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Whisky Night at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore

Whisky Line Up for the night

Most of us are familiar with Hard Rock Cafe, the hippy American rock cafe found almost everywhere in the world. However, most of us probably will not associate them with whiskies. Therefore, it was with surprise when we received an email from Hard Rock Cafe Singapore, requesting for WhiskyGeeks to assist them in a shout-out for a whisky tasting event happening on 15 May 2019. Of course, we helped, and the restaurant invited us to attend the tasting. The honour was all on us because we were the only media invited to the tasting.

Why Do a Whisky Tasting?

We understood that the whisky tasting was held to celebrate the upcoming World Whisky Day (18 May). Hard Rock Cafe Singapore (HRCS) invited Randall Tan, the brand advocate from Edrington Group, to host the tasting and he kindly agreed. The line up was also one of the first of its kind that Randall did – A cross-brand tasting of Macallan, Glenrothes, Highland Park and their blended malt, Naked Grouse. We got to say that it was indeed the first ever cross-brand tasting that we did with Edrington Group and Randall.

It was a treat, to say the least, to be able to taste four different brands in one single tasting event.

Randall Tan, the Brand Advocate

Randall Tan

Those of you who attended Macallan masterclasses would know Randall. We first got to know Randall many years back, when Macallan started the Toast the Macallan Masterclass series. It appeared that whisky is not only the water of life but also the fountain of youth. Randall doesn’t seem to have aged after ALL THESE YEARS! He still looks as youthful as always. Perhaps it was the lighting in the room?! Hahaha!

Anyway, it was good to see Randall again and listen to what he had to say. We thought the presentation was excellent because he shared much knowledge with the audience. From whisky making to distillation to maturation in casks, Randall offered up many nuggets of information to help the participants to learn more about whisky in general. Naturally, Randall also spoke about the different whiskies that we tasted, in more details.

Whiskies of the Night

There were six whiskies on the table, and we tasted them all before. They were not something new, but there was a certain appeal to go back to the basics at times to appreciate the whiskies that we used to drink when we started our whisky journey.

Naked Grouse, Blended Malt, 40% abv

The first whisky to start the night was the Naked Grouse. It is a blended malt now, with some of the best single malt whiskies that Edrington has ever produced being part of the blend. The whisky used to be a blended Scotch, and it was one of my favourite blends.

The new blended malt has Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes and Glenturret in it, and it is a parade of Edrington’s finest malt whiskies all in one. The individual whiskies are blended and then married in an oloroso sherry cask for six months as a finish before bottling. As a result, the sherry influence in the whisky is quite evident.

On the nose, we got Highland Park immediately. The honeyed notes, coupled with a waft of smoke before fading into the background. In a little moment, the influence of Macallan’s sherry notes came through. Glenrothes wafted in and out with its orange notes, and Glenturret was probably asleep as a base whisky. There were caramel, chocolate, cinnamon and hints of cherry.

The palate was mellow and pleasantly sweet. Caramel, milk chocolate, cherry soda were prominent, which probably were the Macallan and Glenrothes talking. There were also hints of oak and incense smoke which screamed Highland Park. I suppose the oaky bits could be the Glenturret. The finish was medium with some honey and oakiness to it.

Glenrothes 12 Years Old, Single Malt, 40% abv

Glenrothes is a brand that is often overshadowed by Macallan and Highland Park. Previously sold to the Chivas Brothers, the brand recently rejoined Edrington Group. The Group immediately did a rebranding for Glenrothes, and now the brand spots age-statements on their labels. In the past, they only showed the vintage, which confused some consumers.

Randall mentioned that there is no colouring added to the Glenrothes because the distillery works hard on their wood policy. We suppose it is an extension of Edrington Group as all the distilleries under their care take pride in their method of wood selection.

On the nose, sweet sherry, caramel and vanilla came through very quickly. As the whisky aired in the glass, we began to get hints of hay, citrus and oak. Slowly, the orange notes developed, and the combination of orange, sherry and vanilla made the nose extremely pleasant.

The palate was gentle and light, with caramel, sherry, cinnamon, citrus orange and hints of oak. The sherry-seasoned European oak cask used for maturation was evident in this whisky, especially when the whisky had time to air in the glass. The finish was short, oaky and sweet.

Macallan 12 Years Old Triple Cask, Single Malt, 40% abv

Now, we came to the Macallan 12 Years Old trio. First up was the Triple Cask. The three casks used in this whisky are ex-Bourbon American White Oak, sherry-seasoned American Oak and sherry-seasoned European Oak. The Macallan new make is matured for 12 years in each of these casks before getting married in a neutral (or spent) casks for a few months before bottling.

The citrusy nose was accompanied by vanilla and coconut from the American oak. There were hints of pepper and oak. On the palate, it was very light and maybe a little flat. The flavours were rather weak, with some vanilla, citrus and pepper. The finish was almost non-existent, and the whisky disappeared way too quickly.

Macallan 12 Years Old Double Cask, Single Malt, 40% abv

The Macallan Double Cask was next. The casks used were sherry-seasoned European Oak and ex-Bourbon American White Oak. The Macallan new make is matured for 12 years in each of casks before getting married in neutral casks for a few months before bottling.

With the absence of the sherry American Oak, the influence of the sherry European Oak took over. The nose was full of toffee, burnt sugar, vanilla cream, raisin and bread crusts. There were also notes of cinnamon underneath. On the palate, toffee, cinnamon, and vanilla cream were prominent, with hints of raisins and pastry at the back. The influence of oak was also stronger.

Macallan 12 Years Old Sherry Cask, Single Malt, 40% abv

Macallan is famous because of this whisky. We can almost call it the flagship whisky of Macallan. The 12 years old sherry cask, however, is different from what we used to enjoy. The old Macallan 12 Sherry Cask used barrels that held aged sherry. As the world evolved, people move away from aged sherry, and the old type of sherry casks was also gone. What Macallan uses now are sherry barrels that are seasoned with oloroso sherry for 18 to 24 months. Compared to the old Macallan 12 sherry cask, the current batches of 12 years old are very different indeed.

On the nose, we got clean sherry, caramel, cinnamon, raisins, candied oranges, milk chocolate and clove. The old familiar muskiness surfaced after a while, but it was nothing like the old Macallan 12. The palate was full of caramel, cinnamon, cherry, raisins, chocolate, cloves and spices. The finish was long, sweet and dry.

We must say that the new Macallan 12 Years Old is still a pleasant drink. Even though whisky drinkers who love sherry bombs may no longer like it, the Macallan 12 Sherry cask still pack a punch for the beginners. We found it rather pleasant; perhaps we no longer like sherry bombs?

Highland Park 12 Years Old, Single Malt, 40% abv

Finally, we came to the last whisky – the Highland Park 12 Years Old. This whisky divided the opinion of Zico and me, mainly because he doesn’t mind the Highland Park while I dislike the light smoke. I always find the Highland Park too lightly smoked for me, as I much prefer stronger peated whisky such as Lagavulin 16 or the Octomores. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the whisky this time.

On the nose, the heather honey was so strong! We must thank our newly-joined writer, Hong Fu, for giving us a taste of heather honey when he came back from Scotland last year. Perhaps it was the heather honey that made me feel better about Highland Park. Besides the heather honey, the nose was full of sweet vanilla, cinnamon, hints of toffee, and very light smoke.

The palate was again, heather honey, combined with vanilla cream, hay, cinnamon, nuts, green fruits and light smoke. It was nice. I actually enjoyed the Highland Park 12 for the first time! It was quite surprising for me, to be honest. The finish was medium, sweet and oaky.

Food from HRCS

Once the tasting was done, HRCS treated all of us like Kings and Queens. They served some of their signature dishes in small bite-size portions for us to enjoy. The only exception was their Hard Rock Slider, which appeared to be just a junior-sized burger.

The HRCS Food Galore

The food did not disappoint; for it was part of the Hard Rock signature. The food paired relatively well with some of the whiskies too!

Sharing is Caring – Promotion at HRCS

The session came to an end around 9 pm, which I need to commend Hard Rock Cafe for keeping to the time. We hung around for a while, chatting with Randall, and the HRCS team. We also enjoyed another dram of Highland Park 12 Years Old. Haha…it was still amazing to me that I actually enjoyed it.

We learned from the HRCS team that they have promotions for most of the whiskies in the next few months.

Now to June – Macallan 12 Years Old Double Cask – $19/45ml or $225 for 1 bottle or $400 for 2 bottles

July to August – Glenrothes 12 Years Old – $17/45ml or $175 for 1 bottle or $320 for 2 bottles

September to October – Highland Park 12 Years Old – $17/45ml or $175 for 1 bottle or $320 for 2 bottles

These prices are affordable! Even if you are a seasoned whisky drinker, you may want to pop by to enjoy some basic drams when you are near HRCS. If you are starting out on your journey, why not pop by to try them? You may be surprised at how gentle a 40% whisky can be!

 

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Visiting Barbershop at The ArtHouse

We visited Barbershop and its awesome manager, Fab Arm on an idle Thursday night after the Trump-Kim summit. We were looking for a beautiful place to chill and enjoy some live music, so, we thought – Timbre or Barbershop. Since Barbershop generally serves what we need for the night (read: whisky), we decided to head over for pizza and whisky.

It was quiet when we reached around 7-ish in the evening. Two groups of working executives occupied a couple of tables. Choc and I took the corner high table (because we like secluded spots that remind us of Sentosa the area). We took a look at their menu, and we were astounded! Not only were the prices reasonable, but the range of whiskies also expanded tremendously! Wow, we were pleasantly surprised as Fab was still working on his list the last time we came.

Before we ordered, Fab came along to say hi! We haven’t seen him for a while now, so it was a great moment to meet again and catch up finally. It was indeed Fab’s hard work that contributed to that massive and impressive list of whiskies on offer at Barbershop! We were excited to wet our lips after learning that Fab curated more whiskies from what we understood from before!

Dinner was served

Half and Half Pizza

I was a fan of Timbre and its food, so I know exactly what we need to order. A half and half pizza to share between both of us. It was a little greedy because the pizza could feed at least three persons, but we were hungry that night. A roasted duck combined with a Yakiniku Chicken sounded like a perfect fit for two hungry and greedy persons!

Fab came along with his whiskies and rum, of course. First up, we tried a wee bit of the Speymalt Macallan 1998 (19 years). It tasted almost identical to the official bottling of the old Macallan 18 years old. The only exception is that the Speymalt is slightly more spicer than the official Macallan 18 of old. Next up, we had a wee taste of an interesting rum. Bottled by The Whisky Agency & La Maison du Whisky, it hails from Sancti Spiritus Distillery in Cuba. Exotic as it is, this rum is approachable and frisky. There was also a Linkwood 15 years old Sherry Cask by Gordon & MacPhail, but we find it too light for our liking.

We ended up with the Speymalt and the Sancti Spiritus rum as a pairing to our duck and chicken pizza. Haha…it was an innovative experience, but I thought the Yakiniku Chicken went very well with the Macallan.

Speymalt Macallan 1998

Speymalt Macallan 1998

I tried this Speymalt Macallan 1998 previously at WhiskyLive 2017 and found it to be less than desirable. Perhaps the previous bottle was aired too much, or maybe I was just not sober enough to detect the notes. However, trying this again a second time gives me a different perspective. The nose is full of dark fruits, dark chocolate, raisins and bits of oakiness. Pretty much like an old bottle of the Macallan 18 years old. The palate is dark chocolate, raisins, sultanas, woodiness and under it all, a dark fruitiness that balances the entire taste. The finish is long, with raisins and dark fruits lingering all the way.

I like Macallan in the past and love the complexity that the old bottlings offered. The modern batch appears to lack something, and I thought that it requires the love that used to go into every bottle. Perhaps I am wrong, but that’s how I feel. Therefore, I was glad to find this Speymalt Macallan. It was like an old love, reignited.

The Whisky Agency x La Maison du Whisky (Sancti Spiritus) Aged Rum 18 Years old

Sancti Spiritus 18 Yrs Old

Sancti Spiritus Rum is the first rum that I drank which does not turn me off immediately with its overpowering sweetness of caramel and toffee. Interestingly, the rum is full of its original character – sugar cane. The nose is full of subtle sugar cane sweetness, and a hint of strong spirit underneath the sweetness. Bottled at more than 60% abv, it is hardly surprising that the spirit within is flexing its muscles. The palate is biting, but the sugar cane sweetness covers it almost immediately. The taste mellows as I left it on my tongue. The sugar cane sweetness develops into a robust minty note as the spirit disappears, almost as if you have just eaten a mint drop. The finish gets oaky as the cask begins to talk but nothing overpowering. The mintiness lingers all the way to the end of the medium to long finish.

More whisky? Of course!

After all the “hard work”, we deserved yet another dram, don’t we? Once again, Fab showed his perfect hospitality with more wee tastes of another two different whiskies. First up is an Auchentoshan from Signatory Vintage. It is worthy to speak more about this whisky because it is what Auchentoshan should be when it grows up! I need to shout this off a rooftop: “Un-chillfiltered Auchentoshan is like a Rosebank!!” Yes, I am not kidding. Seriously, the Auchentoshan we had was fabulous!

The last wee taste we had was a Wilson and Morgan Bunnahabhain. Matured in a sherry cask, it is a relatively sweet Bunny! It is not fair to the Bunny though, because both Choc and I had fallen in love with the Auchentoshan.

Signatory Vintage Auchentoshan 1998 (17 years; cask 102359 &102360)

SV Auchentoshan 1998

When I first nosed this un-chillfiltered Auchentoshan, my first thoughts were, “wow, this is the full Lowland character that was lacking in the regular Auchentoshan.” As I subject the whisky to more nosing, the grassy and floral notes begin to resemble a bourbon-matured Littlemill expression that I had previously. The first taste is pure bliss as the floral notes explode in the mouth into a subtle fruity sweetness. The dry grassiness stays in the mouth even as I swallow. The finish is long and dry, with the dry grass filling the palate thoroughly.

I aired this Auchentoshan for about 15 minutes and what appeared caught me by surprise! It smells like the Rosebank 12 years old that I had at Swan Song! Omg, a second sniff confirms it. It smells like a Rosebank!! I quickly took a sip of the liquid. The palate is mellow, sweet fruitiness combined with a dry grassiness without overpowering each other. A subtle oakiness from the cask comes through at the end of the tongue, and with just a little peppery spice at the back of the throat. Again, this is similar to the Rosebank 12, but of course, the Rosebank 12 is more flavourful, and the notes are more prominent. The finish is long and dry, leaving me wanting more.

The best dram of the night

We got to admit that we called it a night after the Auchentoshan 1998 because we wanted to savour the flavours for as long as we want. Besides, each pour at Barbershop is 40ml, and we already had 160ml between us. Time to call it quits when we were still alert and sober!

Naturally, the best dram of the night was the Rosebank 12 Auchentoshan 1998! I think my life is quite complete now because I finally know how un-chillfiltered Auchentoshan taste like. My guess is right – it showcases all the right Lowland characters at its natural best.

Thank you, Fab, for showing us how Auchentoshan can shine! For those of you who want to visit Barbershop, give Fab a shoutout when you go, and he will treat you well!

 

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Whisky Review #87 – Geek Choc’s Blending Experiment #1

Macallan 12 YO x Kilchoman 2009 Vintage

Geek Choc loves to mix things up for fun, especially whisky! He was in the mood for some “mixology” yesterday (19 April), so he decided to mix a whisky that he likes (Macallan 12) with a whisky that he does not particularly like (Kilchoman 2009) and see what happened to the mixture. As I am not into such “mixology”, I stood aside to watch how the experiment went. Hehe!

Geek Choc’s Blending Experiment #1

These are the basis of the blending experiment.

  1. Macallan 12 Years Old – 10ml
  2. Kilchoman 2009 Vintage – 2.5ml
  3. Lots of swirling inside the Glencairn glass to introduce air into the blend

Results of the experiment:

Colour: We see an immediate change in colour after pouring the Kilchoman 2009 into the 10ml of Macallan 12 YO. The dark ruby colour of the Macallan turns pale, and the mixture becomes a dark gold colour immediately. The final colour after swirling remains as Dark Gold.

Nose: The characteristics of Kilchoman overpowers Macallan 12 YO in the first nose. We get slight peat with brine, pepper spice, hints of cherry and raisin sweetness. After airing for 5 to 10 minutes, the notes from Macallan 12 YO overthrew the ones from Kilchoman 2009 and emerged victoriously with muskiness, and the full sherry sweetness reappears!

After aeration of about 20 minutes, the mixture appears to settle, and interesting cereal notes surface, quite like Nestum in a tin, I must say!

Palate: The first sip reveals slight peppery spice with soft peat and seaside brine. Notes of sherry sweetness surface beautifully with the spice, peat and brine. It reduces the horrible chilli spice in Kilchoman and brings out the peat and brine in Kilchoman. The combination reminds us of BBQ bacon! Yummy! After 5 minutes, the peat disappears completely. Cherry liquorice and raisin sweetness replace the peat and turn the whisky slightly oaky. It appears that the Macallan 12 YO has once again exerted its power over Kilchoman 2009.

After aeration of 20 minutes, the sherry notes from Macallan 12 YO come to the forefront. Cereal notes quickly followed and finally, slight peat comes in the tail. The oak influence also increases. The peat reduces after aeration, which, we suppose, is a typical occurrence.

Finish: Long and quite dry. The peat lingers in the mouth before the sweetness of the sherried Macallan joins the fun. The finish ends with a nice oakiness that coats the mouth. The finish does not change with aeration.

Verdict/Balance: Wow! It is one hell of a dram! Simple but surprisingly balanced! We did not like the Kilchoman 2009 due to its extreme chilli spice, but the Macallan 12 YO brings out the peatiness of the Kilchoman and also reduces the spice drastically. At the same time, the primary flavours of the Macallan 12 YO remained more or less intact!

Score: 7/10

Comments:

Geek Choc: Haha! It was a fun experiment. I did not know how it would turn out but just wanted to try something with the Kilchoman 2009. Geek Flora suggested to mix it with something sherried, so I grabbed the only opened bottle of sherried whisky that sits on our shelf – the Macallan 12 YO. The experiment is a success I think. I will try more experiments in future!

Geek Flora: It was interesting to see how this turned out. We were toying with the idea, and then we decided just to do it! Haha! We will try more experiments soon! Stay tuned!

 

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Big Boss is Hosting a CNY Party! What should You Bring?

The Lunar New Year is all about feasting and visiting relatives and friends while feasting…Hmm…that explains the growing waistline, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not all! The Lunar New Year is also a time when all young people play dodgeballs. What? Yes, dodging questions about marital status and baby-making plans!

You may think that this is all that is about the Lunar New Year, but wait, how about that awesome party that your big boss is holding? Some of these parties are not just a party, my friends; it could be a party that every department, or perhaps every colleague tries to outdo one another based on what they bring to the party!

So, if you are heading to one of these parties, what should you bring?

Oranges and Red Packets

Oranges and red packets (ang baos) are two of the most vital things to bring when heading to such a party. This is essential if your boss is old-school and believes in a traditional set-up for the party. Even if you are heading for a pool-side party, the oranges and red packets will still do a lot of good! Well, unless you are single, then be prepared to receive red packets!

Whisky

If you want to impress your boss, whisky is one of the best choices you have. It might be cool to bring a bottle of wine to the party, but nothing impresses more than a bottle of whisky. The question is, what whisky should you bring? Let us share some suggestions with you!

Macallan Edition No. 3

The Macallan Edition No. 3 is a sweet and floral whisky that is easy to drink. It is also an affordable bottle that doesn’t break your pocket. Besides, Macallan is a famous brand, so even the uninitiated, non-whisky drinkers will recognise the brand. This bottle is going to help boost your reputation, especially if your boss loves whisky!

Taketsuru 21 Years

Next in line is a Japanese whisky that is so popular that prices are shooting higher and higher. The Taketsuru 21 Years Pure Malt is a blended whisky with some of the best Japanese single malts in it. It appears that both Yoichi and Miyagikyo are both parts of the blend! While this bottle may be a little more expensive, you can share the cost with a small team if you want to impress the big boss that your team knows what to bring for a CNY party!

Glenfiddich IPA

You have probably tried the Glenfiddich IPA and love the way the gentle and malty whisky sways its way down your throat in the sexiest of ways. We think that this bottle is perfect if the gathering does not require you to bring a big gift along. It is also ideal if you want to bring a bottle on your own and do not want to spend too much money. Glenfiddich is a big brand name with the best-selling whisky in the world. Bringing a bottle from a famous distillery can earn some brownie points too!

Glenlivet 12 Years Old

If you think that an aged Scotch is necessary, bring along the Glenlivet 12 Years. It is an easy-to-drink whisky that is floral and pleasing to the nose and palate. If you are willing to splurge a little more (good bonus, perhaps), go one level higher and aim for a Glenlivet 15 Years old. Both bottles will win hearts and souls with their excellent spirits. Of course, they will bring you higher regards from both the bosses and your colleagues!

Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve

If all else fails, there is Yamazaki to the recuse. The Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve is one of the most popular Japanese whiskies that is still relatively affordable. Unlike the Yamazaki 12 Years old, the Distiller’s Reserve edition is easier to find and does not cost as much as a 12 Years old. Bringing a Yamazaki bottle to the party is likely to make you a favourite among all the party-goers, especially if they love the delicate and floral taste of Japanese whiskies.

Have a Lovely Party!

The weekend that is coming up is going to be busy with all the parties! We hope that this little post will help you choose a bottle of whisky to bring and hope that it will bring you good fortune and the best of luck in the new year!

Slainte!

 

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6 whiskies suitable for the Chinese New Year Cheer

 

The Chinese celebrate the Chinese New Year (CNY) or Lunar New Year in February this year. As it is with all major festivals, there are some whiskies which are launched or released in limited edition bottles just for the celebration. In 2018, there are various whiskies launched for the CNY, such as The Macallan Double Cask with a CNY theme gift pack.

Our purpose is not to showcase every whisky bottle out there, but to highlight some of these bottles which we think are well-worth the dough that you need to spend to get these bottles. Some of them are even hard to come by, but we can always try!

In our opinions, these are the five whiskies/bottles which we think are perfect for the CNY celebration!

Johnnie Walker Blue Label – Year of the Dog

Johnnie Walker has been in the news recently, for their somewhat controversial decision to take a trademark for Jane Walker. We have discussed that previously, so we will not dwell on it anymore. What is more interesting is their annual zodiac bottle design for the Blue Label. This year, it is the year of the dog, and the bottle reflects it well.

As you can see from the picture, Diageo artistically covered the bottle on three sides with amazing images that symbolised both CNY and the Year of the Dog. There is even the striding man rolling a cask of whisky with a dog by his side. The pictures are exquisite and meaningful all at the same time. It is already in major retail stores and online stores, so if you are in the mood for a Blue Label, this is a bottle that you should buy!

Suntory Royal and Suntory Old

These are two different mid-tier whisky blends from Suntory, but we decided to put them together because their bottles are too beautiful to separate. Suntory releases special bottlings every year to commemorate the CNY since 1982, so it is no surprise that they came up with something exotic in 2018.

The new bottles pay tributes to the dog and showcase the loyal, yet playful nature of man’s best pal. Suntory housed The Royal in a ceramic container shaped like a dog, playing with a beautifully-designed ball. For the Suntory Old, the standard bottle shape applies, but the label showcases the same playful dog with the ball.

It is hard to buy either bottle due to their limit release in Japan only, but you can try Amazon or eBay if you love these bottles. If you have a friend in Japan, you can seek his or her help to search for the bottles too!

The Whisky Agency – Glenrothes 1997

These couple of bottles are part of a twin set that launched in Taiwan recently. While it is not part of a CNY packaging, it took inspiration from a favourite Chinese video game. Known in Mandarin as 仙劍奇俠傳 (The Legend of Sword and Fairy), it is a perfect gift for the CNY.

Picture Credits: WhiskyGeeks

The duo came with two different pictures of the Chinese video game main characters. The story links Chinese martial arts (wuxia), mythical creatures (shenmo), fantasy and love. It has an exciting plot and a somewhat controversial ending, but it is a beautiful game for those who are into role-playing games. For those of us who are only into whisky, the graphics on the bottles are appealing. They came in a beautifully-designed box, and the set includes the two bottles, two Glencairn glasses and two ceramic coasters!

Picture Credits: WhiskyGeeks

We ordered this set from Taiwan, and it is not easy to buy it here in Singapore or elsewhere in the world. Due to its nature as an independent bottling, these bottles are all limited edition.  If you are interested in obtaining a set, get in touch with us, and we will link you up accordingly!

Macallan Rare Cask Red

Finally, let us end the post with a familiar bottle.  The Macallan Rare Cask Red launched a few years ago to much fanfare. As the entry level to the prestigious 1824 Master Series, it is one of the most popular bottles for Macallan fans. For those who are new to the whisky scene, the 1824 Master Series showcased some of the rarest and most expensive modern Macallan bottles. You can find more information here.

The price reduces somewhat recently, so it is a good time for those who have finished their previous bottle to buy another one for the upcoming CNY!

Conclusion

More bottles celebrate the CNY, but these are five bottles which we feel are some of the most festive ones! Regarding affordability, we would suggest either the Johnnie Walker Blue Label or the Macallan Rare Cask, as both are not as difficult to obtain when compared to the others. You have to buy the Suntory bottles in Japan, so unless you have a friend in Japan, it is going to expensive if you buy them on Amazon or eBay! Similarly, for the TWA Glenrothes, you need to order the set from Taiwan, so shipping costs make the bottles more expensive then they should be.

 

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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 News: Macallan launched Edition No. 3

Picture Credits: www.sg.themacallan.com

Macallan announced the launch of their Edition No. 3 last week. It is the latest release of their annual limited edition series. Similar to the previous editions, this expression continues to explore Macallan’s unique approach to whisky making by revealing intimate details of the creation.

In this new expression, Macallan’s Master Distiller, Bob Dalgarno, worked with Master Perfumer Roja Dove and his exceptional sensory insights in describing unique aromas in oak casks to create the complexities of single malt character. What they did was to get Dove to nose particular oak casks in their warehouse and described the distinctive aromas. Dalgarno then selected particular casks from those descriptions to create Edition No. 3.

The final selection was a combination of smaller European and Amercian oak casks. The smaller size of the casks meant a greater contact between the spirit and the wood, creating a final product that is “sweet and fruity with fresh oak”.

With a global release of 250,000 bottles, the Edition No. 3 is bottled at 48.3% abv, slightly higher than the normal Macallan bottles.

It is priced at US$95. We figure it will be made available in the Singapore market soon!

 

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Whisky Review #04 – The Macallan Ruby (NAS)

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The Macallan Ruby is the last of the four whiskies in the 1824 Series and is considered the crown jewel of the lot. Having the richest and deepest colour in the range, the Ruby is majestic to behold. Matured and aged in the finest sherry casks, its appearance is natural; the colour and flavours are drawn directly from the casks.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: The darkest and richest red that a whisky can give, the Ruby is almost dark mahogany as we hold it up to the light.
ABV: 43%

Nose: We get strong European oak almost immediately before hints of rich, dried fruits and a trickle of treacle creep in to tickle our noses. The subtle sweetness of the dried fruits does not last and the oak reasserts itself quickly. It is burnished and matured, something that Geek Spice and Geek Choc appreciate. (15 points)

Palate: Ginger, nutmeg and resin rush in the moment the liquid touches the mouth, giving a rather sharp taste. Orange, sultana and raisins take over with their subtle sweetness to soften the taste, before we taste a subtle hint of clove before it is gone. The final winner is oak as we swallow. (15 points)

Body: A balanced whisky that deliver what the nose promised. Definitely a more assertive whisky than Macallan Sienna, the balanced body takes its time to reassert the strong oak character. (30 points)

Finish: A long and lingering finish that is reflective of the palate. Strong and definitive; suitable for those who loves a long finish. (16 points)

Total Grade: 76 points

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Whisky Review #03 – The Macallan Sienna (NAS)

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The Macallan Sienna is the third bottle in the 1824 Series and was released together with the Macallan Amber. Being the third darkest out of the 4, it is also matured in sherry casks. This whisky comprises of naturally coloured whiskies that are selected by hue and flavour. Its name, Sienna, refers to a naturally occurring pigment, highlighting Macallan’s practise of not adding colours to their whiskies.

Awards:

Gold – Liquid Gold Award – 2014

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible

 

Tasting Notes:

Colour: As the name suggest, the colour of this whisky is sienna, or shall we say dark amber?
ABV: 43%

Nose: A very pleasant subtle yet persistent vanilla nose greets us before we are attacked by a zesty and sharp orange. Green apples came in almost immediately after to soften the sharpness, adding freshness and balance to the already pleasant nose. White chocolate truffles come after, with elegant oak notes as a close to the complex, flavourful liquid. (16 points)

Palate: A mixture of spice and fruits -dates, figs and raisins march in when we drink it, before bowing out to nutmeg and ginger. The slight sharpness is softened by a hint of oranges and apples before strong vanilla overpowers them to form a slightly sweet taste as we swallow. (15 points)

Body: A well balanced whisky that holds up the promise of the nose magnificently. The persistent vanilla lingers from the nose to the palate, while the green apples keeps the sharpness of the zesty orange at bay. A good whisky – in our opinions! (32 points)

Finish: A beautiful finish that is gentle, smooth and warm all at the same time. The warm feeling that it gives comforts even the most stressful of us. (15 points)

Total Grade: 78 points

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Whisky Review #02 – The Macallan Amber (NAS)

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The Macallan Amber is part of the Macallan 1824 Series and one of the later batch of Macallan’s ageless whiskies. In an attempt to move the whisky industry away from the age statement whiskies, Macallan boldly made the move to release limited edition bottlings that are ageless. Launched after the Macallan Gold, this whisky is a predictable, amber-coloured dram. Having matured in sherry casks, it is chosen to be more fully flavoured than the Gold.

Awards:

Bronze – Scotch Single Malt – Speyside – 2013

International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes:

Colour: The colour is distinctly from sherry casks. The liquid glinted amber as we hold it up to the light.
ABV: 40%

Nose: Floral, citrus and sweet come on strongly as we take the first sniff. This is slowly taken over by a chorus of vanilla notes over freshly harvested grains as we take a second sniff. A subtle hint of raisins, sultana and cinnamon comes through in the third sniff before toffee apples and candy floss take over. The sweet smell can become overpowering if you are not a lover of sweet whisky. (14 points)

Palate: Fresh green apples and lemons wash over us at the first taste. The sweet citrus is mixed with cinnamon and just a hint of ginger as we rolled the liquid in our mouths. As we swallow, subtle oak lingers at the back of the mouth pleasantly. (15 points)

Body: This feels less balanced when compared to Macallan Gold as we feel that that palate does not come through as strongly as the nose, making the whisky a little disappointing. Nonetheless, the sherry casks that this whisky was matured in gives the body a strong sweet flavour that can be a hit with lovers of sherry casks. (28 points)

Finish: The slightly dry finish is light but it can be a medium finish for some. Soft fruits and cereal roll in our mouths for a while – quite a pleasant finish in our opinions. (15 points)

Total Grading: 72 points

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