Alice in Whiskyland (pt. 2)

You may be wondering what happened to Pt. 1

Never got around to blogging about it and now it’s a hazy, happy memory. I attended Billy’s whisky night at The Alma which was to be my first official whisky tasting type event.
He covered the different regions and styles. I learnt a great deal that evening, which left me thinking I need to know MORE!

I’ve been a casual whisky drinker for years, not really knowing much and sticking with the more well known brands.
Occasionally friends would thrust something in my direction instructing me: “Drink this! You’ll like it”.
Invariably I wouldn’t which left me thinking that maybe I wasn’t a whisky drinker after all. A similar feeling I had about wine when I first started exploring. The decision was made to make a concerted effort to educate this heathen palate and find “my one” (as Big Kev assures me I will find one day, and he’s not talking about men).

So a somewhat nervous “Alice” turned up at The Alma, with an open mind and bags of enthusiasm to begin this journey of discovery into Whiskyland.

That night I also met Jason who runs the Whisky Squad, and was told to keep an eye out for tickets as it’s a rather good night.
I did and was lucky enough to snaffle the last ticket to the March tasting. Go me!

Compass Box Tasting with the Whisky Squad

This would be my first, and certainly not my last Whisky Squad.
Held in the little room upstairs at The Gunmakers in Clerkenwell, a fabulous oldey world pub with a conscise yet delicious menu.

I don’t usually go with the chicken but it seemed like the easy option. The biggest most succulent breast turned up, nestled atop a small mountain of mash covered in green peppercorn sauce. Awesome (which is what I told the young man serving me, who promptly ran upstairs to tell the chef)  <—- Did I just say “young man”!!

Wandering upstairs I was greeted by Jason who I’d met briefly at the previous whisky tasting I’d done with Billy at The Alma.

Pretty much as I’d expected it was a bit of a sausage fest, this was a whisky tasting after all. But it turns out they’re all lovely and friendly and not at all stuck up about the golden nectar.
The tasting was being lead by Chris Maybin from Compass Box, so he really did know his onions.
7 varieties all tasted blind.

1. Asyla
2. Oak Cross
3. Spice Tree (illegal)
4. Spice Tree (legal)
5. Peat Monster
6. Hedonism
7. Hedonism 10th Anniversary

I would prattle on about the tasting but if I’m honest after about the 3rd whisky my notes get a little incoherent, and the handwriting almost illegible. Ok maybe not that bad but I’m not going to bore you.
They were all lovely apart from the “illegal” Spice Tree which I didn’t care much for, so not too heartbroken that it’s no longer available.

Recognising 2 of the whiskies blind, I was rather impressed with myself, but then they are fairly distinctive.
The first time I tried Peat Monster was a Drinks by the Dram sample I’d purchased from Master of Malt. Loved it! Smells wonderfully peaty but on sipping it you find it’s less peaty and more smokey. Simply gorgeous.

Hedonism I had tried as a dram as well and was disappointed, not with how the whisky tasted but the word “hedonism” conjured up opulence, sultry, sexy, dark forbidden pleasures.
Whereas this tasted like a girls night out. An awfully good girls night out! Soft, vanilla, coconut, fragrant, almost face cream-esque. Yes a bit like kissing a girl, and yes I liked it.

The cherry on top of the evening was of course the 10yr Anniversary edition of Hedonism. A single grain whisky which I’m told is becoming quite rare.
Not many bottles left and if I remember correctly there were only about 120 to begin with and only 24 available in the UK.
Master of Malt has stock, £200 … my birthday’s in July.

Compass Box do interesting things with whisky, I would say they do whisky alchemy. Not always appreciated by the traditionalists but where would we be if people weren’t brave enough to push the envelope?

A great night, met lovely new people and hoping to make The Whisky Squad a regular event in my calendar.


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