Whisky Events

The Single Cask Masterclass 12 August 2017

Whiskygeeks was invited by our friends – The Single Cask (TSC) for a masterclass that they held on 12 Aug 2017 at their bar located at Chijmes. TSC were introducing 5 new bottlings that they had completed early in January this year. The interesting thing about this masterclass is the fact that not all of them are whiskies as we know them. Some of them are spirits from another world. Nonetheless, all of them are limited edition and each bottle has its own number. Once these bottles are sold, there will be no more.

This is the guy behind TSC Masterclass yesterday. Brendan has been a friend of the whiskygeeks and he is one knowledgeable whisky geek himself! His role in TSC is varied but we can be sure that he is one great guy to talk whisky!

Now, let’s get on with the Masterclass!

First up was the Diamond Rum 12 Years Old. As its name suggested, this is a rum from the Diamond Distillery in America and TSC bought the cask for bottling under their own independent brand. A sweety acidic drink, the rum is probably an acquired taste. However, the geeks found it reasonably pleasant. A “can try” spirit if you are interested to explore rum.

Next up, we have the Macduff 19 years old. This whisky comes from a long history in Speyside. Distilled in 1997 and matured in bourbon cask, this whisky has a good character and a great finish. Macduff has been known as an unfashionable distillery but the geeks found that they packed a damn good whisky! This is a whisky that should be drank by everyone in our opinions!

The next one is Tobermory 22 Years Old. Found on the Scottish Island of Mor, this is quite a fierce whisky with all its spices. Tobermory is from an ex-sherry butt, but you will never think this is so if you look at its light golden colour. The speciality of this whisky is the fact that it is a second-fill whisky cask! The ex-sherry cask was recharred and filled with a white sherry before the new-make spirit of Tobermory was poured into the cask for maturation. That is the reason for its light colour and strong flavours.

This is the American Sour Mash 5 Years Old. It is a Tennessee whisky that is matured only for 5 years, but it looks like it has been sitting inside a cask for a much longer time. The sour mash is made by mixing some left-over wort from a previous fermentation with a new batch of barley and yeast, creating the “sourish” taste to the new make. It is extremely sweet and definitely an acquired taste.

The last bottle is the Glenrothes 19 Years Old. Completely dark red in colour, this is the king of the batch of spirits tasted in the Masterclass. Before you decide to buy a bottle, let us disappoint you by letting you know that this bottle is not for sale, but will be kept at the bar for the enjoyment for everyone who wants a taste of this exquisite whisky. Distilled in 1997, it is another Speyside whisky. This expression only has 86 bottles that was made out of 60 litres of one particular sherry butt released by the Glenrothes back in late 2016. It is also the darkest whisky that was ever bottled in TSC.

We will be talking more about the individual whiskies mentioned here in separate tasting notes, so stay tuned for more!

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Upcoming Event: Whisky Fair 2018 in Limburg, Germany

Picture taken from www.whiskyfair.com

Exciting times ahead in 2018! This is yet another whisky fair that will be held in 2018. It has the reputation of being the biggest whisky fair that you can ever find in Europe, and generally, hosts exhibitors of various brands, independent bottlers, retailers, importers and rarities retailers. For most whisky lovers in Europe, this annual whisky fair is a must-go event because of the sheer number of exhibitors and rare bottling that one can find over there.

For us in Asia, it is much harder to go for every single event held in Europe, so we tend to pick and choose. As this is one of the biggest whisky fair ever, we would say that if you only have budget for one trip, make it this trip!

Here are 5 things why we think this is a trip worth going.

 

WhiskyFair 2018 has a good reputation for hosting well-organised events

There will be a lot of people thronging through tight and small alleyways in an event of this scale, so it is important to know if the organisers are able to host well-organised events. The organisers behind WhiskyFair have been doing this for the past 16 years, gathering tons of experiences in handling huge crowds to make every event better than the last one.

The distilleries that are heading to WhiskyFair 2018 are awesome

We are just so excited when we see the list of distilleries that will be exhibiting in WhiskyFair 2018. Up till today (8 Aug), there is a total of 39 distilleries (42 brands) that will be heading to Limburg in April next year! Out of this impressive list, we spy big names such as The Dalmore, Glengoyne, The Amrut, Arran, amongst others. You can find the whole list here.

There are also a lot of independent bottlers heading to WhiskyFair 2018

Wow, the list is probably more impressive here! We see big names here too, like Cadenheads and Maltbarn, both of which were featured previously in Whisky Butler’s curation. Douglas Laing, the creator of the famous Big Peat, will also be making an appearance in Limburg.

There are rare whiskies to be found

If you are a collector of whiskies and interested to find more, you should really head to Limburg next April. There are a bunch of rare whiskies retailers who will be more than happy to share their loots with you! Giovanni Giuliani, a famous Italian collector will be there to share his experience. He would probably be selling some of his rare collections too. There are other rare whisky sellers such as Lion’s Whisky and Whiskey Antique that will be sharing their loots. Check out the whole list here.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

As whisky lovers, this event is one which we must experience at least once in our lifetime so that we can fulfil our thirst for great whiskies. The expected crowd, the jolly atmosphere and the headiness of drinking will definitely put you in a great mood for exploration. There are so many things to see and do in Limburg, and travellers can explore the rest of Germany too. Oh, and we cannot miss pointing out the friendships that will be forge and the memories that will last forever!

If you are interested to find out more, you can visit the official website here. There is one cautionary note though – the hotels might be fully booked! So book now if you are really keen to go!

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Upcoming Event – Spirits of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018

If you are planning to attend whisky events in 2018, here’s one which you can start making plans for. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is going to be held from 3 to 7 May 2018 in Speyside, Scotland. This iconic whisky festival is one of its kind where the distilleries in Speyside will be open to visitors through special booking tours. The difficult to reach distilleries will also be accessible during this period as buses will be deployed to ply two different routes to the various distilleries located along the river Spey.

Speyside Distilleries

Speyside plays host to more than half of all distilleries in Scotland. With the highest concentration of malt whisky producers located in Speyside, you can expect a wide variety of whiskies in the region. We can broadly classify Speyside whiskies into two camps – the light, grassy “lunchtime” whiskies such as Glenlivet, and the rich and flavourful sherry whiskies of Macallan. While not all whiskies in Speyside fall into either one of the categories, most of the whiskies produced in this region can be loosely classified as such.

Distilleries in Speyside

The map above shows all the whisky distilleries in Speyside and where each of them are located. The map has also marked out the key routes that you can take if you are driving, as well as the route that the buses will be plying if you intend to make use of the buses. On top of that, the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival will also be engaging local taxi companies to fetch visitors to distilleries that are not on the bus routes. If you have budget to spare and want to have a customised whisky distillery tour to your favourite distilleries, you can even engage local private hire companies to bring you for a first class experience!

Accommodation in Speyside

Accommodation in Speyside is not a problem due to its large number of accommodations. You can choose to stay in quaint little cottages, historic hotels, beautiful castles turned hotels, quirky DIY hotels, B&Bs or even camp in the great outdoors. A world class experience awaits you regardless of the type of accommodation you choose.

Dining Choices in Speyside

Food is just as important as the whiskies in Speyside, and visitors can expect a great variety of cuisines made with the best ingredients that are home-grown in Scotland. You can choose from fine-dining to rustic bites from the list here but we will recommend that you do your own research for more food options.

What to do in Speyside after the whisky festival is over

Well, visitors from Singapore and Asia in general are not going to travel all the way to Speyside and stay for just that few days, aren’t we? There are more to explore in Speyside besides first-class whiskies. For the nature lovers, there are beautiful beaches, hiking, kayaking down the River Spey and mountain biking on famous trails. For the shopaholics, Speyside has a great shopping culture that involves exploring beautiful towns and quaint little villages for the best buys in Scotland.

How to travel to Speyside

The easiest way for Singaporeans and people living in Asia is to fly to either Glasgow Airport or Edinburgh Airport before making your way to Speyside. Access to Speyside can be by air – flying to Inverness Airport or Aberdeen International Airport. Once there, you can easily navigate by taxi, bus or private hire car as mentioned above.

If you are keen to take in the beauty of the countryside, the best way to travel to Speyside is to by rail, bus or car from Edinburgh or Glasgow. You can check out ScotRail, Scotland’s National Railway, for the time table and prices. Citylink bus service provides safe passage from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness and Aberdeen as well. If you prefer to travel in style, rent a car from Edinburgh or Glasgow and drive down to Speyside in your own leisure.

We hope that this article have given you enough information to start planning your trip to Scotland! The research has certainly pip our curiosity to head down to Scotland next May! Happy planning!

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Exclusive Whisky Pairing Event: House of Hazelwood

WhiskyGeeks is very honoured to be invited to an exclusive whisky pairing event by William Grant and Sons on 3 July 2017. Held at Violet Oon at the National Gallery, this is a media-only event that introduced their vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by the family luminary Ms Janet Sheed Roberts.

This new range of whisky is named the House of Hazelwood. Composed of three exquisite expressions, each of them is blended to perfection, with its own inspiring story to tell. While all three whiskies are inspired by the 1920s, each whisky lives to tell a story of a different country. The most distinguished 25 years old is a representation of 1920s Shanghai, and a source of pride for its creator, Master Blender Brian Kinsman. It is followed by the 21 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Mumbai and the 18 years old variant, which is a representation of 1920s Paris.

This event is a whisky pairing session, which means food is served. As the event is held in Singapore, the organisers proudly paired the whiskies with Peranakan food.

While the whiskies are not paired with every serving of the food, WhiskyGeek enjoyed the selection of Peranakan food that was paired with the whiskies. Having attended many different whisky pairing sessions, it is in our opinion that blended whiskies are best paired with spicy food because the rich flavours of spicy food brings out the taste and flavours of blended whiskies, and vice versa.

Food aside, let’s talk a little bit more about the whiskies. WhiskyGeeks’ opinion is that all three expressions have their own distinct characters but their similarity lies in their light but luxurious feel. From the packaging to the decanter to the whisky itself, all three expression exude luxury and exclusiveness. Personally, we prefer the 21 years old expression as compared to the other two variants as we find the bolder, spicer taste more robust and balanced. You can find the detailed tasting notes of the three expressions in our tasting notes section – The Liquid Gold.  Blended whiskies have their characters too, and can be better than some of the single malts that we have in the market right now.

The packaging themselves are inspirations from the three mesmeric cities that are forerunners of the Art Deco movement – Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The designs are focused on creating a unique visual leitmotif which is associated with each city.

The House of Hazelwood was launched exclusively in the Global Travel Retail in February last year. With an ABV of 40%, all three variants are available in a 50cl art-deco decanter style bottle and you can find them only at the exclusive retailers in Singapore Changi Airport. Remember to grab them if you are travelling anytime soon or they will soon be gone!

More about William Grant and Sons, Ltd and Janet Sheed Roberts

William Grant and Sons, Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. The oldest family-owned luxury spirit company of Scotland is run by the fifth generation of his family today and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich, The Balvenie  range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky, Drambuie and Milagro Tequila.

The House of Hazelwood is created  by William Grant and Sons, Ltd, inspired by both their ancestor Ms Janet Sheed Roberts and the Hazelwood House, a sturdy house that was bought by the Gordon family back in the early 1020s.. Janet Sheed Roberts united  the Grants and Gordon families, and became the undisputed matriarch of William Grants and Sons. She found her love for whisky from her grandfather while living in the Hazelwood House, travelled extensively and became the epitome of the progressive era-defining attitude of women in the 1920s and 30s.

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Richard Paterson – Whisky Legend of The Dalmore Celebrates 50 Years in the Industry

24 May 2017 marked a very special day for whisky connoisseurs in Singapore and the surrounding region as Richard Paterson from The Dalmore graced his presence for a whisky-tasting event held in Singapore. It was held in conjunction with Richard’s 50 years’ anniversary in the whisky industry as well as the introduction of the King Alexander III whisky by The Dalmore.

Richard Paterson is well known as the greatest whisky maker of his generation. He is the Master Distiller at The Dalmore Distillery in the Scottish Highlands and has spent the last 50 years of his life creating some of the most coveted whiskies around the world.

Richard has been nicknamed as “The Nose” by the whisky community because of his remarkable ability to use his sense of smell to access and understand the structure of whiskies. His unusual approach to the art of whisky making boost him into a celebrity amongst whisky lovers all over the world. Whiskygeek, of course, is a fan as well!

Richard’s career has been nothing short of extraordinary. He was recognised by Whisky Magazine in the 2013 World Whisky Awards with an Icons of Whisky Lifetime Achievement Award. The magazine also entered him into their Hall of Fame – a permanent tribute to individuals who have made lasting contributions to whisky.

At the event held on 25 May 2017, Richard shared his life passion with his fellow whisky lovers through the tasting session. Participants were given 4 different whiskies from The Dalmore, namely The 15 Years, The 35 Years, King Alexander III and The Quintessence. Richard shared many things, amongst them, how to taste and appreciate whisky. He even tried to teach the audience how to smell the whiskies just like he does!

Many whisky fans were overjoyed at his charismatic approach and his friendliness appeals even to the most introverted fans. Richard also took many pictures with his fans and welcome them to visit him in The Dalmore Distillery whenever they can.

More on The Dalmore

The Dalmore is founded by Sir Alexander Matheson in 1839, in the Scottish Highlands. A restless entrepreneur and international businessman, Sir Alexander Matheson wanted The Dalmore to go above and beyond in creating luxurious single malt whisky.

For over a 100 years, The Dalmore has continued to realised Sir Alexander’s dream by creating an unbroken chain of exceptional whisky through their whisky makers. Richard Paterson is one of them. For nearly 50 years, he is the Master Distiller at The Dalmore, creating luxurious and much coveted whiskies for the community. He is the man who, together with The Dalmore, created a category of super luxury single malt, that continues to impress the world up till today.

 

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