The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2015

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Page 67 of 136

november 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  67 Distiller's Picnic featuring Glenfiddich 18 The serve is presented on a series of elevated dark cherry lacquered wood platforms that begin from the bottom with the taste elements of dates with a Glenfiddich 12 reduction, 72 percent dark chocolate squares and roasted pine nut brittle. A custom blend of pipe tobacco nestled in a hollowed out Glenfiddich bottle stopper burns behind the taste elements. The next tier features a roasted Bartlett pear dusted with cinnamon and sugar. On the featured and final rounded tier sits a neat pour of Glenfiddich 18. Speyside Summer featuring Glenfiddich 14 Served on a bed of shaved ice (a sly reference to the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix expression) dusted with dark chocolate and cinnamon, this serve features a cup of Bartlett Pear Honey and Glenfiddich 12 handmade sorbet topped with a Glenfiddich 12 reduction (heavy cream, sugar and lemon juice) and garnished with a chip of roasted pine nut brittle, a bespoke bottle of organic Bartlett pear, ginger and peppercorn soda featuring the 55 South logo, and finished with a Glenfiddich 14 served neat in an elevated Glencairn glass. The serve is completed by burning a carefully chosen incense stick, which wafts the scent of vanilla and the smoke of charred oak over the platter. When you say San Jose to most people, they might bring up its proximity to San Francisco; when you ask Jennifer Wren—a recent transplant to the city and Glenfiddich's West Coast Brand Ambassador—she will tell you about the burgeoning food and spirits scene that "doesn't get the recognition it deserves." She points to 55 South in Downtown San Jose as a prime example of this trend. One of the first bars she ventured to in the city, Wren was delighted by their professionalism—she knew that the team would come up with a stand-out serve for the second annual Glenfiddich Kindred Spirit contest. With a trip to Scotland to visit the Glenfiddich distillery on the line, Eric Nielsen, owner of 55 South, tasked Link, his Lead Bartender, and Brian Han, his Bar Manager, with the difficult undertaking of changing the guests' perception of the iconic Scottish whisky. The duo got to work, developing two serves— using Glenfiddich 14 Year and 18 Year—with the overarching aim of engaging the guest's five senses. Reaching this goal didn't come easy, as Brian notes: "Link and I consider ourselves polar opposites, night and day—these serves, which we cre- ated entirely together, came out as complementary opposites, just like the differences between Glenfiddich 18's tradition and Glenfiddich 14's innovation." Every element included in the Speyside Summer serve the team made in-house, and the pair encourage guests to mix the elements—such as the soda and Glenfiddich, producing "the ultimate handcrafted Glenfiddich 14 Highball." Since Glenfiddich is often times paired with a cigar, the incense and burning pipe tobacco in the serves allow non-smokers to enjoy these harmoniz- ing notes. "The smoke dissipates," explains Link, "adding a nice visual impact that permeates throughout the serve." The team also incorporated colors and textures that played well with each of the expressions. Placed on a series of raised platforms, the Distiller's Picnic serve represents the "elevated" experience of the Glenfiddich 18 and heightens the experience of the consumer. "Putting it on a platform changes how a guest sees a drink," Nielsen adds. "They no longer are looking down on the drink—it makes it more visual." "I was ecstatic to find such a perfect serve in my backyard," concludes Wren. "The beauty of the Kindred Spirit competition is that it creates a platform for great bars—like 55 South—to step up and showcase Glenfiddich as well as their unique creativity and heart, and 55 South demonstrates all of the qualities that we look for in our Kindred Spirit competitors: professionalism, attention to detail and creativity." Kindred Spirit 2.0 Think your serve reaches an even higher level? Join THE TATING PANEL in the Kindred Spirit competition and show us your best serve by e-mailing to enter today! Eric Nielsen, owner of 55 South in San Jose, CA.

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