A Bourbon Masterclass at Pride & Provenance

Pride and Provenance never fails to disappoint with its wonderful array of cheese, charcuterie and of course wines.

With this in mind I decided to take full advantage of my husband’s upcoming special big birthday and book one of their fabulous masterclasses.  Having already spent lots of shopping time in the superb marketplace underneath the restaurant I was really looking forward to finally getting to sit around the big tasting table.  This table is beautiful, in its own room surrounded by glass walls to look out into the marketplace stocked with wines, spirits, liqueurs and more.

Knowing very little at all about Bourbon I took the risk of choosing this one and the gamble was worth it.  From the very beginning communication with Melanie – owner of P&P with her husband James – was sublime.  Dietary requests were enquired about, and assurances made they could be honoured.  Melanie was kind enough to put together a voucher detailing the event that was emailed to me so I could pop it in a birthday card.

After a slight hitch making us arrive a little late Melanie went out of her way to message me to make sure we were ok and had not forgotten about the event.

A bourbon cocktail awaited us, and we were introduced to the group and the host for the evening Julian Howard from Ten Locks.  From the outset it was clear there was very little Julian did not know about Bourbon – it was fitting that the masterclass was held in the month of the Kentucky Bourbon festival held annually in Bardstown.

After the introductions we were led into the tasting room to sit around the tasting table laid out beautifully with baskets of Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia, bowls of Mixed Herb Olives, Sea Salt & Oak Smoked Mignonette Pepper Almonds, and Dried Salted Broad Beans.  Although a big grand table it has a wonderful feeling of intimacy as it seats 16 and is lit with low level lights creating the perfect ambiance.

The serious Bourbon tasting began and we had our first of 5 neat measures of Bourbon. Each measure provided was discussed in detail with the opportunity to grab the bottle and read the blurb as well.  Each measure tasted completely different to the previous and it was very difficult to pick a favourite.  In the middle of the tasting, we were presented with our second Bourbon cocktail, I thought the first one was magic, this topped that one!

While the Bourbons were being tasted and poured and we chatted away, Julian regaled us with hilarious tales of his times at the Kentucky Bourbon festivals and kept us entertained all night long with his stories – I won’t spoil it by re telling them – hear for yourself.

At the same time Melanie and her team began bringing out small plates of food to accompany each tasting.  As a non-meat eater, I missed out on what I am assured is the best charcuterie ever all carefully sourced from Lishmans and Tempus.  Each meat was accompanied with a delicious cheese and garnish and a running commentary from Melanie on what was being served.  I was presented with a platter of all the cheeses with crackers, bread and sides.  It was utterly utterly delicious.  We were treated to Staal cold smoked salmon on rye bread with capers and lemon.  It was melt in the mouth beautiful smoked salmon, probably the best I have ever had. There was also a small plate of black olive tapenade and grilled goats’ cheese on sourdough.  The food was plentiful and extensive.  The final plate brought out was a selection of cheeses with a piece of fruit cake.

To finish off the night we each had to choose our favourite bourbon which we used to make our own Bourbon Old fashioned – the perfect way to end a fabulous evening.  All of the bourbons we tasted were for sale afterwards for anyone wishing to purchase.

All in all this was the perfect event to celebrate a special birthday – I would not hesitate in booking another one and have my eyes firmly on an upcoming Tequila night.

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