Guests were treated to seven whiskies from the distillery, delicious food pairings with each one, as well as a discussion on cask production and restoration by Ian Macdonald, William Grant and Sons' Master Cooper.
Whiskies sampled were The Balvenie 12 year old DoubleWood with warm dates stuffed with walnuts, the 14 year old Caribbean Cask with wild mushroom strudel & truffle oil, the 17 year old DoubleWood with a grilled cheese sandwich made 5 year old aged cheddar, the 15 year old Single Cask (arguably the belle of the ball) w/ prosciutto wrapped scallops and a roasted apple chutney, the 21 year old PortWood w/ lamb chops, and finally two cask strength barrel samples (1 sherry, 1 bourbon) w/ 85% dark chocolate wrapped cheese cake.
Ian was kind enough to bring a set of cask-making tools to the tasting to aid in describing the processes necessary to keep casks at The Balvenie and Glenfiddich in Dufftown in top whisky-making condition.
A very special thanks to the distillery, Beth at PMA for guiding the tasting, Ian for showing us how casks are kept up, and finally The Spoke Club for providing a beautiful venue and truly fantastic food pairings.
Please enjoy this photo gallery of the evening.
Nose: As inviting as any nose for someone of the peat persuasion, crackling with fumes of salt and ripe citrus fruits. An undercurrent trails with vanilla, fresh sourdough bread and of course, smoke.
Palate: The fiery high-proof liquid delivers a jolt before its oily non-chill filtered character develops. Viscous sweetness evokes thoughts of breakfast syrup slathered on charred wood, later enveloped by Laphroaig's signature deep peat smoke.
The conference room at the main office of Speciality Drinks in London, England is an awesome sight that would make any whisky-geek weak at the knees. Lining the walls of this room are glass covered cabinets containing the most impressive collection of whisky I have ever seen. Arranged by distillery, the 4000 or so bottles represent a sizeable part of the vast and carefully curated collection that Sukhinder Singh has meticulously acquired over the course of his remarkable 25 year career. Every bottle here has a story and a special significance to Sukhinder whose genuine interest and passion for spirits, particularly whisky, is truly inspiring.Over the past 14 years, he and his brother Rajbir have built The Whisky Exchange (TWE) from a small online retail business in the early days of the web to the world's largest and most respected online retailer of wine and spirits.
A luminary in the drinks industry, Mr.Singh is approachable, professional and refreshingly candid about his career in the drinks business. Over the course of the interview we discuss his path to success, the challenges of bottle collecting, his views on trends in the sector and the upcoming prestigious Whisky Show being held this October 5-7 in London.
Although the name "Buffalo Trace" is relatively new, the distillery site in Frankfort, Kentucky has a heritage that reaches back to the late 1700s. Known for most of the last century as George T. Stagg Distillery, Buffalo Trace currently produces 17 different whiskey product lines including Blanton's, Eagle Rare and Van Winkle among others. Launched to coincide with the re-christening of the distillery site in 1999, Buffalo Trace is the company's flagship Bourbon. Bottled at 45% A.B.V., this whiskey has been praised by both critics and consumers alike for it's smoothness and complexity.
Nose: Sweet, spicy and inviting aromas like cherries and creme brulee dusted with nutmeg.