Sunday, 5 July 2015

Balvenie Whisky Masterclass

Scotch in the summer

Balvenie Whisky, a single malt Scotch from Speyside Scotland might not be the biggest selling or the most in demand Scotch Whisky brand in the world, but it has a cult status within the Whisky community due to some creative and playful elements in making the whisky from malt master David Stewart, one of the longest serving malt masters in the world of whisky. At Taste of London in Regent's park, The Balvenie has teamed up with Roux at Parliament Square by the legendary Michel Roux Jr to demonstrate how whisky works with food. Head chef Steve Groves has come up with some mouthwatering dishes using ranges of Balvenie whisky.

My Balvenie experience began with a masterclass with the flamboyant brand ambassador James Buntin, James  demonstrated to us how to taste whisky with certain techniques and tricks such as adding water and holding the whisky inside your mouth for a period of time to experience how flavours develop on your palate.  Out of the three whiskeys I tasted, I enjoyed the Caribbean Cask 14 year old the most, it is a whisky that has been aged to 14 years in American oak before being finished in West Indie rum casks. The soft sweet and fruity aroma with a mellow oaky note, by adding a drop of water, it increased the sweetness and opened up some delightful vanilla note and it was truly fabulous. 

This was followed by a cooking masterclass by Steve Groves making a summer themed dessert of raspberry cranachan using Balvenie port wood 21 years old, Steve used a simple recipe with a magic touch of whisky to bring out extra dimensions of flavours and texture. I also got the chance to try out Balvenie whisky & maple glazed pork belly in a brioche bun, the pork was really moist and flavoured brilliantly by the sweetness and spiciness of the whisky. To finish off the evening I had a stunning dish from Steve, Herwick lamb with courgette, smoked tomato and broad beans with a Spey Trip cocktail which contained fig syrup and plum bitters. The richness,and complexity worked nicely with the lamb with the mild fruity note adding a great summer touch.

The Balvenie Lounge at Taste of London showcased whisky as being far beyond  just an old man's drink, you can be creative by trying in a food recipe or pairing it with dishes that share similar characteristic. And in Balvenie's case, there are different expression in the range that suit any occasion, the 12 year old Double Wood would be an excellent choice for any whisky based classic cocktail, while I can see the Caribbean Cask makes an excellent addition to a spicy savoury recipe. But most importantly, the entire range is just as good as sipping it straight. 

For more inforamtion about The Balvenie:

For more inforamtion about Roux at Parliament Square:

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