There’s only a few more hours before the curtain goes up on Hollywood’s Big Night, a few miles down the road from our venue in stately Hancock Park. The doorman at the iconic, 1920s-era El Royale Apartments (once home to Mae West, James Dean and William Frawley, aka Fred Mertz) has buzzed us in and accompanied us to the 10th floor rooftop garden. The view is pure Hollywood, overlooking “The Sign”, Griffith Observatory, Paramount Studios and the Pantages Theater – and, a bit to the east – the panorama of downtown LA.
This intimate gathering is an artisanal cheese and single malt pairing, and a chance for industry folks to get together (NO Paparazzi, please) before heading to the Red Carpet. For me, it’s a chance to share the new NEAT™ glass with some very savvy imbibers. The glass, which practically eliminates the strong “alcohol smell” and enhances the whisky’s aromas, seems to be an instant hit – Oscar worthy of the award for Best Whisky Glass in a Starring Role.
Malts, including Springbank, The Dalmore, Talisker, and a host of other brands, seem to come more alive in the glass as they pair sublimely with the aromas and flavors of the Cave Aged Mellage, Gran Canaria, Caso Bolo Mellange, and washed-rind Aged Brick Cheese, all from Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers Sid Cook and Joe Widmer. Malts and artisanal cheese – co-stars as magical together as Hepburn and Tracy.