The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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december 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  1 1 1 Located in the historic Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, the Brandy Library offers an expertise that isn't limited to whiskies; it also extends to brandies, rums and tequilas. Their specialty is teaching private tastings, which they host about five times a week in their private room, offering "public classes" through their Spirit School program. So when they heard about THE TASTING PANEL's Glenfiddich Kindred Spirit competition, it's only natural that they jumped on the opportunity to educate the bar scene further and prove why they were—and still are—pioneers of the whisky bar. "This is exactly what needs to be done by the whole industry," says Flavien Desoblin, owner of Brandy Library. "We were delighted to hear about the campaign! Establishing bridges between the slow-sipping of fine spirits and the fast-paced—sometimes much faster than it took to make— consumption of cocktails. We truly believe that brown spirits of certain caliber (around 15 years and older for single malts) should not be wasted in mixed drinks; it ruins the inherent complexity of the spirit," Desoblin continues. "Many 'beginners' need to be taken by the hand, and while it may not be wise to get straight into a 15-year-old, with a bit of a twist, we thought it could be done. Especially with a malt as fruity and seductive as Glenfiddich 15 Year Old." And this is exactly what Desoblin and the team at Brandy Library did with their signature Glenfiddich serve. Providing a fun and innovative way to present the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old—a spirit that they call "approachable" and "marvelous"—Brandy Library's serve delivers these qualities without ever modifying the expression's true character. "It is fast to 'make,' beautiful looking and both experience-enhancing and organoleptics-revealing. The idea behind this presentation is to link all elements that presided over the making of the dram and allow the guest to fully under- stand them in the easiest way possible," says Desoblin. In order to optimize reader comprehension, we're also going to break it down here step-by-step, with the help of our serve guide, Flavien Desoblin. THE GLASS: While most of the whisky world is now swearing by the Glencairn glass, Brandy Library's serve utilizes the Ravenscroft to reveal the elegance of the malt. The narrower and taller shape of the Ravenscroft seemed to "elevate" the experience while "exposing the nose to a richer experience." THE TEMPERATURE: To bring out all the complexity of the dram, with its very subtle "citrus and orchard opening notes to its richer variations on exotic fruits and honey/vanilla combination," Brandy Library thought that starting cold and letting the Scotch gradually rise to ambient temperature would be best, making the experience more memorable—therefore, they keep the glass in the freezer. THE ELEMENTS: Their intention here is to showcase the three strong identities of the dram: Scotland, Spain and the U.S. They achieve this by placing half an ounce of heather honey (Scotland) at the bottom of the glass upon its entry in the freezer. Then by inserting a whole vanilla bean (U.S.) in the glass and finally by coating a third of the glass rim with a Sherry (Spain) super-fine sugar. "All three elements are direct reminders of the whisky itself: notes of honey and vanilla, while the Sherry is essential to its final complexity." "The end result is a serve whose overall presentation is very eye-catching, and whose meticulously thought-out elements engage all areas of our senses from texture, to taste, to nose in exciting, dynamic ways," says Struan Ralph, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador. Even the ears will be aroused as swirling the glass from the stem will make the vanilla bean hit the sides of the glass back and forth, creating a bell like sound—"the call of a sensational dram indeed," Ralph smiles. The suspense and exhilaration of the Kindred Spirit campaign is certainly ringing true, as we approach the December 19th deadline for accounts to enter their serves. And as we've learned from the Brandy Library, some of the best may be yet to come. We're looking at all of you pioneers out there; don't miss out on your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland and submit your serves now— adventure awaits! Want to check out some serves? Here are a few East Coast haunts participating: XIV (19), Philadelphia, PA The Red Dog Tavern, Morristown, NJ Jack Rose, Washington, D.C. Dram and Grain, Washington, D.C. Post Moderne Brasserie, Washington, D.C. The Way Station in Brooklyn, NY El Vez in Manhattan, NY Want to Win a Trip to Scotland? Show us your serve! Email for your chance to discover the Glenfiddich distillery. Josimar Souza and Hitendra Chowdhury, Spirit Sommeliers at Flavien Desoblin's Brandy Library. Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Struan Ralph in front of Brandy Library in Tribeca.

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