First up was a free whisky tasting at Venue One hosted by Macallan, a Scotch producer in the Speyside / Highlands region. It's one of Dave's favorites, even in the 10-year range, which is unusual because he usually likes ones that are at least 12 years old.
We got to taste five whiskys, only three of which Dave has had before, so that was a win. Here's what we thought:
#1 Fine Oak 10-year
- I did not try this one, but this is the one Dave has had most frequently before and enjoys. Another woman at our table said this is still her favorite out of all the ones we tried!
#2 Sherry Oak 12-year
- I got dried fruit out of this, but it was too strong for me. Dave thought it was nutty and sweet.
#3 Fine Oak 15-year
- I got vanilla out of this one, and Dave said it was "freakin' delicious." He got orange and honey out of it. The orange flavor must have been strong, because Macallan also gave us a Lindor orange truffle to accompany this tasting.
#4 Fine Oak 17-year
- I thought all of these whiskys were too strong for me, but this one was the strongest, and I thought the most bitter. Dave loved it and got lots of chocolate notes out of it, actually. Ultimately it was his favorite of the evening.
$5 Sherry Oak 18-year
- I thought this one was very oaky. Dave got dried fruit and toffee.
Incidentally, we got a lot of Macallan facts at the tasting also, including that a 6L bottle of Macallan recently sold for the highest price ever fetched for a single-malt whisky: $628,205. That was a rare blend of a combination of years of whisky dating back to 1940, in a beautiful hand-blown and -cut glass decanter. And I thought wine was expensive...
After the tasting, we walked over to Avec and finally had a meal there, which I have been wanting to do for years. We ordered:
- Brussels sprouts panzanella with calabrian chiles, gold raisins, and fiore sardo cheese (a very tangy and delicious shredded salad)
- Burrata cheese with English pea salsa verde, smoked almonds, roasted red peppers and flatbread (our favorite for the evening)
- Chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce (amazing)
- Warm chocolate olive oil cake with coffee gelato and hazelnut crumble (tasty, I am a sucker for warm baked goods with ice cream)
I felt we were very lucky to be seated immediately, and the meal was great. I am sad it took me so long to go, although I am glad it has been checked off of my list now.
A great evening downtown with a great guy!