Which may seem an odd idea worked beyond my expectations. Yes, whisky can be danced. Whether whisky connoisseurs or just beginners, they all let their tastebuds be carried away by the appropriate dance. Dancing Drams, here is a new sensory experience. A first but certainly not a last.You may feel you know where you are going. However, when you explore new avenues, you are gripped with apprehension and a good dose of excitement as well. As much as pairing dance with whisky seemed natural and obvious when Paula decrypted my tasting-notes to create her choreography, we could not anticipate the audience’s reactions. Now, we know! The success of Dancing Drams calls for one single comment: we will play it again. Watch out!
The title of that very special session is a tribute to my dear friend Angela d’Orazio, the brilliant master-blender of Mackmyra single malt in Sweden. Angela loves dance and calls herself “Dancing Dram”.
It is very difficult to convey in words the wonderful sensations that pairing whisky and dance brought to the audience. The session has been filmed and I hope to be able to edit the videos soon. Meanwhile, the reaction of one of the lucky attendants tells volumes : “I don’t consider myself as a whisky connoisseur but watching Paula performs her wonderful dances and enjoying the whisky at the same time guided me. The dance talked of the whisky. Really incredible. I loved it”.
Ardbeg Blasda and Silk
Blasda is the forgotten child in the Ardbeg family. Probably bacause it is a lightly peated Ardbeg. The phenol content hardly reaches 8 ppm (parts per million) when its peaty brothers show a good 24. The name Blasda means sweet and delicious in Gaelic. This is exactly what the whisky is.
The nose is fruity and floral with hawthorn and gorse notes, followed by fresh pineapple and lemon posset. A hint of aerial smoke lingers in the back. The palate is silky, smooth and sweet, revealing citrus fruit with a delicate flowery and earthy touch (aerial).
The dance reflected that impression of whispering, floating, springtime, early morning, watercolour. Refreshing, cheerful…
Paula interpreted that ethereal character on the crystal-clear sound of a celtic harp melody, her colourful silk veil floating in the space.
Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old and Flamenco
Matured in bourbon and sherry refill casks then finished three years in oloroso casks, Bowmore Darkest bears the print of Spanish oak, colourwise with its amber robe and tastewise too. The nose is fruity and chocolatey with a rich display of raisins, marmalade, parma violet and sherry oak. Smoked meat and briny breeze notes hover in the back. A deep and robust profile.
The palate is sweet at first, followed by a spicy dry outburst which explodes on the tongue, together with burnt wood, bacon, raisins and licorice.
The flamenco perfectly illustrated that “gypsy” sensation of intensity, sensuality and warmth… A deep and lively dance alternating slow and brisk movements.
The music chosen by Paula came from Cape Breton! A traditional celtic music band revisiting the flamenco rhythms. Awesome.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley and Traditional
This single malt emphasizes the notion of terroir. It was produced from Chalice barley, grown on Islay at Dunlossit farm and harvested in September. The whisky was distilled in November 2006, hence a rather young whisky but rich and cheery.
The nose is intense and creamy, revealing lots of fruit and vanilla with a rich malty core. On time, floral notes of gorse and meadowsweet swirl up.
The palate is sweet and crisp with fruity flavours of peaches, pears and citrus, drying on spices.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley is rooted in tradition and the island culture. Paula is as much at ease with traditional dances as with ballet or flamenco. Step dancing embodies tradition with an energetic rhythm. It perfectly conveyed the essence of a rich, swift, lively whisky with a big warm heart. And an invite to share the fun. People were fidgeting on their chair! A true Islay welcome.
Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin and Oriental
Cairdeas means friendship in gaelic. The Cairdeas versions of Laphroaig are a tribute to the “friends of Laphroaig”. Origin was created with the remaining of the original casks from the first Cardeas bottling plus newer spirit matured in quarter casks for 7 years.
A Laphroaig which keeps the distillery character but leaves the shore for an exotic trip. On the nose, spices calls the tune with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, bringing out smoke, tar and sweet notes. The palate is sweet and crisp, medicinal as expected but spicy as well.
For the last dance, Paula took us on the shores of Orient. She excels in oriental dancing which she chose to perform on the haunting ancient turkish tune of Hesperion XXI played by Jordi Savall. The exact taste of a mesmerizing, spicy and maritime whisky which takes you on an exotic trip. Oriental, sensual, physical, inspiring for a discovery trip of your own body.