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Queen and Mangosteen with Penderyn!

Whiskygeeks was invited to a Penderyn whisky dinner at Queen and Mangosteen!

 

The whisky dinner started with a refreshing cranberry cocktail. The tartness works with the sweetness from the Penderyn Legend, and that creates a balanced and refreshing cocktail. Served together with the cocktail were Haggis Scotch eggs. For those who haven’t tried Scotch eggs, they are eggs coated with meat, breaded and deep-fried. In this dish, the meat used was Haggis. 

Penderyn Madeira with Tuna Tartare

In the dish was a beautiful combination of tuna sashimi and creamy avocado, topped with shrimp roe. The base was laden with umami flavours from a miso-based sauce and tomatoes. The seafood flavour from the tuna and roe compliments the umami miso paste. This savoury starter enhances the light and sweet character of the Penderyn Madeira.

Penderyn Sherrywood with Rack of Lamb

The lamb dish looked exquisite, very much like the towers of KL. This lamb was also unlike any lamb I have tried before.

The cross-section of the lamb not only looked like steak, but it tastes like steak as well. Even a Welsh gentleman sitting adjacent who disliked lamb loved the dish. The garlic enhanced the lamb rack as well, while the mashed potato brought some balance to the main course. The Penderyn Sherrywood had the body and flavour to compliment this beautiful full-flavoured dish!

Penderyn Portwood Chocolate Hazelnut Praline

The plating of the dessert was beautiful, showcasing a variety of colours, flavours and textures. This was a dessert that could indeed follow up the extraordinary main course! When my spoon carved into the pyramid-shaped praline, the spoonful took the right amount of caramel sauce with it and complimented the hazelnut cream and chocolate! The fresh fruit and yoghurt ice cream gave the acidity to refresh the palate before going for more chocolate!
With such a variety of sweet treats, the Penderyn Portwood, with its flavours of guava and bananas, pairs well to this fantastic dessert!

 

The dinner at Queen and Mangosteen was truly amazing, and made even better with Penderyn whisky! Many thanks to Spirits Castle for the invite!

 

Bar ShoutOut: Wala Wala Café Bar

Picture courtesy of Wala Wala

Mention Wala Wala, and most of the locals will go, “Oh yeah…” The iconic building that sits near the end of Lorong Mambong at Holland Village is drawing its crowds every night since 1993 due to a mixture of nostalgia, fun and lively atmosphere. It is one of those watering holes where most of us pub crawlers will visit at least once in our rebellious youth days. It used to be a place where you go to get your beers, basic bar grub and heavenly live music, but Wala Wala has evolved into an all-out venue for live music. The offers in the menu grown from one to two, so you can imagine just how much bigger and grander, it is now as compared to the 90s.

The Lure of Wala Wala

Wala Wala is helmed by Stanley Yeo and his wife, Lilis Yeo. The duo is often spotted at the bar, entertaining their regular customers with chit chat and drinks while enjoying the live music on stage. For those who have never stepped into Wala, you may wonder why the bar emits an almost magnetic pull for all its regulars. The reason is simple. Wala is like a second home, one where you can relax and chill with friends. Its simple but lively atmosphere makes for an exciting night out for the weekend and a chill, relaxing evening on weekdays.

Tuesday Band – Tabula

The iconic bar offers up live music every night, with a different style of music and bands every day. You could even declare the bar is THE place where Singapore’s live music scene reigns! The music ranges from acoustic to pop, rock, soul and even heavy metal! With different styles every day, you can choose to visit the bar on nights where your kind of music is playing. Here is the list of live bands:

From 7 pm to 9 pm (2 sets):
Thursday: Adia and Mark
Friday: Randolf Arriola

From 9 pm (3 sets):
Sunday: Jack and Rai
Monday: The Passerby
Tuesday: Tabula
Wednesday: The Lost Box

From 9.40pm (3 sets):
Thursday: Shagies
Friday: Reverie
Saturday: Peep Show

Opened from 4 pm on weekdays and 3 pm on weekends and public holidays, Wala Wala puts in a lot of efforts to keep its customers happy.

Food on Offer

Wala Wala also offers up a wide variety of western food and bar grubs. The beauty of the food is not just the quality of good, tasty food; it is also the fact that Wala Wala often updates its menu to bring new dishes to its customers. While the bestseller on the food menu will always be its chicken wings, Wala Wala does some impressive upgrades to its menu just recently. One of the newest dishes is the Deep Fried Chicken coated with Salted Egg Yolk Sauce. The chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The salted egg yolk sauce is light and flavourful.

There are also numerous choices if you are a fan of sausages. New to their Grilled Sauage Platter is the Smoked Chicken Cheese, Smoked Chorizo Pork and Nürnberger Pork Bratwurst. There is also an exotic choice – Grilled Moroccan Merquez Sausage – which is a mix of lamb and beef.

Food Menu

Spirits on Offer

Now, this is the reason why WhiskyGeeks is doing a shoutout on Wala Wala. We are a whisky blog after all! The famous watering hole offers more than just beers and cocktails now – it serves premium whisky, rums, gins, vodka, tequila, cognac, sake and shochu too. With a wide range of brands to choose, you will be spoilt for choice. Some of the more popular whiskies include Balvenie, Macallan, Bowmore and Lagavulin. You will be pleased to know that it also serves Penderyn, the newly-imported whisky from Wales. The menu is a collection of brands that will wow and impress you all at the same time.

Spirits Menu

Besides the spirits on offer, Wala Wala also creates its signature cocktails using different spirits from their selection of brands. Most of their signature cocktails are designed in-house by their talented bartenders. A total of six cocktails sit proudly on page two of Wala Wala’s menu and with names such as Maiden’s Blush, November Rain and Sailor on Deck, you would want to try them all!

Signature Cocktail Menu

Special World Gourmet Summit Cocktail

Welshman

If you recall from one of our previous posts, Wala Wala collaborated with Spirits Castle on the creation of a new cocktail named Welshman. Made with Penderyn Sherrywood, Elderflower Syrup and Cranberry Bitters, it is extra barrel aged in the bar before getting served with a slice of dehydrated orange. We understood from Wala Wala that they would be showcasing this cocktail during the upcoming World Gourmet Summit! WhiskyGeeks had tasted it previously (of course), and we love it! The sweetness of the whisky blends well with the floral notes from the elderflower syrup and the dash of cranberry bitters added an extra dimension to the cocktail.

If you did not attend the World Gourmet Summit and missed out on the cocktail, fret not! Wala Wala Café Bar will be serving Welshman from 16 April 2019 for a limited time period! So, do go down and grab one before it is all gone.

Where can you find Wala Wala Café Bar?

Well, if you do not know where it is, here are the details.

Address: 31 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, Singapore 277689
Phone: (65) 6462 4288
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday – 4 pm to 1 am
Friday – 4 pm to 2 am
Saturday and PH Eves – 3 pm to 2 am
Sunday – 3 pm t0 1 am

 

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Rum & Whisky Pairing Dinner at Punjab Grill

WhiskyGeeks is excited to have been invited to a media tasting for the first Penderyn & Navy Island rum dinner, paired with authentic Indian cuisine. This tasting was a preview to the dinner open to attendees at the World Gourmet Summit 2019.

Punjab Grill

Finding a befitting restaurant for this dinner is crucial, as it must offer traditional authentic cuisine combined with flair, grandeur and elegance. That said, I would say that there is no place better than Punjab Grill, which has an atmosphere that was brimming with grandeur. The dishes are presented like works of art and its form allows its flavours to perform in perfect harmony on my palate.

Spirits Castle and INTERCO-MLE

Penderyn is a Welsh single malt, that has a sweet, fruity spirit character, with every drop unchill-filtered and natural colour. Penderyn is distributed in Singapore by Spirits Castle. The Navy Island rum is brought in by both Interco-MLE and Spirits Castle. Navy Island has its core range and also a Single Origin range called the 1731 Fine & Rare, highlighting terroir in rum. One bottle of rum each from the two series will be featured in the dinner.

Line Up

Starter: Chef Special Amuse Bouche of the Day with the Navy Habanero Mule

It was a savoury dish to start, which took me by surprise, especially because of how pink it was. The various textures of the dish were so different, from the foam to the base and the cream. The Navy Habanero Mule is based on the dark and stormy cocktail with a few changes. It features the Navy Island 40% rum, Hanebo Chilli Monin syrup and a special ginger powder provided from Punjab Grill themselves. The rum itself is less sweet but has more personality than most commercial rums. The cocktail maintains the rum’s unique spirit character, whilst balancing any sweet or citrusy tones from the Hanebo Chilli Monin syrup, with an added dimension of flavour from Punjab Grill’s Chilli powder.

Appetiser

Tandoor Grilled Barramundi Fish Tikka in Mustard Oil & Duck Seekh Kebab, Kashmiri Rogan Glaze

This dish was a delightful savoury dish. While the Seekh Kebab with the Rogan Glaze provided more herbal and heavier meaty notes, the tender fish coated in a peppery mustard exterior was lighter and mildly spiced.

Paired with this appetizer was the Penderyn Celt, which aged in ex-Laphroaig casks.

This imparts a light but distinct smoky peat-smoke note to the sweetness of the Penderyn single malt. Penderyn’s house style was intended to be sweet and unpeated; however, the Laphroaig cask was bought and filled due to an accident which turned out to be an unintended success with how delicious it is.

This was an outstanding pairing! Due to the Islay touch, the smokiness of the Celt complemented the coastal savoury fish and the Seekh Kebab. The sweetness from Penderyn’s spirit character juxtaposed the savoury spice dish. For me, it was of both a contrasting and complementary pairing. For people who might notice the smoke then the sweetness, the nature of this pairing would change as the whisky changes for you.

Entrée:

Lentils & Dry Berry Pancake, Masala Prawns & Lobster Bharta sprinkled with lime leaf powder, garnished with Masala Beluga Caviar

The entrée had a very different texture compared to the appetizer. The pancake was soft and chewy, serves as a platform for the mildly spiced shellfish bharta and caviar.

The Penderyn Legend 41% pairs delightfully with this entrée. This single malt initially goes through ex-bourbon casks maturation and ends its journey in a fruity Madeira cask. This finish goes well with the sweetness of the spirit character.

The intense umami and savoury dish met its match with the Legend (no pun intended), which provided strong sweet fruit flavours to combat the entrée’s daunting flavour. This pairing was a contrasting pairing, somewhat like the clashing of the titans, but in an enjoyable way. The pairing intensified the honey and citrus notes of the whisky as well.

 

Main:

36-hour Lamb Chop Marinated with Herbs & Spices, clay oven grilled, served with Lakhnavi brown onion gravy

The lamb was a beautiful shank, the gravy sauce was mildly spiced and had some mutton flavours to it. The meat itself is soft, tender, and melts in my mouth.

The Whisky paired to the main is the Penderyn Myth which underwent maturation in ex-bourbon casks prior to a Red Wine cask finish. Bottled at 41%, this is a dram with notes of cinnamon spice and red berries, coupled with citrus zest, vanilla and confectionary sweetness from its ex-bourbon maturation. The spice of the dram blended well with the spices of the dish, whilst the sweetness of the Myth juxtaposed the main dish.

For seafood lovers, there is also another option for mains of having Tava Grilled Chilli crushed Jumbo Tiger Prawns, served with Chettinad & Coconut Smooth Gravy, paired with Penderyn Sherrywood.

Dessert: Punjab Grill Special Dessert Platter

The platter consisted of a pineapple cheesecake, lychee, caramel ice cream dusted with delicious crumble, and a warm mildly sweet paste decorated in a blueberry sauce of sorts. A dish just as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. The dessert is paired to the Cuban 5yo rum which is a Spanish style “Rhum” using column distillation. Regionality dictates that only Cuban molasses and sugarcane should be used, giving some providence to its terroir. The initial taste of the rum was fresh and zesty with notes of honey. However, this pairing brought out a different dimension to the Cuban rum. The sweetness of the dessert was able to accentuate an earthy note in the rum which I did not notice in the rum before I had the dessert. This pairing was a truly transformative experience.

How do I get to attend the dinner?

The dinner will be available at the World Gourmet Summit 2019, with a vegetarian option. It will cost 128++ without whisky pairing and 178 ++ with whisky and rum pairing. With the 5 drinks, I think it’s worth getting the latter! You can reserve your seats at this link! Grab your seats now!

Special thanks to Zerlina of Spirits Castle for the invitation, this was an absolutely remarkable experience!

 

Weekend Rendezvous with Penderyn Single Malts

We had an awesome weekend with Michael Wheeler, Global Brand Ambassador of Welsh Single Malt, Penderyn in early March. As Wales celebrates St David’s Day on 1 March of every year, Penderyn importer, Spirits Castle Pte Ltd, decided to bring the celebration to Singapore with a couple of whisky tastings amongst other activities.

Pre-Celebration Drinks

The celebration started at The Providore, Downtown Gallery, where Michael held an impromptu lunchtime tasting of two best-selling whiskies in Singapore, the Sherrywood and Rich Oak.

Set up at The Providore, Downtown Gallery

While most people were not keen to start drinking at noon, more interested drinkers came at around 1 pm. Michael had a good time speaking with them about Welsh whiskies, and some of them walked away feeling that they have found gold! He also spoke with two seasoned drinkers who thought that the Sherrywood was quite similar to some of their favourite Scotch whiskies!

Whisky Pairing Dinner @ Conrad Centennial Singapore

WhiskyGeeks invited ourselves to the whisky pairing dinner at Conrad Centennial Singapore on 1 March 2019 because we had to (wink!) and of course, we were glad that we went! The event was a collaboration between Conrad and Spirits Castle with Conrad doing most of the job. When we arrived, we saw the team at The Lobby Lounge busy working on the set up for the evening. What impressed us though, was that their General Manager was helping out as well! We seldom see a GM who is so hands-on and respected the man who is so willing to serve.

The completed set up

First…the Dragons

The Dragon Range (from left to right): Legend, Myth, Celt

The whisky dinner started with a series of canapés and the Dragon Range from Penderyn. The Dragon on each bottle represents Wales and what it stands for. The dragon is, of course, the one gracing the flag of Wales. Michael spoke about the range and intrigued audiences with tales of dragons and myths.

Michael and his audiences

The Legend was the first whisky we tried. Matured in a bourbon cask before having a finish in Madeira casks, this whisky is light and fruity, with a hint of oakiness. The Myth is sweeter, with a rounded balance of fruits and candy because it is a bourbon-matured whisky that is finished in red wine casks. The Celt is the most interesting, with light peaty smoke and sweet ripe fruits. Michael explained that this whisky was finished in ex-Islay casks! All the whiskies in the Dragon range are bottled at 41% abv.

The Golden Dinner

The food prepared by Conrad’s Chef

The actual dinner pairing worked with Penderyn Gold Range – a series of 5 different whiskies bottled at 46% abv. Chef Mandar worked extensively to come up with each pairing, and all of them were fantastic!

Conrad’s Penderyn Pairing Dinner

Our favourite was the Pork Belly with Sherrywood as the pairing worked so well! The tender pork belly infused with coffee enhanced the flavours of Penderyn Sherrywood, while the whisky helped to remove the sweetness of the sauce perfectly. We also like the dessert, because the chocolate cake was divine! It was so good that we almost forgot about the whisky!

Michael speaking about the whiskies

Michael talked about the whiskies at every course, and he regaled tales of the distillery’s history and blunders in a humourous manner. He told us about Penderyn Peated – a mistake that turned out to become a popular whisky in the core range! It was said that the person-in-charge of buying casks for the distillery made a terrible blunder and purchased a batch of casks that were once holding peated whisky on Islay. When the distillery discovered the mistake, it was too late, and they had to release the whisky as a “one-off” experiment because they cannot just throw away good whisky. It turned out that people love the whisky so much that they begged the distillery to continue the production, and so today, it is part of the core range.

The Final Frontier

We ended the dinner with a special cocktail, one which the bartender at The Lobby Lounge did for the event. It was a Manhattan but done using the Penderyn Celt. Sweet and smoky, the cocktail was the perfect drink to end a lovely evening at Conrad Centennial Singapore.

A Whisky Journey to Wales at Wala Wala

Wala Wala’s Bartender with Penderyn

2 March 2019 was equally exciting because Penderyn did a tasting at Wala Wala, Singapore’s iconic bar at Holland Village! We understood that Penderyn distillery (and Spirits Castle) is absolutely delighted with Wala Wala’s support of their whiskies.

Wala Wala Cafe Bar is a place that most of the 80s and 90s kids know fondly. It is THE place to hang out, and some of us did more than hang out there – we slept on the floor, drunk, of course! The event was a collaboration between Wala Wala and Spirits Castle. Again, Wala Wala was the one who did all the job of setting up!

The Actual Event

Michael led the group gathered at Wala Wala on a journey to Wales, where he waxed lyrical about the country and the beautiful places that surround Penderyn Distillery.

Mike with the attentive audiences

The focus at Wala Wala was the five Gold Range expressions, but participants were greeted with a cocktail done with the Myth! The crowd at Wala was curious about Welsh whiskies, with many of them hearing about Penderyn for the first time. Therefore, many questions flew at Michael, who happily answered them all.

He also showed them some interesting elements of the distillation method at Penderyn and explained why the whisky tasted so different from the others.

Studying the elements of distillation

Interaction with our resident WhiskyGeeks

Michael also had a chance to speak with our guest writer of WhiskyGeeks – Hongfu aka Panda. He was delighted to find someone who loves whisky so much that questions came nonstop! It was enjoyable to see them interact with each other and to know that WhiskyGeeks will always have someone to fall back on should we fail to deliver in future! Hahaha!!

Michael with our resident whisky geeks

All of us enjoyed ourselves at Wala Wala, and we are awed by the generosity of the owner – Stanley when platters upon platters of food came from the kitchen after the presentation was over. It was an endless parade of food, and needless to say, we were all stuffed by the time the event ended. So many questions, so much food…Whisky flow aplenty as well, and out of the five, Sherrywood naturally came out tops, again!

We had an enjoyable time, and appreciated the efforts that Wala Wala had put in to make the event so fun!

Till the next time…

The weekend rendezvous with Penderyn was excellent, and we hope to do it again! Conrad’s dinner pairing was a luxurious, one of a kind event and Wala Wala’s laidback environment was a complete opposite to it. Both events left deep memories of the place, the whisky and the food. We can’t wait to do this again! Till the next time, folks!!

 

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The Liquid Gold of Wales – Penderyn Distillery

We interview Dr Giancarlo Bianchi, Technical Director of Penderyn Distillery previously, where we spoke briefly about Penderyn Distillery. It is now time for us to formally introduce the Penderyn Distillery to our readers since their products are coming to Singapore shortly.

The Birth of Penderyn

Wales, England had lost the art of distillation for over a century since it stopped in 1894. The people of Wales need to have a distillery to call their own, their pride. In the late 1990s, a group of friends met at a pub in a small Welsh valley town for a catch-up session over drinks. As the night progressed, the talk turned serious, and this group of friends began to conceive the idea of building the first whisky distillery in Wales. It would be a Welsh distillery that creates “a whisky as pure and precious as Welsh gold” and one which the people of Wales will be proud of.

The group of friends already have a location in mind – the historic village of Penderyn on the southern tip of the Brecon Beacons. The site is perfect because it has its supply of fresh, natural spring water. They knew that it is the ideal place for a distillery. What’s more, this resourceful group of friends also have access to a unique copper single-pot still designed by Dr David Faraday. He is a relative of the famous 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday.

With the resources and plans ready in hand, the group of friends began the construction of Penderyn Distillery and established the home of the Welsh’s liquid gold on 1 March 2004 in the presence of HRH Prince Charles.

Penderyn’s Unique Copper Still

How is Welsh’s liquid gold made? Well, remember we spoke about Penderyn’s unique copper single-pot still designed by Dr David Faraday? It is this very still that makes gold for Penderyn.

Penderyn distillery has a pair of copper single-pot stills called the Faraday Stills. The stills are designed by Dr David Faraday, who is a relative of the famous Victorian scientist, Michael Faraday. The single-pot still produces a clean and flavourful spirit of extraordinary strength that becomes Penderyn’s signature style of whisky.

The Distillation Process

The distillery charges malted barley wash into their copper stills every morning. The still is heated with hot steam. As the liquid reaches boiling point, the vapour rises into a copper column above the still. The column has seven perforated plates, and the vapour condenses on the first plate before falling back into the still. The process continues, with the vapour that condenses on the first plate becoming purer and rising to the second plate before condensing. This delicate process continues until the vapour reaches the 7th plate, where it condenses and is collected into a glass spirit safe, drop by drop.

The entire process helps to purify the final spirit and imbues it with great complexity, depth, and body. The copper still also removes many undesirable chemical compounds. The magical process creates a clean spirit of extraordinary strength. The new make at Penderyn arrives at the spirits safe at a staggering strength of 92% abv, one of the industry highest.

Wood and Cask

The new make from Penderyn needs a home after they are born. Penderyn takes great care to ensure every drop of liquid has a quality home to rest in. The distillery’s house style comes from the use of two kinds of casks. The primary residence of the new make is an excellent hand-selected bourbon barrel that comes from either Buffalo Trace or Evan Williams Distillery. Both of them make some of the finest bourbons in the world. That makes their ex-bourbon casks perfect as the first home for Penderyn’s whisky.

Penderyn uses Portuguese barriques that held a rich Madeira wine to finish their house-style whisky. The rich Madeira casks imparted subtlety and complexity to the whisky. They also use other types of casks to create a range of products to suit everyone’s palate. The distillery uses Scottish peated casks, Portugal port wood barrels and Spanish dry oloroso sherry casks.

Penderyn’s Range of Whisky

Penderyn has a large range of whisky available for every whisky drinker. At a glance, there are three ranges of whisky on offer as well as other spirits such as gin and vodka.

First up, there is the Dragon range. It showcases the pride of Wales as the red dragon is the national flag. Under the Dragon range, you can find Legend, Myth and Celt. Legend mirrors the house-style of Penderyn’s signature malt, with ex-bourbon and Madeira finish. Myth is matured in ex-bourbon and ex-red wine casks. Celt is the lightly peated version of Penderyn’s single malt.

There is also the Gold range, which is made up of Maderia, Port wood, Sherry wood and Peat. Every expression is matured in ex-bourbon cask before getting a finish in their respective casks.

Besides the above seven expressions, Penderyn also has limited edition releases named Icons of Wales which showcase either a person, milestone or event from Welsh history with international significance. So far, the distillery launched five expressions with number six coming along in the near future.

What will be Available in Singapore?

We understand that Penderyn whisky will be launched in Singapore in October 2018 with seven expressions from the Dragon and Gold range. The dates are not confirmed, but we will be releasing them as soon as we know. Stay tuned for more!

 

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