The Sipping Turf Whisky Masterclass by Zbigniew Zapert (Zibi)

“Do you really know your whisky?” should have been the name of the Masterclass with Zbigniew Zapert (Zibi) at The Gourmet High Street at Epicentre, Gurgaon.


This whisky Masterclass – “Whiskey – Separating Facts from Fancy” ran for approximately a couple of hours and included tasting sessions and discussions on how alcohols like Singleton 12 years from Highlands, Talisker 10 years from Islay, Johnnie Walker Double Black and other whiskys are made and blended.


Zibi is a celebrated International Mixologist and Bar Trainer currently working in India. Zibi started his career over ten years ago by graduating from International Bartender and Sommelier School. He has travelled all over the world and attended numerous trainings, seminars on mixology. All through the years that he has been a mixologist at cocktail bars and hotels in places like London, Dublin, Amsterdam and now Delhi.


The masterclass I attended was a full house and the rapt audience listened to Zibi deconstructing the whisky making process in order to explain it better. Did you know that all whiskeys are made of the same ingredients? What makes them taste different then? What is the difference between a single malt and blended scotch? What is the difference between a smoky and a woody whisky? These were some of the many interesting questions and facts that Zibi discussed with the attendees.

The most eye-opening nugget of knowledge was regarding the age of single malts. The “age” on the label of the bottle merely refers to the age of the youngest drop used in the whisky. Zibi illustrated this with the two bottles on show, Talisker 10 years and Singleton 12 years. As all whiskies are blended it was impossible to tell which between the two whiskies was older.


The Masterclass also taught us how to drink whisky the right way – cover the glass with your hand, give it a good swirl and then just wait for the aroma to come to your nose, voila! This brought out the woody aroma of the Talisker wonderfully.

Another revelation was not all single malt whiskys have to be consumed without dilution. The Talisker 10 years with an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 45% is meant to be diluted with a beverage of your choice. In fact, any whiskey with an ABV of more than 40% needs to be diluted for best taste. Whisky drinking will never be the same again if you happen to attend a Sipping Turf Masterclass this weekend.

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