I have a serious soft spot for the crew at BarNone (and East of Everything). After they hosted a $30 whisky and cheese matching night, that soft spot has turned into a sink-hole of love. The event highlighted Balvenie single malt whiskies, crafted in Scotland. These tasty drops were paired with cheese from Milk the Cow (an institution that has taken up residence in my cheese-loving heart).
Richard Blanchard, our Balvenie tour guide for the night, painted imagery of the craftsmen at work in Speyside. The barley is home grown and hand turned while an onsite team of coopers prepare the barrels. As we sipped on the barrel aged beverages, we also heard tales of Malt Master, David Stewart. He started work in the whisky trade 54 years ago and last month his services to the Scotch whisky industry were recognised by the Queen of England. Personally, I think Queen-approved whisky tastes just a little more special.
The comfortable atmosphere created by Blanchard and BarNone moved the event past just a series of tasting notes and captured the social side of drinking too. My tablemates and I discussed our enjoyment of rum as we sipped the 14 year old Balvenie aged in Caribbean rum casks. We also shared our appreciation of blue cheese (which was matched with an equally tasty 15 year old from single cask sherry.) The penultimate tasting – a 21 year old portwood proved to be my favourite. The aroma was incredible and apparently I have at least one thing in common with a Malt Master. When asked what was his greatest achievement and what he liked to drink most, Stewart claimed the portwood was his whisky of choice.
The event was a fantastic value – the six whiskies we sampled are normally priced at $85-$250 per bottle. Combine that with quality cheese and social outing and it’s no surprise the event was completely sold out.
Jenny Schmidt is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
BarNone is located at 72 Auburn Parade, Hawthorn East 3123. Stay up to date on future events.