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The week in pictures

An impressive line-up for a tasting of The Balvenie at The Whisky Shop in London’s Piccadilly. The tasting featured the 12-Year-Old Doublewood, 14-Year-Old Caribbean Cask, 17-Year-Old Doublewood, 21-Year-Old Portwood and the delicious 30-Year-Old.

Bravo to a brave Venla Freeman at The Wine Institute of California who was first to taste a “100 year old egg” over a lunch with db at Victoria’s A Wong.

We also tucked into a 63 degree Œtea egg with shredded filo, a dish served with a burning cinnamon stick to disguise the smell…

Chivas used London Cocktail Week as an excuse to host a decadent dinner at Gaucho in Piccadilly exploring how whisky pairs throughout a meal. The most triumphant match was this juicy entrana fina cut drenched in Chivas sauce paired with Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, which cut through the fat in the meat and harmonised with the sweetness of the sauce. A regal coupling indeed.

The evening ended with a dram of Chivas Royal Salute 21 Year Old (seen here being toasted by Hayley Dodd and Matt Ford of Gaucho and Emily Sharpe of Pernod Ricard) paired with a generous slab of chocolate and hazelnut cake, which disappeared from db’s plate disconcertingly quickly.

Champagne Jacquart’s glamourous head winemaker, Floriane Eznack, treated db to a tasting of the house’s shiny new prestige cuvée, Cuvée Alpha 2005, at the newly opened and much-hyped London Edition hotel this week. Even better, we got to try the fizz (a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) from branded Alpha flutes due to hit some of London’s fine dining haunts soon. Eznack is already excited about the 2012 vintage of Alpha, which is currently being disgorged, though won’t go on sale for at least another five years.

Never one to let the grass grow underneath her, db’s resident foodie, Lucy Shaw, hot footed it to Vinoteca’s newest addition in Chiswick this week to road test its food and wine offering. Run by the affable Augustus Gluck – Malcolm Gluck’s son – many an interesting drop was tried, including a white Pinot Noir and a spicy Xinomavro from Naousa in Greece.

While at the Ian Schrager-designed London Edition hotel for our meeting with Jacquart, we sneaked a peak at Jason Atherton’s new plaything – Berners Tavern, which is fast becoming London’s most lusted after haunt. On our way out, we spotted singer Lily Allen in the lobby adding a splash of glamour to proceedings.

Living by the adage that there is no such thing as too much Champagne, db jumped at the chance to be taken up The Shard by the ever debonair John Franklin of Mentzendorff for a bottle of Bollinger Grand Cuvée at the Oblix piano bar, which boasts jaw-droppingly beautiful views of the Big Smoke.

While at the London Edition, db was given a tour of its Punch Room by the hotel’s director of bars, Lance Perkins. Though sadly out of shot, we were rather taken with the bar’s silver punch bowls and cups. Each of the ten sets are bespoke and designed to pair with a different punch on the menu.

Singer Fergie ropes in her actor husband Josh Duhamel and mum Theresa Ann to help with the 2013 harvest at her wine estate, Ferguson Crest, in Santa Barbara.

2013 Wines Of South Africa Sommelier Cup winner Will Predhomme from Canada with WOSA CEO Su Birch, second runner-up, Anna Sviridenko from Russia and Morgan Harris from the US who was first runner-up.

Máté Csatlós from The Edgbaston in Birmingham, who was crowned the UK champion of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge, mixes his winning drink during a circuit on the London Eye.

The judges – Sandrae Lawrence from The Cocktail Lovers;  Jamie Stephenson and Daniyel Jones, Angostura brand ambassadors; and Peter Holland from The Floating Rum Shack – selected Máté for his innovation and style both in the presentation and flavour combinations of the cocktail.

Guests enjoy Casa Vinicola Zonin’s “Gastronomy Experience”, a three-day trip of quality food and wine. On day one Dario Cecchini, one of the most famous butchers in the world, hosted a Meat Master Class.

After spending day two with the local fisherman of Orbertello the Casa Vinicola Zonin Gastronomy Experience finished on day three with a visit to the famous Amedei chocolate factory.

Superstar DJ Pete Tong entertains the winners of the Ballantine’s Soundtrack of You competition during a one-off club night at The Caves in Edinburgh.

Nick Strangeway talks guests at the Jameson’s Trends Lab, which was part of London Cocktail Week, through the Pickleback cocktail, which is a shot of specially made pickle juice to be sipped before taking a drink of Jameson’s. Although unsure before trying db’s Andy Young was a quick convert to this peculiarly delicious combination.

The Jameson’s Trends Lab also featured Tales of the Cocktail International Bartender of the Year Jack McGarry and his partner in the New York bar, The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, Sean Muldoon. The pair talked through their incredible journey from The Merchant Hotel in Belfast to their new bar in New York.

And finally Frank, the Love Drinks dog, tries out for a cover photo on the next issue of the drinks business.

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