Thursday, 11 June 2015

Johnny Walker Double Black Whisky Experience

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Some spell it 'Whiskey' while others spell it 'Whisky' and the right way to spell it has been an argument that is quite overdone. The funda goes like this -
 - If the country has the alphabet 'e' in its name; then this fine alcoholic beverage is spelt as 'Whiskey' with an 'e', and;
 - The countries without an 'e' in its name conveniently skip the alphabet and spell it as 'Whisky'.

In this post, I will go by the globally accepted standards and spell it they way its ought to be and that's 'Whisky'. Easy to term it as the most popular whisky brands world over; across whisky categories is the brand Johnnie Walker owned by Diageo from Scotland. Our Whisky for the lovely evening ahead was the 'Double Black Whisky'; a deeper, smokier and a more intense version of the world no. 1 blended scotch whisky - Johnnie Walker Black Label.

It truly was an experience to be hosted by Diageo at the al-Fresco and classy bar Blue Ginger at Taj West-End. Our evening began with a showcase of the Johnnie Walker Double Black whisky with the Diageo Reserve Brand Amabassador 'Zbigniew Zapert' alias 'Zibi' curating a deconstructed tasting session of the complex flavors of the exquisite and creamy blended Scotch whisky. The only way this experience could be elevated from its heights could be by pairing the whisky with delectable food from the dynamic kitchen of Chef Sandip Narang.

Focusing on the 4 key elements / flavors of Double Black whisky; Zibi concocted 4 cocktails; each specifically highlighting flavors of raisins, green apple, berries or spices. Our first drink for the evening was the 'Double Black Raisin Sour' which beautifully brought out the flavor of the raisin on the palate and the aroma and freshness of the twisted orange peel to the nose. As the cocktails were passed on among us, the first course of the food pairing arrived and it was a platter of cheese to go along with the cocktail. Simple and elegant were the words I reminisced.

Next up was the 'Double Black Oaky Apple' paired with Smoked Ham. This cocktail was served in a martini glass and was a concoction of oak aged port wine and Johnnie Walker Double Black'; topped with a Green Apple foam for the freshness.

Our third cocktail for the evening was the 'Double Black and Berry' paired with perfectly grilled and subtly flavored lamb chops. This cocktail had two of my favorite ingredients - Whisky and ginger ale. The berry syrup also an inclusion to make this cocktail added a sweetness that I did not enjoy much.

The next pairing had me amazed and standing on my feet. 'Double Black Maple Masala Old Fashioned' paired with the Indian classic 'Galouti Kabab' placed on sheermal. Needless to say, "This cocktail is by far the best twist to the classic old fashioned I've ever tasted." Barring the whisky, the surprise element that really elevated this cocktail was the maple syrup that was infused with garam masala for over an hour. Pairing was brilliant with the galouti adding to the spice and the sheermal working beautifully to mellow the intensity. 

Done with the cocktails; the last was 'Double Black and Water' which was clearly intense, had a warm finish and left a lingering taste of the smoke. The final pairing was my first experience and certainly something I've looked forward to in the recent times - 'Rich German Chocolate Cake'. I loved this pairing for the way the chocolate and Whisky contributed to the pairing in terms of textures and flavor and at the same time; maintained their individual notes and characteristics.

The evening seamlessly extended into a casual social gathering with more Double Black whisky and cocktails with a good spread of complimenting food which included breads, cheese boards, cold cuts, live grills, Asian mains and desserts.

With different things happening over the course of the evening, what remained constant and repetitive (in a good way) was Zibi's reminder, "Drink less but drink better; choose better places, better situations, better booze and most of all great company and wonderful food."

What else can I say, "I absolutely agree with you Zibi!" Cheers!

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