On a quiet late autumn April Thursday night between Easter and Anzac Day long weekends, Horn and Hoof with Cut Hill Distillery decided to put on a trial Whisky and Cigar degustation event. ( With cigars provided by our supplier www.cigarworld.com.au)
It turned out to be a memorable night for all who turned up.
Being a first event, they decided to keep numbers limited to ensure quality over quantity and it came out in spades. There were 7 Courses of food, Phoenix Gin, and Vodka with some great parings and then a selection of Cut Hill Whisky’s including a Barrel sample at 66% which blew everyone’s socks away.
Initially everyone arrived Horn and Hoof Fine Dining Restaurant and was treated to a Lost Phoenix Gin & Soda (not tonic to maximise the floral tastes of a very unique gin), this was matched to a crushed berry and pear jelly sorbet (not to sweet) but a great palate cleanser and a Perdomo 10th Anniversary Purito from Nicaragua.
The night was off to a great start.
The group then moved to the main tables. The next course consisted of Lost Phoenix Vodka, matched to European smoked sprats with a ginger touch. I have never sipped vodka, but when combining sprats with vodka, it gave the spirit an almost sweet enhancement, something I have never tasted in a pure vodka. It goes to show how combining the right foods can really enhance the flavours of our favourite sprits and tantalise the taste buds.
The third course consisted of a prosciutto, blue cheese & mustardised pears, roasted nuts, and rocket salad. This time it was matched to the first of the whiskies. A 43% Wine Cask Sample. The blue cheeses combined with the prosciutto and mustarded pears, really enhanced the flavours of the whisky.
For the fourth course, the group was treated to a rare treat – venison tartare with glazed baby tomatoes. This was pared to a fortified cask enhanced whisky at 45%. The whisky flavours were enhanced by the fine venison tastes, we added a touch of water to the spirit to open the flavours.
Finally getting over halfway we broke up the dinner before we tackled the main courses and sat on the balcony had our second Cigar. Hoya Du Marie (Cuban). A light mild, shorter smoke, but a welcome break before we moved into the main courses.
For the Fifth Course we were treated to slow cooked wild boar with red currents, carrots, and greens. I now understand why Asterix, and Obelisk always went wild for this meat. The flavours were rich, not gamey and the texture was like pulled pork but with beefy overtones. Something that just must be tried, but once you do, I promise you that you will soon be back for more and a question I kept asking myself, was, why is it that no one else serves this delicious meat? ( but then again , where in Melbourne or Australia is there a Chef like Elena , who grew up in the Northern Hemisphere Forests) While talking about the flavours, you began to think how or what can you match these great flavours? Cut Hill Distillery never disappoints. The group was treated to a sample of cask strength whisky that will be bottled sometime soon. It had rich caramel overtones with a full strength hit of a full-bodied whisky. Everyone yearned for more, but alas at over 66% it was too valuable.
The second last course, a tried-and-true Aussie favourite was lamb shanks ( but made special, having them boneless) with dried apricots. This was matched to a mead cask whisky (from Maxwell’s meads). The entwinement of the lamb, apricots and whisky with mead overtones was just like Ambrosia, (the nectar of the Greek gods). And I can tell you, by now we were feeling like we were in heaven.
The last and 7th course was a Spiced Apple cake layered over with melted Vanilla Ice-Cream. Yes, we were floating on cloud nine!
With Dinner complete, the entourage then absconded to the veranda once more, and they were treated like royalty and finished with a Davidoff 2000 cigar.
Each person then chooses their own drinks to accompany this!
The group sat on the balcony until the early hours of the morning, joking, telling stories as you would want to do after a night of great whisky, devastatingly delicious foods, and cigars to complete the night.
All we can say is, thank you to Horn and Hoof Fine Dining Restaurant / Cut Hill for allowing us to be your test group. We will tell our friends about this night, and I would be amazed if you did not sell out in short time for your next event. Horn and Hoof Fine Dining Restaurant