Benromach, a Speyside special

Speyside single malts like Glenlivet tend to be my favourites. Typically, they possess light, sweetish characteristics. Lunchtime whiskies. The older ones and those aged in sherry casks however are richer and more pronounced.
Benromach is a tiny distillery from this region, which was once closed for a long time. Then it reopened in 1998. Nothing is automated at Benromach. It’s 100% hand-made single malts.

All the action in this 'house'

All the action in this ‘house’

It’s the second smallest whisky distillery in Scotland. It’s such a small distillery that only a handful of guys run it.

Stills... mmmm..

Stills….  mmmm….  full of goodness

Speyside whiskies of past had small elements of smokiness in them. This feature is said to be the classic pre-1960s Speyside character.

Before the mid 1960s, these distilleries malted their own barley. Hidden away in remote glens, they’d top up their fires with cuts of local peat when coal was running low. These slices were enough to impart a touch of smoke in the region’s whisky.

Hmmm. I didn’t know that. I have always assumed Speyside whiskies traditionally have a light and non-smoky profile.
However, the ‘Speyside smoke’ ain’t nowhere like the Islay one (in your face). The smokiness is very light, and not very noticeable.

Ace

Ace

Met up with the Juliette Buchan of Benromach for an introductory session.

The Benromach 10 Years (43%) is a mix of aged whiskies with 80% from bourbon barrels, 20% from Sherry hogshead. Final year is spent in first-fill Oloroso casks. Its beautiful taste of sherry, fruit and vanilla gives way to a light pop of smoke, coming after that pleasant sweetness that Speysides are so sought for.

Loved it. This is Benromach’s flagship expression.
We also tried the 10 Year Old 100 proof (50% abv). Just as interesting, only stronger.

The teen

The teen

The longer maturation of the 15 Year Old (43%) softens its smokiness to hints of charred smoke, while developing the wood-imbued character of honey, vanilla and fruit. Very pleasant, but richer.
As a treat, we had some Benromach 35 Year Old (43%). This exquisite dram is a lot more complex after chillin for more than three decades in oak. It’s a sophisticated, delicate dram, with the right balance between fruity freshness and oaky maturity.

Classy

Classy

This tiny family-run distillery by the town of Forres produces some astounding stuff. Will plan to serve it at Locker & Loft, especially the 10.

 

Brain damage: 8/10

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Glenlivet releases Founder’s Reserve

The Glenlivet launched a permanent expression to the brand’s core range, Founder’s Reserve. The cool party was held at Leonardo’s in Bangsar’s Jln Bangkung.

Come 'ere!

Come ‘ere!     —

The Founder’s Reserve is simply put, a pleasanter or easier variation of the 12. It’s got  sweetness, with a round, balanced flavour, and delicate aromas of citrus fruit.

I’ve always liked the 12, and was disappointed to hear that it’s being discontinued, from most markets. However Malaysia is fortunate as the 12 will go on over here.

Lionel Lau intro-ing the new product

Lionel Lau intro-ing the new product     —

Boasting the classic fruity flavours of The Glenlivet, this expression is the brand’s tribute to its founder George Smith’s original vision to craft the definitive smooth single malt whisky.

It uses distilling methods used in 1824 (when the brand began), in unique, wide lantern-shaped copper stills created by Smith himself almost 200 years ago. Each bottle comes from about 100 different casks. Amazing.

launch-of-the-glenlivet-founders-reserve-15Master Distiller Alan Winchester has complemented the fruitiness of the Founder’s Reserve with the creaminess and sweetness from the addition of First Fill American oak casks. The result is a well-balanced and smooth whisky.

Lionel leading a yam seng..

Lionel leading a yam seng…     —

It’s a NAS (no age statement whisky) meaning it does not state the age of the whiskies that are in the bottle.

launch-of-the-glenlivet-founders-reserve-7

It won a Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2016, as well as a Gold Medal at The Spirits Masters 2015.

Interestingly, the Founder’s Reserve is priced in parity with the 12, which means you should be able to get it at the same price at selected bars where it’s carried.

Give it a shot.

launch-of-the-glenlivet-founders-reserve-6

Yea, there was haggis too! Was a no-brainer   —

Brain damage: 8.5/10

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Tea cocktails

A tea distributor, Exclusivitea, had an interesting event recently at 61 Monarchy, featuring drinks that also had tea in them, as well as  Fentimans Botanically Brewed sodas. The tea, Ronnefeldt, is from Germany, with at least a dozen styles and flavours available.

Good stuff

The cocktails were created by Shirmy.

Shirmy doing the tarik

Three cocktails were available, kicking off with Berries Wonderland – Tanqueray 10, Creme de Cacao, Shiso Leaves, simple syrup, lemon juice and Ronnefeldt Sweet Berries soda. A complicated mix of flavours, however a lil on the bitter-ish side for me.

Nicely presented

The Spices Breamble is an exciting drink. It’s made of vodka infused with Ronnefeldt Masala Chai, Creme de Cassis, fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, evaporated milk and simple syrup.

I loved it. An excellent mix with tinges of fruit, spice and cream coming together amazingly. The masala taste from the tea is just right. Tho i’d prefer a little less sweetness, most would find it fine.

Comes in two parts

 

Dunk milk into glass

The final drink is made of Monkey Shoulder, Cherry Heering, Sweet Vermouth, lemon juice, dry orange peel, Fentiman’s Mandarin & Seville Orange Jigger topped with Ronnefeldt Roiboos Orange foam, called T-Joy. I got a bitch-slap after the previous milky indulgence. This one is a zesty, strong surprise, with a finish of orange and whisky.

Boom

 

Jpeg

I have yet to try the teas on their own, but they seem to be good stuff, and doing a good job by experimenting with alcohols and such. Tea-related cocktails are are quite common, but this is a good effort by Exlcusivetea.

The cocktails cost RM40 each and are available till Dec 4 at 61 Monarchy.

 

Brain damage: 7/10

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Chivas Regal Extra introduced, in style

Chivas sure threw a party.The brand introduced its newest expression, Chivas Extra, at a cool party at a cool spot, the Glasshouse in Seputeh, KL

Chivas Extra is a rich, but easily-enjoyed-anytime Scotch. It’s a very different whisky from Chivas Regal, and it stands on its own from the other expressions.

2

It’s a collection of Chivas Brothers’ rare whiskies built on a foundation of malts that have been matured in a higher proportion of sherry casks. This process delivers a good depth of flavour. I liked it. It has a fruity, sweetish, nose and palate.

It was crafted by Chivas Regal Master Blender Colin Scott.

The launch party saw various activities like drinking, as well as a great set by Joey G, and varieties of whisky cocktails, and tasting sessions..

as well as grooming

… as well as grooming

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Lionel doing his thing, at a tasting session

A few of us were luckier than the rest though – the introduction to Chivas Extra took place a few weeks ahead. We were invited to a special event.

Starters

Starters

After a few Chivas cocktails which took place at Marble 8, it was dinner time, and this showed up –

Very nice

 

Yup, quite a stretch

Quite a stretch..

The ride had plush seats, and a bar. Great stuff.

We were taken to a very interesting dining experience, Dining In The Dark.

Classy

Delish stuff

It began with a pre-dinner drinks at the bar, before we, in a single file, held the shoulder of the person in front and were lead into complete darkness.

Going in..

Going in..

It was surreal eating and drinking and getting high in complete darkness. There was so much conversation going on, and i had no idea who i was talking to. Till later. Haha.

Chivas Extra’s ABV is 40%, and it’s available at whisky stores as well as certain F&B outlets.

 

Brain damage: 8.5/10

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