Situated within the heart of the city, The Palm House is an unassuming, beautiful and unique venue that transports its guests to a world of one of a kind experiences. The event, hosted by Highland Park Whisky, maximised the environment of the Royal Botanical Gardens to showcase a range of Highland Park expressions along with some carefully curated food pairings.
The concept of this collaboration was born from the idea of bringing together a love of food and drink; through an experience that would educate guests on Scotch Whisky in an entertaining way. This resulted in a menu that featured three courses paired with Highland Park Whiskies designed to highlight their distinct flavours while remaining true to their Scottish heritage.
Hosted by Mark Hickey, the National Ambassador for Highland Park, guests followed a narrative of the many variables that impacted the flavours of the world recognised drops of spirit. Starting with, an exploration into the world of bitters and the impact they can have on the characteristics of whisky. To go with the information, guests were treated to a highball of Highland Park 10 with lemon and soda which helped them stay refreshed as each individual ingredient was presented that made up the surprise gift of a personally blended bottle of orange bitters.
Following the breakdown of whisky as a spirit and its different accents of flavours, the presentation smoothly transitioned into an overview of the Orkney Islands and their peated flavour profile. By understanding the range of smokiness from each of the Scottish Regions, guests were able to pinpoint the unique flavours provided by the sherry, bourbon, and oak casks that Highland Park chooses to age their world class spirits in.
After the education session, the first course of house poached king prawns was served with a glass of Highland Park 12 Year Old. This particular expression shows off the freshness of this classic island distillery with delicate floral and salty flavours, coupling fantastically with the seafood and fennel on the dish. The combination was reflective of the salty Orkney coasts that the distillery calls home.
Up next was the decadent main course of a braised wagyu beef daube served with the Highland Park 15 which is a rich, complex whisky full of fruity impressions with hints of smoke and spice. The combination of the rich beef and porcini cream with the spicy spirit enriched the harmonious experience with a chorus of balanced flavour. What was most interesting about this course was the story on the bottle the 15 Year Old Was served in. Titled the “Viking Heart” the liquid is stored in a vessel that resembles whisky flasks of old with the Viking influence in the northernmost area of the region.
The carefully constructed symphony of flavour crescendoed into a dessert of honey poached pears, brown butter crumble, and brown sugar ice cream. One spoon of this and immediately a palate of Golden Gaytime came to mind which was a fantastic pairing for the 18 year old, which is sweet with notes of honey and vanilla combined with delicate smoky nuances from its long maturation in oak casks. Knowing that this expression is the most awarded single malt spirit from the distillery, it was a perfect way to finish off the beautifully designed meal.
Guests said farewell to The Palm House with one final nightcap of Old Fashions served either with ginger & vanilla or salted honey. Which was a wonderful way to celebrate an evening of delicious food and whisky, one that will not be forgotten by those lucky enough to have been invited.