Whisky Events

Whisky Events – Glengoyne & Tamdhu

 

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
  • Cask Strength

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 thewhiterocketsg@gmail.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.

  1. Nama Kaki with whisky passion fruit sauce paired with Tamdhu 10 YO
  2. Otoro with whisky miso sauce paired with Glengoyne 12 YO
  3. Pan-fried Wagyu or Kurobuta with whisky truffle sauce paired with Glengoyne 15 YO
  4. 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 andrewkj.tan@yahoo.com.sg 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:

  • 15 Years Old
  • 18 Years Old
  • 21 Years Old
  • Cask Strength

Feel free to stay on after the event to enjoy more whiskies at this bespoke whisky bar!

Details of the Masterclass:

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) 

Enjoy yourselves!

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!

 

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Food & Hotel Asia 2018 + ProWine Asia 2018

 

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

State 38 Bourbon

 

Bourbon

 

Rye

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.

Impeach Vodka

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.

Instadrinks

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.

Leopold II

 

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.

Lapland Vodka

Lapland Vodka

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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Whisky Event: The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2

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!

You can find the list of drams here.

How to Buy your Tickets?

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!

 

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Event: Private Tasting of Glendronach/BenRiach by Brown Forman

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

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.

BenRiach

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!

Event Ending

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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Whisky Event: Bruichladdich X Demochoc0

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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Bruichladdich Media Launch – Octomore Series 8

Octomore 8 Masterclass

 

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.

Octomore 8.1

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.

Octomore 8.2

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.

Octomore 8.3

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!

Octomore 8.4

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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Bruichladdich Black Art Series Tasting Event

Picture Credits: Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich is starting 2018 fast and furious, with many events lined up with various bars. The first event of the year for Singapore started with a Black Art tasting at The Single Cask. Chloe Wood, Bruichladdich’s Asia Pacific Brand Ambassador, led the session. It was a sell-out session, and the crowd at TSC was excited to see Chloe in person. The brand manager of Bruichladdich, Rachel Tan, was also in attendance, and she even brought along home-made butter cakes drizzled with Port Charlotte icing! There was food as well, so it was indeed a little party that we were happy to be a part of.

Starting the session with some history

Attentive participants listening to Chloe

A tasting session could not proceed without a bit of history to set the tone right, and Chloe did not disappoint as she waxed lyrical about Bruichladdich’s history. It was a somewhat stormy history, with struggles and closures that were all too real. Started in 1881, the Harvey brothers built Bruichladdich and resolved to run the distillery using state-of-the-art technology at that time. Spirits ran pure and floral from their stills, and Bruichladdich whisky proved that Islay could make unpeated whiskies.

Bruichladdich Distillery in 1881 (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

Troubles soon befell the distillery. A fire broke out in 1934, and William Harvey passed away in 1936. With William gone, the distillery fell into the hands of various entities before getting mothballed in 1994 by Jim Beam.

The distillery saw new hope when Englishmen Mark Reyneir and Simon Coughlin sought to buy the distillery in 2000. Chloe shared an intriguing story in which Mark and Simon were told to “scramp off” by the men who were taking care of the distillery when they tried to gain access to Bruichladdich to take a look. Mark and Simon persisted and finally managed to buy the distillery with 8,000 maturing casks for £6m. 50 investors were involved in the purchase.

A New Hope

With Mark and Simon on the helm, Bruichladdich took a turn for the better. In 2001, the duo decided that they will use purely Scottish barley for their distillation. The most significant achievement, however, was the decision to mature all their whiskies within the distillery’s compound!

Bruichladdich Distillery (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

 

Maturing casks at Bruichladdich Distillery (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

Things ran smoothly until 2011 when the distillery fell into a financial crunch. The traditional methods of distillation and storage of the casks within the distillery had drained the finances. Mark and Simon struggled to pay the passionate workers and resolved to bring in more funds for the distillery.

Saviour in the form of Remy Cointreau

Remy Cointreau came in with the funds of £58.5m in 2012 and saved the distillery from getting mothballed. With the money, Bruichladdich could once again function with maximum capacity and even increased their production output from 750,000 litres to 1,200,000 – 1,500,000 litres from 2013 to 2017.

Remy left the running of the distillery to the knowledgeable men and women on Islay and provided the support whenever needed. With a team of dedicated whisky makers and a management that is willing to support them, the distillery is scaling for greater heights in the coming years. In fact, Bruichladdich is looking into a possibility of starting their own malting facility in future!

The Whisky of the Night

From left: Bruichladdich 1990, Black Art 4.1, Black Art 5.1

With the intriguing history behind us, Chloe took us through the flights of the three whiskies in front of us. First up was the Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old, followed by the Black Art 4.1 and finally the Black Art 5.1.

Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

 

The Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old has a unique history that spans three generations of master distillers. Adam Hannett created the expression using casks brought in 2001. There were two paths to this liquid.

First Path:
– Refill American Bourbon cask, 17 years
– Fine French Claret, Bordeaux Grand Cru Cask, five years
– Spanish Sherry, Pedro Ximenez from Fernando de Castilla, four years

Second Path:
– Refill Spanish Sherry butt, 18 years
– Spanish Sherry, Oloroso from Fernando de Castilla, seven years

Adam then married the casks together to create the Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old.

Tasting notes of Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

The dark amber of this expression promises a sherry bomb and makes us fall in love with this sherried whisky even before we tried it. The nose is fragrant with dark fruits and chocolate. Raisins, sultanas, dates and apricots float together with hints of vanilla. The palate follows with chocolate cream, raisins and dates. Layered underneath is a soft and light fruitiness that comes from the spirit. The smooth and oily mouthfeel makes this whisky elegant and very palatable. The finish is long with sweet sherry and chocolate. The mouthfeel gets drier towards the end.

Black Art 4.1

Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1

The Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1  is Jim McEwan’s last release of the Black Art before retiring. There is a story behind the Dark Arts..ahem, I mean Black Art. Back in the days when Adam was learning the craft from Jim, he asked Jim what was in some of the casks that were brought in from the outside after smelling an other-worldly perfume in the warehouse. Jim smiled and said, “Ah, well, that’s a secret never to be divulged…that’s where the magic lies.” Adam paused and then replied, “Jim, this isn’t distilling that you do, it’s alchemy – the dark arts…”

And that, my dear readers, was how the Black Art was born. Jim created the first Black Art in 2009. Black Art 2.1 in 2011, 3.1 in 2012, and Black Art 4.1 in 2013.

Nobody except the master distiller knows what went into the Black Arts – and they keep the secret forever. Even Mark and Simon are not let in on the secret. The bottle was blackened, and coated with mystical signs. It is a success because the Black Arts are so different from the other Bruichladdich series.

Tasting Notes of Black Art 4.1

Black Art 4.1 is another 1990 vintage with the liquids spending at least 23 years old in their respective casks. Bottled at the natural strength of 49.2% abv, it is a non-chill filtered and colouring free whisky.

The nose is fragrant and robust. Raisins, sultanas, red wine float gently together. A pleasant, warm spice tingles in the background. The palate is oily and soft, with a slight tingle of spice on the lips. Sweet caramel, raisins and cream coats the palate beautifully. The finish is long, sweet and a little dry.

Black Art 5.1

Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1

The Black Art 5.1 is Adam’s very first Black Art creation. It causes him many sleepless nights, constant worry and self-doubt. However, his belief in his teacher and mentor, Jim, and his knowledge gleaned from his long years of learning the craft, spurred him forward to create Black Art 5.1.

When Jim gave Adam his recipe for the Black Art 5.1, Adam dutifully took and ignored it. Adam wanted to repay his mentor and friend by creating a Black Art that is worthy of the knowledge that he learned from the legendary master distiller. His immersed respect for Jim demands for nothing short of that.

His hard work paid off, and the Black Art 5.1 is a hit with many fans in the world. The elegant and soft expression won the hearts of many, and it was indeed, a tribute paid to both Adam and Jim.

Tasting Notes of Black Art 5.1

The amber colour of 5.1 reminds us fondly of the 4.1. The nose is full of sweet fruits – mango, pineapples and apricots – and warm spice tingles the nose with some spike. It is, however, light and elegant with no unpleasant bite. The palate is consistent with the fruitiness and yet coupled with oak influences of vanilla, honey and soft cinnamon spice. The finish is long and fruity.

After-hours Chat

The tasting session ended soon after the Black Art 5.1, but the party was not over yet. With Port Charlotte cakes and jolly laughter, the party continued with Chloe chatting with various participants. We also stole Chloe’s time for a short chat, and I took the chance to get a picture with her too!

It was an enjoyable session, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Oh, and we got ourselves a fantastic Bruichladdich polo tee each!! It was reasonably priced at $25, so we just grabbed it while it last! The next WhiskyLive is going to have a lot of Bruichladdich “ambassadors” wannabes walking around for sure! Hahaha…

If you want to know more about Bruichladdich and their ranges of whiskies, click here and here to find out more!

Stay tuned as there will be more coming in February!

 

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Bruichladdich x The Cheese Ark Tasting Event @ LMDW

 

Whisky enthusiasts are familiar with chocolate and cheese pairing. However, have you thought of pairing whisky with cheese? La Maison du Whisky is hosting an extraordinary event at the end of January featuring a unique combination of Bruichladdich’s whiskies and The Cheese Ark’s artisanal cheese.

What is the event about?

This event will showcase an exceptional whisky and cheese pairing using the core expressions of Bruichladdich’s Islay whiskies, and old, authentic cheese made from the villages in Europe. Chloe Wood, Bruichladdich’s Asia Pacific brand ambassador, who is also an Islay native, will join hands with the passionate founder of The Cheese Ark, Syu Ai Ming to bring you on an explorative journey of both unexpected and explosive flavours.

The tasting will include the following whiskies from Bruichladdich:

  1. Bruichladdich Classic Laddie (Scottish Barley)
  2. Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010
  3. Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
  4. Octomore 10 (2nd Edition)

Complete details of the event

Date: 31 January 2018
Time: 7 pm to 9 pm
Venue: La Maison du Whisky
Address: 80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-10
Price per ticket: $65

With exceptional whiskies and good, old cheese curated just for you; this event is bound to thrill you like never before! Book your seat here and look forward to an enjoyable evening!

 

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The Single Cask Event of the Year: THE LAST CHANCE

From left to right: TSC Linkwood 1984, TSC Glenrothes 19 YO 58.5%, TSC Glenrothes 19 YO 58%, TSC Bowmore #31932, TSC Bowmore #31931

2017 is coming to a close, and The Single Cask had similarly organised its last tasting event of the year. If you had not managed to grab a ticket for the sell-out event on 8 December 2017, you had missed out on the five beautiful expressions that we tasted.

Introducing the Bottles

Brendan, the whisky expert of The Single Cask, had chosen five crown jewels of the bar to share with all of us at the event. The Single Cask bottled every expression.

The five bottles we tasted were:

Linkwood 1984 (26 Years Old) – Bottled 2010
Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry #L1097 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017
Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry #T497 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017
Bowmore 2001 #31932 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016
Bowmore 2001 #31931 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

Why are these bottles so special? Well, if you consider that they are either sold out or having less than five bottles left at the bar, you would want to hurry down to the bar to taste them by the dram before they are gone FOREVER! Before you rush off to The Single Cask, here’s a little background for the five bottles.

Linkwood 1984 (26 Years Old) – Bottled 2010

TSC Linkwood 1984 was bottled back in 2010 when TSC was not born yet. Back in those days, the bar was operating under the name of “Malt Vault” at Ann Siang Hill. It is also the reason why the shape of the bottle is different from the rest. The round glass represented the legacy of Malt Vault. The Linkwood 1984 is one of the first bottlings by The Single Cask. In the seven years that have passed since 2010, The Single Cask has created 37 expressions. That is not a small feat to be sure!

Linkwood 1984 has a clean citrus nose. Raw honey and herbaceous fruits are also prominent with some oakiness. That citrus note follows in the palate with a tingling sensation on the tongue. Light, fresh honey notes with warm, gentle spice are evident too. The finish is medium with light citrus, oaky notes. There is some bitterness toward the end, likely due to the wood.

It is an easy to drink whisky that is balanced and clean. It is somewhat singular but one which is suitable as an introduction to new whisky drinkers.

Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry #L1097 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017

The Single Cask bottled the Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry in 2017. The yield of 85 bottles was because The Single Cask bought only one-fifth of the whole cask. Glenrothes is well-known for its sherry influence, and we had high expectations for this expression.

TSC Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry has a woody, sweet nose. Dark raisins, white peppery spice and sour sulphuric notes are in the forefront. A slightly unpleasant sourish odour appears after a while, reminding us of many sweaty bodies squeezed in a poorly ventilated lift. The sulphuric notes follow in the palate, turning it slightly sourish. The saving grace comes from the dark raisins and hints of roasted almond. Some woodiness can be detected in the back of the tongue too. The finish is relatively long with bits of roasted almonds at the end of the throat. It is also astringent and bitter.

It is an unusual presentation of a Glenrothes. While it may not be the most balanced dram of Glenrothes we had tasted, it is worth trying for its uniqueness.

Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry #T497 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017

This expression of the Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry is not a sister cask of the previous expression. It is an older expression by six months. The Single Cask bottled this version in 2017 as well. The Dark Sherry has a yield of 86 bottles and is a sherry bomb! As we had tried this before, we know that this whisky needs a lot of time to awaken to its complete profile. We recommend that you air this dram for at least 30 minutes before enjoying it.

The Single Cask Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry has a sherried, sweet nose with raisins and spice in the background. After airing the whisky for about 20 minutes, the spice mellowed, and the nose becomes sweeter. The sherry influence increases as you air it out. The palate is full of raisins, delicious red wine and gentle spice. Some dustiness coats the tongue. After airing, the taste gets sweeter with the raisins taking the forefront. The dustiness and spice take on a mellow note with the red wine coating the palate beautifully. The finish is medium to long with some dryness that is similar to a red wine finish. It is also astringent. After airing, the sweetness becomes prominent, and the dryness recedes slightly. It becomes herbaceous and bitter (something like an 85% dark chocolate).

This version of the Glenrothes is much more balanced and complex as compared to the previous one. However, it can get a little one-dimensional if you waited too long. It is a challenging dram if you want to catch all its notes within the 30 minutes time frame.

Bowmore 2001 #31932 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

Bowmore is a brand that is well-known to all. It has its ups and downs as a distillery. The 60s, 70s, and 80s were terrific times at the distillery as it was performing at its peak. The 90s were less desirable due to the changing of owners to Suntory. The quality of the liquid produced during the 90s was somewhat lacking. Nonetheless, the distillery bounced back in the 2000s, and this bottle here is from one of its 2001 casks.

The Bowmore 2001 #31932 is one of the two sister casks that The Single Cask bought in 2016. Maturing side by side, these two casks were expected to be similar. However, they proved to be very much different!

#31932 has a light, gentle peat nose, burnt grass, sweet pineapples and hints of bananas. Mellow spice lingers in the background. The light peat follows through in the palate, creating a grassy, citrus, fresh tropical fruit mouthfeel with no spice. The finish is medium-long with sweet pineapples and a lingering light peat at the back of the throat.

It is a balanced expression that is gentle and yet complex enough for a hearty drink.

Bowmore 2001 #31931 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

The last bottle of the night is the Bowmore 2001 #31931. The sister cask of the previous bottle, it proved to be as different as it can be. While the cask #31932 is grassy, #31931 is the mighter of the two.

The nose is meaty like smoky bacon. There is a stronger white pepper spice in the forefront and hints of sweet citrus and sea salt at the back. The smoky citrus (lemon & orange) follows through in the palate, with some hints of sea salt and white peppery spice. The finish is long with the smokiness lingering for a long time.

The Bowmore 2001 #31931 is a lovely, balanced whisky that is complex and yet easy to drink. We can easily guess why Brendan had chosen this expression to be the last bottle of the night. He admitted that this is one of his favourite bottles and he had bought bottle #2 for his collection! WhiskyGeeks has a bottle of the #31931 at home too!

What to look forward to in the remaining month of 2017

While the last tasting event of the year might be over for The Single Cask, there are still two exciting events to look forward to in December 2017!

Whisky hoarders, ahem, we mean, whisky lovers, can look forward to the Christmas Sale (YAY!) at The Single Cask on 15 December, from 5 pm onwards! Expect discounts to go up to 60% off, so be sure to mark your calendar! Moreover, all whisky flights at the bar will be at half price for the night! We will see you there!

The other exciting event is The Single Cask Free Flow Night!! Who can say no to free flow? Happening on 16 December, it will start from 8 pm to midnight. Be sure to go there early if you want to have a seat! 🙂

 

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WhiskyFair TAKAO Debrief – Day Two

We couldn’t resist putting the WhiskyFair TAKAO banner again here because we loved the way it looked. It reflected the sophisticated affair that we attended very well, and we wanted to remind everyone again just how intriguing it had been. If you have missed the article for Day One, click here.

Beginning of Day Two

Day Two began in a frenzy because we were rushing to queue for our Littlemill 1988 and yet having the need to pack up our belongings because we were heading home that evening. The fact that we ran out of Taiwan dollars made things worse as we needed to find a money changer. However, we did manage to complete our tasks in time and reached the fairgrounds at 9.45 am, 15 minutes earlier than the opening hours.

The Anxiety of Queuing for a Limited Release Bottle

To our dismay, there were about 40 people ahead of us. We began to pray that we could still get our hands on Littlemill 1988. We managed to get into the fairgrounds at 10.15 am, and we rushed to the queue! As the line moved sluggishly, we hoped against hope that everyone in front of us was buying the Springbank 1994! Haha…The helpful staff at the counter began to call out the number of Littlemill 1988 bottles left. “Littlemill left 30 bottles…Littlemill left 20 bottles…” The anxiety was great indeed, especially when everyone in the queue began to count if they were still able to get it. When we were the first in the queue, the staff called out, “Littlemill left nine bottles…”

We breathed a sigh of relief because we knew that we could get our hands on the precious bottle after all! When we paid, the staff cheerfully told us, “You are lucky! You got the last 8th bottle!” And so, here it is!

Littlemill 1988

If you wondered why we did not get the Springbank as well, it was because we were only allowed to buy either the Littlemill or the Springbank. Oh, and they did not let Geek Choc buy the other bottle because Geek Flora purchased the Littlemill and it was apparent that we were together. So yeah, we missed that one! We probably need a better strategy next year! Hahaha…

Cuttlefish and three free drinks

After all that excitement, we were both in need of a drink. Right beside the annual bottle sales counter, there was a store selling dried cuttlefish and scallops. We stopped by for some tasting and ended up buying two packages. The generous storeowner gave us a free bag and then offered us a drink, on the house! We would be rude to say no, so we made our choices.

The exhibitor enjoyed talking to us so much that he ended up giving us one extra dram – The Ledaig 11 Years Old! These bottles were good stuff, and seriously, we felt somewhat embarrassed for having so many free drams. Nonetheless, the exhibitor waved away our concerns and told us how happy he was to meet so many foreign whisky lovers who appreciate his offerings.

Exciting Bottles at ARen Trading Co. Ltd

As we had promised Michael Hsieh, the owner of ARen Trading Co. Ltd (and co-organizer of WhiskyFair TAKAO) to visit him at his booth again, we headed over soon after our chat with the generous exhibitor. Michael had kept a bottle of AMAZING stuff just for us. Guess what it was? Let us give you a clue: it was the older sister of the Whisky Bible 2015 Best Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray!

Woohoo! It is the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009! The first in the batch and the older sister of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, which had won the Best Whisky of the Year in the Whisky Bible 2015. Once the bottle was out, everyone was in a frenzy to get the last bits of the liquid. We bought 40 ml of that last precious liquid, and another visitor bought 20 ml. The last guy who came along only managed to secure the final 15 ml! He was so elated even to achieve that last 15 ml that he did a little dance right at the booth!

More interesting bottles up ahead

As the crowd dispersed after the bottle kill of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009, we had the chance to check out the rest of the bottle offerings. Geek Flora spied upon the Ardbeg Uigeadail – The Ultimate (first edition) and a TWA bottling of Littlemill 1989. We had to buy both because we wanted to taste them!

As we were going to head to the airport later, we had to buy samples instead of drinking it on the spot. It was a good idea as well since we would be able to review these bottles properly at our leisure. Michael, upon understanding that we were leaving for the airport soon, treated us to a little bit of the Littlemill 1989! “10ml would be fine for you!” he said and poured the whisky into one of our Glencairn glass. The nose was full of floral notes, and hints of sweet, creamy vanilla were apparent. These followed through in the palate and the finish. Notes of fragrant pears and green apples dominated the palate with the floral and vanilla lingering in the back. The finish was long and clean. We went to whisky heaven again after this little taste. It was so good!

The Drunken Master X Pin Xin Wine Shop

Next, we visited Pin Xin Wine Shop. Zhuang Meng is the founder of Pin Xin, and he works closely with Chunfeng from The Drunken Master. They have a range of independent bottling named The Octave. We were attracted by the beautiful labels on their bottles and wanted to find out more about them.

The range of whiskies from PX and TDM (Picture was taken from TDM FB page)

Unfortunately, we were not able to take the whole range of bottles during the crowded fair, so we took a picture of the entire range from The Drunken Master Facebook page. The Drunken Master launched these expressions one day after the fair, and we are proud to say that we managed to try some of them before they launched!

Geek Choc tried the Laphroaig 20 years old, but Geek Flora decided to pass and instead bought a sample of the Huntly home. The Huntly, as we understood from Zhuang Meng, was from The Balvenie. They did not allow the independent bottlers to name the distillery. Hence they had to use the location of the distillery instead.

Time to say Goodbye

After our chat with Zhuang Meng, we had to go. After checking out of the hotel, we went for a quick lunch before heading back to the fair to say bid farewell to everyone. It was a fantastic event and one which we enjoyed tremendously! We understood that WhiskyFair TAKAO 2018 would take place at Kaohsiung on 1st and 2nd December 2018! Next year, we are hoping to plan a trip together with some of our members, and we can all go there together! Until next year, folks! Slainte!

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