Whisky Lady – Frolicking February

Everyday Asia

February was just frivolous and fun! I flew off to Delhi to co-facilitate a conference, home to Mumbai then a few days in Goa where I made a quick trip to Paul John distilleries too!

For the Whisky Lady, February had two whisky industry events:

  • Glenmorangie’s 3 country introduction to Bacalta
  • International Scotch Day

sansibar-askaig-wilson-morgan

For our regular whisky tasting sessions, I played host to two!

  • A bit cheeky, I twisted our original underground club‘s most sacred of traditions – blind tasting – by teasingly revealing the bottles from three independent bottlers… who did not disclose the distillery on their labels.
  • Then even more sneaky, I planned to repeat the performance with our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents to see what they thought of the selection.

My idea was to contrast and compare tasting experiences… alas the BMC night was postponed to April however here is a sneak peak into what the original club thought!

  • Sansibar Islay 8…

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Whisky Lady – Jolly Good January

Everyday Asia

January was just jolly good! It was great being home in Mumbai and even better being able to join all three whisky groups sessions…

My Whisky Lady posts began the month with a great big THANK YOU for so many who have been integral to making it possible to have such copious content and memorable experiences!

(Photo: Table for One) (Photo: Table for One)

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Bar Night – Penderyn, Lagavulin and Aberlour

In lieu of our original planned evening, the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents shifted gears to enjoy their version of a ‘Bar Night’ with a Gurkha cigar.

There was some debate over the tasting order and, in retrospect, it could have had the peatier Lagavulin last, swapping place with the Aberlour. However it all worked out in the end!

Penderyn Madeira 46% 

  • Nose – Initially distinctly varnish, then sweet, banana, citrus sweet oranges, resin, pine, vanilla, apricot, bannoffee pie, then odd bitter, pine needles
  • Palate – Tingle at the front, sweet, acidity at the back, banana sweet
  • Finish – Pleasant yet nothing substantial

The two of us who sampled it earlier, were reminded of why we found it an interesting conversation whisky. While not for everyone, there is a distinctive quality to it that cannot be ignored.

It also turned out to be the dram choice of the night for most gents, as it complimented our Gurkhas rather well.

Lagavulin 16 year 43%

  • Nose – Clear peat, yet rounded not harsh, wet rag, berry sweetness, black berries, shifting into a briny ocean spray, leather
  • Palate – Spice sweet, peat, ash, lovely balance
  • Finish – Lovely sweet

In short, a beautiful whisky! What a treat to return to a familiar friend…Those who once upon a time treated the Lagavulin 16 as a bar ‘staple’ were reminded of why that is the case – its ability to have balanced peat and sweet.

And how did the Lagavulin fare with the cigar? A contrasting pairing, with the whisky the predominant note.

Aberlour 12 year 40%

  • Nose – Prunes, sherry, berry
  • Palate – Candy sweet, cinnamon
  • Finish – Light spice finish

The whisky was oddly disappointing as it was a pale comparison with the more familiar A’bunadh.

And yet it was an absolutely perfectly balanced pairing with the cigar.

penderyn-lagavulin-aberlour

Though it wasn’t our original plan, the substitute ‘bar night’ theme worked rather well.

What would you chose as a trio of more accessible drams for a sociable evening?

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Bombay Bar Nights…

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming on quality whiskies, somewhat serious reviews and general pontificating to introduce you to a fine Bombay tradition – the BAR NIGHT.

Now, what you may say makes ‘Bar Night’ here any different than another part of the world?

I’m so delighted you asked!

You see we have a fine colonial tradition of gym khanna in these parts… bastions for a certain sort that once upon a time some were frequented by those mad dogs and Englishmen.

Since then, membership at such clubs may still remain a privilege and yet from time to time a few of us ‘riff raff’ get invited into these rarified domains.

Enter ‘Bar Night’ where more sociable evenings happen opening the doors to members guests on a wider scale.

In our impromptu BMC version, we opened up the ‘Bar Night’ liquor cabinet of our host.

bar-boozeLet’s admit it folks – most of us with a prediliction for quality drams have our ‘jaanta’ (masses) cabinet with an assortment of ‘bar booze’ and then our special ‘reserved’ section hidden away from prying eyes.

Helps avoid those gasps of dismay where a crazy expensive rare single malt is shocked with a bucket of ice or horror of all horrors drowned in soda or some other fizzy substance that has no business going near a prime whisky!

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all crazy snobby, just some whiskies DO deserve a different sort of treatment.

Here is what we sampled:

penderyn-lagavulin-aberlour

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Nordic Explorer #12 – Denmark’s Stauning Peated 2nd Edition

Last in our Nordic Explorer‘s session was another whisky from Denmark’s Stauning Distillery.

Photo: Stauning Website - note for 1st not 2nd edition

Photo: Stauning Website – 1st not 2nd edition

Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition

  • Nose – Peat yet with a minimalist quality, woody, muted
  • Palate – More like a touch or sensation of peat than forceful, smooth and doesn’t burn, slight hint of sweet
  • Finish – Nice pleasant finish

A definite step up from the rye, the Staining Peated has an overall restrained quality.

Here are the folks at Stauning have to say:

  • Colour – Light straw colored
  • Aroma – Delicate smoke, Grain, chocolate
  • Palate – Smoked chocolate bar, nougat, light molasses
  • Finish – Long, smoke, oak, vanilla, butterscotch

Stauning Peated is made of malted barley, gaining its smoky characteristics from drying the malted barley with peat smoke from peat excavated by Klosterlund Museum. It is then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks from the bourbon distillery Makers Mark.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%
  9. Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition 47%
  10. Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43%
  11. Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) 49.3% Batch 5
  12. Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition (this post)

With this, our Nordic whisky adventures are now officially over… Thank you again Thomas for a wonderful trip! We never would have otherwise had an opportunity to try such a range of drams from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and even Iceland!

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Nordic Explorers #11 – Denmark’s Stauning Young Rye 2010/2011

Next up in our Nordic Explorer‘s session was a whisky from Denmark’s Stauning distillery.

Stauning was founded in 2005 by nine whisky enthusiasts in western Denmark with a dram to make a Danish dram that uses locally sourced grain, locally malted and, where relevant, using Danish peat.  Encouraged by a meeting with Jim Murray and his positive reviews of their early results, the team bought a farm near Staining and built new premises in 2009.

Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) Batch 5 49.3% 

  • Nose – Inoffensive yet still veering more in the harsh nose cleanser territory, clearly rye, raw yet more muted than the rawness of the Floki, some spice sharpness, a dusty dry sawdust dimension, then became sweeter with overripe melon and honey
  • Palate – Grain rye, smooth and doesn’t burn with a hint of apricot
  • Finish – Normally a finish that stays is a good thing… in this case not so much

Perhaps it is just that my Nordic whisky lady companion and I are simply not partial to rye whiskies or perhaps it was just that after the fabulous Teerenpeli Kaski, the Stauning Young Rye didn’t even come close to measuring up.

It reminded both of us of the slightly peculiar grain experiments we recently tried from AD Laws – Triticum and Hordeum. Neither were to our taste. Perhaps a rye fan would find other elements we missed… That’s all part of the range of whiskies that appeal to different palates and preferences.

Here are the folks at Stauning have to say:

  • Colour – amber, dark
  • Aroma – Rye, fruit, cinnamon
  • Taste – Rye, apple, apricot
  • Finish – Very long, cinnamon, oak, raisin, chocolate

Stauning Rye takes an usual approach in using a large proportion malted rye, then matured in new white oak barrels.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%
  9. Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition 47%
  10. Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43%
  11. Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) 49.3% Batch 5 (this post)
  12. Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition (coming next)

With only one more to go, our Nordic whisky adventures are nearly over…

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Nordic Explorers #10 – Finland’s Teerenpeli Kaski 43%

Next up in our Nordic Explorer‘s session was a whisky from Finland.

My first introduction to Teerenpeli was their 10 year – a most enjoyable dram. So memorable in fact it was part of our top pics for the Ladies Choice evening for the BMC gentlemen. Alas we could only acquire one small 500ml bottle – not nearly enough for our combined evening – so it was not re-sampled.

Kaski is Teerenpeli’s nod to sherry whiskies… The name comes from the tradition of first slash and burn the ground to produce KASKI (swidden) which then enables the first phase of cultivation – a new beginning.

Photo: Teerenpeli website

Photo: Teerenpeli website

Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43%

  • Nose – Cinnamon spice, subtle, honey, nuts like pine nuts or blanched almonds, after an initial strength, there is a freshness that surfaces, then after some time a clear stamp of vanilla, apricot and beautifully rounded
  • Palate – Lovely! Soft, smooth, yet with enough character to make it interesting with a cinnamon chaser
  • Finish – A nice hint of smoke

My Nordic Whisky Lady sampling companion and I were both in our whisky ‘happy place’ – you know that comfy space where you simply want to sit back, relax and enjoy. Who cared about tasting notes and nuances – this was simply a fine dram. One of those whiskies you wish you had a bottle sitting around at home to sip companionably.

In short – two thumbs up!

The Kaski is approximately 6-7 years old, matured in sherry casks only.

Here is what the folks over at Teerenpeli have to say:

  • Colour – Roasted brown sugar
  • Nose – Notes of fruitiness and a light peat
  • Palate – Smooth, grain-like and rich
  • Spicy aftertaste combines raisin-like fruit cake

In our last whisky quartet from the Nordic drams, this was by far our favourite!

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%
  9. Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition 47%
  10. Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43% (this post)

With only two to go, our Nordic whisky adventures are nearing  a close…

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Nordic Explorers #9 – Iceland’s Flóki Young Malt 47%

My Swedish friend and I took a few months break from our Nordic Explorer‘s sessions however are now back to finish the last quartet!

Iceland has two new distilleries – Thoran and Eimverk – from which the later is now releasing limited early editions of their fledgling spirit Flóki. Let us be very clear – this isn’t yet whisky – more akin to new-make spirit that has touched a little wood.

Flóki produce their whisky using 100% organic Icelandic-grown barley, malted by hand and then pot still distilled. As Icelandic barley is slow growing and low in sugars, distillers have to use 50% more barley per bottle.

Photo: Whisky Saga

Photo: Whisky Saga

Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition, Barrel 3, 47%

  • Nose – Raw, sour, dry mash, unfinished
  • Palate – Exceedingly raw, tingles and prickles the lips, peculiar and a bit difficult
  • Finish – Remarkably, had a nice after taste

Overall impression my companion had was of cheap vodka or home brews of her Nordic youth… more like new make spirit or moonshine than whisky.

When we returned to the Floki after sampling the other three, the aroma was almost akin to sour garbage. Hmm… definitely not what I want in my whisky.

This whisky was released late 2014/early 2015, aged from 1-2 years. I understand this particular edition was from barrel 3, aged 12 months in fresh 200 litre American Oak barrels, medium toast and char level.

Whisky Wafflers had this to say about Flóki:

Pretty good for such a young whisky it must be said. The nose is really curious; it’s really, really floral and fruity (pineapple, mandarin, pear) with a slightly salted caramel edge that keeps you sniffing. You know what, if you’ve ever had the chance to try some new-make spirit, then you’ll know what this smells like.

On the mouth the Flóki is sharp, slightly bitter and prickly. It pretty much jumps off its longship and starts jabbing away with its spear, although part of the reason for that is probably the 47% strength. The finish coats the tongue with that raw, grassy, hay-like quality that seems common amongst very young whiskies, followed by a lick of spicy fruitiness.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%

With another three to go, our Nordic whisky adventures are nearing  a close…

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Undisclosed Distillery Drams – Sansibar, Port Askaig + W+M Highland Heart

While in the grand scheme of things entering our 6th year of monthly whisky meetings may not seem like much, for our original Mumbai whisky club, it is still a marvellous milestone.

The sincerity, dedication and creativity we bring to our sessions just keeps evolving. We put effort into planning our sessions, often collecting whiskies well in advance – as in a year or two.

In 2015, I went fully Japanese sharing bottles purchased a year earlier in Tokyo.

For my 2016 session, I went with Signatory Session theme.

So what to do for my 2017 session?

I put a cheeky twist on our most sacred of traditions – blind tasting. How, you may ask, could there be a twist to something like that? Either you can see the bottle or not.

In this case, we could see the bottles but still not know what distillery we were sampling!

What did I select?

I then added a further sneaky twist to the mix – sharing the exact same bottles in a completely different setting, different company which added a different dimension to the whisky impressions…

wm-sansibar-port-askaig

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Whisky Live Singapore – Dalmore 18 year 43%

At Whisky Live Singapore, Dalmore was one distillery I fully intended to come back and spend a bit more time with… So when I first waltzed past, I had no intention of stopping as planned to return in earnest later.

2016-11-12-dalmore

Except I simply could not resist a nip of the 18 year… who could?

2016-11-12-dalmore-18

Dalmore 18 year 43%

  • Rich raisins, dark fruits, chocolate, with a truly lovely finish!

As always, at Whisky Live it is but a fleeting impression rather than full focus proper tasting.

And yes – that is Jonathan Driver behind the Dalmore 18 year.

In the end, I  only made this one short pit stop with a quick sip without an opportunity to return. Another on the list to hopefully catch another time.

For those interested, here is what the folks over at Dalmore have to say about this whisky:

An evolution of The Dalmore house style, this 18 year old expression harnesses bolder notes.

A robust and formidable whisky, The Dalmore 18 year old showcases the result of extended maturation and the influence of the wood.

Matured initially for 14 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, the spirit is then transferred to 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry butts for a further four years.

These sherry butts from the world-renowned sherry house Gonzalez Byass are selected exclusively for The Dalmore.

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