Food and Drink
Posted by G. Raymond Leavold
16. Sep, 2011
I love whiskey. During this exceptionally wet winter that just now seems to be lifting, there was nothing better than coming in from the cold and taking a quick nip of internal warmth, but I cannot profess to being at all knowledgeable about whiskeys.
I mean, I’m not the type of vacant drinker who walks up to the bar and says: ‘I’ll have one whiskey, please’. I know my brand—it’s Jameson—but as lovely and delicious as I find a glass of Jamie, once I attended the whiskey-tasting night at Chez Regine on Russell Street, I realised that there’s a whole world of aroma and flavour within any given bottle of the lovely stuff. I also learned that the Irish stuff and Bourbon is whiskey, and pretty much everything else is whisky.
Chez Regine is a tiny little place that has an up-market feel to it. When I approached the entrance unshaven, wearing my cap, I was afraid that they wouldn’t let me in. The walls are appropriately lined with whisky bottles as though they’re trophies, and coupled with its narrow cosiness and soft lighting, Chez Regine has the feeling of a millionaire drunk’s library of alcohol.
They hold these whisky-tasting nights once every month or so where they offer different blends of a certain brand of whisky and have a guest speaker from the chosen distillery to talk shop. The night I was there the whisky for the tasting was from Bakery Hill, a Victorian distillery and we had Master-Distiller David Baker along.
Baker, utterly engaging and excitable about his product, began his career as a chemistry teacher then moved on to distilling whisky, a real-life Walter White (if ever there was one) and he guided us through the process of making the whisky and the differences of each one we partook in.
We were given three different types of single malt whiskys to enjoy and here are some notes I made on each of them:
1. Classic Single Malt
This 8-year-old whisky was so goddamn smooth, with a sweet after-taste and a warmth to it that quickly spread throughout my entire body. The sweet-sharp smell of it was intoxicating.
Buzz-words: Aroma explosion!
2. Double Wood (heh)
As the name suggests, there was a woody taste to it and it was not as smooth as the Classic, but had a denser, fuller body. It’s interesting to note that 11 months prior to the Double Wood being bottled, it would have been identical to the Classic Single Malt.
Buzz-words: I got wood!
3. Peated Malt
As I started on the final glass, I could already feel that rising, joyful comfort of getting whisky-drunk and the Peated Malt was a great finisher. Packing a punch, with something musky in the aroma, the Peated Malt had a smokey flavour and was a little rough around the edges, but it had by far the most character of any of the whiskys on offer.
Buzz-words: Who cares? Whoo! Whisky-drunk!
I was so taken with the whisky I had tasted that I went back only a few nights later for another Bakery Hill Classic Malt and a Boiler Maker with fellow Milk Bar writer LS.
You should check Chez Regine out sometime. The bar-staff are friendly and passionate about what they do and they know their stuff when it comes to alcohol. You can bet that I’ll be heading back to ‘My Whisky Library’.
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