Friday, 23 January 2015

Carlsberg 2015 CNY Celebration - A Smooth Sailing In the Year of the Sheep

5  clear signs that Chinese New Year is upon us:

1. McDonald's Prosperity burger set is available
2. Eu Yan Sang runs their cheesy hamper radio ads
3. Banks start giving out empty angpow packets
4. Malls put up loud red decorations and/or loud chinese new year songs
5. Beer boys organise Chinese New Year parties and start dropping prices of their 24-can packs in hypermarkets, coupled with chinese new year themed gifts.

Item #2 is what we're going to talk about today....... No I kid. of course I meant #5. Surprise surprise. It's the only sort of thing I'll ever talk about, on this blog, anyway. So let's go go go!

Did you know that Carlsberg was born in the year of the sheep waaaayyy back in 1847? Well, this 168 year old young man brand celebrated its zodiac-versary, with a HUGE party. And by huge, I mean, a 18 ft Chinese ship (sheep, ship, lol) in the middle of Ara Damansara Oasis HUGE.

See how BIG the ship was. I placed the entire Carlsberg management team, 2 lion dancers, 7 chinese drummer boys and 8 gods of prosperity there just for scale..

Well, it was technically a stage, but still. A GIANT ship. In the middle of a commercial lot! That's not something I see everyday.

Since it was a chinese new year party, there's of course the usual fun stuff like lion dancing, God of Prosperities (8 of them!) who were dying to GIVE you luck in the form of empty angpow packets (and take selfies with you), beer, roast pork, hot Carlsberg girls in super tight & short cheongsam eagerly clamouring over themselves to ply you with never ending flow of Carlsberg, more roast pork and even more beer.

Truly, beer and pork is all you need for an awesome Chinese New Year party.

That and angpow packets filled with crap loads of cash.

But since that isn't going to happen anytime soon, I'll settle with loads of beer. And pork.

Take my carlsberg. no take mine. no take mine. no take MINE.

What's a proper Chinese New Year without being able to utilise all that luck to win some money? And is it a coincidence that Carlsberg's giving away ang pows to lucky winners all across the country like they do every single chinese new year? I think not!

RM13,888 angpows to 38 winners each to be exact.

shut up and give me all the angpows!

On top of that, 1 lucky person from that 38 will become ... A  MILLIONAIRE.

That's nearly higher winning chances than a scratch and win lottery ticket. 

Or earning a chance to even appear on that who wants to be a millionaire show.

Acrobatic lion dancers at the party. That cheeky lion kept pretending to trip... or maybe that wasn't part of the act? Guess we'll NEVER know now.

So every time you order a BIG bottle of Carlsberg, Asahi or Royal Stout be sure to look out for a
Chinese character (順) printed on the bottle caps.

And if you do, HANG ON TO THAT. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Call your nearest Carlsberg sales offices which can be found here: www.carlsberg-cny.com.my. That bottle cap will come in handy when you need proof that you even got it in the first place.

Prefer to imbibe in the comforts of your own home? Fret not! You can also purchase the 24-can Carlsberg festive pack from participating supermarkets and hypermarkets and look for the congratulatory message printed on the base of the tray. And if you do find that message... HANG ON TO THAT. Do not pass... you get my drift.

More performances at the party. Not quite the 1000 handed Goddess of Mercy .... but LOOK! MORE SEXY GIRLS!

Don't think you can finish 2 dozen beers because you don't have a lot of friends? Never fear! You can even take part in the ‘Guess the Coin’ online contest on their special microsite: www.carlsberg-cny.com.my.... It's a "Guess the coin" contest... so no prizes for guessing what you need to do! Hehe.

The most accurate entry will win 1 year’s supply of beer that could also contain a lucky ticket to win RM13,888 AND be in the running to be the Carlsberg Millionaire! 

Don't want that 1 year's supply of free beer? No problem! Let someone shoulder that burden for you - me. I'm very very noble one.

For more information, I think you can also check out their FB page: facebook.com/carlsbergMy

So what are you waiting for? Go get me some free beer already! :p

HUAT AH!


Photo credits (except for the angpow one): Carlsberg. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

The IBA Project: Hemingway Special


 Grandfather story:
  • A twist of what Hemingway liked - which was basically a daiquiri with no sugar and extra strong (known as the Papa Doble, where > 3 oz of Bacardi  was originally used), blended with shaved ice. 
  • A Hemingway Special is based on this recipe but with an additional maraschino, grapejuice and with less rum, which I suppose was to make it more palatable for the normal, non-alcoholic drinks like you and me. :D

Fun fact:
Hemingway was a known alcoholic and diabetic. Apparently he could consume glasses upon glasses (6-12, legend has it) of this original recipe of this daiquiri in a sitting.

Strength & Taste:
Strong, but you won't really be able to tell because the strength of this drink is masked by the sourness of lime and grapefruit juice... which makes the drink really quite delicious. We're talking about a minimum 2 shots of rum in a glass here. It will hit you when you least expect it, so be careful! I like it :D

Everything you need for a Hemingway Special
IBA Recipe & Method:

6 cl White Rum
4 cl Grapefruit juice
1.5 cl Maraschino
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake.
Strain into a double cocktail glass.

Variations:
  • Most recipes call for 2 shots of rum - because we're all not mad alcoholics like Hemingway was. 
  • Apparently the original recipe calls for Bacardi, but any white rum is really fine - it's a good tasting drink to get drunk really fast on anyway!
  • You can serve it straight up, blend it with ice or on the rocks.
  • For purists, you shouldn't add sugar into this. But if you are not anal about such things, some sugar makes this drink much more palatable.
Grapefruit is actually related to the pomelo, not oranges. #TIL 
Thoughts & observations
  • IBA's version is too sour for me, I like Difford's version with some sugar for the thicker mouthfeel which also offsets against that insane tartiness.
  • You can't keep fresh pressed grape juice for too long because it'll lose its pink colour... the flavour also changes a little - it becomes more tart.
  • Maraschino and marasquin are the same darn things, lol.
  • This drink was made to get one drunk without even knowing that you got drunk - Bacardi is perfect for it because it was MADE for cocktails.
  • The recipe I really like is based on diffordguide's recipe - but it uses the original Hemingway's serving of rum - 3.5 shots
  • It's supposed to serve you 2 standard drinks - so you'll need a BIG GLASS.
My preference:
(Warning: this is  >3 standard drinks of rum in a glass)
105ml white rum
30ml fresh lime juice
20ml maraschino liqueur
30ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup.

Shake it all up. Pour it out into a double-serving glass.
Serve it on the rocks.
Enjoy SLOWLY.
Do not have more than one glass. :)

No shaker? Any big empty glass jar with a cover will do. No jigger? your cough syrup measurer works!




For more & sources:
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-hemingway-daiquiri/
http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/drinks_400/427_drink-of-the-week-hemingway-daiquiri.html
http://www.esquire.com/the-side/food-and-drink/rum-cocktails-summer-4#slide-4
http://postprohibition.com/recipes/hemingway-daiquiri/
http://rumdood.com/2010/05/26/hemingway-daiquiri/
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/954/hemingway-special-daiquiri-papa-doble
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121157680904218301
http://www.liquoranddrink.com/drinks/344-hemingway-daiquiri
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Ernest_Hemingway_Special

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

The IBA Project: Hemingway Special


The Grandfather story:
  • A twist of what Hemingway liked - which was basically a daiquiri with no sugar and extra strong (known as the Papa Doble, where > 3 oz of Bacardi  was originally used), blended with shaved ice. 
  • A Hemingway Special is based on this recipe but with an additional maraschino, grapejuice and with less rum, which I suppose was to make it more palatable for the normal, non-alcoholic drinks like you and me. :D

Fun fact:
Hemingway was a known alcoholic and diabetic. Apparently he could consume glasses upon glasses (6-12, legend has it) of this original recipe of this daiquiri in a sitting.

Strength & Taste:

Strong, but you won't really be able to tell because the strength of this drink is masked by the sourness of lime and grapefruit juice... which makes the drink really quite delicious. We're talking about a minimum 2 shots of rum in a glass here. It will hit you when you least expect it, so be careful! I like it :D

Everything you need for a Hemingway Special

IBA Recipe & Method:

6 cl White Rum
4 cl Grapefruit juice
1.5 cl Maraschino
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake.
Strain into a double cocktail glass.

Variations:
  • Most recipes call for 2 shots of rum - because we're all not mad alcoholics like Hemingway was. 
  • Apparently the original recipe calls for Bacardi, but any white rum is really fine - it's a good tasting drink to get drunk really fast on anyway!
  • You can serve it straight up, blend it with ice or on the rocks.
  • For purists, you shouldn't add sugar into this. But if you are not anal about such things, some sugar makes this drink much more palatable.
Grapefruit is actually related to the pomelo, not oranges. #TIL 
Thoughts & observations
  • IBA's version is too sour for me, I like Difford's version with some sugar for the thicker mouthfeel which also offsets against that insane tartiness.
  • You can't keep fresh pressed grape juice for too long because it'll lose its pink colour... the flavour also changes a little - it becomes more tart.
  • Maraschino and marasquin are the same darn things, lol.
  • This drink was made to get one drunk without even knowing that you got drunk - Bacardi is perfect for it because it was MADE for cocktails.
  • The recipe I really like is based on diffordguide's recipe - but it uses the original Hemingway's serving of rum - 3.5 shots
  • It's supposed to serve you 2 standard drinks - so you'll need a BIG GLASS.

My preference:

(Warning: this is  >3 standard drinks of rum in a glass)
105ml white rum
30ml fresh lime juice
20ml maraschino liqueur
30ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup.

Shake it all up. Pour it out into a double-serving glass.
Serve it on the rocks.
Enjoy SLOWLY.
Do not have more than one glass. :)

No shaker? Any big empty glass jar with a cover will do. No jigger? your cough syrup measurer works too!

For more & sources:

http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-hemingway-daiquiri/
http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/drinks_400/427_drink-of-the-week-hemingway-daiquiri.html
http://www.esquire.com/the-side/food-and-drink/rum-cocktails-summer-4#slide-4
http://postprohibition.com/recipes/hemingway-daiquiri/
http://rumdood.com/2010/05/26/hemingway-daiquiri/
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/954/hemingway-special-daiquiri-papa-doble
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121157680904218301
http://www.liquoranddrink.com/drinks/344-hemingway-daiquiri
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Ernest_Hemingway_Special


Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Monday, 29 December 2014

The IBA Project: Margarita

I'm a margarita. Drink me.
Grandfather story:
  • The Margarita can be considered a Tequila Sour (Sour = base liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener), or a Tequila Sidecar (replacing cognac).
  • It could simply be a twist on the Daisy, (a classic long drink from the 1870s made with a base spirit, lemon juice, sugar or liqueur) - as Margarita is the Spanish word for daisy.
  • In a British cocktail publication called Café Royal Cocktail Book published in 1937, the author mentions a drink called a Picador, which lists its ingredients as tequila, Cointreau and lime juice (the exact same recipe as a margarita!)
  • The 1st official mention of Margarita in print in Dec 1953 was in the Esquire magazine with a quote "She’s from Mexico, Señores, and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative". The recipe called for an ounce (30ml) of tequila, a dash of triple sec and the juice of half a lime or lemon.
  • Like most cocktail histories, there are quite a number of people who have claimed to have invented it, and if you'd like to know, here they are:
    • Could have been created in 1930 by Doña Bertha, owner of Bertha's Bar in Taxco, Mexico (unlikely as Mexicans don't typically drink margaritas)
    • A Vernon Underwood, who had started distributing Cuervo Tequila in the 1930s may have went to Johnny Durlesser, head bartender of the Tail O' The Cock in LA, and asked him to create something using his spirit, then named it after his wife Margaret (Margarita).
    • Daniel (Danny) Negrete could have created the drink in 1936 when he was the manager of Garci Crespo Hotel in Puebla, Mexico for his girlfriend Margarita as a present.
    • Francisco 'Pancho' Morales, while working in a bar called Tommy's Place in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was asked to make a 'Magnolia' on the 4th July 1942, but couldn't remember it so created this drink.
    • Carlos 'Danny' Herrera created the cocktail either in 1947 or 1948 at his Rancho La Gloria bar in Rosarito, Mexico, for an actress called Marjorie King who drank only Tequila. He added Cointreau and lime, and the unique salt rim that caught people's attention at the bar, then named his creation Margarita, the Spanish for Marjorie.
    • A socialite Margaret Sames held a Christmas party in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1948, and created the first Margarita.

Fun facts:
  • For a tequila to be a tequila is must be made with at least 51% of agave (related to the cactus family) and produced from the state of Jalisco, Mexico (and a few other selected places).
  • Mexicans traditionally drink their tequilas neat, in a shot glass. Never with lime and salt on the side - that's an American thing.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a holiday on 5 May, largely celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla and the largest celebration takes place in LA, USA. Apparently a lot of margaritas are consumed on this date, but only in the US, not in Mexico.
  • Margarita is likely one of the most consumed cocktails in the US - so popular that there's a National Margarita Day on 22 Feb (likely coined as a marketing gimmick to sell even more margaritas)
Everything you need for a margarita - salt rimmed glass, syrup, lime juice, tequila, a triple sec.

Strength & Taste:
Sour with a hint of agave from that tequila. It may be a very easy drink for some, for others, they make not be able to accept the sharp taste of agave (the ones who can't take it usually shiver upon tasting the agave lol). The citrus makes this drink very thirst quenching.

IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
3.5 cl Teequila
2 cl Cointreau
1.5 cl Freshly squeezed lime juice

Method:
Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass rimmed with salt


An upside down sombrebro glass.
Variations:
  • Fruit Margarita - blend selected fruit with the basic margarita recipe
  • To make a Margarita Presidente (yes like the infamous Chili's one) just add some cognac.
  • Tommy margarita is a margarita using agave syrup instead of triple sec = to bring out the agave flavour even more.
  • Grand margarita = Grand marnier is used instead of triple sec
  • Tequila used could be a blanco, plata, reposado and even an anejo. Your budget and mileage may vary. Discerning tequila drinkers would balk if you mixed an Anejo into a margarita - because it's considered really good/premium and like a single malt whisky, you wouldn't want anything else mixed in there.
  • Often served with salt on the rim of the glass, but it is optional. You can rim half and leave the option to the drinker.
  • Can be served shaken with ice (on the rocks), blended with ice (frozen margarita), or without ice (straight up).
  • You CAN use any type of glass - martini, cocktail, wine, pint, schooners... But thanks to the US and texmex restaurants, that special "margarita" glasses is very commonly used. It looks like an inverted sombrero. Stereotype much?
  • If you're not too anal, you may using sugar syrup instead of agave - most bars do that because it's a MUCH cheaper and more easily attainable alternative.

Thoughts & observations:
  • IBA's version is not strong enough and too darn sour for me, as usual.
  • Please use 100% agave only. How would you know that it's 100% agave? It'll be stated on the bottle. If it's not stated, it's likely a mixto. Mixto basically means that it's partially made from agave, and the rest of it is ADDED sugar and/or stuff to artificially create the colour and taste of tequila..... and why would you want that? 100% agave is not incredibly expensive to get  (at the duty free) anyway!
  • I'll stick to using Cointreau instead of any other triple sec because Cointreau's orange really comes out all through all the agave.
  • Personally, I don't like using the 1800 silver blanco tequila because the agave is so strong and sharp in this one that it actually gives me a headache.
  • I'm being anal about this, but please use fresh lime juice. It does make a difference. Even STALE lime juice makes the drink tastes different.
One tequila is not like the other - it's not 100% agave. Stay away from it!


My preference (basically a Difford's recipe):
I like this recipe because it is so easy to remember:

2 shots of 100% agave white/silver tequila
1 shot Cointreau
1 shot lime juice
1 teaspoon of agave syrup
Mix them all into a shaker with ice, give it many, many, good, hard shakes.
Serve it in a rock glass, half rimmed with salt, with cubed ice.

For more & sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarita
http://imbibe.com/feature/once-upon-time-in-mexico/7589
http://banderasnews.com/0707/rr-margaritashistory.htm
http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cocktails/margarita-recipe2.asp
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/1254/margarita-straight-up-standard-recipe
http://www.esquire.com/drinks/margarita-drink-recipe
http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/drinks_400/416_drink-of-the-week-the-freshest-margarita.html
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-margarita/#lZo70AxpXESAklVd.97
http://www.examiner.com/article/tequila-101-who-invented-the-margarita
http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-National-Margarita-Day
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Margarita
http://www.ianchadwick.com/tequila/margaritas.htm

About cinco de mayo, if you're interested :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo
http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/p/Seven-Facts-About-Cinco-De-Mayo.htm
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/05/living/cinco-de-mayo-etiquette/

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Monday, 8 December 2014

Taste: The Arran Single Malt Whisky

All the Arrans Available in Malaysia.
Background:
  • Opened in 1995 - to put things in perspective, the oldest bottle that they technically can have today if barreled then is 19. So it is a relatively new distillery.
  • It is located at the East of the village of Lochranza at the North of the Isle of Arran. Yes, the whisky took after the island's name.
  • An independent distillery - ie privately owned and not owned by the big boys.
  • Founded by Chivas Brothers’ retiring managing director, Harold Currie.
  • The only malt whisky distillery on the Isle of Arran (since the last legally run distillery, ‘Lagg’, was closed in 1837... that's about 158 years ago!)
  • Water used in the distillery is sourced from Loch na Davie, supposedly home to the purest water in all of Scotland.
  • Its single malts are non-chill filtered, which means that it will cloud in a cooler temperature.

Fun Fact:
The pair of eagles featured in the logo are not just for the sake of random design. The pair of Golden Eagles actually nests near the distillery and its sighting disrupted the distillery's construction work because they were a protected species. 

Region:
An Island whisky, but not islay, it is not meant to be peaty, except for one expression produced specially with peat.

Tasting profile:
"Fruity, floral and fresh."

Arran is generally easy to drink - I was surprised at how easy it goes down at such a young age. If you like those fruity sort of whisky, or have a preference towards Speysides, you're gonna like this really easily.

Expressions available in Malaysia:
(All 700ml)

1. Arran Malt Original 43% RM220 - it's funny that I can't find any review about this online. It's as if it doesn't exist.
2. Arran 10 Year Old 46% RM270
3. Arran 12 Year Old Cask Strength 53.9% RM299 - released in batches. There are also other variations to the 12.  
4. Arran 14 Year Old 46% RM335 
5. Arran 17 Year Old (limited edition) 46% RM435 - only 9k bottles released.
6. Arran Sauternes Wine Cask Finish 50% RM299
7. Arran Amarone Wine Cask Finish 50% RM299 
8. Arran Port Wine Cask Finish 50% RM299
9. Arran Machrie Moor Peated 46% RM279 - released in batches, currently in its 5th batch, am unsure which batch we have available in Malaysia, sorry.
10. Arran Millenium Cask 53.5% RM378 - only 7,800 bottles released.
11. Arran Gold Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur 17% RM129

Just to give you an idea of where Isle of Arran is, because I didn't know either

So... what should you get? 
If you were by a any chance wondering which one I liked, out of the flight of 10,14 and Sauternes which I've tried, I liked 14 the most. I could tell by how I wouldn't stop asking for refills. That's not to say that the 10 or Sauternes were not good. It's just a matter of preference. The 10 is a really good introduction to Arran and just look at the 12's ABV man. It's quite cost effective, isn't it? :P

Sources tell me that the 17 is running real low, so get your grubby hands on it. This is the 17 that will go into the 18 which is targeted to be released next year  (2015).

Also, if you enjoy Baileys or Amarula, I highly recommend the Arran Gold. It is delicious, creamy and not too sweet. 

A closer look at the Arran Gold.
Get it from:
Any of the Single & Available outlets in Plaza Damas, Mercato or BSC as well as selected locations like The Whisky Bar, Rabbit Hole & Mezze.

Sources & For More:

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The IBA Project: Mojito

The Mojito - my mum ony drinks this.
The Grandfather Story:
- Likely birthplace in Cuba.

- There are 2 versions of its origins, pick one you like:
1) In the 1500s, its original recipe was used as medicine to cure scurvy aboard Francis Drake's ship where he learnt it from the South Americans. It was made with firewater (crude form of rum), lime, sugarcane juice and mint.
2) Could've been created by African slaves working in the Cuban sugarcane fields in the 1800 where sugarcane juice was in abundance (but the recipe was without lime).

- The name itself could apparently be derived from:
1) Mojar, a Spanish verb suggesting wetness.
2) An African word 'mojo', meaning spell.
3) Mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavour dishes.
4) Mojadito (Spanish for “a little wet”) or simply the diminutive of Mojado (“wet”).

Fun Facts:
- It is very, very important that you know it is pronounced moHEEtoe, not mohJEEtoe.
- Apart from the daiquiri, this is supposedly Ernest Hemingway's favourite drink.
- Bet you didn't know (or remember) that James Bond ordered it in Die Another Day.

Strength & Taste:
Refreshing & balanced between sweet and sour, if done right and to your liking. It shouldn't taste strong. One of the best tasting easy drinking cocktails ever.

IBA standard recipe & method: 
Recipe:
4 cl White Cuban Rum
3 cl Fresh lime juice
6 Mint sprigs
2 teaspoons white sugar
Soda water

Method:
Muddle mint springs with sugar and lime juice.
Add splash of soda water and fill glass with cracked ice. Pour rum and top with soda water.
Garnish with spring of mint leaves and lemon slice. Serve with straw.

What goes into a mojito - sugar, lime juice, white rum, mint leaves, ice, (soda) water. Ignore the lemon slice, deco only.

Variations:
  • Using Cuban rum is not mandatory, no one's gonna sue you for it and the American can't get hold of them anyway because of their Cuban embargo. Any decent light rum will do.
  • In place of light rum, you could try to replace it with dark rum or even spiced rum. It's really quite nice.
  • Soda water? Not necessary. Ice cold water also can. Or melted down crushed ice too works.
  • You COULD cheat by not using actual mint leaves and replacing it with mint syrup. COULD. Feel free to try it, it may just work for you and the store bought syrup would have a longer shelf life than actual mint leaves.
  • Adding in fruits/puree will turn it into a <insert name of fruit here> mojito - tahdah!
  • Seriously, there are crap loads of variations to the mojito. Don't believe me? Just click on this link to Difford's Guide. And then type "mojito". There are 19 variations just in this site alone. NINETEEN.

Thoughts & Observations: 
  • IBA recipe absolutely CANNOT make it - too little rum and too sour. Not balanced at all. And just 6 mint leaves?  Those must be giant leaves the size of a hand because with just 6 leaves you get absolutely JACK ALL mint flavour.
  • Lemon slice garnish? That's completely random, IBA. I've never in my life seen any bar worth its salt garnished a glass of mojito with lemon. Lime or shit loads of other crap maybe, but never a lemon slice...you can ignore this point. I'm just nitpicking here.
  • At this point may I insert a rant to say that I really pity those people who don't know better and end up actually referring to IBA as their recipe guide simply because IBA is supposed to be the "reference point" for "standard meaurements" of "official cocktails" not knowing that it's already a doomed effort. Out of the 8 I've tried so far, only 1 kinda passed. Newbies are better off trying recipes from anywhere else on the internet. Really IBA, what's up with that? /end rant.
  • I don't usually have soda water handy, so I usually vigorously mix/melt crushed ice into the glass with the ingredients.
  • As usual, for me, sugar syrup over sugar any day.
  • Please don't beat the crap out of the mint leaves until it's all battered and black and gross. Just a light pressure on the leaves will do. Or you can simply clap it between your palms before dumping it into the glass to release the mint oils.
  • Any mint leaves will do. Those up-scale groceries have the fragile, but very fragrant hydrophonic peppermint, spearmint, and even applemint leaves. Try them all I say - see what you like. Local mints (used in laksa - also known as pudina in BM) are of course, more easily attainable and much cheaper. Don't feel like it's as fragant? Well, just use more of it! Do take note that mint leaves do not have a long shelf life, though. So if you're gonna buy it in bulk and hosting a party for 1, be prepared to dump 3/4 of it by midweek (I'm taking the liberty of assuming you're not the type of alcoholic who would actually consume 1 gallon of mojito at a go).
  • Always use FRESH mint leaves. The wilted one smells and tastes like what rotten veges would.
  • I've tried planting my own mint plants because according to the internet, they are the easiest, hardiest herbs to plant & maintain... well based on my umpteen failed attempts, I can safely tell you that the internet LIED. Or I'm just completely hopeless with green living things.
  • While bitters is optional - let me implore you to just add in 2 dashes because it really adds a little more oomph.
  • Mojitos are supposed to taste refreshing (from the mint leaves) and a BALANCE of sweet and sour. Also, it's really hard to mess up. However, the problem is that balance and taste is subjective. So if at first you order one from the bar and it is crap, do tell the bartender what is wrong with it. And if the second one is still crap, just ban that bar forever. The bartender doesn't know what the hell he is doing. 
  • Also if mojito is not a fast moving cocktail order in that bar, try to avoid ordering a mojito altogether. Remember that wilted mints tastes like crap.
  • Mojitos, while are crowd favourites, are also PAIN to make behind a very busy bar because it is tedious - so really, why not learn to make it at home and order something else more complex at the bar. Plus at home, you get to customise it to however you'd like for a fraction of the cost.
A mojito by any other glass or garnish, is still a mojito.

My Preference: 
45ml cuban light rum
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup (2 sugar : 1 water)
crap load of fresh mints to taste... maybe a handful of the cheap stuff.
crushed ice (simply bash ice cubes into a pulp with something hard)
Angostura bitters

Pour all the ingredients into a highball glass.
Bruise mint leaves by clapping it before dumping them into the glass.
Stir stir stir so that all the stuff gets mixed up nicely.
Fill half the glass with crushed ice.
Stir stir stir until you see that most of the ice is melted (be sure to taste before you've melted everything)
Top up the the glass with more crushed ice or cube ice.
Add 2 dashes of bitters and one quick stir before serving.

Sources & for more: 
(I'm beginning to suspect that all their stories originated from one source as it all reads similar).
http://www.esquire.com/drinks/mojito-drink-recipe
http://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2014-05-20/429/cocktails/mojito-cocktail
http://www.carolinaheritageco.com/history-of-whiskey/cubas-famous-cocktail-mojito/
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-mojito/
http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/cuban-mojito-history-and-recipe/
http://travelaway.me/a-story-called-mojito/
http://www.americanmixologist.net/pages/amo/vlm23/23-06a12.htm
http://mojito-recipe.co/
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Mojito

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Monday, 24 November 2014

New: Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Hi. I'm David Beckham. See how handsome I am. Drink my whisky And you might become handsome just like me.
So David Beckham graced us with his expensive presence to launch a brand new whisky. Perhaps officially putting us down in the whisky map.. or not... but does it matter? Yes. Yes it does.

Most of the stuff you'll read about the local launch was unfortunately, mostly about David Beckham this and David Beckham that. Okay. So people seemed to care more about him being in Malaysia than the brand new whisky.

This irritated me because, I WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE WHISKY. 
(Also because this sour grape never got the invite to the launch party. :[ )

But honestly, what in the world is a retired footballer doing in the whisky business? Why should we really care about what he thinks about the whisky? He has said so himself that he doesn't even drink much .. so what does he know?!?!? Let's not even start with Simon Fuller, the devil who force fed us with never-ending cycles of that bloody American Idol, who apparently also has a huge role to play with the marketing of Diageo's newest baby. I mean, where is the connection? Reality tv and whisky. I guess the connection is that it RHYMES.

Anyhoo, I digress. To cut through the clutter, here is some info about the whisky which I've compiled from international press releases & websites. To be fair, I did find ONE good local coverage about the whisky by my good friend, and you'll find his article if you CLICK ON ME

Anyway, TLDR: Let's talk about Haig Club and not about David Beckham. 

What is it?
1. It is a scotch: This means that it came from Scotland and abides by Scotland's whisky regulations which states, among other requirements, that it must be matured for at least 3 years in an oak barrel... in Scotland, of course.
2. Grain Whisky: basically means it made from a combination of grains - like wheat, barley, oats rye, etc.... In Haig Club's case, only 10% malted barley is used. Wheat makes up of the balance 90%.
3. SINGLE grain whisky: it's single not because it's unmarried. It's single because all the stuff inside the bottle came from a one distiller.
4. It is also a NAS whisky: No Age statement. It doesn't proudly state how old is the youngest liquid inside, but because  it's a Scotch, you know by default that the youngest liquid inside is at LEAST 3 years old.

A marks the spot.
Where did it come from?
Haig Club is made in Cameronbridge distillery, located at a village in the region of Levenmouth in Fife, Scotland. It all sounds very LOTR-ish but that's Gaelic for you I guess. If you're anything like me and have no clue where these locations are, here's a map I've cropped and pasted here, just for you. Just move your eyeballs a little.

I've never heard of Haig or its distillery. New in the market?
The distillery, opened in 1824, is supposedly THE OLDEST grain whisky distillery in Scotland, and is currently (and maybe) the largest. 

The Haig family is likely to be Scotland's oldest whisky family with more than 350 years of whisky heritage. Someone from the family is said to have founded the ancestor of what is today's whisky distillery.

Here's an interesting article about the Haig family. How factually accurate it is I leave it to your to decide k? Click!

The distillery has been around since 1824?!?! Why have I not heard of it before?
Yes you may have. If not you, perhaps your parents or grandparents - in the form of the Dimple. Not that cute little beauty sunken hole in your cheeks when you smile, Dimple was of one of the earliest whiskies by Haig. The dimple bottle design is actually trademarked and yes, these people pride themselves of innovative bottle designs. Check out the Dimple range via MasterofMalt - Click!

Innovative bottle designs huh. So what's with the Haig Club's bottle design? I thought it was a new extra large sized cologne by Ralph Lauren.
Apparently the design was inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses so that only the smell and taste of the whisky comes through, masking the look of the liquid. I dunno la, the press release say one. I can't vouch for that claim as I couldn't find any online literature to support it... So... citation is required.

Spot the odd one out.
Oh well, they say not to judge a whisky by its bottle. So tell me about the liquid inside it.
So there's 10% malt, and 90% wheat which are matured in a mix of:
- refill casks which has held bourbon and scotch a few times
- fresh bourbon barrels - most flavour comes from here
- rejuvenated casks - the spice is from here.

It is 40% ABV strong... common among whiskies.

What does it taste like?
In their own words:
"gentle and clean, and has some green grassy sweetness to it.
also has a little bit of depth and complexity to it as well.
a lot of butterscotch sweetness, and interestingly, coconut and brazil nut notes
green grassy freshness.
an interesting spiciness, and some oakiness"
IMHO - Young. Grassy. Sweet. Rough. Spicy. Light. The taste doesn't linger long in your mouth.

How do I drink it?
With your mouth (sorry couldn't help it). Just like how you would your whisky. There are also quite a few suggested serves/cocktails to be found if you Google enough. But if you you're but lazy, I've done it for you and collated them right here - you're welcome!

I believe Haig Club may have have collaborated with these bars and bartenders based in Edinburgh (coincidence?), to create cocktails with the whisky:
1) The Traveller's Cocktail created by Iain McPherson, bartender and owner of Panda & Sons in Edinburgh.
2) 3 of bartenders from 3 of Edinburgh bars prepare 3 cocktails with Haig Club.
3) The Brooklyn Club by Kyle Jamieson, bartender at The Devil's Advocate in Edinburgh.

More recipes from its official website:
1) Haig Club New Old Fashioned
2) Haig Club Ginger Smoke Stack
3) Haig Club Green Tea & Grain
4) Haig Clubhouse Soda
5) Haig Clubman

Haig Club's official cocktails. We look delicious. Drink us.
How can I get it, and how much is it?
Internationally launched on 6 October and finally reached Malaysia on 12 November 2014.

It's  available in selected duty free & retail and I believe it can cost you about close to RM200ish is RM197 for Duty Free, and is likely to set you back to more than RM300++ on retail. Ouch.

At time of publication, I'm still waiting for confirmation on prices from Diageo Malaysia, friends, family and any tom, dick or harry who have seen the bottles in KLIA, or at any bars/shops. If you have a picture of the price tag, feel free to leave me a comment.

Should I get it?
Strip away all the noise and pizazz from its world famous ambassadors and all you have is a bottle of whisky which is, while decent, a little too pricey for me to want to afford. But I guess someone's gotta pay Simon and David for their time and it's gonna you.

At this point, it's worth to note that grain whisky is usually used to create blended, american and canadian whiskies. It is hardly (if ever!) bottled on its own. So is this a selling point or not, I shall leave it to you to decide. :)

Other stuff:
Here's a clip of Jimmy Choo inviting Beckham for a bit of cuti-cuti Malaysia. I love this uncle (choo I mean) and he's just one of the very few famous Malaysians I genuinely root for. So I'm using this as an excuse to feature him on the blog.



Here's the extended 1.33 mins ad, which is apparently shot by Guy Ritchie. Warning: Beckham shows up only halfway into the ad... around 0.50. But he makes it up for it by looking annoyingly dapper in a dark green velvet suit. Quite drool-worthy, if you're the sort who's into him.



For more & Sources:
The Star: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Viewpoints/Tipsy-Turvy/Profile/Articles/2014/11/15/Haig-Club-Going-against-the-grain/
Official website: https://www.haigclub.com/
Haig Club on FB: https://www.facebook.com/HaigClub/
Diageo official Press Release: http://www.diageo.com/en-us/newsmedia/Pages/resource.aspx?resourceid=2376

Image sources: Dailymail, Haig Club's FB.

#haigclubmy
#haigclub

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The IBA Project: Sazerac


The Sazerac cocktail with Cognac.
The Grandfather Story:
  • Originated around the 1830s. 
  • Could've been America's first known cocktail.
  • Antoine Peychauds was an apothecary from New Orleans who created the now famous Peychaud's bitters, was said to have created the original Sazerac for a cure, not as a cocktail.
  • The drink is named after its original base spirit, a cognac named Sazerac de Forge et Fils.
  • It was originally a cognac based cocktail, but it seems like rye whisky is the popular base now. 
  • The reason for the shift to rye whisky was either 1) cognac suddenly became scarce due to a bug problem or 2) American whiskey was readily available and very popular (and also very preferred by its local drinkers) so it was used in everything then.
Fun fact: In 2008, New Orleans proclaimed it to be its official cocktail.


One glass for mixing, one for serving; both needs ice.
Taste:
Strong, rough, spirity, masculine. Likely to cause chest hair growth, LOL. Not for the weak hearted, not for people who do not enjoy the taste of alcohol. The absinthe rinse on the glass lends a scent and taste of anise/licorice - something the Asian tongue may not be used to. What does anise taste like? Think... melted, liquid Hacks. This drink is definitely not for everyone.




IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
5 cl Cognac
1 cl Absinthe
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Method:
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside. 
Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside.
Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the Lemon peel for garnish.

Variations:
Two glasses and 1 girl.
  • Rye whiskey is the most popular base spirit if you Google the recipe.
  • There are some recipes that hails for Bourbon, then again there are others who taboo the use the Bourbon. I say YMMV.
  • You may use Angostura instead of Peychauds. Bitters is a MUST. Though purists will only use the latter.
  • You could use sugar syrup instead of sugar cube. (1 sugar cube roughly = 10ml syrup)
  • Any other pastis (Pernod. or Ricard. hehe) can substitute absinthe if absinthe is not readily available for you. At the end of the day, it's the anise scent and flavour you're after. Or how about melting some hacks hahaha kidding. 
  • If you're someone who cannot stand wasting alcohol, the absinthe can always be poured into a shot glass... and then chased after with the Sazerac. Seriously, try it.
  • It is NEVER served with ice. EVER.
  • Some writers suggest that you drop the lemon peel into the glass, some implore you not to because the lemon overpowers everything. Again, YMMV.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • This is the first IBA original recipe which I actually found palatable, yeay!
  • Stirring takes more or less 60 seconds to dilute the mix into a flavour I can palate.
  • I thought I would HATE this drink because I HATE absinthe, but it's surprisingly, okay. There's hardly any absinthe anyway. Just a hint of its smell and taste.
  • Rye whiskey is hardly readily available outside of the US anyway so I'll just stick to cognac la.
  • At the time I'm writing this, I'm nearly done with my glass and I can tell you, I'm feeling really woozy. This shit is super strong, no joke. Or I'm just a light weight.

Drink up!
My Preference:
50 ml Cognac
10 ml Absinthe
2 barspoon sugar syrup (about 10ml)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura
1 lemon peel

Add crushed ice into old-fashioned glass.
Pour absinthe in. Leave it aside.

Get a 2nd rock glass and mix all other ingredients (except lemon peel) into  glass with cubed ice and stir. Taste as you go.

Before serving, pour out the absinthe from the 1st glass into a shot glass, remember to swirl the absinthe around the glass first. Strain the 2nd glass' contents into the first. Prior to serving, squeeze the lemon peel into this glass. Serve with the absinthe shot so the drinker has the option to do a little chasing.

Sources & for more:
http://imbibe.com/feature/and-all-that-saz/20985?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Imbibe+newsletter+no+77&utm_content=Imbibe+News&sc_customer=&sc_src=email_951145
http://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2014-08-22/504/cocktails/sazerac-cocktail
http://www.sazerac.com/cocktail.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sazerac
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-sazerac/
http://www.starchefs.com/cook/mixology/technique/sazerac-cocktail
http://www.esquire.com/drinks/sazerac-drink-recipe

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The IBA Project: Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan  here IS pink. Really. I've got bad lighting. 
The Grandfather Story:
There are too many versions of its origins - so you gotta take your pick as to which one you'd prefer to believe:
1) The Cosmopolitan Daisy, found in a bartending  book from the 1930s, could've been its ancestor. While a lot of the basic ingredients were not quite the same, the end product was characteristically what today's cosmo looked like. Jigger Gordons Gin, 2 Dashes Cointreau, Juice of one Lemon, Teaspoon Raspberry (syrup)
2) Ocean Spray printed its version of Cosmopolitan in the 1960s called the "Harpoon" to sell more of its juice: 2 oz. cranberry, 1 oz. vodka or light rum or gin, over the rocks or tall with soda, with an optional splash of lime or lemon.
3) Apparently it was created by the gay community in the 1970s, by adding cranberry juice into a kamikaze.
4) Cheryl Cook, a bartender from Miami south beach could have invented it in the 1980s. Featuring the absolut citron, she said that it was simply a twist of the kamikaze and named after the fashion magazine. Rose's lime cordial was used instead of lime juice. 1.5 oz Citrus vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, .5 oz Fresh lime juice, 1 or 2 Dashes cranberry juice
5) Toby Cecchini was another bartender in the later part of 1980 who decided to switch the cordial to fresh lime juice (thank god). 2 part Absolut Citron vodka, 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part lime juice, 1 part cointreau. 
6) Yet another bartender, Dale DeGroff , in the mid 1990s was supposedly to have "fixed" the formula into what is known as the now standard recipe for Cosmo, and added the orange peel. Then Madonna (the singer, not the virgin) was seen holding it at his bar - which started the whole cosmo craze back then. 1 1/2 oz. Citron Vodka, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice, 1 oz. Cranberry Juice, Garnish with an orange peel.
Whichever version you choose, 3 things are for certain 1) it is a post-prohibition cocktail 2) it was created in America 3) it is crazy popular among the ladies today thanks to Carrie (from Sex & The City, not the horror movie lol).


Squeeze the orange peel over the drink.
Strength & Taste:
Light sweetness from the cointreau, tarty from the cranberry and lime, tasty from the combination of everything. With that lovely orange scent from the peel. It'll make you salivate and peckish. It's not strong at all, at most one shot of Vodka. But you really need to drink it fast while its cold.


IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
4 cl Citron Vodka
1.5 cl Cointreau
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
3 cl Cranberry juice

Method:
Shake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Strain into a large cocktail glass
Garnish with lime slice.


Variations:
  • Some recipes call for cordial but please, stick to fresh juice. I'm not a fan of cordial. Ever.
  • You may use any triple sec instead of Cointreau. I'll stick to Cointreau for now because I'm a snob that way.
  • Blue cosmo =  white cranberry juice + blue curacao instead of triple sec.
  • A Cosmocello = substitutes limoncello for the lime juice.
  • A Francillian = substitutes sangria for cranberry juice.
  • A Peach Cosmopolitan = peach schnapps for triple sec and peach juice for the cranberry
  • A dash of orange bitters could be used for an added oomph. It really subdues the tart, complements your triple sec and adds a tinge of depth with its bitterness.
  • You could flame your peel while you squeeze it - Ups the cool factor by quite a bit. No other reason.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • Original recipe is really sour. Not tooooooo darn sour for me, when consumed super cold. But may be tooooo darn sour for some. 
  • I've come to realise that I prefer a thicker texture to my cocktails. That means a little more liqueur or sugar or something which has high contents of sugar. What I'm saying is that the IBA version is too thin - so I'll either up the cointreau or lower the cranberry/lime.
  • Need to make a smaller drink. All drinks which are not served with ice require a smaller portion as it warms up too quickly when served in Malaysian room temperature and substantially changes the taste of the drink. Bleh.
  • The orange must be in room temperature. Chilled oranges make the peels release less oils. I'm sure there's a good chemistry reason for that which I'm too lazy to Google for, but you can Google it if you wish.
  • I like a huge orange peel. There's something about the smell from the freshly squeezed orange peel that feels like bliss. And squeeze just before you or your guest is about to consume the drink so everyone gets a lovely whiff.


Cosmo. All pink with a bit of orange.
My Preference:
45ml Citron vodka
15ml cointreau
10ml lime juice
45ml cranberry juice
One GIANT orange peel
Frozen martini glass
1 dash of orange bitters (optional)

Pour everything into shaker with loads of big ice. Shake it hard. Strain into glass (optional, but purists want to see clear liquid without shard of ice. Japanese will want their shards). Squeeze orange peel over glass, rub it around the rim and drop it into the drink just before serving.


Sources & for more:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmopolitan_(cocktail)
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-cosmo/#.
http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cocktails/cosmopolitan-cocktail-recipe.asp
http://www.gazregan.com/2012/11/cocktail-book/the-birth-of-the-cosmopolitan/
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Cosmopolitan
http://www.georgetowner.com/articles/2012/apr/04/cosmopolitan-once-it-cocktail/
http://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2014-06-30/462/cocktails/cosmopolitan-cocktail
http://ohgo.sh/archive/sex-and-the-city-the-cosmopolitan/
http://www.barmixmaster.com/2008/05/sex-and-city-cosmopolitan.html

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Sunday, 2 November 2014

New: Kilchoman Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

3 Kilchoman beauties in a row: Machir Bay, 100% Islay & Loch Gorm

The guys at Single & Available organised a couple of tastings to introduce this really new label into the Malaysian market.

First, we learned that Kilchoman is actually pronounced as Kil-HO-man. Must be a Gaelic thing?

Secondly, Peter Willis, who came all the way from Scotland to take us through the tasting, is actually the SON of one of the co-founders.

Isn't it awesome when these companies take some time off their busy worldly schedules to spare a few moments for this tiny insignificant market? This drinker appreciates it very much! :)

So Kilchoman is practically still a baby. The distillery began production in 2005 - it's just about 9 years old this year!

Peter Willis from Kilchoman. He's kinda cute isn't he? ;)

Other fun facts:
1. It's built on what used to be a farm.
2. It's the first distillery to be built in the Islay in 125 years!
3. Founders of the distillery were originally independent bottlers.
4. It is an independent distillery, ie, not own by any of the big conglomerates. It is also very small so their production is a fraction of the bigger boys. On a yearly basis, most of their expressions are limited, and released by vintages.
5. The distillery actually ran out of money prior to production of their first bottle. Thank goodness it found its feet back.

The tasting mat - with all the geeky stuff for your reading pleasure. I seriously need to take better pictures.

6. It is 1 out of only 6 distilleries that practices "floor malting". Ie, laying out the barley on the floor to dry.
7. It is practically the only distillery in Islay that can produce their whisky 100% in-house - eg, growing own barley, malting it, distilling, maturing and bottling. Most companies outsource half of these processes out.
8. One of the owners has all his 3 sons (yup, Peter's dad) working in the distillery, cute huh?
9. While 30% of the malt is grown and produced in-house, the balance is purchased from Port Ellen (a closed distillery which still sells its maltings).
10. Casks used are Bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks.
11. All their whiskies are non-chilled filtered and no additional colours are added. So if one bottle's colour is different from another, don't panic.

3 expressions will be brought into Malaysia, and these were also the ones we sampled that night. Let's talk about it!

Kilchoman 100% Islay release.
KILCHOMAN 100% ISLAY
50% ABV, RM420

It is 100% made in the distillery, from growing the barley to bottling it. If I heard it right, this is 4-5 years old, matured fully in bourbon casks. This expression is limited, and is only produced only once a year. It's in its 4th release now.
From the website:
All parts of the production process for the 100% Islay have taken place at the distillery – from barley to bottle. The barley is grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at Kilchoman making for a unique character. Bottled at 50% abv and peated to a lower level to that of other releases, 100% Islay has a lighter, fresher feel to it. Citrus and lemon notes come through with soft peat smoke and a long smooth finish.
Among all 3 this has the lightest peat. It is light, fruity and sweet. Even the scent is sweet! Almost like a Speyside, with a bit of peat. The peat is only obvious at the end, but not distracting. Trust me, I'm someone who is not fond of peat, this was absolutely fine by my palate and easily my favourite among the 3.

You might need to know that I generally like whisky matured in bourbon casks, by the way. :)

Kilchoman Machir Bay
KILCHOMAN MACHIR BAY
46% ABV, RM280

Named after the bay near the distillery, it's made from whiskies aged 4-5 years old, matured in both Bourbon and sherry casks. Every year it matures, we'll see another release, yeay!
From the website:
The Machir Bay range is Kilchoman’s core expression, first launched in 2012 when it won the prestigious IWSC 2012 Gold Award – Best in Class. Bottled once a year, each release contains more mature casks allowing Kilchoman fans to follow the development of the unique Kilchoman malt as it matures. Matured in a combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, Machir Bay has a well-balanced combination of rich tropical fruit, peat smoke, light vanilla and intense sweetness.
This has a little more peat than the 100%. Still, its peat is nothing close to the peat monsters (eg: Lagavulin and Laphroaig which I'm actually afraid of lol). Spicy and dry (definitely from the sherry), but still retaining its sweetness. It is nice!

Kilchoman Loch Gorm
KILCHOMAN LOCH GORM
46% ABV, RM380

Named after a nearby "loch", which is supposedly famous for its peat. It's matured at least 5 years fully in sherry casks. Like the Machir Bay, we'll see a new release with every year it matures, double yeay!
From the website:
Named after a famously peaty loch at the end of the Kilchoman drive, Loch Gorm is the only fully ex-sherry cask matured release from Kilchoman. As with other ranges in our portfolio, Loch Gorm will be periodically re-released as a more mature expression. Each bottling will be differentiated by distillation and bottling years printed on the label. Loch Gorm combines rich sherry fruits and spices with smouldering peat, cloves and lingering sweetness.
Spicier, richer and drier than the Machir Bay, yet still sweet. Most peat among the 3. I can see a lot of people liking this - especially if they have a tendency to like whisky matured in sherry casks.

Summary:
I like Kilchoman. It is a nice, fruity sweet whisky with just enough peat to remind you of its birth place. And this is coming from someone who doesn't like peat ya! The awesome thing is that the peat is not overpowering, but you cannot ignore that it's there. I can't believe that at so young an age (4-6 years old) they are already so flavourful and have quite a character. Can you imagine what they'll be like when they're all grown up? I can't wait!

Available:
At all Single & Available outlets (also the sole distributor for this market)

Here's a fun video on how the 100% Islay is made in Kilchoman:



For more:
About the distributor: http://www.singleandavailable.com.my/
Official website: http://kilchomandistillery.com/
Their online store: http://kilchomandistillery.com/whisky-shop/single-malt-whisky-liqueur