2016 Whisky Thank You…

Sampling whisky is an expensive habit and one most enjoyable when shared. Rather than brag about brilliant drams, talk about top tipples, I want to start 2017 by saying thank you for those who aided in ways big and small Whisky Lady adventures. Because of you, 2016 resulted in over 200 posts – unbelievable!

Above, Whisky Lady in India is a collective effort – a chronicle of tasting sessions – so thank you fellow Mumbai whisky club members:

  • Our original private group that meets religiously at least 8 times a year on the 3rd Thursday for nearly six years.
  • I’m so proud of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai – an amazing group of remarkable often unconventional ladies who forge unique paths in their lives… our monthly fellowship over a dram is something I look forward to!
  • And our Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen – you have introduced me not only to some mighty fine whiskies but the world of fine cigars. I still can’t believe I puffed up in smoke a $400 cigar?!

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Thank you also fellow bloggers and whisky aficionados:

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Two very specific thank yous:

  • Keshav – Friend and fellow spirits explorer, who turned an amateur interest into an avocation with The Vault Fine Spirits. I’m so proud of what you have accomplished!
  • Krishna – India’s very own Malt Maniac for generously sharing your insights and select rare samples from your collection… your dedication to the world whisky fabric is inspiring

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Thank you also distillery and industry well wishers who generously share their wares. Specifically:

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We also have global whisky mules who keep us supplied… sourcing interesting whiskies isn’t easy and many a different dram would never make it to our shores without you.

Above all, I would like to thank my partner. While he does not indulge in whisky, he indulges me – every day in small and big ways. Thank you.

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Feminist twist to whisky?

Around International Women’s Day there is suddenly an explosion of media hype (and advertising) aimed at and about women.

As if women around the world haven’t been doing remarkable things all along.

Which is where initiatives like SheThePeople.TV come in… calling itself a ‘storytelling platform for women’ sharing stories women from all walks of life.

They don’t need one day a year when they have 365 days…

ScotchAge

So what does this have to do with whisky?

A funny little pernicious perception that whisky isn’t a woman’s drink.

The first time I was interviewed for the mere combination of gender and alcohol preferences, I admit I thought it all rather absurd. After all, what’s the big deal?

That the little ladies in the corner should get wine or something ‘softer’??

I beg to differ.

I’m proud to be a woman whisky drinker.

And I have terrific company!

So when SheThePeople.TV asked for an interview? Thought what the heck! I’d be joining very impressive group of women of substance simply for sharing a common interest.

You can read it here: Interview – Whisky Lady in India, Carissa Hickling (Pssst – you may be asked to sign in as a ‘guest’ or ‘register’)

Whisky selection

There are even more fabulous blogs of women whisky drinkers out there to enjoy!

If you know more to add? Just let me know in the comments or [info @ everydayasia.com].

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies greet AnCnoc 12 + 22 year with Karen Walker

You thought we were done after a gin and three whiskies? Oooooh no! I did mention that this was the evening when our Whisky Ladies went pro?

The delightful Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group then introduced us to not one but two AcCnoc offerings!

AnCnoc 12 year (courtesy Inver House)

AnCnoc 12 year (courtesy Inver House)

All along in the evening, Karen shared insight into the personalities of each distillery manager. In the case of AnCnoc, she described both the whisky and manager as “dry, humorous, complex.”

Here is what our ladies found…

AnCnoc 12 year 40% year aka Modern Tradition

  • Nose – Soft, a drizzle of honey and citrus
  • Taste – Playful quality, sweet, some fruit, VERY easy to drink
  • Finish – Some found it quickly disappeared, others remarked there was indeed a warm soft finish, lingering yet subtle

Karen then unearthed a sample of the AnCnoc 22 year 46%!

  • Nose – Bursting with citrus, flowery, mild yet with complexity, dry, evolves into berries with a hint of talcum powder and a whisp of smoke
  • Taste – Quite sweet, a little ‘oily’ with coconut, some bananas… or oranges… or raisins… or all of them! Sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.
  • Finish – Ooooh! Lovely sweet berry finish, smokey with a hint of delicious sweet spices

This whisky sparked a slew of comments:

  • “It is so fresh! Yet at the same time so mature…”
  • “Incredibly well balanced and smooth… absolutely no rough edges.”
  • “Delightful!”
  • “Warms you, completely inoffensive”

We quite enjoyed our double hitter from Knockdhu Distillery. Quite the ‘finish’ to a rather sociable sampling evening for our Whisky Ladies with Karen.

It is remarkable anyone was still standing after sipping Caorunn gin, Balblair 03, Speyburn 10 year, Old Pulteney 12 year!

Slainthe!

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies meet Karen Walker – Old Pulteney 12 year

After the thoroughly delightful Caorunn Gin, Balblair 03 and Speyburn 10 year, up next in our sampling adventures with Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group was the swarthy sea-worthy Old Pulteney 12 year.

Old Pulteney 12 year (Inver House)

Old Pulteney 12 year (Inver House)

By this point, we couldn’t wait for Karen’s crazy whisky stories.

She began by sharing that Pulteney is one of the most northerly distilleries of Scotland and known as home to ‘gold and silver’ aka Scotch and herring. Picture this – a town with 7,000 migrant workers drinking 500 gallons of whisky A DAY… you do the math! And yes – that includes the women too.

Then moved on to the background to a picture of her with Prince Charles – yes THE Prince Charles of the royal family – that proudly graces Karen’s bathroom.

And the story? A potential PR disaster averted by an advance team that pointed out that with all the slats in the stairs within the distillery (remember – distillery fashion advice?), Charles could not go up the stairs with the press following… After all… the headlines the next day should be praising the unique character of the Old Pulteney distillery not speculating what the prince wears (or doesn’t beneath his kilt!).

Karen then went on to describe the character of the distillery, high up in the highlands, firmly retaining its fishing heritage.

Old Pulteney 12 year 40% – Gold n Silver from 3′ North of Moscow! 

So it is no surprise that the whisky character reflects is swarthy sea lashed heritage. Here is what our Whisky Ladies found:

  • Nose – So sweet, salty, caramel, cinnamon, ocean salt… could be… dare we say… a bit fishy??
  • Taste – Thick and smooth, woody, oily… “An orchestra in my mouth!”
  • Finish – Quite oily, no spice… “Did I just have my cod liver oil dose for the day?”

Some of our lasses are new to whiskies, so took note that Scottish whiskies list the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle. Even in a 12 year label, there may a few elements of much older whiskies.

Up next:

Related posts sampling with Stuart Harvey:

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies meet Karen Walker of Inver House

Now… I could tell you serious stories of sniffing, sipping, swishing, swilling, and eventually swallowing.

However this is the tale of how a bunch of women got together one evening and managed to still stand after five (or was it six?) fabulous beverages.

Some of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai

Karen with some of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai

Whisky Ladies go pro!

Yes… it was the night we graduated to power point presentations with insights from a real live whisky professional! Who just so happens to be the absolutely delightful, entertaining and highly knowledgeable Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group.

Here is what we sampled with Karen with full posts about the Whisky Ladies experiences:

Related posts sampling Inver House offerings with Master Distiller Stuart Harvey from earlier in 2015:

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Whisky Lady’s 2015

What a year!

While Whisky Lady started purely for my own indulgence, a few amazing things happened in 2015:

1980s whiskies

Malt Maniac’s 20th in Mumbai

2015 also brought some rather special events:

Sample setting

Amrut’s Jim Murray evening in Mumbai

Most popular whisky posts for the year were:

  1. Party Whisky – Amrut’s MaQintosh – I guess no one else has reviewed this??
  2. The Quandary of the KininVie 17 year – A quandary no more thanks to a sample!
  3. Glen Deveron 20 year – Infamous to us for being outclassed by a 3 year old Japanese whisky Chichibu ‘The Floor Malted’
  4. Mumbai Amrut and Jim Murray experience – Memorable but not for the reason they would want!
  5. Mystery Malt – Ichiro’s Malt Hou-oui – An exceptional blend of discontinued Japanese whiskies from Hanyu Distillery (12 & 20 year) and Kawasaki (30, 32 and 35 year)

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For me what stood out was:

WhiskyLady2015CountryViews

And who is tuning into Whisky Lady? The top 10 countries by views are:

  • No surprise that my adopted country India tops views by a wide margin!
  • US come up next followed by UKCanada & Singapore
  • I wonder who my German friends are?
  • For Australia, I suspect most views come from just two fabulous Tasmanian guys!
  • Finishing up is France, Hong Kong / China and Japan

I would also like to share a special ‘nod’ of thanks to fellow whisky bloggers for their comments and encouragement – particularly Malt Activist, Whisky DenWhisky Waffle, Whiskyriffic (with extra thanks for the KininVie sample!), Whiskey and Whisky.

Any whiskies stand out for you? Anything you would like to see more of here on Whisky Lady? Ideas? Recommendations? I still consider myself a novice in the world of whisky and welcome words of wisdom from fellow whisky explorers!

Most important – wishing you a very Happy New Year – may you drink a quality dram over quantity!

Airport offerings (Whisky Lady)

Airport offerings (Whisky Lady)

For more 2015 highlights, check out WordPress 2015 Annual Report or delve into the details shared in Everyday Asia’s monthly Whisky Lady summaries: December delightsNovember noveltiesOctober offeringsSulty SeptemberAwesome AugustJuly journeysJune joyMay merrimentApril adventuresMarch madnessFebruary funJanuary journal.

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Whisky Ladies Go Goan! Paul John Quintet

After our Whisky Ladies conquered a cask strength Diwali and then went on a mini ‘world tour’ in November, you might think we would go slow for December. After all – our collective livers need to survive the holiday season!!

What we decided instead is to go Goan.. in honour of a merry malt member abandoning Mumbai for SanFran. She, quite understandably, wanted to squeeze in every desi moment remaining. Naturally this was a perfect excuse to pull out the Paul John expressions, courtesy of master distiller Michael John.

Paul John is India’s “other” single malt whisky distillery found in South Goa. Since launching their first whisky to the world in 2013, they have been making their mark.

We were first introduced to Edited in a blind tasting early 2015. Then, Michael reached out with a generous offer to send our tasting group more expressions leading to a most enjoyable evening! After those bottles were gleefully polished off, came a new set with the brand new Bold expression added to tempt our Whisky Ladies…

Whisky Ladies Paul John Evening

Whisky Ladies Paul John Evening

Here is what the lasses thought!
  • Nose – Caramel, mango, papaya, jackfruit a whiff of ahem.. Formaldehyde, then a chocolatey flavour when ‘aggressively’ inhaled
  • Taste – Sweet with lots of caramel, buttery caramel popcorn, marzipan, a little malty too
  • Finish – Soft and easy… warming… a bit of black pepper, slightly bitter finish a la dark chocolate
  • Water – Better… much better
  • Comments“A step up from Blue Ribbon and Old Monk! Multiple steps…. Possibly full flights” “A good ‘intro’ whisky for new whisky ladies”
  • Nose – Bursting with fruit especially pineapple, more citrusy than Brilliance. Soft butter, a curl of peaty smoke playing peek-a-boo… a little cocoa, most of all… it is “Like breathing in pina colada!”
  • Taste – Hugely sweet rush, smoked pineapple with a hint of banana, has a bit more of a ‘manly’ kick, meatier and richer, some woodsy spices
  • Finish – Some found it unremarkable, others found a sweetish note with a hint of bitter, perhaps a dash of oak. One remarked “Better than most recent dates!”
  • Water – Much preferred with a few drops of water
  • Observations – Pairs well with food – especially cheese!
  • Nose – Back to being almost overly fruity! This time with a hint of floral elements, some lemon citrus sweetness, a bit of caramel, white pepper, with a good inhale – heavy vanilla, lots of white pepper and some sage
  • Taste – Sweet and a bit spicy if you take a serious swig, hold and let it linger. Nice warm burn.
  • Finish – A bit of a bitter aftertaste, yet still sweet – almost like cough syrup
  • Comment“It is making us nice and warm… but alas not hot.” 
  • Nose – Yum! Now we are talking! Delicious bacon jam, some pastrami, think procsutto and cantaloupe, with a caramel glaze
  • Taste – Hickory, smokey, warm and sweet, rich, a little rough with character – in a way that we like! Fabulous balance of peat and sweet, fruit and earthy elements. Again – yum!
  • Finish – Leaves its mark like a scratchy stubble burn…
  • Water – A little citrus orange high note peeps out then settles back into bacon goodness
  • Comment “It is like a really GOOD Canadian man – Bacon, maple syrup, lumberjack fantasies and ice hockey!”
  • Nose – Bergamont, light, restrained, not quite sweet, a sense of being a bit more sophisticated, with a little vanilla
  • Taste – Dare we say… after a name like BOLD  we expected the whisky to jump out at us, swaggering into our senses… instead it was… um… almost tame? Light, honey sweet, some citrus, a puff of smoke, lovely but a step back from the luscious Peated
  • Finish – Here was where we found peat – a lightly peaty finish with walnut. Some found it slightly bitter, others found it wasn’t bitter at all – particularly when compared with the bitterness of  the Edited finish.
  • Overall – Character of the whisky contrasts with the name. We realised afterwards, we should have tried it together with Brilliance after Edited, as part of the ‘Trio’ of entry level Single Malts vs the ‘Pair’ of cask strength whiskies. Particularly after the fabulous Peated, the Bold was a bit overshadowed. Me thinks this one needs to be re-sampled just on its own…

As you can see… the Peated was ‘dipped’ into again after our initial tasting. I do believe that is a rather obvious sign that we liked it rather a lot!

20151224_Paul John Quintet

Previous posts on Paul John:

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Whisky palate cleansers or palate pleasers?

With our original whisky tasting group, we are very strict about what can be served with our whiskies – just a few slices of cucumber and perhaps plain bread sticks or crackers – with plenty of water to rinse before we repeat our sampling process with the next whisky.

Palate Cleanser

However with our whisky ladies, we have a bit more fun with mixing and matching, blending sipping without accompaniment then experimenting with different delights like fruit, cheese and chocolate… perhaps a thali of chocolate delights?

goa-deserts

Both work – it just depends on whether your aim is an evening of the purest sampling or playing around with pairings.

Anyone have firm notions of what to accompany (or not) your whisky sipping adventures?

Related posts:

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Springbank Vintage 1996 55.8% Cask No 269

Springbank is a family owned distillery in Campbeltown. So far, I’ve had good experiences with whiskies from these folks.

  • A few years ago we sampled the delightful Springbank 18 year, paired with desert.
  • And long before I even imagined recording tasting notes, a Longrow had a most enjoyable peaty time in my whisky cabinet til the last drop was polished off!
  • During my last trip to Singapore, I enjoyed their Hazelburn 12 year and was sorely tempted to pick up the Hazelburn 8 year 1st bottling.

So when a Springbank was part of Canadian stash from my aunt and uncle? Let’s just say, I was looking forward…

Springbank Vintage 1996

Springbank Vintage 1996

Springbank Vintage 1996 55.8% Cask No 269

  • Colour – Amber
  • Nose – Rich, slightly medicinal, honeycomb, ripe plum, vanilla, toffee
  • Taste – Plums burst into chewy raisins, cereal, oily, a bit spicy, there is strength here, a toughness of character that is earthy, lots of dried fruits and a hint of cinnamon bark, meaty
  • Finish – Very different kind of bitter chocolate, burnt quality, leather… think dark chocolate covered raisins with a dusting of cinnamon, much longer than anticipated…
  • Water – Punches up the sweet quotient in the most delicious way! As expected, kicks up the spice too but then the chewy bark-like quality on the palate mellowed and gained a toffee element to cover the yummy dried fruits and berries
  • Overall – Bold and beautiful! This is no light spring dance or sunny summer romp, instead this whisky is bursting with the golden hues and blazing fire of autumn. In short – I want more!

Unfortunately I do not know what year this was bottled, however there enough going on here to warrant paying attention, regardless of age.

There also were no official tasting notes available, however I did find a few other folks with their observations about other 1996 vintages:

Can’t wait to dig in to the next one from the Canadian sampling stash…

Canadian stash

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Compass Box – Hedonism 43%

I seem to be on a bit of a Compass Box roll… til date have sampled: AsylaGreat King’s Cross Artist’s Blend and Glasgow Blend, Juveniles, Spice Tree, The Peat Monster… and now Hedonism.

This sample came compliments of the Canadian stash from my aunt and uncle – fellow whisky aficionados with their own whisky tasting group running for more than a decade.

Compass Box Hedonism (Whisky Lady's uncle)

Compass Box Hedonism (Whisky Lady’s uncle)

Hedonism 43% – Blended grain scotch whisky

And here goes my impressions:

  • Nose – Lots of coconut oil, light and perfumed, sweet vanilla flowers, subtle, over time a light white chocolate emerged, then an overly sweet marzipan
  • Taste – A slightly odd quality… not so much oak more like a ‘woody’ coconut, a bit herbal, very soft with a bitter edge, like faded cinnamon bark
  • Finish – Very dry, light yet somehow hangs in there, a curl of oak and something else I simply wasn’t able to pinpoint
  • Water – Adds a slightly spicy element, creamy, the pronounced coconut remains but a tinge subdued

Interestingly, we had the dregs of another bottle of Hedonism passed around at the end of our August Whisky Ladies session. It had been transferred into a small glass jar… and I found the coconut oil so predominant we actually speculated whether the container may have contaminated the sample.

Clearly it had not as this one from my aunt and uncle had that same quality.

In some ways, it reminded me of my first foray into the land of single grain whisky from Chita. Yet while the Chita is quite ‘technical’ in its soft, delicate, floral nature, Hedonism has more of an ‘edge,’ there is personality peaking through that coconut and a sense of age.

I wanted to love it as I do many Compass Box offerings. I was pre-disposed to find it delightful. It isn’t.

Yet it is intriguing. Unusual. Difficult to describe. Completely unique. And it grows on you… sip after sip…

Do I like it? After a bit of warming up and aligning to its special qualities… yes!

Would it be 1st priority for future purchasing? Perhaps not but it is absolutely worth trying if you get a chance.

For a bit more info, here’s what the folks at Compass Box say about Hedonism
  • Flavour Descriptors – Elegant flavours of vanilla cream, toffee, coconut.
  • Recommendations – As an aperitif, serve with a small amount of chilled water. Late in the evening, serve neat. Also makes a great whisky sour.
  • Distillery Sourcing – Will vary according to batch but typically whiskies from the following distilleries: Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Port Dundas or Dumbarton.
  • Wood – 100% first-fill American oak barrels or rejuvenated American oak Hogsheads.
  • Bottling Details – 43%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour.
And here’s what others say:
Canadian stash

Canadian stash…

Other Compass Box treats sampled:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on: