The sleepy lull of summer is definitely not on the cards for The Glenrothes this June, having whiled the month away in the company of close friends, favoured guests and award-winning mixologists in a trio of events hosted at The Murray’s Popinjays.
A finger of whisky is best savoured sipped. Preferably neat. Slowly, with intention; then, once more, with feeling. Things worth experiencing, worth appreciating — think: Falling in love. Developing a palate. Perfecting a craft. Earning that degree. — takes time. It’s a slow-and-steady dedication to works-in-progress; a tenet fully appreciated by The Glenrothes’ brand new ‘Look Beyond’ campaign, which headlines on craft, discovery and curiosity. “The desire to grow our knowledge lives within each of us at The Glenrothes. It’s made us better coopers, distillers and whisky-makers,” said Ally Anderson, The Glenrothes’ Distillery Manager. “Forever asking questions and learning means forever bettering what we do.”
This ongoing quest in curiosity laid the foundation for the myriad of events hosted by The Glenrothes through the month of June, from five-course menus pairing creamy ‘Acquerello’ Risotto with sipping glasses of The Glenrothes’ 18 Year Old to a vintage Rolex viewing session, serving the very topmost of craft and storied histories astride both horology and whisky-making genres. On the drinks menu threaded through each gathering is a special made-to-measure four-drink collaboration courtesy of Bar Buonasera mixologist-titans Nick Tse and Ayako Miyake, both with over two decades of experience nestled under their bartending belts. The theme of time-tested appreciation, then, is clear — fully present in every shake and stir of Tse and Miyake’s considered concoctions; in every savoury dégustation bite developed to pair; in every Rolex Submariner, Daytona and Explorer, parked and pretty by casks of aged, liquid-golden whisky.
Made-to-measure with The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut, Nick Tse’s first concoction, the Katana (Samurai Swords), is a mediation on his go-to order at Japanese-style whisky bars: A no-fuss whisky on-the-rocks. Tempering the whisky base’s candied, orange-peel finish with fresh lime juice and buttery Cointreau Giffard Crème de Cacao, the Katana (Samurai Swords) is a love letter to the obsessive, incredibly precise methods Tse has observed ingrained within the expertise of Japanese bartenders; from how they stand and how they hold their knives, to the exacting manner their ice blocks are cubed, carved and chiselled. Tse’s second, the Pomelo Whisky Sour, is yet another tribute to a Japanese favourite: Yuzu.
Opting for a more-is-better approach, Ayako Miyake’s first concoction doubles-up on whisky bases, with both The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut and The Glenrothes 12 Year Old making welcomed appearances. A warming infusion of G.E. Massenez Crème Apricot liqueur and Monin Orgeat Syrup Cointreau layers in bursts of apricot and almond, both complementary to The Glenrothes’ creamy vanilla-tinged profile. The Kameda is Miyake’s next creation; a homage, too, to Japan’s next love: Coffee. On the palate, it’s a symphony of smoke against peat with the bitter churn of roasted coffee flavour-matched to the richness of The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut; then, garnished alongside ginger and hazelnut finishes.
Nick Tse and Ayako Miyake’s four limited-edition The Glenrothes whisky-based concoctions (HK$148) are available at The Murray’s Popinjays through June.