Testing out Peugeot’s newest whisky tasting set
In the beginning, there was wine. Or mead. Or beer. Even Wikipedia seems to be confused about this one. As I am.
In any case, whatever came first begat numerous peripherals. These included (but were not limited to) Roman orgies, frat parties, unwanted pregnancies, heavy metal music, hangovers, social media regrets, Air Miles loyalty points, stern government warnings, drunk politicians, Jello shooters, late night pizza orders, a feeling of actually being smarter/sexier/stronger/more coordinated/better than you actually are, “flavoured” spirits, coolers, craft everything and (god help us all) the 100-point scoring system (retch).
The creation of booze also begat gadgets, gizmos and glasses; all designed to make your slide into any one of the above-mentioned slowdown points all that more enjoyable. Some have made a difference. Most have just added more ritual. Which begat cocaine/crack/fentanyl overdoses, the cigar craze (RIP), vaporizers, and possibly Barney and Friends and maybe Dora the Explorer. Whatever.
I’ve been introduced to plenty of these thingamajigs in my tireless and self-sacrificing role as Guardian of the Gates of Hootch. ‘Ol Jorge Riedel has made something of a nice living designing glassware specific to countries, regions, wines, grape varieties, lunar cycles, tidal influences, sunspots, gravitational pull and whether the damn marmot would see its shadow. Good on ya, Jorge. But I’ve been there, done ’em all and remain (mostly) unimpressed. So I raised a (tired, possibly twitchy) eyebrow when the new Peugeot Whisky Set was dropped off to (and wasn’t boosted by) my concierge.
To be honest, I have tried a few whisk(e)y glasses in my life. The Classic. The New Classic. The New Classic Based on a Careful Redesign of the Classic. This Peugeot number features a wide base, somewhat angular sides and a bowl that tapers upwards – kind of like a pot still with a thicker neck than a still would have. It also sports a distinctive punt in the base. This indent serves to both allow the glass to be grasped with thumb and forefingers (keeping body heat away from the liquid) and also allowing it to connect to a unique, solid, round metal base, which, when placed in the freezer, rapidly absorbs a chill.
I tried out the glass with a popular Canadian rye (or at least one that became very popular, very quickly), but I also wanted to try it with a different spirits. I settled on the newly relaunched-in-Canada Martell Cognac (in this case the VSOP version). The “classic” glass was a delicate cognac taster – kind of a mini-wineglass-like thing. What I got, more than anything else, was alcohol heat. If I backed off, more of the delicate fruit, vanilla and polished oak came through. Still, lots of heat. The palate was rich, smooth and enveloping…I just wished the alcohol wasn’t so up front.
The Peugeot’s center dome did what it claimed, dispersing the alcohol and emphasizing fruits, nutmeg, aged wood, caramelized nuts, hard toffee, dark chocolate and marzipan. The chilling base seemed to make the whole experience more enjoyable. I remember having a “brandy heater” in university. Yeah, just what you need to do – heat the alcohol till it vaporizes and cauterizes your nasal membrane.
In any case, Peugeot Whisky Set? Works for me. The only issue is that, due to the wide base and tapering neck, you have to tip the glass (and your head) practically vertical to drain it. Now, I’m not saying I’m usually lying on my back while tasting. But still. Clean it with the WineBuff from soriréehome. It’s cool little thing. A great glass cloth … and you’ll learn all about Napa and Sonoma at that same time.