North Star Line-up

Don’t laugh… but I seem to be developing a wee obsession… And I completely blame the folks at North Star for bottling such tempting drams!

Since moving to Germany a whole world of possibilities opened up to order whisky! The initial challenge with deliveries were I was always at work so never home. Then our world changed and I was always home, available to accept… Definitely a silver lining in these strange times… So what have I picked up so far?

North Star German Collection….

Don’t expect a full set of tasting notes anytime soon… however as opportunities present, I look forward to sharing impressions.

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady – March to May 2020

How our world has changed…

It was already clear when we wandered around Whisk(e)y-Messe Nürnberg THE VILLAGE late February that this was likely the last such whisky festival for quite some time. How dramatic and comprehensive the impending ‘shut-down’ would be globally was still unthinkable.

That weekend now seems a distant but fabulous memory, augmented by the company of a lovely fellow whisky lady. In addition to what we sampled at the festival, we also cracked open a couple minis:

My minis continued to come in handy! I’ve so desperately missed our Mumbai whisky tasting groups. Thanks to everyone being shut in, we used technology to catch up online and taste different whiskies together. For me, this meant I could virtually join from Nurnberg where I tried the following:

What else? Not knowing when it would be possible to start tasting with others, I began to carefully collect a few interesting whiskies from independent bottlers… waiting in the wings for the right opportunity. What has made it into my wee German collection so far?

Let’s see how things evolve… for now I wish you all health and happiness where ever you may be in the world!

Curious to know more? Check out more semi-monthly summaries:

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

North Star – Auchroisk, Glenturret, Inchgower, Fettercain, Caol Ila

I used to think folks who would write about the whiskies they added to their collection without tasting were a bit daft. After all, for me it is the journey – discovering something more about a whisky through experiencing it – preferably with others.

Then along came my experience ordering North Star… My brand new Nurnberg Whisky Cabinet was practically empty (save my Old Pulteney 12 year) and it was time to start to build a wee collection, in anticipation of finding or creating a new tasting group in Europe.

What better way than something from the fabulous independent bottler North Star!?

So there I was placing an online order – selecting their reasonably priced options from £56 to £70… I was in no rush for the bottles to reach as had in mind a future experience to be held in some indeterminate evening.

These lovelies were successfully ordered and the wait began…

  • Auchroisk 13 year (Feb 2006 / June 2019) Oloroso Sherry Hogshead 51.2% (North Star 008), 1 of 280 bottles.
  • Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2010 / Mar 2019) Refill Hogshead 58.3% (North Star 008), 1 of 330 bottles.
  • Inchgower 11 year (July 2007 / Mar 2019) Refill Hogshead 52.5% (North Star 008), 1 of 321 bottles.
  • Fettercain 12 year (Oct 2006 / Feb 2019) Refill Barrel 57.4% (North Star 007), 1 of 180 bottles.

Then a remarkable thing happened, things got a wee bit delayed at North Star and these amazing folks decided to add a little bonus:

Plus a great bag and brilliant cap which is now my favourite sunshine companion for walks in the Bavarian forest. Huge thanks to Iain and team…. the problem now is finding the right opportunity to crack open these beauties!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Return of the Minis – Cambus, Glenlossie, Glenturret, Dualaine

Well lads and lasses! It is time to surface from work hibernation and re-start whisky explorations.

Up first is a quartet from my advent calendar minis!

The first two were cracked open with a fabulous Sharing Angel late February when we had the pleasure of enjoying one of the last whisky festivals in Germany pre-COVID.

We had great expectations… but alas were not entirely satisfied:

Whereas the balance were tasted in the virtual company of two different Mumbai whisky groups and each were enjoyable in their way:

For 3cl bottles, you may be surprised to learn all of them had a bit remaining, so before finalizing my notes, I had a chance to try them again…  curious to know more? Check out my tasting notes over the next few days.

Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Gorgeous Chorlton Trio – Miltonduff, Blair Athol, Macmyra

Many months ago we were introduced to the independent bottler – Chorlton during a quick trip home to Mumbai. The Chorlton tasting was conducted completely blind and we were floored by the pedigreed character of each whisky – Miltonduff 9 yearOrkney 9 year, Glenturret Ruadh Maor 8 year.

With the reveal, we also fell in love with the gorgeous labels!

I knew I wanted to explore more, however was in the midst of my move to Germany, finding a place to live, getting up to speed in a my new job with – shocker – whisky a low priority in my juggling act!

Fast forward to early 2020 and the COVID crises changed our world completely. During the initial phase of working from home, I decided to start selectively planning for future sessions – a mythical time  where I could either re-unite with much missed tasting groups in Mumbai, join something existing in Nurnberg or create a new community of fellow whisky explorers.

And this is where Chorlton came in… knowing their stock is in limited supply, I still took a chance to see if anything was available directly from this fabulous independent bottler and was in luck! This delightful trio was possible to order online and, even better, make its way from the UK to Germany.

Here is what I chose:

  • Miltonduff 11 years, 1st fill bourbon, 62% 1 of 176 bottles
  • Blair Athol 12 years, Hogshead undiluted, uncoloured, unchill filtered, 56.6% 1 of 268 bottles
  • Mackmyra 12 years, bourbon barrel, undiluted, uncoloured, unchill filtered 50.2% 1 of 278 bottles

While they don’t say when they were bottled, presumably it would have been 2019/2020.

To say I was excited on their arrival was an understatement! However when I will actually crack them open remains to be seen. I’m much more of a social imbiber – what I enjoy most is the exchange and range of impressions an interesting bottle can evoke from a small group tasting together.

As such an activity seems very far away, I will simply leave you with this visual teaser and hope you are healthy and happy where ever you are in the world!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady – February 2020

Back in Germany, we have Whisk(e)y-Messe Nürnberg THE VILLAGE happening this weekend! I can’t wait to share impressions, experiences and more! It will be my first foray into whisky events in Europe since moving here.

While I’m still getting set-up in Europe, you can imagine something every whisky explorer wants a whisky cabinet! Though I haven’t started a new collection, I did both acquire a cabinet (of sorts) and even an old favourite whisky – Old Pulteney 12 year – to grace its glass shelves.

In Nurnberg, I finally cracked open my Drinks by the Dram advent calendar to sample with a friend. What did we try?

And on this blog, I continued to traipse down desi memory lane with:

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

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Advent Minis – 1st batch

Thanks to the lovely lads and lasses at Master of Malt, we were finally able on the 3rd attempt to get my 2019 Advent Calendar to Nurnberg, Germany.

Whilst I’m still not yet properly set-up, I simply had to crack open the calendar before catching a flight to India for Christmas… I didn’t have my favourite Glencairn glasses but “made do” with a pair of capita wanna be’s… Even better, I co-opted a friend to join in a small tasting quartet!

So what did we try? Here are the ones we dove into from the advent calendar minis:

Curious to check out more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady – January 2020

A new year, a new chapter in whisky tasting adventures.

2020 kicked off with a real milestone in my whisky explorations – a celebration of 1,000 Whisky Lady posts! There are so many prolific and profound blogs out there, however I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all who have been part of this journey.

As I reflected on what brought me to this point, I shared a few insights:

As for new tastings? 2020 also began back home in Mumbai where we had a celebration combining our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai and Bombay Malt & Cigar club exploring something incredibly unique – two Japanese standards, bottled some 40-50 years apart:

  • Suntory Excellence from the 1970/80s compared with Suntory Old from today
  • Nikka Super Rare Old from the 1970/880s and 2019

Given we had no idea if the old bottles would even be drinkable, an Iwai and Hibiki were kept on hand to accompany dinner and a cigar.

I also shared notes from a remarkable Mumbai evening with Chorlton Single Casks:

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

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Chorlton Single Casks – Miltonduff, Orkney, Ruadh Maor

One of the best things about being in a whisky tasting group is when a member discovers and shares something truly special. The evening with a trio of whiskies from independent bottler Chorlton was one such occasion.

We sampled each blind and it was clear from the first whiff of the first dram this was no ordinary tasting.

Chorlton Single Casks

We were struck by the quality of each –  “pedigree” whiskies which held well not just with our initial tasting but when we revisited too. Each had a distinct personality, and while entirely different characters, there was a clear common thread. Solid drams, no sherry influence or other finishes, just premium picks at incredibly reasonable prices.

With the reveal, we were struck by the gorgeous labels and astounded by our host sharing he paid a mere GBP 50 a bottle?! Could this even be possible in a time of ever increasing costs with mixed quality?

It was a special evening for more than just the whisky – it was held at Savor‘s tasting room with a meal designed to complement our whisky wanderings. A very memorable night!

Curious to know more?

My tasting notes are coming soon but you must check out WhiskyFlu’s post about how he discovered Chorlton, David’s approach to bottling quality drams for a reasonable price, tasting notes from our evening.

You can also follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady’s Top 10 Events

Welcome to a little nostalgia for a few exceptional evenings gone by… a light tripping through a malty memory lane… with a focus on events that expanded understanding, industry connects and some pretty great malts too!


2011

Let’s start by re-winding the clock to the year our original Mumbai tasting group formed. It was February, our inaugural evening was hosted at BlueFrog’s private alcove above the recording studio. We were

#1Glenfarclas Mumbai Special 12 year, 105, 21 and 40 year

Later that year we were invited to attend a tasting led by the family own distillery’s George S Grant – a remarkable evening that closed with the Glenfarclas 40 year!

It cemented an appreciation for not only for the whisky but the stories that go with its making – without a doubt it was the stand-out experience of the year!


2012 – 2013

As a tasting group, we began to find our grove with monthly sessions and it became clear who would remain as regular members. We shifted from random contributions to themes hosted in homes as increasing effort and creativity went into sourcing something interesting to share with other members.

This was also the period I went from occassionally jotting down impressions to regularly crafting tasting notes which I posted on my other blog Everyday Asia.

#2Jameson Original, 12, Gold Reserve, 18 yearGreen Spot + Redbreast

As for memorable event? I will always have a soft spot for the Jameson lads (and hopefully lasses to come too!) who make their way as brand ambassadors to India. In large part this is due to the convivial evening held at one of our members homes in 2013 where they shared insights into the Irish whisky industry, tall tales and good dram or two, augmented by a few more we added to round out the evening.

Jameson lads with their set-up


2014-15

This was a stand-out year for more than one reason! It would be impossible to limit to a single event. When I look back, I realise this was the pivotal year that opened the most doors to industry insights and introductions. By late 2014, it was clear I was ‘hooked’ on exploring and sharing such experiences, with the birth of this blog the outcome!

#3 – Amrut with Jim Murray (compliments Amrut)

Beyond our regular tasting sessions, I experienced the massive “show” that is a Jim Murray event – in this case sponsored by Amrut. It was memorable but not necessarily for the right reasons!

#4 – Glenmorangie (with Bill Lumsden)

In complete contrast, I was invited to attend an event in Delhi and interview Bill Lumsden for Man’s World. The event? Glenmorangie’s celebration of their prestige line with Glenmorangie’s 18 year, 25 year and Signet expressions. Each was perfectly paired and a true class act.

Glenmorangie evening at The Oberoi, Delhi

#5 – Balblair 03Old Pulteney 12 yearSpeyburn 10 year

This was followed a few months later by a master class with Stuart Harvey. Again – full of stories, insights, good company and a most enjoyable dram or two, three with a bonus!

Old Pulteney 12 year (Inver House)

#6 – Whisky Ladies with Karen Walker – Caorunn ginBalblair 03Old Pulteney 12 yearSpeyburn 10 yearAnCnoc 12 + 22 year

Then an evening with Karen Walker, when she was Global Marketing Head for Invers House for the newly formed Whisky Ladies of Mumbai.

Some of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai

#7 – Mumbai Malt Maniacs Rare Malts – Auchentoshan 40% (1980s)Port Ellen 26 year 1982 50%Lagavulin 16 year 43% (1980s)

Each experience added a layer and being introduced to India’s Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula was and remains a true gift. His 20th anniversary celebration of Malt Maniacs in Mumbai with Rare Malts from the 1980s was an eye opener to a different ‘style’. Krishna’s knowledge and passion is immense, his ability to discern such nuances and details from a few good whiffs and just a sip is astounding!

1980s whiskies


2016

By 2016, I was part of 3 tasting groups who regularly ‘fed’ my habit! We had several stand-out evenings and I was consistently impressed with the growing quality and variety of themes. I was also invited to ‘crash’ a private whisky tasting in my home town Winnipeg’s “The Cabinet”.

Some are surprised it took so long, but 2016 was the 1st time I went on a distillery tour. Clearly I’ve not taken a ‘typical’ path as it wasn’t Scotland… nope! Instead it was Gimli, Manitoba, Canada at Crowne Royal’s plant.

#8 – Whisky Live Survival Guide Collector’s Room –BenromachBruichladdichKavalanNikkaOld PulteneyPort AskaigTeelingRum + Whisky Masterclass with Luca Gargano + Dave Broom

As for a remarkable event? Without a doubt it was my 1st Whisky Live Singapore experience. I loved everything about it – from the Collector’s Room to masterclasses to engaged conversations with industry experts on the tasting floor. None of the subsequent WhiskyLive’s lived up to this one.


2017

The year started with a trip to Goa, India with a Michael personally giving a tour of Paul John distillery, showing plans for their visitor centre, insights into upcoming expressions, etc.

Mid-year on our way back from our wedding in Canada, a whisky club member arranged a special evening in London with Sukhinder Singh, co-founder of The Whisky Exchange. Following our dinner, he took us to their office, giving a tour of his personal collection in their board room, the rare malts section, warehouse and private bar where he ‘started us’ with something simple – a mere 30+ year Caol Ila! What Sukhinder and his brother have done for the world of whisky is unmatched.

My friend wondered why I never wrote about this experience or took copious photos like I do during our normal tastings together. My response? It was like entering a “whisky temple” and I wanted nothing to distract from fully being there in the moment of that exceptional experience. It was a year later before the Cask Strength Trio selected by Sukhinder that day for the Whisky Ladies was opened.

There were also several events (Glenmorangie Bacalta Launch, DISCUS American bourbon, rye and cocktails, Whisky Live Singapore), however what really stood out was 2 days, 3 tasting experiences featuring 15 whiskies from 3 to 60 years!

All were held with Krishna Nakula and Keshav Prakash and each experience added a richness to a whisky appreciation repertoire, making this my #9 Expert Event:


2018 – 2019

The next two years were full of so many tasting experiences – introductions to new independent bottlers like North Star and Chorlton, whiskies from new distilleries, another trip to Paul John’s Distillery – this time with the Whisky Ladies.

I have watched with immense pride as our original tasting club members Keshav and Anjan Prakash translated their passions into professions – leading to the creation of The Vault Fine Spirits – a beacon of quality, imbued with their generous spirits.

#10 – The 1st Vault Biennale

Their inaugural spirits festival “The Vault Biennale” brought remarkable spirits and spirit makers to Mumbai in a two day event anchored by spirited stories that personalized and contextualized the passion applied to bringing unique, quality expressions to the world. It was a truly special experience and I hope it will be back next year!

Curious to know more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on: