“Happy Whiskies” Bhutan’s K5 vs Misty Peak

Next in the Whisky LadiesDiwali Drams” evening was a trip to a remarkable land – Bhutan where one of our intrepid whisky ladies recently traveled. She brought back for our sampling explorations two whisky blends – K5 and Misty Peaks.

We’ll admit it took a bit of time to re-calibrate our palates and expectations to blends of blends, watered down to 40%. However let’s be honest, we’ve all had our fair share of Indian blends and once we shifted gears from the Hakushu single malt to desi whiskies, found elements to commend.

K5 is is blended and bottled by Gelephu Distillery – part of the Bhutanese Army Welfare Project, of which some of the funds from sales go to help veterans of their armed services.

Here is what they have to say about Bhutan and the reason this blend is called “K5”:

The Kingdom of Bhutan is known for its peaceful, harmonious way of life. So it’s no surprise that these qualities – balance, beauty – are equally present in the nation’s preeminent whisky. Blended and bottled by hand in the foothills of the Himalayas, K5 Himalayan Whisky is a special blend created in honor of the coronation of the 5th King of Bhutan’s ascension to the throne. 

They go on to explain the blend uses:

  • 8 and 12 years old blended malt Scotch whiskies mixed with
  • Triple distilled grain spirits, made from the Bhutan’s organic rice and corn grains, then
  • Diluted with natural Himalayan virgin spring water

A few further details can be found on K5’s Spirit of Bhutan website.

And what did the ladies think?

K5 Himalayan Whisky 40%

  • Nose – 1st whiff came across as a bit sharp, then turned quite nondescript, if a tad too sweet… As we recalibrate expectations to a  A light dash of sherry sweet spice, some toffee
  • Palate – Caramelised sugar sweet syrup, perhaps the tiniest whiff of malt or peat?
  • Finish – Simply smooth

Overall we found it light, like an appetizer whisky… the kind that prompts a “happy face” reaction.

Compared with other Indian blends in a similar or higher price range, it had no harshness and instead a quite amiable quality. Talk turned to cocktails – those with a light touch on other flavours to allow K5 to skip along in harmony – or perhaps a whisky caprioska.

Don’t expect a high faluting fancy blend here, just something easy to quaff and approachable.

We then moved on to the next Bhutanese offering…

Like K5, Misty Peak is blended and bottled by Gelephu Distillery. Outside of Bhutan, Misty Peak can be tracked down in Singapore through Bhutan Premium Liquor. What do they say about it?

The Misty Peak Whisky was produced in the year 2015. This bottle was produced to reflect the pristine character of the timeless Majestic Mountains of Bhutan.

Misty Peak is made of selected blend of 8 years old and 12 years old blended Scotch malt whisky. It is then admixed in with a carefully selected Scotch grain whisky. Just like the K5, it is the infused with the natural spring Himalayan waters for that delicate finish. This blend gives the whisky its unique characteristics of different spices and hints of honey with light touch of pettiness that ends off with a sweet lingering bite to the palate.

And what did the Whisky Ladies find?

Misty Peak 40%

  • Nose – Caramel spice
  • Palate – Light oil and very watery
  • Finish – The best quality – a tingly spice finish, a bit bitter… almost like a light swish of mouthwash

Overall we found it went straight from nose to finish, the taste on the palate there but nondescript. And yet, we still thought it would stand up better in cocktails than K5.

As we compared the two, most began to veer towards preference to the K5 over the Misty Peak. And yet both were easy to drink, with no harshness, quite mild.

Talk turned to the “happiness quotient” found in Bhutan and how it was admirably expressed in both whiskies.

These whiskies were purchased in Bhutan and sampled from recently opened bottles in October 2017, Mumbai.

Whiskies sampled in our Diwali Drams evening included:

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