THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
The Drink Nation Home Bar Project Cover

A Whiskey Tasting With Rachel Barrie

The woman knows her spirits
by Akiko Moorman on Oct 24, 2012 in Liquor
A Whiskey Tasting With Rachel Barrie

Rachel Barrie, the first woman master whisky blender, is as interesting to meet as she is to drink whisky with. Barrie brings a language and philosophy to the world of whisky that has never existed before. Her creative way of articulating the nuances of the whisky combined with scent descriptions inspired by her love of perfumes provides both an imagery and sensory experience for the drinker. She waxes poetically about flavor profile, wans about locations of the whisky production, elegantly describes where and when she imagines you should drink each one and — what I found most interesting — what you should eat with each whisky.

Glen Garioch 12 Year

We started off with Glen Garioch, which hails from Barrie’s hometown. Glen Garioch has 30 days more sunlight than the rest of Scotland, the most fertile soil, the most livestock and the most bees. Aptly, the name means “aplenty.” This whisky is rich, spicy and reminds Barrie of her grandmother’s kitchen. She compares the complexity of this whisky to multigrain bread. Which is why, I suppose, it pairs so nicely with cheese. Cabot clothbound cheddar, to be specific, and honey or maple syrup. It’s spicy nature mellows to a creamy, full whisky when you add a little bit of water, so taking it neat or with rocks depends on your preference. But Barrie wants you to feel the tingle of the spices on the roof of your mouth.

Bowmore 15 Year

Our second whisky was Bowmore, from the Islay. Barrie described a small western town, dotted with fishing boats and the possibility of experiencing four seasons in a single day. Bowmore was the first distillery to distill from peat, a soil full of decomposition and moss that reveals a spectrum of salt, smoke and umami. It is aged 12 years in bourbon and 3 years in sherry casks, and then is married, which explains why it is so balanced. Barrie suggests putting a piece of dark chocolate in your mouth, letting it melt a little, then taking a sip of 15-year Bowmore to make a smokey, chocolate liquor treat on your tongue. She believes this is whisky best drunk at a bonfire, on the beach, just as “darkness descends and stars start to come out.” She says this with a Scottish accent. Are you in love yet? Did I mention she collects vintage motorcycles?

Auchentoshan Classic

The last whiskey we tasted was Auchentoshan Classic, from the only distillery that triple distills. The triple distillation in copper stills plus the malted barley gives this whisky a light and elegant flavor with notes of grassiness that Barrie compares to Sauvignon Blanc. She suggested pairing the spirit with a flaky fish. This revelation forced me to ask her if Auchentoshan was the answer to the much-debated question of what to pair with asparagus. She agreed it is. Huzzah! Give me some grilled halibut, asparagus and glass of Auchentoshan, anytime.

So as the weather turns cold and the idea of staying in sounds appealing, or the next time you’re trying to dream up your next “How About We” date, grab these three whiskys, a nice cheddar with perhaps some honeycomb, a few different kinds of dark chocolate and steam some asparagus with a nice flaky, white fish, and have yourself a whisky tasting to remember.

Recent Articles

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
PBR is Making Its Own Whiskey For the Perfect Shot & Beer Combo

PBR is Making Its Own Whiskey For the Perfect Shot & Beer Combo

Pabst Blue Ribbon has filed documents to create its very own whiskey, making for the perfect shot & beer combo....read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 18, 2019
Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

In this edition of Behind the Bar, we chatted with Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 7, 2019
Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Ridley Scott has directed a four-minute short film for Hennessy X.O. visualizing the seven flavors of the high...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 4, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close