Alcohol Appreciation !

Taking a tour of Scotland, sipping a glass of 40 year old, blended, malt whiskey was not my kind of dream. Not that I wouldn't have loved this, but just that it was too much of a fairy tale for me to even dream. But what if Johnnie insists..? It is not easy for anybody to say "No" to Johnnie .. and neither did I. And that is how I ended up at Taj Westend that evening for the 'Scotch Appreciation Session' organized by Johnnie Walker.

It was great to see six glasses of different kinds of fine scotch whiskey on the table in front of me, smiling at me (I guess). The whole idea of the session was to educate the 'potential scotch lovers' on the various aspects of preparation and consumption of scotch. It involved a tour of the distilleries of Scotland (obviously on the screen), scotch tasting sessions and sharing of some interesting scotch trivia. Our mentor for the day, Mark, made sure that the session is interesting and intoxicating at the same time..!! It was truly an amazing journey to the world of whiskeys and the country of Scotland, the only place in earth where Scotch whiskey is manufactured... and they have a legal right to the name too. It simply means that you cannot call your stuff "Scotch" whiskey unless you manufacture AND bottle it in Scotland.

There are primarily four major types of scotches it seems.. depending on the taste/smell you get out of it - the ones that remind you of Smoke, Ice Cream, Dry fruits or Freshly cut fruit. And if you think that these flavors are result of some artificial processing, you got it all wrong like me. The typical color and flavor/smell of the scotch is a factor of the location of the distillery and the storage containers. For example, the scotch gets a darker color if it is stored in Oak wood containers from Spain, which were used to store wine before. The light colored whiskeys are the ones stored in containers from United States, made of light wood. As the whiskey gets old, the wood will suck up some color from the alcohol, making it a lighter shade.

The smell of the whiskey is again a characteristic of the location of the manufacturing unit.. the ones made in islands like Syke, will smell smoky as Pete is used as fuel in most of these places. The fruity flavor of the whiskeys made in the highlands is blamed on the fruit bearing trees found in abundance there. When the whiskey is stored in wooden containers for years, they slowly suck in all these fruity smells from the air around. Difficult to believe.. right..? And what about the ice cream flavor..? Nope, it is not because the distillery also manufactures ice cream or because its near to an ice cream factory. The ice cream /vanilla smell is due to the chemical "Vinillin" naturally found in all pulses in small amounts, which comes out when boiled.

We had our sessions on tasting and smelling different types of whiskeys to understand the difference in tastes and flavors. There were whiskeys as old as 43 years! Every time, before we sipped, we went through this process of smelling, tilting the glass to observe the legs and adding little water to release the smell. The legs are indicators of how strong/mild the alcohol is, according to Mark. I thought that is something I always knew... look at the legs of the person and you know exactly how strong the alcohol was! But the real funny part was when I asked Mark about his favorite drink. He said "Khodays Rum"!

After a few hours with Johnnie you will start to believe that reality is in fact an illusion caused by the deficiency of alcohol!!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...