What a location; Oblix sits on the 32nd floor of The Shard, this tallest building in Europe (at time of writing) and boasts an enviable whisky collection, amongst other spirits.
Our host for the evening was Aaron Masonde, mixologist, cocktail innovator, whisky curator and thoroughly nice chap.
Aaron and I met in December when I was on the judging panel for the Jefferson’s bourbon barrel aged cocktail competition. We hit it off immediately when we established our mutual love for not only whisky but Islay whisky specifically.
I arrive at Oblix London on a Friday afternoon ahead of the first May Bank Holiday after a busy few weeks and ahead of the U.K. Blog Awards 2016 taking place later that evening (where GreatDrams was Highly Commended in the Most Innovative Blog of the Year – boom).
Aaron is a wonderful host; passionate, interested in what he does and curious about spirits and new cocktail creations.
We start off talking about Oblix London itself, how the founder was inspired by how eclectic New York was in that you don’t have many restaurants in Manhattan that are just about one thing, they cater for varied tastes, palates and interests.
So born was the Oblix London concept; a collection of interesting menu items, all prepared on a form of indoor BBQ and a varied collection of spirits and in particular whisky.
Their sourcing policy for both food and drink is incredible; they scour the world for where the best produce is at that time, for example their beef at the minute comes from Australia as that is what they consider to be the best right now.
Aaron pulls out five sampling glasses, my eyes light up.
He tells me how he has a pretty free reign on how he curates the whisky list, working with suppliers to be able to bring in bottles like the whole Pappy van Winkle family of bottles, one of less than five bars in the UK to have the full collection and to choose unique bottles that are not readily available to buy at retail or rare to see on whisky lists.
We go through an amazing tasting of fifteen Whiskies;
Compass Box The General
Hanyu 14 Year Old 2000 Vintage
Douglas Laing’s Yula 20 Year Old
Whistle Pig 10 Year Old
Bowmore Claret (very rare – was banned by the SWA as it featured grapes on the label)
Glenrothes 1969 (absolute sherry bomb, lovely stuff)
Arran 21 Year Old Smugglers Series
Highland Park 1991 21 Year Old
1792 Small Batch
Between drams we spoke about various bits of whisky history, Aaron’s passion ever-growing as we delved deeper, the lengths he goes to get great bottles for Oblix London is amazing.
Something that really stands out about Oblix London is the experience it is trying, and succeeding to create; relaxed yet semi-formal (saw a few folk getting turned away for wearing trainers – ouch). The ice is carved from mega blocks for that added detail and extra chilled drinks, the menu is ever evolving and never standing still and the staff are all excited about what they do and how they do it.
The only downside about such an engaging place and menu is that you almost don’t remember to look at the spectacular views across London from the tallest building we have in this awesome city.
I would highly recommend visiting Oblix London, or a GreatDrams Top Tip would be to forgo the £25 entry to the viewing platform and spend that cash on an incredible cocktail handcrafted by Aaron and his team whilst admiring what the capital has to offer.