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At city’s first whisky bar, it’s all hic hic hurray

The JW Marriott hotel teams up with whisky major Glenmorangie to stage the first event of an exclusive new club that will meet monthly to sample the world’s finest blends, reports Barney Henderson.
Hindustan Times | By Barney Henderson, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2008 02:32 AM IST

As the Celtic proverb goes, what whisky won’t cure, there is no cure for. With inflation soaring, petrol prices sky high and monsoon floods coming early, the opening of Mumbai Whisky Club could not have been better timed.

India’s love of whisky has been maturing steadily over the years. In fact, we drink 10 crore cases of the stuff every year — more than any other country in the world. However, the difference between a cabbie slugging back a quart bottle with a dodgy label and the art form that is single malt is wider than the Irish Sea.

The JW Marriott hotel has teamed up with whisky major Glenmorangie to stage the first event of an exclusive new club that will meet monthly and sample the world’s finest blends. The first of its kind in India, the Mumbai Whisky Club, is planning blind tastings, whisky dinners and even a trip to Glenmorangie House in Ross-shire, Scotland, to see how different barrels flavour, mature the whisky, and merge 150 aromas in a glass. The club is also trying to get hold of a secretive Pakistani blend that is the talk of the whisky world.

“Whisky is back in a big way and we saw the opportunity to set up a club for single malt lovers — once you try a single malt, you are turned for life,” said Nasir Shaikh, JW Marriott’s food and beverage manager.

One of the world’s leading whisky experts, Dr Bill Lumsden, head of whisky creation at Glenmorangie, said that one day he hopes to blend a whisky to suit Indian food. “India has a love of whisky, so this club will be a great way of teaching members about single malts and its subtleties,” he said.

Celebrities and connoisseurs attended the launch on Friday night, where Glenmorangie’s head chef, David Graham, was flown in from the Highlands to prepare a lavish menu.

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