Feasting on the finest flavours from Scottish coast-to-coast, Edinburgh yelpers embarked on a Wild Whisky Trail last night all without leaving The Bow Bar or Victoria Street! Whisky tasting with four regional whiskies accompanied by cheese from I. J. Mellis and 90% dark chocolate, delectable canapés of venison carpaccio, caviar and quails eggs from The Grain Store and our own Yelp whisky tasting notes competition – as Jurgen D said, 'it doesn't get more Elite than that!'
Sniffing, sipping and savouring were standard as Helen and Mike from The Bow Bar talked as through a no-frills and no-fuss whisky tasting. Rule number one: trust your own tastebuds! Don't let anyone else tell you how it should taste. Rule number two: don't stick your nose in the glass to inhale (said as Brad G and most of us did just that). Let the scent drift delicately upwards, far more palateable!
Not one, not two, but four (did we miss a number?) full drams of liquid sunshine were offered to the yelpers very kindly provided by Glenfarclas, Springbank, anCnoc and Laphroaig. Taking a trip from the lowlands to the highlands and off to Islay, Emily V mused 'the selection was beautiful, ranging from quite light in both colour and flavour to quite intense and dark.'
Parched to know how such whiskies taste? Joe A has one fierce memory and despite all four drams can still talk us through them the morning after: 'anCnoc, very bourbon-esque, very light, very fresh. Glenfarclas 15, a bit more bite and decent with a chunk of chocolate. Laphroaig Quarter Cask, very strong', peaty and smokey, 'and Springbank, a delightfuly spicy number that paired beautifully with the blue Stilton.'
Putting such perceptive palates to the test, The Bow Bar challenged the keenest yelper review skills with a tasting notes competition of the Glenfarclas 15. Toni G thought the 'smooth and warming caramel tones reminded her of eating Christmas pudding on a cold winter's day', Colin Z's mood was 'brought alive by the smoky, sweet deliciousness that is Glenfarclas', Doigy D tasted 'Caribbean spicy and citrus notes', Chris M wrote a lymeric-that-shall-not-be-repeated, and Greg D savoured the simple 'honey and vanilla'. But it was Joe A himself that took home the prize bottle of Glenfarclas: 'like a loving slap in the face from the ex-girlfriend you still love.' Short but (bitter) sweet!
It wasn't just whisky that whisked us round the Scottish shores. I . J. Mellis provided some sensational cheeses such as Mull cheddars, a creamy blue stilton and goats cheese. Pairing each whisky to a cheese alongside some dark chocolate from 70% – 90% you'd think these yelpers' tastebuds couldn't be any more tantalised.
Think again. Canapés from The Grain Store were served, and for 5 whole minutes the room was silent barr the occasional hushed exclamation of appreciation for Carlo's minature masterpieces. Venison carpaccio served with beetroot, home-smoked salmon with caviar and dill, seasonal asparagus and quails eggs. Need we say more? Joe A will. 'Oh my lord, Grain Store, you had me at "Ven". To die for." Chris M's only regret is that there wasn't more as 'there are few things he wouldn't have done for another bite of that venison!'
Despite being a school night, more drinks were ordered, the Glenfarclas 40 was brought out and it was past 11pm before the last yelpers trickled out the door. So let's raise our glasses, make a toast and give many thanks to Helen and Mike at The Bow Bar, Grace from I. J. Mellis, Carlo from The Grain Store, all four whiskies Glenfarclas, Springbank, anCnoc and Laphroaig, Robin Mair for the photies, and last but never least the Edinburgh Elites and their guests for bringing the party!
Yelp Edinburgh Community Manager