Whiskey gets its finest showing in the Pacific Northwest when Chef John Howie chooses to showcase 150 of the finest whiskies collected from around the world at his annual `Rare & Well Done’ event. The tasting of these rare whiskies, bourbon and scotch, hand-selected by John Howie Steak’s bar manager Tim Lodahl, is perfectly paired with the finest bites from Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar and John Howie Steak – and it’s all going to be happening on November 4, at the Seastar Building (Civica Commons) in Bellevue.
Tickets for the Rare & Well Done event go very quickly every year, but this time we’re doing a quick curtain-raiser for all the whiskey connoisseurs in Seattle/Bellevue who’re asking for a sneak peek at the food and whiskies that Tim Lodahl has chosen for 2017.
The event will offer two tiers of experience: the General Admission Experience, and for guests who want to delve deeper into this marvelous, multisensory tour, there is the `Ultimate Experience’.
THE GENERAL ADMISSION EXPERIENCE ($ 150 + TAX)
Chef Howie shared some tasty bits of information about the food menu being planned for General Admission ticket-holders:
• Porcini mushroom soup with black truffle crème
• Wagyu meatballs with foie gras demi glace
• Baked oysters with bacon and smoked gouda sauce
• Applewood grilled prime sirloin with creamy horseradish
• Fried chicken bites with bourbon BBQ sauce
• Asiago-blue cheese stuffed red potatoes
• Caramelized onion goat cheese tartlets
• Smoked salmon salad on house made crackers
• Blue and cheddar sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches
• And then, there will be some specialty truffles, chocolate-dipped, pecan-and-chocolate cookies and bourbon-butterscotch crème brulee.
Some of the choice whiskies that guests with General Admission Experience tickets will taste include:
• Bourbon: E.H. Taylor Four Grain limited edition from Buffalo Trace is Bottled-in-Bond (BiB) and aged for 12 years in charred American oak.
• Bourbon: Angel’s Envy Cask Strength 2015 is the highest-ever proof for an Angel’s Envy product (127.9 proof) and aged up to seven years before being blended and finished in port casks.
• Single Malt Scotch: Balvenie 21Year Portwood was finished in thirty year old port pipes and is a veritable masterclass in poise and balance.
• Single Malt Whisky: Glenmorangie Signet is a fusion of unique and rare elements for a creamy chocolate and coffee flavor, including some whisky distilled over 30 years and some whisky aging in virgin oak casks.
THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE ($ 500 + TAX)
Guests with Ultimate Experience tickets are invited to a pre-party from 5:00-6:30 p.m. to taste 12 of the most expensive and hard-to-find whiskies in the world. They will also have access to exclusive food and spirits available only during this private event that concludes at 6:30 p.m.
Some highlights from the food menu for the Ultimate Experience tier:
• Crispy tempura lobster
• Seared Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef
• Crispy potato cakes with crème fraiche and caviar
• Seared foie gras with scallop and pineapple
• Fried brie with bourbon-infused maple syrup.
The Ultimate Experience also includes one-fourth ounce pours of the following rare whiskies, carefully chosen by John Howie Steak’s whiskey curator Tim Lodahl:
• Elijah Craig 23 Year Old – Single Barrel Whiskey (2014 release): This is one of the oldest whiskeys that Heaven Hill released under the Elijah Craig brand. It features oak as the lead aroma with cinnamon, shortbread cookie, marzipan and dried orange peel ($450/bottle).
• Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey (2016 release): The six barrels chosen for blending this whiskey range from over a decade to nearly 33 years old. Only 256 bottles were produced ($5,000/bottle).
• Black Maple Hill Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2013 release): This limited edition is a product of a bygone era of whiskey when this bottle could be found on the shelf for $100 next to Pappy 15 for $60 and Weller Centennial for $35. This rare gem is no longer produced ($600/bottle).
• Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year – American Bourbon Whiskey (2015 release): The world’s most highly sought after American bourbon whiskey, which can only be found on the secondary market ($3,500/bottle).
• Littlemill 25 Year – Single Malt Scotch (2017 release): Despite the distillery closing in 1994, owners Loch Lomond have been releasing some of the now-mature stocks every year. The 2017 edition aged in a combination of ten American and European oak casks and married together in firs-fill oloroso sherry casks. Limited to 1,500 bottles ($3,300/bottle).
• Laphroaig 32 Year – Single Malt Scotch Whisky (2015 release): Laphroaig’s 200th anniversary celebration led up to this extraordinary bottling of rare single malt Scotch whisky from Islay all through 2015. Just 5,880 bottles were produced ($1,350/bottle).
• Balvenie 30 Year – Single Malt Scotch Whisky (2014 release): This rare and especially fine single malt, for which malt master David C. Stewart selects only exceptional casks to create a rich, mellow whisky with unusual depth and complexity ($900/bottle).
• Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015: Incredibly hard to source in the United States, this collectors’ bottling is comprised of three single malt whiskies, including one aged in sherry casks for more than 20 years, another aged in port wine casks for more than 20 years, and a younger single malt aged in ex bourbon American white oak barrels. Available in very limited quantities ($425/bottle).
• Bowmore 25 Year – Single Malt Scotch (2016 release): Aged in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks, the sherry influence combines with the coastal, smoky distillery style to create sublime aged single malt ($400/bottle).
• Auchentoshan 21 Year – Single Malt Schotch Whisky (2016 release): This limited release is triple distilled and aged perfectly in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks ($200/bottle).
• Macallan Reflexion – Scotch Whisky (2015 release): This superb expression from the legendary distillery in Speyside was created by master whisky maker Bob Dalgarno using whiskies matured exclusively in first-fill Sherry seasoned American and Spanish oak casks ($1,300/bottle).
• Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015: This special annual release honors George Garvin Brown, a founder of Brown Forman, and is bottled from a single day of production after being aged 12 years ($425/bottle).
• All Rare & Well Done guests will receive a Glencairn keepsake tasting glass and a personal whiskey journal to record notable tastes.
• The event will be held on November 4, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Seastar Building (Civica Commons) in downtown Bellevue.
See you there!