The Booze Blog Portal - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

01 June 2015

Insta Weekly: Sommelier Championship 2015 & French Wines Trade Show, Nikka Event, Glenfiddich's #ValleyOfTheDeer, Omakase + Appreciate, Ardbeg Day

I made another resolution this year - to do something different every month. Better if it's something I've never done before. It could be something as simple as watching a musical, or it could be something as big as picking up a new skill. I figured if I didn't force myself to commit to it,  every day would just be like any other day, and I'd be living my life on autopilot. What a wasted life that would be, innit? I figured, since we're only given one life, I must make the best of it, the best that I can.

What have I done so far? In January, I completed my first ever 6km (more like 7.6 actually) cross country (which goes off-road!) run. I kinda copped out in February by merely going on a jungle hike at a nearby park. But March & April was quite a good one as it was my first trip to Siam Reap AND I participated in a 17km cycling tour there. What did I do for the month of May? Well, it's booze -related so you'll need to read on to find out. :)

1. 24H French Wines Trade Show & Malaysia Best Sommelier Championship 2015

Attended the 24H French Wine Fair last Monday at the Le Meridien KL hotel with about 10-12 wine exhibitors from France who showcased their wines - I managed to arrive just in time to sample a bunch of them - there were SO MANY! There was even a booth by the Peru embassy to introduce their Pisco in the form of a delicious Pisco Sour (with the proper white egg foam on top) which I enjoyed very much.

Malaysia Best Sommelier Championship (MBSC) 2015 happened at the same time too. I was invited to observe the competition but sadly, could not make it due to my day job commitments. But I'd like to briefly tell you about it.

MBSC is an annual competition held by the Sommelier Association of Malaysia to choose the country's best sommelier to represent the country in regional and world competitions. This year's winner will be flying off to observe the Asia Oceania Best Sommelier Contest from the 6-8 November 2015 in Hong Kong and would be in the running to represent Malaysia at the World Best Sommelier Contest in Mendoza, Argentina in March 2016.

To me, this is a big deal because it encourages school leavers to actually consider this profession seriously, knowing that they have all these low hanging fruit opportunities to be part of. I wonder if regular consumers realise how much it takes for someone to be a sommelier or a even a bartender. It takes years of practice & practical experiences, self-training & learning, discipline, dedication, not to forget countless hours on your feet to perfect the craft. you know me, I'm a sucker for anything which encourages the progress of the industry. Looking forward to more competitions like these!

2. Nikka Whisky Tasting @ Malones which I couldn't go for. :(

This was another event I couldn't go for. :( I've had them all before but it would've been nice to be able to make a side by side comparison between the Taketsuru, Coffey Grain and From the Barrel.

You know how I feel about the From the Barrel don't you (it's my favourite nikka!). But the Coffey is really, really lovely too and I wouldn't mind keeping a bottle at home for easy afternoon drinking on the rocks, or in a Mizuwari... or even in a highball. It smells like candy and tastes just as good and more worth the money than ... than... I'm going to let you finish this sentence lol.

Taketsuru Pure malt, I need to have a drink of that again to refresh my memory as I haven't had that in a while. I'll share with you my thoughts on it again the next time I have it. :)

3. Glenfiddich's #ValleyOfTheDeer Post Event Sneak Peek

THIS was my May activity! If you follow me on instagram you might have noticed that I was posting a picture each day from the event. Well, that's because I was actually AT the Valley of the Deer event every day - busy playing the role of one of the many whisky guides. I'm one who absolutely HATE (and actually really suck at) doing presentations to a crowd but this role forced me to do so nearly 20 times a day for 4 days! I will post up a full post-event report on this, but for now let me just say that I'm so proud and honoured to be part of this event - first of its kind in Malaysia and at such an enormous scale, no less. Were you there? Did you see me? :)

4. Omakase + Appreciate: One of my favourite cocktail places

I've never officially mentioned it on my blog before, but I say this in person a lot: Omakase + Appreciate (O + A) is definitely one of my favourite cocktail bars in KL. Not only do they create new cocktail menus every week, the bartenders are so darn good that they can create stuff off the menu too (classics or even made up stuff). It's very cozy (comfortably sits 20 pax) and a little hard to find (that's how they like it) - but it's a great place to grab a quiet, great drink (Tue-Thurs are usually quieter. Fri-Sat can get a little mad, or when they have guest bartenders/events on). Mind you it's not the cheapest (average RM40 and up per drink) but it's definitely worth giving it a try.

We don't have many bars in Malaysia that feature female bartenders, but this is one of the bars that do, and boy are they excellent. O + A doesn't sell spirits by the bottles, everything is sold by shots. Not into cocktails? No matter. Spirits can be served neat, they have a wide array of whiskies, and there's even a small selection of bottled beer & wine. I loathe to tell you about this place to be honest, because I wanted to keep it my secret, my precious, my very own. But someone reminded me earlier that good things must be shared. So here you go. :)

5. 30 May 2015 was Ardbeg Day!

Someone opened and shared his Ardbeg Lord of the Isles to celebrate our hard work at the earlier-mentioned event. Coincidentally, it was also Ardbeg Day - where the distillery celebrated their 200th anniversary. I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of peat, but this was really something special. It's so rich & deep, fruity sweet upfront with a long finish and has that unmistakable peat end which I was fine with. This is one whisky that could rule them all (LOTR reference intended). What a privilege it was to have had the opportunity to experience this really memorable dram.

Bonus: I didn't post this picture up on my insta but I did put it up on the Dram Full Malaysia Faceook page (which you should definitely check out if you're into whiskies!). See this handsome guy on the left? The Lord of the Isles was his, and was just 1 of 4 bottles he brought for us to try. The other 3 (seen in his arms) were the Limited Edition Longrow Red Fresh Port Cask 11 years (at 51.8% ABV - a big kick in your teeth!), Knockando 18 years (easy & so good), and Glenfiddich's very gimmicky the Cask of Dreams (very yums!). To give him a quick shout out, Shawn Samuel (COO of Mira Group Worldwide), is actually a whisky collector and investor (among many other hats that he wears) and will be launching a Facebook page soon to showcase his vast whisky collection so watch this space!

Until next week, drink safe!

Insta Weekly is a weekly summary of boozy updates from my  account under the hastag #angeltini. Feel free to follow me if you think you might enjoy daily updates on booze, food and other random stuff by a girl from Malaysia. Cheers!