Whisky Lady – November 2019

Wow! My first month in my new country of residence – Germany – zipped past in a blink of an eye!

October had just a lone post about anticipating an Advent Calendar… which due its change in delivery date and my hectic schedule never reached me! It wandered its way back to the UK then was resent (with additional fees!) to Germany mid-November and never actually turned up as expected so am now awaiting the 3rd attempt from the UK. Let’s hope three times a charm and I can open it in my new flat early December and maybe even try some before I hop on a plane back to India December 20th!

So while my ‘kick start’ to German tasting adventures was a fiasco, November’s quick trip back to Mumbai was much more successful and I managed to sneak in not one but two whisky tasting sessions.

The 1st tasting session was with the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents where we explored an Irish Method & Madness Quartet of:

The 2nd with our original club was quite an exceptional evening – our host generously shared his birthday celebration with us, held the evening at Savor‘s unique tasting room and introduced us to another fabulous independent bottler – Chorlton Single Casks with:

  • Miltonduff 9 year 58.3%
  • Orkney 9 year 63.1%
  • Glenturret Ruadh Maor 8 year 62.5%

I also found the time (and tasting notes!) from the Mumbai original club’s September session which featured:

There will likely be even more disruptions over the next few months as I settle into the new job and life in Europe. Plus can’t wait to get home to Mumbai for a few weeks end December!!

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Original Club – Caol Ila, Jura, Springbank, Scapa

In September, I’d planned to be off on a Scottish whisky tour… however the visa powers that be had other ideas and I found myself cancelling that trip and remaining grounded in Mumbai.

The silver lining was being able to join one more whisky tasting session with our original Mumbai group.

What did we explore?

Our host decided the order by age and yet after we finished the tasting, we thought how a reverse order may have brought out the elements of each whisky more fully.

Which led to the alternate whisky our host had originally thought to include – the Scapa 40% instead of Springbank 10 which is normally a favourite.

It was an interesting evening and one I was delighted to be able to join.

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The last dram standing…

Years ago I cracked open my old whisky cabinet with intent to share and empty “dram dregs” with our newly formed Mumbai whisky club and friends. It was a most enjoyable evening and while we didn’t polish off all the bottles, we certainly made a dent!

So when I managed to free up the Friday evening before flying off to Nuremberg for the big move to Germany, the BEST way to enjoy was to invite a little assistance to “save” a few bottles from oxidation further in Mumbai’s far from ideal storage conditions.

Everything that was open came out of the whisky cabinet without exception!

Tasting stations were setup with:

  • Ex-bourbon
  • Sherry
  • Japanese
  • Experimental & International
  • Peat
  • Secret stash

The ex-bourbon‘s proved a popular starting point so several were polished off and only a few remained:

In the Japenese corner we had:

  • Hakushu 18 year – The last drops of a favourite whisky that I suspect was open for nearly 10 years (yes you read that correctly)…
  • Chita 12 year – From over 4 years ago, it remained exquisitely perfumed, such a delight and quite different than the Chita NAS found these days
  • Ichiro’s Houou-uhi – A mythical “Pheonix”… these final drops did not disappoint and reminded me just how exceptional this blend of discontinued Kawasaki and Hanyu malts truly was!
  • Remarkably we still had a bit of the Nikka From the Barrel remaining…

And in our peat section?

While we certainly did not complete our mission of polishing off ALL, we did a very respectable job of making a serious dent with a focus on those quite low with just a few drams.

All told, we emptied 11 bottles.

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In Mumbai for a Method and Madness Quartet

What joy! I’m back in India for a week and two of my fabulous whisky tasting groups were able to arrange sessions to coincide with my dates – yeah!

The Bombay Malt & Cigar gents turned their gaze back to the green isles for more from Midleton Distillery. We are no strangers to Irish whiskies! There is even a full section on this blog dedicated to our Irish explorations.

Just a few months ago, the gents and I had a wee waltz with Irish drams featuring Dingle, Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton Bordeaux, Redbreast Lustau Edition and yes – Method and Madness’s core Chestnut finished Single Pot Still 46%.

So we had an inkling of what to expect but also began with an open mind and palates!

For those not familiar, Method and Madness is Midleton Distillery’s experiments with various styles and finishes. Our evening focused on their core range plus one limited edition finished with Hungarian Oak.

Method and Madness

We followed the quartet with a wee glass experiment – using my recently imported Copita and Norlan glasses supplemented by our hosts Riedel to contrast with our standard Glencairn tasting glass. For now I’ve decided to keep these glasses in India and perhaps acquire in time another set in Germany.

We then turned to our cigars to round out a most enjoyable evening.

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Single Cask Whisky Advent Calendar (2019 Edition)

Before even reaching Germany, I prepared for my arrival by ordering a small “housewarming” gift!

Yes I know, Advent Calendars are intended to be opened in Christmas and I may even wait til then… however spoiler alert! Don’t be surprised if I’m tempted to try a few before then…

Photo: www.masterofmalt.com

So what was it expected to contain?

Until then, let’s see what other tasting adventures I can discover in Deutschland!

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Whisky Lady – September 2019

We had GREAT expectations for September… London with Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange, flight to Inverness then a proper whisky distillery tour in Speyside. Tickets were bought, accommodations booked… all was ready!

However best laid plans were not to be… in large part thanks to my being “grounded” in Bombay waiting for my passport to be returned with my new German “National” (aka work) visa and then a stupid amount of stress trying to get my Indian visa converted from work to spousal – with success literally the last business day I was in India!

So what’s a gal to do? Why make whisky fun!

  • A Balvenie evening... which turned out to be a bit different than anticipated
  • A private Stranger & Sons Gin evening with the BMC plus friends
  • Handing over the Whisky Advent for the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai to enjoy
  • Beautiful dram dregs… rescuing precious open bottles from languishing in less than optimal Mumbai storage conditions

Plus join not one but two whisky tasting group’s evenings…

One of our Whisky Ladies went on a whiskey tour in Ireland and brought back for us:

And the original club shared whiskies carefully tracked down pair from Douglas Laing’s “Distiller’s Art” series plus 1st one additional then a bonus whisky too:

  • Distiller’s Art – Caol Ila 8 year (2009) 59.2% – Wonderful dram
  • Distiller’s Art – Jura 11 year (2006) 58.6% – Curious as didn’t seem Scottish at all!
  • Springbank 10 year 46% – Not what we remembered… was it a consequence of the tasting order or something else at play
  • And our bonus Scapa 40% – What a terrific reminder that this is one solid maritime malt!

There will likely be some disruption in seeking out opportunities to discover new drams and sharing tasting notes over the next few months.

While there is the amazing German women’s “Sharing Angels“… I anticipate it will take some time to navigate life in Nuremberg to find new folks who share a passion for quality over quantity, slowing down to discuss, deliberate and learn together.

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Drinks by the Drams – The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2018

Now I must admit, for a few years I have coveted advent calendars… imagining exploring a bounteous array of unique whiskies.

As luck would have it, one of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai was gifted a box – enthusiastically ordered from England for her sampling pleasure in India. A lovely thought… except those giving the generous gift had absolutely no clue the customs conundrum that would ensue… requiring all sorts of hoops and hassles with the recipient of the gift having to shell out more cash than the gift itself!

Perseverance and sheer stubbornness prevailed and this lovely box did indeed make its way into her hands.

After all the effort, what happened next?

Our lovely Whisky Lady decided to move to London! And gift her whisky women friends of Mumbai her advent calendar to enjoy, remembering our eventful evenings together!

Now given each ‘dram’ is a mere 3 cl each, our normal format where we all share and discuss the same whisky simply isn’t possible. Instead I had plans to pair up ladies to sample sets of four whiskies, jotting down tasting notes and leaving just a hint of their ‘top’ choice for others to sniff!

And then what happened?

You may have already guessed it! I’ve taken up a job in Germany. So this gift to the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai has now been handed over….

So while I will no longer have a chance to explore and enjoy, I’m completely confident it will be a brilliant experience.

Drinks by the Dram – The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2018

What will the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai have an opportunity to try?

Mostly Blends

  1. Fettercairn 12 Year Old 40% – Launched in 2018, an earlier brush with a cask strength TBWC version was very positive!
  2. Scallywag 46%Douglas Laing‘s Speyside vatted malt blend of Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes.
  3. Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old 43% – Those in the know appreciate this is a vatted malt (or blended malt) rather than a standard blend… which translates into no grain. It is one I’ve previously sampled
  4. The Naked Grouse 40% – Part of the Famous Grouse range, it is a blend of whisky from Highland Park and Macallan, aged in first fill sherry casks

Islay and Peaty

  1. Bunnahabhain 11 Year, Batch 9 49.5% – Another from That Boutique-y Whisky Company
  2. Caol Ila (2004/2016) Moscatel Cask Finish 43% – Another Distiller’s Edition, experimenting with sweet Moscatel
  3. Balvenie Peat Week 14 Year (2003 Vintage) 48.3% – From a week dedicated to peat, their 2nd edition
  4. Kilchoman 2012 Wine Finish (Cask 405) 56.9% – Bottled exclusively for Drinks by the Drams

Mystery distilleries

  1. Crabbie 8 Year Old 46% – Before John Crabbie revive their distillery, they have released 8 and 30 year ‘mystery malts’
  2. The Exceptional Blend 1st Edition 43% – A first fill Oloroso finished blended whisky from Sutcliffe & Son with North British, Strathclyde, Cameronbridge, Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Allt-á-Bhainne, Auchroisk, Glenallachie, Westport, Speyside, Macallan and more. Previously sampled.
  3. Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 11 52.3% – Imagine blending together near mythical closed distilleries? That’s what the folks at The Blended Whisky Company did bringing together drops of Caperdonich, Rosebank, Imperial, Mosstowie, Glen Mhor, Glenisla, Glenlochy, Craigduff, Port Ellen and Brora, along with grain whisky from Port Dundas
  4. The XL Blend, Batch 1 46.2% – We know next to nothing about this except that The Blended Whisky Company produced it and the XL refers to 40 ie it is a blend of 40 year + whiskies. Originally retailing at £457.46, it is currently sold out

The Glens

  1. Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera 40% – Not so simple process first matured in American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak, then married in a Solera vat.
  2. Glengoyne 12 Year Old 43% – Distinctive for its complete lack of peat
  3. Glen Scotia Double Cask 46% – I’ve been increasingly drawn to Campbeltown drams, and quite enjoyed a previous sample which features PX Sherry and Bourbon casks
  4. Glenfarclas 12 Year Old 58.7% – Bottled exclusively for Drinks By The Dram

“D” Distillery Drams

  1. Dewar’s 12 Year Old – The Ancestor 40% – Called ‘Double Aged’ as it follows its initial maturation and blending with another 6 months ‘marrying’ together further maturing in oak casks
  2. Dalwhinnie (2002/2017) Oloroso Cask Finish 43% – Distiller’s Edition, likely 15 year
  3. Dailuaine 15 Year Old Batch 2 47.5% – From That Boutique-y Whisky Company, previously sampled
  4. Dailuaine 4 Year (2012/2017) 46% – Bottled by Càrn Mòr for their Strictly Limited range, matured in two ex-bourbon casks

A mix of regions, styles and strengths!

  1. Loch Lomond 12 Year Old 46% – Inchmurrin, Inchmoan or Loch Lomond, this distillery has a range of styles… some peaty, some not… in this case using a trio of bourbon casks, refill casks and recharged casks.
  2. Bruichladdich Scottish Barley – The Classic Laddie 50% – It remains a classic, official bottle, year not specified
  3. Isle Of Jura Seven Wood 42% – Just as the name says, this whisky was matured in seven woods – American white oak, limousin, tronçais, allier, vosges, bertranges and jupilles
  4. Tamdhu Batch Strength (Batch 3) 58.3% – Matured in sherry casks

    PS – If someone was to now try and import such a box into India, there is next to no chance of success as the rules have changed yet again.

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    Whisky Lady – Aug 2019

    Ah.. August… a time of travel and transition. For me it meant Mumbai to Munich to Winnipeg to Munich & Nuremberg to Mumbai to Goa to Mumbai. Yeah, seriously…

    As for whiskies? Our Original group had their usual monthly session, but alas when I was traveling… Which is merely a sign of things to come as my “base” is changing from Bombay, India to Nuremberg, Germany in October. Yes… that is correct… after nearly 20 years in India I’m making a massive shift – for once my life is following my career and not the reverse!

    While longer term India remains “home” and I will be back a few times a year… our monthly rhythm with the amazing trio of whisky tasting groups will be much missed.

    So if there was a theme to August, it was dram fellowship…

    The Whisky Ladies made a trip to the Paul John Distillery in Goa and rescheduled our 4th Anniversary celebration!

    The Bombay Malt & Cigar gents and I had a “shabby chic” evening where we pulled out a few interesting open bottles to polish off… and plotted how when and where we will squeeze in a few more sessions together in London, Europe and Mumbai over the next few months.

    And the original club brought together not only special bottles but spouses too for an evening of great food, excellent whiskies and above all celebration of 8 years of dram fellowship!

    I simply can’t express how much I will miss our style of tasting – each host carefully curating their evening around a theme, sampling blind… often taking 20 mins with a single whisky to discuss, debate and even speculate what it might be. Then setting each aside to revisit, contrast and compare after trying all three – seeing how each shifts and changes – reflecting back on whiskies sampled over the years.

    More to come in September with a few more bitter sweet farewells accompanied by some plotting and planning for ways to catch at least the occasional session when back in Mumbai!

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    Whisky Ladies 4th Anniversary!

    Wow! How time flies! From a “wouldn’t it be great if…” to four full and flourishing years of sharing, pairing, discussing, debating, friendship and tasting with the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

    Originally scheduled for when I was out galavanting around the globe, mother nature had other plans and Mumbai was effectively shut down by rains and floods.

    Lucky for me this meant it could be rescheduled to a weekend when I could very happily join!

    We decided after our last anniversary that the way to go is have a fun, sociable gathering – where each lady can invite a guest, bring an open bottle, have a grand meal, celebrating together the wonderful world of whiskies with fabulous women! After all – sharing is caring!

    The collection was impressive! Here is where we started before most even arrived…

    Given some were not able to join our Goan Paul John Distillery tour, I decided to bring ALL of the nearly empty bottles with me – including some never tried by all Whisky Ladies. Here’s what we started with from left to right…

    As the sun set and the evening progressed, more and more bottles made their way to our lips… To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even TRY to track the variety and quantity that made its appearance over the course of our gathering… Suffice it to say, it beautifully reflected the diversity of our palates, preferences and penchant to track down something interesting or to simply kick back, relax and sociably enjoy.

    For my part, after traveling for weeks from Mumbai – Munich – Winnipeg – Munich & Nuremberg – Mumbai – Goa – Mumbai – Kalote straight from the rice paddy fields of our country home to Mumbai’s urban jungle for our Whisky Ladies celebration, I could not have had a better day or way to celebrate!

    I’m so lucky to have been part of creating such a special whisky tasting group in India and am going to miss it terribly in the coming months and years.

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    BMC “shabby chic” evening

    Date juggling with the Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen can be a challenge as we all travel extensively and, let’s face it, have busy lives!

    So when one member could not join our originally scheduled August date, we decided to shift from a planned tasting of curated closed bottles to pulling out something open from our whisky cabinets to share.

    As they didn’t earlier have the pleasure of trying Shelter Point – yet heard so much from all my past experiences – I decided it was time they experience – even if oxidized dregs!

    And yes – the plan was to bring just one but when there was so little left, how could I resist bringing all four?

    While there were other bottles on offer, here is what I recall:

    As for the cigars, it was a revisit of Gurka Seduction, also from an earlier session.

    I must confess I took narry a photo nor tasting note that evening – what I’ve shared here are mere recollections of impressions rather than specifics.

    This was an evening where we simply came together, sipped our drams, planned our upcoming sessions and September Scottish whisky tour with the whiskies taking a supporting role rather than featured cast.

    Which sometimes is exactly what you ask of a good dram – to be the best possible accompaniment to a rather enjoyable time with friends.

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