About Deep

Alco blogger, ex-lifestyle/F&B writer for The Star

A gastronomic trip with John Walker XR21

Many drinkers might be unaware but John Walker & Sons is a range of super premium whiskies that includes the exquisite XR21, which contains whiskies that are aged for a minimum of 21 years and drawn from extremely rare Johnnie Walker reserves.

XR21 organized a great dinner in Georgetown, Penang, to showcase the craftmanship of local cuisines and insights not just about the drink, but also the ingredients used in crafting the right dish to pair with, called XR21 Mastery. We were pampered alright.

20170904_161309

The balcony of my fancy-ass pad

The star of the show. the XR21

The dinner location was awesome – at the Khoo Kongsi. We were given a guided tour of the traditional association before the drinks started flowing

20170904_190803The three-course meal was created by Chef Spider Kong (am serious), owner of private dining restaurant Soul Food. Dessert was by Chef Jeffrey, the Head Pastry Chef at Metisser Dessert Parlour.

The delicious line-up consisted of Tiger Prawn Kerabu, Chicken Ravioli, and followed by a choice of Seared Barramundi or Tamarind Lamb..

Rajesh Joshi, who is the Marketing Director of Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia, says that ”This platform will be bringing flavours of traditional cuisines made with local ingredients across the nation to life, which will be paired with the XR21. The XR21 provides intriguing layers of surprising and delightful flavours.”

20170904_193554

Pre-dinner cocktails

20170904_212339

Long-distance entertainment. Haha

JW&S_XR 21 Mastery_Image B

Dining was on a performance stage

The dessert features the locally-famed Amra fruit, which can only be cultivated in the Tropics and is commonly produced into juice, pickles or used in salads. It was stuffed with chocolate mousse and was probably the most spectacular dish of the night!

You nailed it!

You nailed it buddy!

The Tamarind Lamb which i had is char-grilled, with polenta cake seasonal vegetable, confit cherry vine tomato and cooked with tamarind red wine au jus, which has a hint of acidity that balances the flavours of the rich and juicy lamb cutlets. Excellent stuff!

Score

Score

The XR 21 Mastery is a platform created exclusively for Malaysia which will feature local hidden gems and expertise in the culinary industry, as obviously our food is the world’s best.

Majestic aint it?

Majestic aint it?

The dinner in Georgetown showcased that, incorporating modern flavours into traditional cuisines of Penang. And the location and setting just made it all the more appropriate and outstanding.

The after-party was awesome at Mish Mash, Ben Ng‘s joint. Things got a little hazy during/after that; however the hotel was fortunately crawling-distance.

Brain damage: 8/10

Share

A great wine-tasting

I had a fantastic wine-tasting recently, which took place at Graze, Hilton KL. It’s very rare that i love all the wines at these sessions, but man, these were perfectly-selected.

The delicious award-winning Californian wines are under Treasury Wine Estates, and the session was guided by TWE Winemaking Ambassador Stuart Rusted.

The congregation

The congregation

We had several wines before and during lunch, starting with the Beringer Founder’s Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Refreshing & fruity in a citrusy way, soft, but rich as well. Clean grassy finish.

It’s for sure a superb wine, one that could easily challenge New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs. The grapes are from vineyards on the Central Coast mixed with those from the California Delta. I had to go for seconds. And thirds.

Come 'ere u!

Come ‘ere u!

It’s RRP is RM89, which is awesome value. Beringer has been producing since 1876 in Napa Valley.

After i got my late breakfast outta the way we had the Chardonnay. It was the Sterling Vineyards VC (RRP RM117). Again, the right amount of fruit, minimal dryness when it ends, and less oaky that the usual. A citrusy finish.

20170613_132406

Main course, NZ sirloin

A little tipsy by the time lunch was served. Food was awesome, as usual.

This was probably the first time i had a Cali merlot, the Stags Leap Napa Valley Merlot 2014 (279). Wine growers have faced a drought there for a decade, giving the grape richer flavours. As is typical of merlots, this one has a dry finish; however not the tongue-twisting dryness that usually puts me off merlot.

I’m more of a cabsauv kinda guy. We were served the Beaulieu Vineyards Cab Sauv 2015 (92). On my palate i got sweet berry. It’s also a little ‘leafy’, with tannin, but these are lighter flavours. Finish is velvety. Another excellent production.

BV_Asia CA CabSauv_750_nvThis was followed by an on-point Pinot, Sterling Vineyards VC Pinot Noir 2015 (117). It does a 10-month bid in American & French oak. The concentrated palate is rich with good depth and complex flavors of dark berries.

Dessert wasn't a dessert wine

Dessert wasn’t a dessert wine

For the finale, our glasses were blessed with the Beringer Private Reserve Cab Sauv 2012 (489). (ABV 14.9%)

The sifu for the day

The sifu for the day, kickin back

Their wines are near-perfect. Amazing stuff.

And understandably except for the Private Reserve, the prices are as enticing as the quality of these superb productions.

?

I’ll definitely get my hands on some these wines, and not necessarily for special occasions either. Sunday breakfast should do.

 

Brain damage: 8/10

Share

The new Guinness Bright

Yup, Guinness has a new product out. It’s exclusive to the Malaysian market and called Bright.

It’s a stout with coffee, ginger, and lemongrass extracts. (Am not kidding.)

GuinnessBrightLaunchKL-Bottle Shot-PhotobyAllIsAmazing (2)

Green

Tried it cold, from the bottle. Definitely not a typical nor a traditional stout. In fact it’s quite fruity in the mouth, with little to no bitterness. I thought it tasted like a fruit beer or a cider, with the additives not really overpowering. Carbonation is light and pleasant.

GuinnessBrightLaunchKL-Crowd Shot - Media & Trade Partners - PhotobyAllIsAmazing

Al fresco drinking..

It’s an easy-drinking stout, and it can go down quick. ABV is low at 4.5%.

Guinness Bright is available in 325ml bottles and 320ml cans. However i have yet to see it out there.
GuinnessBrightLaunchKL- HMB MT- PhotobyAllIsAmazing

Some of the brewery folk

It will complement the existing lineup of Guinness Draught and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, and will be a permanent addition to the range of brews on offer in Malaysia.

 Curious drinkers can who are in Trec can get a complimentary sample of the new brew at The Quad. Samples are limited to one per customer, from 9pm tonight (Fri).

?

This ale was developed in a partnership between brewers at Heineken Malaysia Berhad and Guinness’ Brewery in Dublin, and is not available anywhere else in the world. The RRP off-trade is RM8.80 / 9.50 per can / bottle.

Next up is mixing it up with some traditional Banting toddy then! Might go well together.

Sumtin like dat...

Sumtin like dat…

 

Brain damage: 7/10

Share

Whiskey – the Irish liquid

Yup, not many know that the exquisite spirit of whiskey was actually something that originated in Ireland. But the Irish are used to being screwed, so Scotland’s whiskey is now more well-known around the world.

Initially distillation was used by boring early humans to make perfumes, but they soon graduated to produce better stuff, thanks to ancient Celts whose monks brought the tech back to Ireland to produce uisgebeatha (water of life).

Not a bird..

Not a bird..

The first Irish record of drinking waay too much whiskey is that of a chieftain in 1405 “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” at Christmas. Yea, understandable. He OD-ed and died.

Till today, it’s the first written record of the existence of whiskey. Haha. Solid.

Anyway Kieran Crowe is a very-much alive Irishman who’s the brand ambassador of Jameson Irish Whiskey whom i met recently for a chat.

The Irish

The Irish

So what’s different about Irisch (i just made that up) vs say, Scotch? ”Well Scotch tends to be smokier. Irish whiskies are typically triple-distilled, makes it a little smoother. Also when we malt our barley, we don’t use peat to smoke ’em; we use heated air. That would be the main difference,” he says.

Cieran pretending to make a cocktail

Kieran pretending to make a cocktail

Irisch was bigger than Scotch for a very long time in fact. But a series of unfortunate events saw Scotch take over the number one position. “But over the last 25 years, Irish whiskey has gotten bigger and bigger, lead by Jameson.”

The unfortunate events include the Irish War of Independence and subsequent trade war with Britain which denied it access to Commonwealth markets.

Kieran says the worldwide revival began in a Brooklyn dive bar called Bushwick Country Club (not a country club), with affordable drinks and friendly staff. The bartenders there invented a shooter called the Pickleback. A shot of Jameson is chased by a shot of pickle brine. Gotta try it.

Owner John fixing a Pickleback

Owner John fixing a Pickleback

US is the largest market for Jameson, which takes half of their 5 million annual cases. Interestingly, 12 more distilleries are opening in Ireland over the next five years.

The second best-selling Irisch in the world is Bushmills, followed by Tullamore Dew. “Keep an eye out for Red Breast.” is his tip.

That's the delicious Scarlette O'Jameson, a cocktail with raspberries available at Locker & Loft

That’s the delicious Scarlette O’Jameson, a cocktail with among others raspberries, available at Locker & Loft only

How do the Irish drink Irisch? “Over rocks, with a little water. The younger ones drink it with ginger ale and lime.”  Ale & lime? That’s how i usually take rum!

I kinda enjoy Jameson Original. A good whiskey to be taken on it’s own, at anytime, and versatile in cocktails as well. It’s matured in a combo of ex-Bourbon barrels as well as Sherry casks.

Kieran leads a toast after the tasting session

Kieran leads a toast after the tasting session

Kieran also took a bunch of folk thru a whisky tasting, which went down at restaurant & cocktail bar Locker & Loft. Followed by shots of Jameson, like true Irish.

He however messed up big time and said ”Cheers”, but soon corrected himself – “Sláinte!!”

 

Brain damage: 7.5 / 10

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share