Whisky Ladies of Mumbai turn “One”

One year ago, a chance conversation about whisky lead to a fabulous evening… Each month since, a remarkable group of women have met in Mumbai to explore whiskies combined with witty conversations.

Whisky Ladies 1st Anniversary

Together we’ve had 12 fabulous sessions:

  1. Whisky Ladies Welcome Compass Box Asyla, Kilchoman Coull Point, Nikka ‘Yochi’ 10 yr, Caol Ila 12 yr, Ledaig 1997
  2. With Karen Walker – Caorunn ginBalblair 03Old Pulteney 12 yrSpeyburn 10 yrAnCnoc 12 + 22 yr
  3. Cask Strength Diwali – Glenfarclas 105, Chichibu 2009, A’bunadh #35
  4. World Tour – Forty Creek Confederation OakNikka BlendedOban 14 yr, Sheringham William’s White Double Distilled Grain
  5. Go Goan! Paul John Brilliance, Edited, Bold, Classic & Peated
  6. Go American! JD, Hudson Single Malt, Jim Bean, Knobs Creek 9 yr (with Shatbhi Basu)
  7. Sweetly smokey – Dalmore 15 yrMackmyra Svensk RökSmokehead Rock
  8. Chocolate with Hibiki Harmony, Lagavulin 16 yr, A’bunadh #46
  9. Far East – Kavalan Concertmaster SolistNikka Coffey GrainChinese baijiu
  10. “I like the label” – Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s BlendStarwardSmoky Goat
  11. European Tour – Teerenpeli (Finland)Danica (Denmark)Kornog (France)Slyrs (Germany)
  12. 5 Region Tour – Glenkinchie 12 yrJura Turas-MaraClynelish 14 yrCardhu 12 yrArdbeg 10 yr

Whisky Ladies in Mumbai

And the whiskies for our 1st anniversary celebration? Count them… yup that’s 13 whiskies from left to right…

  1. Amrut Single Malt
  2. Amrut Fusion
  3. Paul John Edited 46%
  4. Paul John Peated 55.5%
  5. Cragganmore 12 year 40%
  6. Smoky Goat 40%
  7. Highland Park 1998 40%
  8. Aberfeldy 12 year 40%
  9. Monkey Shoulder 40%
  10. Dalmore 15 year 40%
  11. Glen Grant 10 year 40%
  12. Caol Ila 12 year 43%
  13. Ardbeg 10 year 46%

Along with a bottle, our potluck approach to nibbles resulted in a fabulous spread.

Whisky Ladies Spread

Here’s to wonderful women that make up this Mumbai malty tribe! May we continue to enjoy many more sessions together!

In celebration, we now have a special Whisky Ladies Corner sharing:

  • Blog posts from our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai (other than mine!)
  • Recognition of evenings we’ve enjoyed courtesy of a few kind benefactors
  • Other nights with whiskies we sourced with different themes
  • Related women centric whisky posts

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Kininvie 17 year 42.6% – a quandary no more!

Earlier this year, I wrote about my quandary regarding the Kininvie 17 year. You see, I picked it up from Singapore duty-free but as a 1st bottling, wasn’t sure if I should keep it a bit longer or open it immediately. After all, I’m not in the collector’s league and whisky for me is something to enjoy!

Kininvie 17 sample

Kininvie 17 sample

At the time, Ronald Ding of Whiskyrific made a lovely offer – to share a sample on which basis I could make an informed decision to crack open or keep.

Alas my Singapore travel plans kept getting postponed and when I did finally go in June 2015, Ronald and I simply could not manage to connect.

So he made an even kinder offer – to post the sample to me in Mumbai, India.

Now… I had my doubts. Would it actually make it through customs to my doorstep without incident or hassle?

Remarkably it did!

Kininvie 17 year, batch 1, 42.6% (bottle #3959)

So here is what I found…

  • Nose – Instant grapey wine-like quality, a bit of oak, powder, floral, sweet, the usual flirting with vanilla and honey, then a slight nuttiness peeps out
  • Palate – Again grapes – as in serious grapiness (is that a word?), mellowed into a delightful dram, the usual maltiness, creamy, yes a bit buttery too, a hint of warm spice to round out
  • Finish – Did I say grapes before? This time think grape coolade…
  • Water – Nope – didn’t try as it is already quite light
  • Overall – Without a doubt smooth, light, classic Speyside… with grape!

I don’t think I’ve had a whisky that reminds me so forcefully of grapes… at first wine-like on the nose, then juicy grapes on the palate and grape coolade on the finish. I kid you not.

Which if you don’t like grapes means this isn’t the whisky for you.

But if you do… it is actually quite nice, pleasant, gentle, and grows on you sip by sip. I was disappointed when my wee sample dram was done.

KininVie 17

Kininvie 17, batch 1, bottle no 3752 with sample from no 3959

The Kininvie distillery is based in the Conval hills of Dufftown, part of the Balvenie distillery compound and I first encountered it as a component in the rather yummy Monkey Shoulder.

There were a few prior single malt releases under the ‘Hazelwood’ label in honour of Janet Sheed Roberts, granddaughter of Glenfiddich’s founder William Grant, who lived to a remarkable 110 years old. From lawyer to director of William Grant & Sons, as noted on the label, she opened the distillery in 1990.

Kininvie 21 then 17 year was initially released in Taiwan and now available in the UK. You can read more about Master of Malt’s insights on this distillery here.

The official tasting notes suggest:

  • Nose – Rich and full aroma with fresh fruit notes and a deep vanilla sweetness. Uniquely fragrant with a characteristic floral note that is accentuated through the addition of a little water
  • Taste – Beautifully sweet, buttery vanilla and slightly spicy
  • Finish – Long and lingering with a notable sweetness

So many thanks Ronald!! I do suggest you check out his assessment on Whiskyrific – Kininvie 17 year!

As for my quandary? I think I will hang on to it until the right opportunity presents itself… as in to share not save.

Slainthe!

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The Quandry of the Kininvie 17 year

I’m in a quandary… To open or not to open?

You see… on one of my many trips through Singapore in 2014, I splurged and picked up the Kininvie 17 year, batch 1.

Kininvie is based in the Coeval hills of Dufftown – built on the Balvenie distillery grounds and best known as a component in the rather yummy Monkey Shoulder. While Grant & Sons are well known, having this particular distillery come ‘out’ as Kininvie is relatively recent with just the 17 and 23 year on offer.

Kininvie 17 year

Kininvie 17 year

What do I know so far? Well…

  • 1st batch bottled for travel retail market
  • Matured for 17 years in 80% American Oak, 20% Sherry Cask
  • Strength 42.6%

The official tasting notes suggest:

Nose – Rich and full aroma with fresh fruit notes and a deep vanilla sweetness. Uniquely fragrant with a characteristic floral note that is accentuated through the addition of a little water

Taste – Beautifully sweet, buttery vanilla and slightly spicy

Finish – Long and lingering with a notable sweetness

However those are not the observations of either our monthly whisky tasting club or I…

So… why not just crack open the bottle now and check it out?

Well… you see… This particular bottle is designed to be ‘rare’ and if the initial reviews are any indication, may be worth hanging on to for a bit.

Or perhaps it is just hype.

I have never looked at whisky as an investment or something to ‘save’ for a later day. Instead whisky to me is a sociable affair – something to be savoured, shared and enjoyed with others passionate about such pleasures.

So… what should I do? Open now or save?

To open or not to open...

To open or not to open…

What others are saying about the Kininvie 17 year:

PS I finally did try it thanks to a sample from Whiskyrific! You can read my tasting notes here.

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Jazzy Monkey Shoulder

When I started Whisky Lady, I had a vague notion of creating a separate space for sharing more than just our monthly tasting notes from a private whisky club in Mumbai…

What better than revisiting a bottle conveniently in the cabinet?

The context

The volume of a jazzy funky beat is high, my partner’s rich baritone accompanies the sexy sax as he rehearses his last-minute substitution in a play ‘Bombay Jazz‘ for the Celebrate Bandra Festival. It is a play he normally produces rather than acts in… hence a bit of panic has set in… all the more reason to get into a more relaxed mode.

The weather in Mumbai is decidedly warm, so I was in the mood for something that I wouldn’t cringe at adding a drop or two of cool water or even – gasp! – a small ice-cube.

The choice

While we have sampled Monkey Shoulder in our monthly tasting sessions, I missed writing tasting notes on this blend of three Speyside single malts: Kininvie, Balvenie and Glenfiddich.

The name is inspired by the folks who developed a strain from turning the malting barley by hand – and for their troubles would acquire a ‘monkey shoulder‘. While the photo doesn’t do justice, there are three little monkeys on the upper right side of the bottle representing the three malts that go into the making of this blend.

It is also one of those whiskies that is relatively accessible, not hard on the pocketbook and consistently good. In this case, I picked up a bottle in Singapore on my last trip expecting to use it for the inevitable parties.

As we had a gathering recently, I already had a bottle open. It came from Batch 27, so I felt zero guilt in taking it down from the shelf to re-sample…

Jazzy play & Monkey Shoulder make a good mix!

Jazzy play & Monkey Shoulder make a good mix!

The tasting notes

So… just what did I find in revisiting William Grant’s Monkey Shoulder?

  • Nose: Citrus, sweet honey warmth, light with a hint of vanilla
  • Taste: Mild mannered, mellow and smooth, a dash of cinnamon and a prick of spice
  • Finish: While not a long-term lingerer, a delightful warmth with clove more than cinnamon

The experiment

However I wanted to experiment a little…  and did something I’d normally crinkle my noise at… I added a single small ice-cube

Aside from the relief from a little blessed cool… what did it do to the whisky?

Yes it did bring out a tinge more spice, yet Monkey Shoulder was smooth enough to not be defeated by a mere bit of melting ice… however it did dampen the nose considerably.

So I thought to experiment further… what would happen if I added back a tinge of citrus tartness with a squeeze of half a lime?

What delight! The freshness of the lime brought a new dimension…

Then what about a drop or two of Angostura bitters?

A dancing jig on the nose… citrus, sweet, with the vanilla resurfacing after being lost with the ice cube.

And now… what if I added a splash of cool soda water?

Houston! I do believe we have a cocktail! Yup… I might just offer this to someone else interested in a refreshing bright beverage.

If I had a sprig of mint, may have even thrown that in too…

Conclusion

On a hot sultry night, whisky cocktail and jazz make a combustible combination!

Care to share your opinion of the Monkey Shoulder? Or have a whisky cocktail to suggest? I’m clearly not completely averse to the idea…

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