World Whisky Day takes place on 19 May 2018, and is the perfect reason to book a Whisky Tasting experience at Cape Grace’s Bascule Bar, where we celebrate the water of life in style.
With one of the largest whisky collections in the Southern Hemisphere, Bascule offers the unique opportunity to learn more about the ancient history of whisky, as well as the precise art of distilling, maturing and blending.
We caught up with Bascule’s head barmen, Cameron, for a Shared Experience whisky tasting flight.
What’s In Store
From Tennessee to Taiwan, we sampled 6 whiskies from across the globe, all from the comfort of the cozy and elegant nook, the private lockers of bottles that line the walls creating a ‘speakeasy’ style atmosphere of intrigue.
Beginning with brief history of how whisky came to be and how it is made, Cameron lead us through the process of transforming the grains into the rarefied amber before us.
Even for a novice like myself, it was enthralling, the golden liquid glowing under the lights before us, while Cameron’s wit and passion ignited our imaginations.
Beginning with a Bourbon, we were instructed on how to appreciate the colour (tilt the glass), nose, viscosity, and finally, taste. After an initial sip, taste analysis and chat, it was time to ‘release the beast’ – or add a drop of water as it were. This remarkably alters the flavour, calming the punchier notes and letting some of the subtler tones come through on the palette.
Making our way from the Woodford Reserve – the bourbon a sweet caramelly bite, we moved on to the smooth Redbreast 12-year old, before sampling Kavalan – a Taiwanese whisky with an almondy note!. The last three Scotch whiskies were a bit more of a challenge, the peaty tones likened to ‘drinking the earth’ by Cameron. However, the aficionados relished in their flavours, the Highland Park and Kilchoman declared the table favourites.
Incredible Canape Pairings
Before we hopped off our luxurious leather barstools, Cameron brought us a few canapes and challenged us to guess which whiskies they might pair best with. The smoked salmon was matched with the Highland to delicious effect, but really, it was the blue cheese pairing that blew our minds. While we hazarded guesses that it might be paired with the bourbon, it was matched with the Kilchoman and really, it was incredible just how it changed and enhanced the flavour of the earthen spirit.
A house-made dark chocolate truffle finished us off with a flourish, the heavenly ganache melding with the Glenfarclas we so enjoyed.
The Best Old Fashioned and Tapas in Town
If you’re like me and just beginning your whisky appreciation journey, you might gravitate towards the whisky cocktails, and you can do no better than the famed Old Fashioned. Perfect by the Bascule, it’s (almost) as gratifying to watch being artfully made as it is to savour, the barmen combining a special combo of Reserved Bourbon, maple & muscovado sugar syrup, the blend of house bitters and a special twist of orange.
Sampling the world’s finest can be hungry work, which is why you should leave room to indulge in the Tapas Menu, the salt and pepper squid with sweet, and smoked ostrich, served with balsamic-poached pear, goats cheese and pine nuts personal recommendations. If you’re feeling tempted to go all in, order a slice of their New York style Cheesecake – a sweet end to a night you’re sure to want to repeat very soon.
Book Your Whisky Tasting Experience
Choose from the Shared Experience tasting at R395 per person, or, for the true aficionado, opt for the very special Connoisseur’s Choice at R1000 pp: a bespoke tasting of premium whiskies from the Bascule’s incredible collection.
Gift a Tasting Experience
With Father’s Day just peeking around the corner (these occasions are always closer than what you think), gifting either of these tastings to dad is sure to win you the favourite child award. Purchase a whisky tasting card here.
Telephone: +27 (21) 410 7082 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.
Whisky Facts that’ll make you look like a whiz while sipping on the ‘Wall Street wine”:
- Whiskey spelled with an ‘e’ means that you’re drinking an Irish brand. Whisky without the e? Scottish.
- Irish whiskey is distilled three times, “triple-distilled,” using pure-malted barley as the grain.
- Whisky doesn’t age once bottled
- Single Malt whisky is the product of whisky made using 100% malted barley at a ‘single’ distillery using copper pot stills.
- The “Angel’s share” or “Angel’s tax” refers to the 4% of whiskey that evaporates every year.
- New-make (whisky before it’s whisky) is completely colourless. It gains all of its colour through the maturation process in cask
- Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which means ‘water of life’.
- By definition, Tennessee whiskey must be aged in new white oak casks and bourbon in new charred oak barrels.
- The spirit has to stay in the barrel for a minimum of three years before it can legally be called whisky.
Blog post by: Tarah Darge