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Kininvie Whiskey

A few weeks ago I was invited to a whiskey tasting.  I am definitely not a whiskey connoisseur but I know many people are very enthusiastic about the spirit so I thought this would be my opportunity to learn something about an unfamiliar drink.  And I took Drew with me; because he’s in the ‘very enthusiastic about whiskey’ camp.

Kininvie

Kininvie Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

The launch of Kininvie Whiskey from the Scottish Highlands was held at Magazin, a private club in Sydney’s Darlinghurst that opened just over a year ago.  Being a private club, there is no street signage to let you know you’ve arrived at your destination; just a nondescript grey door on the footpath of William Street.

Chocolate with muscatels

Chocolate with muscatels

Entering through the grey door, you descend a flight of stairs and this entrance to the club reminded me of walking into Marie’s Crisis in New York.  Magazin is dark and once my eyes adjusted I was able to see little cafe tables in the centre of the fairly intimate space with booths lining the walls.  The great thing about the booths is that there are drawers underneath the seat so you can store your hand bag – love that idea!

Walk down the stairs to Magazin

Walk down the stairs to Magazin


Like the Soho Clubs that are now in major cities around the world, Magazin is a member’s only club that’s known for being absolutely discreet and therefore photography is strictly banned.  Magazin is a club where actors, celebrities, politicians and private individuals can relax and enjoy a drink knowing their every move isn’t being captured and splattered across social media.

Magazin

Magazin

The bar

The bar

Kininvie is owned by William Grant & Sons, a privately owned family company in the Scottish Highlands.  William Grant founded the company in 1887 and today it owns brands such as Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Grant’s, Hendrick’s gin, Sailor Jerry spiced rum and Drambuie Liquor.

Bottles of Kininvie

Bottles of Kininvie

Martin

Martin O’Sullivan, owner of Magazin

The Kininvie distillery was opened in 1990 by Janet Roberts who was the last remaining granddaughter of William Grant.  It’s known as a reclusive whiskey because for years it wasn’t available to the public, and has been exclusively enjoyed by the family and friends of the owners.  In 2013 the Kininvie 23-year old Batch No.1 launched exclusively in Taiwan, then Batch No.2 was launched in the UK, the USA and mainland Europe in 2014.  Both batches were sold out completely on launching.

Launch

Laura Hay, whiskey specialist

Batch No.3 is now being launched in Australia.  It’s sold in 350ml bottles that retail for $210.00 and each bottle displays the year of distillation, the batch number and the individual bottle number.  The whiskey has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 42.6% so I don’t think you’re meant to drink the entire bottle in one sitting.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

The bottles have been carefully designed and have beautiful, discreet and minimalist packaging.

Kininvie

Kininvie

Drew and I sat in a booth and were given a welcome drink.   It was an Old Fashioned, that cocktail the ad-men were always drinking on Mad-Men.  It was made with Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, chocolate and served over ice.  You could definitely smell chocolate so when I tasted it I was expecting there to be some sweetness but there wasn’t, it was whiskey with chocolate aromas.

An Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned

Taking us through the tastings was Laura Hay, a whiskey specialist for William Grant & Sons.  Laura was born in the Scottish Highlands and grew up very close to the Grant & Sons distilleries.

Launch

Laura Hay, whiskey specialist

We were invited to try a couple of whiskeys that aren’t actually available on the market.  The first was a Kininvie 1999 Bourbon Cask.  It was very light in colour with honey tones.

Whiskey

Kininvie 1999 Bourbon Cask

The second was a Kininvie 1990 Sherry Cask that was notably darker in colour; a lot more rosy.  Laura said when you smell whiskey you can pick up a variety of scents; I did think I could smell rich fruit cake and, if a bit extravagant, a nip or two of this would be excellent in a Christmas cake.

Whiskey

Kininvie 1990 Sherry Cask

We then tried the 17-year old Kininvie that Laura asked us to smell and she said she could smell lemon meringue pie.  I couldn’t smell any pies but apparently the aromas you get from smelling whiskey are quite individual.  I did think I could smell citrus but unfortunately, with a head-cold and a blocked nose, picking up subtle aromas wasn’t easy.

Whiskey

17-year old Kininvie Whiskey

The last whiskey of the evening was the 23-year old Kininvie, the whiskey that’s just been launched in Australia.  There is a rich vanilla oakiness from the 23 years of maturation that gives an amazing depth of flavour and sweetness.

Little pots of creme brulee

Little pots of creme brulee decorated with a violet

It was an excellent, fun and informative tasting that I thoroughly enjoyed however, at the end of the day when I’m looking for a drink to enjoy, I’m probably still more likely to reach for a glass of wine.  I do appreciate however, that there are a lot of people who not only love but are very enthusiastic about whiskey.  My husband is one of them and of all the events he’s come to as my wing-man, this was by far his favourite.  He found the Kininvie whiskeys to be very special indeed and hopes that in his Christmas stocking, he’ll find a 350ml bottle of the 23-year old single malt whiskey.

Whiskey

Kininvie Whiskey

Kininvie Whiskey is available at all good whiskey retailers for $210/bottle.

Take home gift

‘Gift from two world famous recluses’

Comments

  1. I’ve tried some pretty well known single malt whiskeys but can’t really say that I was a fan. How nice of you to take Drew along but now that you’ve spoiled him with this fine whiskey … how can you ever top it? 🙂

  2. I hate whiskey, now if it was a Bailey’s party I would be there first in line lol.

  3. I enjoy a glass of whiskey from time to time. This sounds like a great line of whiskey, a fun event and an intriguing club.

  4. yep i do love a drop of whiskey now and then. this must have been an exciting evening charlie.

  5. My Pete is also very enthusiastic about whiskey so this would be his ideal evening. I too love the idea of having somewhere to store your handbag. So clever.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. I’m not a whiskey drinker either. How did you manage the photos in a no-photo place?

  7. I’m not big on whiskey either, but I think I’d make an exception to attend this fun event! Love your two recluses gift 🙂

  8. Hi Charlie, my husband would of loved to go to something like this, how wonderful!

  9. yep whiskey for me just goes in cooking…how good would the fruit cake taste with a good slug of $210 a bottle in it 🙂

  10. I am not so fond of whisky either Charlie but would love to do this kind of tasting, it’s a great way to learn to appreciate it. You did a great job in such a very dark setting

  11. This looks like a lot of fun. I know nothing about whiskey.

  12. I used to really dislike whisky but then I discovered the very peaty west coast whiskies. I love Talisker. How wonderful to go to such an amazing whisky tasting. GG

  13. I don’t think I’d have a very discerning palate, but I love the idea of appreciating whiskey for the art and history it represents. There are several men in my life who would be quite envious of this event, Charlie. I’ve sat at many a table and listened to them go back and forth discussing whiskey. You have some of the most interesting invitations, and this certainly was a special event. I’m sure Drew was more than happy to accompany you. 🙂

  14. I know so many whisky enthusiasts! And I developed a newfound appreciated for it after Scotland although I haven’t tried much Irish whisky.

  15. Not a whisky/whiskey drinker, but after attending a whisky/food match dinner a few months back, I can appreciate what the enthusiasts are on about. Although I bet if I tried to drink it now, without the pizazz and flair of the whiskey specialist, it wouldnt be good at all.

  16. The Hungry Dad would be green with envy! Whiskey is his drink – in Japan last year I lost cunt of the amount of hours we spent tracking down hard-to-find batches! #addict I am not that much of a fan – I too would prefer a vino x

  17. You know, I’ve actually never had whisky! We’re going to Scotland soon so this is a nice prelude to getting into the spirit 🙂

  18. What a fun dinner to attend! Like you, I know little about whiskey. I often only use it to cook. Very fun to have been able to sample non-released products too. I hope you’re feeling better!

  19. I’m not a whisky drinker either, but the Bloke is fond of a drop of Irish whiskey on occasion.
    At that price, I’d be expecting it to be pretty wonderful.

  20. I am not a whiskey drinker but I do have my sites on those little cups of creme brûlée and lavender…

  21. Such an exclusive sounding club. And I’m also gradually learning to appreciate whiskies, slowly!

  22. What a lovely stocking present, bit too rich for me. JT loves whiskey too and I know he would have enjoyed this event. I’ve got a head cold right now, so I can totally sympathize with you on the lack of senses. I’m with you, I’d rather a glass of white wine for sure.

  23. My father-in-law has 3 or 4 bottles of very expensive single malt whiskey in his room at the nursing home that he shares with refined people. That means I don’t get a look in. He would love the new kininvie.

  24. Chocolate in an Old Fashioned? Interesting idea! I’ll have to give that a whirl. Sounds like you had a fun time and had some truly terrific things to drink. I like Scotch, but usually drink American rye or bourbon. Definitely need to broaden my horizons!

  25. I’m no Whisky connoisseur eather but the event sounds like fun and it’s always great to learn something new.
    Whisky is very much in fashion over here and people flock to seminars and events to learn more about it.
    Thanks for taking us along.

  26. I have been working with the Whisky Live people for two or three years now and love the whisky and food matching xx

  27. Whisky with chocolate aromas? Oh my… vicariously enjoying (envying?) your tasting opportunity, Charlie! I love the spelling distinctions, too… “whisky” vs. “whiskey.” Old school (and old whisky) suits me just fine. Remind me to start marinating my Christmas cake goodies post haste!!!

  28. Oh how I would love to take my husband to something like this. He loves whiskey and it would be a blast just watching him enjoying all of these drink, even though a couple sound a little strange or interesting. It would be worth being the designated driver. 🙂 What fun!

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