London is one of the most historic cities in Europe and at the same time one of the most modern and progressive. Within the storied walls that line the narrow neighborhood streets lie scattered treasure troves of cutting edge food and drink culture. Having finished up our business in Scotland last week, we headed south to the British capital for a few final meetings and a chance to experience this dynamic (and somewhat intimidating) scene for ourselves. We had a date with Compass Box guru John Glaser to finalize the specifics on a collaborative project in the works for years. The district was Fitzrovia. The place was Mac & Wild.
Mac & Wild is a Scottish-themed restaurant that specializes in whiskey and venison—two things we had a hankering for that evening. The establishment also creates and bottles its own whisky-based cocktails which can be purchased for consumption right there in the joint, or taken home for personal and private usage. I only wish we could get away with that stuff in the States! Alas, the American laws prevent such creativity.
John had been working on a new blend of single malts for K&L, appropriately named "5th & Harrison" after our new San Francisco flagship store. We were there to try a few different iterations of the finished product, proofed at various levels for our final approval. The marriage of 19 year old sherry-matured Glen Ord and 31 year old Caol Ila was every bit as heavenly as it sounds. We're hoping for a late-summer release here in the store, but that might be optimistic.
As if partying with John Glaser wasn't enough, I asked an old friend of mine to join us for after dinner drinks. None other than Westland distillery founder Emerson Lamb himself! The Seattle-born entrepreneur has since moved abroad and happened to be in London while we were there. It was good to see some friendly faces across the table.
Plenty of venison was ordered. Too much was consumed. We left in a fog of food and whisky that was uniquely London.