The area around Kings Cross & St Pancras has been transformed in recent years. It’s increasingly hard to resist the temptation to pause there on the way home, be it for a quick drink at the tiny-but-full-of-great-beer Euston Tap, or a bottle-cupboard-filling diversion to Sourced Market.
The Pullman London St Pancras Hotel offers another temptation, in the form of the astonishing whisky collection in their Golden Arrow Bar. With over 200 whiskies from around the world – including a shelf dedicated to distilleries no longer even in production – it’s hard to know where to start.
Fortunately, The Pullman has launched a series of monthly masterclasses, each exploring a different aspect of the world of whisky – a guided tour around the topic of the month, with a half-dozen drams and complementary food.
This month’s theme was “Taste the Peat“, which couldn’t have been more perfectly suited to an Islay lover like me.
There was a thoughtfully put together spectrum of whiskies, ranging from the gentle Highland Park 12 Year Old to the mighty Bruichladdich Octomore, via excellent offerings from Springbank, Lagavulin, Caol Ila and Ardbeg.
After a detailed background of whisky – competing with the rather distracting background musak from the hotel bar – our guide for the evening, Sarah, took us gently through the evening’s selection. Tasting notes were provided, and were mostly good – although I didn’t find the Ardbeg Corryvreckan nearly as fruity as the notes suggested.
A good range of food was provided, from smoked salmon and blue cheese through to chocolates and jellies, and we were all encouraged to explore for ourselves how different flavours affected the whisky in different ways.
Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of whisky with cheese and anything that helps people realise that whisky isn’t something that always has to be enjoyed in isolation is a good thing.
Although it’s an event aimed primarily at the whisky novice, there’s a lot to appeal to the more experienced fan too. Six well chosen drams, a generous accompaniment of food and an enthusiastic, friendly guide make for a fun and educational evening.
At £45 per person, it represents good value for money. Future themes are just as enticing, starting with “Taste of the Irish” in March and moving on to “Scotland v Japan” and “What’s in a barrel?” before finishing with a cheese and whisky event in June – which I’ll definitely be booking onto!
Further information or to book, contact Sarah O’Donovan at the hotel on 020 7666 9080, or by email at [email protected].
Pete Drinks was a guest of Pullman London St Pancras Hotel.