The Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace is one of the places we often go to for a glass of wine after work. It’s always relaxed, stylish and I like the wines that they offer by the glass. But I’ve never been there for the real Bascule Bar experience – their incredible whisky offering.
We went through to the Bascule Bar for a whisky tasting, 6 whiskies from all around the world. I don’t know very much about whisky, but after the 3 hours that we spent with Bradley, I feel like I could develop a whisky drinking habit!
Tasting 1 – Kentucky Bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
Bourbon, although different to traditional whiskies, falls under the whisky umbrella. In order to be classified as a bourbon it needs to be a minimum of 51% corn and it needs to be matured in virgin White American Oak casks. The casks give the bourbon is distinctive cooking spice, caramelised flavours. Buffalo Trace is the largest distillery in Kentucky and offers a very long warm finish. It has flavours of wood, sweet caramel, vanilla and cinnamon. Bradley then invited us to add a little water to the whisky which was amazing to release the flavours masked by the high alcohol content.
Tasting 2 – 12 Year Old Bushmills
Ireland, Triple Distilled
Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery, legally producing from 1608. The triple distillation process generally means that the it will have light flavours. Bushmills favours a triple cask maturation, where it is aged in bourbon, sherry and port butts which gives the whisky a beautiful deep colour.
Flavours include a grassy, creamy sweetness. And when water was added, there’s a softer, sweeter side that comes through.
Tasting 3 – 12 Year Old Glenkinchie
The Glenkinchie has a high viscosity, it’s very syrupy, and its long legs hints to the cask maturation process. The taste is long lasting, with notes of hay (very interesting!) and it has a very short finish. The flavours are floral and biscuit, and after water is added there’s a lot more creaminess that comes through.
Tasting 4 – 12 Year Old Glenmorangie
Glenmorangie was founded in 1843, they are specialists in cask maturation and are known for having the tallest potstills in production, giving the it a distinctive light spirit. The whisky was aged in casks for 12 years, the final 2 years in sherry casks.
Notes include dried fruit, and the whisky has a lovely syrupy finish. When paired with a chocolate truffle, the notes of sweetness were displaced bringing through the fruitiness of the whisky.
Tasting 5 – 12 Year Old Highland Park
Aukney, West Coast of Scotland
Highland Park, established in 1798, produces a smoky whisky influenced by the light peating in the distillation process. It’s incredibly balanced, with a smoky, peaty sweetness and a dry salty finish. When water was added, more of the biscuity sweetness and saltiness came though.
Paired with salmon to bring down the smokiness, a beautiful fresh ocean breeze finish came through.
Tasting 6 – Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Laphroaig whiskies go through double maturation in two barrels made of American oak and is then transferred to quarter casks. The initial nose is that of leather and iodine. It’s salty, incredibly complex and very viscous. When diluted there’s a sweetness that comes through in addition to the smokiness.
When paired with Gorgonzola some of the smoky notes are toned down to allow the saltiness and sweetness to come though.
Of all the whiskies, I would say that the Laphroaig was the most interesting, the Glenkinchie was the easiest drinking whisky and my personal favourite was the Kentucky Bourbon.
Thank you Bradley for hosting us and keeping us completely entertained for our 3 hours of whisky introduction!
** Any errors or inconsistencies in this article are definitely mine!