Lost Distillery 2 – Jericho, Gersten, Lossit, Auchnagie

Whisky Live Singapore 2016 featured many a fine dram! Plus discovering new experiments in the world of whisky.

The Lost Distillery Company set out to create “modern interpretations of lost whisky legends.” My 1st sampling set began with the lightest style profile from the “Classic Range” with Auchnagie, Towiemore then Stratheden, gradually gaining momentum towards more robust profiles.

I continued my explorations with three more whisky distillery recreations of days gone by from the Classic range (all bottled at 43%) then closed on one from their Archivist range (bottled at 46%)…

2016-11-13-lost-distillery-jericho

Jericho Distillery (1824-1913) Classic 43%

  • Nose – Sherry bomb! All those Christmas plum cake elements with an overlay of sweet perfume
  • Palate – Full sherry, lots of rum raisins
  • Finish – Dry sherry

2016-11-13-lost-distillery-gerston

Gerston Distillery (1796-1882 & 1886-1914) Classic 43%

  • Nose – Briny spice, maritime character, windswept freshness
  • Palate – Toffee, rum caramel, edge of peat
  • Finish – Carries on with smokey elements

I don’t know why, but this whisky reminded me of Kolkata – India’s early British colonial capital. It was a nice surprise… Do also check out the Whisky Lassie review.

2016-11-13-lost-distillery-lossit

Lossit Distillery (1817-1867) Classic 43%

  • Nose – Lots of smokey peat, salt more than sweet peat, softer bacon, pear drop
  • Palate – A contrast with a softer more delicate creamy profile, hint of pepper
  • Finish – Mellowed out completely

What a contrast – quite pronounced peat on the nose, yet was much more soft and creamy on the palate then a mild finish…

2016-11-13-lost-distillery-auchnagie-series-1

Just when I thought my sampling as over… out came another Auchnagie at 46% from batch 2/11, bottle no 709, part of their “Archivist” range.

  • Nose – Soft fruits and spice with a slightly tart citrus twist
  • Palate – Then rich, sweet, round full body… in short, delicious!

I sampled seven Lost Distillery whiskies, all ‘speed dating‘ sampling rather than a ‘proper’ sessions, however still gave a sense of quite distinctive styles. Enough to conclude these folks are certainly expanding the horizons of what is possible. The passion and enthusiasm of the team was palpable and I was delighted to have a chance of making their passing acquaintance and wish them well!

Lost Distillery whiskies sampled at Whisky Live Singapore:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

When an International Scotch Day celebration is NOT about the whisky

From time to time, our Whisky Clubs are invited to events… Let’s just say it is convenient to extend an invite to one and get a bunch of whisky aficionados – particularly if it is a rollicking group of “Whisky Ladies.”

And that is how we found ourselves at Diageo’s International Scotch Day… Yet given what we assumed would be the whiskies on offer, our interest was more the multimedia artist’s ‘odes’ to the water of life, live music and good company.

In short, it is known as the evening the “Whisky Ladies” became the “Bitchy Ladies!”

Why?

Just peruse some of our Tasting Sessions or Ladies Corner and it easy to see we are an adventuresome bunch, exploring a wide range of whiskies sharing frank, fun and sometimes brutally honest opinions about what we sample.

Which means the bar is set pretty high to impress these ladies. We strolled in, traipsing after actress Freida Pinto and headed straight for the bar.

We knew the stuff on offer would not make our normal “cut” yet we still gamely did a tasting round of the whiskies available – Johnie Walker, Black and White, Black Dog and Vat 69. I’m too polite to reproduce what was said. 🙂

1st you.. then you.. like this not that!

Cocktails was clearly the way to go! However the “Old Fashioned” approach also didn’t make the “cut” either so one Whisky Lady took charge telling the poor beleaguered bartender how to go about it!

Getting an Old Fashioned right?

The food? From a fabulous chef yet with pairings that seemed a tad random and mostly got quizzical curious reactions.

And the Art? “Not so finely disguised advertising” was one comment, however it was fun playing around with the “Black & White” exhibit.

Black + White Whisky Lady?

Lest we seem like complete ingrates, what finely pleased these picky ladies? Oh the music, merriment and mischief we caused!! In the end, we had a mighty fine evening!

PS – It was interesting to read the somewhat “random” quality we found was echoed in other cities..

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Ghosted Reserve 21 year (2nd edition) 48.2%

The Ghosted Reserve 21 year was the inspiration for the evening of blends and mystery malts. We tried the 2nd release which features spirits from three closed Lowland distilleries – Ladyburn, Inverleven and Dumbarton.

ghosted-reserve

Ghosted Reserve 21 year 42.8% Bottle No 89

  • Nose: Very pronounced coconut oil! Lots of bananas, pineapple, some beautiful floral notes, then fully back to the tropics then shifting to more citrus fruits. It reminded us of Malibu coconut rum and piña coladas!
  • Palate: Wow! We lost all the rum and instead found a light delightful desert drink, a wonderful oiliness, terrific mouthfeel, lots of dried desiccated sweet coconut, then hints of pepper peaking out, fruits still there – juicy and tropical
  • Finish: The most disappointing element as it was too subtle… after such a distinctive nose and quite delicious initial flavours it somehow drifted away

It actually reminded me a bit of the Nikka Coffey Grain or Compass Box Hedonism, with the grain elements quite pronounced – in a good way. Wonderfully tropical with coconut the consistent element. For one, this was his first encounter with such …

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

  • Nose: Orange and lime peels, with a hint of orchard blossom developing later on. Hints of toffee and raisins.
  • Palate: Another helping of orange peels on the palate, joined by banana and sharp tropical fruit. A touch of peppery malt.
  • Finish: Floral on the finish, with a slight nod towards milk chocolate buttons.

For those curious about the distilleries, here is a synopsis about the trio of lost Lowland distilleries.

Ladyburn (Lowland), William Grant and Sons (1966-1975)

  • Ladyburn distillery was actually two sets of stills in the same complex as Girvan, a grain distillery.
  • While intended to supply malt whisky for the Grant blends, it was operational for less than a decade.
  • One can find a few rare bottles of Ladyburn whisky bottled under the name Ayrshire, named after the area where Girvan is located.

Inverleven (Lowland) (1938 – 1991) & Dumbarton (Lowland) (1938-2002) William Grant & Sons

  • Located on the border between the Highlands and Lowlands, Inverleven and Dumbarton shared a distillery with a column still for production of grain whisky (Dumbarton) and two pot stills for malt (Inverleven).
  • Once upon a time, Dumbarton was Scotland’s largest grain distillery, drawing water from Loch Lomand (not to be confused with the Loch Lomand distillery) of which a Lomand still was introduced from 1959.
  • Inverleven was intended to provide whisky for blending, however blenders never took to the Lomond spirit.
  • While the Dumbarton complex was mothballed in 2002, the equipment from Inverleven has gained new life at the Lochindaal distillery opened by Bruichladdich at Port Charlotte.

In addition to the Ghosted Reserve, our mystery malts and vatted blends evening featured:

For more related updates and activities, check out:

Airport adventures with Àraid 21 year 43% for DFS SIN + HKG

Typically when traveling, I can be found hiding out in a lounge tapping away on my laptop however this trip from Mumbai to Jakarta via Singapore had no lounge access. So after picking up the new Bruichladdich PC 2007 CC:01, discovering my onward flight was delayed, slipped upstairs to browse through the rarified whiskies.2016-12-04-rusty-nail

I found myself chatting with the fellow behind the Long Bar by Raffles. He spotted my Bruichladdich and we began to swap whisky tales (as one does in such situations!). He shared insights into the session Murray Campbell, Bruichladdich Brand Ambassador did for the DFS team while I shared chance conversations with Murray at Whisky Live Singapore.

With time to kill, I spotted a nice little table beside the bar and settled down to get some work done while waiting for my flight.

Completely absorbed with writing on my laptop, first an exceedingly refreshing and indulgent rusty nail found its way into my hand.

Followed by a small sample of… something…

  • Nose – Citrus pineapple, peaches, honey, cinnamon, lightly woodsy, vanilla, subtle light bright inviting nose
  • Palate – Spice with substance, a contrast to the sunshine nose there is enough swirling around on the palate to properly keep one company
  • Finish – The spice lingers and becomes slightly tart and bitter

Was it a single malt? A blend? The reveal…

Àraid 21 yea4 43% Batch 15/0508, Selected 19.04.2015, Bottle No 1,182/3, 400.

2016-12-04-araid-21-year

A DFS Group exclusive blend for Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).

“Àraid” is Scots Gaelic for “unique” and the whisky is intended as “an idea which summons the spirit of the selection process in which we collaborated to arrive at this magnificent whiskey.”

Here is what they have to say about it:

“A deep and luxurious whisky replete with a fresh and fruity nose of delicate character, a rich and silky palate and a long-lasting oaky finish.

This exquisite spirit inherits its silky texture and floral delicacy from the splendid malts in the Grant family’s whisky ledgers which have given them life. Its long-lasting finish, with a sweet laziness, completes this blend’s unique perfection.”

It was like having a high end Monkey Shoulder, brighter, lighter and more complex. Apparently it has some KinInvie & Glenfiddich and…?

Regardless of contents, sipping it was a rather nice way to while away my time til my flight to Jakarta… A “sweet laziness” is actually a rather good way to describe how this whisky leaves you…

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BMC Blends – Berry’s Speyside + Islay, Ghosted Reserve 21 year

I’m not going to suggest that the Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen are snobs but… they do enjoy the finer things in life. Our sessions began with an unspoken assumption that only Scottish single malts of a certain age and pedigree were worthy of our palates.

However a clear shift has begun… August’s ‘Affordable Adults‘ broke the £100 barrier (as in below). October’s ‘Blind Surprise‘ shook things up more by including an American (Westland Sherry Wood 46%) and Indian (Amrut Bourbon 62.8%) whisky.

However one member remains rather discerning in his whisky preferences. To have him come up with theme of blends? To say it was rather… ahem… uncharacteristic was putting it mildly. Hence why he kept all three bottles carefully covered in champaign covers to keep us fooled until the reveal…

Lest you think these were standard desi cheap blends, rest assured these were ‘proper’ Scottish whiskies… just not single malts.

Berry's Islay, Speyside + Ghosted Reserve 21

Berry’s Islay, Speyside + Ghosted Reserve 21

What did we try?

I had been keeping an eye out for the last one – the novelty of a marriage of three discontinued distilleries Ladyburn, Inverleven and Dumbarton was a lure I was curious to explore. Our host shared this blend was his starting point and rather than add to the mix other well known vatted malt’s like Monkey Shoulder, opted to explore offerings from Berry Brothers & Rudd.

Berry Brothers & Rudd are known as ‘royal retailers‘ and trace their origins to 1698, operating from the same premises in London’s St James’s Street. So while these were blends… the pedigree clearly remained…

And to top it off, the whiskies were paired with $400 cigars… no joke. Me’thinks the perception of ‘upper crust’ remains intact!

Psst – You will simply have to be patient over the next few days to read the tasting notes…

For more related updates and activities, check out:

Hazelwood 21 year 40%

When the Hazelwood series first came out, I couldn’t help but be struck by the rather attractive packaging and decidedly art deco style. A little pricey for a 500 ml bottle, I passed it up a few times at duty free.

From William Grant & Sons, the Hazelwood blended whisky series was created to honour William Grant’s granddaughter Janet Sheed Roberts, after her Hazelwood house, full of art deco items, near their Glenfiddich distillery.

Each in the trio is dedicated to a city from the 1920s:

  • Hazelwood 18 year for Paris
  • Hazelwood 21 year for Bombay
  • Hazelwood 25 year for Shanghai

Fittingly, one fine evening in Mumbai, we polished off the last of the Hazelwood 21 year, in honour of a French friend leaving our fair land for other shores…

hazelwood-21-year

Hazelwood 21 year 40%

  • Nose – Mix of slight tobacco smoke, sweet, vanilla, apple crumble, cinnamon, fruits, berries with an overall sense of freshness
  • Palate – Smooth, soft and accessible, honey, sweet spices
  • Finish – Just a honey sweetness that slipped away relatively early

Overall it is exceedingly easy to drink. Jokingly it was described as quite a ‘homely’ whisky. One could even say ‘charming’. There is a danger in attributing gender to a whisky, but this one certainly seems to be trying to appeal to women.

Here is what they have to say:

House of Hazelwood 21 Year Old is inspired by the sultry beauty of Mumbai in the 1920s.

This release represents a bolder, somewhat spicier and more robust whisky balanced to perfection by the ageing of some of its malts for 21 years in sherry casks made of European oak.

  • NOSE: Dried fruits and spice dominate, alongside a sticky sweetness reminiscent of rich fruit cake. A splash of water alters the balance and adds complexity with a subtle hint of tobacco leaf.
  • TASTE: Cinnamon, cloves and woody spice, with a dry finish. Water accentuates the sherry cask influence, bringing out the sweet oiliness of treacle, dates and polished leather.
  • FINISH: Spice, Molasses, and Resin.
20161017-yamazakisipsmithhazelwood

Farewell gifts… and fare thee well my friend!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Apple cider whisky – Akashi Red 40%

Unless you’ve been asleep in the last few years, you would know Japanese whisky has established itself on the world whisky stage as pretty premium!

However there is another kind of Japanese whisky out there… something known as ‘ji-whisky‘ i.e. smaller local spirits companies ‘micro-distilleries’ that sometimes pump out other spirits like sake and sochu, making cheaper whisky blends primarily with the Japanese consumer in mind.

Akashi is an example of such a ‘ji-whisky’ and one of the few Japanese blended whiskies available in Mumbai duty-free. Key point – it is not ‘purely’ Japanese as it uses a mix of foreign and Japanese malt and grain whiskies.

I first sampled an Akashi White Oak 40% at a house-warming party. Not having proper tasting glasses, I sipped it from a shot glass and the overwhelming impression was of a bubblegum, vanilla and honey nose, smooth creamy light fruity oak palate and an absent finish. As White Oak from Eigashima Shuzō distillery  (i.e. White Oak) is the most readily accessible of Akashi’s offerings, I assumed this would be the Akashi sampled with the Whisky Ladies a few days later.

Nope! Our Whisky Ladies seek the less common and instead our evening featured the Akashi Red which spent 2 years maturing in ex-bourbon casks and 1 year in a sherry cask. Judging from the colour, it was liberally augmented with caramel.

akashi-red-blended

Akashi Red Blended Whisky 40%

  • Nose – Varnish and vanilla, medicinal ammonia with a bit of rubbing alcohol, apple cider, sweet cinnamon, honey, grain
  • Palate – APPLES, smooth, toffee, drizzle of honey… not much else, quite a thin body, light, soft without much substance
  • Finish – Light burn, bit woody, more apple… just this time the slightly bitter apple peel
  • Water – One attempted to find a little orange peel

As soon as one lady said “This is a bit like Calvados”, she had company in that opinion!

Apple was consistent in all elements… as we gave it some time, it initially took on a more ‘malty’ quality and became even smoother (if that’s possible!)…

And then that’s when it became flat. Think apple juice. Now, I’m not averse to a good apple juice… but apple juice whisky? Hmm….

Here’s what they have to say from the bottle:

  • Nose – orange peel, ginger, honey
  • Palate – sweet cake, vanilla
  • Finish – medium, light honey finish

We were surprised at no mention of apple… for all of this,  the core fruit to this light whisky was apple, apple, apple….

But here is the thing. It isn’t expensive. Easy drinking (if you drink it quickly!). It again reminded me of something more suited to sake shots… and I wondered if the shot glass I first sampled the White Oak was perhaps just about right for the Red too?

For a bit more about whiskies from this distillery…

Related Whisky Lady posts:

Other whiskies sampled during our September Whisky Ladies evening:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Whisky Ladies of Mumbai turn “One”

One year ago, a chance conversation about whisky lead to a fabulous evening… Each month since, a remarkable group of women have met in Mumbai to explore whiskies combined with witty conversations.

Whisky Ladies 1st Anniversary

Together we’ve had 12 fabulous sessions:

  1. Whisky Ladies Welcome Compass Box Asyla, Kilchoman Coull Point, Nikka ‘Yochi’ 10 yr, Caol Ila 12 yr, Ledaig 1997
  2. With Karen Walker – Caorunn ginBalblair 03Old Pulteney 12 yrSpeyburn 10 yrAnCnoc 12 + 22 yr
  3. Cask Strength Diwali – Glenfarclas 105, Chichibu 2009, A’bunadh #35
  4. World Tour – Forty Creek Confederation OakNikka BlendedOban 14 yr, Sheringham William’s White Double Distilled Grain
  5. Go Goan! Paul John Brilliance, Edited, Bold, Classic & Peated
  6. Go American! JD, Hudson Single Malt, Jim Bean, Knobs Creek 9 yr (with Shatbhi Basu)
  7. Sweetly smokey – Dalmore 15 yrMackmyra Svensk RökSmokehead Rock
  8. Chocolate with Hibiki Harmony, Lagavulin 16 yr, A’bunadh #46
  9. Far East – Kavalan Concertmaster SolistNikka Coffey GrainChinese baijiu
  10. “I like the label” – Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s BlendStarwardSmoky Goat
  11. European Tour – Teerenpeli (Finland)Danica (Denmark)Kornog (France)Slyrs (Germany)
  12. 5 Region Tour – Glenkinchie 12 yrJura Turas-MaraClynelish 14 yrCardhu 12 yrArdbeg 10 yr

Whisky Ladies in Mumbai

And the whiskies for our 1st anniversary celebration? Count them… yup that’s 13 whiskies from left to right…

  1. Amrut Single Malt
  2. Amrut Fusion
  3. Paul John Edited 46%
  4. Paul John Peated 55.5%
  5. Cragganmore 12 year 40%
  6. Smoky Goat 40%
  7. Highland Park 1998 40%
  8. Aberfeldy 12 year 40%
  9. Monkey Shoulder 40%
  10. Dalmore 15 year 40%
  11. Glen Grant 10 year 40%
  12. Caol Ila 12 year 43%
  13. Ardbeg 10 year 46%

Along with a bottle, our potluck approach to nibbles resulted in a fabulous spread.

Whisky Ladies Spread

Here’s to wonderful women that make up this Mumbai malty tribe! May we continue to enjoy many more sessions together!

In celebration, we now have a special Whisky Ladies Corner sharing:

  • Blog posts from our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai (other than mine!)
  • Recognition of evenings we’ve enjoyed courtesy of a few kind benefactors
  • Other nights with whiskies we sourced with different themes
  • Related women centric whisky posts

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

The Nikka 12 year 43%

Over the years I’ve had a few opportunities to sample Nikka blends – bringing together the yin yang quality of their single malts Yoichi and Miyagikyo.

Specifically the The Nikka 12 year marries three elements – malt whisky from Yoichi and Miyagikyo with grain whisky distilled in a Coffey still.

Amusingly, our ‘Far East’ sampling of The Nikka began with dispelling the misconception that ‘coffey’ has anything to do with ‘coffee!’ Funny how our brain works… trying to sniff out a whiff of your morning brew even when ‘coffey’ refers to the kind of still Aeneas Coffey patented which revolutionised liquor production in the mid-1800s.

We also shared how Miyagikyo distillery is known for its lighter, more delicate and nuanced ‘feminine’ whiskies. Whereas the Yoichi distillery has a reputation for more robust, often peatland more ‘masculine’ whiskies.

The Nikka 12 year

The Nikka 12 year 43%

While I didn’t take notes at the time, walked away with an impression of:

  • Nose – Fruity with pineapple, apples and pears, coconut, hint of peat, some vanilla sweetness
  • Palate – Barley with just a dash of sweet spices and toffee, and while very much in the sweeter side still had some substance
  • Finish – Light pepper, slightly woodsy

Overall a most enjoyable dram. Accessible, well-balanced and easy to just sip.

Pitched as a more affordable age statement, The Nikka 12 year has collected a number of awards to its credit and is currently easier to track down than many other Japanese whiskies.

The Nikka 12 year up close

Here’s what the folks over at Nikka have to say about their 12 year:

There is nothing more suitable than a blended whisky to represent Nikka’s way of whisky making.

The asymmetry design of the bottle is inspired by the neck of a “Kimono”, just as if the layers visualize all the passion and craftsmanship devoted in the history of Nikka. The honorable golden emblem engraved was designed by Masataka Taketsuru for his very first Nikka whisky bottle.

Malty, soft and well-balanced, this expression portrays our gratitude to the heritage and our will to advance our tradition.

We then continued our evening by selecting one element in The Nikka to explore further – Yoichi’s new NAS single malt expression.

If you are curious, here’s what others have to say about The Nikka 12 year:

And Whisky Lady notes to a few related whisky explorations…

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Sake whisky – Togouchi Kiwami 40%

We’ve tried whiskies before that have a decidedly rummy character, an extra anejo tequila with a whisky-like aspect, but a whisky with a clear unmistakable sake stamp? This was a first.

This was also my first foray into Togouchi whiskies and what a surprise. While blended in Japan and clearly catering to the Japanese palate (plus the demand for whiskies from Japan globally), the new make spirit is not actually Japanese.

Instead, the whiskies are a blend of distilled Canadian grain and Scottish malt which is imported to Japan, then aged in primarily ex bourbon casks, diluted with water sourced from the Sandankyo National Park and blended by Chugoku Jozo‘s master blenders in Hiroshima prefecture.

What adds to the mystique is most (apparently not all!) Togouchi whisky is aged in barrels stored in a 361 meters long tunnel that was built for a railway in the 1970s but never used. This unique warehouse near the town of Togouchi boasts that it can maintain an optimal constant temperature around 14°C and 80% humidity.

As for the whisky we sampled, ‘Kawami’ means ‘supreme’ (or ‘height’) and was created as a limited edition non-peated expression for the French market.

Togouchi Kiwami

Togouchi Kiwami 40%

What did we find?

  • Nose – Very mild, think camomile tea or flowers, soft and gentle
  • Palate – Not nearly as smooth as the nose suggested, had a raw ‘new make spirit’ feel yet oddly solid for a whisky that had such a light, bright nose. Some found the in your face ‘alcohol’ content a bit off-putting. For others the grain element was simply too pronounced.
  • Finish – Was there one? We certainly didn’t find any

As we debated and attempted to distill the character of this unusual blend, we kept thinking of sake. No surprise, the Chogoku Jozo folks are better known for their sake and shochu with the Kawami specifically, in our ever so humble opinion, coming across as a whisky masquerading as sake.

In fact, when we were ready to move on to our next whisky, a few knocked it back like a shot and went “Wow!” Declaring this is THE way to have Togouchi Kawami.

PS… our host admitted to being a bit disappointed with the Kawami and pulled out a different Togouchi expression (suspect it was the Togouchi Premium) that was silky smooth, soft and an utter delight.

Want to learn more?

Other whiskies sampled during our far east evening in Mumbai:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: