Sipping Scotch is one of the last frontiers of refinement, a near-sacred time of both relaxation and invigoration. There are plenty of great lounges and bars in Los Angeles that provide imbibers with these delights, but few exceed the quiet grandeur and elegance of Ten Pound (£10), the second-floor bar at the Montage in Beverly Hills.
While the bustle of Scarpetta flows beneath (especially with the arrival of acclaimed Vegas chef Alex Stratta), Ten Pound remains relatively detached, with a few bar tables inside and some cabanas overlooking the park below.
The menu is simple — a few superior cocktails designed by Bar Manager Nick Daniels, and a listing of Scotches by The Macallan. At first the partnership between Ten Pound and The Macallan is a little off-putting since there are plenty of other great Scotches in the world. However, what's unique about Ten Pound is the world-class selection of vintage Scotches that are difficult to find anywhere. There's also the sky-high price point that tends to work perfectly for whales. And finally, it doesn't hurt that it's across the street from talent agency William Morris Endeavor's massive office building, or in the center of Beverly Hills.
The isolated cabanas are the whale-favorite, with all cocktails and drinks served tableside. It's best to start with the house cocktail, called the Jimmy Mac. Essentially a glorified Rob Roy made with The Macallan 18 year, it's mixed in with Benedictine, Averna Amaro, and orange bitters before being served with an extremely clear ice ball, revealing a laser-etched £10 sign. The flavor is intense, not overly sweet, balanced, and smooth, revealing some of the distinctive characteristics of the Scotch. It runs $55 per drink. Daniels also made his take on an Old Fashioned with Jefferson Presidential 18 Year bourbon, brown sugar, barrel-aged bitters, orange bitters, and a dusting of nutmeg. Definitely sweeter than the Jimmy Mac, it evened out with an ideal wintery profile after melting the ice a bit.
Scotch service is where the whales really get off. Ice options include that ice ball, a house-made ice ball that uses Highland spring water (the same used in Macallan whiskies), Kool-Draft ice cubes, which are smaller cubes that dilute very little, and super-chilled soapstones that cool the Scotch but don't dilute at all. The most popular Scotches are probably the Macallan 18 Year or Fine Oak 17 Year old, but the real high-end selections are the 1951 Macallan, which runs a cool $900 a serving and gets served in a customer $500 Lalique crystal glass. They've already gone through most of their only bottle of the vintage. Despite the sky-high price, Ten Pound continues to receive exclusive vintages such as the 1970 and 1989, which cost $995 and $550 per serving, respectively. And because this is Beverly Hills, the hub of all things whale in L.A., there's 57 Year and 60 Year Macallan, the first costing $2,800 for a pour and the older one running $3,100.
·All Ten Pound Coverage [~ELA~]
·All Whale Week 2013 Coverage [~ELA~]