Rhythm ‘n’ Booze offers a fun, unique and tour-guide cliché free take on the traditional whisky tasting experience. Entering the dark atmospheric cave of the Assembly Roxy, you are greeted by intimately lit tables, which shared between groups of three or four, mean you need to get cosy pretty quickly with your neighbours. The host Felipe, assists this process by providing a witty introduction to the tasting and dispelling some of the myths of how people tend to describe whisky.
It becomes clear early on, he is less interested in persuading you that some whisky’s taste ‘good’ or taste ‘bad’ then helping you understand the full range of flavours available, as well as just how subjective the tasting experience is. You are asked to taste each new whisky blind, without knowing its age, brand or specific origin, causing a certain amount of surprise and amusement, as to just how the fickle the tastes buds can be in when left to their own devices.
Accompanying this tasting experience is a combination of interesting history about whisky, provided Felipe, whose knowledge and enthusiasm are infectious, and a sound track provided by Esther Swift, accompanied by drummer and percussionist Paul Archibald, giving the evening a feeling of being in some hideaway club, rather than the sterile-feeling ‘whisky-bar’ you normally get at the end of a distillery tour.
Most importantly, there is quite a lot of humour between guests, hosts and tablemates, particularly when the blindfolds come out. By the end of the evening, it is obvious the whisky is part of a special experience rather than being relied on to be a special experience all on its own, which if you are not a total connoisseur means you will still have a great time. Overall it is a good night out and you will leave slightly tipsy, despite the generous flavour appropriate snacks provided, having laughed a bit, learnt a bit and wondering why there is not live music at every whisky tasting.