Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shots!

1. Glenlivet Brings You Even More Nadurra.
Image source: TheGlenlivet.com
I'm a big fan of Speysides and Glenlivet is one of them labels I personally enjoy. I've had a tiny taste of Nadurra a few years ago and loved it (I think it was one of those 16 year old one) - but back then it was only released in batches as limited editions (please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can check out Master of Malt and you'll understand my confusion). But now Glenlivet will be making it a permanent offering.

So, Nadurra means natural in Gaelic. It's named so because expressions in this range are non-chilled filtered whisky (hence, most "natural" as it goes through less processing). It will also feature a higher-than-average ABV of 48% and above (single malts are usually bottled at 40-43%).

2 permanent expressions were launched this year. First it was the the Nadurra Oloroso in April, and the second, recently launched in September, was the Nadurra First Fill Selection. Both are No Aged Statements. Check them out here at The Glenlivet website.

With these, it seems like they may be phasing out the age-statement bottles. ARRGHRGRH! Quick! Get your grubby hands on the 16 year olds before they are gone! Or better yet, DON'T so I can get my grubby hands on them!


2. Guinness Launches 2 New Porters in Dublin.
Image source: MSN
From Diageo's press release:
Guinness announces the release of two brand new beers - Guinness Dublin Porter and Guinness West Indies Porter. Inspired bythe UK.  authentic recipes, whose origins lie in the historic Guinness’ brewers’ diaries from the late 1700s and early 1800s, the new beers will be available in selected pubs and retailers from mid-September.
Of course when it was it is available, it is only available in UK. It is super odd that I can't find any info about it on its Great Britain website. But there is some mention of it on its Twitter acount via its #thebrewersproject hashtag. Hmm, interesting. I wonder if it'll ever reach our shores?


3. Burts Guinness-Flavoured Chips.
Image source: www.neogaf.com
Well, if you're sore that the 2 Guinness porters are not in Malaysia (yet?), here's a consolation prize.

Introducing the awesome got-money-also-cannot-buy (unless you're in UK, or crazy enough to order it through Amazon) Burt's chips in Guinness flavour!

To be horribly honest, these chips tastes nothing like Guinness... though I can't really explain how it tastes like on its own because I inhaled the whole packet in drunken hunger.

But just think about the novelty of having one of these babies! For FREE (well, FREE if you purchase a certain number of pints... tee hee)! It should be available in any outlet that sells Guinness. I believe there's also a promotion running for a bulk order of Guinness it so don't forget to ask for your pack!


4. Stoli Has A New Ad Campaign.
Image Source: facebook.com/stoli
Don't worry. It's the same old vodka, just with a bright new.... marketing gimmick to commemorate their 80th birthday.

It's basically a reminder to you that Stoli is still a very relevant, very young-at-heart, old man.

If you're bored, hop on over to their Youtube channel and check out the 2 really odd, kitschy ads.

Or you could just hop on to their very eye-catching website at  http://www.stoli.com/


5. Finally to End This Post - A Funny Wine Ad Poking Fun at Wine Snobs.
Check out this freaking silly and hilarious ad about wine snobs who act as if they know everything that is to know about wine, enjoy spitting out random "wine technicalities (aka random rubbish)" all over the place and think that everyone else who doesn't know anything about wine is beneath them. Do you personally know someone like that (not exclusively to wine snobs, but snobs of any other subject matter)? Don't you sometimes wish you could high five them.... in their face....with a chair? Hehe.

Anyway, always feel free to taste (or bond with) your own tipple in your own special way. It's a free world after all... as long as you don't mine me giggling at you.







I hope these ads made you smile. Have a great week ahead!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The IBA Project: Daiquiri

The Daiquiri
The Grandfather Story:
Supposedly created by an American engineer in the late 1800s and named after a beach near Santiago, Cuba. The original recipe specifically calls for BACARDI rum and recipe is as follows (for 6 pax):
juice of 6 lemons
6 teaspoons of sugar
6 Bacardi cups
2 small cups of water
plenty of crushed ice
Yes, those Tex-Mex ice blended, sickly sweet (more like diabetes inducing!), fruity versions which we are all too familiar with are basically bastardisations variations of the original recipe.

This is Hemingway's favourite drink. Legend has it that he goes through 12 glasses in a sitting (citation required). He liked it so much he created his own version aptly named after himself which has added maraschino and grapefruit juice, and even more rum (because he was a known alcoholic), with no sugar (because he was diabetic).

Strength:
It does not taste strong at all, and great for someone who's never had a cocktail before. Very easy to drink but on the sour side. Everyone should love this, unless they absolutely detest sour-tasting stuff.

Key ingredients = Light rum + lime
IBA standard recipe & method: 
Recipe:
4.5 cl White rum
2.5 cl Fresh lime juice
1.5 cl Sugar syrup

Method:
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes, shake & strain into chilled cocktail glass. 

Variations: 
  • Most recipes call for a lot of lime juice - which suggests that it's meant to be more sour. But there are some which calls for equal amount of sugar and lime, which I prefer.
  • If you're concerned about holding a martini glass (so silly lah you), it's perfectly acceptable to have it served in an old-fashioned (aka whisky) glass. 

Thoughts & Observations:
  • While I have a natural preference for sour-tasting stuff, the IBA recipe is t0o hardcore sour for me. I needed to cut down on the lime juice amount by a little bit.
  • It must be made super, super cold and consumed super cold (and fast before it becomes warm). So shake harder & a little longer, and use straight-out-of-the-freezer ice (not the melting ones).
  • Definitely not something to have when you're hungry, on an empty stomach or prone to gastric. If you're running a snack business, targeting outlets that serve sour drinks like the daiquiri will make you rich beyond your dreams (I may exaggerate a little).
  • A perfect thirst-quenching summer drink especially when you're hot, sweaty and thirsty.

Drink up!
My Preference: 
4.5 cl White rum
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
1.5 cl Sugar syrup

Sources & More Reading :
http://www.diffordsguide.com/class-magazine/read-online/en/2012-04-10/page-3/classic-cocktail

http://www.esquire.com/drinks/daiquiri-drink-recipe
http://www.primermagazine.com/2012/learn/the-daiquiri
http://www.alcoholprofessor.com/blog/2014/05/14/classic-cocktails-in-history-the-daiquiri/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daiquiri
www.slate.com



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shots!

1. 99 problems but beer ain't one
99 Pack of Beer by Austin Beerworks
Image source: Thedieline.com
For some reason, this Texan brewery thought it was an awesome idea to release a 99-pack beer. You know what they say? Everything is bigger in Texas. Beer bellies too, I'm guessing.

Check out entertaining pictures of it on Google.

Brewery website: http://anytimeale.com/






2.  Harry Craddock's Birthday - 29 August
Image source: wbur.org
Harry Craddock (1876 - 1963) is one of the most celebrated prohibition bartenders.

Said to have created about 240 cocktails in his lifetime, he was the 3rd bartender of the The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel  - one of the earliest outlets to introduce American-style cocktails to Europe.

Harry is known for creating the White Lady (gin based) and Corpse Reviver (brandy based, hair of the dog) cocktails, and published the The Savoy Cocktail Book, the hotel's first cocktail book, in 1930. Read more about him here and here.


3. Kirin Glamping Event
Image source: Kirin FB page
Kirin Ichiban wants to bring you on a glamorous camping (glamping) trip filled with Japanese entertainment, food and beer on 21 September 2014.

All you have to do is 1)purchase the bottle, can or draught at any outlets between now and 21 September (does not include purchases from groceries ya!) 2) make sure you receive a Glamping scratch card and 3) register online at kirinichiban.com.my/glamping.

I personally want to go, but I haven't been lucky at getting the scratch cards. For some reason, some outlets are not participating in this or will not give you the card if you don't ask. So make sure you ask about the scratch card first before you buy your beer - otherwise you'll be severely disappointed like me.




4. One giant leap for whisky.
Image source: www.ardberg.com
Think you've tried all types of aged whisky that earth has to offer? Well how about a whisky that's been aged OUT of this world? Uh huh. Ardbeg sent their whisky into space to be aged back in 2011 and it's coming back on 12 September this year.

Scientists wanted to know if there were any differences between a space-aged whisky compared to its earth--based version. So there is a vial of un-matured malt that's been in outer space for 3 years, and there's another identical bottle at the distillery here to act as a control sample.

It was also a great excuse to launch (haha) Ardberg Gallileo, in commemoration of this first-of-its-kind mission. Of course it's limited edition.

Ardberg is really excited about it and asks you to check out the background and news of their experiment here: www.ardbeg.com/ardbeg/ardbeg-in-space


5. A few big names for booze
Image source: thespiritsbusiness.com
  • Iggy Pop is with Sailor Jerry rum to launch a limited edition clothing collection. Quite a good fit considering Iggy Pop is punk rock and Sailor Jerry's quite out there too. 
  • Jeff Bridges, who was the star of the Big Lebowski, who enjoys White Russians cocktails, is working with Kahlua in a short film about (surprise surprise!) the White Russian cocktail. 
  • David Beckham's is the face of a new single grain, NAS Scotch called Haig Club (by Diageo) because football and getting drunk go together, or something like that.
Looks like everyone, even big stars, need a little side income. :D


Have a great week ahead!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The IBA Project: Quick Intro, Between the Sheets

For a (lengthy) background of this project: check out  this post from back in 2013 <shy>. If you read or watch movies, this is akin to the Julie & Julia project. Except instead of French food, I'm learning to make cocktails, my name is not Julie and and I'm not following recipes created by Julia, and I have no plans to create a book .... or a movie. So .... wait, actually... it's actually.... NOTHING like the Julie & Julia project, hehe.

TLDR:  I'm on a quest to re-create a bunch of cocktail recipes.

I've been wanting to do this for ages but never really gotten around to doing it because of 1) the amount of research I have to do 2) the effort it takes to experiment with the different variations tfor each cocktail and finding one that I personally liked 3) just getting the ingredients for the whole list of 77 cocktails is a huge obstacle in terms of cost and - Eg: recipe calls for rum? what brand? what age? dark or light? where do I buy it? Can die right?

<cue: this is where you, my kind and generous good Samaritans, come in offering to donate me some bottles for a good cause!>

But enough of excuses. I'm gonna embark on this right now. A journey of a thousand steps begins with a single step. So here is the single step:

Between the Sheets

Origins:
Been around since the 1930s - so it's classified as a Prohibition cocktail. It's a variation of the Sidecar (a cocktail of brandy, lime juice and triple sec) with an additional shot of light rum. Maybe someone back then had loads of rum to get rid of, maybe they had a particularly nasty batch of brandy and needed something to mask the yuckiness. So many maybes, all interesting stories.


Strength:
Super strong - chest hair growth IS possible. We're talking about a mixture of TWO main spirits of full shots each! I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't familiar to drinking (ie, isn't a complete drunk like you or me) or is particularly sensitive to the taste of spirits. I cannot stress how potent this drink is. One drink and you are out (or at least, I am).


Measure it!
Shake it!
IBA standard recipe & method: 
Recipe:
3 cl White Rum
3 cl Cognac
3 cl Triple Sec
2 cl Fresh lemon juice

Method:
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes, short hard shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass.



Variations: 
  • If you don't like your glass to look bare, you could garnish it with a lemon or orange peel - since the former complements the lemon juice and latter, triple sec. 
  • Add syrup to make it more "patalable" - if you're not a purist at heart. 
  • Switch light rum for dark - it changes the entire character of the drink and adds more flavour - again purely for the non-purists.
  • Some articles have mentioned that you should use cointreau and not any other "triple sec". I tried using the cointreau and it did taste better than the triple sec I've used pictured. Want to bring it to yet another level? Try replacing it with Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur (don't know personally, haven't tried - but if don't bother if you're gonna be a purist, heh). 
  • One could cut down on the lemon juice amount. Lots of other recipes calls for only 1.5cl. However, there are some recipes which suggest equal measures of everything. This is because, Your Mileage May Vary.

Personal Observations:
  • Don't use strong-tasting, dry, light rum with too much character, like the one I used (Havana Club Anejo 3 years old, I ran out of the cheaper version and this was the only light rum I have at the moment, sigh)  -  where the rum is supposed to be the star of the show, not as a side act. Why? Firstly, it sticks out like a sore thumb and secondly, enhances the dryness of the drink (brandy is already dry), thirdly, it's NOT CHEAP. I think it needs a "wetter", softer rum which complements the cognac, perhaps like the original Anejo Blanco - which was created for mixing cocktails anyway.
  • Secondly, I wouldn't use a VSOP in this, it would be a waste the OP bit. I'll probably stick to the VS. At the end of the day, it'll be shaken up with 3 other strong flavours anyway, I wouldn't want one flavour to particularly stand out. I'd want it all to blend together in a nice harmony. But I'll still stick to a decently branded cognac.
  • A short, hard shake will do - otherwise it turns out to be a dilute mess of a dry, forgettable drink with a bitter finish. 
  • Since it's such an old drink, it IS meant to be rough, spirit-y & strong, so it's definitely NOT for the weak palate, or hearted.. or someone who likes cocktails with a tiny umbrella.
Even I can't read my handwriting

My Preference <updated on 8 Sep 2014>: 
I'm not a hardcore drinker. I can't really accept too much of the spirit-y taste, and I like my drinks more balanced. So more tart and sweetness is what I want, hence a little more lemon juice and triple sec in my version.

My preferred recipe:
3 cl white rum (Havana Club Blanco used)
3 cl cognac (courvoisier VS used)
3 cl fresh lemon juice
3.5 cl Cointreau

<edit: this goes wonderfully well with super spicy sambal. I know this as a fact because I'm having it right now>

For more (I like articles with personal opinions and background stories):
http://www.esquire.com/drinks/between-the-sheets-drink-recipe
http://www.cocktailmusings.com/2011/10/between-sheets.html
http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2009/10/23/between-the-sheets-maggie-smith-drove-me-to-drink/
http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/btwn_shts.htm
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/time-for-a-drink-between-the-sheets.html
http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/07/20/between-sheets-cocktail-recipe
http://www.liquoranddrink.com/drinks/153-between-the-sheets

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shots!

Hmm. I think wrapping up the week on a Friday would be a better idea than starting the week with old news, kan? Bear with me while I tinkle around with this for a bit m.

1. Glass moulded from a famous PERSON'S boob
Image source: Greatideas.people.com
This is not a hoax. While ordinary plebs like you and me celebrate special occasions with a glass of champagne, Kate Moss celebrated her 25th anniversary of being in the fashion industry by imprinting her LEFT boob (see how specific she was?) on a champagne glass. Apparently this is also an ode to the first champagne glass from the late 18th century which was modelled after Marie Antoinette's boob.

I'm not sure whether to feel disgusted, laugh or cry, but I'll leave it to you to feel your range of emotions privately. That awkwardness aside, the glass itself looks pretty elegant.

If you had all the fame and money in the world, I guess nothing really holds you back from wanting to immortalise any part of your body into glassware. What's next? Naomi Campbell launching a shot glass modelled after her nose? Heidi Klum's teethmarks on the rim of a rock glass? This world can never be a dull place to live in. More on our local daily at The Malay Mail Online.


2. Heineken's Cities of the World.
Image Source: theheinekencompany.com
Heineken wants to give you the opportunity to win some prizes and an awesome holiday to New York for you and a friend! To get that chance to win anything, I'm pretty darn sure that a bottle purchase is required somewhere.... and a quick check on their website confirms that yes, it does!

There will be SIX limited edition designed bottles with special codes included into the bottle caps. Make sure to collect your bottle caps and participate between 1 Aug to 15 September. If you enjoy your Heineken, this an added bonus to you! For more info, check out their website at www.heineken.com/openyourcity



3. Guinness' Amplify
Image source: facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia
16 acts. 6 live shows. 1 finale. Guinness wants you to have a taste of our local band music, and their stout (of course) at an awesome promotional price (of course) at these concert venues.

This will happen from 6 September onwards and the gigs will travel from KL to Johor, to Penang and then the finale will be at a yet to be disclosed venue in KL.

Gigs are free but on a first come first served basis. Acts include big local names like Kyoto Protocol, Paperplane Pursuit... etc. So since September is the month of Malaysia Day, be patriotic and show your support to our local bands and (sort of) locally brewed stout by showing up at these concerts. Find out more at www.amplify.com.my




4. Carlsberg's BPL Trophy Tour
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/CarlsbergMY/
Carlsberg used their magical powers to bring the actual BPL trophy for a tour around Malaysia - specifically to KL, Penang and JB.

This tour will happen from 29 August to 31 August 2014. So if you're a die-hard English League football head, you're totally peeing your pants right now and you would wanna check out their FB page at  facebook.com/CarlsbergMY/ for more details on the trophy's tour schedule.









5. Patrick Stewart does the ALS Challenge right.


If you have no idea what this is, you've likely been on the moon in the past month. Or not have the internet for a month. Or had no contact with people.

While the concept is a noble one, the execution leaves me cringing. Here we are, praying that the next round of water rationing won't befall onto us, while people all around the world are pouring buckets of ice cold water on themselves, for charity, apparently.

Well, Patrick Stewart jumps on the bandwagon too, but not like how you think. He shows you how to classily play along while defying the game and still be altruistic all at the same time.

And he managed to pull through all that without wasting a single drop of water. Or ice. He is so the man of the moment.

How is this relevant to booze? Well, <Spoiler Alert> he is seen pouring himself a glass of Chivas, he he.


Have a great fun-filled Merdeka long weekend!
Make merry, safely!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kirin Beer, Kirin 18 years old Single Malt & Chichibu The Peated

Had the enormous luck to have had the opportunity to sample these 3 Japanese beauties. My thoughts as follows (need to profusely apologise for the lack of quality of these photos. taken from a phone with bad lighting and zero photo skills. Bad blogger, bad blogger!):

1. Kirin Ichiban Beer
Image credit: Kirin Malaysia FB Page
This was quietly introduced last year by our friendly neighbourhood brewery, GAB (Guiness Anchor Berhad) and I believe the brand was re-launched this year in April 2014.

Kirin Ichiban, simply translated means Kirin No. 1. This basically means that when the beer is brewed, only the FIRST (hence, No.1!) extraction of the product is bottled - which is usually the least unadulterated. You can read about brewing beer here, should you like to geek out a little bit more.

This is the first time I've had a taste of Kirin. I've had experience with Sapporo and Asahi before (which I both enjoy) but Kirin, while less crisp & refreshing (than the Asahi, for the sake of comparing) is smooth, satisfying, full-bodied and less dry.

This beer is love at first taste. If you've never really had a fondness for lager (specifically this in the style of American Pale Ale Lager) before, you might change your mind with this. 

The biggest drawback for me (be forewarned) is the price of this bottle at the outlet. The pub I visited charged me a really painful RM20++ per 330ml bottle. I'm pretty sure you're able to get at your local hypermarket for much less. 

I believe we only get the bottles and cans for now, and at 5.0% ABV, I believe it is available at your local stores and favourite drinking places. :)

Found out more on kirinichiban.com.my


2. Kirin Single Malt 18 Years Old
Let's manage expectations here, you canNOT purchase this in Malaysia. It is also highly unlikely for you to buy it from any other parts of the planet apart from Japan, sorry folks. So being able to taste this is almost akin to... being able to catch a glimpse of a falling star, heh.

You would be surprised to note that apart from beer and whisky, the industrious Kirin has diversified into soft drinks, real estate, logistics and even engineering among many other sectors - talk about a company with many hats, huh? 

Also another fun fact, Kirin also owns San Miguel since 2009. Yes, it's that beer from Philippines

So this whisky is interesting to say the least. It has the usual vanillin-based nose with a hint of sherry. But the palate is a little peculiar to me because it felt like a combination of citrus which leads to a very dry sherry finish. It's unlike anything I've tried before. Unfortunately, this match isn't for me. Could be for you, though? It's probably worth to get one just to display a bottle on your bar for bragging rights or just to OWN IT.

Their corporate website is www.kirinholdings.co.jp/english/


3. Chichibu The Peated Whisky
Don't hate me, again this is not readily available. Chichibu (say it ten times in a row!) is a relatively new distillery as it only began operations in 2008... further, this bottle is only 3 years old.

This second release of the distillery hold true to its name - it is peaty (the first release is aptly named The First) on the nose, and on the tongue. But it does not knock you out like peat monsters Lagavulin or Laphroaig. At quite a high ABV of 53.5% the alcohol fumes are quite strong on this one. But with some water - it becomes even sweeter on the tongue. 

I like this, surprisingly. It's only 3 years old, but so pleasant and drinkable, it puts a lot of 12 year old whiskies to shame. If you ever get the chance, it would totally be a good bottle to own, as it's not as common as your Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki or Nikka. But who knows, one day, it'll come to our shores? It's already entered to American and European territory anyway *crossing fingers*.

The distillery does not have its own website, but if you'd like to read a bit more about it, this website is a good start: whiskymag.jp/chichibu-distillery


In summary, BUY ALL THE JAPANESE BEER & WHISKY. Ktxhbai.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shots! (Week of 18 August 2014)

Welcome to the 1st edition of Shots! It's a weekly snapShot of highlights from the past week about booze and everything else that is related to it. Shots - snapshots - also a method of downing a drink? Geddit? :P

Without further ado:

1. Aberlour has reached our shores

Image credit: Pernod Ricard Malaysia

I love it whenever a new whisky is launched in Malaysia. It gives us, the consumers, more options to play with and explore. This particular label is a Speyside, so one could expect it to be a balanced easy-drinking dram. Chances are, if you enjoy the Glenlivet, you're likely to enjoy this... but like I always say, your mileage may vary. :) I haven't personally tried it though, but I hope I will soon! *hint*

Brought in by Pernod Ricard Malaysia, the Aberlour 12,16 and 18 year old expressions should be made available at selected retail outlets soon (if it's not already available) between RM400 to RM900. For more info check out the international Aberlour website.


2. Sailor Jerry spiced rum debut at the MTV Asia World Stage

Previously featured on my insta: Sailor Jerry Mint Julep

You may be too old for over-exciting, huge parties like the World Stage, but you will never be too old for awesome rum which was the featured liquor of the event. Distributed in Malaysia by the folks behind Single & Available, this quirky American label was actually created in honour of a late retired sailor-cum-famous-tattoo-artist named Sailor "Norman Collins" Jerry. Fun fact: Sailor Jerry actually began as a clothing brand until they created the rum which outsold everything else.

This has got to be one of my favourite rums. The serious vanilla toffee scent will remind you of a root beer float, except this is alcoholic at 46% ABV, which makes it even more awesome. Don't take my word for it though, just give it a go. Read about its interesting background at the official Sailor Jerry website.


3. Coincidentally, it was also National Rum Day in the US on 16 Aug

Previously on my insta: mojitos made with fresh mint leaves from my garden!

The origins of this day is hazy. But my guess would be that it was a marketing gimmick coined by some advertising agency to sell more of a certain rum. But hey, I like the idea of making more excuses to drink rum (or anything else, really!).

From having it neat to enjoying it as a delicious cocktail ( a glass of minty, refreshing mojito to quench this Malaysian heat, anyone?) - rum is such a versatile spirit. In belated "honour"of its national day, here are some great rum drinks you can make, or order next time you're in a pub: Click!


4. Kronenbourg 1664's Taste of the French Way of Life

Image Credit: Kronenbourg's FB page

Kronenbourg wants to let you have a Taste of the French Way of Life. What this simply means is this: be prepared for 6 more booze-fuelled and fun-filled parties leading up to a big finale on the 5 December at the end of the year. Wanna be updated on their parties? Hop on over to their FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/KronenbourgMY/


5. Keep your drinks cool for longer with Huggaz

Image credit: Huggaz official website

Wanna keep your can or bottle drink for a little longer? All you need to do is put this contraption over your drink like a sock. While it is not an original idea, it may be the first local brand that I've heard of. So, you know how the saying goes - Belilah barangan buatan Malaysia.

This is actually the brainchild of the infamous and forever "happy" blogger; Deep of ThirstyBlogger. The Star newspaper gave him some love here. Okay I'll be honest, I'm only plugging Huggaz with shameless hopes that I'll get a free Huggaz. Or two. Check out their official website for more info.


And that's a wrap folks! Until next week, keep on flying!
<3

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Deconstruction of the Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera Vat

A pretty bottle of Glenfiddich 15 Solera Vat
Glenfiddich and I, we go way back.

Glenfiddich 12 was the first single malt whisky I've ever tasted and it totally turned my world upside down. Back then, the only way I knew how to drink whiskey was to drown it with Coke... you know, to chase away the "cockroach" taste (okay, to qualify this statement - I didn't enjoy drinking 10 years ago. Back then, my business was with Coke [the carbonated drink] and the dance floor #truestory)

It wasn't until I had a taste of that liquid heaven in my mouth. OH MY GOD! I never knew liquor could taste so good. It would change my mind towards whisky forever. It was so smooth, so sweet. So mind boggling. I mean, how could something as strong as 40% ABV taste so good? You see, Glenfiddich 12 was in the rage at some point back then. It was practically the single malt that started it all (in Malaysia, at least).  Glenfiddich 12 gave me a one way roller coaster ticket into this whole new fantastical world of whisky. So I packed my bags, hopped on, and never turned back.

Fast forward to now - when I received an invite to attend a Deconstruction Tasting Event of the Glenfiddich 15 years old - how could I say no? Glenfiddich was my first love I never got over. I've tried so many others but I would never forget my first love...... Then suddenly, after not being in touch for too long, this first love decides to call me up one day out of the blue, asking me for a meet up. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity faster than you could blink.

Oh boy. It was a treat.

Live from The Warehouse

The Brand Ambassador for South-East Asia, Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, walked us through the whole thing with us! Live! From the Glenfiddich warehouse! In Scotland! He was actually LIVE in 4 locations! 2 in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore! I mean, HOW EXCITING IS THAT! So exciting that every single sentence in this paragraph warrants an exclamation point!

Live feed from Scotland in the background
Actually this may not sound like a big deal since live-streaming is not exactly the latest concept - but it is (if I'm not mistaken) something that has never been done before in this market. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities! Distillery tours. Master classes. Meeting the master distillers. Private interviews. New launches. Man, just sign me up for everything!

Anyway. I digress.

We were given the opportunity to try the 3 different whiskies that goes into the final Glenfiddich 15 we enjoy everyday. Hence, a deconstructed tasting! Oh man, this session was going to be so exciting. Just typing this out still makes me so darn excited all over again.

Upon sampling each whisky, I realised that each has its own distinct character which contributes to the final product.

The whiskies that make a Glenfiddich 15 Year Old

1) 15 YO aged in  Sherry Butt:
This one smells so, SO good - sweet and festive. But the finish was very dry -like wines' tannin. I guess this is where the nose is from. This makes up 20% of the final product.

2) 15 YO aged in brand new American oak casks:
This one packs a punch in flavour and tasted really sweet - makes up 10% of the final product. I reckon this is where the palate is from. I could actually drink this on its own. And I did. Copiously and unabashedly. :)

3)15 YO aged in Bourbon casks:
Decent, but not very memorable among the three - I believe this a "filler" which acts as the enhancer and rounds up the finish perhaps. Makes up 70% of the final product.

We were also schooled in what makes the Glenfiddich 15 so special among its Core Range.

So what makes Glenfiddich 15 so special? The Solera Process does.

No other expression in this label goes through this process. You can read about the Solera process in detail on Wiki right here. But to summarise how this process works for the Glenfiddich 15:
  • Those 3 whiskies I mentioned above are poured into a giant barrel/tub called a Solera Vat. Click here to get an idea of how big the vat is.
  • Once the vat is filled, the whiskies are left to mix together (aka "marry" - how cute is that?)
  • Once it has matured, only HALF of the liquid is poured out. The half that's poured out goes through a bottling process.
  • The other half is left there, for the next batch to be poured in. The process repeats from the first step. The Vat is never empty and continuously left half full since 1998. This is called the Solera process. 
  • This basically means that every single bottle of Glenfiddich 15 contains some whisky from at least 30 years ago!
TLDR: Glenfiddich goes through a Solera Process where every single bottle of Glenfiddich 15 will always contain some whisky since 1998. This is what makes it so special because no other expression goes through this process. This is also what makes it a distillery's favourite..... and mine. 

Me, enjoying the Glenfiddich 15. :)
This was an enjoyable and educational event for me. I await with bated breath, agonizing over and counting each day until I get invited to the next Glenfiddich event (Please oh please oh PLEASE organise an event for the Age of Discovery series!).

This market really needs to understand why they do NOT need to add mixers into their single malts /cringe. Or how just because it's an OLDER aged bottle or a Rare/ Limited Edition one or a Super expensive, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's THE BEST.

Is Glenfiddich 15 for you?

I'll always have a soft spot for Glenfiddich, so my opinion may be severely biased here.

However, I believe that if you are someone who have not discovered the world of Single Malt Whisky - Glenfiddich 12 is an excellent starter (and the Duty Free price doesn't hurt the wallet). While not quite refined, it is still a level up your typical blended scotch.

However, if you HAVE dabbled in 12 year olds (whiskies la), then I would highly recommend the Glenfiddich 15. It is also a huge leap from the 12 and could easily be your everyday go-to bottle. There are no 15s like this - so proceed with caution if you don't want to spoil your palate with too much awesome, hehe.  But like the cliche saying goes - taste is subjective. So your mileage may vary.

More:
Glenfiddich Official Website
Tasting with Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador
Hashtag: #gfsolera15
Image credits: William Grant & Son

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back and Bad

Ok so 2013 wasn't so great for this blog. But 2014 will be better. I've promised myself to update this blog at least once a week, and bring back the IBA project to the best of my abilities. 

Spending nearly one year working in the liquor industry made me realise a couple of things
1) I still get excited over new drinks , new bars, new ideas, new tastes.....
2) I still enjoy my drinks - but I'm done drinking just to get high or drunk. I drink to enjoy the flavour..... Getting high is just the side effects. :)

That job also made me slightly sick of drinking those local watered-down beer on tap, those common (probably fake) whiskies and horribly made overpriced cocktails. So. With whatever opportunity given to me, I intend to highlight awesome stuff - cocktails, bars, bartenders, exciting brands, share with you some DIYs... Especially DIYs. Why? Because when you realise how easy to make simple cocktails, and how CHEAP it is to make it tastier and stronger for a fraction of the price you pay for at so-called "happening" bars, you would never want to go to those places again. 

But there are SOME bars that I believe, are still worth visiting, where the bartenders actually care about their craft and the quality of the exciting drinks they make, were the ambience is cosy and just right for chit chat with a friend or two. Those I would love to go again and again, if my bank account allows me. Damn this place for making drinking so expensive.

So Hello 2014. :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Short note.

Cocktail recipes need to be tweaked to make room for our local overly sour limes. Make room in the recipe for some sugar syrup to balance the sourness.

Another way to counter the sourness without altering the 'original recipe' is to make the syrup 2:1 water.

But for tequila recipes which originally doesn't call for sugar (as per iba) - highly recommended to put some syrup, if you don't want to see crumpled faces.

Iba postponed until further notice. :p