Isla Ñ Tasting Notes

Isla Ñ

Isla Ñ Rum is a new breed of rums coming from countries you don’t usually expect this Caribbean based category to originate from. Isla Ñ is created and produced in Tucuman, a subtropical sugar-producing area in the northern region of Argentina. The brand was founded to re-create old-time distilling techniques with world-class raw materials. Appropriate then that Tucuman is in the heart of  the sugar producing area in Argentina.

The distillery has been designed to produce rum in a very slow and defined process to create a higher quality rum where they can control and choose the perfect rum. Isla Ñ also use traditional copper stills instead of the usual stainless steel that the larger distilleries use. The copper is said to give the rum a ‘discernible better flavour’, despite being more expensive and difficult to maintain.

Isla Ñ is produced in batch distilling, maturing the heart of the cut in fresh, new French oak barrels.

There are currently two expressions out in the UK, so below I give to you my tasting notes –

isla nisla Ñ White – 40%

Lots of powerful aromas of vanilla on the nose, but does smooth off as it reaches the palate. Vanilla is the dominant flavour with a surprisingly long offering of bittersweet coconut.

isla Ñ Gold Reserve – 40%

Mix of toffee and fudge on the nose that does smooth out nicely near the end. A slight burn on the tongue to begin with and has a thin water texture to it. Honey flavours appear but it’s a rather short offering.

isla Ñ Dulce de Leche Liqueur – 15%

Bringing rum and Dulche de Leche together by simmering milk, sugar and vanilla then blending with isla Ñ gold. Rich on the nose with plenty of cream and coconut aromas coming through. Velvet smooth on the palate with citrus rum coming through slowly. Coconut makes an appearance with over-proof rum notes dicing a little. Short.

A little different to your average rums, but how would it compare in a cocktail?

A Lady With No Name
A Lady With No Name

A Lady With No Name

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients –

40 ml isla Ñ Gold Reserve
12.5 ml Liquor 43
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
5 Cardamon pods

Method –

Dissolve the sugar in a small amount (15ml) of Isla Ñ Gold Reserve. Add ice to mixing glass then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir, sieve and serve straight up with a zest of orange.

Not a bad idea for a cocktail. Possibly one to look out for when Isla Ñ starts to hit the back bars of your favourite cocktail venue. Give it a go!

Check out more photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Annies Review

Annies

Who likes a hidden gem? A place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Manchester? Somewhere where you can relax with a menu that’s eye-catching in a chair that you’ll want to take home with you. Sound good? Welcome to Annies.

The new venture by the couple of Chris Farr of Smith’s of Eccles fame and Coronation Street’s own Fiz Stape, or Jennie McAlpine to quote her real name, have acquired a two-floor plot located on Old Bank Street just off St Anne’s Square. It might not look much from the outside but the explorer within us all will thank you when you step through the doors.

Greeted by arm chairs on either side of the room, and a long curved bar on the back wall, this well-lit area gives off an instant homely feel. With a mix of chandeliers and lamp shades, cream walls and wooden panels, you could easily mistake this for a sitting room – it just has a few square tables dotted around for there Modern English cuisine servings. It’s downstairs though that is the real charm.

Make your way downstairs and you have a choice of directions. One way takes you to an open corner full of alluring chairs, coffee tables and bowler hat lampshades, another takes you to their second bar housing delights of wine, Champagne and spirits. Their third way shows you the main dining area, holding approximately 150 covers (over the two floors but the main bulk located downstairs), with elegant red drapes hanging from the back wall, Marilyn Monroe stills mixing with prints of musical advertisements and the cream coloured walls working well with the dark wooden flooring. If you carry on round though you come to an extra room.

Used as part of the restaurant or as a private function room, you can easily be transformed into a simplistic yet elegant dining room. Complete with a rather spongy carpet, arm chairs and even a glass cabinet in the corner, you’ll be finding any excuse to dine in this part. The best part though is that if you do, you’re in prime position once you’ve finished your meal, to enter the sitting room. A long stretch that finishes back where you started at the main stairs full of arm chairs and low-level tables in an environment perfect for sipping a whisky or finishing your bottle of wine in comfort and style.

Speaking of the drinks, they’ve put together a rather good selection. Highlights noticed whilst browsing their menu include bottles of Pamapas del sur Alto Malbec from Argentina (£19.95), Kate Radburnd Pinot Noir from New Zealand (£34.50) and Waters Edge White Zinfandel from the USA (£19.95). As mentioned, Prosecco and Champagne are also available with the usual suspects listed as well as Pol Roger Brut Reserve (£70) and Ayala Rose (£57). There’s nothing on draught but they compensate by offering Peroni Red and Nastro Azzurro, Timothy Taylor and Rekordelig (all around the £4 mark) as well as a range of soft drinks, coffees and teas.

Spirits wise they’ve a fairly standard variety including Grey Goose, Chase and Belvedere for vodka, Havana 7 and Myers for rum, Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire for gin and Laphroaig 10yr, Woodford Reserve and Glenlivet 21yr for your whisky collection. Your house pours aren’t too bad either – Absolut, Jack Daniels, Beefeater and Bacardi amongst a list of eight ‘standards’.

Annies has also rolled out a cocktail list too (£6.95 each) with well-known names featuring. Tom Collins, Margarita, Bellini, Vodka Martini and Daiquiri follow Annies Fizz (Champagne and Cherry Brandy) in the rather short page, although they do mention that you can ask your bartender to create you something else. Also doesn’t mention what the branded ingredients are. A bold move possibly.

Now although I went primarily to check out the venue and drinks, I did take a look at the food menu and have to mention that any menu where you could choose several dishes at once is a huge plus for me. The pan-fried breast of chicken stuffed with garlic and thyme mousse looked very inviting, as did the slow braised lamb shank and the choice between five pies. The mini bite of sausage roll laced with chopped tomato and seasoning being handed round only confirmed my taste buds for what could be in store if I choose to dine here in the future. And to dine here I will.

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.