Of all the gin joints… Native Brews early experiments

Whisky Lady in India is all about exploring the world of whisky, one dram at a time, with friends and solo adventures too.

However there are reasons rules should be broken every once and a while to spice things up.

And that’s exactly what the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai decided to do one February Sunday.

The venue was perfect… a desultory sunset overlooking the Arabian sea.

The slight chill that comes with a Bombay winter replaced by the growing heat… not quite scorching by day but inching upwards… enough to appreciate the wind off the waters and something a little cool to whet your whistle…

We began with a quick lesson on gin’s standard botanicals with an opportunity to take a whiff of the core ones, neatly packaged by our host and master alchemist – Susan Dias of Native Brews:

  • Juniper berries (Juniperus communis)
  • Coriander seeds
  • Angelica root and/or angelica seed
  • Lemon and/or orange peel
  • Coriander
  • Orris root
  • Cassia
  • Nutmeg
  • Black peppercorn
  • Cinnamon

Then came the real fun! An opportunity to try her new gin experiments…

#1 Gin “Sweet Delight” 42% 

  • Classic nose
  • Citrus on the palate with lemon peel, very sweet, coriander and pepper
  • After taste had spice, slightly bitter

Pairs well with guava, green mango

#2 Gin “Pushing the peppers” 42.8%

  • Lots of spices on the nose, particularly pepper
  • More coriander
  • Finishes with lots of wet peppery fennel

Reminds of Indian salami or… don’t laugh one even said  Axe body spray!

#3 Gin “Classic Style” 47%

  • All the elements pop out – distinct yet married well together
  • Just a hint more bitter than the others with a punchy finish spice

We closed our tasting with a chilled shot of “Mahua” a desi flower native to Maharashtra used to make a country liquor popular with the tribal community. Alas the restrictions and complications of India’s archaic liquor laws means you won’t see it on your shelves anytime soon…

Naturally our evening progressed from sampling to a sociable rather tasty Gin & Tonic made with the 3rd gin which worked perfectly!

Other gin explorations include:

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Ladies Choice – Mackmyra Vinterdröm 46.1%

Our Ladies Choice evening moved on to the cooler climes of Sweden with Mackmyra’s limited edition Vinterdröm – an experiment partnering with Plantation Rum for a Caribbean rum cask finish.

Susan Dias returns as 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 completing extensive exploration and research into remote corners of India, Susan has been working hard experimenting with the distillation of Mahua, a flowering tree found in central India.

More recently, her distillation adventures have lead to the creation of a unique set of Indian gins that should be available soon…

Susan consistently displays a keen nose and wry wit in her whisky tasting approach! 

mackmyra-vinterdrom

Here is what Susan has to say about the Mackmyra Vinterdröm 46.1%

Tasting Notes:

  • Colour: Pale gold
  • Nose: Clean, spices – cinnamon and cloves, caramelised fruit, demerara sugar
  • Palate: Sharp hit of spices, salty caramel, fresh clean wood, toast
  • Finish: Long, lingering spices, bitter dry
  • Water: Water opens the spices on the nose and palate

Vinterdrom is Mackmyra Distillery’s newest offering in its limited edition ‘Seasons’ range. Each whisky in this range has received a different finish and for Vinterdrom, Mackmyra used oak casks which previously held rum from Bardabos and Jamaica.

The Caribbean influence is amply evident. The whisky is sweet and spicy and has a warmth that would make it ideal for a winter evening. Whisky purists might find it hard to shake off the ‘rum’ness of the liquid but given what Mackmyra set out to do, Vinterdrom is an interesting experiment of a seasoned whisky with a Caribbean twist.

This whisky would make for great company on a chilly evening paired with some dense chocolate dessert.

Here is what the folks from Mackmyra have to say:

Mackmyra Vinterdröm is a fruity and slightly spicy Swedish single malt whisky, made in limited edition. The whisky is a collaboration with rum producer Plantation Rum and has a finish from casks that previously stored Barbados and Jamaican Rum. The result is a soft oaky whisky with notes of orange, vanilla and demerara sugar – a Carribbean love affair.

  • Nose – Spicy and fruity, slightly oily with notes of anises, dried fruits and molasses and a soft light oakiness. Some spiciness and notes of tobacco leaves.
  • Taste – Fruity, spicy and oily. Well balanced with anise, tobacco leave, a saltiness and some raisins and vanilla.

What else did we sample in our “Ladies Choice” evening for the BMC gentlemen?

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