Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A New Whisky Club In Soho? Here Come The Girls!

By Sophie Marie Atkinson.

Mad Men may have done for the Old Fashioned what Ron Burgundy did for the jazz flute, but a fleeting glance around the Whisky Lounge’s launch party at The Soho Whisky Club a few weeks back proved that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to encouraging the fairer sex to partake in a wee dram.
The Whisky Lounge, however, are on a mission to change this. In fact, their aim is to encourage everyone to develop and nurture an interest for and passion in the Water of Life through a series of workshops and events – many of which take place at Albannach in Trafalgar Square, one of my favourite food and booze haunts in London – not to mention their Whisky Fest, set to take place in the Royal Horticultural Halls on April 21 2012.

The launch party was the first time I had encountered The Whisky Lounge, and The Soho Whisky Club itself, and the combination of their passion and knowledge on all things whisky-based – plus their friendly and approachable manner – ensured that I walked away feeling all warm and fuzzy. But maybe that was due to the food and drink.
Located in the heart of Soho, The Soho Whisky Club, part of and located above the legendary Vintage House Shop, is one of London's newest whisky venues and offers a mind-blowing range of whiskies to its private members; membership: £200 a year. A veritable bargain. Unlike some of the whiskies. I came across one – a Glenlivet – which costs a staggering £999.95 a measure (see above). Swear down.

As a quick aside, if you haven’t checked out the The Vintage House; do! The Soho institution was opened in the 40s and to this day continues to bring a vast array of premium wines, spirits and cigars to Londoners.
Husband and wife Amanda and Eddie Ludlow – the brains and evangelists behind The Whisky Lounge – hosted the evening at the club, during which guests were treated to a whisky tasting with a difference. Described as a 3D tasting experience, Amanda, Eddie and their latest recruit, Joe Clark, each picked and presented their favourite whisky and served it alongside a canapé chosen to perfectly complement the dram. From the Jameson Select Reserve, served alongside a mouth-watering creme brûlée, to the Highland Park 21-year-old single malt, paired with smoked salmon, and Neal’s Yard Irish Ardrahan cheese with Kilchoman Islay Single malt 2006 vintage release, each and every course was a lesson in itself as to how incredible versatile whisky can be.

The canapés served beforehand must get a mention too (I admit to judging venues massively on their canapés): an abundance of quail’s eggs with wasabi, smoked salmon bilinis and tiny bruschettas, all of which were divine and had been lovingly prepared the night before by Amanda. They were just one of the many personal touches – in addition to a goodie bag filled with Amanda’s hand-made whisky-infused truffles – that made the evening so darn special. D’awwwwwww.

If the evening was anything to go by, the festival, and any of the Whisky Lounge’s events, will be huge hits. Highlights of the festival, which will focus on engaging women, are set to include truffle and whisky pairings, cocktail demonstrations, and panel and tasting discussions with women working in the industry as well as a sultry speakeasy with extremely rare drams hidden behind its Prohibition walls.

Joan Holloway would be so proud.

To discover the best whisky bars in London, follow this link.

Images courtesy of ©simonhanna.

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