Saturday, October 3, 2009
My friend GT is on every e-mail list there is. He gets invited to a plethora of events every week. Granted, most of these events are basically live action infomercials, but they generally feature free food and booze. There is never anything wrong with free food and booze. Last Wednesday, Dewars was hosting an event at the new chi-chi W Hotel right here in Hoboken. I got to tag along with GT to check it out.
The new W is a great looking hotel. I guess it has to be since it costs north of $200 a night to stay there. We queued up on the second floor waiting for the event to start. They had to check everyone's id to make sure they were of legal age. A quick look at me and you know that I passed that threshold a long time ago, but I guess they have to follow the rules. Once we were allowed in, we were given the choice of three drinks: Dewars on the rocks, Dewars with ginger ale or a Dewars mojito. We both opted for the Dewars with ginger ale and availed ourselves to the food. I must say, for a free event the food was pretty good. The had tuna tartare, crab cakes, risotto balls and meatball sliders. Soon it was time for the cheese, I mean the presentation to start.
A Dewars brand ambassador started giving us the history of Dewars along with an overview of Scotch in general. My only question is "How do I get this gig? Travel the world and drink? He gets paid to do this? Wow!". His presentation was actually quite interesting. He then moved into the interactive portion of the evening. In front of us were an array of test tubes. Some of these contained the components of the aroma of Scotch: vanilla, orange peel, floral elements, honey and peat. Along with these were test tubes filled with single malt Scotch whiskeys that exhibited these aromas strongly. After smelling the elements and Scotches, we got to try our hands at being master blenders. These guys have a really hard job. They have to blend 40 different Scotches so that the result always smells like Dewars. Yes, they do this all by smell. But just think of the interesting blends they would make if they tasted the 40 different Scotches! My blend was a disappointment. I thought I only added a little of the really peaty whiskey, but I must have added too much.
After our amateur attempts, we got to taste the results of the pros. Dewars uses a process called double aging. They basically age the Scotch, blend it, then age it some more. The first taste we had was the blend before the second aging. It was a nice Scotch, smooth and complex. We then tasted the finished product and it was an improvement over the first. Of course, they wouldn't have done things this way if there wasn't an easily discerned difference. A few other demos were done such as showing how adding some water to the Scotch improves the taste and aroma by taming the alcoholic heat.
Soon the infomercial, I mean event was over. The Scotch wasn't bad, the food was pretty good and we got a flask as a parting gift. All three of these things kept me warm on a chilly autumn night walk home.