The Wapping Project is an arts, restaurant and bar complex located close to the banks of the River Thames in east London. It is housed in the old Wapping Hydro Power station buildings, which dates from the late Victorian period. There is an art exhibition and performance space to the rear and the bookshop is housed in a greenhouse at the front of the building! The uniqueness of the location is best summed up by the bar and eating area though - you drink and dine in amongst the old hydro power machinery and the lighting is a mix of large church candles and neon. The clash between contemporary and historic works very well and there is always the distinctive aromas of candle wax and machine oil in the background.
We recently went to the Wapping Project for dinner with a group of friends. The food was very good, if a little pricey, and the menu changes daily. The wine and beer list is all Australian and has some lovely examples. However, our best surprise was that they had a small but well selected selection of whiskies behind the bar. They have about 20 in total, consisting of a couple of Irish whiskies, 3-4 American bourbons and ryes, a couple of Japanese, some of Diageo's Classic Malts range and most interestingly of all, a range of eight independently bottled whiskies from the Cooper's Choice range by The Vintage Malt Whisky Company. These covered a variety of styles and all the whisky was priced between £5.50 and £12 each. We felt we had to try one as the collection was unusual and the location seemed right for sampling a good dram!
Our tasting notes - Bowmore 1998 Cooper's Choice
The Cooper's Choice range are all bottled from just a single cask and this Bowmore is 10 years of age and 46% ABV. The colour is a pale gold and the nose is fresh with sweet elements combining with Bowmore's well known smokiness - cereal grains, vanilla, toffee and peaty earth (think of damp moss). On the palate, the smokiness feels more ashy and bonfire-like than the nose suggested. The whisky feels on the thin side and slightly oily in nature. Sweet vanilla and cereals are again present, as is a little honey, some warm spices (imagine peppercorns) and a hint of saltiness. This whisky has a medium to long finish that is drier than the nose and palate. Some oakiness comes through and there is plenty of ashy smokiness and that spicy pepper. This is an enjoyable dram that is decent without being outstanding. However, the experience of sipping a whisky in such great and unique surroundings will be hard to beat ...