Lost Distillery – Gerston Classic 43%

“What was once lost… has now been found!” Or so it would seem.. whisky wise that is! All part of the initiative to re-construct or in their terms “re-interpret” whiskies from lost distilleries closed years ago.

After checking out the Towiemore, we moved on to Gerston – which opened and closed then open and closed again (1796-1882 & 1886-1914). We sampled the Classic version…

Gerston Classic 43%

  • Nose – Pure seaside! Lots of brine, sea salt, caramel, a hint of smoke, toffee covered almonds. The salt spray subdues after time….
  • Palate – Soft, dry, bitter, lots of sweetness too, yet more than anything very dry with some  peat
  • Finish – A spicy finish – much more than anticipated – with lots of cinnamon

What did we think?

Hmmm…. I do believe that one mentioned “Talisker’s bastard child” or an Orkney offshoot…. this from a whisky aficionado who decidedly does NOT care for briney maritime style drams.

However if that’s your preferred style Gerston  might just be up your alley.

Here is what the folks over at Lost Distillery have to say about Gerston:

  • Ripe fruit, toffee, smoke & spice

Here is the Lost Distillery Trio that we sampled:

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Lost Distillery – Towiemore Classic 43%

Once upon a time there was a distillery in the Parish of Botriphnie outside of Dufftown. Whilst on our planet a mere thirty years (1898-1931), Peter Dawson’s endeavour enjoyed “a fine reputation as an excellent pure malt whisky.”

During its scant existence, it was a well travelled… Dawson’s whisky was selected for the pleasure of the Prince of Wales, later George V, on the maiden voyage of HMS Indomitable to Canada in 1907 and Captain Scott took it on his Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910.

You can read more about Towiemore’s history  on the Lost Distillery website.

What we cared about was the whisky…

Towiemore Classic 43%

  • Nose – Musty, sweet with a hint of leather, lots of apple crumble, ginger bread, caramel tart apple, slightly bitter with a bit of dish rag. After some time pure applesauce morphing into peaches
  • Palate – Nice spice, very easy drinking yet with enough going on to make it enjoyable, lots of red apples, very accessible
  • Finish – Light but there, pleasant yet closes bitter

One of our tasting companions admitted how this whisky was much better than he had expected – particularly on the palate vs what the nose seemed to indicate – particularly from the musty dish rag dimensions.

For most, this was the most accessible and enjoyable of the three Lost Distillery whiskies we tried. A good one to settle down and just imbibe….

Here is how the Lost Distillery folks describe a piece of Towiemore’s story….

Towiemore’s fresh new make spirit was filled predominantly into Sherry Butts, although Hogsheads and some plain oak casks were also used to offer a slightly different variations in character. These casks were stored in a ten-bay range of single storey bonded stores of the traditional style. Once sufficiently matured, these casks were transported by rail to Leith and Glasgow, or to grocers to be sold singularly in the local market. In 1902 Dawson sent an order of eighteen wagons full of casks to Glasgow. This was probably the first batch of Towiemore!

The Towiemore spirit contained in these casks was a distinguished whisky of mid-to-long finish. Cereal notes are present on the nose due to the use of flavoursome barley, with a hint of earthy heather and smoke caused by local peat. The Towie Burn produced a smooth base for the whisky, full of minerals. Vienna Yeast ensured Towiemore was infused with a citrus zest, while the long necks and ascending lyne arms of the stills embodied the whisky with a long finish of walnuts and almonds. Maturation in Sherry Butts produced a surge of creamy sherry taste coupled with lucid notes of fruitcake and sweet spice.

Here is the Lost Distillery Trio that we sampled:

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Lost Distillery Trio – Towiemore, Gerston, Stratheden

I first encountered Lost Distillery via La Maison du Whisky in Singapore… and first had an opportunity to sample their wares at WhiskyLive Singapore in 2016. Ewan Henderson, Global Brand Ambassador, kindly regaled tales and anecdotes, sharing a passion for bringing whisky history to a new re-interpreted life!

Our whisky host for the evening picked these up at La Maison du Whisky in Singapore and focused on a trio from their “Classic” range.

So what all did our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents sample?

If you are curious about my earlier encounter, read on:

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Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 year 43%

First up in our “revisit” evening was a vetted malt from Johnnie Walker. For those not familiar, Green Label is a vatted malt – meaning a blend that uses only malt whisky not grain. The four distilleries used include Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila.

As usual, we sampled completely blind, discovering only later what we were imbibing.

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 year 43%

  • Nose – Quite volatile, fresh and spirits, fruity – particularly citrus, fresh wood, very classic style, varnish, curd, youth, fruit, bourbon… after some time became quite muted, soft honey, light vanilla
  • Palate – Brine, spice – unexpectedly spicy – biscuit, a puff of smoke, light, no body, quite linear, flavours fall off very fast
  • Finish – Spice, bitter, wood
  • Water – Some thought better to not add, others found it rounded out the spice

It started off promising but after time the nose disappeared. Even on the palate, one needed to “hold” a generous sip to get the full spice experience. There was the sense of it being somehow “abbreviated.”

One remarked it isn’t such a bad “Starter Dram”…. and the “classic” quality was one we appreciated. There was a lot of speculation, with blend being bantered about as an option and even speculation of grains?

Our host shared he acquired this particular bottle some 6-7 year previously. For most, this was a revisit… albeit after many years as Green Label was for some time discontinued.

Here is what else we tried:

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Revisiting Johnnie Walker’s Green Label, Kavalan Solist Sherry, Kilchoman

One of the things I really appreciate about our original Mumbai tasting club is that our default is to sample blind. What the means is even something we thought we knew, we have an opportunity to rediscover.

Which was exactly our hosts theme – to revisit whiskies we all know – or at least we thought we did!

Here is what we tried:

With a bonus of Amrut’s Fever Club Con-Fusion Batch No 1, 46%

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Japan Jaunt – Nikka’s All Malt 40%

After the Suntory’s Hibiki blend, our Japan jaunt shifted to a vatted / blended malt from Nikka. This particular dram brings together single malt from Yoichi and Miyagikyo pot stills with a Coffey malt whisky. Hence the name “All Malt” as each of its components are malted.

Nikka All Malt 40%

  • Nose – Burnt toffee, sherry like, rich chocolate, burnt caramel custard or a creme brule, hazelnut, dusting of cinnamon, coffee
  • Palate – “Dessert in a glass” Delicious, cigar base, smooth and soft, mellow, Parsi daily milk toffee
  • Finish – Long drawn out… stays
  • Water – Absolutely no temptation to add water

Overall we found it quite satisfying. No pretence – just a solid blend – pure and rich are indeed a good way to describe it. One remarked that it had an almost highland quality.

For an evening with cigars, it more than held its own… an important quality in a good whisky for these gents!

The Nikka All Malt also buck the pricey trend with Japanese whisky – keeping to a below $50 range (depending on where you buy it).

And what else did we sample in our Japan Jaunt?

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Japan Jaunt – Hibiki “Masters Select” 43%

Our Bombay Malt and Cigar gents began as staunchly preferring Scottish Single Malts. And while one could explore for years and years and still be scratching the surface of Scottish expressions, it is nice to veer in a different direction too.

Hence our host’s theme of Japanese whiskies. He admitted that he’s a bit “late” to the Japanese craze and somewhat aghast at the prices for such drams. However curiosity plus a few duty free stops lead to acquiring a quartet of two blends and two single malts, covering a range from Japan’s two most popular whisky companies – Suntory and Nikka.

1st up was Hibiki from Suntory – a blend of their single malts Yamazaki and Hakushu together with their grain Chita. What did the gents think?

Hibiki Japanese Harmony “Master’s Select” NAS 43%

  • Nose – Malty coffee caramel, oranges, elder flower, opens to forest green
  • Palate – Dances along the surface, lightly piquant, different elements, bitter almond
  • Finish – Bitter
  • Water – Rounds out

We set it aside and revisited after finishing our sampling of all four whiskies. What did we find?

  • Soft sweet and slightly salty
  • Fairly innocuous

Overall we pronounced it a “happy” drinking whisky. Not complex, but it doesn’t need to be. A perfect “starter” whisky for those who are new to the world of whisky and curious to try something from Japan. Translation – what we would serve at parties if just happened to have an open bottle and not be terribly upset if it is emptied by the end of the evening.

I’ve had several trysts with Hibiki – its earlier 12 and 17 year incarnations, part of a blind tasting with our original club when the NAS expression 1st launched years ago plus a rather nice chocolate pairing with the Whisky Ladies. Which means this particular expression has graced all three Mumbai based whisky tasting clubs.

I once even attempted to create my own version of Hibiki bringing together a few drops of an older Yamazaki with the Hakushu 18 year and Chita 12 year. While not disastrous, I’m clearly no master blender!

And what else did we sample in our Japanese jaunt?

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Whisky Lady – March 2018

It is time for a malty monthly round-up! Where all the sessions marched in order, one after the other wish a special bonus evening with Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula.

So where did we begin?

The Whisky Ladies took a “Trans Tasman Trip” to New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia with:

  • Willowbank 10 year Doublewood 40%*
  • Willowbank 22 year (1989) Barrel No 58 52.8%*
  • Hellyer’s Road Pinot Noire 46.2%*
  • Sullivan’s Cove Double Cask (2008/2015) 40%*
  • Crazy Uncle Moonshine 43%*
  • Plus a bonus birthday dram of Bowmore 1989 “BBQ Mango Salsa” 46% (Wymess)*

Followed the very next evening by the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents exploring whiskies from Japan:

  • Hibiki Japanese Harmony “Master’s Select” NAS 43%*
  • Nikka All Malt 40%*
  • Miyagikyo NAS 45%*
  • Hakushu “Distiller’s Reserve” NAS 43%*

Our original club did a revisit with:

  • Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 year 43%
  • Kavalan Solist Sherry S090608029A 58.6%
  • Kilchoman Machir Bay Cask Strength 60%
  • Plus a bonus of Amrut’s Fever Club Con-Fusion 46%

Evenings with Krishna Nakula, India’s Malt Maniac are always a pleasure. This time we ambled through…

March also was a month to catch-up on a few earlier tasting experiences… beginning with our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents  Compass Box Quartet!

And more fleeting impressions from Whisky Live Singapore 2017:

*Tasting notes coming soon…

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

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BMC goes to Japan – Hibiki, Nikka, Miyagikyo, Hakushu

This month our Bombay Malt and Cigar gents moved in a different direction…. far far far away from Scotland to land on Japan.

After much grumbling and discussion of how Japanese whiskies price has shot through the roof, we settle down to give the drams a proper try… noting that there was a narry an age statement in sight!

And what did we sample in our jaunt to Japan?

Which was followed by cigars (naturally!) home-made sushi, tempura, chicken teriyaki skewers, Thai curry and stewed peaches with much merriment joined by our partners too!

Interested in more whiskies from Japan and Taiwan? Check out the Asia section…

Or previous tastings of:

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Compass Box Quartet! (suggestion morphs into voluntTOLD)

A certain word has entered our vocabulary – “Voluntold” – where one is rather enthusiastically volunteered for an activity or responsibility… accompanied by a fairly heavy undercurrent of being “told” to step up and “volunteer”….

Original credit goes to a dear friend from Winnipeg who “voluntold” her husband to be the official photographer at our wedding. Given he’s both a brilliant filmmaker and photographer, the results were spectacular, very welcome and the best possible gift!

Since then it has stuck.

And with some marvellous applications… including a recent innocent and offhand “suggestion” to a fellow whisky aficionado for an upcoming Bombay Malt & Cigar whisky session, which somehow slipped into a “voluntold” interpretation to acquire from La Maison du Whisky in Singapore.

And the results? A quite interesting quartet of Compass Box blends…

BMC’s Compass Box Quartet

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