Monday, 19 May 2014

Event: CreateEatWhisky

Whisky is one of the many things that I know very little about. Gin - a bit. Wine - the basics. Tea - I can wax lyrical. But for some reason, whisky has passed me by. I was very excited when I found out that Jelly and Gin were hosting CreateEatWhisky in collaboration with Jura Whisky as part of this year's World Whisky Day celebrations. 
The Nestle Milk Factory on Leith Links - our venue for the evening.
Ghost sign - the only hint of the building's former purpose.
Beautiful lighting, subway tiles.
Custom built candleholders.
Origami lighting.
Rows of tables, copper piping, paper lights.
The tasting begins - whisky number one - Jura Elixir. Our place mats summarised each for us.
Music plays in the background - recorded onsite at the distillery - with instructions on how to taste
Our tasting glasses were not your typical whisky tumbler shape.
How dark is the colour? Rich, golden, pale?
As instructed, we all held up the glass to inspect further.
I've never been sure how much water to add. Enough to create a "marble" effect as the liquids mix, said the chap next to me. 
Breathe it in deeply, edge of the glass to the bottom of the nose. 
What does it smell like?
And now onto the taste.
Take a sip.
Move it around your mouth.
Tasting notes followed the instruction video, giving us hints. 
Beautiful wooden tiffin boxes, containing the first food pairing.
Oatcakes, Ayrshire bonnet cheese, pineapple & ginger chutney, venison salami.
Whisky number two - Prophecy. The music changes, the lighting changes.
A smoke filled cloche arrives.

Loch Duart hot smoked salmon pate, pickled cucumber, squid ink breadsticks.

Whisky number three - Origin. 
Tasting notes: honey.
Pear compote, honey cream, pecan brittle. Coffee and liquorice scent vials.
Whisky number four - Diurachs' Own.
Steaming copper cauldrons, seaweed mist.

Chocolates: lavender, matcha tea, salted caramel.
To finish: scenes and sounds from the distillery.
With thanks.
More collaborators.
Our hosts: Jelly & Gin.
Four drams later, four delicious tasters, and I feel a little more confident with whisky. Turns out I like a dash of water in my malt to tone down the harshness of the alcohol. I was also surprised by the whisky I liked best - number two - Prophecy. My previous experiences of whisky had put me off strong smoke and peat flavours, but with the salmon and cucumber pickles, it really, really worked. I've already made a mental note to do something similar for a dinner party starter soon. A rather marvellous multi-sensory evening, and a great way to learn about something new.