As one of the few remaining family-run distilleries in Scotland, originating from a farming family in the 1800, The Balvenie’s beautiful single malt scotch whiskys (five generations in) are the exceptional result of long-standing traditions and excellent craftsmanship, as demonstrated at William Grant & Sons‘ ‘Craft Fair & Winter Picnic Festival’ this year (June 25-28). As explained by Laura Hay, their whisky specialist in Australia, the distillery’s unique nature also lies in the fact that family also grows and malts their own barley; along with having their own cooperage, copper-smith, and malt master – the incredible David Steward, a 50 year veteran at WG&S.
The experience commenced as we made our way into the arcade, greeted by the pop-up craft bar, where we had the privilege of sampling The Balvenie’s core offerings, courtesy of none other than Richard Blanchard – the veritable bar maestro.
Shortly thereafter, we were ushered up to the first floor for the masterclass, affording us an unhindered view of the gorgeous architecture of The Strand. Ok, I lie – the view was somewhat hindered by the distractingly, incredibly delectable-looking array of The Balvenie’s finest whiskys, sweets, treats, and nibbles welcoming us into the masterclass. Paired by the company’s whisky specialist herself, Laura foraged through the innumerable shops and eateries of the arcade to curate the perfect (and some “quintessentially Australian” match) for three of The Balvenie’s nonpareil – which she endearingly called “our little gem” – the 12 year old double wood, the 14 year old Caribbean cask, and the 17 year old double wood.
We started with The Nut Shop’s candied macadamia nuts, beautifully caramelizing the 12yo; making our way seamlessly on to Sweet Infinity’s crème brûlée slice to enhance the rum notes of the 14yo; wrapping up with (to the delight of anyone with a sweet tooth) the Haigh’s Medium-Dark Chocolate frog to perfectly complement the toffee notes of the 17yo. Laura’s stellar efforts at playing matchmaker resulted in a versatile, delightful journey of notes, flavors, expressions and tastes – denotative of the diversity of the remainder of the festival.
Partnered with artisanal craft residents and eateries throughout the grand, timeless venue, William Grant & Sons transformed the iconic space into a “European Marketplace,” featuring Gewürzhaus’s mulled wine tasting, live nut roasting by The Nut Shop, Pendolino’s olive oil tasting, and more – some of winter’s most cherished activities, and hallmarks of a true winter wonderland.
Ace is the Director of The Plus Ones – Sydney. He is a marketeer/eventologist who suffers from a chronic case of FOMO, and is pursuing his lifelong goal of spending the least amount of time possible at chez lui (well, when he’s not half-way through an astrophysics doco).
You can find out more about William Grant & Sons’ incredible range here.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Agent99 PR.