Science tells us that when one of your five senses is toned down, another comes into acute awareness. We figure this out pretty much immediately upon entering Highline, an intimate but dimly-lit bar whose namesake is taken from New York’s elevated mossy train track park. On its opening a few weeks ago, the venue roped in French mixologist Bob Louison (who has blended for Moët and Pernot Ricard) to design a cocktail menu inspired by Penhaligon, the upper-crust British perfumery.
As we enter through the back of sister establishment Street Meat, we’re presented with a tray of the glass-stoppered Penhaligon scents and sniff the Bayolea, a scent that’s firm and masculine in its woody, peppery tones. Seconds later, its cocktail pairing ($138) follows: while it’s refreshingly tart in its citrus overtones, its watery structure is jumbled, giving a lesser complex body than its perfume counterpart. Then, we inhale the Vaara ($158) – a feminine, sweet perfume originally commissioned by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II – before sipping its cocktail double that bursts with floral tones. It’s a little sweet, however, though it’s served in a gorgeous little candle glass (it’s noted that this whole place is padded out like an architect’s weekend atelier).
Finally, the Juniper Sling ($148), a Gin Mare concoction with juniper berries poured into a teacup, is up. Fun and light, it matches its roaring 20s-inspired theme well – particularly as it’s all about the party and the glamour at Highline. Sadly, the drinks don’t stand out as much as the presentation and the scented pairings, but this concept is definitely well worth a visit. Ysabelle Cheung
Highline (Behind Street Meat), 50 Wyndham St, Central; facebook.com/highline.hk.