Gordon and Macphail’s Glenlivet 14 year 56.5%

At Whisky Live 2018 in Singapore, the Gordon & MacPhail booth is a great opportunity to sample fine whiskies.

This time, I sampled both in the main section and in the VIP room which featured whiskies like this one – bottled exclusively for La Maison du Whisky.  

Glenlivet “The Chronicles” 14 year (2003 / 20 June 2018) 56.5%

  • Nose – Greeted with lovely fruits – particularly apples and apricots, honey with a sweet light citrus
  • Palate – Spicy, very fruity and eminently drinkable
  • Finish – A slight spice, cream then sweet, like sucking on a delicious hard candy

Keep in mind this was a mere ‘teaser’ at Whisky Live Singapore so not a proper taste, however I was left with the impression of a lovely, most approachable whisky.

And what do we know? The Glenlivet was matured in refill bourbon barrels and bottled by Gordon & Macphail for La Maison du Whisky as part of their Connoisseurs Choice cask strength line.

And what would this set you back? At La Maison du Whisky in Singapore – SGD 299.

What do the folks at La Maison du Whisky have to say about this whisky?

Among the favorite single malts of Gordon & MacPhail, the most famous Scottish independent bottler, undeniably figure Glenlivet. What’s more natural when you know that this venerable house is based in Elgin, the capital of Speyside. Very representative, this version invites us to discover a complex aromatic and gustatory palette within which fruits, flowers, spices and aromatic plants intertwine to unveil the landscapes of the region where it was born.

Profile: concentrated, the first nose is marked by candied fruits (lemon), peppermint, acacia honey and vanilla. At aeration, it becomes floral (hyacinth) and grass (straw). Powerful, the attack on the palate is extremely fruity (pineapple, pear). The mid-palate is spicy and finely wooded. Affirmed, the finish is marked by notes of royal jelly, lavender honey and violet candy.

Other whiskies sampled at the Gordon & MacPhail booth, Whisky Live 2018:

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Glentauchers 20 year for LMdW

That Boutique-y Whisky Company has crafted trade-mark labels and fine contents. One of our Mumbai Whisky Ladies picked this particularly bottle up some time ago and we’ve been patiently waiting for th right opportunity.

On the label you can see Thierry Bénitah (La Maison du Whisky CEO and son of its founder, Georges Bénitah) in the 1980s, surrounded by classic whisky bottlings and wearing a particularly snappy turtleneck…

Glentauchers 20 year (Boutique-y Whisky Company) Batch 4, 46.9% bottled for La Maison du Whisky with 327 bottles

  • Nose – Hazelnut cream, wood, almond, also some ripe fruits, maple syrup, oodles and oodles of butterscotch, a bit of menthol, green almond
  • Palate – A real tingle and oomph! A bit bitter, some sweet spice, caramel fudge and nougut, with a bit of tart sour sauce, berries
  • Finish – Spice like white pepper

Some loved this one. Others found the blend so approachable that following with this single malt was a bit of a jolt.

As this whisky came out some time ago, you won’t find it on the “That Boutique-Y Whisky Company” website, however can track down some tasting notes at The Master of Malt:

  • Nose: Fresh and floral with hints of violet and honey. Stewed berries with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Butterscotch.
  • Palate: Roasted chestnuts and black pepper. Apricot jam, quince and a whisper of cinnamon.
  • Finish: Sodabread with salted butter, floral malt once again, cumin and dried raspberries.

Our core focus was a trio with a wee ‘appetizer’ blend:

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French Buckwheat Whisky – Eddu Silver 40%

We continue to explore the boundaries of single malts… so on my last trip to Singapore, I challenged the lass at La Maison du Whisky to suggest something ‘completely different.’ She immediately pulled off the shelf this Eddu Silver – a buckwheat whisky from Bretagne, France.

The distillery heritage was as a cider distillery under Guy Le Lay who then embarked on a novel experiment with black buckwheat from Bretagne in 1998. Today, the Distillerie des Menhirs is run by his three sons with a small, unique range of buckwheat whiskies – aptly named ‘Eddu’ which apparently means buckwheat in Breton.

Yup! Think that fits the bill for something unique!

Eddu Silver 40%

  • Nose – Immediately noted it is distinctly different. A bit like an outdoor pool with a hint of chlorine, sharp fruit, quite ripe, honey, then a hint of menthol or euculapoytus, fresh apples, raisins, boiled sweets and confectioners shop, then mousambi rind
  • Palate – Light spice, lots of sugars, wheat cereals
  • Finish – Light and sweet then gone nearly in an instant

Overall we found while it isn’t complex, it was oddly pleasing. While certainly not one we  would say “Hey I feel like sipping an Eddu tonight”, it certainly was worth sampling and one to add to a collection of unique drams for others in Mumbai to try.

We did wonder whether the colour is natural – obviously having no benchmark with buckwheat or information specifically stating no added colour – we had nothing to confirm or deny. However it does indeed have a copper darkness that seems near impossible in what we normally expect in a NAS whisky.

As we continued sipping, found it remaining unique – fresh, sweet and almost organic.

And so we thought to have a little fun… our host popped into the kitchen and returned with a glass mixing jar with ice, campari, sugar liquor, lime and generous dollops of Eddu. An instant refreshing cocktail!

Here’s what the La Maison du Whisky folks have to say:

This pure buckwheat Breton whisky is produced using 80% unmalted buckwheat and 20% malted buckwheat, a mix which reinforces its fruity character. In addition, it is aged in Cognac oak casks. Yermat! (Cheers)

  • Appearance : old gold with glints of copper.
  • Nose : intense, complex. Fruity (citrus fruit, fresh fruit) and floral (rose, heather).
  • Palate : intensified, original fruitiness (apple, ripe plum). Spices (cinnamon, pepper). Very delicately woody.
  • Overall : a fantastic fresh feeling. Fruity and balanced throughout. Fleshy, unctuous.

Purchased from La Maison du Whisky in Singapore for SGD 105 in June 2017.

Other whiskies sampled in our Mumbai monsoon malts evening included:

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La Maison du Whisky Singapore Renewed!

Above all, I’m a fan of being able to sip and consider before purchasing… there truly is no comparison between educated “guessing” and trying a tiny taste before making the decision to buy (or not).

It also counts having knowledgable sociable staff who can steer you in an interesting direction…

Which is exactly why there is hardly a single trip to Singapore that doesn’t include a stop by La Maison du Whisky.

And this time? A chance to check out the recent renovations which opened the space up, spruced up the floor to ceiling whisky shelves, added some ladders and a brilliant very well stocked bar.

The challenge in keeping our whisky clubs in Mumbai well-stocked is we’ve now sampled quite a respectable range of whiskies… just check out the “list” or “tasting sessions” and it becomes blindingly obvious we’ve gone beyond the most obvious fare.

What was on the sampling agenda this time?

  • Compass Box with their new “Whisky de Table” – A great concept to bring affordable easy drinking whisky to be enjoyed with dinner
  • Elements of Islay series – Bringing distinction to exploring the components of Islay distilleries in their ‘pharmacy’ bottles
  • Assorted Japanese options – Always nice to expand these horizon! Particularly if slightly more affordable and lesser known…
  • Something from Tasmania – Already hooked with the Hellyers RoadStarward and Sullivans Cove... why not add another to the list?

What made it back to Bombay? All will be revealed in the coming months!

La Maison du Whisky is located at 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-10 The Pier, Singapore
 Tel: 6733 0059

Some posts inspired by whiskies sampled at LMdW:

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Undisclosed Distillery – Port Askaig 19 year 50.4%

I first sampled this Port Askaig as a sniff, swish and spit “speed date” at Whisky Live Singapore.

I was both impressed and intrigued, knowing it was impossible to get a full feel for this whisky, the Port Askaig 19 year made the cut to come home to Bombay for collective sampling pleasure!

port-askaig-19

Port Askaig 19 year 50.4%

Here is what our original underground group had to say:

  • Nose – Jasmin, then a whole array of flowers, perfumes, hay, lightly toasted sesame seeds, quite restrained overall
  • Palate – Delicious! Balance, nice warm spice, light peat, mellowed, nuanced musk
  • Finish – Long beautiful finish – quite refined
  • Water – Brought out honey and cumin spice
  • Revisit – A huge bouquet of flowers on the nose – one said “like what you give your spouse for a special anniversary.” Followed by lots of hay, that beautifully balanced mellow delicious whisky and long enjoyable finish…

One put it perfectly “This is why we love Scottish whisky!” A fine example of what whisky can and should be! One to sip and savour, sufficiently complex to keep it interesting, quite elegant in its way.

For those who are curious, it is a well known industry secret that Caol Ila is the distillery of this TWE bottling!

port-askaig-19-year

Here is what they have to say about Port Askaig 19 year:

This 19 year old cask-strength edition bursts with fabulously flinty, lemony, seashells-on-the-seashore flavours. This is a truly elemental whisky, perfect for sipping from hip flasks during cold winter walks.

And here is what Billy A over at The Whisky Exchange have to say:

  • Nose: Crisp, stony smoke hides a layer of muddy peat. There are hints of flowers and a thick and spicy middle, reminding me of sponge-cake batter.
  • Palate: A syrupy sweet start is quickly overtaken by flinty smoke and charcoal dust, sherbert fountains, lemons and a hint of violet.
  • Finish: Long and lingering, with sappy wood and sherbet lemons giving way to wood ash in a cast iron stove. After that there’s a lingering green leafiness – fruit leaves?
  • Water: Dirties up the nose with heavily smoked bacon and adds more sweet and sour fruit to the body – lemons, limes and berries galore. The finish loses some of its its ashy bitterness, becoming softer and sweeter.

The trio of whiskies sampled in our undisclosed distillery evening included:

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Amrut Bourbon 62.8% (LMdW)

Last in our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s blind tasting surprise evening was an unusual dram. Clearly cask strength, clearly different… it was definitely an interesting close to the tasting portion of our evening.. to then shift gears to desi street food snacks and fine cigars.

amrut-bourbon

Amrut Bourbon 62.8%

(circa 2016 via La Maison du Whisky, Singapore)

Here is what we discovered:

  • Nose – Initially lots of phenols, quite ‘chewy’ seeming, woody, then as it began to open up a dark mocha chocolate, shifting between bitter chocolate and espresso coffee, hint of sweet grass smoke. With more time, dried bitter dark berries, some currents, vanilla joined by wheat
  • Palate – Flat…thud. Sweet, clearly cask strength. Did we mention sweet? Some spice, cereal, sugar sweet. Did we mention flat and sweet? Think diet coke opened for days…
  • Finish – Nothing much, a tingle, with a malty chaser

The nose was really quite promising but the palate was simply flat and disappointing. Like pricking a balloon letting all the air out… just simply didn’t even come close to matching the aroma.

We gave it more time. Wet rag, malt and more raisins joined the aromas. The palate? Still lacklustre.

We added water. Sugar sweet.

We waited some more. Sigh…

This was a difficult dram. Definitely different however not an easy one to get to know.

Our efforts to speculate what it could be fell as flat as the palate. We just couldn’t figure it out. Though perhaps someone tossed Amrut out simply as our whisky curator is an Amrut fan.

With the reveal… surprise. Particularly at the strength! “Can a whisky even have an alcohol strength like 62.8%??” Leading to discussion of another of our curators favourites – Aberlour with their cask strength A’bunadh sometimes coming above 60%.

Now here is the challenge. I want to like Amrut’s offerings. I want to be proud of what this Indian distillery is offering and what is exciting the world too! Somehow I struggle…

With the Old Pulteney, we had a clear classic. A terrific start and clearly a whisky to simply enjoy.

With the Westland, you could picture curling up with a warm fire or lighting up a cigar and whiling away the evening, chatting with friends, sharing a laugh or two or three!

However with the Amrut, I simply couldn’t picture a context I would reach out for it. Instead, it fell neatly into the academic category of “I’m glad I tried it once.”

This Amrut Bourbon forms part of a trilogy exploring different effects of peat – all at cask strength.

Here is what the folks at La Maison du Whisky have to say:

Unpredictable and surprising, this unpeated Amrut draws on both malted barley and a perfectly integrated woodiness to express every facet of its personality with great lyricism. With an exotic character overflowing with freshness, it also shows itself to be particularly spicy and vanilla-tinged. Alongside its two peated “sisters” released in our 2016 Collection, they form a trilogy that will mark a milestone in history of the Bangalore distillery.

Tasting notes:

  • Appearance : Burnished gold tinged with orange.
  • Nose : Full-bodied, firm. Majestic malted barley takes centre stage in the aromatic palette. It is accompanied by vanilla, nuts (walnut), strong spices (curry), flowers (lily, iris, lavender) and exotic fruit (pineapple, banana). Gradually, noble wood essences bring out the exceptional quality of its woody character.
  • Palate : Dense, complex. The palate counterbalances the rigour of the nose with a remarkably liberal style. It offers numerous gustatory paths, each as intense as the next. Vanilla acts as a base for fresh and exotic fruits, aromatic plants (vervain, camomile), spices (turmeric, star anise) and white spring flowers (lily of the valley, lilac).
  • Overall : Long, almost never-ending. Without losing any of its exotic character, the finish develops with aromas of liquorice and cocoa powder. The spices become increasingly hot and the fruit bursts with sweetness. Like the nose, it has a phenomenal, superb woodiness. Thirst-quenching retro-nasal olfaction fills the taste buds with the delicious juice of blood oranges. The empty glass leaves a noble spiciness (saffron).

Other whiskies featured in our BMC Blind Surprise tasting:

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New World Classic – Westland Sherry Wood 46%

Next up in our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s blind tasting surprise evening was a brilliant example of what attention to detail, quality, marriage of art and science can produce.

With an old world aesthetic but new world know how, Matt and the folks over at Westland are making the world pay attention to what is possible from the West.

westland-sherry

Westland Sherry Wood Whiskey 46%

(circa 2016 via La Maison du Whisky, Singapore)

Here is what we discovered:

  • Nose – While the colour was an instant ‘give away’ that this was likely Sherry cask, the nose wasn’t over the top sherry. Tingly, spicy, cinnamon bark, hint of wood smoke, dark treacle, some cereal, in short – delicious!
  • Palate – Now the sherry comes through rich with stewed prunes, currents with sweet spices, complex
  • Finish – Lovely warm with stewed fruits and a hint of liquorice
  • Water – While initially shy to add, it brought out more sherry sweet in the nose, a dash more spice on the palate. While this whisky can continue to hold its own with a few drops, it honestly isn’t needed.

We had an immediate positive response to this whisky. It hit all the right elements for a darn good dram.

Speculation was this was likely a Speyside though not possible to pinpoint a specific distillery. Without a doubt, it was the most immediately enjoyable of the trio tasted. It also was the most complex, beautifully well-rounded.

With the reveal… lots of surprise and a squeal of delight (Ok that was me).

Let’s just say that many folks assume that only the Scots can produce a decent dram. And that time is required to bring out the best in a single malt.

Matured for a minimum of two years (take that folks who think age automatically means good!), Westland proves that you do not need age or be steeped in traditions to care about quality and translate that passion into making a very fine whisk(e)y indeed.

When I was first introduced last year to a Westland single malt with a hand filled cask strength, I could tell they were doing something special. The fellow whisky adventuress who brought the bottle had met with the team, trying their new make spirit and selecting the whisky she wanted to bring back from the US to India for us to try.

In short – I was impressed.

And with this Sherry Wood, I’m still impressed.

Here is what the folks over at Westland have to say:

  • The nose offers an immediate richness, with honey-dipped oatmeal raisin cookies. Maple syrup follows close behind, drizzled over banana pancakes.
  • The palate initially offers some kiwi with more maple and raisin syrup notes. Extended tastings offer a dazzling array of sweet cookies and pastries, getting darker and richer with time before eventually ceding the palate to stewed yellow fruits on the finish.

Westland’s Sherry Wood is a new world approach to an old world idea. For decades, the use of ex-sherry casks for whiskey maturation has been a favored technique in Scotland and beyond. In marrying the decadence of sherry with our unique grain-forward house style we create something altogether new. Like the grain we source, we hold our sherry casks to high standards of quality. These casks held some of the world’s finest Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry for nearly a century and in the skilled hands of Rafael Cabello and his team at Tonelería del Sur in Montilla, Spain they have been given new life and purpose. Our long-standing partnership with his family-owned cooperage now provides us with one of the largest supplies of sherry casks in America.

It paired exceedingly well with our cigars (Gurkha 17 year) and more than half the bottle had disappeared by the close of our evening!

Other whiskies featured in our BMC Blind Surprise tasting:

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Dailuaine (2002/2013) 46%

Last in our experimental evening was another whisky you don’t often get to try as a single malt. If you are Johnnie Walker fan, you’ve had Dailuaine without even realizing it!

The folks over at Diageo describe Dailuaine as a “A complex whisky that can impress mightily.” Considered a Diageo ‘workhorses’, the distillery name is taken from the gaelic ‘dail uaine’ meaning green valley.

However you won’t often find this whisky outside of independent bottlers. Currently there is only the Dailuaine 16 year, part of the Flora and Fauna series, available as an official bottling.

dailuaine

Dailuaine 10 year (2002/2013) 46%

Distilled 30 May 2002, Bottled Aug 2013, Cask No 7068, Bottle No 382, Sherry Hogshead, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve, bottled for La Maison du Whisky

We sampled it blind… and what did we find?

  • Nose – Cherry, prunes, soaked rum, very dense, tight with concentrated aromas, wood, leather book, dry spice, apple, pungent, sweet
  • Palate – Very full, creamy, rounded…. pronounced “a proper whisky”, black chewy liquorice, oily fat and full, gorgeous Christmas spices, cupcakes, coffee, toffee, a hint of toasted nuts
  • Finish – Such a lovely finish, rich spice with more coffee, liquorice, cinnamon. One of those rare finishes that just keeps on keeping you company for a long time… where a little goes a long way
  • Water – Caution… don’t add too much. Just a drop brings out more toffee coffee chocolate. A few more and muddles the magic.

This one took time to fully open up and reveal all its secrets. A completely sinful desert so rich that just a small spoonful satisfies.

Comments included:

  • “Stop teasing and lift the veil pretty please?”
  • “One sip is nearly enough!”

As a Gordon & MacPhail bottling exclusive for La Maison du Whisky, you won’t find tasting notes online however the bottle noted:

  • Nose – Subtle sherry influences with stewed apple, cinnamon and a hint of eucalyptus
  • Palate – Mild spices with green apple, orange and grapefruit flavours, Becomes creamy with a liquorice edge
  • Finish – Medium in length with fruit elements

In describing drams from this distillery, Diageo shares:

This is not just an after dinner dram, it’s an after-dinner mood in a liquid. Thick, rich yet pleasantly, palate-cleansingly sweet. Try Dailuaine whisky with the cheese course, or just nose the cheese rind, fruit and citrus aromas hidden in its depths.

Would we agree? Yes. It was a wonderful close to our experimental evening that also featured:

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Singapore “Speed Dating” Whisky…

Singapore may be expensive as far as whisky purchasing is concerned, however it never fails to deliver a new discovery.

There are some terrific night spots to nip into for a whisky flight (or two) – The Auld Alliance, Flagship and Quaich.

There are always unique offerings at La Maison du Whisky.

Even Changi Airport is no slouch as a spot to sample something novel with its range of whiskies from everyday duty-free to airport exclusives to a special “I have way too much money” collection upstairs…

So what did my August 2016 Singapore trip have in store?

It began with a pilgrimage to La Maison du Whisky

I stopped by early, well in advance of 6 PM ‘sampling’ time to pre-select options more or less under SG$200, less readily accessible elsewhere, not a repeat of any previous drams and could spark conversation from our fellow samplers back in Mumbai.

After a bit of careful thought, Priscilla sprung into action and began pulling out a few… checking some possibilities that I declined… to come up with a diverse shortlist. My sampling companion arrived and we began our final selection process by “speed dating” each whisky with quick short nips.

Puni Italian Trio

We began with a trio from Italy. Yes… Italy. We compared (right to left):

Puni Nova Bourbon Cask 43% 

  • Matured in American and European oak casks, initially seemed just grains, flowers, honey and vanilla… relatively standard on the palate.
  • In short, dismissed as not terribly interesting… but after the others, we found ourselves drawn back… then it really began to grow on us… for a young whisky, it has something quite enjoyable and attractive for a lighter dram.

Puni Alba Limited Edition 43%

  • Limited edition, uses barley, wheat and a locally grown rye matured from six months to three years in oak barrels that previously contained Sicilian marsala, Pinot Noir from South Tyrol and Zibibbo from Pantelleria.
  • And the result? Interesting, definitely interesting, but also oddly schizophrenic… simply didn’t seem to know what direction, here there or where?
  • Was it a light romp or storm the bastions? No balance between the sweet and spice elements like a cocktail with too many ingredients.

Puni Alba Marsala Islay 43%

  • Matured in Marsala and Islay casks, initially attracted attention – quite different with its pronounced cloves, range of fruits, peat, tobacco and nuts.
  • However like a one trick pony, we kept waiting for more… then reached back to the Puni Nova as the more drinkable dram!

Bruichladdich 1990 24 year

Next up was Bruichladdich 1990 24 year 56.5%

  • I was pre-disposed to fall in love… after all this was a special bottle for LMDW from a distillery that produces a rather interesting range of whiskies…
  • Eager anticipation, I took the first few whiffs…. and sip… And had the opposite reaction.
  • Harsh cloves cinnamon no softness… thin rather than layered and robust
  • Perhaps it needed time to air, a few drops of water or simply more consideration possible in a quick sample however didn’t pass the taste test… and in fairness, not all whiskies do… some simply require patience and attention not possible when “speed dating”

W+M Sherry + Sansibar Islay

We then moved on to two independents without the distillery disclosed:

Wilson & Morgan “Highland Heart” Sherry Cask Malt 2006 43%

  • As you would expect from a sherry, lots of delicious stewed fruits, a distinctly winey quality yet accompanying this was also a richer nutty dimension that brought you back for another nosing again and again
  • On the palate it was mellow, smooth and seemed to have many more layers than we could properly discern in a small taster… overall left you with the impression of an eminently drinkable dram

Sansibar Islay 8 year 52.5%

  • Sansibar are new independent bottlers from Germany and a first for me!
  • Unlike some who disclose minute detail about the cask, here the approach is different sharing only that it comes from a single cask, aged 8 years (2007-15) with 330 bottles…. and the rest? Up to you to guess!
  • We quickly pronounced it a fine specimen of an Islay malt
  • Compared it with the distillery official bottling – no doubt which WE preferred!

Wolfburn

Wolfburn 46% Batch #2

  • As a new re-entry, this distillery has been on my radar and considered in London with rather honest advice “It is still quite raw” enabling the Teerenpeli to win that round (I’m ever so grateful!)
  • From 7.03.2016, Distillery Manager Shane Fraser shares “On the nose you’ll find fruit and malty aromas, with a hint of peat. On the tongue, sweet and nutty flavours are present, which coat the palate and leave a very slight pleasant flavour of smoke. It is a joy to drink – I hope you enjoy every drop.”
  • This one was thrown in as a courtesy to let me try as a bottle was not available for purchase. Yes there is fruit, nuts, hint of peat, quite intense with lots of promise but not there yet – a bit ruff, gruff and certainly not balanced.
  • However… Let’s just say I’m looking forward to seeing what more comes… though can safely skip this one…

Taylor

We then shifted our attention to the Americas… In this case, to potentially obtain a 3rd American whiskey as counterpoint for two recent acquisitions direct to Mumbai from Denver, Colorado…

For this ‘brief’ we explored a duo from Colonel E. H. Taylor, part of the Buffalo Trace stable:

  • Small Batch 50% – What a change to shift gear to a rye! I’ll admit I’m neither a bourbon nor rye aficionado, however for this style, was a rather good example.
  • Barrel Proof 63.6% – Packs a serious wallop! As in galloping head on into all senses, firing all cylinders. Yowza!

Singapore Airport's Whisky Wall

Next up Changi Airport…  A few highlights / lowlights include:

  • Suntory has launched outside of Japan The Chita… Quite reasonably priced, alas it was not the exquisite Chita Single Grain 12 year I picked up in Tokyo years ago. Easy to pass…
  • However the Kavalan selection was tempting with a Sherry cask strength for less than SG$100. And a new Kavalan Peaty Cask – matured in a cask which previously held a peated whisky for SG$175.

What made the final cut for purchase?

You will just need to be patient til one or more whiskies sampled make it into a focused tasting session.

  • Sept 2016 – Wolfburn Batch #1 makes its way via another original tasting group member
  • Jan 2017 – The Italian Puni Alba was a hit with the original tasting group!

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Kilchoman Trilogy – Sherry Single Cask 60.6%

Back in 2015 as a tasting group, we had only explored Machir Bay and 100% Islay. Middle of last year, I acquired from Heathrow duty-free the Coull Point which quickly embraced it as my ‘go to’ daily dram whisky.

So when browsing around La Maison du Whisky in Singapore in December 2015, the idea of introducing a cask strength Kilchoman trilogy that explored the effect of maturing in different casks (bourbon, PX and sherry) was most appealing. Another member had requested I pick up three whiskies on his behalf, and this seemed just perfect!

Picture then our April hosts face fall when our March 2016 session focused on a Kilchoman trio with Machir Bay, Sanaig and… the very Kilchoman Trilogy Sherry Single Cask he planned for his session!

Undeterred, our host crafted a remarkable unique evening where we appreciated, anew, this single cask whisky. It was a completely different experience and well worth revisiting.

Kilchoman Sherry

Here is what we found:

Kilchoman Sherry Single Cask Trilogy 60.6% (LMDW) 

Single Cask #199 (8.4.2010/31.8.2015), Bottle 173 /643
  • Colour – Much much darker, unmistakable sherry
  • Nose – Tamarind sour, peat, spice, that distinctive imli ka pani (a tart spicy tamarind water), which opened to sweet vanilla, apple pie and caramel
  • Palate – All the peppers – every last one! From sweet crisp green capsicum to black peppercorn and even a spicy red chilly. Very balanced and pronounced “gorgeous!”
  • Finish – Long, bitter, spice at first that smooths into sweet
  • Water – Think we forgot to add in the main tasting but later in the evening, did to help with the pairing
  • Speculation – Same distillery as earlier? Peat theme? All Scottish whiskies… but not typical Islay.
  • Mood / setting – While not an easy whisky, could hold its own in a more sociable setting just as it could be savoured solo
  • Comments – “I’m stealing it!” (til the speaker later discovered he already had a bottle at home!)
So what do the folks over at La Maison du Whisky have to say (translated from French) about this Kilchoman? 

Although the sherry just about gains the upper hand over the peat and smoke in the finish, it is only with a view to prolonging the intense pleasure experienced in tasting this Kilchoman aged in sherry casks. Whether in the nose or on the palate, the notes inherent to sherry and those accumulated through smoked malted barley are so deeply embedded here it is impossible to tell them apart. This beautiful weaving of scents and tastes creates a complex, deep, sparkling and remarkably well-balanced single malt.

Profile: Dominated by peat, but this does not exclude the presence of ripe (Mirabelle plum, quince) and exotic (pineapple, kiwi) fruit.

Others in our Kilchoman Trilogy evening:

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