Whisky Lady – May 2018

May had some terrific sessions! All three Mumbai based tasting groups met plus we had a few extras too! Plus I had a chance to catch-up on previous tasting sessions notes as well.  Read on…

All three tasting groups met, with most notes to follow next month…

The Whisky Ladies enjoyed a theme of “Northern Lights” exploring:

Whereas our original group tasted two Highland drams and an Irish pot still whiskey:

For our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents, I took them on a European Tour with:

In addition to our normal tasting evenings, we were fortunate to have a few industry extras in April and May with:

  • An evening with Caitlin Hill, Brand Ambassador for Bruichladdich and Botanist over a  quartet of cocktails and food pairing*
  • An evening with Stuart Harvey, Master Blender for IBHL with Balblair 05, 99, 00 and Speyburn 15 year*
  • An evening with Samantha Peters, Digital Marketing for IBHL with Speyburn 10 year 43%, Balblair 05 46%, Old Pultney 12 year 40%*

Which was augmented by a terrific evening at KODE with Keshav Prakash featuring a trio from the Vault Collection – Compass Box Asyla, Kilchoman Machir Bay and Edradour Caledonia.

In May, tasting notes were shared for our original club’s April session featuring The Vault Fine Spirits Collection, ably penned by our Guest Writer Nikkhil:

There was also a Minis evening playing around with finishes:

An informal evening with a few friends resulted in revisiting a few drams and sampling for the 1st time Shelter Point Cask Strength 2017 Winter Release 57.2% (Bottle 594/1088)

And for a final bit of “catchup”, back in March, the Whisky Ladies took a  remarkable “Trans Tasman Tour” to New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia:

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

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Northern Lights – Mackmyra Mack 40%

Yet again we have returned to Sweden, compliments of our Swedish Whisky Lady’s summer trip to the land of her birth. She considered other options then settled on their entry level whisky.

Mackmyra Mack 40%

  • Nose – Oranges, warm peaches in the sunshine, bubble gum, candy floss. Just a fabulous warm and inviting nose, some caramel custard too
  • Palate – Initially came across as a bit flat, like apple juice, but keep sipping and you’ll enjoy the light spice and amiable character, quite satisfying
  • Finish – Light restrained and quite tasty

Overall it reminded us of a summery county fair. Though most of us would have preferred a bit more “oomph!”, perhaps a bit higher than 40%.

Disappointing to learn they use caramel for colouring but it was quite accommodating and easy to drink.

Truth me told – it was the “hit” of the evening and we had to set it aside to keep it from being emptied completely!

Here’s what the chaps over at Master of Malt have to say:

  • Nose: Vanilla, boiled sweets and soft orchard fruit. Pear drops and spicy caramel. 
  • Palate: Candies peels, vanilla fudge, hint of basil, stewed fruit. 
  • Finish: Sweet oak spices.

It was purchased in Sweden in August 2017 and opened in Mumbai May 2018.

Whisky Ladies Northern Lights:

Curious to try more Nordic whiskies? Check out the European whisky section with a selection of Swedish whiskies:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Northern Lights – Crown Royal, Flóki, Mack

It can be a lot of fun playing around with a whisky theme. With the right combination, you can discover something different even in a familiar dram, or appreciate nuances in a spirit you may otherwise dismiss.

It was one of those kinds of sessions, held together by a distinctly “northern” theme. So while it it was swelteringly hot outdoors, we retreated to the cool ac of indoors and enjoyed our Northern Lights evening of:

While none would be considered outstanding, yet each was unique and as a set, enabled us to appreciate their different dimensions.

Talk turned to affordability… these days in the quest for something special, prices can become daunting. This was a terrific reminder that in the right company, context and frame of mind, there is no need to spend a “bomb” to obtain something quite enjoyable.

Case in point, when we looked up prices discovered:

  • Northern Harvest Rye $32
  • Mack $42
  • Flóki $52

From our perspective, these are all eminently affordable for quite affable drams.

What was even better was the tales of how each made it from their respective locales to Mumbai… details coming over the next few days!

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Swedish Whisky – Box Whisky Dálvve 46%

Yet again we have returned to Sweden, compliments of our Swedish Whisky Lady’s summer trip to the land of her birth.

She brought this Box Whisky with her… carefully kept aside for just this occasion! A special Après-ski evening with whiskies from France, Switzerland and Austria.

Box Whisky Dálvve 46%

  • Nose – One coined the phrase “It is Scandi floss!” for it light sweet candy floss like aroma, then behind the sweet peaked some peat, overall impression is fresh, minimalist, with some citrus grapefruit, cedar wood
  • Palate – Not complicated yet exceedingly enjoyable, in keeping with the aromas – minimalist, peat and lightly sweet
  • Finish – Starts off slightly bitter then warms up in a lovely way

This was definitely a ‘thumbs up’ dram with exclamations like “Sweden rocks!” and “Mmmmm… really rather nice.”

We found it very drinkable, one of those happy to be home whiskies that can work even in Mumbai’s warm weather. A bright summer dram.

Here’s what the folks over at The Whisky Exchange have to say:

Dálvve is a medium-peated whisky that has been aged for around five years in first-fill bourbon casks. This is a sweet and smoky whisky with notes of vanilla.

Here’s what else we sampled that evening:

It was purchased in Sweden in August 2017 and opened from a closed bottle in December 2017.

Curious to try more Nordic whiskies? Check out the European whisky section with  Swedish whiskies:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Whisky Ladies Après-ski

With December, one often thinks of winter, skiing, coming in stomping off the snow, peeling off toque, scarf, mittens and many layers, settling down in front of a roaring fire to enjoy a drink, food, great company… all the while making merry.

Our Whisky Ladies decided to embrace a decidedly northern theme of “Aprèsski” with European whiskies where one can also enjoy winter sports, even though it remains a balmy 27’c in Mumbai.

We began our evening with mulled wine made by our Swedish host and lebkuchen smuggled in from a recent trip to Germany… then quickly shifted gears to a rather remarkable line-up with a few whiskies anchoring the session with full pours and a couple of small shared samples picked up by a Whisky Lady while backpacking around Austria!

Here is what we tried:

*While matured in France using European barrels, strictly speaking the new make spirit is from Scotland… with the  most annoyingly difficult wax on the cork which required a ‘proper’ corkscrew to pop open. How peculiar! As is the whisky too…

As for the others, just click on the links and read what we thought!

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Celebrating 30+ European whiskies!

In the grand scheme of things, trying 30 whiskies is no big deal.

But when you live in India and those happen to be European whiskies… it is an accomplishment!

Let’s face it, exploring the world of whiskies behind a crazy custom’s “curtain” that restricts access not just bringing into India but state by state… means relying on individuals making an effort to source directly from far-flung lands rather than simply strolling over to a corner liquor store.

Hence it is indeed a celebration – with thanks – to share a summary of European samples! Now… just providing a list alone isn’t fun.. so with each, I’ve shared a fleeting impression so you can see what might peak your interest to read more…

European Whiskies  

Many of the Nordic whiskies came compliments of 

The Europe page is continuously updated as we explore more whiskies, so feel free to check back anytime to read of more!

PS – Anyone spot the ‘malted spirit’ rather than proper whisky??

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Nordic Explorers – What a journey!

Over the past few months, a fellow whisky lady and I have slowly been working our way through a delightful dozen 20 ml bottles representing five Nordic countries and seven distilleries.

There were some highlights and lowlights and it was a fascinating tasting travel. For those who missed the individual posts, I thought I would share a short synopsis of our Nordic journey…

Sweden - Smogen + Box

Denmark

Finland

Iceland

Norway

Sweden

Nordic Whisky Set

*** Thank you again 

Now… to fill these bottles back up and return the favour. What shall we chose for Thomas to try??

PS These are not the only Nordic whiskies we’ve sampled… Check out the Europe page.

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Ladies Choice – Mackmyra Vinterdröm 46.1%

Our Ladies Choice evening moved on to the cooler climes of Sweden with Mackmyra’s limited edition Vinterdröm – an experiment partnering with Plantation Rum for a Caribbean rum cask finish.

Susan Dias returns as our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer…

(Susan's LInkedIn profile)
(Susan’s LinkedIn profile)

What does a Chartered Accountant with a fierce pride in Indian traditions and keen interest in local spirits do? Naturally start a venture, Native Brews, with a dream of celebrating traditional artisanal Indian spirits in a contemporary context.  

After completing extensive exploration and research into remote corners of India, Susan has been working hard experimenting with the distillation of Mahua, a flowering tree found in central India.

More recently, her distillation adventures have lead to the creation of a unique set of Indian gins that should be available soon…

Susan consistently displays a keen nose and wry wit in her whisky tasting approach! 

mackmyra-vinterdrom

Here is what Susan has to say about the Mackmyra Vinterdröm 46.1%

Tasting Notes:

  • Colour: Pale gold
  • Nose: Clean, spices – cinnamon and cloves, caramelised fruit, demerara sugar
  • Palate: Sharp hit of spices, salty caramel, fresh clean wood, toast
  • Finish: Long, lingering spices, bitter dry
  • Water: Water opens the spices on the nose and palate

Vinterdrom is Mackmyra Distillery’s newest offering in its limited edition ‘Seasons’ range. Each whisky in this range has received a different finish and for Vinterdrom, Mackmyra used oak casks which previously held rum from Bardabos and Jamaica.

The Caribbean influence is amply evident. The whisky is sweet and spicy and has a warmth that would make it ideal for a winter evening. Whisky purists might find it hard to shake off the ‘rum’ness of the liquid but given what Mackmyra set out to do, Vinterdrom is an interesting experiment of a seasoned whisky with a Caribbean twist.

This whisky would make for great company on a chilly evening paired with some dense chocolate dessert.

Here is what the folks from Mackmyra have to say:

Mackmyra Vinterdröm is a fruity and slightly spicy Swedish single malt whisky, made in limited edition. The whisky is a collaboration with rum producer Plantation Rum and has a finish from casks that previously stored Barbados and Jamaican Rum. The result is a soft oaky whisky with notes of orange, vanilla and demerara sugar – a Carribbean love affair.

  • Nose – Spicy and fruity, slightly oily with notes of anises, dried fruits and molasses and a soft light oakiness. Some spiciness and notes of tobacco leaves.
  • Taste – Fruity, spicy and oily. Well balanced with anise, tobacco leave, a saltiness and some raisins and vanilla.

What else did we sample in our “Ladies Choice” evening for the BMC gentlemen?

For more related updates and activities, check out:

Whisky Ladies Choice – Treating the BMC Gentlemen…

Last year, the gentlemen from the Bombay Malt & Cigar club took it upon themselves to treat the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai to an evening of Irish whiskies and cigars.

This year, it was our turn to return the favour.

We debated a range of different approaches and finally decided on a theme of “Ladies Choice.” And what pray tell did that mean to us?

We wanted to share with the gentlemen some of the most memorable whiskies we sampled together as a tasting group. They may not be the world’s best whiskies but they would be our “Choice” – ones that stood out in some kind of way.

We went about it in a democratic manner and voted, tallied up the responses to create a “short-list”, then began the efforts to source these whiskies.

Our approach was a bit flexible, in some cases we knew it would be impossible to source the EXACT same whisky. What worked was finding something from the same distillery or similar category.

The whiskies were literally sourced from around the world involving travel, friends of friends and even last minute acquisitions…

What made it into our final “Ladies Choice” list?

JapanAkashi Red Blended Whisky 40%

  • In truth we had several Japanese whiskies in mind however the Akashi was accessible and a refreshing departure from the expensive exclusive impossible to find Japanese single malts, so figured why not!
  • It also made for a perfect ‘appetizer’ whisky to get the evening going…

Sweden – Mackmyra Vinterdröm 46.1%

  • The most enjoyable peaty Mackmyra Svensk Rok 46.1% captured our attention with its clean, minimalist yet smoky qualities.
  • So when our Swedish whisky lady went on the hunt over Christmas for something distinctly different from the distillery, this limited edition “Caribbean love affair” avatar was her pick!

IndiaPaul John Single Cask #1844 60.5%

  • The Paul John Select Cask Peated Batch 1 “OMG bacon!” made many Whisky Ladies swoon for more during our Paul John evening… we definitely wanted to include a Goan single malt, preferably a Select Cask or Single Cask…
  • Thankfully Michael from Paul John distilleries was able to oblige our interest – literally hand delivering this single cask a mere two days before our evening!

France – Kornog Taouarc’h Pempved 14 BC 46%

  • Kornog’s whisky from Bretagne will forever be known in our group for the comment “How did you go from being a perfect gentlemen to getting my bra off like that?” (WL on Kornog Taourac’h Trived 10 BC 46%)
  • Alas the Trived 10 BC was no longer available so we took a gamble on the newer Pempved 14 BC

TaiwanKavalan Solist Sherry Cask S090102020 57.1%

  • There was no doubt a Kavalan was going to make the cut…
  • By a very wide margin, the Solist Sherry Cask topped the charts with the most votes from all our Whisky Ladies tasting experiences. So… it simply HAD to be our ‘showstopper’ of the evening!

Somehow not one Scottish whisky made it into the list. Not a single one. It wasn’t deliberate. It was simply how the votes panned out.

But that says something about how the whisky world is going…

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Nordic Explorer #7 – Sweden’s Mackmyra 3 Year Bachair Private Cask

Our Nordic exploration followed with a 3rd whisky from Mackmyra distillery.

After the first drop (De Första Dropparna), the 8 year old Dram Good Whisky, our attentions turned to Bachair Private Cask. Now, we tried to find out more about this whisky – to no avail!

We suspected in this case ‘private cask’ literally means it is indeed a private cask and not available on the open market. Lucky us!

Nordic Whisky Set

Mackmyra 3 year “Bachair” Private Cask

  • Nose – Varnish, smoked pine, sweet grass, peat like the embers of a dampened campfire. As it aired more, it became increasingly sweet, windy woods
  • Palate – Smooth then opened into wildfire, outdoorsy, bit of warm alcohol burn
  • Finish – Like it was reminded one “Still here mate!”

Very different than the other two… this had a very ‘back to nature’ kind of vibe. Distinct and quite unforgettable. Hence our curiosity to learn more…

I turned to our whisky benefactor ( this is indeed a real live actual private cask.

He shared that many Nordic Nordic distilleries will allow individuals or groups of individuals to purchase a cask of their choice (typically bourbon or sherry) and have it filled with their choice of new make (typically peated or unpeated), then one waits for a minimum of three years and decide when to bottle it. 

And this particular one? It was purchased by friends of our whisky benefactor… who came up with the name ‘Bachair’ one late night. With a whisky like this, certainly can’t have come from listening to Bach’s Air in G string at the time?? 

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

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

Other Nordic whisky experiences include:

Other Nordic whiskies sampled together:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: