Just attended a fantastic whisky tasting Monday night at Ward III
. I wasn’t expecting much, but to my surprise a master distiller from Scotland was on hand to present and talk about the various whiskies. The master distiller, Kirsten, was from Burn Stewart Distillers which is a conglomerate that owns three single malt distilleries in Scotland: Bunnahabhain (Islay), Tobermory (Isle of Mull) and Deanston (Highlands). Kirsten brought a selection from each distillery to the tasting. On hand she had Tobermory 10 yr and 15 yr, Bunnahabhain 12 yr and Toiteach and Ledaig 10 yr.
Sitting in an intimate group of four, we smelled, tasted and savored the whiskies. In a true Scottish accent (which I understood less and less as the night wore on) Kirsten patiently explained the history behind each whisky. I’m not sure if it was the accent, but I think having a Scot around when tasting scotch makes the experience all the more special. Also her insights as a master distiller were second to none and her pleasant demeanor was devoid of any pretense.
Sitting with me in the tasting session was a wine and spirits consultant for Astor Wines and the webmaster for NYCWhisky.com. I’m a huge fan of Astor Wines and I believe they have one of the best selections of whisky in Manhattan. NYCWhisky.com is a great resource for whisky tasting in NYC. Peruse their site for all the latest tasting happenings throughout the City. Needless to say it was a treat to taste whisky with these industry pros and I definitely gained some knowledge from their discourse.
My favorite whiskies from the tasting were Bunnahabhain Toiteach and Ledaig 10 yr. Without spoiling the forthcoming detailed reviews I’ll say that Bunnahabhain Toitech is a uniquely balanced peaty whisky which has a hint of dried fruits (usually peaty whiskies are devoid of any sweetness.) While Ledaig 10 yr is a light and oily dram which is easy to sip and had a viscosity comparable to water. According to Kirsten, Ledaig 10 yr is a perfect pairing with dark chocolate. This could finally be the gateway whisky I can introduce to my wife!
All in all the tasting at Ward III was memorable and I can’t wait to return for their next one. They have whisky tastings every Monday from 8-10pm, so stop on by if you’re in the area.