Thursday, 12 January 2012

Presenting...Diageo with Colin Dunn at Mount Street Deli

Mount Street Deli, of the Caprice Holding Group, has been on my radar as running very interesting tastings throughout the year and it has taken me till the 10th January 2012 to finally get myself along one evening for a Colin Dunn special – whiskies of Diageo with food. Only a combination of high and low stools allowed about 25 people to squeeze into this little Mediterranean deli with shelves stacked with goodies to buy and blackboards announcing their daily specials.

Now I am no expert but I’ve been to my share of tastings and what a number of females there were, 11 women to 12 men in fact! The crowd was also young, late 20’s to mid 30’s and covered at least 6 nationalities – gotta love London.

We started with Glenkinchie 12 Years Old and Parmesan chunks. This whisky is one for the beginners (none in the group though!) and often drunk “misowari” style, this term from Japan meaning with ice, soda and a touch of citrus. It started light and spicy and has no peat or cask notes to influence. The cheese, lovely and fresh but I could have eaten a plate (!), brought out a creamy texture. Going back to this later, there were seriously musky notes!

To taste alongside was the Dalwhinnine 15 Years Old which was denser with much more fruit straight off. This one went with almond chocolate although it was noted that a more “almond” flavour would have worked better. Again the flavours smoothed some of the edge on the whisky but try it yourself with a honey dressed almond and pear salad.

Singleton 12 Years Old was next (sherry cask finish) and came next to Talisker 10 Years Old. The Singelton was honeyed with stewed fruit and chocolate with this dark chocolate note getting stronger throughout. It was very smooth with a buttery heavy body and finishes on a fruity note. The dark chocolate to go with it particularly highlighted these notes.

Talisker was a whole new ball game with bonfire and germoline and hot chili on the palate. This one really wraps itself round your mouth with a sweet hint and a meatiness from the smoke. Paired with olives I think this combination needs a little work but why not try marinating your olives in this best the night before your dinner party…

Finally to Caol Ila 12 Years Old and a personal favourite, Lagavulin 16 Years Old. Caol Ila was paired with lemon curd shortbread (that needed a whole lot more lemon to slice through the peat). This is a current favourite of Colin’s but with tasting notes amounting to “like the Talisker but less” I cannot say it left much of an impression. So to the Lagavulin with Roquefort. OK, I’m biased. But the beautiful honeyed notes over smoke just draw you in and catch your nose and palate but just leaves you all warm and cosy.

So next time you are trying to work out which wine to pair with chocolate, or cheese, reach for your spirits and have some fun and remember Colin’s golden rules:

1)       Warm up your nose but sniffing your first whisky about an inch from your nose, open your “filing cabinets” of senses
2)       One second in the mouth for every year of aging
3)       Drink what you enjoy, not what we tell you to!

Keep an eye on Mount Street’s website for some tasty combinations in 2012 (I’ve got my eye on the game event in September) and if you missed Colin this time he’ll be at The Whisky Exchange in February for some Borough Market combos.

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