‘Whisky is to be savoured not supped!’ The Liquorists share wise words on fire water at Manchester’s Reserve bar

By Josh Nicholls

Innovative bar consultants The Liquorists are aiming to convert casual drinkers into connoisseurs with a series of spirit-tasting sessions in Manchester’s stylish Reserve bar.

The Sauce Sessions give lucky punters the opportunity to try a wide variety of delicious tequilas, rums, gins and whiskies.

MM decided some palate testing was in order and I was sent through the glass doors of the up-market King Street bar for an evening of whisky tasting.

I know it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it…

Diageo ambassador, and our host for the evening, Colin Dunne warmly welcomed me through the doors and quizzed me on my previous whisky experiences.

Having confessed that my previous flirtations with whiskies have only gone so far as a Jack Daniels and coke on a night out I managed to elicit a somewhat disapproving head shake from Colin.

His belief is that whisky is something to be savoured not supped before a night out.

Some may have pre-conceived ideas that spirit tasting is rather pretentious but as someone who knew practically nothing about whisky I was not left feeling alienated.

“We are going to get you to taste whisky in a different way so have an open mind and you might walk out of here a wiser man,” Mr Dunne said to me before the session began.

Whether I was any wiser or not seven glasses of whiskey later was most definitely open to debate, but I had certainly enjoyed the evening.

The group were encouraged by Mr Dunne to familiarise themselves with the different scents of the whiskies before trying them with different varieties of chocolate including caramel, hazelnut, blueberry and some chocolate crêpes supplied by the nearby Christmas markets.

After tasting the chocolate the congregation were then advised to sip some scotch and allow the flavours to blend – a surprisingly pleasant combination.

“I love the flavour, aroma, texture of whisky and the fact that you can pair it with oysters, scallops, chocolates and cheese and many, many different things,” explained Mr Dunne.

“There are so many different ways of drinking it.”

After trying the Scottish whiskies, including the fiery Mortlack, the smoky Lagavulin and the spicy Dalwhinnie, there was a much-needed break for water before the fusion of the flavours began again.

The second half saw tasters introduced to one of the A-listers of the whisky world Blue Label, a bottle of which commands three-figure sums.

A sip provided a mellow and smooth taste befitting of such a luxury liquor.

The citrusy Craggamore as well as 14-year-old and 12-year-old varieties of Caol Ila were also sampled before the evening was rounded off with the delightful partnership of Talisker and maltesers.

Even more whisky was offered but at this point I decided to keep my dignity intact and leave while I was still capable.

But stepping out of Reserve into the cold winter air having eaten a considerable amount of chocolate and drunk a fair few drinks, it felt like Christmas had come early. 

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