A Special Whisky Tasting Session at Phoenicia Hotel ahead of #WorldWhiskyDay

With an unimaginable choice that features over 400 totally different whiskies, Phoenicia Resort is as prepared as ever to host the World Whisky Day in Beirut! World Whisky Day (WWD) is a worldwide celebration of whisky’s heritage, craftsmanship, range and kinship. It’s occurring this Saturday Could 20th, 2017 and Phoenicia has been chosen as an official host in Lebanon.

Within the run-up to WWD, I used to be invited to a singular tasting session with Makram Salha and Patsy Christie. Salha is a seasoned beverage and tobacco curator who owns Vinum Ltd. and one of many largest and most spectacular collections of whiskies within the Center East. It’s fairly the journey speaking to Salha about his whisky assortment, one he’s extraordinarily happy with and will spend hours telling you the story of each single bottle.

I met Patsy Christie when she was The Macallan’s Center East Model Ambassador. Patsy teamed up with Salha and at present works as a bar advisor at Vinum Ltd. A couple of minutes after assembly Patsy, and also you’ll make certain of her deep ardour for whisky. It’s her absolute favourite spirit on the planet and she or he enjoys sharing her experiences and ongoing love story with Scotch Whisky and single malts. What’s refreshing about Patsy is that she shares all points of the whisky business with you: each what she loves, and what she hates. Briefly, if single malts weren’t your factor, they are going to be after Patsy is finished with you.

We met at Eau De Vie, on Phoenicia’s high flooring, overlooking Zaitunay Bay and the St Georges Yacht Membership. The night kicked off with me being given a brief session on how whisky was made, the totally different levels of its manufacturing and a basic overview.

An important truth I took away is that barley is taken into account the holiest of grains in terms of whisky. I additionally discovered that selecting to make use of barley, means you’re gonna have an additional exhausting time making it. That’s as a result of in contrast to different grains similar to wheat, corn and rye, barley wants an additional means of malting to kick-start the germination course of. Barley wants a number of work and persistence, and is loads trickier to deal with. It’s the primary motive why single malts are so extremely revered on the planet of whisky.

Single malts can take as much as 25 years, much more generally. That evening although, in lower than an hour, I used to be taken via the whole course of, step-by-step, in lower than hour. We used water, barley, peat, hearth, a tiny espresso mill, wort and oak samples. We methodically went via malting, milling, mashing, fermentation and distillation. Clearly, full maturation wasn’t a part of our demonstration, given it wants particular equipment and a a number of years. We did have two small items of oak casks to exhibit how the whisky is absorbed into the oak.

Under I’ve summarized the steps of the whole course of:

1- Soak barley in water for 40-48 hours to weaken it’s powerful exterior and activate enzymes to start germination.

2- Unfold the moist barley and depart it to begin taking pictures, permitting the germination course of to proceed. This could take anyplace from Four-Eight days relying on climate.

Three- Dry the barley utilizing giant ovens referred to as kilns, a peat hearth is elective. Because the barley continues to be moist, it should extra readily take in any smoke. It’s value noting that every one whisky was peated initially however now most use coal, furnaces or giant industrial machines as a substitute.

Four- Grind the barley into husky, grits and flour, exposing the sugar out. Husks and grits are important as a result of they assist preserve the combination liquid and never doughy.

5- Add sizzling water to the grits. Repeat this course of 3 times until all of the sugary liquid referred to as wort is extracted.

6- Yeast is added to the wort, and that’s when the fermentation begins. At this stage the whisky-making course of is similar to beer brewing.

7- At this level, the whisky is distilled for first time. The ensuing liquid appears to be like kinda like soiled water with tiny blueish fragments which might be a by-product of the chemical response between cooper and sulphur. After the second distillation, the liquid begins to resemble whisky as we all know it (60-70% ABV) and begins to odor prefer it too.

Some distilleries distil Three occasions as a substitute of two. The additional distillation is mainly an added purification step and get the whisky to the next proportion of alcohol. Nonetheless, many individuals within the whisky world consider that the extra you distil, regardless that you take away the “unhealthy” elements, you additionally lose a number of the “good” elements within the course of. That’s why most Scotch single malts undergo two distillations, in contrast to most Irish whiskies that are triple distilled as a substitute of twice (and it’s spelled Whiskey in Eire, not Whisky like in Scotland). Scots really feel that the third distillation course of makes the whisky lose its “umpft”. Scotch single malt is sort of a soiled whisky: it’s bought tonnes extra taste, and because the Scotch whisky makers informed me, they aren’t making an attempt to create one thing excellent like in a lab.

The stills used for distillation of single malt whisky are at all times manufactured from copper.

Eight- The brand new make spirit is poured into an oak cask, and that’s when the romantic half begins. Casks breathe the alcohol out and in of their oak partitions because the temperature and moisture raises and falls. This fluctuation is what causes the alcohol to acquire its color and most of its flavours … turning it into the liquid gold all of us like to get pleasure from.

After going via the whole course of, I used to be introduced with a number of whiskies that might be served on Saturday. It was hands-down essentially the most attention-grabbing whisky tasting session I’ve ever been a part of as a result of for as soon as, it wasn’t a few single model with totally different expressions, however seven fairly uncommon bottles and one really particular bottle that won’t be served on the dinner… Fortunate me! :P)

You may assume that single malt whisky is difficult, however what really issues is having fun with the whisky. Simply let your style buds information you. Drink it neat, add a drop of water if it’s good to, however be cautious when including ice or mixers as this may occasionally stunt the aromas of a uncommon whisky.

Whisky is about pleasure. You sit, you could have a glass, you both prefer it otherwise you don’t. It’s a pleasure drink. That’s why, at all times drink it the best way you’re feeling it’s proper. Whisky on the rocks shouldn’t be one thing unsuitable. In case you choose it that approach, then go for it. Most consultants will counsel you strive your whisky neat first, and slowly add one drop at a time, tasting after every drop, till you discover your perfection. It’s straightforward so as to add water to whisky, but it surely’s fairly the method to take away it … so have a mild hand.

The bottles have been as follows:

Aberfeldy 21 Years In Oak Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 40.zero%

Amrut Fusion Indian Single Malt Whisky, 50.zero%

The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 17 Years Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 43.zero%

Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky, 57.Eight%

The Nikka 12 Years Outdated Blended Japanese Whisky, 43.zero%

Laphroaig Aged 15 Years Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 43.zero%

In addition to The Balvenie first fill sherry oak, single cask pattern that Makram & Patsy bottled themselves within the distillery’s warehouse throughout a latest journey to Scotland.

It was fairly an intriguing tasting and I bought to understand the work behind these aged spirits much more. I additionally perceive higher now how the time within the oak casks turns them into one thing that may by no means be replicated precisely, and that’s the true treasure and fantastic thing about whisky, particularly single malts.

We even ranked the bottles on the finish primarily based on which we preferred most. I’ll share my rankings under and some feedback on every bottle.

1 – The Balvenie first fill sherry oak, single cask pattern: It is a really particular and fairly priceless whisky that only a few have had the respect of tasting. I used to be extraordinarily fortunate to be certainly one of them!

2 – Aberfeldy 21 Years In Oak: Fruity, a bit spicy with a touch of smokiness on the finish.

Three – Amrut Fusion: That is the primary time ever I style Indian whisky and I’m pretty sure that is pretty much as good as Indian whisky will get. Amrut Fusion is distilled from barley from Scotland and India and was named Jim Murray’s Third Most interesting Whisky within the World for 2010.

Four – The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 17 Years

5 – Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask: This Taiwanese whisky was very intense and spicy with style of molasses and occasional. It goes straight from the cask into the bottle. It’s a reasonably uncommon whisky, and one that’s not watered down in any respect with 57.Eight% alcohol content material.

6 – The Nikka 12 Years Outdated: To be completely trustworthy, I used to be by no means a giant fan of Japanese whisky. I discover it to be approach too sturdy. It’s simply not my form of whisky. I don’t thoughts it but it surely’s undoubtedly not my favourite sort.

7 – Laphroaig Aged 15 Years: That’s one of many only a few whiskies nonetheless being made with peated barley. The model carries a Royal Warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales, which clearly is a giant deal. I simply didn’t prefer it in any respect…

All in all, it was a particularly instructional and pleasing tasting session. I’m actually trying ahead to the occasion on Saturday! The night will begin with a screening of a film referred to as “The Angels’ Share” that’s all about whisky and friendship, adopted by sultry whisky-food pairing dinner.

World Whisky Day is happening on Saturday 20th at Eau de Vie. Right here’s the complete program:

THE ANGELS’ SHARE (2012) MOVIE SCREENING | 18:30-20:30 | $45 incl. VAT
Four whiskies | 1 film | 1 cigar | Three popcorns | Three connoisseur canapés

WHISK(E)Y SHINDIG | 20:30-Late | $90 incl. VAT
9 whiskies | cocktails | Four-course dinner | 1 blues band | 2 DJs | 9 prizes

You may try additional data [right here].

Leave a Reply