Old Particular Trio – Jura, Mortlach, Talisker

Ahh…. time to bring back the minis! Sample a wee trio or quartet – preferably from an independent bottler or with some kind of cohesive theme.

Enter my Drinks by the Drams Single Cask advent calendar from 2018 – bought as a ‘welcome’ present for my new home in Germany – back in October 2019!

Yes… I realize it is already 2021… but who says you need to crack things open immediately? Some could argue patience is a virtue!

However what it does mean is that the exact cask I sampled is likely long ago sold out or only available via auction.

That said, the bottler – in this case a trio from Old Particular from Douglas Laing – is very much bottling other single casks for your current sampling pleasure.

So what did I select?

This particular range focuses on single casks – bottled not at the typical “Connoisseur’s” strength of 46% but 48.4%.

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Whisky Lady – February 2021

February began in India – desultory summer-like days of sunshine in our country home, quick zip back to Mumbai before hoping back on a plane and train for a chilly overcast welcome back to Germany. A bit of snow, some rain and sunny days… lots of work and in a mere blink, the month was finished!

On the whisky side, I re-packed my 2018 Whisky Advent Calendar (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)…. confident there will be future opportunities when back in India – hopefully in July or December 2021!

Overcoming various logistical hurdles, I had an opportunity to ‘catch-up’ with a missed session, share with others a ‘repeat’ of an earlier session and continue our Euro-Indian sub-continent connect! There was also couple ‘teasers’ – chat with the folks behind The Belgian Owl and an Elements of Islay evening the I experienced vicariously through friends in Mumbai.

Our Diageo Flora & Fauna explorations started with a trio of:

A bit of an Xmas hangover, I had a wee gift trio from vom Fass which featured:

Our fabulous Whisky Ladies of Mumbai held a December session with a decidedly Peaty theme… Kindly samples were set aside and one quiet evening in Nurnberg, I

Also in a ‘catch-up’ type mode, I shared with a couple gents in Mumbai the Arran vertical flight… with another session with our Euro ladies coming up!

The month’s tasting adventures closed with the 1st of two sessions exploring a mystery “C” trio… to be revealed next month! So stay tuned…

Curious to know more? Check out a few other ’round-up’ summaries:

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Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with:

Peaty persuasion – Laphroaig, Spirit of Hven, High Coast

One of our fabulous Whisky Ladies is known for her “peaty persuasion”… a penchant for a smoky dram with a bit more substance…

While based in Mumbai, she hails from Sweden so this means over the years, through various trips to spend time with family, she has generously brought back quite an interesting array of whiskies from her homeland.

During these strange Corona times, her most recent journey was extended and enabled sparking the creation of our wee Whisky Ladies European Chapter. Coming back to India, she injected much needed new drams to perk up the palates of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai at the close of 2020.

Alas I was still in Europe so missed the session, however she very kindly kept aside minis which I brought back with me from Mumbai to Nurnberg.

Why not try in India?

Truthfully, over the years unlike my friend, I’ve found myself shifting away from peaty whiskies. I don’t dislike them, just simply find I’ve enjoyed other profiles more. And yet a curious thing happened since moving to Europe… I’m starting to gravitate back to a smokier style.

Context is everything when it comes to whisky appreciation. When the ambient temperature hovers around 30’c or more, somehow a peaty whisky for me at least, isn’t quite right. Dial down the temperature, come in from the cold and voila! Suddenly that peat is perfection and just hits the spot!

Think of it like having a fireplace – for us in Canada, growing up with a fireplace is fairly common. We would spend a winter evening enjoying the ‘toasty’ aroma and warmth that comes from a happy crackling fire. For me, it is particularly associated with Christmas time in Winnipeg with family.

But would we light it in summer? Huh? Seriously?!

You get my drift…

And with that, I present the trio shared in December 2020 with the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai that made it back to Germany in February 2021:

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar (2018)

Once upon a time, a lass thought to creatively sustain whisky explorations by acquiring a collection of miniatures. And what better than cask strength, single cask bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company?

A little off-season, a 2018 Advent Calendar was bought early 2019 and brought from the UK to India, patiently waiting for the right opportunities to explore, a few minis at a time, preferably with a tasting companion.

And then? Well… priorities shifted including a move from India to Germany, so my lovely calendar had to be even more patient… for a full year until I was finally permitted to return home.

So there I was, in 2021… finally back in India… contemplating which choices from such plenty should accompany a quiet evening or two during my long pending trip home…

And then once again, deliberately delayed cracking open these beauties – opting instead to polish off/chuck partial minis from past tasting sessions to free up sufficient small bottles for virtual tastings.

Before putting my advent calendar back into storage, I decided to check what actually came! Knowing full well so many years later it may be challenging to track down official tasting notes let alone a full bottle if I discover a real stunner.

So consider this a teaser – for you and for me – as these lovely little samples have been carefully repacked to patiently wait many more months…

Campbeltown

Highland whiskies:

Islay whiskies:

Speyside whiskies:

British / Irish whiskies (non-Scottish)

World whiskies:

Undisclosed Scottish Blends:

And with that, this lovely box goes back to await another trip and another time…

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Whisky Lady – Jan 2021

As I sit in our wee cabana in the country, just outside of Mumbai, there was no doubt I would have loved to remain just there – enjoying the sound of the birds, cicadas, the perfume of our garden wafting on the summery breeze, our cats curled up contentedly…

For me, the month (and year) began on a plane… starting without any fanfare… the pilot almost forgetting to remark on the change from 2020 to 2021… no bubbly…. no exuberant toast… we simply quietly, exhausted slipped into the new year to be greeted by 6 hours of various procedures, waiting and a specially designated ‘quarantine’ bus to our respective hotels scattered around the city.

Our European chapter had closed 2020 with a new discovery – Maison Benjamin Keuntz exploring their delightful ‘core’ range…

We were so impressed and curious that we requested a follow-up evening – a chance to revisit our samples together with the team from Benjamin Keuntz. In my case, I brought both my samples and a 500 ml bottle of our favourite – Aveux Gourmands – with me to Mumbai. This lovely bottle was my ‘quarantine’ companion – stuck in a hotel room for a week, I sat on my window ledge, overlooking the Arabian sea and sipped away watching the sun set… impatiently waiting to finally go home after a year away!

Re-united with my dwindling collection in Mumbai, I began with enjoying the last few drops of Wemyss’ Linkwood 20 year (1995/2015) Summer Breeze Cask #20877 46% – one of my favourite bottles opened in 2019.

Further remembering drams gone by with a short post on whisky collections – The long haul, long gone… Contemplating what to do with the few bottles that remained in my once robust Indian collection, I decided what better way to go than share?

So I packaged up two sessions worth of whiskies – in such a way they could be shared both virtually and physically in India followed by one that could also be joined by our lovely ladies in Europe too…

We managed to hold one evening with the fabulous Whisky Ladies of Mumbai, featuring an Arran Lochranza Distillery Vertical  which closed with a bottle acquired on my one and only 2020 trip – to Scotland and Isle of Arran no less!

As a bit of a bonus, the remaining Aveux Gourmands was also shared.

Then what? Carrying on in our country sojourn, I virtually re-united with our European chapter to explore offerings from a German independent bottler – Whisky Warehouse No. 8 with:

Another homage to my adopted home Germany, I shared tasting notes from another discovery – this time from Spreewood Distillers outside of Berlin:

And with that… I say farewell both to January 2021 and to my country home for likely another 6 months or so… hopefully able to return for monsoon.

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s 2020 semi-monthly summaries:

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Whisky Collections – Mumbai Edition

For one whole year I could not go home. I won’t go into the long, convoluted, COVID complicated reasons… suffice to say I’m, finally back in India and could not be happier!

I’ve also been re-united with my dwindling whisky collection, which was significantly dented by deliberate efforts before I left and further reduced by redistributing the balance open bottles to a fellow whisky explorer / frequent host to imbibe during the strict lockdown when booze shops were closed.

For me, much of the fun in picking up a bottle here and there is to craft a creative tasting evening where something new is discovered by trying different combinations or gaining insights in context or correlation that likely would not be possible in isolation. It is the interplay between whiskies, different palates and perspectives that is so engaging. How I on my own perceive a particular dram is obviously limited to my background and experience. What better way to temper such bias than with others?

And now? My collection is quite sparse and further diminished as I packaged up some bottles into smaller miniatures for virtual tasting sessions, dispatching the ‘dregs’ to upcoming hosts.

The balance were carefully cleaned, their paraffin seals checked and in a few cases replaced… put back into storage for my next trip home when hopefully life will be a bit more normalized and we can more freely gather together.

Til then, this wee post serves as a reminder for me of what once made it to Mumbai. I’m curious if others delight in the ‘hunter / farmer’ phenomenon needed to put together sessions? Where both a determination to discover is tempered by tremendous patience to share in the right combination?

Isle of Arran – Lochranza Vertical – 1st session already held!

Isle of Arran – Lochranza and Lagg expressions

  • Arran Lochranza Reserve 43%
  • Arran Port Cask Finish 50%
  • Lagg Peated Bourbon Barrel 1st Batch 60.4% (200 ml)

An interesting Australasian trio with contrasting styles and approaches:

  • Australia – Lark (Feb 2010) Single Cask No LD116 43%
  • Japan – Ichiro’s Double Distilleries 46%
  • Taiwan – Kavalan Solist Bourbon Cask B111202001A, Bottle 117/200 57.1%

Old World (European) / New World (USA)

  • USA – AD Laws Secale Rye 2 year (375 ml)
  • Germany – Slyrs Marsala Finish L1140 46% (500ml)
  • Netherlands – Millstone 100 Rye Whisky 50%

A trio from Scotland’s Campbeltown region:

  • Springbank 10 year 46%
  • Glen Scotia 16 year 46%
  • Glen Scotia 1832 Campbeltown 46%

Closing with a Scottish Mix ‘n Match – which could be combined in a few different ways – with some bottles I’ve intended to keep set aside for a few more years…

  • Highland
    • Balblair 18 year 46%
    • Edradour 12 year (28 Aug 2006/8 Nov 2018) 1st Fill Sherry Butt #900127 60.1% (Signatory Vintage Local Dealer Selection)
  • Islay – Elements of Islay Ma1 54.2% (500ml)
  • Speyside
    • Glenrothes 18 year Elders’ Reserve 43%
    • Glentauchers 8 year (2005 / 2013) 48.2% 2144 bottles (Sansibar)
    • KinInvie 17 year 42/6% (Batch 1, 2014)
    • Macallan Estate Reserve 45.7%

And that’s it! How massively it has been scaled back from years of collecting efforts… The earliest bottle was acquired 7 years ago (KinInvie)… The most recent was picked up just a few months back at the new Lagg distillery… interestingly both were 1st batches.

Naturally I could change my approach, playing around with combinations as more get added or subtracted. And from the above picture – half are already gone as I kicked off sessions before leaving India!

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Whisky Collections – The long haul, long gone…

In these strange COVID times, lockdown in India (as many other parts of the world) has played havoc with tasting groups. When one can barely leave ones home… how then can different and interesting whiskies be sourced? And shared in a convivial gathering?

In my case, this was compounded by the dawning realisation that my visa challenges returning home to Mumbai had no simple solution.

By mid-summer, I decided why not convert despair on my side into delight for others?

Whiskies tasted and given away… most with mere dregs remaining…

And here are a few I never had a chance to open and sample:

  • Teeling small batch
  • Tamnavulin Batch 0308 American Oak, Sherry Finish 40%
  • Finch Classic 40%
  • Aureum Single Malt 43% – Now after going to Ziegler distillery, very curious how it was received! 🙂

And finally one somehow kept back from the hungry hoards enjoyed together on a fine evening – completely without any tasting notes!

  • Old Pulteney 11 year 2006 Vintage 46%

What fun to ramble down malty memory lanes thinking of whiskies discovered, drunk and enjoyed or dismissed!

Anyone else do a thorough “whisky cabinet” clean during these COVID times?

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Auchentoshan, Benrinnes, Duilaine, Linkwood

Prompted by the combination of an overall positive experience at The Village Whisky Festival in Nurnberg and the delightful Glencadam, I decided to treat myself to a quartet of miniatures from German independent bottler –  The Whisky Warehouse No. 8.

What did I chose?

I’ve noted the prices I paid above for 2 cl bottles as indicators – if ordering within Germany.

What else? I would like to ‘challenge’ myself to learn all vocabulary on the German tasting wheel! I may be a long way from any level of proficiency, but always great to be motivated by a passion to have a common ‘language’ for describing an interesting (or disasterous) dram!

As I’ve lots to catch up on, it may be some time before I get to both tasting and sharing notes… however am looking forward!

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Whisky Lady – Farewell 2020

What a year… one none of us would like to repeat.

Late 2019 when I made the big move to Europe, it was under the assumption that I would regularly shuttle back and forth between my home in Mumbai, India and my new home in Nürnberg, Germany. As my husband adores Europe, has even toured Germany extensively, it was reasonable to think he would come as often as his hectic filming and performance schedule permits.

Sure we were struggling a bit on the visa front, but that would get sorted soon enough and the years being a cross-continent commuting couple would fly by! Or so we thought…

The year began optimistically… we celebrated quietly with friends in the country and I was so proud of achieving 1,000 blog posts! However what I didn’t share was shortly afterwards, how sick both I and my mother-in-law were… she was in ICU for weeks (thankfully recovered!) and I somehow managed to get (I thought) well enough to keep my scheduled flight back to Germany.

January’s posts were nearly all written during my December break. February mostly sharing past experiences. Then there were months of silence. Why?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that wasn’t a mere nasty flu that knocked me out in India, getting “better” but then radically worse in Germany – bronchitis which became pneumonia which so badly impacted my lungs that I needed to go on steroids and, for the first time in my life, used an inhaler…? Then even once I could get out of bed, still took so incredibly long to fully recover… even after months, I barely had the energy to get through the work week to find my weekends disappeared into a blur of exhausted nothingness.

By now, unless you’ve been completely disconnected from all media, it is pretty clear what this all meant.

As the months progressed and COVID changed all our lives completely… it became increasingly obvious that all attempts for me to return to India was proving impossible and equally, my husband was unable to get a visa to come to Germany. By summer, we needed an alternate plan. Enter late August a Bollywood film… they chartered an entire plane and sequestered actors and crew in a Glasgow hotel for months… recreating Delhi, Lahore and Dubai airports in Scotland! Ah… the magic of cinema!

After his 2 week quarantine, I was able to join my husband… To be in Scotland for the 1st time after years of exploring whiskies was a dream come true! However naturally nearly all distilleries were shut… only a few had recently re-opened their shops and even fewer had limited pre-booked tastings. No official tours were permitted. Still, I managed to pop over to Glengoyne for their “malt master” experience and we took a memorable day trip to Isle of Arran to spend a little time at Lochranza and Lagg distillery.

Even better was our next few weeks in the UK with an unforgettable “honeymoon” courtesy of dear friends – both in their lovely London home and their Georgian manor just outside of Bath. Full credit to my malty companion for rekindling the love of exploring drams… together we enjoyed an exceptional evening with The Whisky Exchange’s Sukindher Singh and four delightful sessions of minis:

This malty merriment continued in Germany as I went straight from Frankfurt airport to Ziegler distillery with the German Sharing Angels. Something that now seems almost impossible but true! I haven’t yet shared this experience… think of it like ‘hoarding’ to bring out in the leanest months…

Determined to not lose momentum, a trio of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai found ourselves in Europe, so we decided to launch of our European chapter. We’ve successfully held five virtual sessions already!

Spurred by this, I audaciously ordered a German based bottler’s whisky advent calendar – Vita Dulcis. Unbelievably I managed in December to get through all 24 miniatures – though it must seem like I’ve been ‘spamming’ all who follow this blog – apologies for that!

What next? As I write, I still don’t know if I will be able to get on a plane home to India. Our original plans for Dubai with family were dashed. Then the new strain from the UK wrecked havoc on my effort to get to Mumbai for Christmas… Just as finally one impediment has been solved – my Indian visa – the ability to actually use it is proving challenging.

However I remain ever optimistic and am thankful for all that we have – a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and sufficient means to indulge in the occasional dram or two. This is far more fortunate than many in the world today… So wishing you and yours a significantly better 2021!

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s 2020 semi-monthly summaries:

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Vita Dulcis Whisk(e)y International Adventskalendar 2020

Let me admit upfront that I really enjoy whisky “Advent” calendars with their range of minis.      However I tend to purchase them ‘off-season’ – preferably on sale – as my purpose is to taste throughout the year rather than a specific time.

However this year, I purchased the Vita Dulcis Whisk(e)y International 4th Edition in time to taste from 1st December. When I set out tasting, I had a goal to complete before year end, but was also fine if unsuccessful. The plan was to try in ‘groupings’… primarily on the weekend.

I also was expecting to be in Dubai for Christmas so intended to bring along any I hadn’t yet tried to open and sample there. Then plans were derailed by COVID – as they have derailed so many plans for so many people around the world.

So I found myself remaining, alone, in Nurnberg, Germany… thankfully with the distraction of a worthy ‘target’ to complete not only tasting but also tasting notes of 24 whiskies from around the world! For after all… if I couldn’t travel to see the world… why not let my palate be a tourist. Did I succeed? You bet!

So what is part of this wee whisk(e)y world tour?

AustraliaHellyer’s Road Original Roaring Forty 40%

Asia

Canada – JP Wiser’s 18 year Blended Whisky 40%

IndiaAmrut Fusion 50%

Israel – Milk & Honey Classic 46% – Single Malt

Europe 

Scotland – The Dalmore 12 year 40%

Ireland 

WalesPenderyn Madeira Finish 46%

USA

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