October 05, 2010

Dewar's Scotch Tasting

I signed up for another UrbanDaddy.com deal, a tasting of Dewar's Scotch, and invited ABF, That Sara, and her BF Mike to join me. It was free, it was Scotch, and did I mention it was free? That almost automatically qualifies it as a Finer Things Club outing...which it was. :)

Mike is actually the person who got me interested in Scotch--back in the day at Montel, he and Kwame and I would share Johnnie Walkers & Ginger Ale--a refreshing combo!

Mike and I also went to a Scotch tasting years ago (before either of us even knew That Sara!) with my friend Jenny, so I figured this would be similar. There was food, but the servers rarely made it over to us in the far corner of the room. Hello, work the room! We got wise though, and Mike & I started meeting the servers as soon as they came out of the kitchen. This time was over quickly, though, so we hadn't eaten much by the time we went in for the tasting. I would have loved more food before the Scotch!

Back to the present--like the Johnnie Walker event, the Dewar's folks had set up a room with hors d'oeuvres and a free cocktail. They offered three kinds: Dewar's 12 year Scotch on the rocks, A Dewar's & Ginger Ale (!) made with their White blend, and the Smash, a spin on the mojito with the White blend as well. Mike got the rocks, Sara & ABF got the Smash, and I got the Dewars & Ginger Ale. They were all delicious--even the rocks! I had Dewars ages ago and thought it was too peaty/smoky for me, but I was willing to come out to a (free) tasting, and I am so glad I did!

The party then moved into the next room, where they had tables set up with lots of beautiful glassware and what looked like chemistry sets! It was a lovely setting.

Our eyes lit up at the chemistry set--clearly this was an interactive event! The front row of test tubes contained, left to right: honey, citrus peel, lavender/heather seeds, vanilla stick, and peat. The host walked us through each item, first asking us to smell the item, then reach behind and open the vial that contained the scotch that contained that flavor/aroma. PS: I could NOT smell the peat for the life of me. I think that's a good thing. Now, Scotch is only made with water, barley and yeast-yet each different vial held such a different array of scents--so cool and science-y!

We learned about the history of Dewar's (Scotland owes a big debt to the late President Harrison). When word spread that he was having a keg of Dewar's shipped to him from Scotland, their sales exploded! We also learned how the Scotch develops all those different flavors, and much like making perfume, Scotch blends are perfected by smell, not by taste.

Then came the hands-on part--we got to make our own blends! We picked the aroma we liked the best (I chose fruity/citrus) to use as the base, and then added bits of the others until we liked what we smelled. I used all the blends, but only a drop or two of the 'smokey,' as the peaty flavor/smell is my least favorite.

Smokey was ABF's favorite--his was a very manly blend--woo!

We also learned that what you call 'legs' in wine (those streaks that go down the insides of the glass when you swirl) are called 'tears' in the Scotch world.

My blend has very nice tears. :)

We also had ready and waiting samples of their Dewar's White Blend (recommended for mixed drinks), the 12-year Dewar's (best neat or on the rocks), and their latest batch which isn't even available on the market yet. I was surprised I liked all three of them (the not-yet-released was my favorite).

For our final tasting, they brought us out 12 year aged Dewar's on ice--the best way they recommend enjoying it. I was surprised at how smooth it was, and that I really enjoyed it. This branding event worked, because I walked in thinking I didn't even like Dewar's, and I walked out thinking the opposite.

While the Johnnie Walker event was a little more 'dazzling' and produced, this was more fun. We also got 2 rocks glasses each as a parting gift. AWESOME! Well played, Dewar's... well-played. And well done--it was fun!

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