“I’ll have three fingers of Glenlivet, with a little bit of pepper… and some cheese.” Said Ron Burgundy the lead character in Anchorman; a 2004 movie and this is how it started when I started talking of Burgundies aka wines to Alex Robertson the Global brand ambassador for Glenlivet and I got anchored sooner rather than later with the first dram of the 12-year-old. It was at a whisky tasting organized for corporate honchos by Pernod Ricard a global co-leader in wines and spirits at Prego; the Italian diner at the Westin Garden City, Mumbai.
It was an easy going evening, and you could really tell from people’s faces that it was a Friday. Alex was flitting around talking to guests and welcoming them. It was his fifth city in five days of him in the country and had a lot of stories to take back home. Alex asserted “Indians have a sophisticated taste for whiskies out of emerging markets….and they surely don’t have their whiskies with green tea.” I would say he has only seen the creamy layer! When probed about observations from the cities he we went to; Alex remarked, “Chandigarh was a different case in it itself…they deal with “cases” of it and not in pegs. They continued till we ran out of it”. The party networked on as the 12 kept flowing accompanied by some chicken pate in pastry, sweet and sour Almonds and Bocconcini tomato roulade.
The Glenlivet located in the Speyside began as an illicit liquor business until King George 4th on his visit to Scotland in 1822 asked for the whisky made by George Smith, George saw an opportunity and set up a licensed one in 1824…the rest is history. We tasted the 12, 15, 18 and 21 year olds. By the virtue of “snob value” most of us would end up voting for the 21 years old and being the best for it also being the most expensive but I was glad that Alex at the beginning of the tasting asked people to trust their own tastes and not to get influenced by his words.
12-year-old: Aged predominantly in American oak barrels;this one was high on vanilla and tropical fruits like banana. Easy to drink with a smooth finish and a lingering vanilla finish.
15-year-old: Aged in a mix of American and new French oak the 15 had a sweet and nutty note on the nose but a very spicy finish on the palate. The French oak gave it the extra complexity.
18-year-old: The big brother of the 12, partly aged in sherry casks this whisky had the sweet, the spice, the nuttiness and the oak. Can pair well with food!
21-year-old: Sweetest of all, imagine honey, toffee, vanilla, sweet spice on the nose and creamy and buttery on the palate. An apt night-cap for sure.
Alex kept us feeding with information throughout and my company at the table including Adrian Pinto the wine chief at Pernod Ricard ensured that we kept exchanging some healthy banter.
The dinner that followed was a 3 course Table d’hote menu.
The Antipasto; sweet corn pannacotta with parmesan fondue really had me dumfounded (see image),the vegetable terrine for mains was tastefully done, a piece of layered a la “carpaccio” veggies and gratinated. The highlight of the meal was the dessert, the Vanilla Pannacotta with raspberry sorbet; the candied basil was a good twist.The tipple kept flowing throughout the meal and conversations were interspersed; topics ranging from Paris v/s Rome, India as a destination, sex and Amsterdam ,Italy and wine….etc etc…….It was indeed a memorable Friday evening with Glenlivet…. No “Glen Live It”. Thanks to the Pernod team, Nishant Agarwal ( EAM,Westin) and his team for putting up a good show.
Slainte! (That’s how we raise a toast in Gaelic…Pronounced as Slahn-cha and means Health)