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Whisky Event – Bruichladdich Old vs New

From left: SMOS 1992, SV 1990, X4+3, Islay Barley 2010

Here’s a new whisky event that Geek Flora and Choc went to in less than a week! Bruichladdich Old vs New event happened at The Single Cask on 9 May 2018. Hosted by both bar manager Brendan and Bruichladdich APAC Brand Ambassador Chloe Wood, it was an awesome evening filled with history and amazing whiskies.

The Lineup

The lineup on 9 May was a stellar one. The liquids came from different eras of the Bruichladdich distillery. We had a Signatory Vintage 1990 Bruichladdich, 26 Years Old, a Single Malt of Scotland 1992 Bruichladdich, 23 Years Old, the X4+3 and the Islay Barley 2010 from the distillery itself. The oldest whiskies came from independent bottlers as Bruichladdich was in a less than desirable situation in the 1990s when it still belonged to Invergordon. If you followed our article about the distillery, you would know that Bruichladdich closed in 1994 and did not reopen until 2001.

The X4+3 was a unique expression as it was quadruple-distilled and aged for only three years (hence the name X4+3)! It came from the era of Mark Reynier and Jim McEwan, the legendary distiller. It is almost impossible to find a bottle now, so if you manage to find one, BUY IT! The Islay Barley 2010 is, of course, one of their newer expressions when the distillery came under the guidance of their current master distiller – Adam Hannett.

The Event Proper

The event started not with the whiskies, but with pizzas and garlic bread, compliments from the good folks at The Single Cask and Bruichladdich. After they fed us, the event started with Brendan and Chloe up on “stage”.

Brendan and Chloe up on “Stage”

They explained that they originally wanted to start the tasting session with the old vintages, but changed their minds. They were starting with the youngest one! The reason was simple – we are likely to taste the difference better when we did the young to the old. So, that’s precisely what we did!

Islay Barley 2010 (50% abv)

The Islay Barley is slightly different from the regular Scottish Barley as it has a salty tint to it. We would like to think that it is due to the Islay barley used. While the typical sweetness of a Bruichladdich is prominent, there is this unique coastal salt, and toasty cereal notes to it. The spice is also sharper than the regular Scottish Barley. Overall, it is a lovely dram that you can enjoy any time of the day.

X4+3 (63.5% abv)

X4+3 is exceptional. That is Geek Flora talking, by the way. The sweetness of the whisky is so distinctively pears, green apples and melons! This is one whisky for the sweet tooths! The palate has hints of coastal salt and lemons coupled with light tangy spice at the tip of the tongue. Even though this is only aged for three years, the creaminess and oiliness of the whisky are remarkable. We supposed it has something to do with it being quadruple-distilled.

SMOS 1992, 23 Years Old (55.4% abv)

The SMOS 1992 was one of the crowd’s favourite that night. As it was from the Invergordon era, the distillate differed slightly from the modern ones. There was this pine note within the whisky, which kind of differentiate it as a whisky made for blends (we think). The nose was fresh with pine, melon and lime. The palate presented a bouquet of flowers, with oak, light melon and hints of lime. Warm spice lingered in the middle and back of the tongue. Unfortunately, the finish was short with pine-oak and floral notes. It was also dry. Again, the finish showcased a whisky that was perfect for blending, but not so great perhaps, as a single malt due to a rather short finish at such a high abv.

Signatory Vintage 1990, 26 Years Old (53.4% abv)

As for the Signatory Vintage 1990, it was a little different because it was a sherry-cask matured whisky. However, it appeared to be slightly lacking as it did not showcase typical sherry notes. The nose was promising, with cherry, hints of cranberries (some say baby vomit), green apples and some savoury salted meats. The palate was warm spice, red fruits and hints of salt. While the finish is long, salty and dry, it did not give a high satisfaction. Were our expectations too high? We are not so sure.

After Party at The Single Cask

We stayed way longer than we planned to (as usual). Initially, it was to savour and finish our drams, especially the X4+3 and the SMOS 1992. As the crowd left and the bar quietened, it became a great place for conversation. We had a chat with Chloe and a fellow Laddie fan, Fiona, and spoke about Laddie t-shirts! Haha! So, we decided to take this photo below.

Laddie fans united with our Laddie Ambassador!

It was such a beautiful picture, isn’t it! Chloe and Brendan had on the Bruichladdich Polo Tee, while Geek Flora and Choc had our Unicorn Bruichladdich and Octomore Tee. Fiona was wearing her 2017 Feis Ile tee! We love this so much that we named it the “Laddie fans united with our Laddie Ambassador” picture!

A Laddie Cocktail

Islay Barley 2010 Whisky Sour

Just as we were about to leave, Brendan said, “How about an Islay Barley Whisky Sour?” We just had to stay for that because Brendan made terrific cocktails! Most of you who know Flora personally know that she is not a cocktail person, but she took two big sips from this glass that she shared with Chloe. It was the perfect answer to how yummy this whisky sour was. Stunningly balanced between the sweetness and the alcohol, this whisky sour is probably something that you will keep wanting to come back for.

After emptying the glass, it was time to head home. So we bid goodbye to Brendan and Chloe and made our way back. It was an excellent evening to be sure. If you have never been to a Bruichladdich event, come to the next one. We promise that you will not be disappointed.

 

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Bruichladdich Black Art Series Tasting Event

Picture Credits: Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich is starting 2018 fast and furious, with many events lined up with various bars. The first event of the year for Singapore started with a Black Art tasting at The Single Cask. Chloe Wood, Bruichladdich’s Asia Pacific Brand Ambassador, led the session. It was a sell-out session, and the crowd at TSC was excited to see Chloe in person. The brand manager of Bruichladdich, Rachel Tan, was also in attendance, and she even brought along home-made butter cakes drizzled with Port Charlotte icing! There was food as well, so it was indeed a little party that we were happy to be a part of.

Starting the session with some history

Attentive participants listening to Chloe

A tasting session could not proceed without a bit of history to set the tone right, and Chloe did not disappoint as she waxed lyrical about Bruichladdich’s history. It was a somewhat stormy history, with struggles and closures that were all too real. Started in 1881, the Harvey brothers built Bruichladdich and resolved to run the distillery using state-of-the-art technology at that time. Spirits ran pure and floral from their stills, and Bruichladdich whisky proved that Islay could make unpeated whiskies.

Bruichladdich Distillery in 1881 (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

Troubles soon befell the distillery. A fire broke out in 1934, and William Harvey passed away in 1936. With William gone, the distillery fell into the hands of various entities before getting mothballed in 1994 by Jim Beam.

The distillery saw new hope when Englishmen Mark Reyneir and Simon Coughlin sought to buy the distillery in 2000. Chloe shared an intriguing story in which Mark and Simon were told to “scramp off” by the men who were taking care of the distillery when they tried to gain access to Bruichladdich to take a look. Mark and Simon persisted and finally managed to buy the distillery with 8,000 maturing casks for £6m. 50 investors were involved in the purchase.

A New Hope

With Mark and Simon on the helm, Bruichladdich took a turn for the better. In 2001, the duo decided that they will use purely Scottish barley for their distillation. The most significant achievement, however, was the decision to mature all their whiskies within the distillery’s compound!

Bruichladdich Distillery (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

 

Maturing casks at Bruichladdich Distillery (Picture Credits: Bruichladdich)

Things ran smoothly until 2011 when the distillery fell into a financial crunch. The traditional methods of distillation and storage of the casks within the distillery had drained the finances. Mark and Simon struggled to pay the passionate workers and resolved to bring in more funds for the distillery.

Saviour in the form of Remy Cointreau

Remy Cointreau came in with the funds of £58.5m in 2012 and saved the distillery from getting mothballed. With the money, Bruichladdich could once again function with maximum capacity and even increased their production output from 750,000 litres to 1,200,000 – 1,500,000 litres from 2013 to 2017.

Remy left the running of the distillery to the knowledgeable men and women on Islay and provided the support whenever needed. With a team of dedicated whisky makers and a management that is willing to support them, the distillery is scaling for greater heights in the coming years. In fact, Bruichladdich is looking into a possibility of starting their own malting facility in future!

The Whisky of the Night

From left: Bruichladdich 1990, Black Art 4.1, Black Art 5.1

With the intriguing history behind us, Chloe took us through the flights of the three whiskies in front of us. First up was the Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old, followed by the Black Art 4.1 and finally the Black Art 5.1.

Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

 

The Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old has a unique history that spans three generations of master distillers. Adam Hannett created the expression using casks brought in 2001. There were two paths to this liquid.

First Path:
– Refill American Bourbon cask, 17 years
– Fine French Claret, Bordeaux Grand Cru Cask, five years
– Spanish Sherry, Pedro Ximenez from Fernando de Castilla, four years

Second Path:
– Refill Spanish Sherry butt, 18 years
– Spanish Sherry, Oloroso from Fernando de Castilla, seven years

Adam then married the casks together to create the Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old.

Tasting notes of Bruichladdich 1990/25 years old

The dark amber of this expression promises a sherry bomb and makes us fall in love with this sherried whisky even before we tried it. The nose is fragrant with dark fruits and chocolate. Raisins, sultanas, dates and apricots float together with hints of vanilla. The palate follows with chocolate cream, raisins and dates. Layered underneath is a soft and light fruitiness that comes from the spirit. The smooth and oily mouthfeel makes this whisky elegant and very palatable. The finish is long with sweet sherry and chocolate. The mouthfeel gets drier towards the end.

Black Art 4.1

Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1

The Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1  is Jim McEwan’s last release of the Black Art before retiring. There is a story behind the Dark Arts..ahem, I mean Black Art. Back in the days when Adam was learning the craft from Jim, he asked Jim what was in some of the casks that were brought in from the outside after smelling an other-worldly perfume in the warehouse. Jim smiled and said, “Ah, well, that’s a secret never to be divulged…that’s where the magic lies.” Adam paused and then replied, “Jim, this isn’t distilling that you do, it’s alchemy – the dark arts…”

And that, my dear readers, was how the Black Art was born. Jim created the first Black Art in 2009. Black Art 2.1 in 2011, 3.1 in 2012, and Black Art 4.1 in 2013.

Nobody except the master distiller knows what went into the Black Arts – and they keep the secret forever. Even Mark and Simon are not let in on the secret. The bottle was blackened, and coated with mystical signs. It is a success because the Black Arts are so different from the other Bruichladdich series.

Tasting Notes of Black Art 4.1

Black Art 4.1 is another 1990 vintage with the liquids spending at least 23 years old in their respective casks. Bottled at the natural strength of 49.2% abv, it is a non-chill filtered and colouring free whisky.

The nose is fragrant and robust. Raisins, sultanas, red wine float gently together. A pleasant, warm spice tingles in the background. The palate is oily and soft, with a slight tingle of spice on the lips. Sweet caramel, raisins and cream coats the palate beautifully. The finish is long, sweet and a little dry.

Black Art 5.1

Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1

The Black Art 5.1 is Adam’s very first Black Art creation. It causes him many sleepless nights, constant worry and self-doubt. However, his belief in his teacher and mentor, Jim, and his knowledge gleaned from his long years of learning the craft, spurred him forward to create Black Art 5.1.

When Jim gave Adam his recipe for the Black Art 5.1, Adam dutifully took and ignored it. Adam wanted to repay his mentor and friend by creating a Black Art that is worthy of the knowledge that he learned from the legendary master distiller. His immersed respect for Jim demands for nothing short of that.

His hard work paid off, and the Black Art 5.1 is a hit with many fans in the world. The elegant and soft expression won the hearts of many, and it was indeed, a tribute paid to both Adam and Jim.

Tasting Notes of Black Art 5.1

The amber colour of 5.1 reminds us fondly of the 4.1. The nose is full of sweet fruits – mango, pineapples and apricots – and warm spice tingles the nose with some spike. It is, however, light and elegant with no unpleasant bite. The palate is consistent with the fruitiness and yet coupled with oak influences of vanilla, honey and soft cinnamon spice. The finish is long and fruity.

After-hours Chat

The tasting session ended soon after the Black Art 5.1, but the party was not over yet. With Port Charlotte cakes and jolly laughter, the party continued with Chloe chatting with various participants. We also stole Chloe’s time for a short chat, and I took the chance to get a picture with her too!

It was an enjoyable session, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Oh, and we got ourselves a fantastic Bruichladdich polo tee each!! It was reasonably priced at $25, so we just grabbed it while it last! The next WhiskyLive is going to have a lot of Bruichladdich “ambassadors” wannabes walking around for sure! Hahaha…

If you want to know more about Bruichladdich and their ranges of whiskies, click here and here to find out more!

Stay tuned as there will be more coming in February!

 

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Five Whisky Bars in Singapore that WhiskyGeeks recommends

 

Some of our readers asked if we have a favourite whisky bar to go to in Singapore, while others asked for recommendations of the whisky bars that we frequented. We thought that instead of answering them one by one, we would do a little post to answer all these questions. 😀

As many of you already know, the whisky bar scene in Singapore is getting more and more crowded for a small country. As the number of whisky drinkers increases, the whisky bars popping up in Singapore are growing too. However, some of these bars may not always make the mark for a whisky lover.

WhiskyGeeks do not profused to visit all the whisky bars in Singapore, but this is something that we will try to do now and then this year. It is a perfect time to have an article on whisky bars in Singapore since our readers are asking and it is also the next article after our first bar feature.

Without further ado, let us start the journey then! Please note that we list the bars in alphabetical order.

 

Quaich Bar

Picture Credits: Quaich Bar South Beach

Quaich Bar is the oldest whisky bar in Singapore, having celebrated its 10th years anniversary in 2017. They have a fantastic history and one which you can easily find out more in our interview with the owner, Khoon Hui.

Quaich Bar has two locations. Their flagship store is over at the Waterfront Plaza, besides the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. The second bar is at the newly openly South Beach Avenue. Both bars offer whisky lovers a considerable choice of whiskies from Scotland as well as new world whiskies from South Africa and India.

Address: 

Quaich Bar Waterfront Plaza: 390A Havelock Road, Waterfront Plaza, #01-09/10, Singapore 169663

Quaich Bar South Beach Avenue: 30 Beach Road, #01-16, Singapore 189763

The Auld Alliance

The Auld Alliance (AA) impress us with its pure opulence of the place. Decorated like a grand British library of a wealthy man, the AA is the perfect place to wind down. In this bar, you find exquisite whiskies from official bottlings to independent bottlings. As the AA also bottles whiskies under its name, you will find a range of whisky that is bottled for the AA.

One of the most memorable dram that Geek Flora had in the AA was their bottling of a LittleMill. If you happened to be in the vicinity, you should visit the AA for a dram or two.

Address:

9 Bras Basah Road, RendezVous Hotel Gallery, #02-02A Singapore 189559

The Single Cask

 

The Single Cask, or TSC for short, is a cosy, little bar hidden in the corner of Chijmes. Brendan, the bar manager, runs the show with his trusty cocktail expert, Ronin. TSC offers you a home away from home with its cosy decorations and friendly bartenders. You wouldn’t go wrong if you pop by TSC for a dram or two after work because the bar offers comforting whiskies all around. What is unique about TSC is the fact that they are an independent bottler. The eye-catching square bottles that hold the golden nectar bottled by TSC are quite a sight to behold because they are going to challenge how you think whisky bottles should look like! Besides a massive range of independent bottling, TSC also offers up a killer menu of cocktails made by Ronin! If you are a cocktail lover, you need to head over too!

Besides, TSC is also an SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Association) bar so if you are keen to find out more about SMWS, chat with Brendan!

Address:

30 Victoria Street, Chijmes Caldwell House #01-25, Singapore 187996

The Wall SG

 

We featured The Wall SG in our monthly newsletter for January, and if you have yet to read the article, you can find it here. Jeremie Tan runs the show here together with his colleagues to provide not just whisky, but also food pairing. The kitchen packs a punch here, and if you are looking for a bar with REAL food, The Wall is your perfect place to go! This bar showcases an amazing range of Japanese whiskies as well as a healthy range of Taiwanese independent bottlings of Scotch. Jeremie is also a friendly guy who will ensure that you are super comfortable whenever you are in his bar! There are also exciting new events coming up for The Wall, so do check out the bar feature post for more details!

Address: 

76, Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497

The Writing Club

The Writing Club is one of the newest whisky bars in town, and we were invited to their closed-doors Christmas party last December. A posh bar with British decorations and super friendly bartenders, you can find a welcoming troop here! The bar offers a range of whiskies that is bound to please. There are the regular official bottlings, and then there are the rarer bottles from mothballed distilleries. The bar also serves up fantastic cocktails that wouldn’t let you down!

The bar owner, Soo San, also acquired some special expressions from Taiwanese independent bottlers, so if you are looking for something different, head down to The Writing Club!

Address: 

390 Orchard Road, #02-10, Singapore 238871

Some last thoughts…

While the above five bars are some of those which we go to most often, WhiskyGeeks is planning to visit new bars soon. We encourage our readers to try out new bars if you are still not sure of the whisky profile that you like. It is a better option to try whisky at a bar to decide if you want it instead of paying for a bottle only to realise that you do not fancy the taste profile.

That’s all for now, folks! Until the next time!

 

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The Single Cask Event of the Year: THE LAST CHANCE

From left to right: TSC Linkwood 1984, TSC Glenrothes 19 YO 58.5%, TSC Glenrothes 19 YO 58%, TSC Bowmore #31932, TSC Bowmore #31931

2017 is coming to a close, and The Single Cask had similarly organised its last tasting event of the year. If you had not managed to grab a ticket for the sell-out event on 8 December 2017, you had missed out on the five beautiful expressions that we tasted.

Introducing the Bottles

Brendan, the whisky expert of The Single Cask, had chosen five crown jewels of the bar to share with all of us at the event. The Single Cask bottled every expression.

The five bottles we tasted were:

Linkwood 1984 (26 Years Old) – Bottled 2010
Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry #L1097 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017
Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry #T497 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017
Bowmore 2001 #31932 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016
Bowmore 2001 #31931 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

Why are these bottles so special? Well, if you consider that they are either sold out or having less than five bottles left at the bar, you would want to hurry down to the bar to taste them by the dram before they are gone FOREVER! Before you rush off to The Single Cask, here’s a little background for the five bottles.

Linkwood 1984 (26 Years Old) – Bottled 2010

TSC Linkwood 1984 was bottled back in 2010 when TSC was not born yet. Back in those days, the bar was operating under the name of “Malt Vault” at Ann Siang Hill. It is also the reason why the shape of the bottle is different from the rest. The round glass represented the legacy of Malt Vault. The Linkwood 1984 is one of the first bottlings by The Single Cask. In the seven years that have passed since 2010, The Single Cask has created 37 expressions. That is not a small feat to be sure!

Linkwood 1984 has a clean citrus nose. Raw honey and herbaceous fruits are also prominent with some oakiness. That citrus note follows in the palate with a tingling sensation on the tongue. Light, fresh honey notes with warm, gentle spice are evident too. The finish is medium with light citrus, oaky notes. There is some bitterness toward the end, likely due to the wood.

It is an easy to drink whisky that is balanced and clean. It is somewhat singular but one which is suitable as an introduction to new whisky drinkers.

Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry #L1097 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017

The Single Cask bottled the Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry in 2017. The yield of 85 bottles was because The Single Cask bought only one-fifth of the whole cask. Glenrothes is well-known for its sherry influence, and we had high expectations for this expression.

TSC Glenrothes 1997 Refill Sherry has a woody, sweet nose. Dark raisins, white peppery spice and sour sulphuric notes are in the forefront. A slightly unpleasant sourish odour appears after a while, reminding us of many sweaty bodies squeezed in a poorly ventilated lift. The sulphuric notes follow in the palate, turning it slightly sourish. The saving grace comes from the dark raisins and hints of roasted almond. Some woodiness can be detected in the back of the tongue too. The finish is relatively long with bits of roasted almonds at the end of the throat. It is also astringent and bitter.

It is an unusual presentation of a Glenrothes. While it may not be the most balanced dram of Glenrothes we had tasted, it is worth trying for its uniqueness.

Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry #T497 (19 Years Old) – Bottled 2017

This expression of the Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry is not a sister cask of the previous expression. It is an older expression by six months. The Single Cask bottled this version in 2017 as well. The Dark Sherry has a yield of 86 bottles and is a sherry bomb! As we had tried this before, we know that this whisky needs a lot of time to awaken to its complete profile. We recommend that you air this dram for at least 30 minutes before enjoying it.

The Single Cask Glenrothes 1997 Dark Sherry has a sherried, sweet nose with raisins and spice in the background. After airing the whisky for about 20 minutes, the spice mellowed, and the nose becomes sweeter. The sherry influence increases as you air it out. The palate is full of raisins, delicious red wine and gentle spice. Some dustiness coats the tongue. After airing, the taste gets sweeter with the raisins taking the forefront. The dustiness and spice take on a mellow note with the red wine coating the palate beautifully. The finish is medium to long with some dryness that is similar to a red wine finish. It is also astringent. After airing, the sweetness becomes prominent, and the dryness recedes slightly. It becomes herbaceous and bitter (something like an 85% dark chocolate).

This version of the Glenrothes is much more balanced and complex as compared to the previous one. However, it can get a little one-dimensional if you waited too long. It is a challenging dram if you want to catch all its notes within the 30 minutes time frame.

Bowmore 2001 #31932 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

Bowmore is a brand that is well-known to all. It has its ups and downs as a distillery. The 60s, 70s, and 80s were terrific times at the distillery as it was performing at its peak. The 90s were less desirable due to the changing of owners to Suntory. The quality of the liquid produced during the 90s was somewhat lacking. Nonetheless, the distillery bounced back in the 2000s, and this bottle here is from one of its 2001 casks.

The Bowmore 2001 #31932 is one of the two sister casks that The Single Cask bought in 2016. Maturing side by side, these two casks were expected to be similar. However, they proved to be very much different!

#31932 has a light, gentle peat nose, burnt grass, sweet pineapples and hints of bananas. Mellow spice lingers in the background. The light peat follows through in the palate, creating a grassy, citrus, fresh tropical fruit mouthfeel with no spice. The finish is medium-long with sweet pineapples and a lingering light peat at the back of the throat.

It is a balanced expression that is gentle and yet complex enough for a hearty drink.

Bowmore 2001 #31931 (14 Years Old) – Bottled 2016

The last bottle of the night is the Bowmore 2001 #31931. The sister cask of the previous bottle, it proved to be as different as it can be. While the cask #31932 is grassy, #31931 is the mighter of the two.

The nose is meaty like smoky bacon. There is a stronger white pepper spice in the forefront and hints of sweet citrus and sea salt at the back. The smoky citrus (lemon & orange) follows through in the palate, with some hints of sea salt and white peppery spice. The finish is long with the smokiness lingering for a long time.

The Bowmore 2001 #31931 is a lovely, balanced whisky that is complex and yet easy to drink. We can easily guess why Brendan had chosen this expression to be the last bottle of the night. He admitted that this is one of his favourite bottles and he had bought bottle #2 for his collection! WhiskyGeeks has a bottle of the #31931 at home too!

What to look forward to in the remaining month of 2017

While the last tasting event of the year might be over for The Single Cask, there are still two exciting events to look forward to in December 2017!

Whisky hoarders, ahem, we mean, whisky lovers, can look forward to the Christmas Sale (YAY!) at The Single Cask on 15 December, from 5 pm onwards! Expect discounts to go up to 60% off, so be sure to mark your calendar! Moreover, all whisky flights at the bar will be at half price for the night! We will see you there!

The other exciting event is The Single Cask Free Flow Night!! Who can say no to free flow? Happening on 16 December, it will start from 8 pm to midnight. Be sure to go there early if you want to have a seat! 🙂

 

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Event: The Single Cask X Whisky Butler Masterclass

WhiskyGeeks was invited to the event jointly organised by The Single Cask (TSC) and Whisky Butler on 30 September 2017. We have previously spoken about this masterclass and since we were invited, we are here to tell you more about what you have missed!

Introducing Whisky Butler

This event is possibly the last celebratory event for TSC’s 2nd anniversary and one which is endorsed by Whisky Butler. In case you are not familiar with Whisky Butler, it is a whisky subscription platform that allows members to try 4 different whiskies every month. You can see it as a kind of whisky flight that you can get at a bar, but at much lower cost. In addition, Whisky Butler will deliver the box to your doorstep to provide the ultimate convenience.

The Single Cask X Whisky Butler Masterclass

This event showcased 5 different spirits (we say spirits because one of them isn’t a whisky). They are
1. Guyanan Diamond Rum 12 Years Old
2. Balmenach 12 Years Old
3. Tobermory 22 Years Old
4. Glen Garioch 19 Years Old
5. Bowmore 14 Years Old

Each expression is bottled by TSC and all of them are from a single cask. You will find the tasting notes of all 5 spirits in the links provided above.

Why Rum and Whiskies?

Both sessions started very informally introducing TSC and Whisky Butler before Brendan, the bar manager and resident whisky expert of TSC, dived into the reason for including a rum in the selection. It is a fact that Singapore is growing rapidly in the alcohol industry. Look at all the bars that are popping up everywhere. People are learning to appreciate gin, brandy, cognac, rum and whisky. No matter whether they drink it neat, with ice, with soda, with water or with a mixer, these different spirits are gaining popularity in Singapore. The vibrant but relatively young community in Singapore makes it very important to have masterclasses like this to help beginners to better appreciate what they are drinking.

We appreciated the way that Brendan ran both sessions – informal and interactive. He encouraged participants to share what they thought about the spirits and encouraged each attendee to describe what they find in each of the spirits served. In the first session, Brendan also spoke of the way to drink whisky after one participant asked.

The Best Way to Drink Whisky according to Brendan

The best way to drink whisky according to Brendan is this: “Take a sip of whisky, swirl it in your mouth to coat the sides before holding it in your mouth for a little while. Swallow it and hold your breath for 5 seconds before breathing out from your mouth”. We tried it, and guess what, we could literally feel the whisky leaving the mouth and smelling the finish! That’s one amazing way of drinking whisky! Nonetheless, there is no correct way to drink whisky, so, if you don’t agree with that, drink it the way you do, because whisky has to be enjoyable above all. In fact, what we do to get the finish is to move our lips repeatedly instead. That works too, by the way!

The interactive sessions ran smoothly with active participation from all the “students” who attended. We could see the impact of the interaction – engagement was high and people were just so involved with tasting the spirits that they appeared to forget everything else. We enjoyed ourselves as well, with jokes along the way.

Willing Buyers, Unwilling Seller

Both sessions ended with participants gaining a greater understanding of what they were drinking. Some of them were so excited about the whiskies that they wanted to buy a bottle home! This was especially so for the last whisky – The Bowmore 14 Years Old – Cask 31931. Brendan had to disappoint everyone because he only has 3 bottles left in the bar and he is not selling them because he wants to keep it at the bar for communal drinking. If you like what you read from our tasting notes, head over to The Single Cask and try out the amazing Bowmore 14 Years Old – Cask 31931. Do remember to mention WhiskyGeeks to Brendan!

If you are keen to join future masterclasses from The Single Cask, do like our Facebook page and stay tuned for the next one! There should be another one coming up soon!

In the meanwhile, stay hydrated with whisky! Slàinte!

 

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Whisky Review #46 – The Single Cask Bowmore 14 Years Old

Bowmore, oh Bowmore…it has such an interesting history that we could wax lyrical about its 1960s to 1980s bottles. Although things changed in the 1990s for no apparent reason, we are guessing that it was due to some teething issues when Suntory took over the distillery. The merry news is that Bowmore bounced back to its heydeys in the 2000s and is once again, producing great whisky.

This bottle of Bowmore 14 years old by The Single Cask (TSC) is distilled in 2001 and bottled in 2016. An interesting note about this bottle is the exclusivity. Only 90 bottles are realised from HALF of cask 31931 because the cask actually belonged to someone else (another independent bottler) and they refused to sell all of it to TSC. Well, TSC took whatever they can, and this is the result of their exceptional selection.

Let’s jump to the review!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Amber
ABV: 50%

Nose: The first nose is that of heavenly smoked bacon. Oh, that smell literally sends you tingles of happiness! White peppers and hints of sweet citrus follow after. A few minutes wait reveals some sea salt that blends so well with the smoked bacon. (18/20)

Palate: The entry is made of smoky citrus – lemony, orangey taste. Slight hints of sea salt followed by white pepper. The smokiness brings along some form of savoury meat (think: smoked bacon) and the blend of salt, pepper and meat makes this a complex and flavourful drink. (18/20)

Finish: The finish is long and full of pleasant peat and smoke. The peat is not overwhelming but instead, stays on the palate pleasantly just like a warm fire in winter. The smokiness lingers very long before it disappears altogether. (18/20)

Body: This is an exceptional whisky with a good, complex body. The balance between the nose, palate and finish is exquisite and definitely not something that you will come across regularly. Compared to the official bottling (OB) of Bowmore, this is something that appears to outdo some of them. (37/40)

Total Score: 91/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “This whisky blew me away. Not a fan of peat and smoke, I was at first doubtful about the Bowmore. I was sold after the first nose of smoked bacon, and when the complexity of the whisky revealed itself, I was convinced that this is one of the best Bowmore I have ever drunk. Interestingly, many people shared my interest and the whisky has flown off the shelves at TSC. Only 3 bottles are left, and they are not for sale. If you are keen to get your hands on it, the Master of Malt still has one left, as of 02 October 2017. Do remember that it is from cask 31931.” 

 

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Whisky Review #45 – The Single Cask Glen Garioch 19 Years Old

This bottle of Glen Garioch is the most potent whisky ever bottled at The Single Cask (TSC)! Distilled in 1995, it was bottled 19 years later in 2014 at an ABV of 62.7%! Shocking! It is called the “Iron Fist in a velvet glove” because of the intense kick of the alcohol.

John and Alexander Manson founded Glen Garioch in 1797. It survived all these years, through the two world wars, economic regression and went through all the hardships even when others failed. It is the oldest distillery in Scotland. Beam Suntory is the current owner of Glen Garioch.

Let’s go into the review proper.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Bright Gold
ABV: 62.7%

Nose: The first nose is nothing but alcohol as the abv of 62.7% gets in the way. After a few minutes, the nose reveals some tropical fruitiness that smells like apricots. Crème brûlée hovers in the background for a short while before the spice comes kicking back in from the background. More time is needed to discover some oakiness and bits of lemons. (17/20)

Palate: The spice from the high ABV hits the palate in full battle gear, knocking the senses out. Citrus notes of lemon come in after the spice finishes the attack. Notes of crème brûlée fade in and out with raw honey coming in towards the end. After a few minutes of aeration, the spice recedes into the background. The citrus becomes more pronounced and the raw honey is full on the palate. Hints of apricots linger in the background. (18/20)

Finish: The finish is medium to long with honey spice and vanilla ice cream at the end. (16/20)

Body: This expression is well-balanced even with the high abv. Although it is on the spicy side, it is understandable considering the high alcohol content. The citrus and honey are perfectly well mixed on both the palate and finish. (33/40)

Total Score: 84/100

Comments:

Geek Choc: “The intense alcohol on the nose initially puts me off, but the palate and finish save the day. When taken together, this is a well-balanced whisky even in all its intensity. You will need some patience with this and I suggest that you do not put any water into it. Water opens up the spice and overshadows the rest of the flavours in the whisky.”

 

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Whisky Review #44 – The Single Cask Balmenach 12 Years Old

Balmenach Distillery is not a well-known one considering its links to the blending houses. In the 1800s, the distillery was one of the many illicit distilleries in Scotland. James McGregor founded the Balmenach Distillery officially in 1824 after he obtained a license. The McGregor family sold the distillery in 1992 and it was mothballed in 1993 by its new owners. Inver House Distillers bought the distillery in 1998 and the first distillate of Balmenach was produced in March 1998. The distillery provides blending houses with whisky and hardly ever bottle their own single malt. However, rumours have it that we might see something from Balmenach in 2018. The distillery also produces the popular Caorunn Gin on its premises.

Balmenach distillery uses worm tubs for distillation, which makes their whisky sulphuric. Worm tubs make use of 100m long copper coiling submerge in water for distillate to pass through. While copper usually “purify” the sulphur in the distillate, worm tubs make it harder for the copper to perform “their duties” as they have to clean the water too. That results in a new spirit that still contains sulphur.

Let’s move on to the review now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Deep Gold
ABV: 50%

Nose: Hmm…the first nose reminds me of Juicy Fruits – the popular chewing gum flavour from Wrigley’s. Sweet bananas, cherry liquorice and cotton candy blend together to create a pleasant nose. Hints of savoury meats (roast pork) and spices linger in the background. (18/20)

Palate: The entry is full of butterscotch and banana, but the spice that is promised in the nose is also on the forefront. The blend of sweet and spice makes a good balance on the palate, making it a relatively easy drink even at 50% abv. (17/20)

Finish: A long finish that is spicy with some sulphuric notes. The sulphur becomes extremely distinguished if water is taken when the whisky is still lingering in the mouth. (17/20)

Body: A superb well-balanced expression that impresses me with its quality mix of sweet and spice. The palate delivers what the nose promises and the finish does not disappoint. (35/40)

Total Score: 87/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “This whisky brings me back to my childhood where I chewed on Juicy Fruits gums for hours even after the flavours were gone. Putting my sentiments aside, I think this whisky is a great dram as it makes a good balance on the nose, palate and finish. If you are thinking of buying your next whisky bottle, do consider this one!”

 

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Exciting New Event: The Single Cask x Whisky Butler Tasting Session

The Single Cask Singapore (TSC) and Whisky Butler are collaborating once again to showcase exquisite spirits! This exciting event is, of course, hosted by our friendly neighbour – TSC and is happening on 30 September 2017!

What Can You Expect?

You will be taken on an exciting journey through 4 regions in Scotland before taking a flight to South America in this tasting session. TSC sourced and hand-picked every expression from a single barrel, so, each of them promised to be full of characters and flavours. Imagine the treat you will be in for!

What Should You Look Forward to?

You can look forward to taste the following whiskies:

  1. Highlands – TSC Glen Garioch 1995 (19 Years Old)
  2. Speyside – TSC Balmenach 2003 (12 Years Old)
  3. Islands – TSC Tobermory 1994 (22 Years Old)
  4. Islay – TSC Bowmore 2001 (14 Years Old)
  5. South America – TSC Diamond Rum 2004 (12 Years Old)

The Important Dates and Times:

When: 30 September 2017, Saturday
Where: The Single Cask, 30 Victoria Street, CHIJMES, #01-25
Time: First Session: 4pm to 6pm; Second Session: 7pm to 9pm

Tickets can be bought from TSC Website or Whisky Butler! Alternatively, you can try your luck by doing a walk-in. We encourage you to buy your tickets first to avoid disappointment!

How to Get to The Single Cask

We know that some patrons find it difficult to locate The Single Cask within CHIJMES. To help everyone find this cosy bar easily, we have come up with the directions below.

  1. From Carlton Hotel: Cross the road and locate the entrance to CHIJMES. Walk down the stairs, turn right and you will be at the door of TSC.
  2. From City Hall MRT: Locate Brotzeit and cross the road from there to CHIJMES. Once you reach CHIJMES, walk straight pass Toast Box and go all the way to the end. TSC will be right there.
  3. By Taxi/Grab/Uber: At the entrance of CHIJMES (near the church), walk straight from Caldwell House and turn left (follow the pavement). You will see Gyu Kaku at the end. TSC is just opposite the restaurant.

 

Whisky Butler’s September Curation

September is coming right up! As we draw nearer to the end of the year, things are also dwindling to a slower pace. This is the best time to start planning for December holidays with a dram or two. In anticipation of the slower pace this coming month, Whisky Butler is launching 4 new independent bottlings from The Single Cask (TSC).

The 4 bottles hail from 3 different countries – 2 from Scotland, 1 from England and 1 from America. The differences between them are not just their country of origins, but their individual flavour profiles and characteristics.

The September Whiskies

1. Deanston 15 Years Old

Deanston 15 YO is a single malt Scotch from Deanston Distillery. It was distilled in 1997 and matured in a cask for 15 years before it was selected by TSC. Cask #1958 was then bottled at 45.8% abv under the label of TSC. As one of the 4 whisky choices offered to new members of TSC as a welcome gift, you can be sure that this is a bottle worth keeping!

2. English Whisky 7 Years Old

English Whisky 7 YO is a single malt from The English Whisky Co. It is a young whisky of 7 years and bottled at a high strength of 60% abv. Some may think that young whiskies are bad, but guess what, this whisky is not! Rich and flavourful, it packs a serious punch.

3. American Sour Mash 5 Years Old

American Sour Mash is an interesting whisky. It can only be produced in Tennesse, due to governance from the United States. As unique as it gets, this whisky is also bottled at cask strength of 59.7% abv by TSC. It may be just 5 YO, but it packs a serious tasting profile worthy of an 18 YO!

4. Auchroisk 21 Years Old

Auchroisk 21 YO is another single malt Scotch. It is from the Auchroisk Distillery that was distilled in mid-1991. By the time TSC bottled it in early 2013, it has been sitting in its cask for a whole 21 years! Interestingly, it is still a youthful whisky, with soft notes and gentle florals. It is an easy drink, despite the “advanced age”!

Find out more about these whiskies as we share the tasting notes in our next few posts!

 

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