Thursday, April 23, 2015

Zomato MeetUp - The Glenlivet Tasting At The Fire & Ice Hotel

In March, I was invited to the Zomato MeetUp with Beerhouse on Long Street which you can read about here and last night I was invited to their April Meetup! We were invited to a Glenlivet whiskey tasting at the Fire and Ice Hotel in Town and when I received the invite, I was super intrigued! I have previously done a brandy tasting at Klipdrift in Robertson and didn't enjoy it that much, but have never before done a whiskey tasting.

We arrived at Fire and Ice hotel at 18:45 and were greeted by Eskom's fantastic unscheduled  LoadShedding! Although this was slightly inconvenient, it didn't damper the mood and in fact, provided a lovely romantic ambiance! :) On arrival we were given the most delicious welcome drinks which were a combination of Ballantine's whiskey, Sprite and lime cordial - so divine, and refreshing!

Appetizers then arrived in the form of lamb, chicken and boerewors hamburgers! I thoroughly enjoyed my lamb one that was so big, I devoured it in its deconstructed form! :) We were then asked to take our seats and the host for the evening began to take us through the whiskey tasting.

In front of us were three glasses - a 12- year old whiskey on the left, a 15-year old whiskey in the middle and an 18-year old whiskey on the right, We were instructed to smell the whiskeys first and gees louise, were they strong! The host then took us through the process of making whiskey and told us that the three main ingredients in making whiskey is barley, water and yeast, which at some point, essentially gives you beer. The biggest difference is that whiskey is not matured in a bottle but rather in a barrel.
We first sipped the 12-year old whiskey which was just a little too strong for me. The second whiskey, the 15-year old was paired with Lindt's dark chocolate with blueberries and I really enjoyed this one. We were told that the blueberry citrus taste in the chocolate brought out the cinnamon spicy notes of this whiskey and I found that I agreed with that. This whiskey was something that I would be able to enjoy at home, in winter, sipping on it slowly.

The last whiskey, the 18-year old, had a creamy texture and a darker amber colour to it and was better than the 12-year old, but not as nice as the 15-year old. Although, it was a firm favourite among many of the other guests. The host explained that although whiskey is usually served at room temperature, this whiskey should be popped in the fridge an hour before you drink it to enhance its flavours.

By the end of the tasting, I was surprised at how little, if at all, I had pulled my face! Usually whiskey is too strong for me and the smell will typically invoke nausea, but I really enjoyed this and felt like I had truly learnt something about whiskey. If you ever have the chance to do a whiskey tasting, give it a try and you might just be surprised by what you discover!

Although LoadShedding threw a bit of a spanner in the works, it was a really lovely evening with Zomato, The Glenlivet and Fire and Ice Hotel! :)

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