Single Malt Society – Bucharest edition
Although this is a wine lover’s page, from time to time, I love to take up a challenge. Tasting and enjoying Single Malt is definitely a way to leave your comfort zone and step into an exclusive club. Creating such a club is exactly what Alexandrion Group aimed to do when they founded the Single Malt Society.
The Single Malt Club
Romania doesn’t have a tradition as a destination for exclusive and exquisite drinks. Whiskey only became widely available in the last 30 years, after the fall of the communist regime. However, we have a strong legacy of distilling our own strong spirits from local fruits. It’s a popular custom to welcome guests with great food and a shot of home-made palinka/ horinca/ tuica or strong brandy. Add a layer of globalization, a lot of curiosity, some sophistication, and you have the foundation to welcome any of the world’s most potent spirits.
The initiative to make single malt a statement in Romania is daring to say the least. It will take some time to educate the wider market about the subtle differences between production methods, brands, and producers. Only after this will they be able to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of it. Alexandrion Group selected some unconventional tools in this war. They relinquished the conventional way of lecturing people from the connaisseur’s position. Instead, the single malt message is carried by four ambassadors who are local celebrities. Time will tell if this was the best approach, but it’s undoubtedly very democratic and less intimidating.
The venue was the statement building of Romania, the Palace of the Parliament, of the “People’s House” how it’s commonly known. The communist monument is a magnificent example of larger-than-life ego and offers lavish halls for exclusive gatherings.
The crowd (or “society“) looked polished but very diverse. You could see politicians, Romanian TV stars, bloggers, independent chefs, and various socialites. From this melting pot eventually will emerge a more convergent group of fine drinks lovers.
Soft and elegant entertainment in the background provided by a local live band.
There were a couple of single malt whiskeys to enjoy. Even a shy try of whiskey mixology (whiskey sour) was available. Personally, I chose the following:
- Glenfiddich IPA- matures in old craft beer casks. This one was the welcome drink. It has citric notes, some green apple, and some delicate vanilla, remaining on the fresh side.
- The Balvenie Double Wood, aged 12 years- very delicate and sweet notes, well rounded and carrying the sherry notes from the second maturation.
- The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14-year-old- rich, creamy and delicate, this excellent piece carried some magic from the tropical islands.
There were other options available from the Glenfiddich family, but to try them all would have meant to call it a night way too early.
The fun and daring initiative is a bold step in a traditional market. Most likely it will become fashionable since Romanians love to be in trend and value foreign customs and drinks. Maybe a local label of single malt at some point in the future?