Heading for Christmas
Here I am, back after nearly a silent year. I apologize for that long silence. It seems my work plate was a bit too full! Not that I complain but I just let the blog drift. Well I am back at the helm with news, projects and more travels. But Christmas is already showing its lights and its tinsels. So, I will hit the road in November for the last big trip of the year, going to New-Brunswick for my favorite whisky festival.
From 14th November to 18th November: the 22nd edition of NB Spirits Festival in Fredericton (New-Brunswick – Canada) will welcome hundreds of enthusiastic attendees and their unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I will be hosting a whisky dinner on 15th, presenting Inverhouse whiskies port-folio, a whisky lunch on 17th around Tomatin single malt, a tasting and pairing class on Thursday evening, “The four seasons and cheese” and a sensory tasting on Friday evening with my whisky buddy Johanne McInnis. Pretty busy but happy to be so. A Whisky Festival at its best! https://www.whiskynb.ca/ and, on Sunday 19th November, for a wonderful close to the festival, Chris and Graziella Aerni will welcome the happy few at Rossmount Inn in Saint-Andrew. With Chris, we will offer one of the best whisky dinners you can ever dream of. www.rossmountinn.com/
In French journalist jargon we call that “un marronnier” (a chestnut tree), I think the British journalists just call it a “chestnut”. This is to qualify the article about a recurrent topic such as holidays, the festive season, the traffic-jams in Summer etc… The sort of article that you write when nothing happens and you have to fill a blank.
Do you know the origin of the term? It is all about a red flower chestnut tree which blossomed every year at Springtime on the grave of the Swiss guards who had been killed on 10th August 1792 in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. Every year, an article would report the blossoming in the Parisian press.
As you can guess my “marronnier” is to announce that, due to Christmas Holidays, I would not do much to fill in my diary…
I will be in France, celebrating the festive season with family and friends. And of course looking back on 2016, with its ups and downs, taking good resolutions (which I will not totally follow), telling everyone that 2017 will be the year I will “slow down” (and I know it will not be!). Well the usual… marronnier !
Talking of chestnut, try roasted chestnuts (in the pan or better on a logfire embers) with a glass of Glengoyne 12 Year Old.
Unwind, relax, laugh, eat, drink, meet with friends, give TLC around you and be Happy !
Vive la rentrée!
Why do I write that? As far as I remember, I have always hated the smell of brand new leather satchels and notebooks. I never looked forward to “La rentrée”. It must be that I am not a holiday person! The back-to-school period now has another meaning as it implies “back to work”, back to whisky events, back to more tastings… and back to fun in the end.
Saturday 1st October and Sunday 2nd October: I will sign “à table” at the Whisky Show in London. One of the most exciting whisky events. https://whiskyshow.com/what-s-on/guests-of-the-show/
Tuesday 4th October to Friday 7th October: To Rome with love… and good wine! Any good addresses for whisky bars?
Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th: Monte-Carlo Whisky Festival brings Scotland to Monaco for the fifth time. Hosted by La Maison d’Ecosse, the event focuses on the collector market with “Invest, collect or drink?” as the conference theme. A Saint-Andrew Gala Dinner, hosted by Prince Albert will feature a gastronomic dinner with Glenrothes starring. The menu will be designed by Christian Garcia, chef au Palais. He also has created a “Monaco blend Baba” with the blend especially chosen by Charles MacLean for le Palais. An opportunity to taste it will be given to visitors on Saturday 5th as I will host a class on whisky and desserts. https://www.mcwhiskyfestival.com/en/home/
Tuesday November 22nd to Saturday November 26th: Fredericton, here I come again! The 21st NB Spirits Festival will no doubt attract more aficionados. I love New Brunswick festival, happy to “raise (my) spirit” for a whisky dinner, a lunch, a cooking demonstration and several classes.
More info soon.
Sunday 27th November: This has become a ritual. We end the festival with a wonderful whisky dinner at Rossmount Inn, in Saint-Andrews (New-Brunswick, not Fife). I work with Chris and Graziella to create a mouth-watering menu, the dinner is set in a splendid romantic atmosphere. A must! www.rossmountinn.com | email: email@example.com
…and the living is not so easy!
Not that I am complaining about my own condition. All is fine, thank you but the world situation is alarming. Waking up to hear that the Leave vote won in Britain was quite a shock. Scotland chose to maintain with Europe, is the split with England inevitable? After the earthquake, a tsunami ?
And what about the impact of that foolish vote on the economy? Plenty of questions which we all address. The famous “wait and see” is more the rule than ever. One thing for sure, I am happy and proud to live in Scotland.
A lot has happened on my work agenda these last two months. But the efforts to promote my book have engulfed all my time and I have let the website down. My apologies.
May – The launching of “à table, whisky from glass to plate” in Speyside was the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Ronnie Cox, director of The Glenrothes and I took 80 people through the arcanes of matching music and whisky. Oh, the wonderful match between Glenrothes 2001 and the famous air of la Traviata “Libiamo ne’ lieti Calici”. What a delight. Glenrothes 1978 and Bob Dylan Masters of War was not the most brilliant of my pairings I must admit but Glenrothes Vintage Reserve and Just like a woman found an amicable ground for a conversation. In his Rock music selection, Ronnie’s choice of the Pink Floyd song “Breathe” suited the 1978 superbly. What was a première for a lot of participants proved quite successful. To be continued.
Feis Ile at the end of May attracted crowds of aficionados who gave a warm welcome to my book. So I was busy signing the book everyday in a different distillery. Another opportunity to catch up with friends and make new encounters.
And then ?
June – Time for a break, away from grain and close to grape. A few days on the Liguria Coast, visiting the “Cinque Terre”, five villages grabbed onto the mountain over the sea, with terraced vineyards which produce a delightful white wine. A halt at the Deck in Vernazza, a wine-bar with a terrace too, overlooking the sea, offered us the passionate explanations of Alessandro Villa, master of the place and sommelier who spoke the same language about pairing wine and food as I do about whisky and food. Very interesting indeed. The real goal of the trip was to discover more about Brunello in Tuscany. “Mission accomplished”, with a good selection of my favorite wine brought back in a full to the brim car. One definitely needed a break!
July – Another moment of exception is awaiting music-lovers at the start of Summertime. Cantilena Music Festival is back on Islay from 3 to 8 July, with a concert every evening in a different venue and the now ritual Music and Whisky tasting to take place at The Islay Hotel in Port Ellen.
This year I invite participants to taste their whisky and enjoy the music in colour. Dark or light, bright or pale, multicolour, in tones or monochrome, flavours and musical notes produce colours. That should be a promising sensory journey.
Music and Whisky Tasting, Tuesday 5 July, 3.30 pm – £ 15 – Book through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. More info on the festival: http://www.cantilenafestival.co.uk/festival/
August – I will be signing my book at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh on 31st August. (354 Castlehill, Edinburgh).
Speyside Festival Calling
I have been silent since the beginning of the year. You may have thought that I was enjoying sea, rest and sun on a blue lagoon Caribbean beach or that I was meditating on the non age statement trend in the whisky industry, hidden in some remote wifi deprived Tibetan monastery. Or even worse: that I was retiring. None of these. I was busy writing the book that I have always wanted to write and I have so often been asked to write. Procrastination is my second name but now I have finally achieved a long-time planned project. My cookery book is finally published. Now I can hit the road again.
27th April to 2nd May: The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival celebrates the “cratur” with over 400 events hosted in different venues including distilleries of course. Whisky tastings, food events but also music, walks and many other entertaining gigs make the choice difficult. As for me I will be busier than ever with a programme of whisky events and book signing all over the place.
Friday 29th April and Saturday 30th April: Vintage Glenrothes and vintage music. The famous (or rather the infamous) duo Martine Nouet & Ronnie Cox will venture into another sensory avenue, pairing different expressions of Glenrothes and different musical styles. Unfortunately the four sessions are sold out.
Friday 29th April: Desert island drams in Strathisla distillery (Keith)
Between my Glenrothes commitments, I will be rushing to Strathisla in Keith to take part to the “Desert Island Drams” event at lunch-time and dinner-time. For each session, three of my fellow whisky writers will present their desert island drams, telling fascinating stories and each – exceptional – dram will be paired with a “tapa” that I will design and that Eric Obry from Le petit gourmand in Aberlour will prepare. Don’t miss that entertaining and delicious extravaganza. There are still a few tickets available.
Sunday 1st may: Cooking with whisky demonstration. Like last year, I will give a cooking demonstration at the wonderful Oakwood cookery school in Elgin (just on the outskirts of the city). We will cook a recipe from my book: Spicy roasted salmon, beurre blanc nantais and tender cabbage. A taste of the dish with a good dram will follow the demonstration.
The session is sold out.
In the afternoon, I will sign my book in Dufftown. I will also organize a few signing sessions on Monday 2nd May (update on Facebook later).
Ready for a Break
A year has nearly gone. Hard to believe! It seems the clock accelerates from year to year. I am just back from two exhilarating weeks in Canada, getting back to Islay winter storms.
This is when you realize you are living in a remote place! After an uneventful flight from Montreal to London, I boarded on time on the flight to Glasgow but we left late. When we got to Glasgow, we could not disembark because something was broken on the jetty. Everyone had to leave from the rear of the plane and, guess what, I was sitting at row 7!
Fifteen minutes later, I was trying to get my luggage but… my case did not make it to Glasgow. All these accumulated delays made me miss my bus to the ferry terminal. I finally managed to fly back home later in the evening… with my case. What a relief. These are moments when you wish you were a witch travelling on a supersonic broom!
2015 will have been a “globetrotting” year: South Africa, Netherlands, Australia (including Tasmania), France, Poland, Canada… Exhausting at times, stressing at others but mainly enjoyable and educating.
I don’t know what 2016 will be made of but I already have a few projects simmering on my “brainstove”. More later.
And I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New year with the dram of your choice. Isn’t the best whisky in the world the one you have in hand? You don’t need a bible to tell you that, do you?
A l’année prochaine!
For the moment, you know what? I am in a chill-out mood, getting ready for quality time with family and friends. I wish you the same.
Packing up again
Being home five weeks in a row will have been my performance of the year. Highly appreciated, I must say. But whisky shows are running again until the end of the year and it is time for me to honour a very pleasant commitment: book signing as “Le guide Hachette des Whiskies” is now in all good bookshops (and online bookselling sites).
Where shall I roam on the coming weeks?
– 18th September: I will be in Warsaw to present “Le Sein de Dieu”, a venerable cognac blended by the prestigious maison de cognac Bache-Gabrielsen. This exceptional cognac only includes pre-phylloxeric cognacs, one of them is thought to have been distilled in 1790. This “piece of history” is bottled by Wealth Solutions, a Polish company.
– 26th/27th September: Whisky LIve in Paris, probably the best whisky show in the world, will run in the trendy “Cité de la Mode et du Design”. 8 000 visitors are expected. More than 130 spirits brands will be featured. I will just be a visitor but I might be able to sign my whisky guide on the “Café Librairie” space.
– 1st October: Self-indulgence is the fuel for well-being. My best friend and I will especially travel to Montréal to enjoy a recital given by David Fray, the most talented French pianist, with a Schubert only programme. This will be the third time I attend Fray’s concerts this year. Nothing more satisfying than a little extravaganza!
– 17th to 20th November: Fredericton whisky show in New-Brunswick (canada) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Classes – one of them with the cheeky/witty Johanne Mcinnis -, a whisky dinner on 17th, a whisky lunch on 19th will be among the highlights of NB Spirits festival. Famous Richard Paterson will be here too.
– 22nd November: I will host a whisky dinner for the second time at the splendid Rossmount Inn in saint-Andrews, 2 hours from Fredericton. Graziella Aemi is a delightful hostess and her husband Chris a very talented chef. The best whiskies to pair with gastronomy. Not to be missed.
Should I say “silent season”? I have been so busy since my return from Australia at the end of April that I have been unable to keep up with the site update. I sincerely apologizing for that silence.
Not that nothing has happened these last two months. I have been to:
– The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
– Islay Feis Ile (Whisky and music festival)
– The annual IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition) judging
– Cantilena Music Festival with a very well-attended Music and Whisky pairing tasting
But I was totally absorbed by the whisky guide to be published in France in September. A real labour of Hercules! Which I have just achieved. “Le guide Hachette du Whisky” will feature 540 tasting-notes and 128 000 words for a total of 384 pages.
I have decided I needed some well deserved holidays. But why does this word sound strange to my ears?
I will definitely slow down the pace but I have chosen to dedicate the whole month of August to… writing my cookery book. Writing, cooking, testing… We can call that holidays finally.
I will come back at the end of August with more exciting projects and news. I hope I will then be able to invite you “A Table” (this is the title of my cookery book).
Meanwhile, I wish every web surfer a wonderful holiday season.
Flying to Aussie
Spring is round the corner… and I will meet Autumn!
1st April – 24th April
I will be down under, hosting dinners, giving whisky tastings and visiting distilleries.
I will start with a stopover in Singapore where I will visit the fabulous Auld Alliance Whisky Bar owned by my friend Emmanuel Dron, a passionate whisky collector. Then a few days on the Gold Coast in Queensland, running away from deadlines and emails.
8th April to 11th: The serious work starts. I will visit all Tasmanian distilleries and add a few tourist destinations.
12th April: A whisky and Music tasting in Perth cathedral, followed by a gourmet whisky dinner.
13th to 17th April: various whisky dinners and a tasting in Perth
18th and 19th April: Whisky Live Perth
21st to 23rd April: More dinners in Sydney
24th: back to Auld Europe via Dublin, isn’t it strange?
30th April to 4th May: Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – 30th April to 4th May.
STILL A FEW TICKETS LEFT
Come and celebrate the Food and Drink year with me!
– You can still book for the Cooking Demonstrations in Elgin on 1st of May BOOK NOW!
– The Barbecue and the Vintage dinner at Rothes with Glenrothes Ronnie Cox on 2nd May are SOLD OUT!
– A few tickets left for the Victorian Picnic in the magnificent Glen Grant gardens with Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm.. BOOK NOW!
– 4th may: I am hosting The Michael Jackson Memorial Dinner with my friend Hans Offringa from Netherlands. Dedicated to our dear Michael Jackson, we will talk of him, his life and his favourite whiskies. At the Craigellachie Hotel
Chained to the Keyboard
January and February keep me at home most of the time. Just as well as I am chained to my keyboard with two book projects.
- The “Guide Hachette du Whisky” will be published in September 2015: 150 distilleries scanned, 600 tasting-notes and a thorough insight into pairing food and whisky. English speakers will have to brush up their French!
- The Martine Nouet Whisky cookery book will at last see the light of the day. Thank you for your patience. Due to be published in September too. First edition in English, followed hopefully by a French edition.
And in March, I will be on the road again with a two weeks trip to South Africa and a few days in Holland for the Whisky festival Noord Nederland in Groningen on the last week-end of March. More later.
SAVE THE DATE
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – 30th April to 4th May
The festival will celebrate the Food and Drink year launched by VisitScotland. I will be hosting a few Whisky and Food events: three cooking demonstrations on 1st May, one Barbecue and one Vintage dinner at Rothes with Glenrothes Ronnie Cox on 2nd May and a Victorian Picnic in Glen Grant magnificent gardens with Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm. Pencil the dates in your diary.
Dine in Style in Brittany
Time to go quiet… before hitting the road again in 2015 on a crazy schedule. I must say I will end a year of labour in style. With the long-awaited gourmet whisky dinner at Château-Richeux near Cancale.
Just a wee reminder…
14th December (SOLD OUT) and 15th December (still some seats)
Join us for the first whisky dinner at Château-Richeux, Olivier Roellinger’s heavenly hotel and restaurant near Cancale at Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes in Brittany. A gastronomic sailing to the isles, lusciously immersed into “celtitude”.
A five course dinner with a selection of superb single malts (I won’t say more not to spoil the surprise) for 145 euros per person.
Diners will also have the possibility to stay overnight at Château-Richeux (180 euros for the room & breakfast). The perfect pre-Christmas treat.
And then… family and friends time.
A French Christmas and an Islay Hogmanay, of course. Wishing you all a very happy festive season (with your favourite drams)
October – December
One last big trip and it won’t be long before Christmas!
I am looking forward to catch up with Richard Paterson. He will be presenting the Dalmore Constellation in Paris at a special lunch. I am in!
On 23rd October … later: After the old malts, let’s enjoy cognac. There are quite a lot of similarities between the two anyway. The second season of Cognac Cocktail Connexion 2 will be launched in a trendy bar in Paris, the hotel bar “123 Sébastopol”.
10th – 25th November
My annual trip to Canada. A few days in Montreal first to visit a friend and… guess what? Enjoy an Opera! Le Barbier de Séville at The Opéra de Montréal.
I will be in Fredericton New-Brunswick from 18th to 22nd November. With a busy schedule:
19th November: the traditional dinner, featuring Edrington Portfolio this year. A not to be missed delightful evening.
20th November Early afternoon: a cooking demonstration (a soup and a sweet) at the ANBL Train Station
20th November 6h30: The four seasons of whisky. A sensorial discovery of the season concept, with food pairing of course and maybe some music.
21st November 11h45: A gourmet lunch pairing food and whiskies.
21st November 18h30: A blonde versus brunette tasting! I am the blonde (obviously) and will present bourbon matured whiskies. The brunette is Johanne McInnis (the Whisky Lassie) who will praise Sherry matured whiskies. Who will win ?
I will be hosting a gourmet dinner at Rossmount Inn in Saint-Andrews with Chef Chris Aerni and his wife Graziella. I met them some years and I love their refined restaurant and hotel. A dream place and the opportunity to enjoy the best of Bay of Fundy. Bookings are open.
SAVE THE DATE for the first whisky dinner at Château Richeux, Olivier Roellinger’s heavenly hotel and restaurant near Cancale at Saint-Méloir des Ondes in Brittany. A gastronomic sailing to the isles, lusciously immersed into “celtitude”.
A five course dinner with a selection of superb single malts (I won’t say more not to spoil the surprise) for 145 euros per person. Dinners will also have the possibility to stay overnight at Château-Richeux (150 euros for the room). Book now (only 30 seats)
Here we are, back on the road with trips, whisky events and all the banter…
From 12th to 14th September: Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
I am looking forward to listening to Donny McCaslin Quartet on Friday evening, while sipping a dram of Lagavulin. That should not spoil the broth! I am also thinking of going to Keith Nichols Gramophone Jazz Band concert in the Rhinns Hall (Portnahaven), a musical delight enhanced by the famous Portnahaven ladies sandwiches and cakes!
The full programme is on www.islayjazzfestival.co.uk/programme.php
On 16th and 17th September: D days for Tullamore Dew distillery in Ireland. Bought by William Grant & Sons in 2010, it will celebrate its grand opening with the press and many guests. I am privileged to be one of them. More later.
On 18th September: Scots and Scotland residents go to the poll to answer “The” question: Should Scotland be independent? The more I read about it, the more puzzled I am… And I have a semantic doubt.
From 4th to 6th October: The Whisky Show in London. The not to be missed Rendez-vous of The Whisky Exchange with whisky lovers. Three days of amazing tastings and meetings in Vinopolis.
I will host a seminar on Port finishes on Saturday 4th October and do some cooking and pairing whisky with food demos. http://www.whiskyshow.com/whats-on/masterclasses/
Soon more details on…
- NB Spirits Festival in Fredericton (New Brunswick), from 19th to 21st One of my favourite “gigs” in the year. A whisky dinner, classes and great meetings with passionate whisky aficionados.
- SAVE THE DATE for the first whisky dinner at Château Richeux, Olivier Roellinger’s heavenly hotel and restaurant near Cancale at Saint-Méloir des Ondes in Brittany. A gastronomic sailing to the isles, lusciously immersed into “celtitude”. On 14th
July: Let’s take it easy!
The whisky world seems to be on holidays in summer. Why not do the same? And concentrate on personal projects such as entertaining guests, visiting friends and family, working on my cottage maintenance? Or chasing the sunsets with my new camera?
A fabulous five-day break in Tuscany in June to thoroughly “study” Chianti Classico, Brunello and Montepulciano, a stunning week of classic music with Cantilena Music Festival on Islay in June, a crazy last minute trip to go and see Nicolas de Stael (my favourite painter) exhibition in Antibes followed by a much awaited two weeks holidays in Normandy to catch up with family and friends… and that will be Summer gone.
I will come back in September with a well stocked diary. But meanwhile let me forage new ideas…
And put together my favourite recipes for my whisky cookbook.
Enjoy your holidays with a wee dram or two. Time to be creative and invent your own cocktails with light, fresh & fruity ex-bourbon casks matured malts.
May has been very busy, June has been a bit lazy…
… and here comes July!
From 10th June to 13th June: I have achieved my annual “secret mission”: tasting whisky, cognac, armagnac and calvados with the most renowned actors of the spirit industry for the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) in deep Surrey. 60 samples a day (all tasted blind of course), passionate debates and the deserved banter after the work. “Après l’effort, le réconfort” as we say in France.
Cantilena Festival on Islay – Sunday July 6th – Friday July 11th
A great event not to be missed. The whole week is dedicated to Chamber music, performed by talented musicians who gather every year to recreate “Cantilena” and bring over promising students.
A different venue every evening, a different programme too. The distilleries open their doors to the festival with a dram or two: concerts will be hosted at Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Bruichladdich. And also at Columba Center, Bowmore Gaelic College.
More info on www.cantilenafestival.co.uk
Whisky and Music Tasting
Tuesday 8th July at 3.30 pm at the Islay Hotel (Port Ellen)
A truly sensory experience awaits you. I will host a Whisky and Music tasting. This is the third year that Cantilena musicians play music to a dram. We have chosen to focus on the seasons this year as the famous Vivaldi’s symphony “The Four Seasons” is on Cantilena programme. Each whisky will also be symbolized by one element: air for spring, fire for summer, earth for autumn and water for winter.
Imagine feeling the warmth of Laphroaig cask strength while being carried away by the frenetic sound of the violins and violas depicting a violent thunderstorm in summer?
Or capturing the earthy scents of Bunnahabhain while listening to the howling wind in autumn?
Tickets: £15 – only 30 seats available – Bookings through email@example.com or phone 01 496 850 106
April : April makes the flowers and the beauty…
… but May takes all the credit
True, in April I will be busy preparing two major whisky festivals happening in May.
May : 1st May to 5th May: The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
A must for whisky lovers. So much happening in the distilleries and around. I will be hosting tastings and a dinner with Ronnie Cox at Rothes’house in the village of Rothes. Glenrothes at its best, don’t miss it…
10h30-12h30 – Vintage vatting of Glenrothes
A tasting of various Vintages will culminate with an invitation to make your own Vintage Vatting to suit one of three moods: Uplifting; Conversational or relaxing… the result can be taken home in a 10 cl bottle. Sense of humour and sense of fun required. Over 18’s only.
15h-16h30 – Teach your nose to nose
Ask all the questions you were afraid to ask. Martine Nouet will explain what it takes to sit on the best spirit tasting panels and impart her tasting techniques for the deeper understanding of spirits and particularly The Glenrothes. Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes Brands Heritage Director will relate the history and culture associated with The Glenrothes.
A brief visit to the distillery thereafter will be on offer.
19h30- 12.00 am – Dine in style at Glenrothes
For the first time ever, guests can enjoy the private atmosphere of the ‘family-home’ of Rothes House and the Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd hospitality over three hours with, not only wonderful whiskies, but some of the best wines in the world……and, most importantly in the company of Martine Nouet the renowned food/whisky expert; her selected Chef and Ronnie Cox the Heritage Director of Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd.
Unfortunately the dinner is sold out (only 10 seats)
Info on Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival at www.spiritofspeyside.com
24th May to 31st May: Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of Music and Malt
A week of celebrations all over the island. Programme and info to come soon.
Details of the events soon on www.islayfestival.com
February: Good to enjoy a month at home even though the weather was horrendous!
27th March to 31st March: I come back, for the fourth time I think, to the Whisky Festival Noord-Nederland in Groningen (Netherlands). Great people, great atmosphere and highly spirited venue: the festival is held in an old church. This is the 9th edition. I will give four classes :
- rum finish whiskies (and we will start by tasting a rum)
- port finish whiskies (and we will start by tasting a port)
- pairing whiskies with local seafood (herring and oysters)
- focus on peat, scanning the aromatic profile of different peated whiskies and working on the descriptors.
The festival opens with a whisky dinner on 27th March in restaurant Prinsenhof in Groningen. With the chef, we experiment original combinations for a six course (and six whiskies) dinner. A selection of single malts from Diageo portfolio will be at the table this year.
www.wfnn.nl (the Festival site will be updated very soon with details on the dinner and the masterclasses)
15th January to 15th February: From the grape to the grain
International Cognac Summit
19th to 23rd January: Every year, the BNIC (Bureau National de l’Interprofession du Cognac) invites professionals from all over the world to a conference on a specific theme. This year, participants will communicate, debate and exchange on “Cognac and Food”. Five workshops will be the ground of experimentation for matching cognac (VS, VSOP and XO) and meat, seafood, cheese, vegetables and sweets. The results will be published in a book designed as a work tool for the profession. I will be in charge of the seafood workshop. An exciting week!
25th January: How many Burns’ dinners will be dedicated to Scotland’s national bard round the world? Probably a few thousands. I will host a Burns’ dinner at the Athenaeum in London, together with Alwynne Gwilt (check her blog) and The Balvenie Range. All drams that Rabbie Burns would have praised in his poems.
19th November to 3rd December: My annual trip to Canada
Early November: nothing special, to make a change! I will spend some time in France with family and friends. But I will have my brain extension with me of course. Always plugged in and still working.
20th to 22nd November: My fourth visit to Fredericton (New Brunswick) for the NB Spirits Festival. I will host a whisky dinner featuring Glenmorangie and Ardbeg on 20th November. On 21st and 22nd November, I will present two major masterclasses and also, a first this year, do a cooking demonstration on Thursday morning. This festival is among my highlights of the year. Smaller in attendance than the big shows but it attracts serious and open minded whisky lovers and I love its warm and friendly atmosphere. www.whiskynb.ca
Then a few days to Caraquet to dive into Acadian culture before a ritual pilgrimage to Montréal, my favourite city in North America. Back to Bonnie Islay early December. Where has the year gone?
30th September to 10th October: On both sides of the Channel
30th September : Whisky Live Paris I will attend the last day of Whisky Live Paris but as a visitor. Plenty to sample, plenty to blether! My partners in drams Dave Broom and Charlie McLean will be mastering great tastings while I will muse about the stands and catch up with old friends. Some relaxation! <www.whiskylive.fr<
30th September in the evening : Jean Lenoir, the great wine expert who created “Le Nez du Vin” some thirty years ago has now put his nose into single malts. He will launch at Lavinia (Paris) “Le nez du whisky” a fantastic nosing kit of 54 aromas. I have had the privilege of contributing to this wonderful educational tool. And so has my friend and fellow writer Charles MacLean.
The English version of Le Nez du Whisky will be launched in London at Hedonism on 9th October. Guess what? I will be there too!
5th, 6th and 7th October: The Whisky Show in London One of the foremost whisky events to be held in Vinopolis. Saturday is already booked out. Sunday will soon be and Monday is reserved for the professionals.
Fancy “extreme pairings”? You will sample them at the Food Hall. I will also match Loch Fyne oysters with a few great mariners. On Sunday, we will experience a year of enjoyment with “The four seasons, a symphony of flavours”, with sweet and savoury pairings along the seasons. See more -London Whisky Show Masterclasses
23rd August – 3rd September: Just back from Australia now it’s more new territory in Asia (China, Hong-Kong and Taiwan)
22nd August : Shanghai Express “The Icons of Whisky” lunch will be hosted at Johnnie Walker House, pre Whisky Live Shanghai. I dealt with the pairing. Hope the “Dandy” will appreciate my work! Video – Johnnie Walker House Shanghai
Hosting a dinner for Shanghai Whisky Club with some enticing guests: Arran 10 Year old (special bottling); Tomatin 15 Year old; Ballantine’s 17 Scapa version (I have never tasted it!); Glenfarclas 21Year Old and Peat Monster.
23rd – 24th August: Whisky Live Shanghai. My mission: to play with matches with my matching! I won’t set the whole place on fire though! The focus is whisky and seafood.
26th – 29th August: La Comtesse de Hong-Kong: Not exactly me! I will meet ”the Man of Hong-Kong”, the charismatic Johnny Roberts, Brand Ambassador for Glenrothes and the Berry’s Selection Single malts. On the menu: tastings and whisky dinners. I can’t wait to dive into Chinese cuisine. But there is a catch – it has to be garlic free for me. What a challenge!
31st August/1st September: Taipei Story: Another path of discovery, my first trip to Taiwan…. I will take part in Whisky Live Taipei and as in Shanghai, explore the avenues of pairing seafood and whisky. And also chocolate and whisky, a classic in Europe but more unusual in Asia. I am looking forward to the whisky lunch on 30th August which will feature Chinese dishes. I promise a recipe in the coming weeks.
19th July to 8th August Here I come Oz !
20th and 21st July : I will stop in Singapore, on my way to Australia. I can’t wait to meet my friend Emmanuel Dron, owner of The Auld Alliance Bar. I promise I will share (virtually) my best drams with you ! https://store.theauldalliance.sg/
22nd July to 8th August, I will be in Australia, taking part in Whisky Live Canberra and Whisky Live Sydney and hosting tastings and whisky dinners. Where you could meet me:
24th and 25th July : I will be on Bermagui, a tiny town, on the south coast, pairing whisky with oysters and cheese.
26th July : I am hosting a whisky dinner at La Scala Restaurant in Canberra. If you want to join in, email firstname.lastname@example.org
27th July: Canberra Whisky Live. I will be on the cheese stand. Extreme pairings in sight!
30th July: Sorry guys, I am off! I have a ticket for La Traviata at Sydney Opera. Just I and I. I can’t wait! http://www.whiskylive.com.au/
1st August: Gourmet whisky dinner at The Four Seasons in Sydney . If you want to join in, email email@example.com
2nd and 3rd August : Whisky Live Sydney. Back on the cheese stand. http://www.whiskylive.com.au/
5th and 6th August: I fly to Tasmania, I hope to encounter a few devils and more important, I will visit Hellyers Road distillery and Nant distillery.
What a trip!
11th June to 6th July, between judging spirits and matching whisky and music
Tuesday 11th June to 14th June at International Wine and Spirit Competition
I will join my fellow judges at the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) in Cranleigh (really the middle of nowhere!).
Our mission: blind taste up to 60 samples a day and distribute gold to the best of the best, silver to the excellent, and bronze to the very good!
The judging is extremely serious, professional, energy consuming and utterly secret. I love that aura of mystery… Don’t try to follow me, I will be invisible!
Sunday 30 th to June to 6th of July Islay Chamber Music Festival
Islay welcomes one of the best Chamber Music Festival in Scotland. A group of eight talented musicians who all perform in Scottish orchestras will give concerts all over the island, including in distilleries.
DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL POSTER Cantilena-festival-on-Islay 2013
Not to be missed, on Tuesday 2nd July, I will host a Whisky and Music Tasting at 3.30 pm at Islay Hotel in Port Ellen.
Each of the four Islay single malts on that tasting menu will be enjoyed while listening to a piece of music played by Cantilena Chamber Music Group.
24th May to 1st June A week of fun with Whisky, Music and Dance
Come to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt
Monday 27th May 16h00 Dancing Drams at Bruichladdich Hall
Don’t miss the Dancing Drams unique event
Tuesday 28th May 17h30 at Sanaigmore Outback Gallery
Cello Galore… A Cello concert with Bruichladdich Botanist. Find out more…
Wednesday 29th May 17h30 at Laphroaig Distillery
Cello Galore… taste the music with the whisky Find out more…
Thursday 30th May from 14h00 at Kilchoman Distillery
Enjoy nibbles and Kilchoman special bottlings and meet me at the coffee shop
Friday 31st May 17h00 to 21h00 at The House of Bliss
Exclusive malt whisky cooking class and dinner – Only 6 seats
23rd April 21.00 (French time) | Live online tasting with Ludovic Ducrocq, brand ambassador of Grant’s Blend. In French/English.
2-6 May | Spirit of Speyside Festival
4th May 2013, 10.00-12.30: Whisky meets art through iPad at Glenrothes Distillery, Rothes. Interpret the Glenrothes via iPad. I will be presenting with the charismatic Ronnie Cox, Director of the Glenrothes. Paint what you smell and taste. No prior artistic skill necessary!
PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL… Come with inspiration!
24th May to 1st June | Islay Malt & Music Festival (Feis Ile)
My personal Islay Festival. Programme available soon.
– Whisky Live Paris
30th September : I will attend the last day of Whisky Live Paris but as a visitor. Plenty to sample, plenty to blether! My partners in drams Dave Broom and Charlie McLean will be mastering great tastings while I will muse about the stands and catch up with old friends. Some relaxation!
30th September in the evening : Jean Lenoir, the great wine expert who created “Le Nez du Vin” some thirty years ago has now put his nose into single malts. He will launch at Lavinia (Paris) “Le nez du whisky” a fantastic nosing kit of 54 aromas. I have hadthe privilege of contributing to this wonderful educational tool. And so has my friend and fellow writer Charles MacLean.
The English version of Le Nez du Whisky will be launched in London at Hedonism on 9th October. Guess what? I will be there too!
– The Whisky Show in London
5th, 6th and 7th October: One of the foremost whisky events to be held in Vinopolis. Saturday is already booked out. Sunday will soon be and Monday is reserved for the professionals.
Fancy “extreme pairings”? You will sample them at the Food Hall. I will also match Loch Fyne oysters with a few great mariners. On Sunday, we will experience a year of enjoyment with “The four seasons, a symphony of flavours”, with sweet and savoury pairings along the seasons.