100 whisk(e)y posts with 100 whiskies!!

Remarkably… this is the 100th post for Whisky Lady in India!!

That’s 100 whiskies folks! Now… not all posts were devoted to a single whisky and some whiskies for review are ‘in the pipeline’ (marked by an asterisk*).

Still… I’m a doing a little happy dance of celebration for this 100th post!!

post-milestone-100-2x

  1. Sullivans Cove – French Oak Cask
  2. Glen Breton 10 year
  3. Hammer Head 23 year
  4. Kornog bottled for The Auld Alliance
  5. Amrut Single Malt
  6. Amrut Fusion
  7. Amrut Peated
  8. Paul John Brilliance Single Malt
  9. Paul John Classic Select Cask
  10. Paul John Edited Single Malt – 1st bottle, 2nd bottle
  11. Paul John Peated Select Cask
  12. Bushmills 1975 49.1%
  13. Greenore Single Grain 18 years 46%
  14. Jameson Original NAS
  15. Jameson 12 year Special Reserve
  16. Jameson Gold Reserve
  17. Jameson 18 year Special Reserve
  18. Teeling NAS 46%
  19. Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix 55%
  20. Tyrconnell 10 year Madeira Casks
  21. Asama
  22. Chita Single Grain Whisky 12 year 43%
  23. Hakushu 18 year
  24. Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask 63.1%
  25. Chichibu ‘The Floor Malted’ 3 year 50.5%
  26. Houou-uhi (Phoenix) 46.5%
  27. Nikka ‘From the Barrel’
  28. Nikka ‘Yoichi’ 10 year
  29. Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Year 43%
  30. Yamazaki Sherry Cask 1998 61%
  31. Hazelburn 12 year
  32. Springbank Vintage
  33. Balblair 03 1st bottling
  34. Blair Athol 16 year
  35. Deanston Virgin Oak NAS 46.3% 
  36. GlenDronach 18 year Allardice
  37. GlenDronach 21 year Parliament
  38. Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve
  39. Glen Garioch 21 year
  40. Glenglassaugh Torfa
  41. Glenmorangie evening with The Original 10 year
  42. Glenmorangie 18 year
  43. Glenmorangie 25 year
  44. Glenmorangie Signet
  45. Lochside 1981
  46. Oban 14 year
  47. Old Pulteney 12 year
  48. Old Pulteney 21 year
  49. Highland Park 1998
  50. Jura Superstition
  51. Ledaig 1997, bottled 2013 (Gordon & MacPhail)
  52. Ledaig 18 year
  53. Talisker 10 year
  54. Talisker Dark Storm
  55. Ardbeg Uigeadail
  56. Ardbeg Corryvreckan
  57. Bowmore Laimrig 15 year
  58. Bowmore 21 year (1988)
  59. Bruichladdich – The Organic Scottish Barley 50%
  60. Bruichladdich Octomore
  61. Bruichladdich Islay Barley
  62. Bunnahabhaim Eirigh na Greine
  63. Caol Ila 12 year
  64. Caol Ila 1997, bottled 2009 (Gordon & MacPhail)
  65. Kilchoman Coull Point
  66. Laphroaig 16 year (1987) 46% (Silver Seal)
  67. Auchentoshan 12 year
  68. Auchentoshan Three Wood
  69. Auchentoshan 18 year
  70. Auchentoshan Cooper’s Reserve 14 year
  71. Little Mill 25 year
  72. Aberlour A’bunadh
  73. Auchroisk 20 year (Duthies)
  74. BenRiach Septendecim
  75. Glen Deveron 20 year
  76. Glenfarclas 12 year
  77. Glenfarclas 21 year
  78. Glenfarclas 40 year
  79. Glenfarclas 105
  80. Kininvie 17 year
  81. Mortlach 15 year (Gordon & MacPhail)
  82. Singleton Artisan
  83. Speyburn 10 year
  84. Bailie Nicole Jarvie
  85. Compass Box Asyla 40%
  86. Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend 43%
  87. Compass Box Hedonism
  88. Compass Box Spice Tree 46%
  89. Compass Box Peat Monster 46%
  90. Compass Box Juveniles 46%
  91. Monkey Shoulder
  92. Kavalan Concertmaster
  93. Corsair Triple smoke 40%, Batch 162, Bottle 153 of 450
  94. Jim Beam White Label 4 year
  95. Beam’s Choice 8 year, 1980
  96. Hudson Single Malt Whiskey 46% (2014)
  97. Westland Cask No 395 54.6%
  98. Penderyn Sherrywood
  99. Penderyn Madeira
  100. Penderyn Peated

There you have it!

I consider myself a passionate novice drammer. To have managed to accumulate 100 whiskies to write about, well… that’s really quite fabulous.

Slainthe! Here’s to many more whisky adventures ahead!!

Time to add a wee dram to sample...

Time to add a wee dram to sample…

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You seriously spit out whisky?

Was the incredulous response when my partner described to a new acquaintance our ‘ritual’ in blind sampling whiskies.

Spit your 1st sip…?

When our monthly group first started our tasting adventures in February 2011, we had a ‘rule’ to spit out the 1st sip.

Now, I must admit, somewhere along the way we mostly abandoned this rule. However, there is a very clear rationale behind it.

Why spit?

It is all about acquainting your palate with the high alcohol content. In short, you let the first sip go so it helps clear the way to enjoy the real flavours. Think of it as calibrating the palate for the delights to come.

Keep it coming…

As most of us whisky aficionados taste whiskies for fun not funds, if you have lined up more than three whiskies in an evening, a certain amount of healthy pacing is in order too.

Psychologically using the spittoon for the 1st sip helps you slow down, distill the different elements before you have that 1st swallow that coats your throat with whisky goodness.

Whaddya do?

Any others adhere to this recommended approach or merrily abandon it in favour of gleefully gulping the 1st quaff?

Whisky sipping...

Whisky sipping…

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Quarterly favourites – how to pick?

Whisky Lady is actually a spin-off of my blog Everyday Adventures in Asia –  created as I recognised my interests have two rather distinct audiences.

  • Those that enjoy a good dram or two! (or was that three?)
  • And those interested in the adventures of a crazy Canadian who calls India home and traipses around Asia

However I still impose share on Everyday Asia a monthly round-up of Whisky Lady’s adventures. This quarter featured:

Whisky Lady

Whisky Lady

In my round-up, I try to pinpoint which was my favourite for the month. And I struggle. What I realised is I can’t pick ‘one’ as I like different whiskies for different reasons in different settings.

As it is not my habit to numerically ‘score’ whiskies, I have no easy number to help ‘rank’ the month’s samples either. After all, while a nice neat number seems authoritative, there are experts out there who have perfected ‘scoring’ whiskies. Who am I to add to their numbers!?

A number also doesn’t convey how taste is a very personal thing. My palate and yours may be quite different – which is why I enjoy sampling both alone and with others. Why descriptions can help you discern what might interest you or not. Some read ‘dirty socks’ and go eewww! Others know that’s just one of many elements you can find in a whisky.

A number also doesn’t recognise that some drams are great for a particular mood but don’t quite match a different setting or company. Some are like elegant ladies and must be treated accordingly. Others grab you by your (ahem!) nether regions with a rollicking good ride!

That said, I have contemplated keeping in mind a few simple factors when sampling whiskies. Something that could help hone a list of ‘favourites’ based on vague criteria or descriptive triggers to remind me “Ah… that’s why I liked it!”  or not!

A few factors for consideration include:

  • Mood: What kind of setting could I envision sipping? Quiet evening curled up at home? Clinking sociable glasses with some colleagues? A bad-ass party of mad men n women? In short – what kind of mood does the whisky put me into? Or mood would it compliment?
  • Mode: Neat, drop of water, or (gasp!) with ice or mixed. Could it work in an exotic cocktail? Or one that absolutely under no circumstances should be messed with – neat n only neat! Or is it a whisky I wouldn’t cringe serving at a party and watching folks liberally dump in ice cubes and drown in soda?
  • Money: Would I buy it (again)? Is it value for money, rare commodity or rubbish for the price-tag? After all, you can’t really expect the same quality of a $20 whisky as you would from a $200 one!
  • Mmmm….. This is an indefinable quality. You just know it when you find it! I favour more complex whiskies with nuanced elements. Ones with great body, balance, finish with a little something ‘extra’ going on… Yet how many decent drinkable drams actually achieve (or come close) to this elusive quality?

I may not always assess a whisky referring to some of these considerations – particularly ‘Money’ as we source individually for our tasting sessions. While I could use a UK online store as an indicator – it often bears little relation to the kind of prices we incur in markets closer to our home in Mumbai, India so may not be of significant benefit to others.

However ‘Mood’ and ‘Mode’ may make a regular appearance and it might be fun to have quarterly ‘top picks’ based on ‘Mood’ and ‘Mmmm…’ Perhaps a topic for our next monthly tasting session to discuss!

Curious what others think. Those with tasting groups, do you ‘score’ or ‘rank’ whiskies? Or have a rudimentary way to categorise whiskies? Other ideas?

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Hakushu 18 year – revisiting a favourite

After packing for an impromptu trip to Amsterdam, I decided to treat myself by revisiting one of my favourite Japanese whiskies – the Hakushu 18 year.

The choice

Years ago Suntory came to Mumbai to explore the Indian market. My friend and I were introduced to their range and even from the first sip, the Hakushu whiskies stood out for me as far more exceptional than their better known Yamazaki cousins.

Since I picked up my first bottle in Singapore, the price has steadily risen. On my last trip to Tokyo, my quest was for lesser known Japanese whiskies, so I skipped re-stocking this favourite yet found even there it was inching into to the more expensive category.

There are just a few drams remaining in my last bottle and I’ve jealously guarded them… storing it now for several years.

Hakushu 18 year

Hakushu 18 year

The tasting notes

So… after such a long time, has my memory of this delightful whisky faded? Has the whisky itself stood the test of time despite its storage?

  • Nose: Vanilla sweet, fresh grass with just the lightest tickle of peat, it then warms into a deeper note of cherries, almost floral
  • Taste: More spice than I remembered, a delightful burn that reveals multiple elements – a hint of leather and smoke, perhaps plum too?
  • Finish: Even though the bottle was opened more than a year ago… the finish lingered… no harshness, a touch of smoke, a drop of honey, slightly nutty oaky elements emerged after a minute

Conclusion

My memories were of an exquisite nuanced whisky… one that had multiple elements and needed time to distill and describe the different notes and flavours. The fresh grass nose was more subdued than I remembered however it is no surprise to have dulled after being stored in an open bottle for so long.

Also, when I first tried the Hakushu 18, it was before I sampled Irish potstill whiskies. Sampling now, I’m reminded of Yellow Spot or Redbreast – both superb whiskies.

So is it still a favourite? Well… it would certainly remain in my recommended list however may not be a priority to replace when the last drop of this bottle is gone… more because of its current price point than preference.

Any other opinions? (aside from castigating me for storing whisky for so long!)

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