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    Keshav Prakash’s concierge service, The Vault, offering access to world whiskies and fine spirits, brings the experience to Chennai

    WHEN you are served Ocho Blanco Tequila with Asian sea bass at dinner, you don’t shoot, you savour. In a space that is seeing quite a few whisky ambassadors and repositories of fine wines and spirits, Keshav Prakash’s The Vault is pushing the envelope with curated menus for taste savants in high places. This besides offering access to artisanal whiskies, rums, cognacs, gins and tequilas. And the good news? A year after they launched in Mumbai, the spirits concierge service is ready to explore the Chennai landscape.

    Destination South
    A former1 ad-filmmaker from a family of spirit merchants in Bangalore, Prakash is presenting a dinner at Sheraton Park’s On the Rocks tonight. It is reportedly sold out and he is not surprised. ‘I have met a discerning whisky audience here. And I have noticed a shift from brandy to cognac appreciation,’’ he says. Our whisky connoisseurs can be so dogged in their pursuit of rare spirits, he admits – one collector masterminded a business trip to hunt down a bottle of the hyper-rare Japanese Karuizawa single malt! In Mumbai, The Vault is not a retail outlet but presents 18 brands of artisanal spirit makers and dining experiences through a concierge. ‘‘It’s the kosher way to do it,’’ agrees Prakash, 46. The founder of the underground whisky club, The Oak League, he is learning to navigate our laws regulating alcohol.

    Unlocking the vault
    You will find rival distilleries like Kilchoman in Islay and Edradour in Pitlochry showcasing their single malts here, together with cognacs like Delamain Premier Cru Grande Champagne, Sipsmith’s London Dry Gin and the popular Chase marmalade vodka (Seville orange marmalade and peel steeped in potato vodka). All of them are worth the premium charged for concierge services.
    For frequent travellers who trawl through duty free aisles looking for unusual bottles to get past our customs’ two bottle allowance, services like The Vault are welcome. With the collection curated by whisky and spirits writers like Charles Mclean, Dave Broom and Tomas Estes, you are bound to find handcrafted and gold medal winning gems. Like El Dorado rum, often available only at speciality stores abroad. So the next time you are in Mumbai, make time for some gift-hunting, via The Vault. Or sign up for their dinners in Chennai.
    Curated menu available at Park Sheraton and soon, Taj Coromandel and Madras Club. Details: vaultfinespirits.com

    Rosella Stephen

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