A long overdue post as the last quarter of 2012 was alot busier than expected. Last year was a pretty boozy year for me as I received invitations to a few premium alcohol events that helped me to gain a better appreciation for them. One of the events was a Whisky pairing dinner held at Conrad Centennial Singapore. Called ‘Symphony of Senses’, it featured whiskies made by Teacher’s and Laphroaig.Teacher’s 25 Years & Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The event also marked the launch of 2 premium Teacher’s whiskies in Singapore, the 25 year old and the Highland Single Malt.Blood Orange with Teacher’s 25 Year Old Whisky
I usually drink whisky with mixers so I wondered if I would be able to appreciate them served ‘neat’ at dinner. Perhaps the organizers were well aware that many people drink whisky with mixers, so they served Blood Orange Cocktails made with Teacher’s 25 Year Old Whisky at the reception. An introductory cocktail that was easy on the palate and eased us gently into what the evening had in store for us.Aperitif: Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve
What is a celebration without Champagne? We sipped some slightly fruity Champagne Nicolas Feuillate Brut Reserve while waiting for all the guests to be seated in the ballroom.Master of Ceremonies Ch’ng Poh Tiong
Master of Ceremonies Ch’ng Poh Tiong was ever so convivial – like how he always is at wine tasting events. He had all of us chuckling with his jokes even as he went about the more serious business of explaining the rationale behind the food pairing.Robert Hicks, Global Brand Ambassador & Consultant Master Blender for Teacher’s & Laphroaig
I wanted to learn more about Whisky so I was thrilled that Robert Hicks, Global Brand Ambassador and Consultant Master Blender for Teacher’s and Laphroaig was going to walk us through them. Here he is on stage dressed in his Scottish kilt as he shared his extensive knowledge on whiskies. Mr Hicks joined the Scotch Whisky industry at 19 years of age in 1964. He still possesses a great passion for the spirit as evidenced by his energetic and jovial presentation.Grilled Whole Portobello Mushroom with Thyme & Chrysanthemum Petals
Dinner started with a Grilled Whole Portobello Mushroom flavoured with Thyme and garnished with salad leaves and Chrysanthemum petals. It was juicy and paired with some Teacher’s Origin, which I thought was just a little too peaty for my liking.Raw Tasmanian Oyster
We were given a choice of a Raw Tasmanian Oyster or Sous Vide Salmon. I was lucky that someone at my table didn’t like Oysters or Salmon and so I got both! I love freshly shucked raw Oysters so I loved this delectable gem from the sea. Creamy and salty with the taste of the ocean, I couldn’t help but think of a phrase by Ingrid Bergman as I slurped the oyster from the lip of its shell.Teacher’s Single Malt
Perhaps it was the lovely salty taste of the ocean that made the pairing with Teacher’s Single Malt feel like it was a match made in Heaven. This combination is a Must-Try!Sous Vide Salmon
I generally prefer raw salmon to cooked salmon. I find the conventional cooking process tends to drain the rich flavour of the salmon. I enjoyed the Sous Vide Salmon immensely as it was soft, moist and sweet with an Omega 3 oil flavour. It worked pretty well with the Teacher’s Single Malt too.Filet of Steamed Sea Perch with Ginger Purée
Next we had 2 Chinese style dishes. The first was a Steamed Filet of Sea Perch topped with Ginger Purée and Deep-fried Ginger Strips. I love ginger and the sauce used for Hong Kong Style Steamed Fish so I enjoyed the dish immensely. However, I felt that there was just a little too much ginger purée which dominated the palate, masking the sweetness of the fish. It was paired with the Laphroaig 18 Years Old, which was also rather smooth and pleasant on the tongue.Sweet & Sour Pork with Fresh Pineapple
The second Chinese dish was Sweet & Sour Pork with Fresh Pineapple. I’m not a fan of Sweet & Sour Pork but this was well executed with a crunchy batter and tender pork chunks coated in sweet and sour sauce. It was paired with Teacher’s 25 Year Old, a rare and exquisite blend of Scotch whiskies packaged in individually numbered ceramic decanters to highlight its exclusivity. It was smoother than the previous few whiskies we tried, a testimony to the care taken to create the oldest blend produced by Teacher’s using vintage whiskies aged for at least 25 years in premium oak casks. Teacher’s 25 Year Old also has the highest proportion of malt whisky.Grilled Sirloin with Idaho Mashed Potato & Red Wine Sauce
That was followed by Grilled Sirloin with Idaho Mashed Potato. I usually prefer to eat steaks without sauce, so I asked for some sauce to be added to the side of the platter (not shown). The beef was pretty tasty and I enjoyed the smooth Idaho Mashed Potato. In case you’re wondering, I love potatoes mashed, baked or fried. It was paired with my favourite whisky for the evening, the Laphroaig 25 Years Old, a smooth, smoky and complex drink.Classic Iced Parfait
Dinner ended with a Classic Iced Parfait dessert served with a roasted whole hazelnut and some whipped cream. I was too full to eat but the vanilla-infused creamy ice cream was too tempting to resist. I ate most of it reasoning that it would help my body cope with the alcohol. Hee hee! Ok, it was a lousy excuse but nonetheless in spite of my preference for savoury food, the dessert was pretty good.
What did I learn at the end of it all? You’ve probably heard people saying that whisky is best drunk unadulterated but Mr. Hicks showed us that adding a tiny drop of water into the whisky helps to open up the flavour of the drink. The water apparently causes a reaction with the alcohol which “heats” it up thereby releasing more fragrance and flavour. I never knew that and experiencing it first-hand was quite phenomenal! It seems serving whisky on the rocks may just be the wise thing to do in our weather as it helps to enhance the flavour of the drink.
Teacher’s 25 Year Old and Teacher’s Highland Single Malt can be found at various F&B establishments in Singapore. Alternatively, you can purchase them at the Beam Cellar for S$650 and S$100 respectively. Please call Beam Global Asia at +65 6559-1155 if you have any purchase enquiries.
Thank you, Beam Global Asia and Fulford PR, for the hospitality.