Weekend Rendezvous with Penderyn Single Malts

We had an awesome weekend with Michael Wheeler, Global Brand Ambassador of Welsh Single Malt, Penderyn in early March. As Wales celebrates St David’s Day on 1 March of every year, Penderyn importer, Spirits Castle Pte Ltd, decided to bring the celebration to Singapore with a couple of whisky tastings amongst other activities.

Pre-Celebration Drinks

The celebration started at The Providore, Downtown Gallery, where Michael held an impromptu lunchtime tasting of two best-selling whiskies in Singapore, the Sherrywood and Rich Oak.

Set up at The Providore, Downtown Gallery

While most people were not keen to start drinking at noon, more interested drinkers came at around 1 pm. Michael had a good time speaking with them about Welsh whiskies, and some of them walked away feeling that they have found gold! He also spoke with two seasoned drinkers who thought that the Sherrywood was quite similar to some of their favourite Scotch whiskies!

Whisky Pairing Dinner @ Conrad Centennial Singapore

WhiskyGeeks invited ourselves to the whisky pairing dinner at Conrad Centennial Singapore on 1 March 2019 because we had to (wink!) and of course, we were glad that we went! The event was a collaboration between Conrad and Spirits Castle with Conrad doing most of the job. When we arrived, we saw the team at The Lobby Lounge busy working on the set up for the evening. What impressed us though, was that their General Manager was helping out as well! We seldom see a GM who is so hands-on and respected the man who is so willing to serve.

The completed set up

First…the Dragons

The Dragon Range (from left to right): Legend, Myth, Celt

The whisky dinner started with a series of canapés and the Dragon Range from Penderyn. The Dragon on each bottle represents Wales and what it stands for. The dragon is, of course, the one gracing the flag of Wales. Michael spoke about the range and intrigued audiences with tales of dragons and myths.

Michael and his audiences

The Legend was the first whisky we tried. Matured in a bourbon cask before having a finish in Madeira casks, this whisky is light and fruity, with a hint of oakiness. The Myth is sweeter, with a rounded balance of fruits and candy because it is a bourbon-matured whisky that is finished in red wine casks. The Celt is the most interesting, with light peaty smoke and sweet ripe fruits. Michael explained that this whisky was finished in ex-Islay casks! All the whiskies in the Dragon range are bottled at 41% abv.

The Golden Dinner

The food prepared by Conrad’s Chef

The actual dinner pairing worked with Penderyn Gold Range – a series of 5 different whiskies bottled at 46% abv. Chef Mandar worked extensively to come up with each pairing, and all of them were fantastic!

Conrad’s Penderyn Pairing Dinner

Our favourite was the Pork Belly with Sherrywood as the pairing worked so well! The tender pork belly infused with coffee enhanced the flavours of Penderyn Sherrywood, while the whisky helped to remove the sweetness of the sauce perfectly. We also like the dessert, because the chocolate cake was divine! It was so good that we almost forgot about the whisky!

Michael speaking about the whiskies

Michael talked about the whiskies at every course, and he regaled tales of the distillery’s history and blunders in a humourous manner. He told us about Penderyn Peated – a mistake that turned out to become a popular whisky in the core range! It was said that the person-in-charge of buying casks for the distillery made a terrible blunder and purchased a batch of casks that were once holding peated whisky on Islay. When the distillery discovered the mistake, it was too late, and they had to release the whisky as a “one-off” experiment because they cannot just throw away good whisky. It turned out that people love the whisky so much that they begged the distillery to continue the production, and so today, it is part of the core range.

The Final Frontier

We ended the dinner with a special cocktail, one which the bartender at The Lobby Lounge did for the event. It was a Manhattan but done using the Penderyn Celt. Sweet and smoky, the cocktail was the perfect drink to end a lovely evening at Conrad Centennial Singapore.

A Whisky Journey to Wales at Wala Wala

Wala Wala’s Bartender with Penderyn

2 March 2019 was equally exciting because Penderyn did a tasting at Wala Wala, Singapore’s iconic bar at Holland Village! We understood that Penderyn distillery (and Spirits Castle) is absolutely delighted with Wala Wala’s support of their whiskies.

Wala Wala Cafe Bar is a place that most of the 80s and 90s kids know fondly. It is THE place to hang out, and some of us did more than hang out there – we slept on the floor, drunk, of course! The event was a collaboration between Wala Wala and Spirits Castle. Again, Wala Wala was the one who did all the job of setting up!

The Actual Event

Michael led the group gathered at Wala Wala on a journey to Wales, where he waxed lyrical about the country and the beautiful places that surround Penderyn Distillery.

Mike with the attentive audiences

The focus at Wala Wala was the five Gold Range expressions, but participants were greeted with a cocktail done with the Myth! The crowd at Wala was curious about Welsh whiskies, with many of them hearing about Penderyn for the first time. Therefore, many questions flew at Michael, who happily answered them all.

He also showed them some interesting elements of the distillation method at Penderyn and explained why the whisky tasted so different from the others.

Studying the elements of distillation

Interaction with our resident WhiskyGeeks

Michael also had a chance to speak with our guest writer of WhiskyGeeks – Hongfu aka Panda. He was delighted to find someone who loves whisky so much that questions came nonstop! It was enjoyable to see them interact with each other and to know that WhiskyGeeks will always have someone to fall back on should we fail to deliver in future! Hahaha!!

Michael with our resident whisky geeks

All of us enjoyed ourselves at Wala Wala, and we are awed by the generosity of the owner – Stanley when platters upon platters of food came from the kitchen after the presentation was over. It was an endless parade of food, and needless to say, we were all stuffed by the time the event ended. So many questions, so much food…Whisky flow aplenty as well, and out of the five, Sherrywood naturally came out tops, again!

We had an enjoyable time, and appreciated the efforts that Wala Wala had put in to make the event so fun!

Till the next time…

The weekend rendezvous with Penderyn was excellent, and we hope to do it again! Conrad’s dinner pairing was a luxurious, one of a kind event and Wala Wala’s laidback environment was a complete opposite to it. Both events left deep memories of the place, the whisky and the food. We can’t wait to do this again! Till the next time, folks!!

 

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Introducing Old Pulteney – The Maritime Malt

The Old Pulteney New Range

The Old Pulteney is not a new distillery; neither are its single malts strangers to everyone. However, the old range of 17 and 21 have disappeared in the market, and a shiny new range has taken over. It consists of the good, old 12 Years Old, a new NAS called Huddart, a 15 Years Old and an 18 Years Old.

How did these new expressions measure up? We found out in a recent media launch with Mr Malcolm Waring, the Distillery Manager of Old Pulteney.

Introducing Mr Malcolm Waring

Credit: David Parry

Malcolm Waring is the distillery manager at Old Pulteney for the past 12 years. He is the perfect choice for the job because of his many talents. Raised in Wick, Scotland, Malcolm started as a boat-builder, but his destiny was determined otherwise. He joined the Pulteney team in 1990 and worked his way through all areas of the distillery – maturation warehouses, the mash room and the stills. He learned the craft of making fine single malt whisky and his skills in the job made him brewing manager, and later on assistant distillery manager. In 2000, he moved to Knockdhu as the manager for six years before returning to Wick, and Old Pulteney as the distillery manager.

The New Collection

Old Pulteney 12 Years Old

The classic 12 Years Old is an old favourite among many, with its sweet vanilla and citrus notes. The tinge of salt from the sea is subtle but noticeable, so it is definitely one of the Maritime Malts.

Price: SGD $135

Old Pulteney Huddart

Old Pulteney Huddart

The Huddart celebrates the birthplace of Old Pulteney – Wick, Scotland. Known for its excellent fishing spot, many fishermen came to Wick during the fishing season in the past. As a result, the town grew to what it is today. Huddart is a peated malt, but not like the ones that we are used to from Islay. Huddart is matured in American ex-bourbon casks and finished in ex-peated casks. The whisky is mellow and brimming with wood smoke, honey, and bacon. Vanilla cream, crisp green apples and burnt toffee come in after a while. Sitting the whisky for about 30 minutes brings out the musky, soil-like notes of peat.

Price: SGD $160

Old Pulteney 15 Years Old

The 15 Years Old is a new expression that replaces the old 17 Years Old. As far as replacements go, I think the 15 Years Old tops it all. The intensity of the flavours found in the 15 Years Old is excellent, with green apples, citrus orange, honey, vanilla cream and the hint of white tea flowers. The use of sherry casks in the maturation process also brings out rich, dried fruits and milk chocolate. The finish is long and oaky. This dram is appealing and the balance exquisite. I find myself liking this very much.

Price: SGD $180

Old Pulteney 18 Years Old

The last expression in the series is the 18 Years Old. The distillery matured this expression in ex-bourbon American oak cask and Spanish sherry butts. As a result, the flavour profile of this whisky is balanced. Earthly sweetness with some spicy greets the nose, but the palate is soft and mellow. The caramel sweetness of the dram reminds one of sweet dried red berries and raisins. It is a balanced dram but perhaps will appeal best to the sweet tooths.

Price: SGD $215

Whisky & Food Pairing

Whisky & Food Pairing

We had an excellent lunch prepared by Chef Jeremy from Restaurant Jag (more about it below). The menu was meant to pair with the whiskies that we were tasting.

  1. Cheese Platter with Old Pulteney 12 Years Old
  2. Scallops & Capucine with Old Pulteney Huddart
  3. Risotto with Lightly Grilled Squid with Old Pulteney 15 Years Old
  4. Venison & Parsnip with Old Pulteney 18 Years Old
  5. Smoked Dark Chocolate & Truffle with Old Pulteney 18 Years Old (goes well with Huddart too!)

It was evident that each course was prepared with much care and love for both the food and the patron. I enjoyed the risotto and venison especially, due to the excellent pairing it did for the whiskies. Nothing quite prepared me for the dessert though; I probably had not eaten such fantastic ice cream in my life. The smoked dark chocolate ice cream was silky, and it worked so well with both the 18 Years Old and the Huddart!

Venue

The venue of the media launch was Restaurant Jag, a bespoke French restaurant helmed by Chef Jeremy and owner Anant. The cosy restaurant nestled among the many shophouses along Duxton Road, and it is easy to miss it if you are not looking out for it. The establishment takes up two floors, with the main restaurant on the ground level and an intimate bar on the second floor. It is a beautiful place and one which you should visit if you are looking for an excellent place to chill and relax.

Address: 76 Duxton Road, Singapore 089535
Reservation Number: 3138 8477

 

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