Whisky Events

WhiskyFair TAKAO Debrief – Day One

Geek Choc buying whisky samples at Omar Distillery Booth

We had such a wild time in Taiwan that we were quite reluctant to come home after a week. It has been such a fruitful trip, and we are thankful to everyone who had given us their time in Taiwan. With the excitement and tiredness from travelling behind us, it is time for us to give our field report to our faithful members who are eagerly awaiting our updates on WhiskyFair TAKAO.

A little background about WhiskyFair TAKAO

WhiskyFair TAKAO is the first ever whisky event to be held in Kaohsiung. It marks the start of a beautiful annual event for Asian whisky lovers to come together for a celebration. Held on 2nd and 3rd December 2017, it was the brainchild of Mr Li Chunfeng, owner of Drunken Master Whisky Bar and Mr Michael Hsieh, owner of ARen Trading Co. Ltd, in partnership with The Whisky Agency.  Many others are involved in organising this fair, but Mr Li and Mr Hsieh are the principal collaborators.
This event is also an investment into independent bottlers across Taiwan and the world. All of the exhibitors invited are independent bottlers or whisky bars which stock independent bottles. The exhibitors come mainly from Taiwan and Japan, but there are also a few independent bottlers from the Western world such as WM Cadenhead and Whiskybase.

What we think about the Event

We were impressed with the organisation of the fair considering that it was the first ever event in Kaohsiung. Despite the inexperience of the organisers, the whisky fair was well thought-out. The venue was at 85 Sky Tower, the tallest building in Kaohsiung. The exhibition overlooked the Kaohsiung port, and while visibility was near zero due to thick fog (air pollution), it was still a charming place. The fairground was well laid out, with plenty of space for visitors to stop by the different booths to buy samples of the whiskies on offer.

Whisky Transaction at WhiskyFair TAKAO

The mode of transaction is different for WhiskyFair TAKAO as compared to Whisky Live Singapore. In this event, the entrance ticket is a low 450NTD (SGD$22.50), and you get a Glencairn glass FOC. You will have to purchase coupons to exchange them for whisky samples at the fair itself. Of course, when we pay for the whiskies, the exhibitors brought out their big guns for the visitors to try!

WhiskyFair TAKAO (Day One)

We started the fair innocently enough – we avoided the crowds and only went in at 11 am even though the event began at 10 am. As we were not buying the first-day annual bottles (Bowmore 25 years old + Caol Ila 10 years old), we had the luxury of entering later. The first scene that greeted us at the venue was this.
Neat, artistically-placed tables stood side by side with the exhibitors eagerly engaging the different visitors who came into the fairgrounds. We were overwhelmed by the friendliness of these exhibitors! When they understood that we are bloggers from Singapore, they piled us with drinks – FOC! Their generosity touched us deeply.

Asian Palate Association

We got to taste three different bottles at the first booth. Interestingly, the owner of Asian Palate Association chooses only whiskies which are sherry-based and what he termed as “clean”. He clarified that it meant that he tried to select whiskies that are not sulphuric or tannic. We heard that he is looking for a distributor in Singapore, so if you are interested, contact us, and we can link you up!

Omar Distillery – Taiwan

Next, we headed to Omar where we quickly purchased our lychee whisky bottles! If you followed our Facebook post, you would have known that we visited Omar distillery and were disappointed that the lychee whisky was sold out at the distillery. Miracles happened sometimes, and we found them at WhiskyFair TAKAO! They were the last few bottles too! Yay!
We were so excited, and the exhibitors were rather amused by us. They made us more excited when they offer us a free pour of the lychee whisky! Now, how generous can they be?! We also tried their peated whisky and were genuinely impressed by it.

Omar Peated Cask Strength

The peat is aromatic and the bourbon cask influence that it was in enhanced the floral and fruitiness of the whisky. We will be doing a post or two on Omar, so we will not dwell too much here. 🙂

Swiss Alpine Whisky

After the first two booths, we went straight to whisky heaven. There were just too many to try, and we had to keep up with all the exhibitors looking to pour their whiskies into our Glencairn glasses. Walking deep into the middle of the fair, we found something that we had not try for years – Swiss Whisky!

Santis Malt

If you have not heard about Santis Malt, it is time you try them! We first tasted Santis Malt back in 2010, when we travelled to Switzerland and found a bottle in a tiny supermarket in Interlaken. We were not impressed back then, but we ought to say that the whisky has improved a lot! Santis Malt is matured in old beer casks and usually have a unique finish. To preserve our livers, we tried their most sought-after winter edition – Snow White and another bottle from The Whisky Agency only.

Snow White No. 5 is the latest edition in their winter release. Slated for their 2017 release, the bottles are going to be available in Taiwan only sometime in late January or even February. It is matured in old beer casks and then finished in APRICOT liquor casks! Woot! It was one of the most amazing whiskies we had ever tasted. The apricot aroma engulfed the nose and followed through on the palate and the finish. Wow…it was simply amazing! It was too bad that they were not selling it at the fair.

The Santis Malt from The Whisky Agency was another exciting bottle. Matured in a sherry cask, it had a different character when compared to the standard Santis Malt. Again, the bottle was sold out so we couldn’t bring it home. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic journey with Santis Malt, and we got to admit that they have improved tremendously since the last time we had it in Switzerland.

Rare Whiskies from Japan

When we talk whisky, how can we not think about Japan and their unique offerings? Whiskyfair TAKAO had some distinctive Japanese exhibitors, such as Toru Suzuki-san from The Mash Tun Tokyo. The bar owners in Japan have many rare whiskies, including Port Ellen and Karuizawa. We even had our first Karuizawa, recommended by Suzuki-san!

Since it was our first time tasting Karuizawa, we had to document that sweet moment with a photo!

Geek Flora and Geek Choc with our Karuizawa sample

Taiwan Independent Bottlers

We did not forget the independent bottlers from Taiwan of course. They are the main reasons why WhiskyFair TAKAO could take off. We visited Spirits Salon and Aqua Vitae amongst others. By this time, we were ready to surrender to our alcohol intake, so we took out our trusty sample bottles and bought some samples to bring home instead.

Geek Flora has a special love for Blair Athol, and we had a taste of it. Allen Chen is the founder of Aqua Vitae. He is a passionate whisky lover and entrepreneur from Taiwan. His company is newly set up and currently have only four expressions. We are sure that there will be more whisky expressions from him next year!

Drunken Master Whisky Bar / Independent Bottler

Finally, we are dedicating the last portion of Day One for Drunken Master Whisky Bar – the organiser of WhiskyFair TAKAO. Drunken Master is both a whisky bar and an independent bottler. The owner, Mr Chunfeng, is also the chairman of Formosa Whisky Society. He did the labels for his bottles on his own and managed much of the operation at his bar too.
For WhiskyFair TAKAO, he brought casks for four individual bottles. There is a Bowmore 25 years old, a Caol Ila 10 years old, a Littlemill 1988 and a Springbank 1994. While we do not have the picture for the Springbank 1994, here are the other three bottles!

Besides these bottles, we also bought samples of Drunken Master’s other bottles. Some of you might have seen the first two bottles below. The other two are not yet released as they are bottles for Formosa Whisky Society. We will post our reviews of these bottles once we have tasted them.

End of Day One

It was a fruitful day at WhiskyFair TAKAO Day One! It was a roller coaster journey as we walked through the exhibition hall. We will continue with Day Two in another post for this is already getting too long. Click here for the next one and thank you for reading all the way here!

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Whisky Live Singapore 2017 Debrief

It has been a week since Whisky Live Singapore 2017 came to a close. The excitement has died down, and everyone is happy with their soul filled with precious liquid gold. Now is the time to look back and share our feelings about the event.

What we think about the event

We believe that Whisky Live Singapore 2017 was a great success! The event was well organised, and every exhibitor had their space that allowed visitors to stand around as they sampled the whiskies on offer. The VIP / Collectors’ room was tastefully decorated with natural light to make the whole area bright and cheerful. All of us were comfortable and did not feel the space constraints despite the smaller venue this year. While we had to walk to the masterclasses and the pop-up store, and yes, even climbed a short flight of stairs, it was all acceptable. (We saw some negative comments about the staircase on Whisky Live Singapore Facebook page). The venue is a rustic and charming place, well worthy of the whisky we drank.

The VIP Experience (Day One)

We took the VIP ticket for the first day, where we had a great variety of whiskies. Check out some of the pictures below!

These bottles were incredible! While we did not sample a lot of the whiskies on offer, we picked some of the most popular bottles which were “trending” quickly through the VIP ticket holders.

The Bruichladdich (Octomore) Masterclass

We could not go to all the Masterclasses, so we picked the one that we wanted to go the most. The Bruichladdich Masterclass was the most popular one at Whisky Live – its tickets sold out pretty quickly! The presenter was none other than the newly arrived Brand Ambassador Chloe Wood! Chloe is from Islay, Scotland, and has been part of the Brand Academy at Bruichladdich before coming over to Singapore. While we were sad to say goodbye to Richard (the former brand ambassador), we are delighted to meet Chloe and share Singapore with her!

Chloe presenting Bruichladdich to us at the Masterclass

The Octomore masterclass showcased four different Octomore in Series 8. There were Octomore 8.1 to 8.4. The surprise was the 8.4 because it was hand-drawn from the cask and brought to Singapore by Chloe! The expression was not released yet when we had a taste of it, so technically, we were the first people (about 20 of us) to taste it!

These fellows are top-notched whiskies – every bottle has its character and charm. However, many of us shared the same sentiments when we tried to rank these bottles. We came to a consensus that the ranking is Octomore 8.3, 8.4, 8.2 and 8.1! While this does not mean that 8.1 is not good, it just means that 8.3 has performed better than our highest expectations. We will encourage you to try an Octomore, especially for someone who has not tried.

Octomore has a reputation for being heavily peated, and thus, many whisky drinkers who are not peat heads avoided it. Geek Flora avoided it at first too, until she had her first taste of it. The rest was history!

Whisky Live Cocktail and Food Street

We went for a walk and had some delicious food at the Whisky Live Cocktail and Food Street after the Bruichladdich masterclass. It was crowded and rainy, but people were happy to share tables, and we had a plate of shockingly good pineapple rice and basil leaves fries. We were quite done in by then because the Octomores have high alcohol content. After food, we went back to the VIP room where we had one last whisky before leaving the event.

Scapa 2005 – 12 Years Old

The Standard Ticket Experience (Day Two)

As we wanted to experience both as a VIP ticket and standard ticket holder, we bought a regular ticket for day two. Sunday proved to be less crowded, and we had access to the first floor of the venue only. We had to stop by the Bruichladdich booth first because we wanted so much to try their fabulous whiskies again. Chloe was there at the booth, and so was Brendan, the whisky expert from The Single Cask!

This time, we had the chance to taste some fantastic Octomore 7 Series! We just could not resist the lure of Octomores! There was also a Port Charlotte – Scottish Barley that we had!

The ever-friendly people at Bruichladdich also gave us some premium whiskies that they had hidden under the table. These whiskies are only for people who asked nicely! However, we couldn’t get pictures of them. Anyhow, we tried a Bruichladdich Black Art 5 and the Octomore 7.4!

Oh, we got to chew on the roasted barley that made Octomore, Port Charlotte and the Classic Laddie too! Yums! We love the Octomore barley! Beautifully roasted, the barley was smoked just right for the whisky distillation process.

The Glendronachs and the Glenglassaugh

Moving on, we had our fair share of both the Glendronachs and the Glenglassaugh. Personally, we think that the Glenglassaugh are worth exploring – we tasted some reasonably decent drams! As for the Glendronachs, we already feel that they are great to start with.

Geek Flora thinks that the Evolution is the best out of the three Glenglassaugh that we tasted. It matured in an ex-Tennesse cask, something that was different from the rest. Geek Choc believes that the Revival is excellent though, the colour made us think sherry of course! As for the Torfa, we felt that the peat could be a little more aromatic since it is a peated whisky.

The Independent Bottlers

By now, we knew we had to stop soon, but we couldn’t resist visiting both Gordon and Macphail as well as Sansibar! At G&M, we had some fantastic Bunnahabhain that was only an eight years old, one that is heavily peated. Ohhh…we know that Bunnahabhain does not do peated, so this was something good!

We were quite disappointed with the Macallan though, it felt flat, and the whisky did not impress us the way the other IB Macallan did. As for the Ardmore, we thought it was pretty alright, but the heavily peated Bunnahabhain overshadowed it.

The Sansibar gang was another level yet again. We had everything except for the Sansibar Laphroaig 18 Years Old because it was all gone. We only get to nose the bottle, and we wept silent tears in our hearts that we did not manage to taste it.

Event Wrap Up

After all the whiskies we had, the team had to head home to rest as we were flying off to Taiwan that every night! It was an adventure to be told in another post as we share our experience in WhiskyFair TAKAO. In the meanwhile, we hope you had lived vicariously through our pictures for Whisky Live Singapore 2017. Until the next year! Slainte!

 

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Event: Glenfiddich Launches Experimental Series in Asia Pacific

 

The long-awaited release of Glenfiddich Experimental Series landed on 9 November 2017 in Asia Pacific. This series works to define Glenfiddich as an innovative distillery that is not afraid to push the boundary to create new and exciting variants in the industry.  The series started with two bottles – the IPA experiment and the Project XX (pronounced as twenty). Both bottles will be available through Travel Retail at less than $100 per bottle.

Exclusive Invite to Glenfiddich Launch

Our friends at William Grant & Sons warmly invited us to the launch party on 10 November 2017 at Funan SG Showsuite. The party was already in full swing when we arrived. After sorting out our passes for the night, we headed straight to the bar to check out the whiskies.

We found our targets sitting at the bar, waiting. Both the IPA Experiment and Project XX were available at the bar. You can choose to have it neat, on the rocks or as a cocktail. We decided to go slow, and hence we tried the Project XX on the rocks.

Project XX – on the rocks

Yumm…the sweet aroma wafted up immediately. Summer fruits, fresh pears, and red apples burst onto the nose. There were notes of a creamy vanilla cupcake with some oak sweetness, a hint of liquorice and gentle spice. A sip of the whisky proved that the ice did not dilute the taste at all. Candy floss sweetness coated our palate with a creamy vanilla oakiness before opening up to almonds, cinnamon spice and hints of tannin. The long-lasting finish with the lingering sweet oakiness completes the journey with Project XX.

What a beautiful dram. It may not be the most complex, but it certainly wins our hearts with its deep and mellow characteristic.

Official Launch

The voice of Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, the Glenfiddich Regional Brand Ambassador in Asia Pacific, captured our attention as he tried his best to gather all of us to the front of the venue where he waited to introduce the two whiskies officially with his partner, Danial Goh, the godfather of beer in Singapore. As everyone made their way to the front, we, too, went all the way to the front so that we could capture their handsome faces adequately. (Teehee!)

Matthew waxed lyrical about the two whiskies and also introduced the beer godfather of Singapore to everyone. He is the regional brand ambassador for Glenfiddich in Asia Pacific and is a well-known figure in the region. Matt has an extensive knowledge of all things whiskies as he honed his skills in the whisky industry for the past decade. His impressive resume also won him the title of the Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the year 2017 from Icons of Whisky awards.

Daniel Goh is a pioneer in the Singapore craft beer scene. He is fondly known as the godfather of beer in Singapore because he started the revolution of selling craft beers out of a hawker stall in 2011. Known as The Good Beer Company, Daniel helps to expand the craft beer scene in Singapore.  In 2013, he co-founded Smith Street Taps, which went on to win the “Best Beer Bar” award at The Bar Awards Singapore 2017. In fact, the bar is also named one of Asia’s best beer bar by CNN and voted as one of the most fabulous bar in the world in Condé Nast Traveler.

Before the guests were split up for the whisky tasting session, WhiskyGeeks managed to grab both Matthew and Daniel for a photo together. You know they are fun people to hang out with just by looking at their pictures, isn’t it?

Whisky Tasting Session

When we finally headed up to level 2 of the show suite for our tasting session, we discovered something else. They were serving beer! Why? The answer should be quite obvious. The IPA experiment was matured in beer cask! Daniel started the ball rolling by introducing the IPA Experiment to us. He explained that IPA is popular in Europe and Glenfiddich wanted to try something entirely different in these series of innovative experiments. Therefore, they chose the IPA. Glenfiddich seasoned the cask by the IPA before pouring the whisky into the cask for maturation. Guess what happened to the beer? Nope, the distillery did not waste it. They bottled it and sold it at one of the festivals in Speyside!

Both the IPA (beer) and the IPA Experiment (whisky) were available for us to compare the aromas and flavours. The beer was fresh, floral and sweet. The taste was slightly bitter and refreshing. The whisky took on a whole new level of characteristics. Green apples, fresh pears and intense floral notes mixed with herbs burst through the nose. Then you get the Glenfiddich characteristics of fruits and sweet vanilla oak. The palate followed the nose with robust citrus notes and soft, sweet vanilla. A hint of fresh hops hung in the background. The long-lasting finish of delicious fruits and subtle green hops ends the journey with the IPA Experiment.

Matthew then shared the history of Project XX – how it came about. 20 brand ambassadors across the world went to the Glenfiddich warehouse, and each of them was given a choice to choose one cask. None of them knew what was going on, and they treated it like a game. What happened afterwards was magical – their Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, married those 20 casks in a vat and Project XX was born!

After sampling Project XX, Matthew gave us a surprise! He let us try HIS CASK! The one that he picked for Project XX. It was a cask strength whisky, and that, my readers, was pure delight. The sweet and floral nose coupled with the balanced palate was more than what we could have asked for!

More Surprises

Before we left the party, the team from Glenfiddich gave us another surprise. There was a media kit prepared for us, and the gifts were indeed generous. Just take a look at that!

It was indeed a fantastic party filled with fun, laughter and delicious whiskies. We are blown by the generosity of William Grant & Sons and look forward to grabbing some bottles from the Travel Retail at Changi Airport soon!

Whisky Event: Isle of Arran Whisky Masterclass

Quaich Bar invited us to their cosy Waterfront Plaza flagship store for an Isle of Arran Distillers Whisky Masterclass last Thursday to meet managing director, Mr Euan Mitchell, of Arran distillery. A couple of other bar owners and whisky experts also attended the event.

The subject of the event is the range of exceptional Arran whiskies which Euan wanted to showcase, as well as for Euan to share more about the distillery with us. WhiskyGeeks is honoured to take the front seat this time, and we got the chance to get up close and personal with Euan.

An Interesting Event Kick-Off

Quaich bar’s owners, Khoon Hui and Joyce, kicked off the event with some tasty chocolate milk. Oh, wait, milk? Well, it wasn’t technically chocolate milk, but it was cream liqueur mixed with Arran Malt. If you guess that it was the Arran Gold, you got it! Here’s a little picture of this beautiful baby.

When Euan arrived on the scene, all of us were ready to take on more yummy stuff that he wanted to introduce.

The event started officially with an introduction to the distillery, the production process and of course, a little history about them. As the only distillery on the Isle of Arran, the privately-owned distillery has a lot of room to grow.

Euan Mitchell is the managing director of Isle of Arran Distillers. Their Master Distiller, James MacTaggart, recently celebrated his ten anniversary with the company. As an independent company, there are no red tapes around any decisions made, and things typically progress pretty quickly around the distillery.

The Liquid Gold from the Isle of Arran Distillery

After the short introduction, Euan and Khoon Hui produced the liquid that we were all eagerly waiting for.

We tasted six different whiskies that afternoon beside the Arran Gold cream liqueur. The whiskies were the 10-year-old, 14-year-old, 18-year-old, Machrie Moor Cask Strength, Amarone Cask Finish and the Sauternes Cask Finish. The 10, 14 and 18-year-old are part of their core range, while the rest are limited releases from the distillery.

Every bottle is exquisite in their way, and each offers something to the whisky drinker. The 10-year-old is perfect for the beginner; someone who wants to try. The 14-year-old has a little more to offer and is an ideal dram for a beginner who wants to upgrade. The 18-years-old is more complex and likely favoured by the more seasoned drinkers.

As for the limited releases, the Amarone and Sauternes Cask Finish are part of Arran’s Cask Finishes series. There is a third bottle with a port cask finish, but we did not try that one. The Machrie Moor is perhaps the unique whisky out of the lot. It is the only peated whisky in the Arran range, and Arran releases one batch each year. The peat is controlled at 20 ppm (parts per million), making the whisky gently peated. The added flavour enhances the sweet citrusy spice that is Arran and makes the whisky fantastic. The highly abv also heightens the aroma and characteristics of the whisky.

Exciting News ahead for our Readers

Euan patiently explained each whisky and their ideas behind each bottle. He also answered many questions, including one involving new releases! According to Euan, the world has something fresh to look out for in 2018 – Arran 21-year-old! Besides that, there is a chance that Arran may consider a single cask bottling, especially for Quaich Bar Singapore!

Euan also shared that Arran has a more significant market in Taiwan and Japan and has some new single cask releases there. As the WhiskyGeeks team is heading to Taiwan soon for Whisky Fair Takao, we are going to search for some of those single cask releases! If there is a chance for us to try them, we will share our results, promise!

As the event draws to a close, we ask Euan for a photograph together, and he happily agreed to it.

We hope that Euan will be back to our sunny island soon and we look forward to meeting him again!

 

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Event: Launching Macallan Edition No. 3

WhiskyGeeks attended the media launch of Macallan Edition No. 3 last Monday, 16 October at the Luxe Museum. If you have seen the pictures on their Facebook page, you would know that it was a grand event indeed!

The Greeting

The above picture was what greeted us when we walked in. The cask that you see on the left was one of the casks that they used in the Macallan distillery. Macallan shipped to Singapore specially for the event. We were ushered into the main hall behind the frontage to a bar where the staff offered us a cocktail.

We were feeling a little cheeky that night, so we asked for a glass of neat Macallan instead. The lovely staff told us that the good stuff was in the last room. We were surprised at the mention of rooms, and upon further queries, we understood that Macallan has split up the Luxe Museum to various “rooms” where different flavours of Macallan Edition No. 3 were displayed.

The Journey in the land of Macallan Edition No. 3

The setup was a series of “rooms” where guests explored at their leisure. The relaxing atmosphere created here was a luxury that many guests enjoyed. The stroll through the flower garden, the woodlands of oak casks and the modern chic living room filled with precious liquids from Macallan was splendid. Staff members were on hand to serve small bites to the guests. There was a station for ice cream too! We tasted the blood orange ice cream – delicious!

The journey ended in an inner room where they hid the real gems. Staff at the bar were dishing out glasses of Macallan 12 Years Fine Oak to all patrons, and we finally jumped into the action. Sipping the palatable liquid, we waited patiently for the launch to start officially.

Launching the Macallan Edition No. 3

Macallan had the honours of inviting Roja Dove, the Master Perfumer who collaborates with Master Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno, to Singapore for the launch of Macallan Edition No. 3. We also had to pleasure to hear him explain why and how they created Macallan Edition No. 3. This particular edition showcases the nose more than the others because Macallan wanted to impress upon whisky drinkers that the nose is just as crucial as the palate and finish. Macallan wanted to be different by creating this lovely whisky.

After Macallan officially launched the whisky, all the guest (that’s us!) got to taste it! The beautiful notes of floral and citrus waft up the nose immediately. The chocolate came after with vanilla sweetness in the background. Lovely! The palate was elegant and slightly dry. Caramel and vanilla mixed to complement each other without overpowering sweetness. It was somewhat typical Macallan. The finish was reasonably long, with the taste of vanilla cupcakes lingering for quite a while.

Meeting Roja Dove

We managed to meet Roja Dove while heading to the counter for a second glass of Macallan No. 3. The jovial fellow greeted us warmly and patiently answered all our questions. In return, he asked how we like the Macallan Edition No. 3. Well, let’s just say that he wasn’t the happiest man after hearing it! That’s because we told him that we love the nose of the whisky, but the palate seems a little flat. While he was not too happy about our comments, Roja was a perfect professional. We spoke a little longer before we left him to be surrounded by others. It was only much later that we realised we forgot to ask for a picture together!

Rounding Up

It was a dazzling night for us, but it was time to call it quits before all of us get too tipsy to head home. While we were a little disappointed with the liquid, we had an enjoyable evening. On a side note, we got to say that the Macallan 12 Years Fine Oak is a fantastic dram! If you have not tried it, you should.

 

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Whisky is brewing at Manhattan Bar!

We are back with Edition 3 of What’s brewing at Manhattan Bar and we are sure that most of you are excited to know how the whisky has evolved. After sharing our updates for the past two weeks, we are now ready to share Version 3!

Sazerac Rye Whisky

Before we move on to the tasting notes and changes on version 3, let’s recap the previous posts. When the experiment first started, we tried the Sazerac rye whisky as it is and after it was aged in the barrel for six days and we compared the difference in their characteristics. Then last week, we updated the changes in the whisky after 13 days in the barrel. Today, we are bringing you version no. 3. How has the whisky change after 19 days?

The whisky after 19 days

After ageing the whisky in the barrel for almost three weeks now, the whisky has changed its characteristics again. The cane sugar, floral and herbaceous notes come back to the whisky. It is now richer and more elegant as compared to version 2 at 13 days. The palate is fuller in flavours, with cinnamon cough syrup with sherry. It almost tastes like a sherry rye whisky now. Spice tingle at the corner of the mouth to complement the sweet and herbaceous notes perfectly. The finish is also fairly long now with sweet cinnamon forming the aftertaste.

Conclusion

The main difference between version 3 and version 2 is the richer, more intense and elegant flavours found in the whisky. Now it tastes like whisky again with its slightly more complex profile and the reasonably long finish.

 

Something is brewing at Manhattan Bar! What’s that?

Our members got first-hand information on what’s brewing at Manhattan Bar last Wednesday. WhiskyGeeks is partnering both Whisky Butler and Manhattan Bar to bring about new whisky flavours and new barrel-aged cocktails. After last week’s introduction, we are back this week with a short update.

Sazerac Rye Whisky

To recap what happened last week, Manhattan Bar has placed the Sazerac Rye whisky into a barrel as an experiment of creating new whisky flavours. We tasted the original and a version of it after 6 days last week. Now, we are tasting it after 13 days.

The whisky after 13 days

In comparison to the original and the previous 6 days version, the 13 days version is much easier to drink. The sweetness of burnt maple syrup and caramel reduce significantly on the nose, and the acetone is almost gone. The whisky is now milder to drink, and the strong flavours on the palate are beginning to disperse, bringing caramel cola and hints of strawberries. It becomes refreshing instead of overwhelmingly sweet. The finish becomes even shorter than before. Sweet cola frizz, slightly minty but also tannic, astringent and slightly numbing on the tongue, similar to the feeling of eating GP-prescribed lozenges.

Conclusion

The barrel has imparted different flavours and characteristics to the whisky while taking away some of the whisky’s strong flavours. Overall, the experiment is going well as we see improvements in the whisky’s overall profile. In 13 days, the whisky is already milder in taste and an easier drink as compared to the original.

New Event: Whisky Fair Takao 2017

Taiwan is slowly but surely getting the limelight in the world of whisky. With Kalavan winning awards and Omar growing in popularity, more people outside of the country are starting to notice Taiwanese whiskies. WhiskyGeeks is, therefore, not surprised that whisky events are also beginning to pop up in Taiwan.

Introducing WhiskyFair Takao 2017

WhiskyFair Takao 2017 is taking place in Kaohsiung this year on 2nd and 3rd December. Held at 85 Sky Tower, it promises to awe visitors with premier whiskies, masterclasses and a good view of the harbour. This event is interesting because of its focus on independent and cask strength bottlings. Imagine a world where you can sample independent bottlings of whiskies from lost distilleries and those that are not easily attainable.

In this event, visitors can expect to taste drams from official bottlings (OB), independent bottlers (IB) and even rare vintages collections from private collectors. There is no better way to get your thirst cured!

What to Expect

The exhibitors’ list for Whisky Fair Takao is impressive. Besides the 39 distilleries and IB exhibitors, there are also 13 bars and whisky shops. Famous IB such as Cadenhead’s, Douglas Laing and Gordon & MacPhail will be there. Even a whisky distillery from Switzerland will be exhibiting! With such an extensive list of exhibitors, visitors to the Whisky Fair Takao are not going to be disappointed. WhiskyGeeks is definitely excited to attend this event.

Annual Bottlings

Whisky Fair Takao is also offering visitors the chance to buy annual bottlings. A restriction of one bottle per customer is imposed so you can be sure that it is good stuff. There will be bottles from Cadenhead’s, The Whisky Agency, and special bottlings from Whisky Fair Takao. For interest sake, there is a Littlemill to be snatched!

Masterclasses

Masterclasses may be overrated, but there is one that we should go at Whisky Fair Takao. The exploration of Old and Rare Whiskies by Angus MacRaild should not be missed considering the offer on hand. A tasting of 6 rare bottles from the 1970s is on the line! At a cost of 4800 NTD (estimated SGD$223), you get 6 drams of rare vintage whiskies. Is that worthwhile? You decide. For us, we have decided to go!

Important dates

Event date: 2nd & 3rd December 2017
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Venue: 85 Sky Tower, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Tips for Visitors to Whisky Fair Takao

If you are heading to Whisky Fair Takao, you may want to consider staying directly at 85 Sky Tower as it is convenient. You don’t have to worry about getting drunk too! Besides, room prices are surprisingly reasonable for this 5-stars hotel! We got a great deal at SGD$129/night for a deluxe room, so why not indulge yourself and treat it as a well-deserved year-end vacation?

WhiskyGeeks will love to meet fellow Singaporeans at Whisky Fair Takao. If you are heading there, give us a shout out and we can meet at the show for a few drams and photographs together!

 

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More about Whisky Live Singapore

Whisky Live Singapore is happening in about a month’s time! Have you bought your tickets yet?

Organised by La Maison du Whisky (LMDW), it is a yearly sold-out event where whisky aficionados get to taste and appreciate premier whiskies at a relatively low cost. This year, Whisky Live is trying out something different with an immersive and expansive experience for all.

What we love about Whisky Live is not just the passion for good whisky, but also the dedication that goes behind the event every year. “We are constantly looking into ways to alleviate the experience (of Whisky Live)”, said Mr Mathieu Musnier, General Manager at LMDW. “Whisky and spirits appreciation is an art.”

In line with his vision, Whisky Live Singapore 2017 has a theme of “Rare, Share, Pair”. The different approach is refreshing as the event brings not just whisky but also the taste of other fine spirits such as gin, tequila, rum and much more in the form of cocktails. There are also different cuisines available at the event.

In addition, there will be an art gallery that showcases whisky and spirit art through the years. Expect to be awed by label designs, marketing art and bottle craft. The exhibition is featuring art pieces from well-known artists such as Stranger & Strangers, Neisson and Velier.

What to Expect at Whisky Live Singapore

The tickets for Whisky Live are almost sold out, so for those who have yet to buy the tickets, hurry over to Peatix to purchase your tickets! For those who have gotten the tickets, congratulations! You are going to enjoy yourselves!

Expect premier whiskies from various distilleries such as Old Pulteney, Balbair and Bruichladdich and for those with VIP tickets, hit up the rare whiskies in the VIP room. We heard that there are going to be some vintage whiskies from Old Pulteney (hint: a 25 years old), so be sure to visit their booth! If you have bought your tickets to the Masterclasses, expect the unexpected as you are going to be blown away by both the information as well as the spirits prepared just for you.

Oh, and do check out the Nikka Masterclass. The Nikka Coffey Malt has just won the Best Japanese Whisky in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018. We understand that Nikka is now experimenting with a Coffey Gin and Coffey Vodka and will explain more in their Masterclass.

Whisky Live Singapore Important Dates

Dates: 25th and 26th November 2017.
Time: Doors open from 1.30pm. VIP ticket holders can enter one hour earlier to explore the tasting area.
Venue: 7213 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 239007

More about Whisky Live

Whisky Live aims to bring together the finest whiskies and spirits, great food and a range of education and entertainment to the participants around the world. Organised annually, this event offers the rare opportunity to sample whiskies from around the world as well as to discover exciting new spirits and distilleries. At the same time, it is the perfect chance to mingle with the experts in the field – producers, distillers and ambassadors.

More about La Maison du Whisky Singapore

La Maison du Whisky is a family-owned company founded in 1956 in the French capital. It is the specialist of rare whiskies, niche spirits, importation and distribution in France. La Maison du Whisky came onboard Singapore in 2006, bringing with them the passion and love for fine spirits and the distribution of rare and collectible products.

 

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What’s brewing at Manhatten Bar? Find out here!

We have been telling everyone that something is brewing at Manhatten Bar for a few days now and we are sure many of you are curious about our experiment! Well, let us reveal what’s brewing today!

Whisky Butler embarked on an exciting journey with Manhatten Bar recently to find out how the profile of whisky changes when matured whisky is put back into a cask for an enhanced finish. WhiskyGeeks goes along for the ride as we know that something amazing is going to come out of this experiment!

We discovered that there are 2 different experiments as of now. First, there is the Sazerac whisky, an American Rye whisky that is perfect for making the first American Cocktail – Sazerac Cocktail! Instead of making a cocktail, Manhatten Bar put this in a cask that held port wine for a week! Next, we have an interesting combination of Highwest OMG Pure Rye Whisky, DOM Benedictine and Mancino Rosso Vermouth that was married in a cask. As it is not pure whisky, the Manhatten Bar has named it La Louisiane cocktail.

How did they go? Let’s find out!

Sazerac Rye Whisky

Before we go into details about the whisky, let us share a little more about the cask.

The Cask

The cask is a fresh American oak that was soaked with a 10-year-old port wine for a week to allow the port wine to penetrate and soak the wood properly. Next, the Sazerac rye whisky is poured into the cask and will sit inside for 4 weeks. The cask has a volume of 13.3 litres and is specially made for Manhatten Bar in a small cooperage located in Minnesota, USA.

The whisky after 6 days

WhiskyGeeks get to try the whisky after it was in the cask for 6 days. In comparison to the original rye whisky, we discovered subtle changes! The rye whisky was sweet in nature with some acetone on the nose. It has an oily mouthfeel, maple syrup/caramel palate and is slightly spicy. After 6 days, the nose became sweeter, with sherry influence that converts into caramel and takes on a slight wood spice. The palate is more pronounced with the changes. Sherry influence is strong and reduces the original spice to nothing. It becomes herbaceous and slightly grassy instead.

What to Expect

The whisky will stay in the cask for 4 weeks and after that, it will be bottled for Whisky Butler. We will update our members every week on the progress and how the whisky has changed. The whole idea behind this experiment is to find out how a new cask finish can affect a whisky that has already been bottled. This should give everyone some idea of what they can do with their own whisky!

La Louisiane Cocktail

What about this amazing cocktail? Let’s explore!

The Cask

The cask is a fresh American oak cask of 13.3 litres, charred to #3. That means that the cask can give the liquid put into it a great amount of sweetness in layman terms. It is also made from the same cooperage in Minnesota, USA. This cask is not infused with any liquid before the cocktail is poured into it.

The cocktail right after mixing

The cocktail is amazing. The nose is full of cane sugar and sweet vermouth, and the palate reflects the same. It almost tasted like a whisky sour, but the different spirits are not yet fully married. The different characteristics of the 3 alcohols came out individually and are not blended with one another. The sweetness can be overwhelming for some as both the rye whisky and the Mancino Rosso Vermouth are sweet.

The cocktail after 3 weeks and 6 days

At this stage, the cocktail takes on deep sherry notes that blends extremely well with the strong cane sugar on the nose. Nonetheless, the sweet vermouth is still evident. The palate is amazing though. The 3 alcohols have blended well together and now the cane sugar mixed beautifully with the vermouth on the tongue. There is no spice at all and the finish is short and refreshing. The overall cocktail is also less sweet.

The cocktail after 4 weeks and a day

Ahh…the perfect balance of the cocktail finally surfaced. The nose boasts of a balanced sweetness between sherry and cane sugar. It creates a sweet nose that is not overwhelming anymore. The palate does not change much from the 3 weeks and 6 days version. The only difference is the vermouth giving out some sourish taste that makes the cocktail less sweet. It becomes more like a whisky sour but much more balanced in its flavours.

The La Louisiane cocktail is a completed product but we feel it can be enhanced further with some bitters. We tried it and it tasted even better. We encourage our members to take a trip down to Manhatten Bar to try this cocktail with some bitters! It is amazing!

What to expect in the next few weeks

WhiskyGeeks will continue the coverage of this experiment in the next week and our focus will be on the Sazerac whisky’s progress. There may be other whiskies but we are kept in the dark as well. We love the suspense and the surprise! We may try to arrange for a tasting session at Manhatten Bar further down the road. Let us speak with Whisky Butler and Manhatten Bar and see what we can do to arrange a session for our members. Stay tuned for more!

 

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