PATTAYA – One of the world’s most well-known whiskies is Glenfiddich distilled in Banffshire. Looked upon as a premium brand, it is on the banks of the Rabbie Dhu (Black Robert) river, and on the other bank is another distillery, The Balvenie, another even more exotic premium brand.
A tasting was held in the Avani Resort’s Dicey Reilly’s Pub with brand ambassador Neil Strachan on hand to give the guests a brief history of the distillery and its points of interest, such as having their own peat floor malting in house.
He was watched with interest by Thieman Skulpanich, the Thailand Marketing Manager of William Grant and Sons and Chayanich Lekachinabutr the retail and marketing manager for Pacific Cigar (Thailand).
Three ages of The Balvenie were sampled 12 years, 14 years and 17 years. Much of the differences comes down to the barrels they are matured in and The Balvenie has a cooperage to repair and build the barrels, where most have come from sherry oak casks, or for one of the Caribbean rum casks.
Neil Strachan explained that the different characteristics come from the length of time the whiskies are left to mature and in which type of oak barrels. He spoke with pride at the resulting whiskies produced by The Balvenie malt master David Stewart, who chooses the barrels and even the blend of West Indian rums
Between each tasting, Dicey Reilly’s produced some tapas including NZ Mussel Papilota with a beurre blanc sauce accompanying the Balvenie Double Wood 12 years old; a Pork sous-vide with tomato relish sauce with the Balvenie Caribbean cask 14 years old and finally a Grilled lamb tenderloin with prune sauce with the Double Wood 17 year old.
The three whiskies were noticeably different on the palate and the guests seemed to be equally split as to which vintage was the most popular, but for me it was the 12 year old with just a very splash of water, which unlocks the flavor. Be very careful, however, not to drown it! Having toured the distillery myself, up there on Scotland’s Whisky Trail in Banffshire, the evening was one of very pleasant memories for me.