Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tasted #116: Black Bottle (#101drams)

When I started the #101dram Charitable Challenge in February 2013, I included a mix of rare, common, unusual, cheap, expensive, blended and single malt whiskies (and one or two white dogs as well). One that made its way onto the list, by virtue of being three of those things (unusual, blended, and cheap), was Black Bottle.

At the time, it was a blended whisky containing almost every Islay malt currently in existence. I'm told it's now no longer Islay-focused (an indication of the rising price / scarcity of aged Islay whisky perhaps?) Whatever the case, this post is about the older, Islay-focused blend, which comes in the still-style bottle.

At the time, it was about $44AUD from Vintage Cellars (seems they still stock it, for $52 now), so it was pretty easy to take a punt on a whole bottle (I figured worst-case scenario, I' use it for cocktails like smokey Blood & sands).

Turns out, it's not half-bad on its own.

Black Bottle (40% ABV, NAS, Scotland, $51.99AUD).
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Colour: Light honied gold.

Nose: Young and spirity, the peat smoke is there, but it's not huge like you might expect.

Palate: More peat smoke than the nose, but also potato bake and some residual honey notes which were very welcome. A quick look at the glass, and the complete lack of legs, suggests this isn't terribly old, nor high in ABV (it does feel a little thin on the palate, but it is only 40% ABV).

Finish: More peat smoke still, short and hot, with some asparagus notes and a slight hint of those sweet honey notes from the palate.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. Not likely to set the world on fire, but for the price, it certainly punches above its weight (how many decent Islay whiskies can you find in Australia, readily available, for ~$50AUD)? ...and hey, if you don't love it, it makes a mean smokey Blood & Sand.

Cheers,
Martin.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

This Week in Whisk(e)y #11

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week (or other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...


Lark Distillery wins national business award
Not all these news items are about new whiskies (or furoshikis - see below)....sometimes they're about celebrating the great work small independent distillers have done. Especially when one of those distillers is effectively the "founding father"of Whisky in Australia. I'm talking of course about Bill Lark, of Lark Distillery who was awarded the Small Business Award at the 2014 Telstra Business Awards in Melbourne earlier this month.


Will Irving, Group Managing Director of Telstra Business and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, said:
“Lark Distillery is a trail blazer that initiated the development of the Australian whisky industry and has now matured into a premium player on the international whisky stage.
Lark Distillery is the quintessential small family business success story. Starting with no plant, no finance and no customers, and needing to get the law changed to even start their business, Bill and Lyn Lark have been pivotal in founding whisky distilling in Australia. 
Their focus on high quality ingredients, authentic production methods, product innovation and the overall customer experience, has put Australian Whisky on the map as an internationally recognised success.”
Well deserved accolades indeed.


Suntory Whisky and Akira Isogawa celebrate the Art of Giving
Back in May we blogged about the excellent Launch of Suntory Whisky in Australia event at Sydney's Art Gallery of NSW. Good fortune found me standing next to the very friendly Akira Isogawa (renowned international fashion designer), who as we mentioned in the article, mentioned he was collaborating with Suntory on limited release packaging/scarves - details of which are now available.

To quote the press release:
Suntory Whisky has partnered with renowned Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa to celebrate the Art of Giving. The multi-award winning distillery has worked with Akira to create a limited edition traditional scarf used to wrap gifts, known in Japan as “furoshiki”, which was designed exclusively for the Suntory Whisky Australian range.
Having recently expanded its luxury offering in the Australian market, Suntory Whisky is launching this exclusive collaboration in time for Father’s Day and the Christmas season. The Japanese distiller celebrates the Art of Giving each year; a concept that centres on acknowledging the joy found in offering gifts to loved ones and the power of a thoughtfully chosen gift.
“The partnership between Suntory Whisky and Akira was a natural marriage; one of Australia’s best designers coming together with the leading Japanese whisky. We are aiming to celebrate quality craftsmanship and the importance of honouring those you love with a truly unique item,” said Suntory Australia managing director, Ian Atherton. 
“With our extended range of Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki whiskies now available in Australia, we see the luxury range as the perfect gift for those who appreciate fine spirits and the limited edition furoshiki as a beautiful finishing touch.” 
Like origami, furoshiki is considered an integral part of Japanese culture. For 2000 years, the furoshiki served as a special pouch to hold personal items. Today, the ancient custom has become fashionable in Japan as a beautiful eco-friendly, lasting wrapping for gifts.  
Just 300 of the ‘Akira for Suntory Whisky’ furoshiki have been produced. The limited edition scarves will be available in selected specialty retailers around Australia from August 2014 ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday 9 September. The furoshiki will be available as a gift with purchase to wrap one of the hero whiskies – Yamazaki 12 years old, Hakushu 12 years old or Hibiki 17 years old."
As if you needed an excuse to enjoy Yamazaki, Hakushu or Hibiki, but if you're looking for a unique Father's day gift, this could be one to consider. The furoshiki will be exclusively available as a gift with purchase in the following retailers from now:

New South Wales:
- Oak Barrel; www.oakbarrel.com.au
- World of Whisky; www.worldofwhisky.com.au

Queensland:
- Cru Bar + Cellar; www.crubar.com

Victoria:
- Nick’s Wine Merchants; www.nicks.com.au
- The Wigs Cellar; www.thewigscellar.com.au
- Sea Breeze Cellars; (03) 5987 0877

South Australia:
- Fassina Liquor Merchants; www.fassina.com.au
- Parafield Airport Liquor Store; www.palsliquor.com.au




Johnnie Walker Blue Label presents "The Gentleman's Wager"
OK, so this one didn't exactly "come to us" as a press release, but it is very cool, in a "that's completely unrealistic, but damn I wish that was me" way. Watch below:



Cheers, 
- Martin.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bar Review #11: Angel's Share (Hong Kong)

With the blog now having a joint focus on Hong Kong, a city famed for it's bars and nightlife, it would be remiss of us to not cover off the city's whisk(e)y bars (of which there are many*). A few weeks ago we wrote about about Quinary, a fantastic cocktail bar in the heart of Hong Kong, and now it's time to cover their whisky-focused sister venue Angel's Share, a short stroll away. Angel's Share came recommended to Steph and I personally by Bill Lark of Lark Distillery a few months earlier, so we knew it had to be good.

With a name like Angel's Share, you're probably thinking they might serve a dram or two...and you'd be right. Not limiting the selection solely to bottles of whisky however, the bar proudly displays their own full-size 210L cask of whisky, from which they serve drams using a stunning glass valinch. At the time of our visit, it was full of 1995 single cask The Glenlivet NCF at 49% ABV (guess what Martin ordered first up...)


If Quinary is located in the heart of Hong Kong's Central district, then Angel's Share is really located in the heart, located on Hollywood Rd, a stone's throw from the Mid-Levels Escalator. Thankfully though, it's a world apart from the many touristy / ex-pat bars in the area, almost like a second floor refuge, with enough whisky to last a lifetime.

I've always found it interesting that bars can boast 100+ whiskies, and when you look at the menu, you realise you've either:
  • Tried them all; or
  • Tried all the ones you want to try.
Thankfully that's not the case here, as Angel's Share boast a number of rare and unique whiskies, along with the usual favourites. In addition to the aforementioned The Glenlivet 1995 17yo ($180HKD, approx $25AUD), and the former single cask Highland Park 1997 14yo (which used to reside in a cask but now lives in glass due to dwindling supplies), the menu includes gems such as the port pipe finished Bowmore Voyage ($290HKD, approx $40AUD), 21yo Douglas Laing's OMC Rosebank 1990 ($280HKD, approx $39AUD), 12yo Douglas Laing's Provenance Craigellechie 1999 ($118HKD, approx $16AUD) and three bottlings from Ichiro's Malt "card series".

If those are a little extravagant, the menu has plenty of classics like Glenfarclas 105 cask strength ($118HKD, approx $16AUD), Balvenie 12 DoubleWood, Bowmore 12 and Laphroaig 10 (all $98HKD, approx $13.50AUD). Not bad considering Hong Kong's 100% tax on spirits.

The bar is a generous size for Hong Kong, with plenty of seating available both at the bar and in cosy booths overlooking Hollywood Rd. Staff and management were all very welcoming and friendly, and it seems like the sort of bar who regularly update their whisky selection, as we spotted a the recently-released Highland Park Freya on the bar.

For those who prefer their whisky mixed, the bar also offers plenty in the way of whisk(e)y cocktails, including some very interesting, tasty and uniquely Asian "Signature Old Fashioneds", like "Rittenhouse 100 proof rye sweetened with a refreshing touch of yuzu" and "Chinese dried logan infused Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, Okinawa black sugar replacing the traditional sugar cube". 

Angel's Share would be a great place to bring a group for drinks before or after dinner (or even during - they also serve food), but equally it's the sort of place you could drop in with your partner, or even solo. Welcoming, inviting, comfortable, and with a great whisky selection. We're sold! 


Cheers,
 - Steph & Martin.

*and many more reviews to follow.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

This Week in Whisk(e)y #10

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice. Sometimes we also hear of newsworthy items that don't necessarily come via a press release, but that we think you'll want to know regardless...

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week (or other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...

Oak Barrel Whisky Fair 2014 - tickets running out
In our opinion, this is the best whisky show in Australia. Held on 13th September, The Oak Barrel are again throwing open their doors to offer an afternoon of drams, many of which you'll likely never see at another Australian whisky show. So what's on offer? As well as many of the usual suspects, you can expect:
  • An exclusive single cask bottling of Glenfarclas, hand selected by George Grant
  • An exclusive  Sullivans Cove, finished in a 20L port cask
  • Ground breaking International and Australian micro distilleries including Koval, Belgrove, Mount Uncle and William McHenry
  • Fantastic array of Independent bottlings including Adelphi, Gordon & MacPhail and Berry Brothers & Rudd
Tickets (now limited to members only due to overwhelming demand) can be found here:
http://www.whiskyfair.com.au/


Old Pulteney Clipper Comemorative Bottling
We've tasted (and enjoyed) a few Old Pulteneys on the site before, and also referred to the Clipper Race in which Old Pulteney play a large part.

Some quick background:


"Old Pulteney – The Maritime Malt – celebrates the completion of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2014 by the crew of brave men and women on board a yacht named after the iconic Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The race started eleven months ago and saw the Old Pulteney rose of winds carried proudly to France, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, United States of America, Panama, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands and back to the starting point in London, UK."


So that's the race, but what of the whisky?
"To mark the occasion Old Pulteney will release a special commemorative bottling of its whisky. Old Pulteney Clipper will be made available in July 2014 at select retailers world-wide. The limited release will feature a Clipper Round the World Yacht Race -themed packaging and the whisky itself will be a classic expression of Old Pulteney, matured in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The whisky will be presented at its natural colour, non chill-filtered and at a premium strength of 46% ABV. Only 2,700 cases of this rare bottling will ever be released and the recommended retail price in the UK is £50. 
The appearance of the whisky is that of polished gold. On the nose the sweetness of dried fruits and crispiness of green apples is accompanied by notes of fresh vanilla and white chocolate. On the palate waves of honey and orange zest, a rounded oaky structure and an unmistakable coastal note set this fresh and elegant Old Pulteney apart. The finish is smooth and long-lasting."
No word on Australia releases or pricing, but a NCF, 46% ABV limited release for 50gbp isn't value at all (and it looks pretty impressive too). One to look out for perhaps if travelling through the UK.


island2island whiskies perform at Scotch Whisky Masters
On the topic of Old Pulteney, island2island, who distribute Old Pulteney (and other) brands in Australia have had an impressive run at the 2014 Scotch Whisky Masters, winning 6 awards across 5 categories, including "Master" award for Deanston Highland Single Malt 12yo and "Gold" for Ledaig Single Malt 10yo (which, from personal experience is a great drop) and Bunnahabhain 25yo (which whilst I haven't yet had the pleasure, I'm sure is also a great drop!)


Sullivans Cove Whisky Dinner in Sydney
No doubt still riding high from their amazing success of late, Tasmania's Tasmania Distillery are holding a special whisky dinner at Hilton Sydney's Glass Brasserie on Tuesday the 5th of August. Starting at 6:30pm, a 5-course degustation dinner will be served, hosted by Bert Cason, who will be flying up from the distillery in Tasmania especially for the event:
"The dinner features 5 courses, matched with Sullivans Cove's whiskies and single malt liqueurs, including the world's best single malt, Sullivans Cove French Oak. Tickets are 140pp. Please contact Therese Grasa therese.grasa@hilton.com"

Cheers, 
- Martin.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bar review #10: The Quinary (Hong Kong)

As mentioned a few days ago, Steph and I recently moved to Hong Kong. Having a solid 10 days off before starting work not only let us sort out all the fun admin stuff (IDs, bank accounts, etc, yawn) but also afforded us plenty of time for sight-seeing, and equally importantly, bar and restaurant exploring!

One of the bars that was high on my list of places to visit was Quinary, in the heart of Hong Kong's SOHO district. While Hong Kong has some incredible bars catering to all tastes and budgets, in the past cocktails have often taken a back seat to whisky and wine. Quinary's addition to the HK bar scene in 2012 was an attempt to bring quality, unique cocktails to appreciative audiences, with an added air of molecular inventiveness.

I knew we had to find a worthy replacement for our beloved Sydney cocktail bars (like Eau de Vie and Bulletin Place - relaxing bars with a focus on quality spirits, cocktails, creativity and banter), and had high hopes this could be it. We certainly weren't disappointed...


Arriving on a Monday night we found the bar lively but certainly not too busy. We found ourselves two seats at the bar (our preferred spot at any bar!) and started looking through the menu when Samuel, the bar's manager came over to say a friendly hello and talk us through the concept behind the bar. Samuel explained that Quinary is part of the Tastings Group, whose previous bars include a whisky bar called Angel's Share (review to follow, of course!) and a wine bar called Tastings. They've also recently added a fourth, gin-focused bar called Ori-Gin (which is also now high on our list of places to visit).

While the menu boasted a number of interesting cocktails, for me it was hard to go past the "Cinema Set" a short, sharp mix of caramel popcorn-infused rye whiskey, a dash of cola syrup, bitters, with an orange peel garnish, served alongside a small side of popcorn. Perfectly balanced, it could serve well as a cocktail to kick off the night (as it did for me) or to end the night (as it no doubt will on a future visit!)

Steph went for the bar's signature "Earl Grey Martini", with vodka, elderflower syrup, apple juice, Cointreau, lemon & lime and earl grey caviar pearls (fun to see being made right in front of us). A playful cocktail with a mix of foam, liquid and solid edible "pearls".

In a city with 100% tax on spirits (yes, feel my pain fellow Aussies. We also left 95% of our whisk(e)y collection in Australia due to customs limits!) the prices were quite reasonable and were about what you'd expect for a quality establishment making cocktails such as these. Most were in the $120-$150HKD ($17-$20AUD) range, which is no different to similar bars in Sydney/Melbourne.

So, we've found our "go to" cocktail bar, but what about a whisky bar? Stay tuned...review to follow this week.

Cheers, 
 - Martin.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

TimeforWhisky.com expands into Asia!

As some of our Twitter followers may have noticed, we've been posting a few tweets from Hong Kong over the last week. The reason for that is, life outside of whisky blogging (i.e. our day to day jobs) has given Steph and I the opportunity to move to Hong Kong, and we've taken that opportunity. Permanently!

That doesn't mean TimeforWhisky is going anywhere mind you. Quite the opposite. As well as continuing to cover Australian events, bars, releases, news and tasting notes (more on that below), we're now going to start covering the same in Hong Kong (and broader Asia) too.

When we started this blog (just under) 2 years ago, it was as a hobby to take our love of whisky, and share it with a broader audience. Fast forward two years and we feel we've done that, and built up a great following in the process. Just as importantly though, we've met a fantastic group of people (bloggers, brand ambassadors, hospo folk, PR peeps and whisky fans in general) and have made some great mates. While we're sad to leave this "behind" (I use that term loosely - between Twitter, Facebook and e-mail the whisky community is always connected!) we're excited to grow the same in Asia, which as many of you would know is an incredibly fast-growing region for whisky consumption and (more importantly) appreciation.

So, where does that leave the Australian side of the blog? Enter Hendy - passionate about whisky, already a part-time blogger, and very handy with a camera. Here's Hendy brief self-intro:

"Hendy is a late bloomer in the whisky and whisk(e)y world. Upon being served a dram of Aberlour A'bunadh (still a favourite) in 2009, he hasn't looked back. A risk-averse technologist by day and whisk(e)y lover by night, he now enjoys everything whisk(e)y. From the peaty, medicinal Laphroaig to the everyday all rounder Dalwhinnie, he has learnt to appreciate the spectrum. Over the past few years, he has progressively enjoyed different whisk(e)y varieties from abroad as well as locally and is now all too excited about all things whisk(e)y."

So, expect the same Australian coverage, tasting notes, events and posts that you're used to - just expect them to also now come from Asia too! Steph and I have only been here for a week and have already scoped out a few great whisky bars (including one with an amazing selection of Japanese whiskies and another with their own full-sized cask of Glenlivet(!) - reviews to follow soon, so I think we (and by extension, readers of this blog) are in for a whisky adventure!

Until then, Sláinte.

- Steph & Martin.
One of the very few bottles we brought with us
due to the 1L per person Customs limit.
Australia represent!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tullamore D.E.W tasting at The Potting Shed with John Quinn, Global Brand Ambassador (Tasted #109 - #115)


The event, held at the brilliant Grounds of Alexandria (in the intimate "Lock-in" bar within the recently opened Potting Shed) saw a small number of Irish whiskey fans, whisk(e)y bloggers, PR and lifestyle bloggers gather to deconstruct the various elements of Tullamore D.E.W, and hear more about the whiskey, and its new distillery due to start production in September. 

As some readers may have seen a few weeks ago (especially those on Twitter), we recently advertised a competition (run by and in conjunction with Tullamore D.E.W) to win two tickets to an afternoon of tasting with Tullamore D.E.W's global brand ambassador, John Quinn.
 

I have to say the "Lock-in" was one of the most photogenic venues I've had the pleasure of attending. Perfectly suited to an event like this, and with stunning whisky/spirits paraphernalia at every turn. If you ever get the chance to attend and event here, do (or just go for a drink when it's open to the public). Small and intimate, but a stunning venue.

All the photographing made for thirsty work though (as it often does...) and refreshments were never far away - starting with a "Moondance" cocktail (by Pasan Wijesena of Newtown's Earl's Juke Joint), a blend of Tullamore D.E.W whiskey, Green and Yellow Chartreuse, St Germain Elderflower liquer, fresh lemon juice and peach bitters. Tasty and refreshing - perfect for a mild winter day.



After cocktails were drunk and photos were taken, it was time to get down to the business of Irish whiskey tasting, and we only needed to glance at the tasting mat to realise we had just a few to get through (7 to be exact...). John, a genuinely nice, affable bloke, started by giving us a history of the distillery (named with a unique combination of the town it was first built in and the founder's initials - Mr Daniel E. Williams), his own history within it (including 40+ years within the broader Irish whiskey industry), and took us right up to the current ownership by William Grant & Sons and plans for the new distillery (for which John has a clear passion).

John also explained the various components that make up Tullamore D.E.W (being of course a blend), and then we tucked into a tasting of each:

Tullamore D.E.W Original (40% ABV, NAS, Ireland, $44AUD)
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Triple-distilled (like a lot, but not all Irish whiskey), with a makeup of 60-70% grain (corn).
Nose: Light, fruity - apples, with some spice.
Palate: Still light, toasty, almonds and apples.
Finish: Short, nutty (those almonds from the palate), with a final hint of spice at the end.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100.

Tullamore D.E.W Grain component - Middleton Distillery (71% ABV, ~4yo, Cork, Ireland, not available for sale)
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Colour: Light straw - Chardonnay.
Nose: Grapes and Ribena (cue instant memories of drinking this stuff as a kid!)
Palate: Spirity, still grapes, almost with a hint of Raki. Some molasses.
Finish: Long, boiled lollies and more molasses. Reminded me of an O.P rum, though not Bundy!
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 86/100.

Tullamore D.E.W Malt component - Old Bushmills Distillery (61% ABV, ~5.5yo, County Antrim, Ireland, not available for sale)
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Colour: Dull golden
Nose: Tropical fruits, Juicyfruit, peaches.
Palate: Reminded me instantly of a Balvenie 12yo, but more malty and a bit harsher.
Finish: Long and malty, sweet vanilla. Tannic at the end.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100.

Tullamore D.E.W Pot Still component - Middleton Distillery (~60% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland, not available for sale)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Distilled from a mashbill mixture of both malted and unmalted ("green") barley.
Colour: Light honey.
Nose: Spirity but also creamy.
Palate: Big (felt bigger in ABV than the previous two), spirity and creamy. Whipped cream and custard.
Finish: Long, with cinnamon spice at the end.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 87/100. This seemed to be a crowd favourite but I much preferred the malt component.

Tullamore D.E.W 10yo Single Malt (40% ABV, 10yo, Ireland, approx $84AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Double-distilled at the Cooley distillery and finished in four different types of casks (old bourbon, dry Oloroso sherry, port and madeira) after spending 8.5 years in ex-Bourbon casks.
Colour: Deep orange copper
Nose: Tropical fruits, pineapple and white peaches.
Palate: Light, still tropical fruits, but primarily overripe bananas.
Finish: Medium to long, sultanas and Christmas pudding (very little of the tropical notes on the nose and palate)!
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100.

Tullamore D.E.W 12yo Special Reserve (40% ABV, 12yo, Ireland, $67AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comprising 55% pot-still whiskey.
Colour: Dull gold.
Nose: Creamy, fruity.
Palate: Fruit compote - stewed fruits (apples, apricots) covered in cream. Some honey, spice and hazelnuts too.
Finish: Medium to long, nutty.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Tullamore D.E.W Phoenix (55% ABV, NAS (<10yo), Ireland, approx $67AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Named after a hot air balloon disaster which saw a third of Tullamore destroyed in 1785, and the subsequent rebuilding (both physically and spiritually) of the town, including the building of the distillery itself in 1829.
Colour: Dark copper (the pot still component is finished in ex-Sherry casks)
Nose: Christmas pudding.
Palate: Cherries, Christmas pudding, raisins, berries.
Finish: Long, creamy. Dark chocolate.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100.

With all that whiskey on tasting, it was only responsible for food to be served, and the event didn't disappoint, with matched canapés for each course, including seared scallops, slow-roasted quail breast (a great match with the 12yo, probably due to the Tullamore and balsamic dressing!), beef Duxcelle and bread & butter pudding.

William Grant & Sons have run these deconstructed tastings in Sydney before (focusing on Glenfiddich), and it's not hard to see why. They're unique, interesting, and give people a fascinating insight into the various components that actually go into making the whiskies they drink. I personally would love to see more brands running these types of tastings.

A big thanks is due to Tullamore D.E.W/William Grant & Sons, and Weber Shandwick for another fantastic event.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

PS: If you do pay a visit to the Grounds, make sure you drop in on "Fluffy" to say hi!


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tasted #108: Smoked Bacon Bourbon by The Experimental Spirits Company

Readers of this blog may know that Steph and I are big fans of Sydney (and Melbourne) bars Eau de Vie and the impact that owner Sven Almenning has had on the Australian drinks industry. After years running Australia's largest Bar consultancy outfit, in addition to setting up "3.5" incredible bars (Eau de Vie Sydney, Eau de Vie Melbourne, The Roosevelt and the new Eau de Vie Apothecary), Sven branched out into the packaged drinks market with a range of bottle cocktails (which we featured here), available from Vintage Cellars (if you haven't tried the Cold Drip Negroni, based on the Cup o' Camilio from Eau de Vie's menu, I highly recommend it!)

Not one to stand still, Sven has now launched "The Experimental Spirits Company", with plans to release a range of...well, experimental spirits. 

First up will be the "Smoked Bacon Bourbon", which "Dr" Phil Gandevia (the creation's "chef") gave us a little taste of on a recent visit to the Apothecary. Having made my own bacon Bourbon a few years ago (which was OK, nothing special) I was interested to hear they use a whole 350gm of bacon per bottle and an onerous filtration process to ensure the product is both unique and tasty, but also fit for sale. This is hand-made (right in Sydney), small-batch stuff, but it ain't no home kitchen job. These guys are pros.

The bars use it in a range of cocktails, and of course it's perfect for making your own "Benton's Old Fashioned" (if you've never tried one, Google PDT Benton's Old Fashioned recipe and thank me later), but how does it taste neat? Well, a little something like this...


The Experimental Spirits Company Smoked Bacon Bourbon (40% ABV, NAS, USA, $70-80AUD)
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Nose: Sweet maple syrup. Salty, but with all the hallmarks of a good, smooth sipping bourbon. Big vanilla notes to complement the maple syrup notes, and no clash with the saltiness.

Palate: Very sweet, very dry. Chewy, meaty, and really very smooth. Not as much salt as the nose, but enough to distinguish this from a regular Bourbon, without a doubt. Phil wouldn't give up the name of the distillery producing the Bourbon, but it's clearly a quality base product.

Finish: Short, with a beautiful mix of sweet and salty.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. Great neat, great on ice, and no doubt fantastic in a number of cocktails.


Sound good? You bloody bet. If you want one, you'll need to head over to Pozible where The Experimental Spirits Company are seeking funding to procure the equipment required to continue to produce this fine liquid, and ultimately achieve their goal of national distribution both on and off-premise:

http://www.pozible.com/project/183200

A worthy investment in our opinion, and one we've already funded.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

Friday, 27 June 2014

SMWS Tasting (March 2014) (Tasted #105 - #107)

A few months ago I attended the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia's "Whisky Tasting Extravaganza", held in the usual Royal Automobile Club location.

Calling it the "biggest SMWS tasting ever" certainly wasn't an exaggeration, as the stand-up, tasting station format saw guests handed a "passport" with 12 stamps, to be filled up in two hours (if so desired).

12 whisky tastes. 2 hours.

Considering the tastes were (or at least seemed) to be ~15mL pours, and the whiskies in question were all SMWS (and hence cask strength) drams (typically in the 50-60% ABV range, but often above, with one rum reaching a heady 75% ABV), it's fair to say this wasn't an easy feat. I only managed 11...

These are my tasting notes for 3 of the drams on offer (I realised after 3 that if I took notes for each one, I'd barely get through 6 before the session ended!)


SMWS 132.5 "Sweet and darkly beguiling" (Karuizawa) (58.6% ABV, 14yo, Japan, $398AUD)
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Nose: Rich, sweet, Demerara sugar and breakfast cereal.
Palate: Syrupy, chewy even! Hint of smoke, and boiled lollies.
Finish: Long, dusky, rich sugar notes.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100.

SMWS 28.24 "Curiouser and curiouser" (Tullibardine) (52.2% ABV, 23yo, Highlands, Scotland, $319AUD)
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Nose: Malty, earthy, grassy, with an undertone of sweetness.
Palate: Malty, rich, earthy. A world apart from the previous dram.
Finish: Long, sweet, tannic towards the end, with a mouth-drying finish.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100.

SMWS 21.27 "An enticement of sweet oak" (Glenglassaugh) (58.6% ABV, 39yo, Speyside, Scotland, $735AUD)
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Nose: Tropic fruits, sherbert. Not what you;d expect of a 39yo whisky.
Palate: Light and fruity! Again, strange for a whisky of this age. Slightly earthy notes.
Finish: Long, incredibly smooth, with some residual smoke towards the end (though very light).
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Incredible simply for how its character compares with its age.


While I do think 12 cask strength drams was a little too many (not that we were forced, mind you), I enjoyed this format, and look forward to seeing this more casual setup mixed in with the more formal SMWS tastings throughout the year.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

This Week in Whisk(e)y #9

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week (or other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...

Old Pulteney Launches Limited Edition 35 Year Old Single Malt
We've featured Old Pulteney on the blog before, having tried (and enjoyed) the 12 and 17yo releases. The 21yo also features in the #101drams list (tasted but not yet posted), as does the 40yo (sadly still an outstanding dram on the list).


Old Pulteney have now added another whisky to the lineup, with the release of a (very limited) 35yo single malt. Only 450 cases will be released, with a retail price of £500 per bottle in the UK. Just 6 bottles will be making their way to Australia, with an RRP over $900AUD. Contact island2island for further details.

To quote the press release:
"The embodiment of Pulteney Distillery’s exceptional craftsmanship, this new expression is matured in American ex-bourbon and Spanish ex-sherry casks which have been expertly hand selected by Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring. Each striking 700ml bottle is non-chill filtered at 42.5% ABV. On the palate this full bodied expression is sweet and spicy to start then quickly develops a range of signature Old Pulteney flavours from honey, rum soaked raisins and oranges to the heavier notes of seasoned leather, pralines and a touch of the salty North Sea air. A truly indulgent, perfectly balanced whisky, it has a long slow finish and is light amber in colour."



The Glenrothes Vintage 2001 Australian release
As many malt fans know, The Glenrothes are well known for their extensive "Vintage" range of whiskies, especially since their 1994 move from being primarily a "blenders'" whisky to producing their own single malt. The 2001 is the latest Vintage in the lineup, bottled in 2012 (whilst it doesn't carry an age statement, the distillation and bottling dates make it 11 years old). 

Described by Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes Brand Heritage Director as "Deliciously creamy citrus wrapped tightly in the softness of aged oak. Complete and complex integrity in a glass" and having a flavour profile heavier on the vanilla, spice, fruit side of things, the new vintage retails for $105AUD and will be widely available in Australia from mid-July.


"Smoked Meats and Whisky" at the Eastern, Bondi Junction
On Thursday 10th July, 7pm, at Good Time Diner at The Eastern Hotel, guests will enjoy an entertaining dinner full of smoked meats, 5 bourbons and 5 strapping whisky's as 2 guest ambassadors from South Trade go head to head in the pursuit to be the all time favourite tipple.

Menu:

  • Flight of 5 Bourbons & 5 Scotch whiskies
  • Spiced Smoked Chicken Wings
  • Smoked Black Pepper Pork Belly, Enzo Salumi, Smoked cheese, Gherkin & Smoked Nuts
  • 18hr Smoked Greenstone Beef Short Ribs
  • 18hr Smoked Pulled Berkshire Pork Shoulder
  • Cous Cous, Chickpea, Pine nut & Roast pumpkin Salad
  • Decadent Double Dark Chocolate Tart

Whiskies:
Bourbons: 

  • Buffalo Trace
  • Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
  • Elmer T Lee
  • Thomas H Handy
  • George T Stagg

Single Malt Bruichladdichs:

  • Laddie Classic
  • Islay Barley
  • The Organic
  • Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
  • Octomore 6.1

When: Thursday 10th July,  7PM
Location: Level 1, GoodTime Diner, The Eastern Hotel, Bondi Junction
Tickets: $65

For all bookings please call (02) 9387 7828 or email functions@theeastern.com.au


Cheers, 
- Martin.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Tasted #104: Brora 2009 30yo Original Bottling 8th release (#101drams)

As anyone who lives in Australia knows, us Aussies can pay heavily for our whisky. Blame it on the tax man, blame it on the exchange rate, blame it on our distance from anywhere else, blame it on whatever you like (mostly the tax man)...it's true.

That's not to say we don't have the occasional win, mind you (and we generally pay less for our own, local whiskies than the UK), but on the whole...we pay exorbitantly for whisky and high-ABV spirits in this country.

Partly due to this, and partly just to try as many whiskies as possible, a few of us have taken to sharing sample drams, to try weird, wonderful and sometime downright expensive drams, without having to shell out the money for a full bottle.

That's where this little beauty comes in. Brora, mothballed in 1983, and now the stuff of legend. Not quite "Port Ellen level" legend, but not far off. In fact Diageo's most expensive release to date is a Brora (not this one though). After sharing whisky lists a few months ago, Cooper of Australian blog singlema.lt and myself decided to swap a few drams, and I ended up with this 30yo Brora.

Bottled in 2009, this OB release from Diageo still weighs in at 53.2% (cask strength). OB? Yep, so that's one hard to find OB Diageo release ticked off the #101drams list. Now to find the other...

Brora 2009 30yo (Original Bottling, 52.2% ABV / 30yo / Highlands, Scotland / $560AUD when it was available / 2,652 bottles produced)
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Colour: Honey. From a refill cask? Light in colour for a cask strength whisky.
Nose: Subdued smoke, tropic fruits - pineapple, apricot. Some slight musty notes.
Palate: Very subdued smoke, oily. Smooth and somewhat light (would have guessed ~46% ABV). Ash, sweet, vanilla essence.
Finish: Salt, smoke, sweet toffee. All three balanced brilliantly.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 95/100. No two ways about it - a stunning dram.


Thanks again to Cooper from singlema.lt for this stunning dram and fantastic opportunity.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

Friday, 20 June 2014

WIN TICKETS to an afternoon of Irish Whiskey “Tasting & Toasting” with Tullamore D.E.W’s Global Brand Ambassador John Quinn


TimeforWhisky.com has partnered with Irish distillery Tullamore D.E.W who are offering one reader the chance to win 2 x tickets to an afternoon of Irish whiskey tasting with Irish whiskey expert (and Tullamore D.E.W’s Global Brand Ambassador) John Quinn, who’s currently visiting Australia from the distillery in Ireland. The prize also includes 2 x bottles of Tullamore D.E.W Irish Whiskey. The competition is open to all Australian residents, though the winner must make their own way to/from the venue in Sydney.

The tasting, to be held at Sydney's The Potting Shed (within the Grounds of Alexandria) on Friday 27th June at 4:30pm will see guests tasting a number of Tullamore D.E.W whiskies, including those unavailable in Australia such as the Cask Strength “Phoenix" and highly acclaimed four cask 10 Year Old Single Malt. From our own tasting a few months ago, the Cask Strength “Phoenix” is a fantastic dram, and we personally can’t wait to try the single malt. This won’t be any normal tasting, however, as the tasting will see John “deconstruct” Tullamore D.E.W into its key three elements - Pot Still Whiskey, Malt Whiskey and Grain Whiskey, tasting whiskey direct from distillery stocks! The tasting will also include an opportunity to create your own unique Tullamore D.E.W from these elements.

The Irish pride themselves on a good toast, they toast to love, to honour, to good health and a full life. It’s all a part of their nation’s lilt for language, an art form tinged with that famous Irish wit and master of the verbal. In Irish True style, John will offer up a traditional Irish Toast to accompany each of the 4 Tullamore D.E.W whiskies on tasting.

In addition to soaking up John’s immense knowledge, unique sense of humour, wit and passion for whisky/whiskey the winner and guest will have the chance to ask John anything they wish to know about whisky/whiskey and leave with a better understanding of how to taste and appreciate Irish whiskey.

John's visit also marks the announcement of a new Irish whiskey distillery in Tullamore, Co Offaly.  Due to start production in September 2014, the distillery will bring Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey production back to its roots, in the heart of Ireland for the first time in 60 years.

Enter the competition for a chance to join TimeforWhisky at this unique tasting event by following the simple instructions below. Hope to see you there!

How to enter:
You can enter via one of two ways:
  1. Simply post a tweet, making sure you include include @TimeforWhisky and the hashtag #TullamoreDEWComp, explaining what Irish whiskey means to you
  2. Post a comment on this blog entry, explaining what Irish whiskey means to you
It could be one word or you could write an essay - be as creative as you like, but you only have until 11:59pm AEDST on Tuesday 24th June 2014, so get in quick! The winner will be selected by Tullamore D.E.W, and the competition is subject to the Terms and Conditions below.

Cheers, 
 - Steph & Martin.


Terms and Conditions

1.      Information on how to enter & prizes form part of these terms & conditions. Any entry not complying with these terms and conditions is invalid.

2.      Entry is open to all residents from Sydney, Australia. Entrants must be 18 years or over (“Eligible Entrant”) and the winner must provide proof of age to confirm that they are 18 years of age or over. Employees of the Promoter, the Promoter’s associated companies, the Promoter’s agencies associated with this competition and their immediate families are ineligible to enter.

3.      The promotion starts at 12:01am Friday 20th June 2014 & closes at 11:59pm AEDST on Tuesday 24th June 2014 (“Promotion Period”).

4.      To enter, follow these steps:
You can enter via one of two ways:
Simply post a tweet, making sure you include include @TimeforWhisky and the hashtag #TullamoreDEWComp, explaining what Irish whiskey means to you
Post a comment on this blog entry, explaining what Irish whiskey means to you

5.       Entry is limited to no more than once per calendar day. Every entry made by the Eligible Entrant during the Competition Period must be different.

6.      This competition is a game of skill and chance plays no part in determining the identity of the prize-winner. Every valid entry received will be judged on its merit. The judge will award the prize to entry it judges to be the best.

7.      The prize is valued up to $800 recommended retail price (“RRP”) and includes: two tickets to an afternoon of tasting and toasting with Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey and two bottles of Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey

8.      The prize event will be held on the 27th June 2014 at 4:30 PM to 6:30PM. The tasting date cannot be changed, and the winner must be able to attend on this date in order to accept the prize.

9.       Judging will be completed at the Promoter’s Agency at 32 Grosvenor Place, The Rocks, NSW 2000, by 5pm Wednesday 25th June 2014

10.   The winner will be notified via telephone call and / or writing within 24 hours of the prize draw via phone and / or email

11.     Prize values are correct at time of publishing blog post but no responsibility is accepted for any variation in the value of the prize. Any additional costs outside the event tasting are the responsibility of the winner. Additional costs might include travel, accommodation and any meal outside of the tasting event.

12.    The Promoter's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

13.    If any prize remains unclaimed by 12:00PM AEST on Thursday 26th June 2014, despite the Promoter’s best efforts to contact any prize winner, then subject to any written directions given by a relevant lotteries or gaming authority the Promoter may conduct an unclaimed prize draw at the same time and place as the original draw on that date to award an unclaimed prize. The first valid entry drawn will win the prize of the highest value and the prize draw will continue until all unclaimed prizes have been awarded. The name and postcode of any winner of such a draw will appear at www.timeforwhisky.com

14.    Each entry becomes the property of the Promoter.

15.    Subject to the approval process required by any relevant gaming or lotteries authority, in the event that any prize item is unavailable despite the Promoter’s reasonable endeavours to procure, the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a different prize item of equal or greater value.

16.    If for any reason this Promotion is not capable of running as planned, whether caused by infection by computer virus, mobile phone failure, line drop out, bugs, tampering, unauthorised intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other cause beyond the control of the Promoter which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or integrity of the Promotion, the Promoter reserves the right in its sole discretion, (subject to any written direction given by a relevant Regulatory Authority), to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Promotion. The Promoter may in its sole discretion disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process.

17.    The Promoter is Tullamore DEW ABN: 59 142 683 145 trading as William Grant & Sons of Level 21, Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tasted #103: Laphroaig new make spirit (#101drams)

As the only dram on my #101drams list that technically isn't a whisky, I wasn't convinced an Islay new make would be easy to find. I'd tried Glenfiddich and Woodford Reserve new make (and Jack Daniels Unaged Rye), but wasn't sure where to go about finding one from Islay.

Luckily Andrew Derbidge (whisky oracle, SMWS Australia Cellarmaster & NSW Director, all round nice guy and now whisky blogger) had a sample of Laphroaig new make he was willing to share. Thanks Andrew!

Laphroaig New Make (67.5% ABV/ unaged / Islay, Scotland / not commercially available)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colour: Crystal clear (surprise surprise!)
Nose: Freshly baked bread, tyres, ethanol, ash.
Palate: Rich and oily, and hot, but smooth. Peaty but not overpowering. Boiled lollies. No iodine or sea air notes - they obviously develop with time (time spent aging near the sea, obviously!)
Finish: Long, hot and dry. Smoky - not dissimilar in lingering peat smoke to the 10yo.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. Surprisingly drinkable.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Glengoyne 25yo Australian launch lunch (Tasted #96 - #102)

A few weeks ago I was asked if I'd like to attend the Australian launch of Glengoyne's latest 25yo expression, at a lunch to be held at Glenguin Estate winery in NSW's Hunter Valley. The 25yo was to be joined in a tasting by the full Glengoyne lineup, presented by Jonathan Scott (Glengoyne's Brand Ambassador) who had made the trip out from Scotland.

Not really a question you say "no" to, is it?

So on a sunny Thursday last week, a small group of whisky fans, media and PR folk boarded a coach bound for Glenguin Estate.

A few hours later we arrived at the picturesque winery, where we pottered around, cameras in hand, capturing photos of the estate and scenery (and one winery dog) while enjoying a few delicious canapés.


I have to admit when I first read the invite, I assumed the Glengoyne / Glenguin connection was by name only, and that DEC PR had found the venue, which just happened to offer a great backdrop, space and food.

Not so.

Turns out the Glenguin / Glengoyne connection goes back to the late 1800s, and in fact "Glengoyne" distillery was known as "Glenguin" until 1908. The full story can be found on the Glengoyne website here, but in short sees a family connection between the two entities that still exists today, and was celebrated in 2010 with the release of a 16yo Glengoyne finished in Glenguin Shiraz casks (20 of which were shipped from Australia to Dumgoyne, where Glengoyne is located just North of Glasgow). Sadly the above bottle sleeve is all that remains of the whisky (at Glenguin, at least) though we're told it was a trademark Glengoyne with berry hints and a very dry, tannic finish as you'd expect from a red wine finished whisky.

After introductions to the friendly chaps from Glenguin, and of course Jonathan from Glengoyne, it was time to taste the Glengoyne lineup:
  • Glengoyne 10yo
  • Glengoyne 12yo
  • Glengoyne 15yo
  • Glengoyne 18yo
  • Glengoyne 21yo
  • Glengoyne Cask Strength
  • Glengoyne 25yo

(Just your average Thursday lunch, right?)


After taking our seats (and yes, a few comments were made about the tasting tumblers - though Jonathan from The Whisky Ledger took it upon himself to find us proper tasting glasses for the 25yo) Jonathan (the Scottish one) talked us through the history of Glengoyne ("Valley of the Wild Geese"), touching on the interesting location (technically Highlands, but literally across the road from the Lowlands), ownership history, their "Macallan philosophy" when it comes to wood management, and the six brand philosophies (Tradition, Unpeated, Patience, Oak Casks, Maturation and Natural Colour).

Then it was time to taste...

Glengoyne 10yo (40% ABV, 10yo, Highlands, Scotland, $69.99AUD)
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Colour: Light golden.
Nose: Fresh linen, stewed pears.
Palate: Light initially, then growing in flavour. Apples, pears, some toffee.
Finish: Medium, sweet. Pears and some raw sugar.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100.

Glengoyne 12yo (43% ABV, 12yo, Highlands, Scotland, $79.99AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colour: Honied gold.
Nose: Apples, but no pears this time. Coconut. More sherry influence than the 10yo.
Palate: Bigger mouthfeel, more spice, cinnamon, still apples. The extra ABV is welcome.
Finish: Medium length, sharp, spicy / peppery notes.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Glengoyne 15yo (43% ABV, 15yo, Highlands, Scotland, $108.99AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A slight departure from the usual sherried Glengoyne style, with American Oak (we presume ex-Bourbon) aged whisky making up "25-50%" of this.
Colour: Golden amber
Nose: The sherry influence is definitely there, but it's a sweeter, lighter dram.
Palate: Toffee, vanilla, some hints of spice. Light, almost too light.
Finish: Medium to long, with sweet candied orange notes.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Glengoyne 18yo (43% ABV, 18yo, Highlands, Scotland, $148.99AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colour: Amber
Nose: Ah, now we're talking. Christmas cake, stewed pears and peaches.
Palate: Rich, nutty, with less spice than the previous drams.
Finish: Medium to long, glacé cherries.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100.

Glengoyne 21yo (43% ABV, 21yo, Highlands, Scotland, $219.99AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colour: Deep, dark amber, almost copper.
Nose: Dried fruits, Demerara sugar, cinnamon.
Palate: Rich, full, almost too smooth. Liquid toffee.
Finish: Tannins, berries, coconut. Reminiscent of an older Macallan (an 18, or even the new Sienna), but more subtle on the oak and sherry influence.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. Fantastic dram, but needs slightly more on the ABV side of things.

Glengoyne Cask Strength (58.7% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, $98.99AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My favourite from the last time I'd tried Glengoyne.
Colour: Golden amber.
Nose: Youthful, but with hints of oak. Also toffee, berries and custard.
Palate: Creamy custard, with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Finish: Long, peppery and spicy.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. Just inches out the 21yo as my favourite so far.

Then it was onto what we'd all come to taste - the 25yo. Given I enjoyed the 21yo, but thought it needed a bit more age, the 25yo at 48% ABV sounded like a winner. Plus, who can argue with 25yo full maturation in first-fill sherry casks, from a distillery who place serious emphasis on their wood selection?

Glengoyne 25yo (48% ABV, 25yo, Highlands, Scotland, $599AUD)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colour: Deep, deep rich copper. I'd heard that "light struggles to penetrate it" and I'd heard right.
Nose: Hints of spice and Demerara sugar, with a big toffee hit.
Palate: Beautiful. Liquid dessert. All the elements of the nose, with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel and incredibly smooth. ABV feels spot on.
Finish: Long, sweet, toffee and Christmas cake. Residual Demerara again, with Christmas cake and just a hint of cinnamon at the end.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Truly a magnificent dram, one to savour on its own, after (or even as) dessert.

Any other tasting, and you may well leave at this point feeling suitably content. But no...after all those whiskies, it was time for a beautiful lunch, consisting of:
  • Main: Duo of Lamb - Dukkah Crusted Lamb Loin, Lamb Shank Croquette, Smoked Eggplant, Beans, Thyme Jus
  • Dessert: Dark Chocolate Delice, Coconut Ice Cream, Cherry Confit 

As a change from whisky (don't worry, we came back to it) we were served a few of the Glenguin Estate wine lineup. Particularly impressive for me was the 2009 "Ironbark" Tannat ($30 AUD), billed as the world's most tannic / dry grape variety. Dry it certainly was, but it also had a fantastic taste. The Aged (2006) Semillon ($30AUD) was also a great wine, though I do love a good Hunter Semillon.


You might think that was enough food and drink for one lunch...but you'd be mistaken. Next up - chocolate pairing! The full list of pairings is included below, but while they were all good, it was those in bold which really impressed me:
  • Glengoyne 10YO – Milk chocolate with tablet (34% cocoa content) and cranberry dark chocolate (54% cocoa content)
  • Glengoyne 12YO – Ginger dark chocolate
  • Glengoyne 15YO – Apricot and Cranberry White chocolate
  • Glengoyne 18YO – Banana and Pecan Milk chocolate 
  • Glengoyne 21YO – Pistachio Dark chocolate and Ginger Dark chocolate 
  • Glengoyne 25YO – Orange and Cardamom Dark chocolate 
(Guess I mixed up the 10yo and 15yo pairing...either way, the 10yo went brilliantly with the white chocolate.)
After chatting to Jonathan a bit more, a few more photos and another dram or two of the 25yo, it was time to bundle ourselves into the coach for the long (and snoozy) trip back to Sydney.

A 10/10 day. A huge thanks are in order to Glengoyne and DEC PR for putting on such a fantastic day, and to Jonathan Scott for making the trip out from Scotland.

Cheers,
 - Martin.