This Sunday 2 December, Canberra Centre welcomes back Kyla Kirkpatrick – The Champagne Dame – for a not-to-miss masterclass pairing champagne and perfume. Kyla will explore the art and science behind the power of scent, and the link between champagne and perfume in a two-hour session, from 11:00am–1:00pm. This event is a decadent sensory experience, and every guests will get to take home a Canberra Centre goody bag and taste five premium champagnes!
Ahead of her visit, we had a Q&A with Kyla about her champagne journey and her top tips for selecting champagne for the festive season, here is what she said:
How did you start on your champagne journey?
It all started with a story on the illustrious history of the region – I am beguiled by its past. I read an article one afternoon on Napoleon Bonaparte, the first Emperor of France, and how he had a strong friendship with Jean Remy Moët. This story peaked my interest and I decided to read a book on champagne history, which lead to the next book, then the next! I read pretty much every book you could read on Champagne and still had a burning desire to know more so I wrote a pen and paper letter to my favourite author asking more questions. To my surprise this author wrote back inviting me to France to study with him. This was an amazing sliding doors moment where I decided to give up the life I knew, buy a one-way ticket to Paris and start again. The rest is history.
As we head into the festive season, why do you think champagne is the perfect accompaniment to any celebration?
This one is rhetorical! Totally! Champagne is not just the ultimate celebration wine but its great with food too, so it doesn’t matter if you are at a soiree or throwing a dinner party, you can add some flair and panache by serving champagne. I love the pop of the bottle, the fizz of the bubbles and the clink of the flutes when you toast to your success. Nothing says celebration like a bottle of champagne from an estate which has been producing the best bubbles in the world for 200 years! You are drinking history.
What are your top tips when selecting champagne for the festive season?
If you are drinking champagne as an aperitive or at a soiree (not a dinner) then serve a champagne that is lighter and fresher in style, like a blanc de blanc (100% chardonnay) or a non-vintage. Try a quality, boutique, artisanal producer which doesn’t make millions of bottles of year. If you spend an extra $10 extra per bottle on top of the entry level big brand champagnes, you can get something really special. Do a little research on the house who produce the wine and share their story with your guest. People want to know more about what they are drinking and consuming. It adds to the experience.
If you are a company who is entertaining, you can likely find a champagne brand whose values match your company values, so do some homework online or on a specialised champagne site like Emperor Champagne then share this philosophy with your guests.
What are the links between the creation of a great perfume and a great champagne?
Amazingly there are many connections between champagne and perfume. Its fascinating. I don’t want to give too much away, but champagne is all about the art of blending – blending different grapes, different vineyard parcels and most often different years. Each base wine in a champagne is blended together to reach a harmony of flavours and aromas just like blending scents in perfume. The role of the Chef de Caves who makes champagne is most similar in profession to the perfumier. The Chef de cave must have this extraordinary ability to use their sense of smell to determine the characteristics of a base wine and then predict, when blended with many other base wines, what it will smell and taste like when aged after three to four years or beyond!
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit canberracentre.com.au