Here comes the Snake – Blackadder Arrives in Singapore

Blackadder is a popular independent bottler that many whisky lovers around the world is familiar with. As of 14 November 2018, Singapore has the honour of finally having a Blackadder distributor in Singapore! We were invited to a well-organised launch party by Jeremiah Kee, founder of Interco-mle. His company is the sole distributor for Blackadder in Singapore.

Here comes the Snake

The launch party was held at Laughing Juice, a well-crafted bar/event location at Orchard Boulevard. The decoration of the bar is classy, and it comes with a well-stocked bar too!

When I arrived at the bar, there were already lots of people mingling around the area. I was greeted by our host, Jeremiah, and then the whiskies stared at me in the face! Distracted by the whiskies, I believe I ignored a couple of friends who were waving at me. Hahaha…my apologies, my friends.

Up for grabs were some excellent Blackadder whiskies, including a Glen Ord (Singleton, anyone?) and a Loch Indaal (Bruichladdich!!). There were also two Japanese whiskies, one from the famed Chichibu distillery, and the other is an Eigashima. (Picture at the top)

Introduction to Blackadder

The event started officially with Jeremiah doing a short introduction to his company, Interco-mle and Blackadder. We understood that “Interco” means the International Code of Signals, and “MLE” simply means that “the patient has had too much alcohol”. Jeremiah obviously has the “mle” condition, considering his passion for whisky and Blackadder! It also revealed Jeremiah’s background – if you know it.

Robin Tucek and John Lamond founded Blackadder in 1995 and named the company after the historic Scottish figure Bishop John Blackadder. The company’s bottlings are mostly single casks and are neither chill-filtered or coloured. To drive the point of the natural state of the whisky, the company bottles their whiskies in clear bottles to ensure that customers can see the whisky clearly during their purchase.

The different ranges of Blackadder

Blackadder bottlings have standard ranges such as the “Limited Edition” and the “Auld Edinburgh”. It also offers the “Raw Cask” series from 2000, which showcase whiskies that are bottled directly from the cask. The bottling does not filter the whisky in any way, which results in some sediments in the whiskies such as fragments of wood.

For Singapore, Jeremiah imported many of the “Raw Casks” series as they are premium and suitable for our market here. We tasted two of these “Raw Casks” bottling – a Glen Ord 2004 13 Years Old, bottled for Hong Kong Whiskies More and a Bruichladdich (Loch Indaal) 2007 10 Years Old. While the Glen Ord reminded me of a Singleton whisky, it has more flavours and gives a better punch than the regular Singleton that we get in the market. The Bruichladdich, on the other hand, is excellent. There is a bite to the palate at first, but once the whisky opened up, the distillate shines through beautifully. A nose of cereal and hay romances me before the palate of sweetness engulfs the tongue in a tug of war. The finish is long and dry, lingering long after the whisky is gone.

Japanese Whiskies

As we are all aware of, Japanese whiskies have become the holy grail of whiskies these days. It is, therefore, an impressive feat for an independent bottler to get his hands on Japanese casks. This is what Robin did – Blackadder bottles Japanese whiskies! We tried two different whiskies – an Ichiro’s Malt at five years old from the Chichibu distillery and an Eigashima at three years old. Both are typical Japanese with notes of floral and sweet fruits. Personally, I prefer the Eigashima over the Ichiro’s Malt, but tastes are subjective!

Black Snake and Red Snake

In addition to the various single cask offering, Blackadder has a range of “Black Snake” and “Red Snake”. These whiskies use a Solera system, where aged single malts are placed into a sherry or bourbon cask for further ageing. When the whiskies are deemed ready, Blackadder draws two-thirds of the whisky out from the cask for bottling, while the cask is filled once again with more single malts. There will always be “older” whiskies in the cask, which allows for a balance of flavours and complexity.

We can liken the Solera system to how our hawkers do our braised duck gravy! The pot will always have some “original” gravy left behind, and our hawker uncle or auntie just keep on topping up the liquid. The new flavours of the gravy are stewed together with the flavours of the previous, making the gravy ultra yummy! The rich flavours of the braised duck gravy are similar to the rich flavours that you will get from the Black Snake and Red Snake.

The way to determine the sherry or bourbon cask is through the name. Black Snake is from the sherry cask while Red Snake is from the bourbon cask.

Cheese and Chocolate

Accompanying Blackadder whiskies were two vendors who are well-recognised for their excellent products. The Cheese Ark is a craft cheese shop which has gained its reputation as the purveyor of fine cheese. Lemuel Chocolate is the provider of fine, craft chocolate from bean to bar. Ronald is the chocolate maker behind Lemuel, and he is a passionate man who is in love with his craft!

I tried all of Lemuel’s chocolate on offer (because I am a chocolate monster as well as a whisky monster), and they are delicious stuff. It is almost like drinking whisky; the chocolate have finishes! My favourite is the India bar, which is herbal when I first eat it and then turn sweet after I chew it. They paired well with the whiskies too! I think we will probably hear more about Ronald and his chocolates soon!

A lovely evening through and through

It was a lovely evening with Blackadder, The Cheese Ark, Lemuel and of course, the Laughing Juice! Before I end the post, let me share future events from Interco-mle and Blackadder.

30 Nov – Laughing Hour @ The Laughing Juice (free-flow drinks and food for a reasonable price!!)

Dec 2018 – First monthly tasting of Blackadder (date is not firmed yet, so follow Interco-mle on Facebook and Instagram!)

Thank you, Jeremiah, for hosting such a beautiful launch, and we looked forward to more of your tastings!

 

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