is limited to just twenty-three members – the number of nips in a 700mL bottle. Each month, they’ll be invited to drop by and indulge in their share of liquid gold as the club sips its way through a curated selection of the rare and most hunted for whiskies on the planet.

“It’s a chance to try a really expensive whisk(e)y without shelling out $1000 for a whole bottle,” Jaime says, adding that there’ll be some bucket list whiskies in the mix.

Since NOLA opened in 2015, they’ve been carefully stockpiling bottles from limited runs and exceptional releases. Stored underground in a brick-lined wine cellar, smaller than the size of an apartment bedroom and accessed via an old building (its location is a guarded secret), this trove of whiskies is something worth tapping.

“We’ve been putting them away for this very occasion,” Jaime says.

Obviously, the stories behind the labels and their distillation processes add another layer to the drinking experience. Some makers have centuries of history behind them; others chose to produce only a single barrel to mark an occasion.

Jaime mentions the viral frenzy that accompanied some releases in recent years. “The only way to try some of these now is to pay an extortionate amount of money or join a club like ours.”

Having members stop in to experience each month’s drop will give NOLA staff an opportunity to share their own knowledge and discover, if only vicariously, the visceral response each nip evokes. Each nip will also have tasting notes and there’ll be no going back for seconds, with a log of members to testify to those who’ve claimed their share.

The club’s numbered keyring will likely bring both cachet and comradery. While each nip is a pleasure that can be enjoyed in one’s own company, a NOLA’s 23 Club members-only event is also planned, bringing the group together for an exclusive tasting.

On joining, members will also receive a bottle of NOLA’s own limited run whiskey and a 10 per cent discount on any whiskies at NOLA for 12 months.

This inaugural NOLA’s 23 Club is almost fully subscribed, but there are some spaces yet to be filled. Jaime says the rarity of the bottles – NOLA has only one of each in their collection – means there won’t be a second group considered for a while.

“We definitely won’t do another 23 Club until next year, possibly even the year after. For now, it will be a very small club.”

Meanwhile, the burning question of who gets to souvenir the empty bottle is met with pragmatism.

“I guess the last person to collect their nip can take the bottle home.”

Membership to the club closes on 23 October. See the first three whiskies and sign up here.

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