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Something is brewing at Manhattan Bar! What’s that?

Our members got first-hand information on what’s brewing at Manhattan Bar last Wednesday. WhiskyGeeks is partnering both Whisky Butler and Manhattan Bar to bring about new whisky flavours and new barrel-aged cocktails. After last week’s introduction, we are back this week with a short update.

Sazerac Rye Whisky

To recap what happened last week, Manhattan Bar has placed the Sazerac Rye whisky into a barrel as an experiment of creating new whisky flavours. We tasted the original and a version of it after 6 days last week. Now, we are tasting it after 13 days.

The whisky after 13 days

In comparison to the original and the previous 6 days version, the 13 days version is much easier to drink. The sweetness of burnt maple syrup and caramel reduce significantly on the nose, and the acetone is almost gone. The whisky is now milder to drink, and the strong flavours on the palate are beginning to disperse, bringing caramel cola and hints of strawberries. It becomes refreshing instead of overwhelmingly sweet. The finish becomes even shorter than before. Sweet cola frizz, slightly minty but also tannic, astringent and slightly numbing on the tongue, similar to the feeling of eating GP-prescribed lozenges.

Conclusion

The barrel has imparted different flavours and characteristics to the whisky while taking away some of the whisky’s strong flavours. Overall, the experiment is going well as we see improvements in the whisky’s overall profile. In 13 days, the whisky is already milder in taste and an easier drink as compared to the original.

More about Whisky Live Singapore

Whisky Live Singapore is happening in about a month’s time! Have you bought your tickets yet?

Organised by La Maison du Whisky (LMDW), it is a yearly sold-out event where whisky aficionados get to taste and appreciate premier whiskies at a relatively low cost. This year, Whisky Live is trying out something different with an immersive and expansive experience for all.

What we love about Whisky Live is not just the passion for good whisky, but also the dedication that goes behind the event every year. “We are constantly looking into ways to alleviate the experience (of Whisky Live)”, said Mr Mathieu Musnier, General Manager at LMDW. “Whisky and spirits appreciation is an art.”

In line with his vision, Whisky Live Singapore 2017 has a theme of “Rare, Share, Pair”. The different approach is refreshing as the event brings not just whisky but also the taste of other fine spirits such as gin, tequila, rum and much more in the form of cocktails. There are also different cuisines available at the event.

In addition, there will be an art gallery that showcases whisky and spirit art through the years. Expect to be awed by label designs, marketing art and bottle craft. The exhibition is featuring art pieces from well-known artists such as Stranger & Strangers, Neisson and Velier.

What to Expect at Whisky Live Singapore

The tickets for Whisky Live are almost sold out, so for those who have yet to buy the tickets, hurry over to Peatix to purchase your tickets! For those who have gotten the tickets, congratulations! You are going to enjoy yourselves!

Expect premier whiskies from various distilleries such as Old Pulteney, Balbair and Bruichladdich and for those with VIP tickets, hit up the rare whiskies in the VIP room. We heard that there are going to be some vintage whiskies from Old Pulteney (hint: a 25 years old), so be sure to visit their booth! If you have bought your tickets to the Masterclasses, expect the unexpected as you are going to be blown away by both the information as well as the spirits prepared just for you.

Oh, and do check out the Nikka Masterclass. The Nikka Coffey Malt has just won the Best Japanese Whisky in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018. We understand that Nikka is now experimenting with a Coffey Gin and Coffey Vodka and will explain more in their Masterclass.

Whisky Live Singapore Important Dates

Dates: 25th and 26th November 2017.
Time: Doors open from 1.30pm. VIP ticket holders can enter one hour earlier to explore the tasting area.
Venue: 7213 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 239007

More about Whisky Live

Whisky Live aims to bring together the finest whiskies and spirits, great food and a range of education and entertainment to the participants around the world. Organised annually, this event offers the rare opportunity to sample whiskies from around the world as well as to discover exciting new spirits and distilleries. At the same time, it is the perfect chance to mingle with the experts in the field – producers, distillers and ambassadors.

More about La Maison du Whisky Singapore

La Maison du Whisky is a family-owned company founded in 1956 in the French capital. It is the specialist of rare whiskies, niche spirits, importation and distribution in France. La Maison du Whisky came onboard Singapore in 2006, bringing with them the passion and love for fine spirits and the distribution of rare and collectible products.

 

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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 #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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        The Six Pillars that make whisky distinctly Macallan

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

         

        Whisky lovers who have attended previous Macallan events would know the pride that the company has in its unique “Six Pillars”, the foundation stones for the making of every bottle of The Macallan. For the rest who had missed their events, do allow us to show you why The Macallan is distinctively Macallan.

        The Six Pillars

        Credits: www.themacallan.com

        The Six Pillars are the pride of the company. They are the foundation stones for The Macallan and account for much of its fame and character. They are the symbols of the strong sense of belonging within the distillery and the estate they belong to, as well as the experience they have in distilling and maturing excellent single malt whiskies with distinctive characters. Each of these pillars contribute to the essence of The Macallan.

        Spiritual Home

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        The Macallan spiritual home is none other than the Easter-Elchies House, built in 1700 by Captain John Grant. It lies in the middle of the Macallan estate and represent their heart and soul that are poured into every single bottle of The Macallan. It is a typical Highland manor house and display various features of Scottish architecture of the period. The Macallan makes use of the vast land they own to cultivate their own exclusive barley variety that will eventually go to make The Macallan. The River Spey, which borders the estate to the south and south-east, provides the water for the distillery.

        The Curiously Small Stills

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        Keeping with tradition, The Macallan is using stills that are smaller than the rest of the industry in Speyside. In fact, they are using the smallest stills in Speyside! The unique size and shape of the stills give the spirit maximum contact with the copper which the stills are made of, helping to thicken the ‘new make’ and provides the rich, fruity and yet full-bodied flavours of The Macallan. Currently, there are 14 of them on the estate, each of them with an initial capacity of 3900 litres. They are so famous that you can find them on the back of the £10 bank note from the Bank of Scotland!

        Finest Cut

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        Only about 16% of the spirits collected from the spirit stills are used to fill casks for maturation into The Macallan. They choose what they quote as “the best of the best, the heart of the run”. This small portion makes the selection extremely exceptional. It is the main reason why The Macallan ‘new make’ spirit is rich and full-bodied. At 69.8% ABV, this robust spirit is the start of all Macallan whiskies.

        Exceptional Oak Casks

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        The exceptional oak casks are the best contributors to the quality, natural colours as well as the distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan. It is well-known that The Macallan spends more on their casks as compared to other distilleries in their sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for their casks. They have three primary casks – the Spanish Oak Sherry casks, the American Oak Sherry casks and the American Oak Bourbon cask. Each of these casks will give different characteristics to the whiskies maturing in them.

        Natural Colours

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        All the colours in The Macallan whiskies are natural. As long as the whiskies are bottled at The Macallan distillery, the colour of the whisky will be natural. The colours of the whiskies are derived from the interaction of the ‘new make’ spirit with the oak cask during maturation and hence you can see the difference in the colours from light gold to dark mahogany. Due to the natural colours, it takes great skills from the Master Distiller to achieve consistency for the different bottling.

        The Golden Nectar – The Macallan itself

        Credit: www.themacallan.com

        The Master Distiller and his team nose and taste thousands of samples every year to create all The Macallan expressions that are enjoyed around the world. This task is extremely demanding, and require great skills to recognise a whisky that is ready to be bottled. The exacting task of marrying whiskies from different casks is also a skill that can only be acquired over the years. Both skills are required to create The Macallan, one of the best whiskies in the world.

        Making the spirit – Macallan Way

        Credits: www.themacallan.com

        The above diagram shows the complicated distillation process in which The Macallan creates ‘new make’ spirits. Once the spirits are created, they take the finest cut and put them into either the Spanish Oak Sherry cask, the American Oak Sherry cask or the American Oak Bourbon cask for maturation.

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          Upcoming Event: Whisky Fair 2018 in Limburg, Germany

          Picture taken from www.whiskyfair.com

          Exciting times ahead in 2018! This is yet another whisky fair that will be held in 2018. It has the reputation of being the biggest whisky fair that you can ever find in Europe, and generally, hosts exhibitors of various brands, independent bottlers, retailers, importers and rarities retailers. For most whisky lovers in Europe, this annual whisky fair is a must-go event because of the sheer number of exhibitors and rare bottling that one can find over there.

          For us in Asia, it is much harder to go for every single event held in Europe, so we tend to pick and choose. As this is one of the biggest whisky fair ever, we would say that if you only have budget for one trip, make it this trip!

          Here are 5 things why we think this is a trip worth going.

           

          WhiskyFair 2018 has a good reputation for hosting well-organised events

          There will be a lot of people thronging through tight and small alleyways in an event of this scale, so it is important to know if the organisers are able to host well-organised events. The organisers behind WhiskyFair have been doing this for the past 16 years, gathering tons of experiences in handling huge crowds to make every event better than the last one.

          The distilleries that are heading to WhiskyFair 2018 are awesome

          We are just so excited when we see the list of distilleries that will be exhibiting in WhiskyFair 2018. Up till today (8 Aug), there is a total of 39 distilleries (42 brands) that will be heading to Limburg in April next year! Out of this impressive list, we spy big names such as The Dalmore, Glengoyne, The Amrut, Arran, amongst others. You can find the whole list here.

          There are also a lot of independent bottlers heading to WhiskyFair 2018

          Wow, the list is probably more impressive here! We see big names here too, like Cadenheads and Maltbarn, both of which were featured previously in Whisky Butler’s curation. Douglas Laing, the creator of the famous Big Peat, will also be making an appearance in Limburg.

          There are rare whiskies to be found

          If you are a collector of whiskies and interested to find more, you should really head to Limburg next April. There are a bunch of rare whiskies retailers who will be more than happy to share their loots with you! Giovanni Giuliani, a famous Italian collector will be there to share his experience. He would probably be selling some of his rare collections too. There are other rare whisky sellers such as Lion’s Whisky and Whiskey Antique that will be sharing their loots. Check out the whole list here.

          It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

          As whisky lovers, this event is one which we must experience at least once in our lifetime so that we can fulfil our thirst for great whiskies. The expected crowd, the jolly atmosphere and the headiness of drinking will definitely put you in a great mood for exploration. There are so many things to see and do in Limburg, and travellers can explore the rest of Germany too. Oh, and we cannot miss pointing out the friendships that will be forge and the memories that will last forever!

          If you are interested to find out more, you can visit the official website here. There is one cautionary note though – the hotels might be fully booked! So book now if you are really keen to go!

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            6 popular whisky myths that are just…myths

            Whisky is a mysterious drink to many people around the world. While the drink is progressively getting popular, especially in Southeast Asia, China, and parts of Southern America, many people are still wary of whisky. Some of the most arguable points in whisky are possibly how to drink it, when to drink it, at what age should you start appreciating whisky and what sex you have to be if you want to drink whisky.

            All these myths are negative ideologies that give reasons why people should NOT drink whisky. To drive home the point, you just need to examine the parts of the world where whisky is getting popular, and you will see that those areas do not subscribe to whisky myths like those above. That is possibly the only real reason why whisky is so popular in these countries.

            Whisky is not an elitist drink, neither is it a drink just for men. It is a complex and flavourful drink that can impress even the most knowledgeable man and woman. Let’s see some of the whisky myths and blast them away with facts!

            Whisky is old-fashioned

            Maybe the scenes of old movies in which a group of men in tweed suits, holding glasses of golden spirits and muttering to one other about peat and flavours come to mind whenever you think about whisky? It is considered as old-fashioned, irrelevant and unable to catch up to the modern world. However, if you would just look at the whisky bars that are springing up one after another in Singapore today, and you will realise that more and more young people are starting to appreciate the complexity of the drink. Just as the clubs are mixing whisky cocktails for the party-goers, the whisky bars of the modern world are serving up drams of excellent whiskies in almost any way that it can be drank – neat, with an ice ball, with ice cubes, with water, or perhaps as a highball. Whisky is not old-fashioned, but our mindset might be.

            Whisky is too strong a drink for women

            That is probably a sexist remark in today’s world. If you walk into a whisky bar today, you may find that many of the knowledgeable bartenders are women. If women are too weak for whisky, why are the bartenders women? To entertain the men? Absolutely not! You will be surprised at what these women bartenders drink if you dare to ask! Besides, there are many women now who enjoy whisky, and possibly drink more than the men. Whisky is for everyone, and definitely not a drink exclusively reserved for men.

            Whisky should be drunk neat

            This is furthest from the fact. Whisky is a versatile drink. It can be drunk neat, but it can also be enjoyed with a splash of water, with an ice ball, with ice cubes, as a cocktail and as a highball. There are so many people in this world who does not know that whisky can be drank in any of these forms! Some old timers are so fixated on drinking it neat that they did not fully appreciate what a dash of water can do to open up the flavours of their well-loved whiskies. Newcomers are usually put off by the sharp taste of whisky when drank neat. Without knowing that whisky can be drank in other ways, these people tried whisky once and never try it again. Isn’t that a perfect waste?

            Whisky is an after-dinner drink

            Whisky might be an after-dinner drink during the Victorian era, where gentlemen retired to the gentlemen’s den for whiskies and cigar, while the ladies return to their chit-chats in the parlour. It is however, the 21st century now, and hardly anyone ever drink whisky after dinner due to the drink-no-drive policies and reluctance of restaurants to serve digestifs after dinner. This makes whisky a drink that can be drank before dinner, at parties and as a late night snack! Just ask those whisky lovers around the world!

            Single malts are better than blended whisky

            This is the one single thing that many people adhere to almost anywhere we go. This could be due to the price tags that are attached to the single malts. Blended whiskies are generally cheaper; hence, it is labelled as inferior, rough, cheap and a dilution of strong character. We need to stop comparing single malts and blended whiskies, because they are different from each other. While single malts are popular because of certain well-known brands, blended whiskies have their fan base too. In fact, in new markets such as China and Vietnam, the whisky lovers sees whisky as blended. Single malts and blend each have their own distinctive characters, complexities and flavours. Comparing the two of them is just like comparing apples and oranges – they are simply not the same, and should be appreciated differently.

            Scotland makes the best whisky

            Source

            If you still believe this, you probably stayed in an ice cave all these while! While Scotch is undisputedly the largest whisky producer, it is definitely a mistake to associate it as the producer of the best whisky. Just check out Irish whiskies with their sweet, juicy drinkability and Japan, whose precise, complex single malts have won awards in recent years. How about Taiwan? She is slowly but steadily building whiskies that are flavourful and complex, winning awards and fans along the way. There is probably no “best whisky” since the appreciation of whisky is subjective to individual preferences.

            Whisky is therefore, a drink that is for everyone. Appreciating and understanding whisky may take time, but we promise that it will be a journey that you will hugely enjoy! So, sit back, relax, rise your glass and say slainte!

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              Introduction to The Macallan 1824 Series

              Source

              The Macallan 1824 series has been launched since September 2012 with a range of different whiskies that are based on colours instead of age. All the whiskies in this series has no age statement but instead, are based on the colour the whiskies take on during the maturation period. Since its first launch, the range of whiskies under the 1824 series have expanded to include some of the rarest and most expensive whiskies that Macallan has ever made.

              Source

              The 1824 series started with 4 whiskies – Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby. All of the four whiskies used ex-sherry casks, including both European and American oak casks, of which there is a mix of first-fill and second-fill casks. No whiskies from ex-bourbon casks are used. To create the final products, Master Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno and his team sampled and colour tested 30,000 casks! The final products are then named for their individual colours.

              Source

              Macallan then expanded the 1824 series by introducing 5 premium whiskies after the first 4 whiskies were launched. The new whiskies thus formed the Macallan 1824 Master Series. The premium whiskies are the Macallan Rare Cask, the Macallan Rare Cask Black, the Reflexion, the Macallan No. 6 and the Macallan M. These whiskies are similar created using only ex-sherry casks and as you move up the range, the colour of the whiskies becomes richer and the flavours more intense. This premium range was launched between 2013 to 2016 in various countries which attracted many whisky fans and collectors. In fact, the Macallan M achieved a New World Record price at US$628,000 in an auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, making it the world’s most expensive whisky!

              In the following posts, we will be doing a series of bite-sized posts to share the details and tasting notes of these whiskies. Keep a look out for them!

              More on The Macallan

              Macallan was established in 1824 by founder Alexander Reid. It was originally named as the Elchies distillery, after the estate that it was built on. The famous Elchies House, which forms part of the logo of the Macallan today, dates back to 1700 and have weathered through many adventures. The distillery and surrounding estate has the mighty River Spey as its backdrop and are situated near the Speyside village of Craigellachie in Scotland. It is now owned by the Edrington Group and has an annual production of 8 million litres of whisky.

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