It has become terribly trendy to be a whisky enthusiast in recent years, but the vast array of labels and regions can be daunting for the uninitiated. While connoisseurs can easily distinguish between their Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon or pinpoint the differences between Speyside and Lowland single malts, the average drinker may welcome a simpler system of selecting their tipple.
Many whisky bars opt to divide their drams by region, but at London’s Black Rock, bottles are grouped together by their defining quality: balance, fragrance, fruit, smoke, spice and sweet. As a result, it’s more likely you’ll be able to discover new labels that suit your palate, rather than being limited by your geographical knowledge.
Black Rock, the award-winning bar from the team behind London’s Worship Street Whistling Shop, will be popping up at Frank's Library—Foxglove's new 'speakeasy within a speakeasy' concept launching this June—between 22 July and 5 August, in partnership with The Singleton and Moët Hennessy Diageo. Frank's Library will focus on exclusive cognacs, whiskies and "extravagant cocktails" created by bar manager Austen Lendrum. Along with The Singleton’s malt whiskies, there will also be selections including Johnnie Walker King George V, Lagavulin, Glenkinchie, Craggranmore, Brora and Port Ellen.
One of the defining concepts of the original Black Rock bar will also be brought to the Hong Kong pop-up: a table fashioned from the seven-tonne trunk of a 263-year-old oak tree from the forests of North Cheshire in England. Not just a lump of wood, this 18-foot-long trunk houses two “rivers” of whisky ageing in real time; one side features a whiskey cocktail of Bulleit bourbon, Morello cherries and spices, while the other houses the ‘table whisky’, an ever-evolving blend that takes on the flavour of the French Limousin oak lining.
For the Hong Kong pop-up, the Black Rock team will be serving whisky flights as well as three cocktails and three whisky highballs. Bottled Islay water and ice will be used, and a small menu of snacks such as Guinness baked oysters, Kilkenny cheese, haggis balls and soda bread with peat butter will be available as stomach liners. In addition, two local chefs will bring a hint of Hong Kong flavour to the menu, and for each dish sold HK$10 will be donated to Feeding Hong Kong. Foxglove's head chef Kevin Lee will create a dish inspired by his international background and love for French-inflected cookery, while Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation will use the idea of whisky's smoky characteristics to inform his creation.
Black Rock at Frank's Library will be in operation between 22 July and 5 August, and booking will be essential with only three sittings each night. There will be a minimum spend per guest of HK$500 plus 10% service charge, and guided whisky tastings will be available.
Black Rock at Foxglove, Printing House, 2/F, Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2116 8949
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