North Star’s Glentauchers 11 year (2007/2018) 58.9%

From the Speyside region, we picked the gentler Glautachers as our first selection for our North Star Series 5 evening with our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest reviewer Nikoulina Berg

Photo: Team Table

Niko knows her stuff. Experienced in the F&B industry with a career that has spanned Germany, US, Spain, China, Singapore and now India, Niko has a certain flare for food and fine spirit and wines.

Currently based in Mumbai, Niko went from heading operations at The Table and Le Pain Quotidien, she went fully independent in 2018 to bring her expertise to advise existing and new hospitality companies on everything from guest experience, IT, operational excellence, entire concept creation to execution. More recently in December 2018, she launched ‘Sorrentina’, a classic Italian all-day dining restaurant and India’s largest gourmet grocer’s ‘Foodhall’ very first restaurant in Santacruz, Mumbai.

With the Whisky Ladies, Niko has shared Bavarian whisky (Slyrs), several Japanese whiskies (AkashiMars IwaiNikka Grain, Super Nikka) and from La Maison du Whisky That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Glentaucher’s 20 year.

So what did she think of North Star’s 11 year Glentauchers by comparison?

Glentauchers 11 year (April 2007/May 2018) 58.9%

  • Color: light golden 
  • Nose: lots of fruit! then after a couple of minutes of letting it breathe notes of sherry, vanilla, smokey, a bit like s’mores, peaches, canned pear, minty fresh fumes
  • Palate: salty dark licorice, very strong, later coats your tongue with an oddly taste if boiled milk or maybe a version of dulce de leche
  • Finish: very salty, keeps burning on your tongue – medium finish. For some of the ladies a harsh burn. Later anise seed, liquorice, coating of sherry  
  • Water: very different characteristics with water – soil, vegetale, not the grassy type though, less burn. If don’t add water but rather have a sip of water in between – brings out a burnt caramel taste 
  • Overall: It’s an absolutely beautiful whisky and definitely one of my favourites from the series we tasted! 

I prefer it without water but it needs some time to unfold fully. 

After the Glentaucher’s 20 YO from ‘The Boutique-y’ I am starting to see a pattern with my notes and ratings of Glentauchers drams!

If you can get your hands on this – get it while you can! Highly recommended!

North Star Spirit’s shares it was matured in a refill bourbon hogshead, finished in a PX Sherry, un-chill filtered, natural colour… and have this to say:

  • Nose: My gran’s syrup sponge pudding
  • Palate: Thick cream, condensed milk just before the tablet sets
  • Finish: Touch of aniseed with a delicate sherry coating

For those curious about cost, this whisky was purchased online in July 2018 from Master of Malt for £53.76 / USD 70 / INR 5,080 and was opened in November 2018.

Don’t miss the other Whisky Ladies guest reviews of North Star Series 005 whiskies covering 5 Scottish regions:

Original Group’s North Star Discovery:

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Aultmore 12 year 46%

Bonds of friendship, strengthened over a good dram, can span the globe and remain solid even if opportunities to meet are rare.

Such is the case with one friend from the US who happened to be in Mumbai while I was in the US. As I braved blizzard conditions in North America, she was enjoying catching up with our Whisky Ladies in much more pleasant conditions.

I returned home after she left, to be greeted by a lovely bouquet of lilies, some delicious chocolates and carefully put away in my whisky cabinet, a generous and much appreciated gift – an Aultmore 12 year.

Aultmore 12 year 46%

  • Nose – A lovely fresh citrus, delightful drizzle of honey, some vanilla then crisp orchard fruits, a creamy quality with a nougat, oak, bit of spice
  • Palate – Sweet with a light spice, a bit malty with gentle wood, more of that nuttiness, cream almost oily
  • Finish – An easy finish with spice, surprisingly long with the spice continuing
  • Water – While it isn’t needed, a splash of cool water goes well too, making it even more accessible

There was something quite fresh about this whisky, reminding me of spring bursting with new growth with a soft perfume in the air. Nothing complicated, it is easy and enjoyable, understated yet really rather good – one I’m delighted to have grace my whisky cabinet.

As I raised a silent toast to my friend, I thought it rather appropriate to have such an enjoyable sociable dram remain as a malty reminder of our times together… and look forward to the next chance our paths cross somewhere in this world

And what do the folks over at Dewar have to say?

Crisp notes of apples and pears with an aromatic floral finish.

What about other Aultmore experiences?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Fettercairn 21 Year (2018) 48.6%

We closed our That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples quartet with a whisky from Speyside – Fettercairn distillery… While the others were from Diageo, this one was from White & Mackay.

It was my 1st encounter with a single malt from this distillery… and I have to admit up front, it impressed us.

Fettercairn 21 Year (May 2018) 48.6% Batch 3, 669 Bottles 

  • Nose – Greeted us with a sherry spice, sour plums, chilli chocolate, vanilla cream, an  indulgent desert, salty caramel… a bit savoury too, think peanut brittle, caramel custard
  • Palate – Dry hay, overripe fruits, tobacco leaf, well rounded, substance, well done toast
  • Finish – Burnt caramel, bitter roasted almond… lovely and long

This was no light dram, instead we found this one had terrific “oomph!” and character…

We returned after some time and discovered a sharp cheese, grassy and distinctive.

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Fettercairn (the town) is home to Fettercairn (the distillery), and it has been since 1824. They use an inventive method of making a lighter style of spirit – when they’re collecting the middle cut, the run cool water (not the fragrance) along the outside of the still’s neck, which increases reflux, resulting in a lighter spirit. Science in action. The chaps on the label of our Fettercairn appear to be judging cairns. Looks like one of them likes the larger one.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Yellow plum, pear, warm gingerbread, honeyed barley, a little cut grass underneath
  • Palate: Bramley apple, sweet custard and fresh oranges. Winter spice, hazelnuts and a little toffee.
  • Finish: A hint of raspberries is present in a good-length finish.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £58.

I was very amused when saw their label – we definitely concurred with pronouncing this our favourite for the evening!

Fettercairn B3.jpg

Photo: That Boutique-y Whisky Company

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Glenlossie 17 Year (2018) 48.4%

Next up from our samples from That Boutique-y Whisky Co was a sample from Glenlossie… Like the others, part of the Diageo stable and rarely seen outside a blend.

Most recently marvelled at the Compass Box Phenomenology – which is 72% Glenlossie.

So what did we think of our wee sample?

Glenlossie 17 Year (May 2018) 48.4% Batch 3, 206 Bottles

  • Nose – Initially a bit organic… even a hint of peat? Then shifted into lemon, a yummy butter cream biscuit, some vanilla, pineapple, very light spice, a nice malty quality… the aromas started to become increasingly elusive… Then after the 1st sip, a delicious cheesecake, butter pastry, basmati rice
  • Palate – Mmmm….bannoffee pie, then with the 2nd sip, a black pepper and clove spice… with more time and a return, was there coconut? Licorice?
  • Finish – Banana… correction… smoky banana, spice then sweet then bitter… what a fabulously long finish

Overall we enjoyed this one… returning after sampling all four whiskies to discover spice, bit of compost, coconut, then more of that baking sweet, spice and light fennel too.

Glenlossie B3 (1).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Glenlossie is a beautiful distillery in Speyside, with some splendid pagoda roofs and stunning onion-shaped stills. It was founded in the latter half of the 1800s, and since the early 1900s, it has been closely associated with Haig’s blended whisky – you know, the ones with the cool-shaped bottled, the one that was on that TV show about the science teacher and his foray into… Well, yeah. Anyway, Glenlossie. Onion-shaped stills. What we did was we made it look like the still on the label is actually made of an onion, and has a spring onion line arm and garlic-bulb condenser. We like similes and metaphors.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Cake mix with hints of desiccated coconut. floral notes and dry grasses follow
  • Palate: Coconut creams, malty, grassy, and a peppery spice builds
  • Finish: Malty, grassy, hints of anise, while the peppery spices linger

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £69.

Glenlossie B3.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Strathmill 21 Year (2018) 47.7%

We moved on to another Diageo distillery from Speyside – Strathmill. In keeping with our theme, this single malt is rarely found on its own and in this case was bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

Here is what we found…

Strathmill 21 Year (June 2018) 47.7% Batch 6, 401 bottles

  • Nose – Fruity and was that a bit of sulfur? Sherry brightness, likeable, happy, sugary yet behind all that lightness was a sharpness too. Apricot and leather, woodsy with peach.
  • Palate – Sugar water, then by the 2nd sip had much more personality, sweet, sharp, some oats and a bit nutty. Frankly we just liked it!
  • Finish – Walnut butter, long and spicy then some more of the fruity peach, nectarine and powered chilli

Don’t be tempted to dismiss this whisky as a lightweight… As we continued to sip, it vacillated between cheerful and a deeper character…

We set it aside and revisited it together, contrasting and comparing with the others…Here we found the prominent notes that remained was a nice hazelnut and citrus quality.

Strathmill 21 Year Old - Batch 6 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Step back in time for a second and you might happen to see the Strathmill distillery, but it could very well be producing something completely different to tasty Speyside whisky – porridge! Yes, Strathmill used to be a porridge oats mill, but it was soon converted into a working whisky distillery, and the rest is history. Delicious history. Anyway, renowned thief Goldilocks clearly didn’t get the memo and she’s gone searching for her favourite breakfast treat in the Strathmill distillery. Somehow she found some leftover porridge oats and is now fortifying her breakfast with a particular classic brand of gin…

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Floral honey, lemon zest, grassy malt and biscuit dough.
  • Palate: Sultana and raisin, followed by banana chips and chicory.
  • Finish: Continued banana notes, now with a hint of red chilli.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £90.

Strathmill B6.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Dailuaine 15 Year (2018) 47.5%

For our That Boutique-y Whisky Co samples from Master of Malt, we deliberately focused on distilleries not yet sampled in their single malt avatar.

We began with a whisky from Speyside – Dailuaine. Part of Diageo stable, it is rarely seen outside blends… in 2005, it seems only 2% of the distillery’s output was bottled as a single malt.

Fast forward a bit and Diageo finally did a “Flora and Fauna” bottling, describing it as:

Sweet, nutty and rich.. This is not just an after dinner dram, it’s an after-dinner mood in a liquid. Thick, rich yet pleasantly, palate-cleansingly sweet. Try Dailuaine whisky with the cheese course, or just nose the cheese rind, fruit and citrus aromas hidden in its depths.

What did we think of our TBWC sample?

Dailuaine 15 year (May 2018) 47.5% Batch 2, 950 bottles

  • Nose – It initially came across as young and fruity, dripping in honey, then shifted and began to reveal a more vegetal sour dimension, organic and musty, leafy, woodsy even a touch of hay, yet still sweet and delicious
  • Palate – Very easy going yet with a bit of spice too, straight forward with more of that slightly sour element, then spice… Revisiting after some time, the woodsy quality was even more apparent with a nice light oak, something of depth and character in this one yet still approachable
  • Finish – A touch bitter

After time, yet comfortable like a cashmere sweater… even the gentle soap used to wash one too! We found the nose a bit more interesting than the palate. Overall it was an excellent introduction and a terrific way to kick off our evening!

Dailuaine 15 Year Old - Batch 2 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

The Dailuaine distillery lives up in the Speyside region, and has done since 1852. It was home to Scotland’s first pagoda roof, an architectural element used by quite a few Scotch whisky distilleries over the course of history. Sadly, the Dailuaine pagoda roof burnt down in the early 1900s, which did stop production for a short while, but soon enough they were back to it! Interesting to note that until recently, some of the condensers at the Dailuaine distillery were made from stainless steel instead of copper, which resulted in their single malt having a touch of sulphur to it – some people are well into that, some aren’t. Our Dailuaine label features a pair of sulphur molecules, one seems to be nice and the other seems to be some sort of terrible nightmare creature from the netherworld. Steer clear of that one.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Meaty at first, with leafy hints and molasses developing later on.
  • Palate: Barley sweetness, juxtaposed intense oak spiciness.
  • Finish: Lingering red berry and cinnamon.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £55.

Dailuaine B2.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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LMdW Artist #8 – Bunnahabhain 35 year 47.9%

La Maison du Whisky’s Artist Series 8 is all about exploring unique casks which represent the artistry and character of their distilleries – be it in a non-Sherry or Sherry matured avatar. The Sherry range was adorned with most gorgeous labels created by Japanese artist Takehiko Sugawara.

At our Whisky Live Sinagapore 2018 tasting, this Bunnahabhain was the ‘penultimate’ dram in the series – both the oldest and most certainly the most expensive at SGD 1,999.

While we had only a wee nip, were left with the following impressions…

Bunnahabhain 35 year (1979/2018) Sherry Cask#9521 47.9% (472 bottles)

  • Nose – A lovely soft understated quality, complex with many nuanced layers – a bit medicinal, a bit floral, a bit of fruit, a hint of spice, even a herbal quality with a tinge of saline
  • Palate – Very soft and light, incredibly smooth, the palate was completely in character with the aromas – beautiful
  • Finish – Long yet subtle

Don’t laugh but what first struck me is how “nice” this whisky is! Exceedingly nice. I’ve been disappointed with older Bunnahabhain’s before but not this one.

What do the folks at La Maison du Whisky have to say about this whisky?

  • Nose – Voluptuous, concentrated. Irresistible notes of emery cloth, tincture of iodine, heady flowers (purple lilac, geranium), cocoa beans and leather provide a lot of fabric and depth to the first. At aeration, it becomes more fruity (orange, fig, apricot), spicy (cinnamon, grated ginger) and exotic (passion, mango). Balsamic, it extends on eucalyptus, cardamom and even basil
  • Palate – Creamy, smooth. True delicacy, the attack in mouth oscillates between the candy with the violet, the blood oranges, the dark chocolate, the liquorice and the dried fruits (date, nuts). With a lot of freshness, the mid-palate is fruity (black grape), liquorice (stick) and honey (linden). These tones precede little bourbon vanilla, ripe bananas and cloves.
  • Finish – Long, fluffy. It preserves and preserves intact every flavor unveiled by the mouth. Then, as and when, she fully satisfies her desire for exoticism (passion, mango, guava). In retro-olfaction, coffee with milk, crushed strawberries, blueberries and ginger permeate the palate. The empty glass is resinous (pine, sweet of the Vosges) and empyreumatic (eucalyptus).

—- From LMdW website with an imperfect google translation from French.

La Maison du Whisky Artist #8 with Sherry

If you are curious, here are a few more Bunnahabhain ‘s sampled over the years…

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LMdW Artist #8 – Glenlivet 10 year 64.1%

Next in La Maison du Whisky’s Artist Series 8 was a classic Sherry styled Glenlivet…

We sampled it at Whisky Live Singapore 2018’s VIP Room – just a wee nip but it was worth it.

Glenlivet 10 year (2007/2018) 1st Fill Sherry Cask#900214 Batch #2 64.1% (308 bottles)

  • Nose – Fresh, forward and just a tinge shy, nuts and berries, a hint of sweet flowers too
  • Palate – New style sherry with a bit of “oomph!” – far more on the palate than nose with much more nuts and dry fruits along with juicy plums, cherries and dates
  • Finish – Dry spice with some serious sherry lingering

While its nose was a bit shy, there was nothing shy on the palate. We were rewarded with a lovely rich quality. Robust and full flavoured, it did not disappoint.

And what do the folks at La Maison du Whisky have to say? Well… their website currently features a slightly different bottle… However it too sounds like a mighty fine dram.

But is it worth the price? Just to put in perspective, a bottle of this Glenlivet would put you back SGD 380.

La Maison du Whisky Artist #8 with Sherry

Want more Glenlivet? Read on…

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LMdW Artist #8 – Bowmore 15 year 55.3%

Our skip through La Maison du Whisky’s Artist Series 8 continued with another Sherry dram – this time progressing to combine with peat!

Bowmore 15 year (2001/2018) Sherry Cask #108 55.3% (679 bottles)

  • Nose – Light peat and sweet with vanilla, fruits, nuts, honey
  • Palate – Very balanced, wonderful interplay between the dry fruits, nuts, sweet spices and light peat with a dash of salt
  • Finish – Nice cinnamon sherry spice finish that really stays

A solid dram just bursting with character… full flavoured and really quite fabulous.

And while it was a fleeting, passing sample… this whisky was a tough act to follow. We needed to take a wee break after the Caol Ila and this one before continuing our sipping journey…

As for what this Bowmore would put you back if buying in Singapore? Don’t fall off your seat…. SGD 820. And exactly why it is terrific to try in such settings Whisky Live as waaaay beyond my pocket book!

Want to know more? Well I only had a wee nip, however this is what the folks at La Maison du Whisky have to say about this whisky:

  • Colour – Intense golden yellow
  • Nose – Elegant, precise. Delicately placed at the top of the aromatic palette, a peat both herbaceous (lichen), salty, smoke, iodine (spray), vanilla, floral (carnation) and fruity (pear) provides a lot of rhythm and race at the first nose. After creation, it becomes exotic (passion, guava) and medicinal (tincture of iodine). Further on, candied lemons, fresh walnuts and acacia honey underline its extreme sweetness. A fine smoky pungency highlights its remarkable fullness.
  • Palate – Rich, concentrated. With the same elegance as the nose, the attack in the mouth is peaty / smoke, saline and mineral (chalk). More and more milky (coconut, almond). It gains unceasingly unctuousness. In the middle of the mouth, hay cut, green walnuts, almonds, candied lemons and noble spices (ginger, saffron, clove) bring a second breath to a palate that is growing in power. Very untied, the back-mouth invites us to savour a succulent rice pudding perfumed with verbena. Magnificent.
  • Final – Long, fluffy. The start of we bite into a juicy pear. Very quickly, however, notes of ashes, soot and smoke take over the initiative with great delicacy of expression. Oily, earthy, marine (seaweed, kelp) and animal (bacon, smoked salmon), the retro-olfaction sees malted barley pointing the tip of the nose. The empty glass is herbaceous (cut hay), spicy (ginger), vegetable (tobacco), earthy (dry peat) and vanilla.

—-From LMdW website with an imperfect google translation from French.

La Maison du Whisky Artist #8 with Sherry

If you are curious, here are a few more Bowmore‘s sampled over the year…

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LMdW Artist #8 – Ben Nevis 25 year 55.3%

Our next Sherry from La Maison du Whisky’s Artist Series 8 washroom the Ben Nevis distillery. We sampled it at Whisky Live Singapore 2018‘s VIP room.

As this whisky isn’t everyone’s style, some of my tasting companions skipped this one… whereas I soldiered on and dove in for a sniff, swish, (and yes) spit!

Ben Nevis 25 year (1991/2018) Sherry Cask #2375 55.3% (561 bottles)

  • Nose – Some sour salty plums and prunes, toffee, nuts and touch of citrus
  • Palate – Slightly spicy, honey sweet, dried fruits with a bit of salty sour too
  • Finish – Hint of spiced and a bit chalky or milky

Ben Nevis isn’t for everyone… and this was very much in keeping with a Ben Nevis “style” with a bit of sour, salt and in this case – sherry.

And what would a bottle of this cost? If buying in Singapore, that would be SGD 575. Hmm…

If curious to know more, here is what the folks over at La Maison du Whisky have to say:

  • Nose – Very exotic in its oxidative register (pineapple, mango), the first nose perfectly synthesizes the Ben Nevis style. At aeration, the influence of sherry clearly evokes a sherry fino type. Notes of almonds, walnuts and curry are reminiscent of Jura yellow wine. Very deep, it evolves on citrus (lemon, grapefruit), praline and verbena. At the precise moment, the aromatic palette is still far from having delivered all its secrets.
  • Palate – Lively, removed. Vanilla, the attack in the mouth is also deliciously honey (acacia), vegetable (cucumber) and fruity (dried apricot, gooseberry). Both menthol and lemony, the mid-palate reveals a luxuriant nature, nuanced by a shades of green that goes from the softest to the darkest. The mouth is nobly spicy (saffron, ginger, cardamom).
  • Finish – Long, sweet. With the same power of seduction as the nose and mouth, it oscillates between almond milk, candied pineapple, cut hay and spices (ginger, clove). In retro-olfaction, Mirabelle plums and quince add to its fruitiness. Empty glass is medicinal (balm), spicy (cinnamon), roasted (coffee) and oily (walnut, almond).

—From LMdW website with an imperfect google translation from French.

La Maison du Whisky Artist #8 with Sherry

Curious about other Ben Nevis tasting experiences?

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