Whisky Lady – June 2018

June was quite full with all three tasting groups holding their regular sessions plus a few interesting visitors with:

With our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents, we shifted gears to have an evening dedicated to open bottles – a complete mixed bag of what was lying around. Which in our case meant a merry trip through:

For the Whisky Ladies, it was a night of Highland Hijinks!

And our original group? We were introduced to a remarkable new independent bottler – North Star with a terrific trio of:

  • North Star’s Cask Series 001 – Glenrothes 20 year (Oct 1996/Oct 2016) 54.6% 1 of 252 bottles*
  • North Star’s Cask Series 001 – Ardmore Peat 8 year (June 2008 / Oct 2016) 57.1% 1 of 198 bottles*
  • North Star’s Cask Series 002 – Caol Ila 8 year (June 2008 / May 2017) 58.3% 1 of 230 bottles*

Last month, I took our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents on a European Exploration and caught up with all the tasting notes which had a clear divide between ones we quite enjoyed…. and those we decidedly did not!

The thumbs “down” category included:

And in the thumbs “up” category?

In addition to our normal tasting evenings, we were fortunate to have not one but two IBHL sessions in April and May respectively with:

Evenings with Krishna Nakula, India’s Malt Maniac are always a pleasure. This time we ambled through a rather remarkable range of whiskies…

*Tasting notes coming soon…

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On a lighter note… Tyrconnell, Clynelish, Speyburn

Most whisky aficionados have a ‘preferred’ profile. It could be bold peaty or sweet sherry or a craving for complexity where nothing else will do!

One of our original malt group members is partial to lighter more delicate whiskies. He seeks a little nuance and elegance in his dram.

So when it came time to host our 1st tasting session for 2016, he selected whiskies that he hoped would achieve such an approach.

2016-01-27 Oak League

Our evening had a decidedly light sprightly feel with:

However don’t be fooled! Just when pegged into a particular ‘type’, purely for contrast, our host shared that when he’s had a hard day at work, only something a bit rougher, tougher and robust will do.

That’s when a Wasmund’s 12 month 48% was pulled out! Because we all need a little ‘bad boy’ to spice things up once and a awhile.

Me? I’m terribly mood dependant. Some could say I can’t make up my mind, but it is simply that I enjoy the range of profiles.

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies and Karen Walker sip a Speyburn 10 year

Next up, the Whisky Ladies were introduced to Speyburn by Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group.

Speyburn 10 (Courtesy International Beverage)

Speyburn 10 (Courtesy International Beverage)

Speyburn 10 year aka distillery visit footwear

Karen shared that her ‘goal’ for the evening was to bring the distillery to us ladies in Mumbai. Which then turned to some fashion advice showing off her rather stylish wedges:

Wear wedges or flats, no heels!

Why? There are typically slats in the stairs and hence heels can get caught… to avoid ankle twisting and accidents, sensible (but stylish!) footwear is recommended…

Karen then shared how this Speyburn is considered a ‘classic’ single malt in the US – more than holding its own with high competition.

Here is what we found…

  • Nose – Heavy caramel and spice, a bit of bananas, some raisiny goodness
  • Taste – Completely piquant on the tongue! Cayenne and orange. Sweet, with toffee and lemon.
  • Finish – Light with a bite on its way out…
  • Water – Opens up nicely with a drop or two of water
  • Overall – Interesting how it has a heavy nose but light mouthful

This whisky sparked remarks like:

  • “Something you could gift to someone and expect that they’d like it!” 
  • “Perfect for a hot whisky toddy!”

Already sampled in our evening with Karen:

Up next:

Related posts sampling with Stuart Harvey:

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The Surprising Speyburn 10 year 43%

Stuart Harvey calls Speyburn a “surprising” whisky that is “hugely under-rated.”

We sampled the Speyburn 10 year together with Stuart Harvey, master distiller with Inver House responsible for Balblair, Old Pulteney, AnCnoc and Speyburn whiskies – both at a sociable ‘home appreciation’ evening and then the next night at a masterclass.

Speaking about the Speyburn distillery, Stuart shared it is one of the 1st mechanical malting in the world, with an onion shaped still that produces heavy oils from its squat shape. The whisky is then matured in American oak bourbon casks, with some time in sherry butts for finishing.

Speyburn 10 (Courtesy International Beverage)

Speyburn 10 (Courtesy International Beverage)

And what did we find with the 10 year?

  • Colour – Bright yellow
  • Nose – Lots of sour honey, overripe bananas, fruity on the citrus side, light sherry notes
  • Taste – Bit chewy, buttery, toffee, coffee and caramel, bitter, slightly raw, yet full-bodied, a hint of salt. Spicy yet surprisingly light with a citrus twist
  • Finish – Quite peaty, a bit dry
  • Water – Smooths it out
  • Ice – Cranks up the sweetness on the nose, adds a freshness

Interestingly, it was the least expensive of the whiskies sampled with the Inver House folks, however it was also one which appealed to many at the ‘home appreciation’ evening… Partly as it works well with the desi style to drinking whisky… chill with ice and drown with water!

The next evening in the Masterclass it also held its own… It will be interesting to see whether Speyburn tickles the desi whisky palate and gains popularity. It certainly does well in the US, so why not India?

Here’s what the Speyburn folks have to say about the 10 year:

  • Nose – Fresh, clean with a hint of lemon
  • Taste – Medium bodied with hints of toffee & butterscotch and a long, sweet finish. A global favourite, Speyburn 10 year old is ever the crowd-pleaser.

We sampled the Speyburn 10 year together with:

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