Thursday, 29 May 2014


As I try to diversify my portfolio, I have been doing some posts on whisky here and there. I attended the Jameson Whiskey Media Tasting and launch of the New Irish Pub at Galileo.

 I got in a bit early so that I would familiarize myself with the concept of the event as well as take a few photos of the set up.

This was an exclusive event that had been put together by Pernod Ricard and SHK consulting. The event had about 50 guests. The Jameson Brand Ambassador for Kenya, George facilitated the tasting.
He began by giving people a bit of background information on the process of whisky making. I always enjoy listening to people sharing some facts on a drink in terms of the distillers, components and the process.
Tastings wine or whisky is a journey where an individual indulges the senses. This tasting was very unique for it did not disclose the drinks.

In the initial stage, people had to do a neutral and unbiased tasting. Sometimes, knowing the brand beforehand distorts our judgment and taste. The first drink was just labelled Bourbon. It tasted of vanilla and grass (yes grass).It had a balance of corn and oak and honey. It tasted of smoke and peat and cinnamon. It was definitely strong.
The next drink was labeled Scotch. It had a rich and smoky smell. It had a long dry and smoky finish and a very strong aftertaste. I had to take like three gulps of water to clear my palette for the next tasting.
The last drink was Jameson Irish Whisky. On the nose it was woody and floral. It tasted spicy and nutty and I could feel some hints of vanilla. It was funny to hear people’s opinions on the different tastes. It had a smooth finish. (I learnt yesterday that finish is that feeling that one gets after you take a potent drink and you feel a bit of fire from your throat to your stomach). It had a creamy finish. This quality sets apart fine drinks.
George later revealed that drink 1 was Jack Daniels which is the Number one selling whisky in the world while drink 2 was Johnny Walker Black which is the number one scotch whiskey in the world. The purpose of this exercise was to show people that Jamesons can compete with the rest. With the tagline 'Triple distilled, twice as smooth, one great taste' the message was home. You can enjoy this great drink at the new Irish Pub at Galileo, Waiyaki way, Westlands, Nairobi.


I have not travelled to a nice place for so long. On Pinterest I have a board called wines and sunsets where I pin photos that bring some nostalgia. Here are a few. Follow me on Pinterest.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


I had a very busy day on 27th May. Two events on one day. After coming from the Whisky tasting at Galileo, I took a cab to Fairmont, the Norfolk on Harry Thuku Road. I was attending a very exclusive event, Chilean Wine Down And Dinner.
 This was a 5 Course Dinner that was carefully put together by the experts. Picking a wine and food list for a dinner needs a lot of caution and precision. One has to make sure that all the tastes of the food and wine blend in together. This specific menu was picked by Priyan P.K Who is the Director of Operations at Fairmont the Norfolk and Somellier Martin Duran.
I got to the event at about 7.15pm where I was ushered in to the reception at the Cin Cin . They had a state of the art champagne bar that had an array of luxury drinks like sparklings, champagnes, chardonnays and wines. The service was impeccable and I relaxed as I sipped a Casillero Del Diablo Champagne from Chile.

 Tonight we would be indulging our senses in Chilean wines. I had some nice tapas as we waited for the guests to trickle in. I tried the mushroom and asparagus tart as well as the chicken samosas which went well with the Casillero Del Diablo.

 One of the highlights of the evening was that I met a world renown Sommelier Martin Duran and he gave me great insights on his journey and I will document this in a different post.

 Dinner was served at Tatu at around 8pm.
The appetizer was citrus grilled Mombasa prawns, crispy fried Canadian Snow Crab, Pickled Pineapple and grape fruit reduction. This was paired with Marques De Casa Conch Sauvignon Blanc 2011. I love sea food but it was my first time to eat a Canadian Snow Crab. I loved the crispness of the crab and it is something I’m willing to order sometime. This Chilean wine has a very classical style and it has been ranked thrice in the Top 100 wines of the year by Wine Spectator.

Next on the menu was the soup. There was Atlantic Salmon Chowder, Pistachio Crumbs and the Crispy pancetta. This was paired with Marques De Casa Concha Chardonnay 2012. The chardonnay is the only vintage that has obtained 90 points in Wine Spectator. This Chilean wine comes from the Limari valley. It was a white wine that had pineapple and citrus taste that blended well with the pancetta and the soup. I’m a sucker for bacon so the pancetta was an absolute win for me.

The Main Course
The main courses blew my mind away. It was duo of slow cooked “sous Vide” Morendat Beef Tenderloin and grilled new York Striploin, Charcoal Roasted baby Eggplant, Chilli butter and Herb jus. This was paired with Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2009. The food was great and the presentation was perfect. This was my favorite course of the dinner. I really indulged my taste buds and the wine was full-bodied. There was synchrony with the taste of the tenderloin and the wine.

Cheese from browns
I’m not a fan of cheese but as a blogger I have to. We had Guyere, Aged Valancy and Brown’s Blue Cheese with Trio of Homemade Chutneys paired with Marques De Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

This was one of my first exclusive dinners that I have featured on my blog. I had fun, I networked, met amazing people and learnt a lot from the sommelier. Special thanks to Priyan P.K, Somellier Martin Duran, Fairmont The Norfolk and Viva Distributors For organizing the Chilean Wine Down Dinner. 

Monday, 26 May 2014


I’m getting the crazy eye from some guys in suits because I said that my whisky was bitter. I better stick to my winetasting and all. I took two gulps of water as I deliberated…
Right, who am I kidding? I decided to forge unchartered waters in an attempt to keep things interesting. The scoop and the big story are out there. The Comfort zone is soooooooo, well, COMFORTABLE.comfortable is boring & mediocre. I decided to ditch conformity and do something out of the box. I’m always ranting about wine and cocktails but I think it is time that I diversify my portfolio a bit. I did write about my whisky experience on this post but I did not write about the actual brands that we sampled (The ones I said tasted bitter).

We Sampled 4 Johnnie Walkers
·         Black label
·         Double black
·         Gold label
·         Platinum Label

There are no wrong tasting-notes because we all have different palates and we have different tastes for things.
Black label was golden brown because it is aged in oak barrels. It had an intense taste and a great kick. Now I get why it is a luxurious drink because it was smooth on the tongue.
The double black. As if the black label was not potent enough, someone thought it was better to age it in even more, in oak barrels. In fact, the packs of the black and the double black are different. The black label is clear black while the double black pack looks like charcoal because of the charred barrels. It was darker. On the nose it was sweet with a peaty aroma. It was richer on the tongue.

Gold Label reserve is a multi-layered blend. I tasted some fruitiness and honey that changes to woody, smoky and more honey as it sat more in the tongue. Whisky tasting is just like wine tasting. One lets the whisky sit on the tongue to discern the taste.

Platinum label. Before I review this whisky, I have to say that the Walker family made a lot of whiskies for events, corporates, private gatherings and customers. These whiskies were for the select few. This is one of the private blends that has a rich and intense flavor. It tasted of nuts, fruits and it was smoky.
I don’t think my tongue has ever had all those potent flavors in one evening. I usually stick to lighter drinks and cocktails. All these brands are above 40% ABV. It is a requirement of all Scotch whisky as I said here. Well my desire to get out of my comfort zone paid off because I learnt so much from the Diageo Reserve Brands and Kariuki Mukii from EABL gave facilitated the tasting. 


I have been bee busy during the week and the only time to make sure that I am CONSISTENT in my posts is now. I decided to buff up my blog a bit. After racking my brains for an hour or so, I decided to do something crazy yesterday. I called my pal Cate and told her about this event I had seen on Facebook.When you are a blogger/content creator you will have to get out of your comfort zone. I finished watching Revolution ssn 2 ep 22 and prepared for my afternoon out.
Sunday Afternoons are the countdown to reality. Sunday Afternoons have a certain air around them. The way I spend them defines how my week will start. The city is full of honking buses, smoke ridden air and a lot of chaos. I needed some form of escape where I would clear my head and breathe some fresh air and maybe watch the sunset.Since I did not have the time to travel upcountry and back, this was a great plan.

We got to Vineyard at around three. This establishment is in Rhapta Road in Westlands. It is a serene place that takes you away from the bustle of the city to a place where you can kick back and relax.  

Now I get why this event is called “Cocktails Under the Sun’. It was so hot and we needed to cool off. We met a very great bartender, Kamau, who was skilled at his craft. So how this works is, you tell him what kind of a drink you want and he fixes it for you. All the cocktails are 400. The electroafrique DJs were playing some African music in the Background.  The bartender thought that a ‘mamba’ would be the best fit drink for us, given that was an African event and the sun was not giving us a break.We didn't get to see the sunset because it was obscured by a canopy of trees.

The Vineyard Mamba
The bartender muddled eight strawberries and put them in a shaker, he added the juice of one fresh lime (you can use lemon). He then added one part Captain Morgan Spice and one part sugar syrup. (Sugar syrup is one part water and one part sugar reduced over some heat. The sugar syrup was made before the event). He put the ice in the shaker and he shook all the ingredients thoroughly. He then filled two highball glasses with ice and topped it up with the mixture. He put passion fruit pulp in the drink and the skin as garnish.

I really enjoyed the fruitiness of the drink for it had three fruits in one. The ice really helped us to cool off and the rum had a little kick to it. We hadn’t met with Cate for a long time so we had a lot of catching up to do. The cocktail was a sipping cocktail because of the alcohol and so we sipped it amid conversation It is always nice to hang out with an old friend and laugh the evening away.

 People trickled in at 5 and the mixology stand got busy. The bartender continued making his signature cocktails and they were an absolute hit. As sunset approached, there was a slight breeze. This was just what I needed to clear my head. And the African music was so mellow and relaxing. We left at about six and this experience was somewhat therapeutic. I had the motivation to start my week in a great way.
 Looking for a Sunday Plan? Get to Vineyard. Check them out here.

Monday, 19 May 2014


The party is over. Your guests are gone.You still have leftover wine. Dont let it go to waste. Recork it and refrigirate or do this

Sunday, 18 May 2014


This is the hard stuff. Of men in suits and ties engrossed in serious business talk. A few weeks ago I did not know the difference between, malt whiskies, blended whiskies, grain whisky and Scotch whisky. I got this book from Diageo Reserve that explained everything and at least I won’t be so confused when I review whisky. Every time I think whisky, I always envision a rich man like Harvey from Suits with a whisky glass with a few ice cubes pouring himself some. 

Whisky comes from a Gaelic word ‘usky’ which means water of life (yes really). Scotch whisky is whisky from Scotland. I was very surprised that there was a Scotch Whisky Act of 1998. This act stated that all Scotch whisky must fulfill the following,
·         Be distilled in a Scotch distillery from water and malted barley.
·         Matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years
·         Should not have any additives except water
·         And the alcohol Percentage (ABV) should be a minimum of 40%.
Now you get why I’m calling it the hard stuff. Scotch is a sipping drink because it has a great alcohol percentage. Have you ever seen someone pouring a glassful of it? No. The taste can’t even let you do that. This is a drink that is enjoyed with soda or ginger ale.

Malt Whisky is one whose raw material is barley. Barley is steeped in water, allowed to germinate then dried. Some distilleries use peat during malting. Malt barley is ground, mixed with water and yeast, fermented, distilled in pot sills and the impurities are removed. The spirit is matured in oak casks.
Grain whisky is made from maize, whet or barley. It is smoother than malt whisky. It is aged in oak for three years or more in Scotland.
Blended Scotch whisky is a blend of malt and grain whiskies from Scotland. The ratio depends on the blend type.
Blended Malt is a blend of whiskies from different distilleries.
Single Grain is grain whisky from one distillery.
Single Malt is malt whisky from one distillery.
At least you now know your whisky now.
 You're welcome
Don't you love Harvey though?

Friday, 16 May 2014


Wine Reviewing is great because it helps one to store information on the different wines. It also helps people to discover their palate and to know what works for them. My Love for wine is slowly burgeoning from being just a hobby to being a profession. It is not going to be easy but I am enjoying every bit of it.
On Day 1, we tasted four types of wines. Wine-tasting is a journey of the senses. We took a sensory journey from South Africa to Italy to France to Spain. These are my wine notes and they might not be so accurate because I might taste fruity on the wine while you might taste vanilla.

the four wines for the day

 1. Clos Malverne Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling Brut 

Region: South Africa, Stellenbosch.
Vintage:  Non-Vintage
Appearance/colour: Light Whitish, Straw yellow, lime whitish green
Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc.
Bouquet/Aroma: fruity
Taste: Crispy dry. I could taste the acidity at the back of my tongue. No tannic taste. No potent aftertaste.
Retail price in Kshs: 1,990.00
Food Pairing: this wine is used as an aperitif (appetizer) to stimulate the appetite. It goes well with salads (garden salads/vegetable salad) and meats.
Notes: We could tell that this was a fine wine for it had very tiny bubbles rising from the bottle. The finer the wine, the smaller the bubbles. This was a great sparkling wine.

2. Orvieto Campogrande
Type: White Wine
Region: Italy, Orvieto Classico
Vintage: 2009
Appearance/colour: Straw yellow with tinges of lime Green
Bouquet/Aroma: Smells fruity with hints of pineapples.
Notes: Full bodied.  Perfect for breakfast. No bubbles. ACL 13%
Retail Price: 1,475.00
Food Pairing: Perfect for breakfast. Goes well with white meat (Chicken and Fish). You can cook with it.

3. Torres Ibericos
Region: Spain
Vintage:  2009
Appearance/colour: Deep red Cherry
Grape Variety:  100% Tempranillo
Bouquet/Aroma: Ripened fruit with spicy aroma of nutmeg and cocoa.
Taste: Silky entrance in the mouth with pleasant tannins. This was my winner for the day. Its like it changes tastes as it went from your mouth, tongue and as you swallowed. It had a long and spicy aftertaste. The first taste was of deep red cherry and ripened fruit.  Retail price in Kshs: 1,940.00
Food Pairing: red meats.
Notes: aged for 12 months. Harvested in 2009. I will definitely stock this in my hose for great occasions.

4. Richmont Bordeaux Rose
Region: France
Vintage:  2012
Appearance/colour: Pink
Grape Variety: 90% Merlot 5% Carbernet S. %Cabernet F.
Bouquet/Aroma: ripe berries, black currant
Taste: tasted like beer Refreshing acidity
Retail price in Kshs: 1,750.00
Food Pairing: Great for lunch and picnics on a sunny day. Ive always thought rose wines are reserved for the ladies but on this day many men had a glass of rose.  

Notes: I didn’t like this wine. My pal Mercy loved it to death. I would not stock it despite it being a Rose wine.
 Well that was my day 1 of wine tasting. Feel free to ask me anything and if you need any of these wines contact Domaine Kenya Ltd, email or visit their website