Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Presenting... Whisky Sqaud Tasting #84

It was a long time coming, but I finally attended my first Whisky Squad tasting, run by
industry stalwarts Jason Standing and Billy Abbott, at the King and Queen in Fitzrovia. 14 whisky aficionados got together to discuss Non Age Statement Whiskies. So we started with a few ideas about where they fit in, or if they do at all, quality and what lies behind them, then started the tasting:

Whisky #1: Prime Blue (Morrison Bowmore blend made in 80s for Asian market)

-          Nose was fruity with marzipan and vanilla and developed toffee with time

-          Palate was richer than the nose, more wood influence, round in the mouth and was best without water

Whisky #2: Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve (from Japan)

-          Nose was sour fruits, citrus, green apple and nail polish, richer with time

-          Palate was sharp with a sweet finish then bitter length, very highball style

Whisky #3: Old Pulteney Duncansby Head (Travel Retail)

-          Nose is very malty, almost hops and bleu meat, gets sweeter with time

-          Palate is very spicy (46% abv), gets some round buttery rounds and has some furniture polish on finish, develops coffee on finish

Whisky #4: Talisker 57° North (NB very deep gold colour)

-          Sweet smoky bacon nose, described by others as drinking “hot dogs”

-          With water is develops Islay style bonfire notes and germoline profile but it is from Skye!

Whisky #5: Ancnoc Flaughter newly released peated range)

-          Lightly smoked like slow cooking lamb, sweet, polish, green apple, another big 46% abv

-          Sprightly little thing, smoke levels out to a gentle finish


Whisky #6: Glenmorangie Companta (limited release, sold out)

-          Lino, rubber nose with banana underneath and polish

-          Buttery bananas on the finish, metallic, nose definitely better than palate, 46% doesn’t show
Despite the newness of some of these whisky releases, NAS whiskies have been around for a while and will continue to lend another depth to an already fascinating range of age and vintage single distillery whiskies and blends too. I have found my favourite from this line up, try some yourself, especially fun on whisky "snob" friends who are rather too interested in age over liquid...

Friday, 4 April 2014

Presenting… Monkey Shoulder DIY Drinks Kitchen with The Bon Vivant

If I am honest, it was not the best start as this London Cocktail Week pop up was running both a bar upstairs and a DIY kitchen event downstairs and we were a bit confused which queue was which; most annoying when it is also raining. But we got there in the end, and joined the crowd around three large butcher block type wooden tables to enjoy an evening with The Bon Vivant’s team from Edinburgh.

Now this was all the way back in October so I cannot remember exact details, but I know there was:

- Cured salmon and pear
- Smoked duck and fig
 Monkey shoulder infused Christmas cake

And along with all this food we watched then tried to replicate the cocktails we were taught, a mixture of stirred, shaken and then the infused whisky straight. Here are some lovely pics to give you an idea of the evening:

It was good, with a nice crowd of people and the cocktail styles covered all palates. However, we were just starving – and tipsy – by the end and the cake infused shot didn’t do it for us which was a shame – in theory it should have been fab. All I do know is that every time you go to Edinburgh, you should visit these guys. They really know their stuff.