Woodstock at night is strangely quiet and feels a little edgy. The lights are on, though, at Honest Chocolate in the Woodstock Exchange and the dark chocolate aroma that wafts from it has an almost pantomime magic.
We’re ushered behind the counter and into the ‘kitchen’, where it all happens. It’s full of bearded hipsters standing about sipping Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie and nibbling on Honest Chocolate’s 72% with Maca. Known as a source of natural energy, this South American root gives the dark chocolate a delicious malty flavour.
Devon, the head bartender from House of Machines and our presenter for the evening, is so passionate about Bruichladdich whisky that he has a tattoo of the distillery on his arm. Now that’s what I call dedication. He takes us through four of the whiskies, detailing the history of the distillery on Islay (one of the Hebridean islands off Scotland) and its dedication to creating an authentic and characterful product.
Bruichladdich’s whiskies are made from purely Scottish ingredients: all the barley is Scottish, and the water used is from a farm on Islay. There’s a focus on community and on the environment. The tastes that emanate from the whiskies are proof – peatiness, saltiness. Close your eyes and breathe in the Hebrides. Did you know that 80% of the taste of whisky comes from the nose? Neither did I.
We tasted the 88% Honest Chocolate – pure decadence – with the Black Art 1990 whisky as Mike and Ant, the Honest Chocolate team, told their story. Theirs is chocolate that’s made with love, with no artificial additives. There’s no dairy, no processed sugar. It’s handmade from raw organic cacao, sweetened with agave. Incidentally, they’ve got a café in Wale Street that serves a banana bread bunny chow. No further persuasion needed.
The perfectly peaty Port Charlotte was served alongside Honest Chocolate with coconut oil. This is what love tastes like. Melt in the mouth, they sell it both as a spread and coated, as bonbons. The capped guy next to me announced that the whisky smelt like window putty. He was spot on. Best tasting window putty on earth.
We ended with the Octomore and 72% with Kalahari Sea Salt. A sensorial feast of heavy peatiness and breezes off the wild Scottish seas.
The Bruichladdich and Honest Chocolate Tasting at the Woodstock Exchange took place on 27 August 2015.
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