What is in-house Barrel Ageing?
A centrepiece of the third-floor space is The Barrel Room. Here, in an open yet intimate, barrel-lined cocoon, a special kind of magic is being made with barrel maturation, an Australian-first in scale.
Under the watchful eye of Spirits Master Phil Smithers, carefully chosen spirits, cocktails and herbal liqueurs are laid down in old and new barrels, to playfully explore the payoff in the glass.
“When you lay something down in a barrel, it’s not like a time capsule, it’s more like a garden that grows and evolves. And you get to know it so well along the way. It’s a bit like Christmas, waiting to see where things will end up. The end result is completely different from the base product, with unexpected new properties and some very smooth edges. You’re tasting something that’s unique.” Phil Smithers
The result is a delightfully discoverable drinking experience, where guests can watch selections be decanted, explore and compare results, or arrange one of eight sought after seats for a more immersive encounter. Small quantities of signature hotel-aged and bottled cocktails are available to take home, and also feature in the hotel’s mini bar.
Start with a Martini matured for two weeks in ex-chardonnay barrels, or a Manhattan that’s spent four weeks in new charred-oak barrels. Or the signature Negroni matured in former Australian sherry barrels for 12 weeks.
From aperitif to digestif, and anywhere in between, La Madonna has guests coming back for more.