Single Cask Whisky Advent Calendar (2019 Edition)

Before even reaching Germany, I prepared for my arrival by ordering a small “housewarming” gift!

Yes I know, Advent Calendars are intended to be opened in Christmas and I may even wait til then… however spoiler alert! Don’t be surprised if I’m tempted to try a few before then…

Photo: www.masterofmalt.com

So what was it expected to contain?

Until then, let’s see what other tasting adventures I can discover in Deutschland!

Curious to know more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady – September 2019

We had GREAT expectations for September… London with Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange, flight to Inverness then a proper whisky distillery tour in Speyside. Tickets were bought, accommodations booked… all was ready!

However best laid plans were not to be… in large part thanks to my being “grounded” in Bombay waiting for my passport to be returned with my new German “National” (aka work) visa and then a stupid amount of stress trying to get my Indian visa converted from work to spousal – with success literally the last business day I was in India!

So what’s a gal to do? Why make whisky fun!

  • A Balvenie evening... which turned out to be a bit different than anticipated
  • A private Stranger & Sons Gin evening with the BMC plus friends
  • Handing over the Whisky Advent for the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai to enjoy
  • Beautiful dram dregs… rescuing precious open bottles from languishing in less than optimal Mumbai storage conditions

Plus join not one but two whisky tasting group’s evenings…

One of our Whisky Ladies went on a whiskey tour in Ireland and brought back for us:

And the original club shared whiskies carefully tracked down pair from Douglas Laing’s “Distiller’s Art” series plus 1st one additional then a bonus whisky too:

  • Distiller’s Art – Caol Ila 8 year (2009) 59.2% – Wonderful dram
  • Distiller’s Art – Jura 11 year (2006) 58.6% – Curious as didn’t seem Scottish at all!
  • Springbank 10 year 46% – Not what we remembered… was it a consequence of the tasting order or something else at play
  • And our bonus Scapa 40% – What a terrific reminder that this is one solid maritime malt!

There will likely be some disruption in seeking out opportunities to discover new drams and sharing tasting notes over the next few months.

While there is the amazing German women’s “Sharing Angels“… I anticipate it will take some time to navigate life in Nuremberg to find new folks who share a passion for quality over quantity, slowing down to discuss, deliberate and learn together.

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

So why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Teeling Brabazon Bottling 49.5% – Sherry Twist?

For those who make it to Ireland and start to explore beyond the big daddy Midleton, known best for its Jameson brand, there are a plethora of options… yet still only a small yet growing number of distillers.

Teeling is one of them and relatively recently launched a new “Brabazon Bottling” series – to explore maturation experiments with fortified wine – kicking off with this Sherry avatar and then launching a Port version for the 2nd series. Our host had tried both and knew to reverse the tasting order so we had the 2nd first and the 1st second. But what matters more than series and tasting order is what we thought!

Teeling Brabazon Sherry 49.5% (Series 1, 02/2018)

  • Nose – Heavier than the Port, dark plums, fruity, sharp cheddar, direct, liquorice, black olives or capers… and after the 1st sip, it was an explosion of Christmas qualities, dried fruits, cinnamon, cloves, ginger…. then settling into a caramel with a hint of salt and toast
  • Palate – Usual… like a sweet apple and ginger chutney, kiwis, cloves, chocolate… while wasn’t massively complex, it had a strong character, quite tasty with a light Christmas pudding
  • Finish – Beautiful! The finish was really long… really really long… with a curl of liquorice

Early reactions to this one after the 1st sip was “I like it! I really like it!” With comments about how it simply envelops into a nice warm hug… In many ways it was the yin to the yang of the Port with a slower start on the nose, blooming fully on the palate, and slowly tapering into a lingering finish.

Which sparked a lively comparison between the two non-chill filtered Brabazon Bottling boys… Which was preferred? Why?

Some were decidedly against this one. Finding it a bit challenging and lacking in a certain something required to make an appealing tipple. Others had the opposite reaction, really enjoying it.

I’ll admit I was in the 2nd camp and found it an interesting twist on the sociable quality I’ve come to expect from Teeling

And what do the folks at Teeling have to say?

The Brabazon Bottling Series is a limited edition collection of unique Irish Single Malts capturing the full impact and flavour crafted through fortified wine cask maturation.

Series No. 1 focuses on sherry cask maturation and consists of a range of carefully selected sherry cask aged whiskeys producing a full flavoured sherry influenced Irish Single Malt. This bottling consists of a vatting of 6 different sherry casks, carefully chosen for their complementary character. The Brabazon Bottling Series 1 is bottled at 49.5% ABV with no chill filtration allowing for all the natural flavours of this whiskey to be retained. Limited to just 12,500 bottles, this is a whiskey to savour.

Teeling’s Tasting Notes:

  • Nose – Earthy dried fruit and roasted hazelnut, with marmalade, peach, plum and burnt toffee.
  • Taste – A rich sherry sweetness, red berries, nuttiness and toffee, with a hint of of liquorice and clove.
  • Finish – Lingering mixed spice, trail-mix, crisped marshmallow, dry tannins and spice with toasted wood.

What else was picked up Whisky Ladies Irish Trio:

Interested in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on:

Teeling Brabazon Port 49.5% – Hot Toddy Time?

After the delightful Glendalough, we were primed and ready for more Irish explorations!

Our Whisky Lady host brought back an interesting duo – a new Brabazon Bottling series from Teeling that explores Sherry in the 1st and this Port in the 2nd. Each series has different bottlings – with month and year on the label.

We started with the Port, bottled in September 2018… What did we think?

Teeling Brabazon Port 49.5% (Series 2, 09/2018)

  • Nose – Cinnamon, wet leaves, wood, musty, camel leather, over ripe apples… then shifted into sweet dry spices of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg… and from apples to citrus orange and apricots… with a lively kick
    • After the 1st sip, became quite sweet – biscuits, a nice custard, lemon chiffon cake. It simply needed time to open into a delicious desert
  • Palate – Hmm… began with quite a bit of oak, tannins, spiced cherries, orange marmalade with bitter orange peel, smooth, shifting between a sour amla and marmalade
    • After some time, we returned and I found it quite bitter, it had a slightly queer or weird character… interesting when it veered more towards a tart marmalade, challenging when it became more like a bitter gourd like karela
  • Finish – Bitter warm spice, like absinthe soaked burnt sugar, a bit sharp…

This one sparked quite a bit of debate. We thought it had an interesting nose that became quite lovely. However the palate was quite mixed.

One lady quipped it was the kind of whiskey that was like a train with a great start but somewhere in the middle “Bro! I need to get to the next station!

And what did we mean by this? Both the nose and finish received a thumbs up. However the taste simply wasn’t for everyone’s palate. Yet for others, this was a clear preference.

For me? I couldn’t help but think of a hot toddy… Something about the finish in particular made me speculate if it might make a rather superb one!

And what do the folks at Teeling have to say?

Jack Teeling, Founder and Managing Director of Teeling Whiskey, commented “Our new Irish Single Malt brings together two famous Dublin family names – the Teelings and the Brabazons. By making reference to the historical Brabazon name, we are telling the story of why our family first came to the Liberties area of Dublin. But more importantly we are telling the story of why we are here now. Our aim with the whiskey was to create a full bodied tasting experience for people who enjoy the added complexity and taste sherry casks impart, and at the same time continuing our goal to expand the spectrum of flavours available from premium Irish whiskeys.”

And specifically anything about their 2nd series featuring port?

Not on the Teeling website that I could find, however the Celtic Whisky Shop folks have these tasting notes:

Taste Smooth and mouth-filling. The fruit characters are fresh and lively with a delicious strawberry shortcake front end backed up by malted grains, vanilla and dried fruits. The finish is drier and oakier with some furry tannins and exotic spices creeping through.
Nose Soft and aromatic with touches of freshly baked fruit loaf, apricots, strawberry jam, dates, fresh figs, honey and malted milk biscuits.
Colour Bright gold with a very slightly pink hue.

We continued on to the Brabazon Bottling with Sherry… and contrasted and compared the duo. Some preferred the Port, others the Sherry. I’d be curious to hear from others familiar with both which they prefer and why?

What else was picked up Whisky Ladies Irish Trio:

Interested in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on:

Glendalough 13 year Mizunara 46% – A “dreamy” dram!

Our Whisky Lady host regaled us with tales of the bounty to be discovered at the Celtic Whiskey Shope & Wines on the Green in Dublin. She and her husband had their attention focused on the goal of finding a unique Irish whiskey to bring back to Bombay… asking, trying and finally simply being guided by the knowledgeable staff to pick this bottle, available only in that store.

So what is Glendalough?

It is a newer craft distillery in the Wicklow Mountains that makes Whiskey, Gin & Poitín. The man on their bottle is St Kevin, who is credited with founding in the 6th century a monastic settlement in Glendalough. While of Irish royalty, the monk sought out the wilderness and the image is inspired by stories of his standing in water for hours, arms outstretched in prayer…  til a blackbird laid her eggs on his hand, which he then took as a sign, continuing to stand until they hatched. Or so the story goes.

And what made this particular whiskey unique?

Aside from being bottled for the shop, it was their use of Mizunara Japanese oak in the finish, after aging in ex-bourbon casks…

But what matters most to us is… What was the whiskey like?

Glendalough 13 year 46%

  • Nose – Pineapple, sea salt & caramel, a bit of dusty sawdust – white wood – fresh and dry, floral, honey suckle, frangipani, orange and lemon drops, bright and cheerful.. as it opened more, the sweeter it became… dripping with honey, shifting into caramel… then we discovered apple sauce, mango bite candies, vanilla candle wax. Setting aside to come back much later – it was pure marshmallows!
  • Palate – Yum! Citrus, mandarin orange segments, honey, touch of spice, smooth yet with substance, not heavy but a nice orchard fruit swirl, a mix of light sweet spices like clove, allspice, etc.
  • Finish – Continued with the sweet spices, medium, warm and sweet
  • Water – Didn’t even consider it!

A friendly late summer dram, becoming sweeter as it opened. In the end we pronounced it a delightful “dreamy” dram. An easy one to return to, sipping, simply enjoying with no complication or fuss.

And what do the folks at Glendalough have to say?

Extremely rare, and expensive, our virgin Japanese mizunara, comes from Hokkaido, the rugged most northern island of Japan. It is coopered to order in Japan’s only independent cooperage, by Japan’s oldest cooper. Mizunara amplifies much of what is already there while layering on more vanilla smoothness, sandlewood notes and even a little coconut, or gorse flower if you’re from our neck of the woods.

This whiskey has very different and exotic flavours compared with what you’d expect from an Irish single malt. And there’s not a lot of it around! This is one to snap up and savour.

  • The nose. Honeycomb, vanilla, apricot, and citrus. 
  • The taste. Velvety smooth with more vanilla, fudge, rock candy, peach and marmalade followed by sandalwood, cinnamon, and oriental spices. 
  • The finish. Put it this way… “The longest milk chocolate finish in the history of Irish Whiskey” Jim Murray.

In case you are curious, it can be found for €100.00 at – where else? – the Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines on the Green.

Here is the Irish trio our Whisky Lady brought back to Mumbai for our sampling pleasure:

Interested in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on:

Whisky Ladies Irish Select – Glendalough, Teeling Brabazon Bottling Port + Sherry

Our Whisky Ladies in Mumbai love exploring – both different drams and different parts of the world. So when combined, brilliant experiences are the result! For September, one Whisky Lady shared stories and special selections with us from her recent trip to Ireland!

Her whiskey tour took her all over and she shared how incredibly difficult it was to narrow the choice down to a trio of whiskies, sweetened by special chocolates created to pair with Irish whiskies and music with decidedly celtic notes.

What did we try?

Whisky Ladies Irish Trio:

There was no doubt that the Glendalough was a crowd pleasure but it was an interesting debate between the Port and Sherry Teeling duo – different elements appealed to different women. And it is that diversity that makes tasting together such a pleasure – discerning, discussing, debating over our dram discoveries.

It was also fitting that the tasting notes for our evening were captured on the last blank page of my whisky notebook which contained scribbles from over two years of Mumbai tastings.

This wasn’t our 1st Irish evening… Curious? Here’s a few or check the Irish whiskies page.

Interested in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on:

Drinks by the Drams – The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2018

Now I must admit, for a few years I have coveted advent calendars… imagining exploring a bounteous array of unique whiskies.

As luck would have it, one of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai was gifted a box – enthusiastically ordered from England for her sampling pleasure in India. A lovely thought… except those giving the generous gift had absolutely no clue the customs conundrum that would ensue… requiring all sorts of hoops and hassles with the recipient of the gift having to shell out more cash than the gift itself!

Perseverance and sheer stubbornness prevailed and this lovely box did indeed make its way into her hands.

After all the effort, what happened next?

Our lovely Whisky Lady decided to move to London! And gift her whisky women friends of Mumbai her advent calendar to enjoy, remembering our eventful evenings together!

Now given each ‘dram’ is a mere 3 cl each, our normal format where we all share and discuss the same whisky simply isn’t possible. Instead I had plans to pair up ladies to sample sets of four whiskies, jotting down tasting notes and leaving just a hint of their ‘top’ choice for others to sniff!

And then what happened?

You may have already guessed it! I’ve taken up a job in Germany. So this gift to the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai has now been handed over….

So while I will no longer have a chance to explore and enjoy, I’m completely confident it will be a brilliant experience.

Drinks by the Dram – The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2018

What will the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai have an opportunity to try?

Mostly Blends

  1. Fettercairn 12 Year Old 40% – Launched in 2018, an earlier brush with a cask strength TBWC version was very positive!
  2. Scallywag 46%Douglas Laing‘s Speyside vatted malt blend of Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes.
  3. Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old 43% – Those in the know appreciate this is a vatted malt (or blended malt) rather than a standard blend… which translates into no grain. It is one I’ve previously sampled
  4. The Naked Grouse 40% – Part of the Famous Grouse range, it is a blend of whisky from Highland Park and Macallan, aged in first fill sherry casks

Islay and Peaty

  1. Bunnahabhain 11 Year, Batch 9 49.5% – Another from That Boutique-y Whisky Company
  2. Caol Ila (2004/2016) Moscatel Cask Finish 43% – Another Distiller’s Edition, experimenting with sweet Moscatel
  3. Balvenie Peat Week 14 Year (2003 Vintage) 48.3% – From a week dedicated to peat, their 2nd edition
  4. Kilchoman 2012 Wine Finish (Cask 405) 56.9% – Bottled exclusively for Drinks by the Drams

Mystery distilleries

  1. Crabbie 8 Year Old 46% – Before John Crabbie revive their distillery, they have released 8 and 30 year ‘mystery malts’
  2. The Exceptional Blend 1st Edition 43% – A first fill Oloroso finished blended whisky from Sutcliffe & Son with North British, Strathclyde, Cameronbridge, Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Allt-á-Bhainne, Auchroisk, Glenallachie, Westport, Speyside, Macallan and more. Previously sampled.
  3. Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 11 52.3% – Imagine blending together near mythical closed distilleries? That’s what the folks at The Blended Whisky Company did bringing together drops of Caperdonich, Rosebank, Imperial, Mosstowie, Glen Mhor, Glenisla, Glenlochy, Craigduff, Port Ellen and Brora, along with grain whisky from Port Dundas
  4. The XL Blend, Batch 1 46.2% – We know next to nothing about this except that The Blended Whisky Company produced it and the XL refers to 40 ie it is a blend of 40 year + whiskies. Originally retailing at £457.46, it is currently sold out

The Glens

  1. Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera 40% – Not so simple process first matured in American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak, then married in a Solera vat.
  2. Glengoyne 12 Year Old 43% – Distinctive for its complete lack of peat
  3. Glen Scotia Double Cask 46% – I’ve been increasingly drawn to Campbeltown drams, and quite enjoyed a previous sample which features PX Sherry and Bourbon casks
  4. Glenfarclas 12 Year Old 58.7% – Bottled exclusively for Drinks By The Dram

“D” Distillery Drams

  1. Dewar’s 12 Year Old – The Ancestor 40% – Called ‘Double Aged’ as it follows its initial maturation and blending with another 6 months ‘marrying’ together further maturing in oak casks
  2. Dalwhinnie (2002/2017) Oloroso Cask Finish 43% – Distiller’s Edition, likely 15 year
  3. Dailuaine 15 Year Old Batch 2 47.5% – From That Boutique-y Whisky Company, previously sampled
  4. Dailuaine 4 Year (2012/2017) 46% – Bottled by Càrn Mòr for their Strictly Limited range, matured in two ex-bourbon casks

A mix of regions, styles and strengths!

  1. Loch Lomond 12 Year Old 46% – Inchmurrin, Inchmoan or Loch Lomond, this distillery has a range of styles… some peaty, some not… in this case using a trio of bourbon casks, refill casks and recharged casks.
  2. Bruichladdich Scottish Barley – The Classic Laddie 50% – It remains a classic, official bottle, year not specified
  3. Isle Of Jura Seven Wood 42% – Just as the name says, this whisky was matured in seven woods – American white oak, limousin, tronçais, allier, vosges, bertranges and jupilles
  4. Tamdhu Batch Strength (Batch 3) 58.3% – Matured in sherry casks

    PS – If someone was to now try and import such a box into India, there is next to no chance of success as the rules have changed yet again.

    Don’t want to miss any posts? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

    Whisky Lady – Aug 2019

    Ah.. August… a time of travel and transition. For me it meant Mumbai to Munich to Winnipeg to Munich & Nuremberg to Mumbai to Goa to Mumbai. Yeah, seriously…

    As for whiskies? Our Original group had their usual monthly session, but alas when I was traveling… Which is merely a sign of things to come as my “base” is changing from Bombay, India to Nuremberg, Germany in October. Yes… that is correct… after nearly 20 years in India I’m making a massive shift – for once my life is following my career and not the reverse!

    While longer term India remains “home” and I will be back a few times a year… our monthly rhythm with the amazing trio of whisky tasting groups will be much missed.

    So if there was a theme to August, it was dram fellowship…

    The Whisky Ladies made a trip to the Paul John Distillery in Goa and rescheduled our 4th Anniversary celebration!

    The Bombay Malt & Cigar gents and I had a “shabby chic” evening where we pulled out a few interesting open bottles to polish off… and plotted how when and where we will squeeze in a few more sessions together in London, Europe and Mumbai over the next few months.

    And the original club brought together not only special bottles but spouses too for an evening of great food, excellent whiskies and above all celebration of 8 years of dram fellowship!

    I simply can’t express how much I will miss our style of tasting – each host carefully curating their evening around a theme, sampling blind… often taking 20 mins with a single whisky to discuss, debate and even speculate what it might be. Then setting each aside to revisit, contrast and compare after trying all three – seeing how each shifts and changes – reflecting back on whiskies sampled over the years.

    More to come in September with a few more bitter sweet farewells accompanied by some plotting and planning for ways to catch at least the occasional session when back in Mumbai!

    Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

    So why not follow Whisky Lady on:

    Whisky Ladies 4th Anniversary!

    Wow! How time flies! From a “wouldn’t it be great if…” to four full and flourishing years of sharing, pairing, discussing, debating, friendship and tasting with the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

    Originally scheduled for when I was out galavanting around the globe, mother nature had other plans and Mumbai was effectively shut down by rains and floods.

    Lucky for me this meant it could be rescheduled to a weekend when I could very happily join!

    We decided after our last anniversary that the way to go is have a fun, sociable gathering – where each lady can invite a guest, bring an open bottle, have a grand meal, celebrating together the wonderful world of whiskies with fabulous women! After all – sharing is caring!

    The collection was impressive! Here is where we started before most even arrived…

    Given some were not able to join our Goan Paul John Distillery tour, I decided to bring ALL of the nearly empty bottles with me – including some never tried by all Whisky Ladies. Here’s what we started with from left to right…

    As the sun set and the evening progressed, more and more bottles made their way to our lips… To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even TRY to track the variety and quantity that made its appearance over the course of our gathering… Suffice it to say, it beautifully reflected the diversity of our palates, preferences and penchant to track down something interesting or to simply kick back, relax and sociably enjoy.

    For my part, after traveling for weeks from Mumbai – Munich – Winnipeg – Munich & Nuremberg – Mumbai – Goa – Mumbai – Kalote straight from the rice paddy fields of our country home to Mumbai’s urban jungle for our Whisky Ladies celebration, I could not have had a better day or way to celebrate!

    I’m so lucky to have been part of creating such a special whisky tasting group in India and am going to miss it terribly in the coming months and years.

    Interesting in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on:

    BMC “shabby chic” evening

    Date juggling with the Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen can be a challenge as we all travel extensively and, let’s face it, have busy lives!

    So when one member could not join our originally scheduled August date, we decided to shift from a planned tasting of curated closed bottles to pulling out something open from our whisky cabinets to share.

    As they didn’t earlier have the pleasure of trying Shelter Point – yet heard so much from all my past experiences – I decided it was time they experience – even if oxidized dregs!

    And yes – the plan was to bring just one but when there was so little left, how could I resist bringing all four?

    While there were other bottles on offer, here is what I recall:

    As for the cigars, it was a revisit of Gurka Seduction, also from an earlier session.

    I must confess I took narry a photo nor tasting note that evening – what I’ve shared here are mere recollections of impressions rather than specifics.

    This was an evening where we simply came together, sipped our drams, planned our upcoming sessions and September Scottish whisky tour with the whiskies taking a supporting role rather than featured cast.

    Which sometimes is exactly what you ask of a good dram – to be the best possible accompaniment to a rather enjoyable time with friends.

    Interested in receiving more Whisky Lady posts? Why not follow on: