Hyde No. 6 President’s Reserve 46%

Thanks to a mutual whisky aficionado, I was introduced in Mumbai many months ago to two of the merry men behind Ireland’s new whiskey brand – Hyde. Note the deliberate use of brand not distillery… as these folks are building a name for themselves as “bonders” working with existing distillers to craft a range of whiskies with ambitious plans to some day some way have a distillery of their own.

What did they send our way?

Well… A curious miss greeted the Hyde on its arrival… and then I waited an exceedingly long time to find the right evening to share this bottle… So what did we find?

Hyde No. 6 President’s Reserve (May 2017) 46% Bottle No 4780/5000

  • Nose – Bright lemon, a very light sherry perfume, talcum powder, hint of lavender, somehow quite astringent with the lemon the most obvious element – shifting from zest to liquid dishwashing soap, a synthetic lemon desert
  • Palate – One found sulfur, for most it was honey or sugar water, lightly fruity
  • Finish – An initial spice that then relatively quickly dissipated

As the gents knew the theme was some dimension of sherry, speculation turned to it certainly not being fully matured in an ex-sherry barrel but instead only finished and that too not a PX but perhaps Olorosso.

It was a pleasant beginning, simple, sweet with the nose probably the most interesting element.

What do we know about this whiskey?

First off, it is a blend an 18 Year Old Irish single malt and 8 Year Old Irish single grain. Both were first matured in bourbon casks before being finished together for 9 months in Oloroso sherry casks.

It was named in honour of Douglas Hyde, Ireland’s first president, who was inaugurated on 25th June 1938.

And here is what the Hyde folks have to say:

  • Nose – Delightfully floral notes of vanilla, sweet, honey, caramel, chocolate, and mixed fruit, infused with spices.
  • Taste – Wonderfully smooth yet complex, creamy yet fruity with notes of caramel, honey, apricot, and apple, with a silky rich texture.
  • Finish – Rich & Oaky. It lingers in the mouth with a rich long finish.

Here are the other whiskies explored in our Sherry Unusual evening:

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Sherry Unusual – Hyde, Paul John, Kilchoman, BenRiach

Sherry’s effect on whisky can be a marvel. And I wanted to do something a bit different for our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents to push the boundaries beyond the known sherry drams like Aberlour, GlenDronach, Glenrothes, etc.

Normally we dive straight into whiskies, knowing what we are trying. However I wanted to have a bit of fun with a surprise…. So kept my fellow tasters “blind.”

Next, I introduced a “reference” pour.

I said nothing about it – merely to smell (not sip) with a request between each whisky to go back to the “reference” to recalibrate senses and compare.

It didn’t take long til they realized the “reference” wasn’t whisky at all but instead a sherry… with speculation it may be a “cream” or sweetened avatar rather than a dry fino or amontillado.

I later revealed that it was a Kingsgate Canadian sherry from KittlingRidge Ontario, Canada  described on the bottle as:

“A premium medium dry sherry, barrel aged in oak for extra smoothness.”

However this Kingsgate is now known as Apera with an explanation that it is medium dry Oloroso sherry “style” dessert wine. This 2013 nod from to EU regulations recognizes that a “true” Sherry can only come from the Spanish triangle.

Which tells you this funny little bottle, inherited from a friend who was leaving India, has been around for a few years…

As for what we tried? Not quite your usual fare…

Here is the progression we explored with our Sherry Unusual evening with whiskies from Ireland, India and Islay…. plus an extra special single cask:

Hyde #6 President’s Reserve 8 year single grain + 18 year single malt 46%

From Ireland, picked as an appetizer, the bottle stated it was finished in Sherry. What made it unusual is that it is a new brand, released to help promote the Hyde name before their Hibernia distillery in Cork is fully producing.

Paul John 7 Year (2009) Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish 57.4%

This was the biggest surprise – none imaged it could be from India! We were mighty impressed with what the folks from Paul John produced with four years in ex Bourbon then 3 years in ex Sherry casks. It also opened up beautifully with a bit of water.

BenRiach 12 year (2005/2018) Oloroso Sherry Cask No 5052 59.3%

A true class act. Selected just to be sure we had at least ONE proper single malt in our evening. Gorgeous and astounding how at 59.2%, not a drop of water was desired.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2010/2016) Sherry 46%

A pure peat monster tempered with 100% sherry from Islay. Not everyone’s tipple but certainly demonstrated how peat and sweet can combine!

Just click on the whisky links to find out even more about what we discovered!

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Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend 43%

Our Whisky Ladies November session quite randomly ended  up with a trio of Highland drams plus the delicious Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend.

As a tasting group, we were no strangers to Compass Box and its whole new calibre of blends. In an earlier session we had even tried a limited edition Great King Street blend – the Experimental Batch.

Here is what we thought of the peaty Glasgow version…

Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend 43%

  • Colour – Light straw
  • Nose – Nutty, lightly smokey, old furniture, autumn leaves, some spice, a bit of minerals, some vanilla, biscuits
  • Palate – Simply superb! Coffee, sweet berries, beautifully well rounded, some basil, a bit woodsy
  • Finish – Wood smoke, cinnamon, cloves

Overall we enjoyed our wee nip of this blend and the small bottle was completely polished off!

Here is what the Compass Box folks have to say:

In his 1930 book “Whisky”, Aeneas MacDonald teaches us that Glaswegians historically preferred fuller bodied and more flavour-packed whiskies than people in other parts of the world. So what better name for a whisky such as this?

You’ll find here a rich vein of peaty-smokiness, underpinned by sherry cask-aged whiskies, full of dried fruit and wine character. The palate is full and round, with a sweetness typical of whiskies from our company.

You can also see exactly what this blend is made of, courtesy of the fabulously transparent disclosures of Compass Box.

Here is what else we tried:

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Whisky Lady – November 2018

November kicked off in the best possible way – a trip to Singapore and Whisky Live! It then carried on with a jaunt to Istanbul, Turkey for work and the balance all in Bombay.

Our original group had an evening of Sherry Expressions:

So too did our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents with slightly less traditional Sherry Expressions:

  • Hyde #6 President’s Reserve 8 year single grain + 18 year single malt 46% – With an Olorosso sherry finish
  • Paul John 7 Year (2009) Olorosso Sherry Cask Finish 57.4% – Paul John’s first foray into a rich Olorosso sherry matured dram – simply superb!
  • BenRiach 12 year (14 Oct 2005/2018) Cask No 5052 59.3% – A singular single cask, steeped in sherry – a true class act!
  • Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2016) 46% – Full sherry and peat

Whereas the Whisky Ladies chose to reach into our respective bars and pull out a bottle:

November also brought a few “miscellaneous” posts from tastings gone by such as:

Plus a catch up on tasting notes from the previous month…

Our Whisky Ladies Contributor’s Choice evening was a Sunday sundowner with:

And the last of our bourbon evening with:

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

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Whisky Live Singapore 2018

I will admit, I nearly didn’t go… Whisky tasting events can be great fun but making the trek from Mumbai to Singapore isn’t exactly like driving down the road for a wee nip.

While a trade pass was very kindly offered, I knew I couldn’t miss the VIP section – particularly as there was no Collector’s Room this year. So splurged both on flight and entry to indulge in a day of hopefully delights.

I was joined by fellow Singapore based enthusiasts and knew there was no point even attempting to “try” everything so was rather selective with where we spent our time.

Just to get into the “spirit” of things, I actually started my sampling before the official festival with an evening at La Maison du Whisky with Mario of the Nector of the Daily Drams. My friend and I tried the Ben Nevis, Highland Park, Springbank, Anniversary Dram. I followed this up with a Deanston at Whisky Live.

Then the Sunday arrived and our first whiskies were in the VIP room exploring the latest La Maison du Whisky Artist #8 – this time with both non-sherry and sherry expressions:

  • Benrinnes 20 year (1995/2018) Hogshead Cask #9063 49.4% (279 bottles)
  • Glenrothes 20 year (1995/2018) Sherry Butt Cask #909700 52.8% (530 bottles)
  • Glenturret 30 year (1987/2018) Hogshead Cask #371 55.3% (214 bottles)
  • Ben Nevis 25 year (1991/2018) Sherry Cask #2375 55.3% (561 bottles)
  • Bruichladdich 25 year (1993/2018) Hogshead Cask #1640 46.9%
  • Caol Ila 15 year (2003/2018) Hogshead Cask #302465 54.2% (282 bottles)
  • Bowmore 15 year (2001/2018) Sherry Cask #108 55.3% (679 bottles)
  • Ardmore 10 year (2008/2018) Cask #800168 60.3% (233 bottles)
  • Glenlivet 10 year (2007/2018) 1st Fill Sherry Cask#900214 Batch #2 64.1% (308 bottles)
  • Bunnahabhain 35 year (1979/2018) Sherry Cask#9521 47.9% (472 bottles)

Plus a few more La Maison du Whisky exclusive bottles:

And another Edradour – this time combined with Ballechin 8 year (2009) 46%.

One of the more curious developments in the industry is “constructing” whiskies from existing distilleries to “craft” the potential profile of a new distillery… along with an artful story or two… enter Ardgowan’s Expedition 20 year which was retailing for an astounding SGD 1,200!

In the main floor, it was such a treat to meet Patrick Maguire of Sullivan’s Cove to sample:

  • Double Barrel (12 Dec 2007/24 Jan 2018) Double Cask No DC098 Barrel No 45%
  • American Oak Single Cask (9 Jun 2006/20 Aug 2018) Barrel No TD0108 47.5%

Gordon & MacPhail is always  “must”… this year I checked an interesting range in the main floor and VIP room:

  • Caol Ila 33 year (1989/2018) 52.8%
  • Glenlivet 14 year (2003/2018) 56.5%
  • Inchgower 13 year (2005/2018) 55.1%
  • Mannochmore 18 year (1999/2018) 46%
  • Miltonduff 10 year (2008/2018) 43%

Yet not everything was about whisky. One of the highlights was a chance to catch up with Luca Gargano plus a special Jamaican Rum Masterclass. Between the two, we sampled rums from Caroni, Foursquare, Habitation Velier, Hampden, Long Pond and Worthy Park.

Phew! So that is my summary of our explorations… tasting notes coming over the next few months.

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Highland Peat – Ardmore Triple Wood Peated 46%

We closed our tasting evening with the Ardmore…

Our contributor confessed that while she was excited to try, was initially disappointed when she opened the bottle… finding it a bit too dry and somehow lacking a certain something.

Undeterred we merrily poured our glasses, keeping our minds, olfactory senses and taste buds open to the experience….

Here is what we found…

Ardmore Triple Wood Peated 46%

  • Nose – Caramel and peat! It almost reminded of caramel popcorn just slightly overdone… not in bad way though. There was also some light spice, fruit, sweet… one remarked how it smelt like cooked caramelized banana
  • Palate – Light peppery spice, a bit of toast, herbal and aromatic
  • Finish – Some vanilla, dry and again all with a lighter touch
  • Water – None of us were tempted

Overall we found that while yes it was dry, it wasn’t terribly so. The peat also was much more subtle than anticipated – in a nice way.

Why triple wood? It refers to the three different type of casks used to make this whisky – American Barrel, Quarter Cask and Puncheon.

What do the Ardmore folks have to say?

  • Colour – Golden straw, natural honey.
  • Nose – Biscuity cereal notes and the scent of banana underlie the initial nose of ginger, burnt sugar, cherries and honey. A drop of water intensifies the ginger snap biscuit notes with a hint of cinnamon, and soft highland peat smoke.
  • Palate – Light caramelised sugar, toasted barley, and warming, light peat smoke are followed by sweet vanilla custard. Water releases notes of pink peppercorn, and dried fruit flavours (raisin and candid orange peel).
  • Finish – Light with soft peat smoke, lingering pepper and toasted almonds with a well-balanced dry mouth feel.

We didn’t read the tasting notes at the time but they seem rather apt… and suspect we should have tried it once with a bit of water.

What else did we try that evening?

What about other Ardmore’s sampled?

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Highland Salt – Old Pulteney Dunnet Head 46%

We continued with the Old Pulteney… And I have to admit this is one I’d had in my cupboard since the summer of 2017.

I remember picking up the Old Pulteney at Heathrow airport. It was a morning flight and yet I did my “due diligence” sampling different drams at the World of Whiskies. What I won’t do for our Mumbai tasting groups!

The whisky is part of their Lighthouse series named for the Dunnet Head lighthouse built in 1831 by Robert Stevenson (Grandfather of the author Robert Louis Stevenson).

And what did our Whisky Ladies think?

Old Pulteney Dunnet Head 46%

  • Nose – Bright oranges, a bit musty initially, then revealed a lovely sea salt, some vanilla, more citrus and even a hint of cocoa
  • Palate – Yummy!! Has real substance and amazingly well-balanced with sweet spices, fruit – especially pear, lightly smokey with that caramel salt too.
  • Finish – Nice, long and lingering

There was no doubt this whisky was a hit with our Whisky Ladies. Many remarked on how it was sooooo tasty!

Here’s what the folks over at Old Pulteney have to say:

  • Appearance – Old Brass.
  • Nose – Warming and sweet, with notes of spices, bitter chocolate and a whiff of a freshly varnished deck. Lemon and creamy vanilla overtones offer balance and brightness.
  • Taste – Rich fruit cake, sultanas and salted caramel give way to a touch of leather and fragrant floral top note; a long smooth finish.

Other Old Pulteney’s sampled include:

What else did we try that evening?

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Highland Sweet – Glenmorangie Dornoch 43%

We started our evening with the Highland Glenmorangie… The Dornoch is part of their travel retail range.

Glenmorangie Dornoch 43%

  • Nose – It began with very “classic” Glenmorangie notes of heather, honey, lightly floral, juicy oranges… quite summery in its style… then started to evolve revealing a cognac quality, raspberries and dare I say it? A whiff of very light smoke…
  • Palate – A rather yummy way to start off the evening… The smoke is certainly there, yet a delicate touch, so smooth, soft and again that cognac almost white wine like quality… certainly sweet, light fruit, swish it around more and some stewed apple pie with a dash of cinnamon and cloves emerged
  • Finish – Really rather nice and surprisingly long, ending on the orange citrus

Overall we found this one simply delivered. Nothing pushy about it – just pleasant and enjoyable.

And what do the Glenmorangie folks have to say?

  • Aroma: A classic Glenmorangie spirit matured in ex-bourbon American white oak then transferred to ex-Amontillado casks.
  • Taste: The swirling of under-current of peat adds an unexpected dimension of sweet smoky apples, complemented by vibrant sweet nutty flavours layered upon the rich, warm toffee and dried fruits.
  • Finish: After tasting you are left with added layers of distinctive floral notes, the softness of vanilla with hints of citrus.

While it was the same combination of ex-Bourbon then Amontillado Sherry finish, thankfully it was far superior to The Tayne recently sampled. The touch of smoke added a certain something and substance.

Mind you, we also need to know when this Travel Retail was purchased… back in 2016 from Changi Airport in Singapore. Much has happened with the distiller since then… Just saying…

What else did we try that evening?

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Whisky Ladies “Bar Bottle” – Glenmorangie, Old Pulteney, Compass Box, Ardmore

We had different plans for this evening – a much anticipated combined night with our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents… However it was not do be so what to do instead?

We thought why not reach into our bars and see what was available to share…

Here is what we unearthed:

It turned out every bottle could be purchased (at one time) at duty-free and yet each was certainly a cut above the standard travel retail fare.

It also just so happened that each had a touch of smoke… from a mere hint with the Old Pulteney and Glenmorangie to a more pronounced puff of peat with the Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend and Armore Triple Wood Peat.

In an unplanned twist, all three single malts were also from Highland distilleries… with the delightful Compass Box blend a terrific foil with some highland whiskies too.

Overall it proved to be a most enjoyable quartet and a good reminder to not dismiss what you may find when perusing airport wares – at least in some select airports around the world!

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Exploring experiments in barley, wheats and more!

One fine evening, two gents and I decided to go on a journey of (re)-discovery… new for them, repeats for me… a series of whiskies deliberately chosen for their terriore, experiments in barley, wheats and more…

I warned my companions to not expect standard Scottish malts but instead calibrate their palates to more rustic, less sophisticated fare… and appreciate each for their unique qualities.

What did they think?

Worth exploring yet simply reinforced their preference for a traditional Scottish single malt!

PS – You can read tasting notes by clicking on the links above.

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