Harvey Nichols Sensory Dinner with Nejma Collection
Cocktail bars around the world have always thrived on bringing new experiences to guests, and nowadays consumers are more discerning than ever and it’s the guests’ willingness to experiment that has encouraged bartenders to continue to push boundaries. By doing so, mixologists’ palates express greater understandings of depth of flavour and balance. A part of this is that cutting edge and world class restaurants like Harvey Nicks across the globe are often designing exciting food menus with paired cocktails.
Within the world of drinks, food and cocktail pairing is one of my favourite ways of getting creative with menus and the sensory dinner with Harvey Nichols introduced yet another element to consider when creating drinks: fragrance and how triggering different senses can create a whole new world of flavours.
7 Different Perfumes for 7 Different Days
The Nejma Collection has seven expressions and for each day of the week I wore the scents and went about my routine as normal, but allowed myself to think about what the aromas represented, their connotations and how best to portray them in drinks. All of the perfumes are based on oud wood, which provide a wonderful, dark and mysterious platform to build distinctive aromas on, with each getting sweeter as we transcend through the collection.
How to Transform Smell into Taste
No.1 has a deep, complex, woody characteristic with hints of floral on the finish, and a pleasant note of thyme. Wearing the scent I felt like I was (or should have been) heading out to a swanky cocktail bar on a first date with a scent that screams mystery. The perfume called for a sophisticated dry cocktail with subtle floral notes to match the lighter tone of the scent. The first dish was slow roast venison brisket, which due to its reasonably low fat content, worked well with the lighter notes in the drink.
As we made our way through the menu, the perfumes provided intriguing twists and invoked different sensations. Once reaching the final course of chocolate mousse, to match no.7, the sweetest of the Collection I considered introducing a drier cocktail to contrast the sweet flavours, yet maintain the essence of the aromas, including the cacao and grapefruit.
While Daffy’s has hosted a number of tasting dinners, the addition of the perfume encouraged me to not only think of how flavours work to either compliment or contrast, but to think of the entire sensory experience and how the scents evoke feelings and to experiment how they should be reflected in a drink.
As responsible adults, we decided seven full sized cocktails were a few too many to squeeze into two hours, so we alternated between alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The menu below solely features the alcoholic cocktails and matching perfume and food.
SLOW ROAST VENISON BRISKET WITH SPICED PEAR COMPOTE, BRIOCHE
Daffy’s gin, thyme liqueur, maraschino, fresh lemon, cherry bitters
SEARED SCALLOP WITH ORANGE AND CARDAMOM, CARROT MARMALADE
Daffy’s gin, quince liqueur, orange and cardamom shrub, sandalwood sherbet
BLACKBERRY AND DAFFY’S GIN JELLY WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND CITRUS
Daffy’s gin, spiced berry syrup, bergamot liqueur, fresh lime. Rose sherbet foam.
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH GRAPEFRUIT GEL AND COCONUT SORBET
Daffy’s gin, mandarin liqueur, cacao, grapefruit bitters, vanilla
For more information on the Nejma Collection please visit their website – www.nejmacollection.com