A quick warning for you all: This post will be heavy on SCA content, so beware of historical geekery.
Saturday was the Whiskies Class at KWAR (Known World Academy of the Rapier) at Los Angeles Airport Marriot. Though we did not see the attendance we would have preferred, the class size turned out for the better as it allowed for a much more intimate tasting event.
We also started a bit late due to the attendance, but once Raz got going, the class seemed to more forward quite well. The class was designed and implemented by Raz with Fergus and I as support crew to pour the 1oz. tasters for the attendees.
Raz went through the history of whiskies, along with a good overview of the production process complete with samples of peat and malted barley as visual aides. He also presented a well thought-out but brief tutorial on tasting which seemed to help greatly when used in conjunction with the notes on the 4 bottles we presented in the class.
The PowerPoint presentation (as well as PDF format) for the class used can be found on line here at the new 3DC web site(which has not yet been unveiled to the world at large. OOH! Sneak peak benefits for my LJ readership!)
The actual tasting portion of the class was unfortunately a bit rushed as we were pressed for time, but still appeared to be adequate for the group in attendance. Even Their Majesties graced us with their attendance at the end and were seemingly pleased with how we ran the class. So much that Her Majesty bestowed a small token of appreciation to the three of us as she noted that she had spent the least amount of time in our class, but had the most fun (which is of course what we are all about, so that was a particular honour for us).
When all was said and done, I feel that the tasting class could be considered a small success. Though it garnered low attendance as a decidedly NON-combative class at a typically combat centric event, the information provided was on par with any good class designed to teach a particular skill set with the added benefit of hands on application of the skills taught.
We are hopeful that the class with be picked up again next year in the hopes of larger attendance due to word of mouth from the success of this years. Of course this would all be determined by the organizers of next year’s KWAR and whether or not the class was deemed educational enough to pass muster as a proper class for this event.
Overall, I have to say I am both pleased and a small bit disappointed with the class. We had a great amount of fun teaching others about the joys of whiskies, we only wish we could have shared that with more people; perhaps next time. At the least we now know that after this trial run, we can indeed present something more refined than the booze-ins of our War-time tastings.
The refinement wasn’t long for this world, however. After the tasting, we did what we always do and continued drinking the bottles we had brought, since there were leftovers. This wasn’t just for us though, as we continued our tradition of offering samples (or more) to anyone and everyone we met (which happened to include a patron of the hotel entirely unrelated to the KWAR event, who also happened to be a father of a hockey player in town to try out of the Mighty Duck’s goalie position. The father was equally impressed with our whiskies as we were of his son).
Dinner in the hotel’s steak house was done in garb, which continued the steady decline. We were able to try a Macallan 25 year, which none of us remembered as ever having tasted before. While pleasant, it was still a Macallan and no where near the quality that a $36 glass of whiskey should be.
After dinner we made our way back down to the Grand Ball, where we drank more and had our laughs watching Fergus get pulled into the dancing by Her Majesty. Regardless of what he’ll tell you, he really DID have fun as this picture will prove.
The hijinx didn’t stop there, however, as Raz wanted a picture of the 3 of us taken by the on-site photographer. We sat for a nice photo in front of a green screen to allow any back-drop to be placed in the shot. Being the people we are, I am surprised he got a decent shot of us at all, as this is how the second photo turned out (click for larger view):
(by the by that is me reacting to getting an elbow in the groin, which has seemingly gone unnoticed by everyone who sees the picture…)
The remainder of the evening was spent in the Crimson Spade’s gaming parlour sitting at a table, drinking, snarking, telling various “no shit, there I was…” stories, laughing, and being general misfits. Thank gods we have friends like the Crimson Spade to put up with our antics!
Good times were had by all.