While passing a duty free at an airport we often stop by to acquire a good quality spirit, generally a blended whiskey or a single malt. We may not know much about the spirit or the blending process but we blindly trust a popular brand not because we consider it to be the best but because we are confident of the consistency in taste.
We all know that Scotland is the largest producer of Whiskey. But what’s more important than the quality or the quantity of whiskey? It is the processes that ensure that there is consistency in taste each time you open a bottle and take a sip. This is the greatest legacy this little country has created for itself. This was not achieved in a day. In earlier times the whiskey was distilled by many Scottish households and even though the highlands, valleys and the rivers of the country have created a highly conducive environment for the production of good quality malts, consistency remained a major issue.
John, the founder of John Walker & Sons wanted to enter into the trading of single malts but never found them consistent, so he started blending them in order to get that perfect taste each time. And the rest is history.
The interactive and engaging whiskey tasting session at Café Dalal Street by the knowledgeable Mr. Ajay Nayyar, Brand Ambassador of United Spirits helped us gain knowledge in the most interesting way possible. Every table had 5 blends each having their own distinct flavour, accompanied by various spices and ingredients to understand how their sweetness or astringency correspond to the blends. The blends that we tasted were:
Vat 69 – The bollywood’s favourite whiskey which Amitabh chose to hold in a movie just because of the bottle’s long neck is a blend of around 40 different malt and grain whiskeys. It has a sweet syrupy flavor with crisp woody notes. The aftertaste is not long but has subtle smoky and warm tones. Its taste corresponds with dark chocolate.
Black and White – This lesser known but really good blend is a great option for cocktails. The flavor corresponds to those of sugared dried fruits, oak and pepper. We tried it with dried apricots after smelling cinnamon. It goes best with Ginger Ale.
Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve – Its secret lies in the barrels that they import from Spain which are previously used for producing Sherry Wines. It’s like a burst of flavours in your mouth which stays for a long time. Its rich flavours acquired by wood chemicals such as vanillin and lignin go well with equally rich food like plum cake.
Red Label – The world’s most popular whiskey is a blend of 35 malt and grain whiskeys. The taste predominantly is sweet and has a subtle smokiness due to its peppery spiciness. After drinking it, I noticed plenty of heat. Its aroma is like a rum raisin and we had it with candied ginger. Spritzer cocktail is a popular concoction of this blend.
Black label – It’s considered to be the Ultimate Scotch Deluxe Whiskey. This premium blend of the Johnny Walker flagship is much milder as compared to Red Label and has a sweet aroma of vanilla and maple syrup with a very subtle smokiness. Its flavor corresponds with cinnamon.
This knowledgeable session ended on a good note with tasting competitions and distribution of Black Dog Triple Reserve Whiskey as prizes.