Observer Collection Whisky

If you are a person who only wants to use one wallet, make it this one.

This is one of those items, where I would have never purchased it if two things didn’t happen: the first is getting to see other items from ‘Observer Collection’ in person; the second was an upcoming trip where I knew I would need to handle more cash and coins. Coins are a huge pain for me day to day with the wallets I already own.

Because, when I am at home in Texas, I have my wallet setup down: drivers license, two cards, a $20 bill, and two $5 bills. Done. This all fits neatly in my tiny wallet, but for travel — even domestically or in state — this quickly blows apart.

Which is where Observer Collection’s Whisky comes into play. This is probably the best wallet for travel (or coin needs) I have ever used.

Materials & Size

The wallet is pretty wild and hard to describe. It’s 4-1/8” x 2-7/8” x 1/2” in size, and is made from leather, elastic cord, and some X-PAC. That’s the generic description, but I think to really get an understanding, I’ll have to quote from the website:

Tokyo & Naples are far from the only cites where coins are a daily necessity, so the Whisky wallet packs a slim expandable coin pocket. Through a balance of asymmetric open construction & elastic exoskeleton the Whisky wallet is as adaptable as it is secure.
Made in the US from Italian vegetable tanned full grain leather, lined with suede, & finished with 7 hand sewn bar-tacs to compliment it’s carbon backed coin pocket, the Whisky Wallet will be an effortless extension of whatever mess you get yourself into.

This isn’t a small wallet in the pocket, but it’s one of those wallets where it carries a ton for its size, and does so while providing very easy access to all the items it is carrying. The Whisky is not perfect, but the materials are most certainly perfect and executed to perfection.

In Use

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the packaging, is how amazing the leather is in hand. It is robust and durable feeling, while being soft to the touch. The second thing I noticed is the ends of the elastic shock cord have been dipped in Plastidip, which creates a clean finish to them. I a going to need to steal that idea.

The next thing that happened is me staring at it for a good bit trying to sort out what was what and how you use this wallet. That’s where this gets tricky: it has some level of origami vibes, where things can be extended or not. The elastic cord has two parts: one is a necklace (removable), and the other cord is to tension the pockets for retention and expansion.

It only took me a few days to get adjusted, and from that point on the wallet felt really easy and natural to use. Everything was where I needed and wanted it, and really quick to get to for the most part. But, even more than that, was how versatile the wallet proved for dealing with all the minutiae of travel: hotel keycards, cash, paper tickets for tours and parking, and of course coins.

I’ve never seen a single other wallet handle all of this as well as the Whisky does. I was blown away.

There are essentially four sections to the Whisky:

  1. The center section is the most discrete section for cards. It is deep and can hold somewhere between 2-4 cards. These are not particularly quick to get access too, but not overly difficult either. I generally keep two cards in here and a unused check because I am old.
  2. There’s an open top, and shorter, outer pocket. This has one side slightly more open, and held down by the elastic cord. Meaning you can loosen the tension to get this pouch to open more freely, or tighten the cord to snug things up. I generally keep one card here — the one I use for everything. It’s secure, and quick to access — even without removing the wallet from my pocket. One note here is that the elastic cord can interfere with putting the card back in, and requires a little wiggling at times. Not too bad, but not clean and smooth.
  3. On the other side is the x-pac pocket. This is a little pouch secured to the wallet at the bottom edge of the pouch — it is a tube. You fold the tube in half and secure it with one or two of the elastic bands over the top (they make an X over the top of each other). I generally only use one band, so it’s quicker to open. I keep cash (bills fit by folding them in quarters), and coins when traveling. This pocket can also work for just about anything small you might want to carry like an SD Card and such. It’s a neat pocket.
  4. Behind the x-pac pocket is yet another open top area to store items, as the x-pac tube becomes the face of that pocket in a way. This is a great spot for the adhoc stuff in your wallet. Hotel keycards fit perfectly here, as do little paper tickets for parking lots or tours. Your potential billion dollar lottery ticket works well here too if you fold it in half. This is an area I’ve found to be useful for stashing stuff for shorter periods of time. It’s slightly less secure and less protected, but I’ve never had anything fall out. Often I will stage a $5 or $10 bill here, to use for quick access to a tip when I know I might be heading to a valet or such — this way I am not fumbling for cash, or flashing any cash. This is the singular genius of this wallet it. It’s the only wallet I have with a quick access pocket which can hold a lot or a little, and adds no extra space to the wallet when not in use — its the kind of magic you have to experience to get, then there’s no turning back.

Not all is perfect with this wallet though, there are a a few areas of improvement:

  • If the bottom corners of the wallet were rounded, it would be a much more comfortable carry all around. I’m a front pocket carry guy, and I find that this wallet sits higher in my pocket because of the width and sharper bottom corners.
  • I would love for there to be some sort of adjuster instead of a knot for the elastic cord. The knot comes undone often (such is the case with all elastic cord) so it would be great to have some quick adjust mechanism. I will likely try to source this myself.
  • The wallet is wide and that width can make it feel bigger than you want when you are carrying a small amount of items in it. I would love to see a narrower variant.

All in all, in use, I found this to be a great wallet for travel and day to day.


If I were told I needed to slim down to just one wallet to use for everything, I would absolutely select this wallet. It is incredibly versatile, and really nicely made. It feels modern, with high quality leather and heritage vibes at the same time. It’s well made, sharp, and effective.

I’m a huge fan. You certainly should get one.

Buy here, $200.

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