Wednesday 28 December 2022

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2023 review

There are a huge (and growing) number of whisky books in the market, some of them good, some of them not so good. Personally though, there's only one annual book I always ensure I have in my collection on its release - Ingvar Ronde's Malt Whisky Yearbook, now in its 16th year with the recently-released 2023 Edition.

Since my first copy in 2008, I've found it to be the the quintessential source of whisky knowledge - easy to read, accurate, current, with a good mix of distillery profiles/histories and thought pieces written by some of the industry's best writers. This year's release for example includes articles like "The SWA - Rottweiler or St Barnard?", "The Complexities Of Whisky Sustainability" & "Lowlands on a High" (about the rejuvenation of this once-unloved region).

What makes Ronde's Malt Whisky Yearbook the one I always keep within easy reach however is the reference material. Whether it's distilleries, Independent Bottlers, whisky shops, "distilleries by owner", closed distilleries or distilleries by country, there's a huge amount of information laid out in an easy to find format. Did you know for example China has 4 active whisky distilleries? Can you list every single distillery under Diageo's ownership? Do you know the output capacity of Holyrood Distillery? All this sort of information is available within seconds - very handy for a whisky blogger, or anyone with more than a passing interest in whisky.

This year the book again includes "Websites to Watch" (page 73) - and again we're humbled to be listed alongside a number of fantastic sites.

At £15.95 (with shipping to Hong Kong only £3.95), Malt Whisky Yearbook continues to be excellent value, and in my opinion well worth picking up if you haven’t read it before, and a must-buy if you have! Available from


This copy of the Malt Whisky Yearbook was kindly provided by Ingvar Ronde, however the views above are entirely my own and would remain unchanged had I purchased the book myself.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

The Whisky Exchange Ben Nevis 1992-2020 23 Year Old Cask #1709 [Tasted #614]

Given my love of Ben Nevis (and how often I post / talk about them on Instagram), I really should post a few more tasting notes on this blog. So in an attempt to pad out the Nevis quota before the end of the year, here's a Whisky Exchange bottling kindly donated by a Hong Kong whisky mate, the talented Damoo from The Whisky Journey (IG / FB).

Distilled in 1996 (of course), this one was bottled from a single Hogshead in 2020 at 23yo & 52.1% ABV. The Whisky Exchange have a number of whisky ranges through their Elixir Distillers company, but I've always had good ones from this label, so it came high expectations...

Ben Nevis 1996 - 2020 Cask #1709 bottled by The Whisky Exchange (52.1% ABV, 23yo, One of 205 bottles, Highlands, no longer available)
Colour: Yellow straw

Nose: Lemon tart and butter menthols, followed by peach, pear and stewed apple.

Palate: Follows the nose, with an initial fruitiness, but more pear, heather, and a very slight grassy funk. I wouldn't call it tropical (though there is a little candied grapefruit) - more honey and stone fruits, but it's a wonderfully delicious dram.

Finish: Long, with heather, honey and orange slices.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100 (Martin). Up there with the better 1996s.


Thursday 1 December 2022

Indri Single Malt Indian Whisky - Trini [Tasted #613]

In the 3rd century BC - trade between India and other parts of the world was blooming. At that time, Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the ancient Indian Empire build a trade route that would connect Central Asia (all the way to Greece) to important trade centres in India. Many years later, the British Empire considerably rebuilt the road between 1833 and 1860 and aptly named this route the Grant Trunk Road or now also referred to as GT Road. 

Over the centuries, the GT road acted as one of the major trade routes in the region and the road is still very much used in the present-day Indian subcontinent for transportation. This route has been the gateway to the Indian sub-continent and has seen Traders, Merchants, Armies come and go, making it a prime region of cultural confluence. 

So what's this got to do with whisky you ask? Fast forward to 1995 and a distillery was built just off this iconic trade route. Piccadily, an Indian hospitality and entertainment group built a sugar mill and distillery off the GT road, in a small village known as Indri in the Haryana region. What would not be known at the time was that Indri would eventually feature on the global scale as one of India's award-winning whiskies. Since then, Piccadily has become the largest independent manufacturer and seller of malt spirits in India. 

The Haryana region is naturally abundant in water and it's also known as the 'Green Bowl of India.' Landlocked between mountain peaks that form part of the Himalayas range, the region, its surroundings and history would soon form part of the Indri single malt whisky story. 

The distillery in Indri, Haryana has six copper pot stills, three being wash stills and the other three being spirit stills. The production capacity is rated at around 4 million litres annually. The preparation of American imported oak barrels is also done on-site by the coopers at the distillery who would toast, char and repair the barrels on-site.

The development of the Indri single malt whisky has primarily been driven by Master Blender, Surrinder Kumar who has been developing malts from the distillery since 2004. The Indri Single Malt Whisky, in particular, has won numerous awards and also took gold at this year's International Spirits Challenge (ISC) overtaking the likes of Paul John and Rampur Whiskies. The former, I still love to this day; I fondly remember my first time, tasting the Paul John Oloroso when it first launched.

So what do I think of the Indri Single Malt Whisky, here are my thoughts.

Indri Single Malt Whisky - Trini; The Three Wood (46% ABV, NAS, Indri, Haryana, India, A$79.99 


While there is an inherent oakiness throughout, the layers of flavours on the nose and the palate make this a particularly interesting whisky. It is fruity, and light and can be had with or without a drop of water.

Nose: Summer fruits, loads of raspberries and blackberries, pineapple lollies and a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream layered with a drizzle of honey.

Palate: Light, to begin with, the berry notes come through initially before a layer of gentle spice that follows. There is an undertone of oakiness that is carried throughout. The spices are mixed with citrus notes, orange zest, and some white pepper. 

Finish: The finish is medium and there are the tannin and the oak notes that remain along with some sour pineapple juice that lingers.

Rating: 91/100 (Hendy) 

Thanks to Madhu Kanna of Piccadily for sending us a bottle of Indri Single Malt Whisky to check out.