29 August was a night of rare whiskies, or what we would expect from whisky distilleries long gone if they had survived. The Wall SG invited Flora and Choc to the tasting session, and of course, we just had to go! Tasting seven expressions of whiskies were the first for us, and we were prepared to get tippy!
We arrived at The Wall SG shortly after 6.30pm and were pleasantly surprised to see that Chris Marshall, co-owner of Distilled (they import The Lost Distillery bottles) were already there. After a short introduction, we made ourselves comfortable and began chatting with Chris.
The Short History of Distilled
We understood that Distilled was established just a short 12 months ago, and will be reaching the first milestone soon. Chris was an engineer in his previous life and enjoyed his work very much. However, he got into spirits and began to explore the idea of setting up something of his own. The time came when Chris decided that it is time for him to pursue his passion and his wife supported him. Hence, with his co-founder, Stephanie, Distilled was born.
Distilled represented many brands, but only two whisky brands. One of them is none other than The Lost Distillery.
The Lost Distillery Company
The Lost Distillery Company (TLDC) believes that it is a pity that many distilleries of the past were gone and buried. Many of these distilleries do not even get a mention in current times. To bring back the memories of these long-gone distilleries, the research team at TLDC worked hard to understand these lost distilleries to find the style of whisky they might have produced. With the knowledge, they re-build the flavour profiles by blending single malt whiskies to create what these lost distilleries might have produced if they are alive and distilling today.
The research includes the barley type, water source, type of stills and yeast. They also used black bottles to replicate the black bottles used during the 18th and 19th century.
The Range of Products
TLDC creates three different ranges – from the Classic Selection to the Archivist Collection and finally the Vintage Selection. The classic selection holds expressions generally aged around 12 years old, and bottled at 43%. The Archivist Collection showcased expressions around 18 years old and bottled at 46%. The Vintage Selection is the most expensive and feature expressions about 30 years years old and also bottled at 46%. Do note that all of them are blended malts made by the talented master blenders of TLDC.
Currently, only the Classic Selection is available in Singapore as they are more approachable and offers an excellent choice for many drinkers.
The Classic Selection
Taste Profile of the Seven whiskies
There are seven whiskies in the series which represent Scotland’s five whisky regions.
As there are too many expressions to share our tasting notes, we will share two of our favourite.
Details: 12 Years Old, 43%, Highland, remote area with no access to other parts of Scotland, one of the first to use sherry cask for maturation
Nose: Dark raisins, chocolate and hints of spice all the way
Palate: Dark raisins, cherry at the forefront before milk chocolate appears in mid-palate before dried prunes turn up at the back of the throat.
Finish: Medium to long, with raisins and dried prunes. It turns oaky after a few seconds.
Both of us like this expression because it reminds us of a sherry bomb that is not overly sherried. The beauty of this dram is the sherry influence without the sulphur that tends to be associated with sherry bombs.
Details: 12 Years Old, 43%, Islay, a rough area with pirates and dangerous thugs, was isolated due to bad association.
Nose: Lemon peels, sweet fruits, some spice and very light peat.
Palate: Lemon, sweet fruits, some peppery spice, oily and some light peat.
Finish: Short to medium with smoke, lemon and oakiness.
We love this expression because it is peaty. It is also an easy to approach dram for new potential peatheads.
Where to find these drams
If there is anyone who wishes to try these drams, you can find them easily at The Wall SG. You know that you can find rare whiskies, affordable drams and fantastic service there!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/The-Range.jpg600800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-09-01 01:37:272018-09-01 01:37:27Whisky Event: The Lost Distillery
From left: Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Signature Craft and Maker’s Mark
A whisky shop owner invited Geek Choc and me to a tasting session that he hosted with his wife during our short stay in Kaohsiung. It was an eye-opening session for us, and one which we will not be forgetting anytime soon. It happened totally at random as we went to the shop because a friend told me that the shop has a lot of Bruichladdich bottles, including one which I was looking for.
We arrived with a high expectation, and the shop did not disappoint us at all. It started out a little awkward, but as we got to know the boss and lady boss, we began to chit chat about whisky and all things Taiwan vs. Singapore. The boss then invited us to a tasting session of Jim Beam, which took place one day before we left Kaohsiung. We accepted the invitation readily as we were very curious about how Taiwanese ran their whisky tasting sessions. We were glad that we did because it was indeed different and entirely out of our expectations.
Brief Information about the tasting session
The boss told us that the tasting session was for Jim Beam. While we lamented that it was not a Scotch whisky tasting, we thought that Jim Beam should still be interesting to us, as we never drank it before. The line up was four different drams with significant differences.
They are Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Signature Craft and finally, Maker’s Mark. Out of the four, we tried Maker’s Mark before and enjoyed it with ice.
The Event Proper
The organiser held the event at a new hotel in Kaohsiung, named Lin Hotel. It is a luxurious and lavish hotel completed with much opulence. We were stunned when our taxi drove us up to the lobby, and we breathed a sigh of relief that we dressed up for the event. The hotel had arranged the tasting session in a private room within their seafood restaurant, and it was a small, cosy place. It sat about thirty people comfortably and had a small area for displaying the four whiskeys.
The setting looked like a small intimate Chinese wedding dinner, with three tables for ten pax each placed at strategic locations. Everyone seated could see the big screen in the middle. Once 90% of the participants turned up, the event started promptly. The organiser did not wait for latecomers – which was interesting for us.
Speaker of the Event
Brand Ambassador of Jim Beam
The speaker for the event is none other than the brand ambassador of Beam Suntory in Taiwan. I need to apologise that I completely missed his name as I am bad with names. He is a knowledgeable man and explained much about American whiskey. The only thing that I feel that he could do better is to slow down. The speed of the presentation and tasting session was too fast, which was not ideal considering that most of the participants were avid drinkers who wanted to taste the whiskeys properly.
Nonetheless, he shared the history of Jim Beam and how it came about with the audience and what proved to be of interest to me was the history of Jim Beam. It was the oldest Kenturkey bourbon ever – sold for the first time by founder Jacob Beam in 1795. It was a short but insightful session. I loved it when brand ambassador waxed lyrical about the history of the brand and the distillery because it helped me to understand the whiskey better.
The brand ambassador also shared the history of how charred barrels came from as Jim Beam charred their barrels to level 4 to get the most of the butterscotch, vanilla, coconut and caramel flavours. History has it that charring had a very different purpose in the past. One theory said that it was to kill germs – burning the wood was the best way. Another argument, which was popular, said that a greedy merchant tried to cheat the system by using secondhand barrels. To remove the smell and taste of the previous liquid, he burnt the insides of the barrel badly. By accident, the charred barrels produced excellent results, and hence the idea took off.
Besides barrels, the brand ambassador also explained the rules of making bourbon. It must be at least 51% corn, and the remaining 49% can be made up of rye and barley. While he did not tell us the exact make-up of Jim Beam, he did mention that Jim Beam is a proper Bourbon. Due to the temperature at Kenturkey, Jim Beam’s angel share is about 4%, and the first-fill bourbon barrels influence the liquid up to about 60%.
After the presentation (which was too fast for me), we tasted the whiskeys. These were the four glasses that we had.
Besides the four glasses, two pitchers of Jim Beam Black sat on the table, for anyone who wanted a top up. We found the session to be completely generous as it was also free.
The Four Whiskeys
Jim Beam Black
We started out with Jim Beam Black. We understood that the black label is supposed to be better than the white label.
Jim Beam Black
Jim Beam Black is 43% abv with a bright gold colour. It has a strong coconut and caramel nose with butterscotch and spice in the background. A creamy mouthfeel with coconut, caramel, vanilla and gentle spice follows in the palate. The finish is short to medium with sweet caramel all the way.
It is a simple whiskey and one which can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. Personally, this is one of my favourites among the three Jim Beam bottles.
Jim Beam Double Oak
Jim Beam Double Oak
The next whiskey up for tasting is the Jim Beam Double Oak. It is an excellent whiskey to showcase the influence of wood. Again at 43% abv, it gives a beautiful bright gold colour too. The nose promises a fuller flavour with coconut and caramel complementing the spice. The palate has a sharper bite to it, and the oak influence creates sandalwood notes in addition to the expected coconut, caramel, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is less creamy but oilier. It is also oakier. The finish is longer than Jim Beam Black with the sandalwood notes lingering all the way.
The Jim Beam Double Oak is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of whiskey. The stronger flavours may appeal to some but not others. Geek Choc likes this expression best out of the three Jim Beam, but I find it harder to accept.
Jim Beam Signature Craft
Jim Beam Signature Craft
The Jim Beam Signature Craft is unique because it aged for 12 years before bottling. For those who know about bourbon, you know that bourbon does not age for more than five to six years typically. For an expression to reach 12 years of age is not an easy feat. The Signature Craft is also 43% abv and spot a gold colour that is slightly brighter than the above two expressions.
The aromas from the nose are more mellow than the other two expressions. Coconut and caramel couple with vanilla waft up the nose with no sharpness. There is also no spice detected. The palate is oily and creamy, with beautiful notes of coconut, caramel, vanilla ice cream and hints of spice. It feels mellow, smooth and more aged. The finish is long with sweet coconut and gentle spice. Slightly oaky in the end too, but nothing unpleasant.
Finally, we had Maker’s Mark. While it is not from the Jim Beam family, it is produced together in the distillery. I like Maker’s Mark as I find the notes of honey, vanilla, and coconut to be perfect as a whiskey on the rocks.
The nose is full of honey, coconut and caramel in the forefront and vanilla hiding in the background. The palate speaks with spiced coconut, caramel, and honey at first before vanilla cream appears to give another layer of complexity. The finish is short with spiced coconut lingering all the way.
I must admit that the dinner which followed the whiskey tasting was the best surprise of the night. We expected a series of finger food and snacks, but a 10-course Chinese meal came instead. When course after course arrived at the table, we were stunned beyond words. The food served was lip-smacking good – drunken prawns, smoked duck, steamed fish, and the list went on.
The whole event ended after dinner. The organisers offered up bottles for sales at a reasonable price and many of the participants bought by the cartons. For us, we only bought two bottles as we still have a long trip ahead of us in Taipei.
We had a great time and indeed, opened our eyes to how a tasting event can be done. It is as different as it can be in Singapore and I think the same scale will be hard to replicate here due to cost. While this tasting is not representing every tasting session in Taiwan, we believe that it is a great way to get people together to enjoy good food and whisky.
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/The-Line-Up-2.jpg600800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-06-05 16:37:042018-06-05 16:37:04Event: An American Affair in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
From left: SMOS 1992, SV 1990, X4+3, Islay Barley 2010
Here’s a new whisky event that Geek Flora and Choc went to in less than a week! Bruichladdich Old vs New event happened at The Single Cask on 9 May 2018. Hosted by both bar manager Brendan and Bruichladdich APAC Brand Ambassador Chloe Wood, it was an awesome evening filled with history and amazing whiskies.
The lineup on 9 May was a stellar one. The liquids came from different eras of the Bruichladdich distillery. We had a Signatory Vintage 1990 Bruichladdich, 26 Years Old, a Single Malt of Scotland 1992 Bruichladdich, 23 Years Old, the X4+3 and the Islay Barley 2010 from the distillery itself. The oldest whiskies came from independent bottlers as Bruichladdich was in a less than desirable situation in the 1990s when it still belonged to Invergordon. If you followed our article about the distillery, you would know that Bruichladdich closed in 1994 and did not reopen until 2001.
The X4+3 was a unique expression as it was quadruple-distilled and aged for only three years (hence the name X4+3)! It came from the era of Mark Reynier and Jim McEwan, the legendary distiller. It is almost impossible to find a bottle now, so if you manage to find one, BUY IT! The Islay Barley 2010 is, of course, one of their newer expressions when the distillery came under the guidance of their current master distiller – Adam Hannett.
The Event Proper
The event started not with the whiskies, but with pizzas and garlic bread, compliments from the good folks at The Single Cask and Bruichladdich. After they fed us, the event started with Brendan and Chloe up on “stage”.
Brendan and Chloe up on “Stage”
They explained that they originally wanted to start the tasting session with the old vintages, but changed their minds. They were starting with the youngest one! The reason was simple – we are likely to taste the difference better when we did the young to the old. So, that’s precisely what we did!
Islay Barley 2010 (50% abv)
The Islay Barley is slightly different from the regular Scottish Barley as it has a salty tint to it. We would like to think that it is due to the Islay barley used. While the typical sweetness of a Bruichladdich is prominent, there is this unique coastal salt, and toasty cereal notes to it. The spice is also sharper than the regular Scottish Barley. Overall, it is a lovely dram that you can enjoy any time of the day.
X4+3 (63.5% abv)
X4+3 is exceptional. That is Geek Flora talking, by the way. The sweetness of the whisky is so distinctively pears, green apples and melons! This is one whisky for the sweet tooths! The palate has hints of coastal salt and lemons coupled with light tangy spice at the tip of the tongue. Even though this is only aged for three years, the creaminess and oiliness of the whisky are remarkable. We supposed it has something to do with it being quadruple-distilled.
SMOS 1992, 23 Years Old (55.4% abv)
The SMOS 1992 was one of the crowd’s favourite that night. As it was from the Invergordon era, the distillate differed slightly from the modern ones. There was this pine note within the whisky, which kind of differentiate it as a whisky made for blends (we think). The nose was fresh with pine, melon and lime. The palate presented a bouquet of flowers, with oak, light melon and hints of lime. Warm spice lingered in the middle and back of the tongue. Unfortunately, the finish was short with pine-oak and floral notes. It was also dry. Again, the finish showcased a whisky that was perfect for blending, but not so great perhaps, as a single malt due to a rather short finish at such a high abv.
Signatory Vintage 1990, 26 Years Old (53.4% abv)
As for the Signatory Vintage 1990, it was a little different because it was a sherry-cask matured whisky. However, it appeared to be slightly lacking as it did not showcase typical sherry notes. The nose was promising, with cherry, hints of cranberries (some say baby vomit), green apples and some savoury salted meats. The palate was warm spice, red fruits and hints of salt. While the finish is long, salty and dry, it did not give a high satisfaction. Were our expectations too high? We are not so sure.
After Party at The Single Cask
We stayed way longer than we planned to (as usual). Initially, it was to savour and finish our drams, especially the X4+3 and the SMOS 1992. As the crowd left and the bar quietened, it became a great place for conversation. We had a chat with Chloe and a fellow Laddie fan, Fiona, and spoke about Laddie t-shirts! Haha! So, we decided to take this photo below.
Laddie fans united with our Laddie Ambassador!
It was such a beautiful picture, isn’t it! Chloe and Brendan had on the Bruichladdich Polo Tee, while Geek Flora and Choc had our Unicorn Bruichladdich and Octomore Tee. Fiona was wearing her 2017 Feis Ile tee! We love this so much that we named it the “Laddie fans united with our Laddie Ambassador” picture!
A Laddie Cocktail
Islay Barley 2010 Whisky Sour
Just as we were about to leave, Brendan said, “How about an Islay Barley Whisky Sour?” We just had to stay for that because Brendan made terrific cocktails! Most of you who know Flora personally know that she is not a cocktail person, but she took two big sips from this glass that she shared with Chloe. It was the perfect answer to how yummy this whisky sour was. Stunningly balanced between the sweetness and the alcohol, this whisky sour is probably something that you will keep wanting to come back for.
After emptying the glass, it was time to head home. So we bid goodbye to Brendan and Chloe and made our way back. It was an excellent evening to be sure. If you have never been to a Bruichladdich event, come to the next one. We promise that you will not be disappointed.
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/The-4-lineups.jpg800800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-05-14 19:22:472018-05-14 19:22:47Whisky Event - Bruichladdich Old vs New
Geek Flora and Choc were invited to a tasting session of Jack Daniels on 6 May 2018 at Manhattan Bar. It was an awesome evening because tasting a famous Tennessee at Asia’s Number One Bar can never go wrong. Besides, the assistant Head Distiller, Mr Chris Fletcher, was in town and we knew that he would answer all our geeky questions.
We reached Manhattan Bar around 7 pm, and the reception ushered us into a private room next to the main bar floor on the right. What we saw was absolute class and luxury as the tall glasses laid in their full glory with the gold nectar within them. The room smelled of whiskey (of course), and we got a little more excited.
Introducing Jack Daniel as a person
In case you do not know, Jack Daniel was indeed a real person. Nobody truly knows Jack’s birthdate, but official records from the distillery stated the 1850s. He was the youngest of 13 children and was very young when his mother died. His father remarried but unfortunately killed shortly after that in the Civil War. Jack did not get along with his stepmother, and hence, he ran away from home at a young age. Jack ended up in Lynchburg, Tennessee where a local lay preacher and moonshine distiller named Dan Call took him in.
Jack began his career as an apprentice distiller with Call and his Master Distiller, Nathan Green. In 1875, Jack received an inheritance from his father’s estate and founded Jack Daniel Distillery with Call. However, Jack took over the distillery shortly afterwards as Call decided to answer his true calling as a preacher.
Jack Daniel Distillery
Jack soon expanded the distillery in 1884 by purchasing the surrounding land. He was getting recognition from the public, and the whiskey gained popularity in the 1880s. The distillery began to bottle their liquid in square bottles in 1897 to convey a sense of fairness and integrity. In 1904, Jack Daniel won a gold medal at the St Louis World’s Fair, and the distillery experienced a surge in demand. However, things looked bad at home with Prohibition oncoming.
Jack gave the distillery to two of his nephews in 1907 due to failing health and died in 1911 due to blood poisoning. One of them became the next owner for 40 years while the other sold his share early. Prohibition laws passed in Tennessee in 1910 and the distillery halted its production in Lynchburg. Two other sites in St Louis, Missouri and Birmingham, Alabama started distilling but failed to produce quality liquid. In 1920, the United States of America passed nationwide prohibition laws, stopping further distillation from taking place.
Despite it all, Lemuel “Lem” Motlow held his uncle’s legacy through the Prohibition and was the front mover in repealing the Tennessee state-prohibition law in 1938. After that, things ran smoothly until 1942, where the U.S government banned production due to World War 2. After the war, Motlow resumed Jack Daniel in 1947. Sadly, he died in the same year and left the distillery to his children.
Jack Daniel distillery began its modern era in 1956 when Brown-Forman bought the distillery from the Motlow family.
The Making of a Tennessee Whiskey
Did you know the difference between a bourbon and a Tennessee? To confuse you a little, a Tennessee can be bourbon, but bourbon can never be a Tennessee. Why!?
The definition of bourbon defines it as a liquid made anywhere in the U.S with at least 51% corn and matured in a brand new charred oak cask. The alcohol content of the new make must also be 80% or lower. A Tennessee is a bourbon produced in Tennessee and treated with maple charcoal before maturing in a brand new charred oak cask. The process, called charcoal mellowing, makes all the difference between a Tennessee and a bourbon.
Charcoal mellowing helps to maintain the flavour consistency and soften the whiskey to make it less harsh. Hence, a Tennessee whiskey is always easier to drink than a typical bourbon.
The Making of a Jack Daniel Tennessee Whiskey
Jack Daniel distillery sources its water from an underground cave spring. The grain percentage is 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye. The distillery milled the corn and cooked it with hot water to turn it into grist before adding the rye. After that, they allow the mixture to cool before adding the malted barley to the mash. The fermentation team then pumps the mash into the fermentation tanks and add yeast. When fermentation completes, the alcohol abv is around 12%.
Distillation then begins in the 100% copper stills. The 40ft tall column still brings the vapours into a short still with copper plates heated by steam. The system separates the alcohol and then distil it a second time before cooling off into new make. The liquid then passes through 3m of charcoal made on-site for the charcoal mellowing process. The entire process takes about two to three days. After that, it becomes Tennessee whiskey at 70% abv.
Jack Daniel’s Barrels
As you know, all American whiskey needs maturation in brand-new charred American oak. Jack Daniel is no difference. Their Tennessee whiskey sleeps in brand-new charred American oak casks for at least four years and mostly less than eight years. There is no additional colouring. Maturation in Tennessee is different from Scotland – they need hot summers. Hot summers mean maturation is likely to conclude in five to six years while cooler summers will result in a slightly longer maturation.
Jack Daniel resells all their barrels after using as they are not allowed to use it for the second time. About 25% of all ex-bourbon barrels in the world are Jack Daniel’s!
Jack Daniel’s Cooperage
Jack Daniel also owns two cooperages and have a patent barrel-making process. They buy oak trees, cut them up and build their barrels from scratch. The newly-made barrels are toasted for 17 minutes at 260 degrees Celsius to get the creamy vanilla and caramel into the wood before getting charred for 25 seconds. The cooperages make about 2,000 barrels every day.
The Tasting of Jack Daniel’s Range
The beautiful glasses for Geek Flora
After reading so much about Jack Daniel, it is time for us to take you on the tasting journey for the night. We had a total of six expressions. They are Gentleman Jack, JD Single Barrel, JD No. 7, JD Gold No. 27, JD American Straight Rye, and JD Sinatra Select. Chris Fletcher, the assistant Head Distiller (pictured below) waxed lyrical about the distillery and its whiskey-making methods, which delighted us (and resulted in the long explanation above)!
Mr Chris Fletcher, Assistant Head Distiller at JD
It is now time to delve into the various JD and see how they are.
As the name suggests, this whiskey is a complete gentleman. Soft-spoken and gentle, the nose is full of melons, pears and bananas with just a hint of oak. The palate is creamy, fruity and soft. Elegant indeed. The finish is too short, but Chris mentioned that the distillery makes it this way as it is an entry whiskey for those who just started learning about whiskey.
JD Single Barrel
A little note about the single barrel: the distillery chooses their single barrels only from the top floor of specific warehouses within the distillery. As they build their warehouses on sites of different heights, the top floor of each warehouse differs from the other. As Jack Daniel depends on the weather for maturation, location of each warehouse plays a big part. The highest floor of each warehouse naturally gets the most heat and hence, considered as one of the best.
The JD Single Barrel is a colossal sugar babe. The nose boasts of molasses, vanilla, melons and Juicy Banana chewing gums. The palate is sweet with molasses, vanilla, melons and spice. It is oily and less creamy than Gentleman Jack. Hints of Juicy Banana chewing gums reappears behind the spice. The finish is medium with oak and ripe banana sweetness. Hints of sweet sandalwood appear with the second sip.
JD No. 7
JD No. 7 is well-known in this part of the world, and almost everyone had a JD No. 7 before. The nose is full of molasses, melon and light vanilla. The palate is creamy with vanilla and spice. We get hints of banana sweetness at the end. The finish is too short, with faint banana sweetness and a bit of oak.
JD Gold No. 27
The JD Gold No. 27 is an unusual expression. It matures four years in oak before transferring to a maple barrel for six months to a year. The nose boasts of bananas, vanilla and maple syrup. The palate is exceptionally creamy, with molasses, banana, maple and spice at the back of the palate. The finish is medium, creamy and slightly spicy.
JD American Straight Rye
The JD rye is a new expression launched in September 2017 that consists of 70% rye, 18% corn and 12% malted barley. The nose is full of banana cream, light spice and sweet sandalwood. The palate brings the sandalwood to the front, with banana cream, earthen spice and light mint at the back of the palate. The finish is short and spicy.
JD Sinatra Select
JD Sinatra Select
Finally, the JD Sinatra Select is an expression made to commemorate Sinatra’s 100 Years. He loved Jack Daniels and would promote the brand blatantly even though they never paid him a single cent for advertising. Therefore, this expression celebrates the man who loved his JD.
The nose is oaky, oily with vanilla in the background. The banana scent that is so distinctive JD is weaker too. The palate reveals dry oak, vanilla, bananas and hints of sandalwood. There is some spice also. The finish is medium, with sweet vanilla and oak. It gets slightly dry at the end.
A Wonderful Night Indeed
Chris signing the barrel after pouring in the bottles of Gentleman Jack
The tasting session ended with Chris pouring in a few bottles of Gentleman Jack into a barrel at Manhattan Bar to barrel age the whiskey further. As it is part of Manhattan’s barrel-aged program, we may have the chance to try the liquid after the maturation! We shall wait in anticipation.
We certainly enjoyed ourselves that evening and got to know Jack Daniel better as a brand and as a whiskey. We are apparently amazed by the different expressions and have since changed our minds about JD. Just like our friend, Brendan from The Single Cask, said, “So many years of prejudice against Jack Daniels, and it was washed away all in one night.” We feel the same way too!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Jd-No7-Canon-with-glass.jpg800800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-05-14 19:21:362018-05-14 19:21:36Date Night with Jack Daniel at Asia's Number One Bar
If you are looking forward to the whisky events that we have spoken of in our previous article on Glengoyne Distillery, listen up now! We have received news from the organisers and here are the three finalised events curated just for you!
Jonathan Scott, Business Development Director (Asia), will be here with us for all three events. He hails from Speyside, Scotland and has experiences working with other distilleries such as Jura and Dalmore before joining Ian Macleod Distillers to head both Glengoyne and Tamdhu as their Business Development Director in Asia.
Picture from AsiaEuro
He will be sharing his passion and knowledge for whisky with the participants at all three events. Jonathan will also answer any questions that you have regarding Glengoyne and Tamhdu, so if you have a burning question to ask, you must go to at least one of these events, if not more.
The White Rocket – Glengoyne Masterclass
The White Rocket is a cafe located at 5 Stanley Street that provides a fantastic food menu to go with the whisky of your choice. In this Glengoyne Masterclass, Jonathon brings you four different drams from the Glengoyne core range. Going for this Masterclass means you will get to taste the following Glengoyne expressions:
12 Years Old
15 Years Old
18 Years Old
Details of the Masterclass:
Date: Monday, 21 May 2018 Venue: The White Rocket (5 Stanley Street, Singapore 068724) Time: 7 pm Cost: $48 Reservations: The White Rocket Facebook Page or call 6221 0108 or email@example.com
Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar – Whisky Pairing
Join Jonathan Scott as he works hand-in-hand with the Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar to deliver a superb whisky pairing dinner for you at the newly-opened izakaya located at Riverside Point. We are sure that you will salivate just looking at the menu on offer that night.
Nama Kaki with whisky passion fruit sauce paired with Tamdhu 10 YO
Otoro with whisky miso sauce paired with Glengoyne 12 YO
Pan-fried Wagyu or Kurobuta with whisky truffle sauce paired with Glengoyne 15 YO
Fried whisky inaniwa udon paired with Glengoyne 18 YO
Details of the Whisky Pairing Session:
Date: Tuesday, 22 May 2018 Venue: The Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar (30 Merchant Road, Riverside Point #01-07, Singapore 058282) Time: 7 pm Cost: $128++ Reservations: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call/Whatsapp/SMS 96325338
The Wall SG – Glengoyne Whisky Masterclass
For those of you who know The Wall SG well, you will know that Jeremie is going to treat you right. Join Jonathan, Jeremie and Samantha as they bring you on a tasting journey through the premium range of Glengoyne expressions. Showing in this Masterclass will be the following:
Date: 23 May 2018 Venue: The Wall SG (76 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497) Time: 7 pm Cost: $68++ Reservation: The Wall SG Facebook Page or call 6225 7988 (Alternatively, drop Jeremie or Samantha a PM)
Do choose one of the events and head to the venue to enjoy a night of whisky and fun. Learning is always more pleasant when whisky is available! If you want to learn more about Glengoyne Distillery before going for any of the above events, do check out our article on the distillery here. Have fun!
The exciting. bi-yearly Food and Hotel Asia 2018 (FHA2018) and ProWine Asia 2018 (PWA2018) flashed past us last week. Held from Tuesday, 24 May to Friday 27 May 2018 at two locations – Singapore Expo and Suntec City, the event closed as a great success! Many exhibitors are going home happy with lots of information to digest while visitors to the event are now aware of the fantastic offers that the exhibitors can offer.
We were invited to both shows as part of the Press and enjoyed our time spent there. While there were some hiccups, such as not getting updated information on where to collect our passes and messing up the timing for specific interviews with esteemed guests, the rest of our time went well.
Tuesday, 24 May 2018
Geek Flora and Choc started our first day with a masterclass with Penderyn Distillery’s ambassador, Michael Wheeler in the afternoon.
Michael Wheeler – Brand Ambassador of Penderyn Distillery
Mike (as he calls himself) led us in the exploration of how casks will influence whisky during maturation. It was informational because Penderyn uses a different distillation method and a handful of different casks.
Penderyn Range (left to right) – Madeira, Sherrywood, Peated, Portwood
Their house style is ex-bourbon (using Buffalo Trace’s bourbon casks) before finishing in Madeira barriques. There are also sherry, port and peated expressions. After the masterclass, we head over to the Penderyn booth, where Mike and Dr Bianchi treated us to more excellent drams from the distillery.
There are two core ranges of whiskies from Penderyn Distillery, as well as cask strengths and their Iconic series. You can find out more about the whiskies here. If you must know, we think that the Sherrywood is quite similar to a cross between the Glendronach and the Macallan while the Portwood is comparable to Balvenie 12 Years Old.
Thursday, 26 May 2018
Geek Flora went back alone on Thursday. This time, she took time to explore Hall 7 to Hall 10 of Singapore Expo. Starting from Hall 7, she made her way around the exhibits to check out almost every one of the exhibitors there.
The entrance of Hall 7
The USA had an impressive number of booths at Hall 7, which prompted Flora to walk through the aisles. She struck gold very quickly there. Here’s her gold – American Bourbon and Rye from Golden, Colorado, United States.
State 38 Bourbon
Flora did not pass up the chance to try some bourbon and rye, and so, she got into action very quickly. The bourbon is made up of 60% corn, 10% rye, 10% wheat and 10% of heavily malted barley (read: charred). The result is a creamy bourbon with roasted coffee notes and dark chocolates. The rye is made up of 100% rye and boasts of sweet notes and slight dryness. It is not spicy, which makes it extra pleasant to drink. Both whiskies are perfect for chilling!
Just when Flora thought it was over, the exhibitor, Sean, brought something out from under the booth. The picture is below. Grasp! Impeach Vodka! Now, this is no ordinary vodka. The peach infusion is excellent, and it is quite possibly, the BEST flavoured vodka that Flora has ever tasted! There is also a story to the label. Study it carefully, and let Flora know what you think.
After the exciting discovery, Flora continued her walk and saw many amazing sights. She got excited when she saw the below, but alas, it was Scottish mutton and beef – not whisky! 🙁
Singapore Online Whisky and Spirits Retailer
The next booth to get Flora excited was Instadrinks, an online retailer in Singapore with their boss based in Dubai. She got to work again, trying out their spirits.
There are Indian blended whiskies and a Scotch grain whisky, but what impressed Flora was neither. An Indian brandy (VSOP) named Leopold II and a London Dry Gin infused with Lavender, named Old Cock Gin caught her attention instead.
Old Cock Gin
Just for the records, Flora wasn’t impressed with the name, but the LIQUID. The G&T that the bartender did for Flora with this particular London dry gin was fantastic!
More tastings ahead
Flora did more tastings after this, but they are mostly gins and vodka instead of whisky.
Firean Blended Scotch – Peated
Firean is a peated blended Scotch. Unique on its own, both Flora and Choc agreed that it was a fantastic drink on its own, on the rocks or in a cocktail (Choc tried this on Friday). It is balanced and approachable, so someone who is just going into peated whisky would like it.
Griffin Vodka and Half Crown Gin
The Griffin vodka is charcoal-filtered, so you can imagine just how easy and smooth it is. The liquid is elegant and soothes the throat with its oily and creamy mouthfeel. The Half Crown gins are one of the impressive spirits at this booth. The original gin has a heavy juniper taste, and the botanicals are fragrant. The Pink Grapefruit has a sweeter taste with the grapefruit flavours showing up early in the nose and palate. The Rhubarb and Ginger was a huge favourite for Flora. The sweet and slightly spicy taste of the gin infused amazingly well with the botanicals in the gin, making the nose and palate exceptionally well balanced.
Ever heard of Lapland vodka? Made with spring water all the way from Finland, you can find this vodka here in Singapore! Lapland vodka is a dangerous drink for the young ones though – it is strong and yet so easy to drink. Flora thinks that it is almost like drinking fresh spring water! If you prefer some flavoured vodka, check out the below picture. Flora’s favourite is the Espresso flavour. Chill the vodka, pour it in a glass, add cold chocolate milk, and you can have it for supper! It was excellent!
Lapland Flavoured Vodka
Flora managed to finish up Hall 6 before calling it a day. It was incredibly tiring to walk the halls, and with all the drinks she had, she was getting sleepy too.
Friday 27 April 2018
Flora started Friday early at 10.30 am with a Masterclass by Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). It was an introductory session to the world of whisk(e)y hosted by Lam Chi Mun, the Director at Diageo Bar Academy. Flora was glad to meet Chi Mun and have a chat with him. She also had a great time drinking some excellent whiskies from Diageo.
From Left: Oban 14, Singleton of Glen Ord 12, Johnnie Walker Blender Batch Bourbon, Bulleit Rye, Talisker 10 and Lagavulin 16.
If you do not know what WSET does, it is a wine and spirits school based in the U.K. They partner schools globally to provide proper and stringent education for the alcohol industry professionals so that we can all learn from the professionals in the bars. You can read more about them here.
Rounding up FHA2018 and PWA2018
Flora did not find any more whiskies or spirits for the rest of the day. She walked around the remaining halls, sampled lots of food, and drank some Taiwan beers. When Choc showed up in the afternoon, they tasted more food, before finally visiting the various booths one last time to wish the exhibitors well on their flights back home.
It was a meaningful three days at FHA2018 & PWA2018, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. We hope to visit FHA2020 again as Press, and hopefully, there will be even more whisky/whiskey exhibitors then!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ProWineAsia.jpg600800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-04-29 15:14:532018-04-29 15:18:53Food & Hotel Asia 2018 + ProWine Asia 2018
Have you heard that The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2 is coming up in early May? If you have not, please listen up! The upcoming event is a bi-annual whisky event where whisky lovers gather in one place to enjoy whiskies by the dram. This exciting experience is a follow-up to last year’s successful TMA Vol. 1, where offers of rare and old whiskies sent whisky lovers into a frenzy. Not to be pushed around, impressive modern bottles also strutted their stuff in TMA Vol. 1.
WhiskyGeeks attended TMA Vol. 1 held last year during November, and they impressed us with more than a couple of great whiskies. Some of the selections that we love were the Laphroaig 10-year-old Bonfanti Import (short label), the Rosebank 20-year-old Zenith Import, the Port Ellen 1982 Malts of Scotland, and the Miyagikyo 18-year-old Whisky Live Tokyo 2010.
TMA Vol. 2
So, when we know that TMA Vol 2 is coming up, we are ready for yet another challenge of old and rare whiskies! To prove that we are going to this event, here’s a picture of the tickets that we bought!
What to Expect at TMA Vol. 2
The news is out that there is a rare Springbank 12-year-old (Black Label) bottled by Cadenhead and a Macallan 1958 (gasps!) Campbell Hope & Kings 1970s White Metal Cap representing Campbeltown and Speyside respectively. There are also a couple of excellent Laphroiags and a Caol Ila 18-year-old by Sestante Import representing Islay. To top things off, there are a few bottles of old Karuizawas and the Hanyu Card Series waiting for you too!
For the less initiated whisky fans, do not be intimated! If you are not ready to drink these old whiskies yet (trust me, they are like self-poisons), you can find more accessible drams such as the Balvenie Single Barrel 15-year-old and a Bruichladdich ‘The Laddie Ten’ Second Edition. If you are feeling just a little adventurous, why not try an affordable closed distillery whisky – Littlemill? On offer at TMA Vol. 2 are three expressions for your picking. Personally, I love the expression bottled by The Perfect Dram!
If you have yet to buy tickets for the event, head over to Peatix and grab yours now. Early bird tickets are now sold out, so grab the standard tickets at $30 each before they are gone too! Each ticket gives you entry to TMA Vol. 2 and also includes a Glencairn tasting glass, a 2cl (20ml) glass sample container and a $10 Downtown Gallery voucher! Do note that you can bring additional sample bottles if you are looking to buy some whiskies home instead of drinking them all at the event.
We hope to see you there at The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2! If you happen to see us Geeks at the event, pop over to say hi!
Glendronach and BenRiach distilleries are no strangers to our shores, considering the vast number of fans for the Glendronach single casks releases. We attended a private tasting session at La Maison du Whisky on 23 March 2018, hosted by none other than Stewart Buchanan, the global brand ambassador of Glendronach, BenRiach and Glenglassaugh. Alongside Stewart were a few other vital people of the brands. We had the pleasure to meet Finbar Boyle, the General Manager of Southeast Asia, Vincent Pantow, the Area Manager in South East Asia as well as Shirley Sum, the Trade Marketing Manager of Travel Retail, APAC.
Geek Choc and I were the first to arrive for the event, and we were soon seated and served with water while we waited for the rest to show up. As LMDW scheduled the event at 6 pm, it was natural for some participants to be slightly late due to work. Anyway, the rest of the gang soon turned up, and Stewart wasted no time and started the event promptly.
The Event Proper
The initial tasting planned was to try five different whiskies. Three of the Glendronach’s core range – 12, 18 and 21, followed by two higher-end BenRiach – 30 and 35. The 30 Years Old was a peated whisky. Stewart, however, decided to add in a BenRiach 10, because he felt that it was essential for us to know how a “normal” BenRiach tastes like. We thought it was considerate of him, especially when some of the audiences have not tried a BenRiach before.
Glendronach distillery is one of the few fortunate distilleries that avoided a closure back in the 1900s. As a result, the distillery’s use of sherry casks did not stop, and today, it is one of the most sought-after sherry bombs in the industry. As many of Glendronach’s fans would say, “Nothing seems bad when you are sipping a Glendronach!”
For the geeky us, we were excited when Stewart started speaking of production! We understood from Stewart that the reason the Glendronach is rich and viscous is due to the way they run their production. The time that Glendronach seeps their barley, the hours of fermentation and even the way the casks are used all played a part to create the end product. Nonetheless, in Glendronach, casks are but a supplement to the rich spirit that they produce.
Glendronach 12 Years Old
Stewart started with the Glendronach 12 Years Old. A young whisky by the standard of what’s on offer, the 12 Years Old does not disappoint. With 80% oloroso casks and 20% PX casks, the 12 Years Old boasts of caramel, spice and barley sweetness. The long finish is a bonus too.
Glendronach 18 Years Old Allardice
The Glendronach 18 Years Old Allardice was up next. The word ‘Allardice’ simply referred to the founder James Allardice. The 18 Years Old is made of 100% oloroso casks which make the whisky drier and spicier. The nose also holds some leathery notes while the long finish is tannic and astringent.
Glendronach 21 Years Old Parliament
Moving on, we came to the Glendronach 21 Years Old Parliament. Now, the name Parliament has a special story behind it. It has nothing to do with the government or politics. It actually means a flock of crows! A group of crows is called a parliament. Why is there a reference to crows? According to Stewart, the men operating on the illicit stills of the past depended on the ravens to alert them of excisemen in the area. As they hid deep inside the forest, any disturbance by the excisemen would cause the crows to make noise. That became a signal to the illicit stills operators!
The Glendronach 21 Years Old is again, made up of 80% oloroso casks and 20% PX casks. The prolonged maturation allows the PX-influence to shine, making this expression sweeter and yet, rich and robust. The long finish is a balance of caramel sweetness and tannic dryness.
Stewart moved on to BenRiach soon enough. BenRiach sat 600 miles from Longmorn and was mothballed in 2002. Fortunately, Billy Walker bought the distillery and reopened it in 2004. Since then, the distillery has been growing rapidly and moving from glory to glory. Today, BenRiach has some of the richest Speyside spirits and excellent peated ranges that are highly sought-after.
BenRiach also used water with more minerals, which produces more esters during long fermentation. As a result, BenRiach is very fruity even at a young age. Interestingly, BenRiach also has one of the most extended middle cut in their spirit bank, which makes for a fascinating distillery tour as you get to taste the different new make at different cuts.
BenRiach 10 Years Old
The BenRiach 10 Years Old uses a combination of bourbon, virgin oak and sherry casks. Boasting notes of honey, butterscotch, vanilla, grapefruits and zesty citrus, it is perfect as a dessert whisky. The long finish helps to keep the fruitiness in the palate long after you swallow it. This is one whisky that is ideal as an introduction to a non-whisky drinker too!
BenRiach 30 Years Old Authenticus (Peated)
The BenRiach 30 Years Old Authenticus is a unique peated expression. Peated at 55 ppm, it is considered a heavily peated whisky. Now, a highland peated whisky is different from an Islay whisky, mainly because of the peat that was used. Highland peat does not produce the iodine element that you usually associated with Islay peat, making it less pungent and more fragrant. This expression is a combination of American and sherry hogsheads.
The 30 Years old boast some spice notes before a breathe of smoky peat comes thru beautifully. Sweetness than comes in before turning into dry, herbaceous notes. The finish is long and dry.
BenRiach 35 Years Old
The BenRiach 35 Years old is a sherried expression. Unlike whiskies using first-filled sherry butts, this expression used a refill sherry hogshead. Stewart shared that sherry hogsheads are hard to come by, and are usually heavily-used. Hence, the BenRiach 35 Years Old likely used one which has been reused several times before.
That probably explains the unusual notes that we get. The 35 years old is both sweet and grassy with medium spice that dissipates quickly. A yummlicious whisky for sure, and one that may confuse you just a little!
The event ended fairly quickly after that and Stewart did a round of autographs before bidding all of us good-bye. It was a great insight into Glendronach and BenRiach, and we look forward to more tasting sessions in the future!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Glasses.jpg800800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-03-25 15:17:562018-03-28 20:39:15Event: Private Tasting of Glendronach/BenRiach by Brown Forman
Bruichladdich has been showcasing their whiskies consistently in the recent months, and they are very successful indeed. Geek Flora had been to more than a few, and she was impressed with both the presentation and the whiskies (of course)! As Bruichladdich fans, we are delighted to see the consistent and robust interest coming from the whisky community.
Bruichladdich X Demochoco X The Wall SG
The most recent tasting that we went for was an exciting and informative one. Bruichladdich paired up with one of the best chocolatiers in Singapore – Jialiang from Demochoco, as well as the bespoke bar that we have featured in January – The Wall SG, to bring a heavenly pairing of hand-made chocolates and whiskies.
What is so unique about this, you may ask? It is common to pair chocolates with whiskies, isn’t it?
It is common to pair chocolates with whiskies, but have you tried chocolates that tasted like local-Singaporean food?! Demochoco painstakingly made chocolates that tasted like local Singaporean food (think laksa and salted-egg cereal prawns) to pair them with the excellent Bruichladdich whiskies. The Wall SG made it possible for the event by opening its doors. There was also an “extra service” – Jeremie, the whisky expert at The Wall SG, became a model for Bruichladdich merchandise!
We assured you that he was thrilled to be a model, even if he looked rather deep-in-thoughts in the picture! He was just thinking how to pose! Hahaha!
The Hosts for the night
The hosts for the night were Jialiang – Demochoco’s expert chocolatier and Chloe – Bruichladdich’s APAC Brand Ambassador. Here’s a beautiful picture of them chatting right before we started the event. Everyone knows Chloe by now. She is Islay-born and grows up on the island surrounding by whiskies! Jialiang is Singaporean and has immense knowledge about chocolates. He is a chocolate lover who decided to take one step further by making chocolates for fellow chocolate lovers to enjoy! His chocolates are really to die for, so if you have yet to taste it, we recommend you to try it!
History of Bruichladdich
We have repeated the history a couple of time previously, so we will not do it again. If you are keen to find out more, read our previous posts on the history, as well as the two tasting events here and here. We will just leave this picture here for you to admire. Take note of the picture cards in the middle row of the bar shelf! These are the precious pictures from the distillery!
Chocolates and Whisky
Now, let’s move on to the pairing event. Bruichladdich brought four expressions for the event. The pairing is as follow:
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie with Laksa Truffle
Islay Barley 2010 with Salted Egg & Cereal Truffle
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley with Oko Caribe 72% Truffle
Octomore 7.1 with Black Sesame Truffle
Let’s dive into the tasting notes!
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie X Laksa Truffle
Details of Bruichladdich Classic Laddie ABV: 50% Age Statement: NAS
We are sure that you know how laksa tastes like, but the laksa truffle is better than all that coconut-flavoured soup! When we first popped the chocolate in the mouth, all we got was delicious dark chocolate. Once you chewed through the top-portion, you get all the laksa flavours, down to the umami taste of the shrimps and the slight spiciness!
We sipped the Classic Laddie when our mouth was still full of the laksa flavours, and whoa, we get an intense maltiness from the Classic Laddie! The sea salt becomes prominent as well, leading to a much longer finish for the whisky. Interestingly, the “finish” of the laksa truffle lengthened as well and the spicy shrimp flavour simply shined through! The oil in the whisky helps to enhance the flavours of the laksa truffle, and we felt that we just had a bowl of piping hot laksa for dinner!
Islay Barley 2010 X Salted Egg & Cereal Truffle
Details of Islay Barley 2010 ABV: 50% Age Statement: 6 years old
Ever tried chocolates that tasted exactly like salted egg cereal prawns? That was what we had. The flavours that exploded in the mouth was full of that crisp, flavourful salted egg cereal prawns that we get from an excellent zichar stall in Singapore! That was just so exotic!
The Islay Barley 2010 was full of salty caramel, toasty cereals and malted barley. It is also slightly more spicy than the Classic Laddie in the palate, which made a perfect pairing with the salted egg & cereal truffle! The salted notes meshed together beautifully and brought out the spice that hid under the layers of the whisky. The maltiness of the whisky combined with the cereals of the chocolate, creating a toasty cereal note that lingers in the finish. Just when we thought that it was all over, a fresh burst of sweetness in the back of the throat gave us a pleasant surprise!
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley X Oko Caribe 72% Truffle
Details of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley ABV: 50% Age Statement: NAS
The Oko Caribe 72% truffle was a hot favourite among many who loves dark chocolate during the event. Made from medium dark roast cacao beans, the chocolate presents itself with a creamy caramel sweetness that is not overly sweet. The soft texture adds to the appeal.
If you do not know how Port Charlotte tastes like, it is full of fruitiness and sweetness combined with smoke. Peated at 40ppm, it is a heavily peated whisky but showcases all the lovely character of what Bruichladdich represents. The chocolate gave a fantastic enhancement to the enjoyment of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley (PCSB)! The sweetness of the chocolate mixed well with the sweetness of the PCSB and showcased the fruitiness of the whisky in the grandest manner possible. The most extraordinary experience was the aromatic smoke that puffed out right after we swallowed the whisky. Omg! That fragrant smoke is so phenomenal that we could hardly believe it. The finish is incredible, all sweet and smoky at the same time!
Octomore 7.1 X Black Sesame Truffle
Details of Octomore 7.1 ABV: 59.5% PPM: 208 Age Statement: 5 years old
The black sesame truffle consists of both Japanese and Taiwan black sesame, and the outer layer is a kinako powder from Japan. It is known as blonde chocolates and trust us when we tell you that this chocolate is heavenly. If you like the sesame taste or love anything sesame, this is the chocolate for you.
The Octomore 7.1 is somewhat medicinal and contains very light smoke on the nose. When we paired the whisky with the chocolate, it first enhanced the smoke from the whisky in an ideal way – let it all out! The saltiness of the whisky then came through the palate beautifully and continued with a pleasant spice. The finish was sweet and then tannic, leading to a dry and astringent finish. The sweetness of the chocolate found a balance with the Octomore 7.1, making it just a tad too yummy to swallow!
End of the event
The event ended shortly soon after the fourth whisky pairing and both Chloe and Jialiang went around to chat with the participants. It was a jolly good evening, and all of us had fun! It was yet another successful event by Bruichladdich, and we applaud their efforts as always. Jialiang is a perfectly good spot and sold us some delicious chocolates at a fantastic price too! Last but not least, we enjoyed the funny banter that Jeremie and the rest of the wonderful people at The Wall SG provided to us! Haha…it was an entertaining night and one that we hope to revisit soon!
If you have missed out on this event, head over to The Wall SG to try all the whiskies from Bruichladdich and you will see why we are all praise for this event! If you want to reenact the pairing session, order the chocolates from Demochoco and head down to The Wall SG for the drams!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Laddie-Tasting-small.jpg600800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-02-20 20:34:002018-02-21 20:05:18Whisky Event: Bruichladdich X Demochoc0
Bruichladdich held a media tasting for the upcoming Octomore 8 Series launch at The Writing Club on 1 February 2018. Chloe Wood, the Asia-Pacific Brand Ambassador, was the presenter for the session. Bruichladdich invited me to represent WhiskyGeeks, and I cannot express my gleefulness to have the chance to drink the Octomore Series 8 again!
I arrived early, and our Bruichladdich host treated me to a generous pour of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley! The Bruichladdich team is top-notched in their hospitality, as always! As we waited for the rest of the media to arrive, I chatted with the team, took pictures and enjoyed my dram!
The Tasting Session in Action
A beautiful line-up of the Octomore 8 Masterclass Series
Chloe started the ball rolling shortly after 2.30pm when everyone had arrived. She warned me that the presentation was largely similar to what she did for the previous Bruichladdich tasting event, but I still found the presentation enjoyable. I also managed to pick up information about Bruichladdich which I missed out the last time.
Chloe waxing lyrical about Bruichladdich
One of the juicy bits of information which I had left untouched in my previous article was the barley malting process. A malting house at Inverness malts all of Bruichladdich’s barley. They have a dedicated area cornered off just for Bruichladdich and malted the barley with a commitment that is distinctly Bruichladdich! The facility even added the peat to Port Charlotte and Octomore malting manually to control the ppm of the barley.
Another interesting fact is the quality casks that Bruichladdich uses for all their maturing whiskies. Chloe mentioned that they are not cheap to come by and that is part of the reason why the distillery needs a lot of funds to maintain production. Of course, I missed out entirely on Octomore Farm where it grows the Octomore barley for some of the expressions as well as the water source. Bruichladdich draws water from a spring on Islay itself. The distillery used this water source for distilling and watering down of the whisky (when needed).
Octomore 8 Masterclass
The Octomore 8 Masterclass is Bruichladdich’s Head distiller, Adam Hannett’s first set of Octomore. Crafted entirely by him, the Eights is the first series to be launched together. The Eights are all eight years old whiskies except for one, which you will understand why once we reveal the reason.
Before we dive straight into the Octomore 8 one by one, please allow us to show you a video of the Octomore Brand.
Picture from Bruichladdich
The Octomore 8.1 is the forerunner in the Eight series. Distilled in 2008 using the 2007 barley harvest, the distillery peated it at 167ppm. 100% matured in first fill ex-bourbon American oak casks for its full term, this eight years old stayed on Islay all its life before getting bottled at 59.3%. The distillery released 42,000 bottles globally.
On the nose, I found sweet, floral, gentle peat. There are hints of pineapples and pears. The palate is oily with warm spice (black pepper), vanilla cream and fruity sweetness! The finish is long with vanilla lingering to the end. With water, the peat appears stronger on the nose and pushes the sweetness to the background. Nonetheless, the palate remains, with vanilla cream and sweet fruits leading the way. The water shortens the finish slightly, but the vanilla stays.
Picture from Bruichladdich
Octomore 8.2 is an interesting one. Intended for the Global Travel Retail, this bottle is the hardest to come by unless you travel during the release period. Distilled in 2008 from the 2007 barley harvest, the distillery peated it at 167ppm as well. Adam vatted six years old liquids from second-fill ex-Sauternes casks, French Mourvedres and Austrian sweet wine casks before putting the vatted liquid into first-filled Italian ex-Amarone casks for two more years. This eight years old expression also stayed on Islay on its life before getting bottled it at 58.4% abv. The distillery released 36,000 bottles globally.
On the nose, I get sweet candy, red wine, dates and cinnamon spice. The rich, robust whisky is oily on the palate that is reminiscent of sweet dessert wine and cinnamon. The mixture is pleasantly exotic and balanced. The finish is long and spicy. The Octomore 8.2 eludes all the sweetness from the wine casks and is fantastic to drink.
Picture from Bruichladdich
Octomore 8.3 is the monster baby of the lot. It is a tribute to Islay and uses only barley from the Octomore Farm’s 2010 harvest. It was a bad harvest that year, and Octomore Farm’s owner, James Brown, faced heavy losses from it. However, the barley produced terrific results during the malting process! A staggering 309.1 ppm reading came back from the malting facility, making the new-make the heaviest-peated whisky in the world! Distilled in 2011, the expression boasts of one farm, one field and one vintage and showcases the barley influence. 56% of the liquid spent five years in ex-bourbon American casks, while the remaining 44% spent five years in ex-Pauillac, Ventoux, Rhone and Burgundy European oak casks. The expression stayed five years on Islay before getting bottled at a whopping 61.2% abv! Due to the small barley harvest, the distillery released only 18,000 bottles globally.
The nose is full of aromatic peat, lemon citrus zest, sweet wine, pears and apples. The palate is oily with full lemony citrus and sweet fruits before the smoke comes in beautifully. The finish is long with light smoke and sea salt towards the end. What an epic dram for sure!
Picture from Bruichladdich
The last bottle of the Eight series is nothing short of amazing. It is the Gamechanger. Distilled in 2009 from the 2008 harvest, the distillery peated it at 170ppm. 20% of the liquid comes from liquid matured in first fill virgin oak casks with medium toast for eight years. The remaining 80% aged in first fill American casks for eight years before getting a finish in second fill virgin oak casks from Tonnellerie Radoux cooperage in France. If you are wondering what is the second fill virgin oak cask, it just means that the distillery used the virgin oak casks for the second time. Virgin oak casks are not easy to come by, and the price is hefty as well! The expression matured fully on Islay before getting bottled at 58.7% abv. The distillery released only 12,000 bottles globally.
On the nose, I get the oak influence immediately. There is an oakiness to the liquid, coupled with a citrus, fruity sweetness and a hint of smoke. The palate is oaky and dry, with sweet pear, apples and some pleasant spice. Hints of smoke linger in the background without overshadowing the sweetness. The finish is long, sweet and peaty!
Sweet Ending to the Tasting Session
Cheese from The Cheese Ark
Handmade Chocolates from DemoChoc
Chloe ended her presentation after introducing Octomore 8.4 but it was not the end of the session. No, the Bruichladdich team bought cheese from The Cheese Ark and chocolate from Demochoc to share! We get to eat tasty cheese and pair it with our Octomore, as well as satisfy our sweet tooth with hand-made chocolates!
Further Details of the Launch
Fans of Octomore are waiting anxiously for the series to launch in Singapore, but unfortunately, we still do not have the launch date yet. It is rumoured to be launched sometime in April but it is not firmed up, and the launch can happen earlier! Rest assured that we will keep everyone updated once we know the launch date!
In the meanwhile, prepare yourself for the mad rush when the series launches! It is going to be massive fun! Stay tuned for more folks!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Octomore-Series-8-small.jpg600800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-02-02 18:00:132018-02-02 18:19:44Bruichladdich Media Launch - Octomore Series 8