I'm invited to the London Canal Museum for a whisky launch. But the organisers don't really want me there.
They'd rather I wasn't beneath the building's ancient bones but the rugged rocks of a Scottish island.
An official address bewails the city's lack of sublime coastline, the absence of snowy, single-track roads beloved of the distillery workers.
After a salted cocktail, no doubt to better acquaint the gathered townies with the taste of the sea, some of us are shipped out back with men in dark suits.
This extraordinary rendition to a chilly, darkened barge is for an elemental tasting of Talisker's latest single malt brand, dubbed Skye.
I'm jammed at the end of the narrow craft unable to see the features of the Sharp Dressed Man behind the glare of brushed aluminium anglepoise lights.
There are hard boards beneath out feet. This could be an attempt to position Skye as the brand of choice for CIA interrogations.
A fellow attendee is so nervous he misses the table with his glass. It splinters round our feet.
The air is frosty as we silently rub star anise and fennel on our hands.
We sniff and sip without much enhancement and our faceless host desperately tries to kindle some pine needles for some good cop heat.
Perhaps it's the whisky but warmth steals over me just as the master of ceremonies cuts to the chase and paints a syrupy, sap-laden picture of a walk in a lush forest of firs.
Forget the dry ice and rough sea projections, this rings true.
“Stop the boat,” I cry, leaping for shore. My feet land on soft moss then I'm running down a moonlit path away from the glare of the anglepoise.
Trees rear up on either side, as I dash deeper and deeper into the forest. I'm swallowed by its darkness and the scent of fir trees. I didn't even feel the barge move.
Talisker Skye will sell for £33 a bottle and will be available in Waitrose in Canary Wharf as well as a variety of other outlets later this year.
For more information go to diageo.com .