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Taiwanese Style Whisky Dinner at SiChuan DouHua with Tony from HNWS

Whisky dinners – you probably seen one before or maybe even gone for one. In those dinners, whisky or some other quality spirit would be paired with a dish. With many thanks to Spirits Castle, I got to experience my first Taiwanese-style whisky dinner! Taiwanese style whisky dinners separate whisky and dinner, does not attempt to pair it. This allows for dishes that don’t usually go with Whisky, like spicy food or strongly scented ones. In this tasting, Tony, owner of the Taiwan independent bottler HNWS, has graced us with his presence in a befitting venue – Sichuan Douhua, a restaurant on the 60th floor of the UOB building with a glorious view! So, just like whisky dinners in Taiwan, we started with 5 drams from the HNWS. To the reviews! -batman transition-

 

Imperial 23yo 1995 Sherry Finish

Imperial is a closed distillery, and most casks are under the ownership of Pernod Ricard. While most Imperials I have come across are bourbon matured, not many of them have undergone sherry maturation. This bottle features a sherry finished Imperial, and it is quite a looker. But it’s not just all looks, the nose and palate are both welcoming and inviting. The dram even showed some prominent character development in the next 20 minutes of breathing.

Nose: An initial arrival of a sherry bomb greets me as the first dram of the evening — notes of raisins, cinnamon, black pepper and a distinct savoury note reminiscent of Oloroso sherry. The hints of strawberries and walnut nuttiness were incredible too. With water, the raisin notes were softer. However, the prior ex-bourbon maturation shines through with notes of peaches puree, a soft orange note, confectionary sweetness and mango.

Palate: The arrival was a good note of cinnamon spice along with strawberry jam, cranberry, gooseberries, black cherries and raisins. With water, the initial arrival was more chocolatey with the mid-palate still dominated by strawberry jam.

Finish: A beautiful cinnamon and strawberry finish with floral notes and black cherries. With water, notes of chocolates, sour plums and lemon zest appear in that finish.

Islay 29yo 1989

Although the distillery is not mentioned in the name, this bottle has a label depicting a Scottish-style dragon flying over the Laphroaig distillery. It’s not often that I come across an old Laphroaig and boy is this fascinating!

Nose: The dram began with soft medicinal notes and coastal brine aromas. Notes of heather, musk, vanilla and honey were also present. Despite its age, the smoke is still remarkably vibrant and lively. With water, this Laphroaig becomes sweeter, quite like vanilla sponge cake, with notes of musk, leather, earth and notes of damp bonfire ash the morning after.

Palate: As expected, this arrival was as soft as an old islay whisky can be, with notes of Laphroaig’s signature medicinal TCP notes, sweet oak, and soft peaches. With water, the musky leather notes became more prominent, alongside notes of coastal brine.

Finish: The finish was a sweet honey vanilla finish along with earthy and medicinal notes. With water, the earthy, smoky and vegetal Lapsang Souchong tea notes become more evident in the finish.

Ardbeg 10yo 2008 PX Finish

This dram is a Peated sherry bomb with a mocha vibe on the colour, the nose and the palate! This is most likely due to the strong oak influence in the dram. Yet, the Ardbeg spirit character stands strong with tones of mineral notes alongside the heavier oak influence

Nose: The initial arrive with a peated, smoky bang, alongside notes of smoked salmon, seafood, sulphur, floral notes and red plums. With water, the mineral iodine character of Ardbeg shines through.

Palate: Similar to the nose, the palate starts with the same big show stopper of smoked bacon, strong cinnamon spice, along with the mineral iodine note and coastal brine. With water, a gunpowder note shines through with dark chocolate and roast coffee bitterness.

Finish: This gives a robust smoky finish with smoked meat, sulphur note, mineral note and. With water, the extended finish comes with iodine notes and dark chocolate.

Hellyers Road 16yo 2002

Hellyers Road is a Tasmanian whisky distillery with a unique spirit character. The bottle almost looks identical compared to an official bottling if I did not look carefully enough. It comes with a certificate of authenticity, as well. At a whopping 64.5%, this spirit-driven dram tastes especially good for its strength.

Nose: T’was a spirity arrival of tea bags and hay. Unique notes of passionfruit appear with notes of vanilla, honey, cinnamon and brioche. With water added, the honey note became sweeter with notes of green guava, honeydew, passionfruit, peaches and a nice confectionary note. 

Palate: The arrival did not feel like 64.5%, and I was immediately greeted with notes of green guava, dry tea, floral notes and a vegetal hay note. With water, there were notes of peaches, Japanese honeydew (those from DonkiDonki), and green guava; with the tea spirit character being very prominent throughout the palate.

Finish: the finish was vanilla, slightly smoky, and earthy. With water, the finish is a lot longer with the aromatic tea note.

Port Charlotte 10yo 2008 Madeira Cask

Bruichladdich is one of my favourite distilleries, and I love their whiskies for its consistent quality. This dram was somewhat different. This PC started with notes of creamy feta cheese. Along with the fruitiness of the Madeira cask and the sweetness of the intrinsic nature from Bruichladdich still.

Nose: This was surprising. I was not prepared at all to smell cream cheese in a dram. It was something between cream cheese and greek feta cheese. The spirit character of Port Charlotte shines through with marshmallow sweetness and lovely peat smoke. With water, the cheesy note became more of fruit yoghurt with notes of unripe green apples.

Palate: The arrival was cheesy as well, with notes of red cheddar and greek feta alongside peat smoke. With water, the dram showed more of the sweetness from its spirit character with more fruitiness.

Finish: The finish is just as unique as the nose and palate, with notes of dry cranberries and aromatic vegetal notes. With water, brings a longer, earthy peat smoke finish.

Dinner

After 5 drams, our appetite has built up. Now comes the dinner, which was a lot more satisfying after drinks!

This 5-course meal was terrific, from the tea to the main course to the dessert! Check it out!

There was a professional pouring hot water into the teacup that allowed the tea inside to swirl and mix! That’s form and function!

The trio combo was amazing. These three items on the plate contained a wide plethora of flavours, which showcases how skilled the chefs are at balancing flavours.

This braised lobster soup with bamboo pith and kale is probably the calm before the storm.

This is the start of the mala storm. Lovely stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts and dried chill had the familiar numbing spiciness.

This bowl of sliced fish in Sichuan Pepper sauce was topped with loads of chilli.

This fragrant rice with diced chicken helped me cool down from the last two mala dishes!

The dessert was lovely, but a suggestion by Zerlina to add some whisky inside did improve it!

This has been a fantastic first visit to the Sichuan DouHua on the 60th floor of the UOB building! Special thanks to Tony for coming all the way down from Taiwan, and Spirits Castle for this invite! 

 

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WhiskyGeeks x DFS Glenmorangie Event

Photo Credits: DFS

As a blog, WhiskyGeeks has come a long way since we first started two years ago. We started our Facebook page in May-June 2017 and made the first post in July 2017. Since then, we had garnered interest from readers all around the world. The team at WhiskyGeeks humbly thank everyone for the support! Without our readers, we would not have gone this far.

In celebration of our second anniversary, WhiskyGeeks approached DFS Singapore to collaborate on a one-off whisky tasting in conjunction with the Whisky Festival at Changi Airport. We are honoured that DFS responded positively, and we had a great time hosting a small batch of our members at Changi Airport Terminal 2 on 22 June 2019.

The Glenmorangie Event

Brendan McCarron

We are fortunate to have Brendan McCarron, the head of maturing whisky stocks at Glenmorangie, with us during the event. Brendan is a talented guy who has experience working in both malting halls and distilleries. He is, currently, under the tutorage of Dr Bill Lumsden, and likely, will be the next Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation and Maturing Whisky Stocks after Dr Bill retires.

Travel Retail Bottles

As the event is a collaboration with DFS, we focus on the various Travel Retail bottles available for Glenmorangie. We tasted three expressions. There is a bourbon-matured 19 years old, the chocolate malt Signet and a 14 years old single cask. Each of them houses different flavours.

Photo Credit: DFS

Glenmorangie 19 Years Old – Exclusive Travel Retail

The 19 years old is a 100% bourbon-matured whisky. On the nose, we get vanilla, flowers, pine resin, unripe strawberries and some vegetal notes. Adding some water to the whisky brings out fragrant sandalwood, old books, with hints of cherries, lemon zest and confectionary sweetness. We get citrus and mango on the palate, with honey and the vegetal note lingering. With water, we get some musk and earthiness. The lemon zest also surfaces with confectionary sweetness. The finish is of medium length with honey, musk and lemon zest.

Glenmorangie Signet

The Signet is a familiar bottle in the Glenmorangie family. The signet on the bottle gives Glenmorangie its identity. Therefore, this bottle is of special meaning to the distillery. The malt in the Signet is done slightly differently when compared to the rest of the range. By roasting and burning some of the malt used in the Signet, it gives rise to what Brendon calls, “the chocolate malt”. The distillation team mixes traditional malt and the chocolate malt to create the highly delicious Signet.

The nose is full of roasted coffee bean, cold brew, mocha latte, and dark chocolate, with some cinnamon and dried fruits. The mouthfeel is rich, with cold brew, vanilla, marzipan and dark chocolate, each giving complexity to the dram. The finish is a combination of cinnamon, vanilla and dark chocolate.

Glenmorangie 2004 14 Years Old Single Cask (Cask #1399)

The 14 Years Old Single Cask is quite similar to the 19 Years Old. The difference is in the alcohol percentage and the fact that it is a single cask. In terms of prices, it is also much higher. On the nose, we get vanilla, confectionary sweetness, unripe strawberries and milk chocolate. When we added water, the dram becomes sweeter. The milk chocolate is more prominent, and there are hints of lemon zest and green apples. The palate is full of citrus, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and some vegetal notes. Water brings out the lemon zest found in the nose, as well as honey and a slight spicer palate. The finish has lemon zest, vanilla, honey and the cinnamon spice.

The Whisky House @ Changi Airport Terminal 2

After the event, the DFS team kindly opened up the Whisky House to our members to do more tastings. WhiskyGeeks is thankful for the generosity. It was a privilege for us to get access to the Whisky House after the event! Our members got to try many more whiskies, such as the Ardbeg 23 Years Old and the Octomores 7.2 and 8.2! One of our members even tried the Octomore 8.2 for the first time in her life, and enjoyed her first peated whisky!

The Ardbeg 23 Years Old

We like the Ardbeg 23 Years Old. The whisky has the right amount of smoke, peat, and sweetness to delight most of us peatheads. It is also one of the easiest to drink Ardbeg so far. We know that it would be harder to try this dram if DFS did not open up the Whisky House for us during the event as we would need to fly out of the country to get a taste. 🙂

For anyone who will be flying in or out of Singapore, do drop by the DFS counters at the various terminals for some tasting. The current range available will not disappoint!

We believe that most of you know that there is an ongoing promotion at DFS until 30 June 2019 in conjunction with the Whisky Festival. Travellers who spend above SGD$200 will receive a complimentary Glencairn glass at the departure hall. For those arriving in Singapore, spending $140 and above will guarantee you a pair of ferry tickets to Batam coupled with a city tour.

A Welcoming Host

Photo Credit: DFS

We want to add a note here, especially to thank the team at DFS. Our members enjoyed themselves during the event and told us that DFS was a fantastic host. We had plenty to eat and drink during the event. With delectable pairings such as artisan cheese, fruits, and nuts, to a variety of tarts and brownies to choose from, the DFS team fed us well in terms of food and drinks.

WhiskyGeeks is very grateful to the team for taking care of such a big group and giving us enough time to enjoy our whiskies.

A Fantastic Experience

From right to left: Brendan, Zerlina and Zicong

It was an awesome experience for most of us to get a chance to visit the transit area at Changi Airport without an air ticket. The experience was significantly upgraded with Brendan McCarron hosting us for the tasting of the three Glenmorangie expressions. It wasn’t easy to arrange the trip, but it was all worth it when we saw how happy our members were.

We hope to collaborate with DFS again in future, and once again, we want to give our heartiest thanks to the DFS team! You guys rock!

One Last Thing

Before we go, we want to mention that we did an exclusive interview with Brendan during the event. We are in the progress of writing it up and plans to release it sometime in July. Watch out for it, for Brendan did speak about the different casks the distillery uses, and also have advice for budding young whisky enthusiasts on “how to enter the whisky industry”. That means, “how to land a job in a whisky distillery”. Stay tuned!

 

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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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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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Whisky Events – Glengoyne & Tamdhu

 

If you are looking forward to the whisky events that we have spoken of in our previous article on Glengoyne Distillery, listen up now! We have received news from the organisers and here are the three finalised events curated just for you!

Jonathan Scott, Business Development Director (Asia), will be here with us for all three events. He hails from Speyside, Scotland and has experiences working with other distilleries such as Jura and Dalmore before joining Ian Macleod Distillers to head both Glengoyne and Tamdhu as their Business Development Director in Asia.

Picture from AsiaEuro

He will be sharing his passion and knowledge for whisky with the participants at all three events. Jonathan will also answer any questions that you have regarding Glengoyne and Tamhdu, so if you have a burning question to ask, you must go to at least one of these events, if not more.

The White Rocket – Glengoyne Masterclass

The White Rocket is a cafe located at 5 Stanley Street that provides a fantastic food menu to go with the whisky of your choice. In this Glengoyne Masterclass, Jonathon brings you four different drams from the Glengoyne core range. Going for this Masterclass means you will get to taste the following Glengoyne expressions:

  • 12 Years Old
  • 15 Years Old
  • 18 Years Old
  • Cask Strength

Details of the Masterclass:

Date: Monday, 21 May 2018
Venue: The White Rocket (5 Stanley Street, Singapore 068724)
Time: 7 pm
Cost: $48
Reservations: The White Rocket Facebook Page or call 6221 0108 or email thewhiterocketsg@gmail.com

Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar – Whisky Pairing

Join Jonathan Scott as he works hand-in-hand with the Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar to deliver a superb whisky pairing dinner for you at the newly-opened izakaya located at Riverside Point. We are sure that you will salivate just looking at the menu on offer that night.

  1. Nama Kaki with whisky passion fruit sauce paired with Tamdhu 10 YO
  2. Otoro with whisky miso sauce paired with Glengoyne 12 YO
  3. Pan-fried Wagyu or Kurobuta with whisky truffle sauce paired with Glengoyne 15 YO
  4. Fried whisky inaniwa udon paired with Glengoyne 18 YO

Details of the Whisky Pairing Session:

Date: Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Venue: The Flying Fish Izakaya & Bar (30 Merchant Road, Riverside Point #01-07, Singapore 058282)
Time: 7 pm
Cost: $128++
Reservations: Email andrewkj.tan@yahoo.com.sg or Call/Whatsapp/SMS 96325338

The Wall SG – Glengoyne Whisky Masterclass

For those of you who know The Wall SG well, you will know that Jeremie is going to treat you right. Join Jonathan, Jeremie and Samantha as they bring you on a tasting journey through the premium range of Glengoyne expressions. Showing in this Masterclass will be the following:

  • 15 Years Old
  • 18 Years Old
  • 21 Years Old
  • Cask Strength

Feel free to stay on after the event to enjoy more whiskies at this bespoke whisky bar!

Details of the Masterclass:

Date: 23 May 2018
Venue: The Wall SG (76 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497)
Time: 7 pm
Cost: $68++
Reservation: The Wall SG Facebook Page or call 6225 7988 (Alternatively, drop Jeremie or Samantha a PM) 

Enjoy yourselves!

Do choose one of the events and head to the venue to enjoy a night of whisky and fun. Learning is always more pleasant when whisky is available! If you want to learn more about Glengoyne Distillery before going for any of the above events, do check out our article on the distillery here. Have fun!

 

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Whisky Event: The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2

Have you heard that The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2 is coming up in early May? If you have not, please listen up! The upcoming event is a bi-annual whisky event where whisky lovers gather in one place to enjoy whiskies by the dram. This exciting experience is a follow-up to last year’s successful TMA Vol. 1, where offers of rare and old whiskies sent whisky lovers into a frenzy. Not to be pushed around, impressive modern bottles also strutted their stuff in TMA Vol. 1.

WhiskyGeeks attended TMA Vol. 1 held last year during November, and they impressed us with more than a couple of great whiskies. Some of the selections that we love were the Laphroaig 10-year-old Bonfanti Import (short label), the Rosebank 20-year-old Zenith Import, the Port Ellen 1982 Malts of Scotland, and the Miyagikyo 18-year-old Whisky Live Tokyo 2010.

TMA Vol. 2

So, when we know that TMA Vol 2 is coming up, we are ready for yet another challenge of old and rare whiskies! To prove that we are going to this event, here’s a picture of the tickets that we bought!

 

What to Expect at TMA Vol. 2

The news is out that there is a rare Springbank 12-year-old (Black Label) bottled by Cadenhead and a Macallan 1958 (gasps!) Campbell Hope & Kings 1970s White Metal Cap representing Campbeltown and Speyside respectively. There are also a couple of excellent Laphroiags and a Caol Ila 18-year-old by Sestante Import representing Islay. To top things off, there are a few bottles of old Karuizawas and the Hanyu Card Series waiting for you too!

For the less initiated whisky fans, do not be intimated! If you are not ready to drink these old whiskies yet (trust me, they are like self-poisons), you can find more accessible drams such as the Balvenie Single Barrel 15-year-old and a Bruichladdich ‘The Laddie Ten’ Second Edition. If you are feeling just a little adventurous, why not try an affordable closed distillery whisky – Littlemill? On offer at TMA Vol. 2 are three expressions for your picking. Personally, I love the expression bottled by The Perfect Dram!

You can find the list of drams here.

How to Buy your Tickets?

If you have yet to buy tickets for the event, head over to Peatix and grab yours now. Early bird tickets are now sold out, so grab the standard tickets at $30 each before they are gone too! Each ticket gives you entry to TMA Vol. 2 and also includes a Glencairn tasting glass, a 2cl (20ml) glass sample container and a $10 Downtown Gallery voucher! Do note that you can bring additional sample bottles if you are looking to buy some whiskies home instead of drinking them all at the event.

We hope to see you there at The Malt Affair’s TMA Vol. 2! If you happen to see us Geeks at the event, pop over to say hi!

 

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Whisky Event: Bruichladdich X Demochoc0

Bruichladdich has been showcasing their whiskies consistently in the recent months, and they are very successful indeed. Geek Flora had been to more than a few, and she was impressed with both the presentation and the whiskies (of course)! As Bruichladdich fans, we are delighted to see the consistent and robust interest coming from the whisky community.

Bruichladdich X Demochoco X The Wall SG

The most recent tasting that we went for was an exciting and informative one. Bruichladdich paired up with one of the best chocolatiers in Singapore – Jialiang from Demochoco, as well as the bespoke bar that we have featured in January – The Wall SG, to bring a heavenly pairing of hand-made chocolates and whiskies.

What is so unique about this, you may ask? It is common to pair chocolates with whiskies, isn’t it?

It is common to pair chocolates with whiskies, but have you tried chocolates that tasted like local-Singaporean food?! Demochoco painstakingly made chocolates that tasted like local Singaporean food (think laksa and salted-egg cereal prawns) to pair them with the excellent Bruichladdich whiskies. The Wall SG made it possible for the event by opening its doors. There was also an “extra service” – Jeremie, the whisky expert at The Wall SG, became a model for Bruichladdich merchandise!

We assured you that he was thrilled to be a model, even if he looked rather deep-in-thoughts in the picture! He was just thinking how to pose! Hahaha!

The Hosts for the night

The hosts for the night were Jialiang – Demochoco’s expert chocolatier and Chloe – Bruichladdich’s APAC Brand Ambassador. Here’s a beautiful picture of them chatting right before we started the event. Everyone knows Chloe by now. She is Islay-born and grows up on the island surrounding by whiskies! Jialiang is Singaporean and has immense knowledge about chocolates. He is a chocolate lover who decided to take one step further by making chocolates for fellow chocolate lovers to enjoy! His chocolates are really to die for, so if you have yet to taste it, we recommend you to try it!

History of Bruichladdich

We have repeated the history a couple of time previously, so we will not do it again. If you are keen to find out more, read our previous posts on the history, as well as the two tasting events here and here. We will just leave this picture here for you to admire. Take note of the picture cards in the middle row of the bar shelf! These are the precious pictures from the distillery!

Chocolates and Whisky

Now, let’s move on to the pairing event. Bruichladdich brought four expressions for the event. The pairing is as follow:

  • Bruichladdich Classic Laddie with Laksa Truffle
  • Islay Barley 2010 with Salted Egg & Cereal Truffle
  • Port Charlotte Scottish Barley with Oko Caribe 72% Truffle
  • Octomore 7.1 with Black Sesame Truffle

Let’s dive into the tasting notes!

Bruichladdich Classic Laddie X Laksa Truffle

Details of Bruichladdich Classic Laddie
ABV: 50%
Age Statement: NAS

We are sure that you know how laksa tastes like, but the laksa truffle is better than all that coconut-flavoured soup! When we first popped the chocolate in the mouth, all we got was delicious dark chocolate. Once you chewed through the top-portion, you get all the laksa flavours, down to the umami taste of the shrimps and the slight spiciness!

We sipped the Classic Laddie when our mouth was still full of the laksa flavours, and whoa, we get an intense maltiness from the Classic Laddie! The sea salt becomes prominent as well, leading to a much longer finish for the whisky. Interestingly, the “finish” of the laksa truffle lengthened as well and the spicy shrimp flavour simply shined through! The oil in the whisky helps to enhance the flavours of the laksa truffle, and we felt that we just had a bowl of piping hot laksa for dinner!

Islay Barley 2010 X Salted Egg & Cereal Truffle

Details of Islay Barley 2010
ABV: 50%
Age Statement: 6 years old

Ever tried chocolates that tasted exactly like salted egg cereal prawns? That was what we had. The flavours that exploded in the mouth was full of that crisp, flavourful salted egg cereal prawns that we get from an excellent zichar stall in Singapore! That was just so exotic!

The Islay Barley 2010 was full of salty caramel, toasty cereals and malted barley. It is also slightly more spicy than the Classic Laddie in the palate, which made a perfect pairing with the salted egg & cereal truffle! The salted notes meshed together beautifully and brought out the spice that hid under the layers of the whisky. The maltiness of the whisky combined with the cereals of the chocolate, creating a toasty cereal note that lingers in the finish. Just when we thought that it was all over, a fresh burst of sweetness in the back of the throat gave us a pleasant surprise!

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley X Oko Caribe 72% Truffle

Details of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
ABV: 50%
Age Statement: NAS

The Oko Caribe 72% truffle was a hot favourite among many who loves dark chocolate during the event. Made from medium dark roast cacao beans, the chocolate presents itself with a creamy caramel sweetness that is not overly sweet. The soft texture adds to the appeal.

If you do not know how Port Charlotte tastes like, it is full of fruitiness and sweetness combined with smoke. Peated at 40ppm, it is a heavily peated whisky but showcases all the lovely character of what Bruichladdich represents. The chocolate gave a fantastic enhancement to the enjoyment of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley (PCSB)! The sweetness of the chocolate mixed well with the sweetness of the PCSB and showcased the fruitiness of the whisky in the grandest manner possible. The most extraordinary experience was the aromatic smoke that puffed out right after we swallowed the whisky. Omg! That fragrant smoke is so phenomenal that we could hardly believe it. The finish is incredible, all sweet and smoky at the same time!

Octomore 7.1 X Black Sesame Truffle

Details of Octomore 7.1
ABV: 59.5%
PPM: 208
Age Statement: 5 years old

The black sesame truffle consists of both Japanese and Taiwan black sesame, and the outer layer is a kinako powder from Japan. It is known as blonde chocolates and trust us when we tell you that this chocolate is heavenly. If you like the sesame taste or love anything sesame, this is the chocolate for you.

The Octomore 7.1 is somewhat medicinal and contains very light smoke on the nose. When we paired the whisky with the chocolate, it first enhanced the smoke from the whisky in an ideal way – let it all out! The saltiness of the whisky then came through the palate beautifully and continued with a pleasant spice. The finish was sweet and then tannic, leading to a dry and astringent finish. The sweetness of the chocolate found a balance with the Octomore 7.1, making it just a tad too yummy to swallow!

End of the event

The event ended shortly soon after the fourth whisky pairing and both Chloe and Jialiang went around to chat with the participants. It was a jolly good evening, and all of us had fun! It was yet another successful event by Bruichladdich, and we applaud their efforts as always. Jialiang is a perfectly good spot and sold us some delicious chocolates at a fantastic price too! Last but not least, we enjoyed the funny banter that Jeremie and the rest of the wonderful people at The Wall SG provided to us! Haha…it was an entertaining night and one that we hope to revisit soon!

If you have missed out on this event, head over to The Wall SG to try all the whiskies from Bruichladdich and you will see why we are all praise for this event! If you want to reenact the pairing session, order the chocolates from Demochoco and head down to The Wall SG for the drams!

 

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Bruichladdich x The Cheese Ark Tasting Event @ LMDW

 

Whisky enthusiasts are familiar with chocolate and cheese pairing. However, have you thought of pairing whisky with cheese? La Maison du Whisky is hosting an extraordinary event at the end of January featuring a unique combination of Bruichladdich’s whiskies and The Cheese Ark’s artisanal cheese.

What is the event about?

This event will showcase an exceptional whisky and cheese pairing using the core expressions of Bruichladdich’s Islay whiskies, and old, authentic cheese made from the villages in Europe. Chloe Wood, Bruichladdich’s Asia Pacific brand ambassador, who is also an Islay native, will join hands with the passionate founder of The Cheese Ark, Syu Ai Ming to bring you on an explorative journey of both unexpected and explosive flavours.

The tasting will include the following whiskies from Bruichladdich:

  1. Bruichladdich Classic Laddie (Scottish Barley)
  2. Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010
  3. Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
  4. Octomore 10 (2nd Edition)

Complete details of the event

Date: 31 January 2018
Time: 7 pm to 9 pm
Venue: La Maison du Whisky
Address: 80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-10
Price per ticket: $65

With exceptional whiskies and good, old cheese curated just for you; this event is bound to thrill you like never before! Book your seat here and look forward to an enjoyable evening!

 

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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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WhiskyFair TAKAO Debrief – Day Two

We couldn’t resist putting the WhiskyFair TAKAO banner again here because we loved the way it looked. It reflected the sophisticated affair that we attended very well, and we wanted to remind everyone again just how intriguing it had been. If you have missed the article for Day One, click here.

Beginning of Day Two

Day Two began in a frenzy because we were rushing to queue for our Littlemill 1988 and yet having the need to pack up our belongings because we were heading home that evening. The fact that we ran out of Taiwan dollars made things worse as we needed to find a money changer. However, we did manage to complete our tasks in time and reached the fairgrounds at 9.45 am, 15 minutes earlier than the opening hours.

The Anxiety of Queuing for a Limited Release Bottle

To our dismay, there were about 40 people ahead of us. We began to pray that we could still get our hands on Littlemill 1988. We managed to get into the fairgrounds at 10.15 am, and we rushed to the queue! As the line moved sluggishly, we hoped against hope that everyone in front of us was buying the Springbank 1994! Haha…The helpful staff at the counter began to call out the number of Littlemill 1988 bottles left. “Littlemill left 30 bottles…Littlemill left 20 bottles…” The anxiety was great indeed, especially when everyone in the queue began to count if they were still able to get it. When we were the first in the queue, the staff called out, “Littlemill left nine bottles…”

We breathed a sigh of relief because we knew that we could get our hands on the precious bottle after all! When we paid, the staff cheerfully told us, “You are lucky! You got the last 8th bottle!” And so, here it is!

Littlemill 1988

If you wondered why we did not get the Springbank as well, it was because we were only allowed to buy either the Littlemill or the Springbank. Oh, and they did not let Geek Choc buy the other bottle because Geek Flora purchased the Littlemill and it was apparent that we were together. So yeah, we missed that one! We probably need a better strategy next year! Hahaha…

Cuttlefish and three free drinks

After all that excitement, we were both in need of a drink. Right beside the annual bottle sales counter, there was a store selling dried cuttlefish and scallops. We stopped by for some tasting and ended up buying two packages. The generous storeowner gave us a free bag and then offered us a drink, on the house! We would be rude to say no, so we made our choices.

The exhibitor enjoyed talking to us so much that he ended up giving us one extra dram – The Ledaig 11 Years Old! These bottles were good stuff, and seriously, we felt somewhat embarrassed for having so many free drams. Nonetheless, the exhibitor waved away our concerns and told us how happy he was to meet so many foreign whisky lovers who appreciate his offerings.

Exciting Bottles at ARen Trading Co. Ltd

As we had promised Michael Hsieh, the owner of ARen Trading Co. Ltd (and co-organizer of WhiskyFair TAKAO) to visit him at his booth again, we headed over soon after our chat with the generous exhibitor. Michael had kept a bottle of AMAZING stuff just for us. Guess what it was? Let us give you a clue: it was the older sister of the Whisky Bible 2015 Best Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray!

Woohoo! It is the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009! The first in the batch and the older sister of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, which had won the Best Whisky of the Year in the Whisky Bible 2015. Once the bottle was out, everyone was in a frenzy to get the last bits of the liquid. We bought 40 ml of that last precious liquid, and another visitor bought 20 ml. The last guy who came along only managed to secure the final 15 ml! He was so elated even to achieve that last 15 ml that he did a little dance right at the booth!

More interesting bottles up ahead

As the crowd dispersed after the bottle kill of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009, we had the chance to check out the rest of the bottle offerings. Geek Flora spied upon the Ardbeg Uigeadail – The Ultimate (first edition) and a TWA bottling of Littlemill 1989. We had to buy both because we wanted to taste them!

As we were going to head to the airport later, we had to buy samples instead of drinking it on the spot. It was a good idea as well since we would be able to review these bottles properly at our leisure. Michael, upon understanding that we were leaving for the airport soon, treated us to a little bit of the Littlemill 1989! “10ml would be fine for you!” he said and poured the whisky into one of our Glencairn glass. The nose was full of floral notes, and hints of sweet, creamy vanilla were apparent. These followed through in the palate and the finish. Notes of fragrant pears and green apples dominated the palate with the floral and vanilla lingering in the back. The finish was long and clean. We went to whisky heaven again after this little taste. It was so good!

The Drunken Master X Pin Xin Wine Shop

Next, we visited Pin Xin Wine Shop. Zhuang Meng is the founder of Pin Xin, and he works closely with Chunfeng from The Drunken Master. They have a range of independent bottling named The Octave. We were attracted by the beautiful labels on their bottles and wanted to find out more about them.

The range of whiskies from PX and TDM (Picture was taken from TDM FB page)

Unfortunately, we were not able to take the whole range of bottles during the crowded fair, so we took a picture of the entire range from The Drunken Master Facebook page. The Drunken Master launched these expressions one day after the fair, and we are proud to say that we managed to try some of them before they launched!

Geek Choc tried the Laphroaig 20 years old, but Geek Flora decided to pass and instead bought a sample of the Huntly home. The Huntly, as we understood from Zhuang Meng, was from The Balvenie. They did not allow the independent bottlers to name the distillery. Hence they had to use the location of the distillery instead.

Time to say Goodbye

After our chat with Zhuang Meng, we had to go. After checking out of the hotel, we went for a quick lunch before heading back to the fair to say bid farewell to everyone. It was a fantastic event and one which we enjoyed tremendously! We understood that WhiskyFair TAKAO 2018 would take place at Kaohsiung on 1st and 2nd December 2018! Next year, we are hoping to plan a trip together with some of our members, and we can all go there together! Until next year, folks! Slainte!

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