When we started our different whisky tasting clubs in Mumbai it was at a time where the offerings readily available beyond whiskies personally brought into the country were rather limited. Fast forward and today it is possible to have a respectable flight… right here in the city… for a price.
That shared, we likely won’t see many single casks entering anytime soon… in part because to import requires donating a “sample” for testing purposes. When a product has only say 100 bottles in the world and to sell at best a handful in a particular state, it becomes impossible to justify such a “donation”.
So while the more unusual limited edition specimens likely won’t show up anytime soon, the overall range is sufficient for those curious to be inducted into the world of single malts and whiskies in general.
Which is exactly what we sat down to accomplish one fine evening at KODE in Mumbai early April.
My sampling companions and I warned the waiter that we would be requesting different bottles, sniffing then selecting so to be patient with us. And they were.
We began with a clear progression from light to distinctive profiles…
I’d initially thought to start with Compass Box Hedonism as it is such an unusual yet light whisky. They were just out of stock, so shifted instead to a readily accessible “appetizer”:
- Japanese blend – Akashi Red Whisky 40%
Our palates now acclimated, our real journey began with:
- Scotland – Highland – Edradour 12 year Caledonia 46%
- Scotland – Islay – Kilchoman Sanaig 46% with its sherry and peat interplay, selected over its clean ex-bourbon avatar Kilchoman Machir Bay 46%
- Australia – Tasmania’s Hellyers Road Peated 46.2%* beat out the Pinot Noir… alas the distinctive 12 year was not part of the possibilities
I then wanted to shift gears to start to discern more subtle complex flavours… It was wishful thinking to hope Glendronach 18 year might be available however did have a choice between the 12, 15 and 21 year... We went with:
- Scotland – Glendronach – Glendronach 15 year “Revival” 46%*
Then split into the following to cater to the emerging different palate preferences of my sampling companions:
- Scotland – Campbeltown – Springbank 18 year 46%
- Scotland – Highland – Glenmorangie Bacalta 46%
- Scotland – Blend – Compass Box Peat Monster 46%
As conversation veered towards talk of casks and the difference between a Scottish single malt and Bourbon, I thought it would be good to do a wee detour to the US to contrast what we sampled so far with Bourbon & Rye:
- Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
- Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye 90 Proof*
Then proceeded to compare the nuances between very similar whiskies from Glenmorangie that have different finishes:
- Scotland – Highland – Glenorangie Lasanta 12 year 46% – Olorosso & PX Sherrry finish
- Scotland – Highland – Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 year 46% – Port finish
And finally we closed with a split between revisiting whiskies that “stood” out for my companions:
*Just in case you were wondering what all the “asterisk” mean… each of these bottles were brought into India thanks to Keshav Prakash with The Vault Fine Spirits. I’m incredibly proud of what Keshav and his team have achieved and have made a huge impact on the range now available in Mumbai. Thank you!
KODE – Freestyle Bar and Kitchen
Ground Floor – 11, Oasis City, Kamala Mills – Entrance #2, Lower Parel,, Mumbai, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013. Tel: 077188 82924
PS It may seem like an insane quantity of whisky but keep in mind we were splitting 30 ml singles – focusing more on sniffing, swishing and savouring.
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