The entire Beam Suntory world whisky portfolio was on display at a special event deemed “Jul(e)p Hour”. As I walked into an old house on Royal Street in the French Quarter, I was met with the familiar sounds of New Orleans coming from a piano player in the corner. In this room, Beam Suntory’s Master Mixologist was mixing up a world whisky julep, featuring Auchentoshan Single Malt Scotch, Alberta Dark Rye Canadian Whisky, Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon, & Hibiki Harmony Japanese Blended Whisky. You know what, it was pretty tasty. This frankenstein concoction evolved nicely as the ice melted, bringing a level of complexity I don’t get in the standard bourbon mint julep.
Each room is themed after a whisky-producing country. As I left the World Room for the Scotland Room, I bumped into Simon Brooking, Master Ambassador for Laphroaig. If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Laphroaig, you’re in for a smoky, peaty treat. Simon let me taste some of the smoked barley used in the making of Laphroaig, and talked a little whisky. Afterwards, I reached for a Laphroaig julep (recipe below). The pineapple gomme syrup cut right through the smoky whisky, making for a surprisingly balanced cocktail.
In the patio outside, legendary New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian was making Beam Bonded juleps. In between sets from a local brass band, Chris took center court to infamously recite the “Ode to the Julep.”
Upstairs in the Japanese Room, the star of the show was the newest expression of Hibiki – Harmony. I had a great conversation with Johnnie Mundell, the Suntory Whisky Ambassador. Hibiki Harmony is a NAS (no age statement) replacement for Hibiki 12 year. Suntory was not prepared for the sudden hike in worldwide whisky sales and the demand that accompanied it. I sampled the new expression and was quite pleased. It’s flavor profile is slightly different than the 12 year version, with the latter tasting slightly older. I thoroughly enjoyed what I tasted. I’ll try to pick up a bottle when it gets released here in New Orleans for a full review.
All in all, a great event put on by Beam Suntory to showcase their world whiskies. There was an Irish whisky area and Canadian whisky area featuring more themed juleps I didn’t get to. With temperatures in New Orleans hitting the mid-90s that day, nothing hit the spot better than an ice cold julep.
LAPHROAIG SELECT JULEP