Old and Rare Whisky at the Broadfield | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Monday, 11 August 2014

Old and Rare Whisky at the Broadfield

With the heady wafts of five fine whiskies in front of us, we arrived again for another tasting in the upstairs room of the Broadfield. The evening was a warm one, due to both the weather and the extreme popularity of the soon to be international tasting events run by Ed Daly (@whiskycurator). As well as the excellent whisky on offer, there was also a selection of exquisite food planned by chef Rob, to complement and contrast with our drams.

We opened with a spectacular whisky from Bowmore: the 16 year (1989 release). This bottling is a limited release that due to its excellence has sold out from most places, but can still be purchased for almost double its original price from auction sites. The whisky hums lightly of the sea, coupled with a smoked lime sherbet. Even more of the salty, iodine flavours came out on the taste, which paired perfectly with the sweetness from the bourbon cask. The whisky is bottled at 51.8% but doesn't have the heat expected from cask strength. It is a whisky that does everything you would expect from a Bowmore, but on a level not often seen.

Seared king scallops with candied leek, served on a bed of truffle polenta were served alongside: the food managed to find a careful balance of sweetness in the leek and sea-saltiness in the scallop to enhance the flavours of the whisky.

Yamazaki Mizanara is a truly rare whisky, and one that has not yet been released in the UK, but had been acquired for the evening by our host. This whisky is aged in a Mizanara cask, a kind of Japanese oak not often used as it is a slow growing tree and very temperamental in casks (it expands and contracts erratically and leakage is often inevitable), which makes it the most expensive bottle of the evening (around £250 a bottle). It has the smell of lingering minty incense and apricots, that continues to grow on the palate to a flavour unlike anything else we've ever tried, with flavours of malted fruits and a sweet woodiness of tobacco. The finish is of a light fruitiness and subtle smoke.

The food accompaniment in this case was potted rabbit, hazelnut tuille and woodland pesto made from nettles, garlic, sorrel and lovage. A great earthiness from the pesto intensifies with the flavours of the Japanese oak. The rabbit itself is bold and rich and the hazelnut tuille provided the perfect level of sweetness.

The next dram was a Fettercairn 24 year. The smell was of a Victorian retiring room during tea service: wafts of old leather, fruit scones and a small sherry. A little further into the smell came the tickly heat of black pepper and walnut. On the taste was the same retiring room, this time late evening with a large glass of sherry and a toffee pudding, plus a lovely spice creeping in on the finish.


Pan fried pigeon breast with a summer berry kebab and a strawberry balsamic jus was the pairing here. Pigeon is one of my favourite pieces of poultry and this was a fine example of how good game can be.

The oldest whisky of the evening came second to last in the form of Glenfarclas 30, which has an incredibly rounded nose of sweet toffee with treacle that gives way to citrus punch. The sherry finish is exquisitely sticky and rounded across the mouth but steps up a notch with delightful spiced dried fruit. Whilst this whisky was awesome, its age means for me that there is a little loss of a certain characteristic - the flavours all marry together so well that we both found it almost bland.

This was served with an ideal accompaniment: venison tortellini with sautéed wild mushrooms. The richness of this dish worked really well with the hearty nature of the whisky.

The final dram of the night was undoubtedly the most special. We were initially taken by surprise by the colour - blush pink! This turned out to be Bruichladdich 10 year "Duplex" - a private cask bottling, with 244 bottles produced. Finished in very rare Petrus wine casks and personally bottled by Jim McEwan, this is certainly a whisky with a story to tell. A robust wine-y nose gives way to a rounded flavour of red fruits and delicate sweetness. At 62.3%, this is a whisky which fills the head rather than the stomach with warmth. It is a marvellous dram that tickles all the palate with a rounded depth from the fine red wine finish.

This was served with a goat's cheese semifreddo, apricot puree and summer berry candy: a delightful pud and a wonderfully sweet way to draw the evening to a close.

This was a splendid end to the tasting series, with some of the finest whiskies we've sampled throughout the tastings and easily some of the best food pairings.

The next round of tastings are already planned, and we're sure to be booking on to a few!

Jim

No comments:

Post a comment

Let us know what you think! You can also contact us with any enquiries at jimrangeley@gmail.com - we'd love to hear from you.