When we first agreed to put on a Sensory Bar for the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship, we have to admit we didn't quite know how it was going to pan out. For starters, who's heard of a bar at a whisky event that isn't going to be serving booze?
Hosted and run by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society since 2007, the Championship has been taking place since 1989. The core affair is the blind whisky tasting competition, which sees competitors having to correctly identify 8 whiskies from a list of 9. This year saw a record 120 odd competitors vying for the title of Malt Whisky Champion and an incredible top prize of a trip to Japan. Competition aside, real efforts have been made this year to also make the after party an affair to remember. And it certainly was! Held this year at Madame Tussauds, the waxworks provided a suitably engaging backdrop for party-goers, who were also kept well hydrated by a variety of whiskies and cocktails from the Glenfiddich Bar, SMWS Single Cask Bar and beer from Gage Roads Brewing Co.
With their thirst so well taken care of, it fell to us to engage their other senses with our Sensory Bar, designed to exhibit edible elements and scents associated with each of the whiskies on pour that evening. Dividing the whiskies into three individual flavour profiles, we ran different stations for each, where guests could nibble and nose the food items, all of which had been chosen to match (and in some cases enhance) the key tasting note in the whiskies.
Alongside the three stations, we also ran a Guess the Scent competition where participants had to correctly identify three aromas from a list of five. All three scents came from the instructive Aroma Academy Whisky Aroma (x24) Kit, which was also available for guests to play around with on the night (minus the five scents used in the competition of course - we can't make it THAT easy!) Whilst most scents were easily discernible, some were more thought provoking, inciting quite a few "Ooh, I didn't think X would smell like that..." This carried through to the nosing competition with only three people successfully identifying the second scent on the list correctly (it was sherry). Like all competitions, there could only be one winner and we are pleased to announce the inaugural SCC x AMWTC Nosing Champion - Helen Boult!
Were we successful in engaging everyone's sense of sight, smell and taste with our display? We'd like to think we did but we'll let you be the judge of that with the pictures below! If the first picture is anything to go by, it looks like we succeeded in mesmerising our audience!