Wow! We held our first whisky tasting experience out at Leppington tonight and it was fantastic. Hosted by Ross Blainey, the National Whisky Specialist for William Grant and Sons, our invited guests had the privilege of sampling 10 products from the Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie distilleries in Scotland. Ross was an amazing host - he shared with us a wealth of knowledge, experiences and stories about the products and his time in Scotland.
The night kicked off with products from the Glenfiddich Experimental Series - both the Glenfiddich IPA and Glenfiddich Project XX (not kiss kiss....). We've written some of the story of how these products came to exist in the individual products' information if you're interested in learning more, but we didn't know that some of the females that were part of the Project XX experience were limited in their choice of favourite whisky on the day by their choice of footwear! Side Note: if you ever get the chance to visit the distillery somehow, wear flat shoes!
Our guests were next treated to sampling the Balvenie 12 Year Old and Balvenie 14 Year Old. Ross was hard-pressed to pick a personal favourite from the range sampled tonight, but he said that no matter what he drinks, he always finds himself coming back to the Balvenie 12. Considered almost the 'staple' of the Balvenie range, it would be difficult to argue. It is an amazing drop for a 12 Year Old. The 14 Year Old is finished in rum barrels - the hot tip shared tonight is that it is best enjoyed with dark chocolate (apparently the Lindt dark chocolate with orange is the best option).
The Balvenie 17 Year Old and 21 Year Old were also sampled. The 17 Year Old was not everyone's cup of tea, so to speak, but those who enjoyed it seemed to really love the product. The 21 Year Old was given the thumbs up across the board. I think by this point, most people had forgotten how cold the nights are becoming in Sydney, but the night still had much promise ahead of it. "Intermission" was called, which gave people a great opportunity to enjoy some food and ask individual questions about some of the products.
We were once again seated to learn about the William Grant and Sons Ghosted Reserve 21 Year Old. Similarly to the 26 Year Old currently on display in the whiskey cabinet, the product was introduced by telling the amazing story of what makes this unique whisky. Three closed distilleries' products are brought together as one and bottled as the Ghosted Reserve. The most well known product is the Ladyburn, which closed down in the mid-70's.
We also had the opportunity to sample the Kininvie 23 Year Old. The Kininvie distillery developed into an industry secret in some ways, and whilst it presents as an understated bottle, it has a very light and delicate aroma. We think it's fitting to stop there in keeping up
the secretive nature of this range.
Believe it or not, the night was still not over and we had some pretty major players coming into the fore now: Balvenie 30 Year Old and the star of the show, the Glenfiddich 40 Year Old. To say you've tried these whiskies is something special in itself. "So complex, yet not overpowering", and "Unbelievably smooth" were two statements made by some of our guests. Our typed words might not do these bottles justice, so check back shortly for a few videos from the night!