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Introducing Old Pulteney – The Maritime Malt

The Old Pulteney New Range

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

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

Introducing Mr Malcolm Waring

Credit: David Parry

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

The New Collection

Old Pulteney 12 Years Old

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

Price: SGD $135

Old Pulteney Huddart

Old Pulteney Huddart

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

Price: SGD $160

Old Pulteney 15 Years Old

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

Price: SGD $180

Old Pulteney 18 Years Old

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

Price: SGD $215

Whisky & Food Pairing

Whisky & Food Pairing

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

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

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

Venue

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

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

 

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    Here comes the Snake – Blackadder Arrives in Singapore

    Blackadder is a popular independent bottler that many whisky lovers around the world is familiar with. As of 14 November 2018, Singapore has the honour of finally having a Blackadder distributor in Singapore! We were invited to a well-organised launch party by Jeremiah Kee, founder of Interco-mle. His company is the sole distributor for Blackadder in Singapore.

    Here comes the Snake

    The launch party was held at Laughing Juice, a well-crafted bar/event location at Orchard Boulevard. The decoration of the bar is classy, and it comes with a well-stocked bar too!

    When I arrived at the bar, there were already lots of people mingling around the area. I was greeted by our host, Jeremiah, and then the whiskies stared at me in the face! Distracted by the whiskies, I believe I ignored a couple of friends who were waving at me. Hahaha…my apologies, my friends.

    Up for grabs were some excellent Blackadder whiskies, including a Glen Ord (Singleton, anyone?) and a Loch Indaal (Bruichladdich!!). There were also two Japanese whiskies, one from the famed Chichibu distillery, and the other is an Eigashima. (Picture at the top)

    Introduction to Blackadder

    The event started officially with Jeremiah doing a short introduction to his company, Interco-mle and Blackadder. We understood that “Interco” means the International Code of Signals, and “MLE” simply means that “the patient has had too much alcohol”. Jeremiah obviously has the “mle” condition, considering his passion for whisky and Blackadder! It also revealed Jeremiah’s background – if you know it.

    Robin Tucek and John Lamond founded Blackadder in 1995 and named the company after the historic Scottish figure Bishop John Blackadder. The company’s bottlings are mostly single casks and are neither chill-filtered or coloured. To drive the point of the natural state of the whisky, the company bottles their whiskies in clear bottles to ensure that customers can see the whisky clearly during their purchase.

    The different ranges of Blackadder

    Blackadder bottlings have standard ranges such as the “Limited Edition” and the “Auld Edinburgh”. It also offers the “Raw Cask” series from 2000, which showcase whiskies that are bottled directly from the cask. The bottling does not filter the whisky in any way, which results in some sediments in the whiskies such as fragments of wood.

    For Singapore, Jeremiah imported many of the “Raw Casks” series as they are premium and suitable for our market here. We tasted two of these “Raw Casks” bottling – a Glen Ord 2004 13 Years Old, bottled for Hong Kong Whiskies More and a Bruichladdich (Loch Indaal) 2007 10 Years Old. While the Glen Ord reminded me of a Singleton whisky, it has more flavours and gives a better punch than the regular Singleton that we get in the market. The Bruichladdich, on the other hand, is excellent. There is a bite to the palate at first, but once the whisky opened up, the distillate shines through beautifully. A nose of cereal and hay romances me before the palate of sweetness engulfs the tongue in a tug of war. The finish is long and dry, lingering long after the whisky is gone.

    Japanese Whiskies

    As we are all aware of, Japanese whiskies have become the holy grail of whiskies these days. It is, therefore, an impressive feat for an independent bottler to get his hands on Japanese casks. This is what Robin did – Blackadder bottles Japanese whiskies! We tried two different whiskies – an Ichiro’s Malt at five years old from the Chichibu distillery and an Eigashima at three years old. Both are typical Japanese with notes of floral and sweet fruits. Personally, I prefer the Eigashima over the Ichiro’s Malt, but tastes are subjective!

    Black Snake and Red Snake

    In addition to the various single cask offering, Blackadder has a range of “Black Snake” and “Red Snake”. These whiskies use a Solera system, where aged single malts are placed into a sherry or bourbon cask for further ageing. When the whiskies are deemed ready, Blackadder draws two-thirds of the whisky out from the cask for bottling, while the cask is filled once again with more single malts. There will always be “older” whiskies in the cask, which allows for a balance of flavours and complexity.

    We can liken the Solera system to how our hawkers do our braised duck gravy! The pot will always have some “original” gravy left behind, and our hawker uncle or auntie just keep on topping up the liquid. The new flavours of the gravy are stewed together with the flavours of the previous, making the gravy ultra yummy! The rich flavours of the braised duck gravy are similar to the rich flavours that you will get from the Black Snake and Red Snake.

    The way to determine the sherry or bourbon cask is through the name. Black Snake is from the sherry cask while Red Snake is from the bourbon cask.

    Cheese and Chocolate

    Accompanying Blackadder whiskies were two vendors who are well-recognised for their excellent products. The Cheese Ark is a craft cheese shop which has gained its reputation as the purveyor of fine cheese. Lemuel Chocolate is the provider of fine, craft chocolate from bean to bar. Ronald is the chocolate maker behind Lemuel, and he is a passionate man who is in love with his craft!

    I tried all of Lemuel’s chocolate on offer (because I am a chocolate monster as well as a whisky monster), and they are delicious stuff. It is almost like drinking whisky; the chocolate have finishes! My favourite is the India bar, which is herbal when I first eat it and then turn sweet after I chew it. They paired well with the whiskies too! I think we will probably hear more about Ronald and his chocolates soon!

    A lovely evening through and through

    It was a lovely evening with Blackadder, The Cheese Ark, Lemuel and of course, the Laughing Juice! Before I end the post, let me share future events from Interco-mle and Blackadder.

    30 Nov – Laughing Hour @ The Laughing Juice (free-flow drinks and food for a reasonable price!!)

    Dec 2018 – First monthly tasting of Blackadder (date is not firmed yet, so follow Interco-mle on Facebook and Instagram!)

    Thank you, Jeremiah, for hosting such a beautiful launch, and we looked forward to more of your tastings!

     

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      Event: An American Affair in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

      From left: Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Signature Craft and Maker’s Mark

      A whisky shop owner invited Geek Choc and me to a tasting session that he hosted with his wife during our short stay in Kaohsiung. It was an eye-opening session for us, and one which we will not be forgetting anytime soon. It happened totally at random as we went to the shop because a friend told me that the shop has a lot of Bruichladdich bottles, including one which I was looking for.

      We arrived with a high expectation, and the shop did not disappoint us at all. It started out a little awkward, but as we got to know the boss and lady boss, we began to chit chat about whisky and all things Taiwan vs. Singapore. The boss then invited us to a tasting session of Jim Beam, which took place one day before we left Kaohsiung. We accepted the invitation readily as we were very curious about how Taiwanese ran their whisky tasting sessions. We were glad that we did because it was indeed different and entirely out of our expectations.

      Brief Information about the tasting session

      The boss told us that the tasting session was for Jim Beam. While we lamented that it was not a Scotch whisky tasting, we thought that Jim Beam should still be interesting to us, as we never drank it before. The line up was four different drams with significant differences.

      They are Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Signature Craft and finally, Maker’s Mark. Out of the four, we tried Maker’s Mark before and enjoyed it with ice.

      The Event Proper

      The organiser held the event at a new hotel in Kaohsiung, named Lin Hotel. It is a luxurious and lavish hotel completed with much opulence. We were stunned when our taxi drove us up to the lobby, and we breathed a sigh of relief that we dressed up for the event. The hotel had arranged the tasting session in a private room within their seafood restaurant, and it was a small, cosy place. It sat about thirty people comfortably and had a small area for displaying the four whiskeys.

      The setting looked like a small intimate Chinese wedding dinner, with three tables for ten pax each placed at strategic locations. Everyone seated could see the big screen in the middle. Once 90% of the participants turned up, the event started promptly. The organiser did not wait for latecomers – which was interesting for us.

      Speaker of the Event

      Brand Ambassador of Jim Beam

      The speaker for the event is none other than the brand ambassador of Beam Suntory in Taiwan. I need to apologise that I completely missed his name as I am bad with names. He is a knowledgeable man and explained much about American whiskey. The only thing that I feel that he could do better is to slow down. The speed of the presentation and tasting session was too fast, which was not ideal considering that most of the participants were avid drinkers who wanted to taste the whiskeys properly.

      Nonetheless, he shared the history of Jim Beam and how it came about with the audience and what proved to be of interest to me was the history of Jim Beam. It was the oldest Kenturkey bourbon ever – sold for the first time by founder Jacob Beam in 1795. It was a short but insightful session. I loved it when brand ambassador waxed lyrical about the history of the brand and the distillery because it helped me to understand the whiskey better.

      Production Methods

      The brand ambassador also shared the history of how charred barrels came from as Jim Beam charred their barrels to level 4 to get the most of the butterscotch, vanilla, coconut and caramel flavours. History has it that charring had a very different purpose in the past. One theory said that it was to kill germs – burning the wood was the best way. Another argument, which was popular, said that a greedy merchant tried to cheat the system by using secondhand barrels. To remove the smell and taste of the previous liquid, he burnt the insides of the barrel badly. By accident, the charred barrels produced excellent results, and hence the idea took off.

      Besides barrels, the brand ambassador also explained the rules of making bourbon. It must be at least 51% corn, and the remaining 49% can be made up of rye and barley. While he did not tell us the exact make-up of Jim Beam, he did mention that Jim Beam is a proper Bourbon. Due to the temperature at Kenturkey, Jim Beam’s angel share is about 4%, and the first-fill bourbon barrels influence the liquid up to about 60%.

      After the presentation (which was too fast for me), we tasted the whiskeys. These were the four glasses that we had.

      Besides the four glasses, two pitchers of Jim Beam Black sat on the table, for anyone who wanted a top up. We found the session to be completely generous as it was also free.

      The Four Whiskeys

      Jim Beam Black

      We started out with Jim Beam Black. We understood that the black label is supposed to be better than the white label.

      Jim Beam Black

      Jim Beam Black is 43% abv with a bright gold colour. It has a strong coconut and caramel nose with butterscotch and spice in the background. A creamy mouthfeel with coconut, caramel, vanilla and gentle spice follows in the palate. The finish is short to medium with sweet caramel all the way.

      It is a simple whiskey and one which can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. Personally, this is one of my favourites among the three Jim Beam bottles.

      Jim Beam Double Oak

      Jim Beam Double Oak

      The next whiskey up for tasting is the Jim Beam Double Oak. It is an excellent whiskey to showcase the influence of wood. Again at 43% abv, it gives a beautiful bright gold colour too. The nose promises a fuller flavour with coconut and caramel complementing the spice. The palate has a sharper bite to it, and the oak influence creates sandalwood notes in addition to the expected coconut, caramel, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is less creamy but oilier. It is also oakier. The finish is longer than Jim Beam Black with the sandalwood notes lingering all the way.

      The Jim Beam Double Oak is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of whiskey. The stronger flavours may appeal to some but not others. Geek Choc likes this expression best out of the three Jim Beam, but I find it harder to accept.

      Jim Beam Signature Craft

      Jim Beam Signature Craft

      The Jim Beam Signature Craft is unique because it aged for 12 years before bottling. For those who know about bourbon, you know that bourbon does not age for more than five to six years typically. For an expression to reach 12 years of age is not an easy feat. The Signature Craft is also 43% abv and spot a gold colour that is slightly brighter than the above two expressions.

      The aromas from the nose are more mellow than the other two expressions. Coconut and caramel couple with vanilla waft up the nose with no sharpness. There is also no spice detected. The palate is oily and creamy, with beautiful notes of coconut, caramel, vanilla ice cream and hints of spice. It feels mellow, smooth and more aged. The finish is long with sweet coconut and gentle spice. Slightly oaky in the end too, but nothing unpleasant.

      Maker’s Mark

      Maker’s Mark

      Finally, we had Maker’s Mark. While it is not from the Jim Beam family, it is produced together in the distillery. I like Maker’s Mark as I find the notes of honey, vanilla, and coconut to be perfect as a whiskey on the rocks.

      The nose is full of honey, coconut and caramel in the forefront and vanilla hiding in the background. The palate speaks with spiced coconut, caramel, and honey at first before vanilla cream appears to give another layer of complexity. The finish is short with spiced coconut lingering all the way.

      The Dinner

      I must admit that the dinner which followed the whiskey tasting was the best surprise of the night. We expected a series of finger food and snacks, but a 10-course Chinese meal came instead. When course after course arrived at the table, we were stunned beyond words. The food served was lip-smacking good – drunken prawns, smoked duck, steamed fish, and the list went on.

      The whole event ended after dinner. The organisers offered up bottles for sales at a reasonable price and many of the participants bought by the cartons. For us, we only bought two bottles as we still have a long trip ahead of us in Taipei.

      Conclusion

      We had a great time and indeed, opened our eyes to how a tasting event can be done. It is as different as it can be in Singapore and I think the same scale will be hard to replicate here due to cost. While this tasting is not representing every tasting session in Taiwan, we believe that it is a great way to get people together to enjoy good food and whisky.

       

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        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 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!

            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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              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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