An evening with Michael Morris of the Quiet Man

June is one of those funny times of year in India… it can be sweltering hot or drowning in the deluge of monsoon… or vacillating somewhere in between.

Enter the Irishman… It was Michael Morris’ 1st trip to India, 1st event kicking off a mini tour of India to soft launch their Quiet Man 8 year.

The venue? Bombay Softel’s Artisan bar… a fitting setting for a convivial gathering…

And the name? After the founder’s father, John Mulgrew  who was a bartender all his life and despite hearing many interesting stories over the years, was known to keep quiet.

Talk turned to the resurgence of the Irish whiskey industry…. and where The Quiet Man would like to be in this development. Already available in 26 countries, India is becoming the 27th… setting the stage with their maturation of other distilleries’ whisky before their own is ready.

Michael shared this whisky started its journey at Cooley distillery, triple distilled before being matured in ex bourbon casks.

What did we think?

The Quiet Man 8 year 40%

  • Nose – Lovely honey, gentle warm orchard fruits, fresh apples then a citrus or pineapple twist, lightly floral, some oak with a touch of vanilla and was that a hint of toasted coconut?
  • Palate –  Start off soft and smooth, sweet yet with a woody depth which adds a solid base with fruity top notes of apricot
  • Finish – Surprisingly long, strong, bit bitter yet completely pleasant… after a few sips one could discern a clear ginger stamp too

Overall I would say it has subtle substance… a nice, satisfying drinkable dram. Something to reach out for when wanting something easy and uncomplicated.

What do The Quiet Man folks have to say about this dram?

  • Sweet and crisp floral fragrances with notes of vanilla and oak
  • Hint of honey, warm vanilla and spicy oak, with an exceptionally smooth finish

We sampled the dram both neat and in a few cocktails…

Other Irish tasting evenings and experiences include….

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Irish Night – Connemara NAS 40%

Just to ensure we didn’t miss Ireland’s peated offering, the lads n lasses evening included Connemara!

(Six Mumbai 2015)

(Six Mumbai 2015)

Lina Sonne is our last Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer for our Irish Night… 

An escapee academic, Lina heads the Mumbai office of Okapi and its consulting portfolio on innovation and entrepreneurship. Her work focusses on enabling inclusive innovation, social entrepreneurship and start-ups across South Asia and she has traveled widely across the region.

Lina has developed a bit of a reputation for preferring whiskies with a bit more ‘hair on the chest,’ veering towards more robust and peated profiles. On a recent trip back to Sweden, she zeroed in on Mackmyra’s peated Svensk Rök as THE whisky she wished to share with Mumbaikars. 

Here is what Lina has to say about the Connemara….

  • Nose – Definitely seaside, distinct peat and plenty of wood.
  • Palate – Smooth and very light on the palate – a puff of wind on your tongue and it finishes! Where did all that peat go?
  • Finish – Light sweet finish, but with some bitterness and maybe a walnut hiding in there somewhere.
  • Water – Add water and old wood comes out, with a little spice to tickle your tongue.

Overall we found that the Connemara had a great peaty nose promising plenty, but failed to deliver on the palate, with the peat all but disappearing. While still an enjoyable dram, we had hoped for a bit more drama. Instead, it’s quite dry and makes you want to go looking for water.

brandImageConnemara

Kilbaggan website

Here’s what the folks over at Kilbeggan distillery have to say about their Connemara:

Inspired by Ireland’s ancient distilling traditions, Connemara’s smooth sweet malt taste and complex peat flavours makes it a truly unique Irish whiskey.

Connemara is the most decorated Irish whiskey with a huge collection of Gold Medals and has been honoured as the “Worlds Best Irish Single Malt”. Connemara allows you to unearth the Peated Pleasures of Ireland.

Last but not least, more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – Bushmills Steamship 40%

Our Irish lads n lasses evening moved on to Bushmill‘s newer offering to the travel retail market – Steamship!

Susan Dias is our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer… 

(Susan's LInkedIn profile)

(Susan’s LinkedIn profile)

What does a Chartered Accountant with a fierce pride in Indian traditions and keen interest in local spirits do? Naturally start a venture, Native Brews, with a dream of celebrating traditional artisanal Indian spirits in a contemporary context.  

After a year of extensive exploration and research into remote corners of India, Susan returned to Mumbai to begin playing around with the distillation of Mahua, a flowering tree found in central India. While still in the early stages (so be patient!), exciting experiments are already under way!

Having focused more on native Indian spirits, Susan is newer to exploring the world of whiskies… however this lass is fast catching up! 

Here is what Susan has to say about the Bushmills Steamship….

Bushmills Steamship – Sherry Cask Reserve is part of Bushmill’s first ever travel retail exclusive, ‘The Steamship Collection’. The collection is inspired by the historical SS Bushmills steamship and celebrates its maiden voyage in the 1890s. Story goes that after being commissioned by then owner the Boyd Brothers, it sailed to America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, and returning with refilled casks of rum, fortfied wine and Bourbon.

The Steamship Sherry Cask Reserve is a no-age-statement single malt Irish whiskey exclusively matured in Oloroso Sherry casks.

(Bushmills)

(Bushmills)

Susan’s Tasting Notes

  • Color: Medium rich gold
  • Nose: An intriguing almost spicy aroma, burnt sugar sweetness
  • Palette: Sweet, dried fruits, vanilla
  • Finish: Medium finish, sweet
  • Water: Brings out spice. Opens it up and after sitting for a while becomes more enjoyable.

It is quite evidently a young whiskey. The first launch under new owner Jose Cuervo’s expansion plans, it has the characteristics typical of the brand, but lacks the maturity (pun intended) of its older siblings.

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at The Old Bushmills Distillery, said about the Steamship Collection

“For centuries distillers have experimented with different barrels so naturally I was inspired by the adventures of the ship and the opportunities it opened to experiment with various casks from around the world. So, together with Master Blender Helen Mulholland, we created a whiskey with a rich, complex flavour and a smooth finish – a characteristic synonymous with our range of triple distilled whiskeys.”

The experts at the tasting gave the Steamship a thumbs down although quite a happy one. This is because at some point (I don’t know how it came up – I was quite a few drams down by then) it was compared to a gay lad on the Love Boat. I will let you figure that one out yourselves!

PS Poor wee whisky, in the consumption contest, Steamship lagged behind all the other Bushmills…

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Here are more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – Bushmills 21 year 40%

Our Irish lads n lasses evening continued with the Bushmill‘s 21 year!

(www.tripfolk.com)

(www.tripfolk.com)

Shruti Sutwala is our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer… 

With a background in marketing, Shruti took the plunge to transform her passion for travel into a profession. Her company, TripFolk, curates unique travel experiences with like minded travelers, tapping into local bloggers, travel writers, wine and food enthusiasts, art curators and more….. 

Given that Shruti travels extensively (plus has a partner who shares her whisky explorations), she can always be counted on to have a good whisky bottle (or more!) kicking around in her cabinet.

She’s particularly fond of more nuanced whiskies with a wide variety of profiles. Shruti has introduced us to Japanese whiskies like the yin yang Nikka Blended and the subtle Nikka Coffey Grain.

Here is what Shruti has to say about the Bushmills 21 year

(Bushmills official website)

(Bushmills official website)

  • Colour – Dark Amber
  • Nose – Woody & spicy (hints of pepper) with some freshness of citrus fruits like orange
  • Palate – Sweet, sweet, sweet as you sip it! Gets a little nutty and spicy as you let it sit on your palate for some time!
  • Finish – It has a spicy finish which balances the sweet palate overall, however overall it’s not complex as expected
  • Water – You should try this with a few drops of water if you are really looking for some complexity in this 21 year old! It does bring out a few caramely notes..

Overall we found this to be the most “Irish” of the other expressions of Bushmills. A fun easy going whisky to drink which gives you a few nuances to experience, without making it too complicated and serious. One of the gentleman actually said “you almost feel like breaking into an Irish dance along with this whisky!”

Here’s what the folks over at Bushmills have to say about their 21 year:

Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 21 year old is aged for a minimum of 19 years in former Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon-seasoned casks, then transferred into Madeira casks for a further 2 years. The result is a whiskey awarded ‘Best Irish Single Malt 2013’.

It has huge depth that interweaves dried fruit flavors with spicy, aromatic maltiness and subtle nutty raisins notes.

PS The Bushmills 21 year clearly won the consumption contest!! An entire bottle was polished and could see eyes coveting the 2nd bottle waiting in the wings…

Here are more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – Bushmills 16 year 40%

Pindadaan-Marathi-Movie-Poster

Next up in our Irish lads n lasses evening was Bushmill‘s 16 year!

Fellow Canadian Paula McGlynn is our 1st guest whisky reviewer…

In addition to her blog & experiments with Pollywood Vlog (now discontinued), Paula is a film maker with her partner (Gulbadan Talkies) and actress, recently making her Marathi film debut.

What matters to our Whisky Ladies in Mumbai, is she’s the kind of lass that will track down a new whisky experiment from Canada, take an hour off from shooting in Goa to zip over to Paul John to collect a coveted bottle of Peated or pop into WhiskyLive when in South Africa… just because… whisky!

Here is what Paula has to say about the Bushmills 16 year….

Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 16 year old is aged for 16 years in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon-seasoned casks, then matured for several months in port wine barrels.

(Photo: www.bushmills.com)

(www.bushmills.com)

Paula’s Tasting Notes

  • Color: Amber
  • Nose: Sweet and subtle nose. Burnt sugar, toffee, citrus, overall restrained.
  • Palette: Cinnamon, caramel, marmalade, orange peel, star anise.
  • Finish: It hangs at the back of the tongue. Fennel and spice.
  • Water: Leather and more spice. Not recommended. It damps it down, but it was noted that after sitting for a while, the water brings out more of the Port notes.

Overall it is reserved and subtle but clean. Retains the distinct sweetness characteristic of Bushmills expressions.

Here is what the folks over at Bushmill have to say about the 16 year:

“The unique maturation process gives this single malt its distinct notes of juicy fruits, nuts and spice, as well as a hint of ruby redness.

It’s best enjoyed neat or over ice.”

It was also awarded Gold at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

PS In the consumption contest, Bushmills 16 year was 2nd!

More reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Irish Night – Bushmills 10 year 40%

Rather than bounce around with multiple distilleries, our recent Irish evening narrowed its focus to primarily Bushmills.

For those not familiar, the Old Bushmills distillery can be found in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland and traces its history back some 400+ years.

1st up in our combined Whisky Ladies & Bombay Malt & Cigar evening was the Bushmills 10 year.

Carissa’s tasting notes:

(Bushmills official website)

(Bushmills website)

  • Nose – Light, sweet, sprightly, a bit of banana, hints of vanilla, some honey, a whiff of spice all typical of an ex bourbon cask, mellowed into a soft caramel
  • Palate – Some fruit – apples and pears, very smooth and easy to drink, a hint of sweet spice like cinnamon, malty cereal
  • Finish – Was there a finish? Maybe a little light whisky sweetness…
  • Water – Hmm… honestly don’t… it was already quite ‘thin’ to our palates now more attuned to cask strength than 40%… and the whisky character is already quite restrained so best avoided

Overall we found it was a good start to the evening – one of those eminently accessible whiskies. While it doesn’t challenge, it does an admirable job of lubricating the senses with a sweet, sociable, uncomplicated yet pleasant whisky.

Here’s what the folks over at Bushmills have to say about their 10 year:

Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 10 year old is triple distilled from 100% malted barley and matured for at least 10 years in bourbon season barrels which give it it’s honey, vanilla and milk chocolate aroma.

It can be served neat, over ice or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try it frozen.

We didn’t try it frozen, however…in a muggy Mumbai May night? Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Extra special treat for this sessions are guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – When the BMC + Whisky Ladies unite!

To the casual observer, it may seem slightly absurd that one woman living in Mumbai could be part of three whisky tasting groups. Yet each are unique and completely delightful.

Particularly our Whisky Ladies group attracts quite a bit of… ahem… gentlemanly attention with many men wishing to crash our female only party.

However the lads over at our Bombay Malt & Cigar club are a rather more civilised lot. Clever gents, they knew the best way to enjoy an evening with the ladies would be to extend a gracious invitation to the mysterious whisky women of Mumbai.

And thus the Irish night was conceived!

While it didn’t take 9 months for this momentum occasion to become a reality, many  most amusing efforts went into selecting more sociable Irish whiskies, with the gentlemen taking full charge of sourcing everything from the whiskies to pipettes to acquiring more Glencairn classes to even glass covers!

Bushmills Distillery 21 May 2016 (Photo: Arti)

Bushmills Distillery 21 May 2016 (Photo: Arti)

At one point some 10+ whiskies were being bandied about as options, however in the end they settled on:

Then a few more were added as ‘bonus’ whiskies:

As always, the proof of what proved most popular is what was consumed most during the evening… in this case, the evidence is quite clear! The Bushmill’s 21 year beat the pants off the entire competition. Followed by the 16, 10 and Steamship lagged behind…

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Our venue host personally cooked an Irish stew as the focus entrée of a fabulous sit down dinner which followed our slightly inebriated pronouncements about the various drams. We even had an Irish themed assortment of music and naturally much merriment was had by all!

To say the lads fully embraced our Irish evening is a wee bit of an understatement.

As for the lasses? Let’s just say we are plotting how to return the courtesy… with a theme that may completely disrupt normal notions of what defines a good dram!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Round the world – Bushmills, Beam’s Choice, Kornog, Yamazaki Sherry

By far, the #1 whisky sampling evening I’ve experienced til date was at The Auld Alliance in Singapore.

My fellow whisky adventurer and I began our evening with a stop at The Auld Alliance thinking we would have a wee dram there before carrying on to dinner and exploring another whisky spot.

Then we met Arun and were treated to a detailed tour of the remarkable collection, full of fascinating trivia, rare bottles and such a clear passion for the water of life it was almost overwhelming! Worthy of another post however I could never do justice to the experience.

We went to our dinner but were determined to return to settle down for a proper tasting. Return we did and chose from the sampling menu the ‘World’ and ‘Scottish cask’ options. Arun then offered to curate a custom experience for us, along our chosen lines, completely blind. As in dark glass can’t even glean a clue from the colour blind.

How could we say no?

It was such a treat to sample four such distinctive and unique global whiskies.

Bushmills (Whisky Lady)

Bushmills (Whisky Lady)

1st Irish – Bushmills Single Barrel 1975 49.1%

Cask No 164, Bottle No 153, Part of the 365 single barrel millennium series

  • Nose – Spirity, coconut, raw, citrus lemon, not smooth instead a sharp woody scent
  • Taste – Indeed has a kick – wow! Sharp spice, bitter, no body – simply collapses
  • Finish – Dies like that – snap!
  • Impression – A sharp ‘Zap!’ kinda whisky that tingles… something to jolt you awake rather than woo your heart

This was an ‘in your face’ kinda whisky. It had a raw quality – not watered down, natural strength. A dash of water did open it a bit and while it was a terrific ‘kick-off’, just whetted the appetite for further sampling adventures…

Beam's Choice (Whisky Lady)

Beam’s Choice (Whisky Lady)

2nd American – Beam’s Choice 8 year, 1980 (58.7%?)

  • Nose – Sweet flowery fragrance, clean, pure
  • Taste – Bourbon – no doubt! Sour raw mango, curd, raisins, smooth like a good rum
  • Finish – What finish? It was like it was knocked out for the count and simply couldn’t recover
  • Impression – There was zero doubt this was a bourbon. What we also noted was after the initial sip, when we went back to the nose post sampling other drams, the delightful flowery fragrance had disappeared.

While we knew it was a bourbon, we were both surprised it was Jim Beam as there was a different quality than one finds in the current incarnation. For one, it was matured for 8 years instead of the typical 5 years found today. For another, it had such contrasting elements between the nose and palate.

Kornog (Whisky Lady)

Kornog (Whisky Lady)

3rd French – Kornog NAS 2013, bottled for The Auld Alliance 58.7%

  • Nose – Smooth flowers, garden greens, nail polish or varnish, very sweet – almost too sweet, smells light, bright and fresh… just couldn’t get beyond the sweet
  • Taste – PEAT as in serious peat, horses kick kinda peat, with bitter tamarind, super sour yet also rich and creamy – may sound like a contradiction yet it works
  • Finish – Smoooooth, warm, beautiful and simply delightful
  • Impression – Has a distinctly different character. Superb. We speculated that it may be cask strength

Of all the world whiskies sampled, this one stood out as being in a completely different league. I resolved to explore more from this distillery to learn that it is difficult to track down both the unpeated Glann ar Mor or peated Kornog whiskies and is likely to become even more challenging as the distillery just announced it will be closing in August 2015. What?! No!! Say it isn’t so!

PS – Since this post (June 2015), it now has a slightly extended lease on life… however tracking down bottles from this distillery remains challenging!

Yamazaki 1998 (Whisky Lady)

Yamazaki 1998 (Whisky Lady)

4th Japanese – Yamazaki Sherry Cask 1998 61%

Cask # CU70067, Bottled in 2011, Bottle #429

  • Nose – Like a candy store, bursting with sherry soaked sweeties, fresh, young, powder of flour
  • Taste – A fizzy spice, with some ginger, dried fruits, bursting with raisins, citrus zest and a sense of being rather well-manicured, utterly delicious and… well… dare I say ‘nice’
  • Finish – It warms up, more sweet spice, licorice, long and juicy
  • Impression – There is a youthful exuberance about this whisky. The closest of the lot to something identifiably Scottish which meant to us it must be Japanese!

There is a lot going on with this whisky and what made it special was the interplay of many different elements. What is also remarkable is that it is so utterly smooth you would never guess it to be 61%. We had absolutely no temptation to add even a drop of water.

While a complete treat, I would prefer to come back to it when the focus is on this whisky alone. As one amongst eight, it was simply over shadowed by the distinctive quality of the Kornag and the remarkable Lochside 1981. However without a doubt, one to be savoured and enjoyed and I do hope to have another opportunity sample it.

The Auld Alliance World Whiskies (Whisky Lady)

The Auld Alliance World Whiskies (Whisky Lady)

I would encourage you to not miss The Auld Alliance if in Singapore… you can find it at:

  • 9 Bras Basah Road, RendezVous Hotel, Gallery #02-02A, SINGAPORE 189559 
  • info@theauldalliance.sg Tel: +65 6337 2201