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

31 December 2017

Welcome to Malaysia, Scotch Malt Whisky Society!

We recently saw the official launch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) in Malaysia for Christmas. Heads up - this is actually an open secret society.. but it's nothing sinister like a triad or a cult, of course. :)

However, one might just mistake it for a cult when members get together, imbibing on spiritual liquids and then with their eyes closed, enter into trance-like state while spewing random words like - heady phenols. robust palate. second fill. virgin cask. pencil shavings.  complex yet mellow. oily coating. short finish. etc etc etc. Well, do not be intimidated by that. Those are just hardcore whisky geeks at work.

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But I digress. The point of this post is to share with you the 5 things you need to know about SMWS, because here in angeltini.com, we're all about the sharing!

1. What's with the brand name? 
Founded in 1983, the SMWS is exactly what it is, a subscriber-based club, created by whisky lovers, for whisky lovers.

2. So they make their own whisky?
No, they are independent bottlers. This means that they buy the whole cask from various distilleries across the globe, further kept to mature then and bottle it themselves at cask strength, before selling them directly to its members.

The bottling is approved only through consultation of independent panel of whisky geeks, so there is a fair amount of QC involved.



3. What's with the numbers on the labels? How would I know what I'm drinking?
The numbers on the label are their (open) secret codes. The first numbers before the decimal is the code of a certain distillery. For example 1, is Glenfarclas. The numbers after the decimal is the number of cask acquired from distillery. Thus 2.8 is the eighth cask bought from Glenlivet, which is also my birthdate, ahem!

But don't sweat it. Here are the cheat codes to decipher them. You're welcome!

4. What’s with the weird names on the bottle?
The names are based on the key characteristics of the whisky. The Tasting Panel that decides on which cask is good enough to be the chosen bottled one also provides a whimsical set of tasting notes which provide an indication of what flavours and textures the drinker can expect. So expect names such as 'Kissed up by sweet promises' or 'Intense menu of seduction' or even "Wasabi on a california roll".

The reason they don’t put the name on the bottles is that the SMWS would prefer you to focus only on the flavour of the whisky rather than the age or region it is from.


5. Can I buy a bottle?
Ah, good question. As the whisky bottle suggests, these are produced by a society and only membership has its privileges. In Malaysia, the spirit geeks at Wholly Spirits Sdn Bhd are the official distributor of these bottlings. You may visit this site to obtain more information on SMWS Malaysia and its membership.

But just a little hint… I’ve seen these being sold in airport duty free (*cough* Singapore DFS *cough)..

So next time you get your hands on own of these babies, feel free to give me a jio!

Sláinte mhaith!

- Jon

18 December 2017

Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn East IPA Launches in Malaysia!

Image: Carlsberg
With craft beers in the rage both internationally and domestically, Carlsberg joined the party with the launch of Brooklyn Lager and East IPA through a partnership with Brooklyn Brewery an award winning brewhouse in New York.

An intimate launch by Carlsberg Malaysia was held at the MEJA Kitchen and Bar at TREC on the 14th Dec 2017, with food pairings that went well with the two new beers.

Here are the official description of the two beers:

Brooklyn Lager, 5.2% ABV
Amber-gold coloured with a firm malt centre, refreshing bitterness and a  loral hop aroma. The aromatic qualities of the beer are enhanced by “dry-hopping”, the centuries-old practice of steeping beer with fresh hops as it undergoes a long, cold maturation. 

With a slightly higher ABV than the usual Carlsberg Green Labels (CGL) at 5% ABV and the Carlsberg Smooth Draught (CSD) at 4.8% ABV, the product is a punch more flavourful, smooth, refreshing and very versatile with food.

Brooklyn East IPA, 6.9% ABV
A pale ale that offers a bold balance, with a bright piney aroma, and the taste of stone fruits yet a firm bitterness from IPA's ancestral British home. It's higher ABV and packed flavours are best paired with rich and spicy food. 

If you are not accustomed to drinking IPA beers, you’d need to know that its is awfully strong (bitter from the hoppiness) in taste. I find letting it sit for a few minutes allows more flavours to be released when its less chilled. So do take this one slow. Perhaps start with the lager, then finish with this.

Image: Carlsberg

Thanks for the jio!

- Jon

13 December 2017

Hennessy Declassified

Hennessy created an interactive experience to show invited guests how the cognac was brought to life through a a super elaborate simulated distillery tour that built on the 50th floor of the Platinum Park Tower, Kuala Lumpur.  Held from 11th -16th Dec 2017, the tour was divided into 5 zones which ends in a free-flow lounge bar.

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Did you know: A brandy can only be called cognac if it's:
1) produced in the Cognac region
2) made with grapes produced from the cognac region (mostly a white grape called Ugni Blanc)
3) distilled in a copper pot still, twice to produce a fruit wine (eau-de-vie) of at least 70% ABV
4) aged in french oak casks for at least 2 years.


At Hennessy, their casks are still hand-labelled by their coopers (the guys in charge of casks) who are specially trained in a specific calligraphy style that's been handed down from generations.

Image: Hennessy Malaysia

Also, did you know that Hennessy has a tasting committee of 7 people that meet PRECISELY at 11am everyday to taste anything between 40 to 100 samples of eau de vie for blending. It takes no less than 10 years of training before one can even think about sitting on that table.

Image: Hennessy Malaysia

At the end of the tour, we had a little treat of the Hennessy Paradis Imperial. It's a recreated blend of a once historic eau-de-vie made for royalty. An average of only 10 out of 10,000 eaux de vie goes into this blend, making it pretty damn rare. How does it taste? On the nose - a bouquet of flowers, like a luxurious perfume with a hint of warm spice. In the mouth it's creamy, viscous, full - with some tannins that made my mouth water. In a word - Divine. No surprises now that it retails for about RM6,400 a bottle!

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The afterparty at the lounge was a perfect way to end of the night - plied with free flowing drinks (neat Hennessy and Hennessy-based cocktails by local and international bartenders), delicious small bites (rounds and rounds of fresh raw oysters!) and being crooned by a live band. Wish I brought my cigars!

Image: Hennessy Malaysia
Thanks for the jio!

- Jon

9 December 2017

Have a Mele Kalikimaka @ WIP

Since in we celebrate a tropical Christmas in Malaysia, WIP wants to bring you to a Hawaiian Paradise with its Hawaiian tropical-themed menu and festivities this coming Christmas (‘Mele Kalikimaka’ is a hawaiian phrase for ‘Merry Christmas’).

This Christmas Eve, WIP will be throwing the luau featuring Hula dancers, ukulele bands and fire breathers. For RM150 nett per adult and RM 100 nett per child, you'll be able to enjoy a buffet of unique Hawaiian-inspired delicacies and drinks.

In anticipation for the luau, the culinary team have whipped up some delectable specials from now till Christmas Day:

Image: Continuum PR

  • Kuleke Platter @ RM88 (sliced roasted turkey, fresh water prawns, chicken Merguez & spicy beef sausages, roasted baby carrots, sautéed vegetables, red wine poached pear, grapes, and fresh strawberries with a chocolate dip).
  • Aloha Beef Burger @ RM35 (homemade beef patty, beef bacon, Emmental cheese, grilled pineapple, tomato, and onion, topped with teriyaki sauce).
  •  Huli Huli Chicken @ RM38  (a popular dish in Hawaiian cuisine that features grilled chicken that’s been barbecued over mesquite wood, and basted with a sweet huli huli sauce which is a combination of pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, brown sugar and ginger). 
Of course, there will be a selection of Tiki-style cocktails (RM35/glass) to accompany your solids, afterall what's a Christmas without some Christmas spirit, eh?

Image: Continuum PR

  • Toucan -  a balanced sweet and sour cocktail with a rum base, Aperol, fresh pineapple, pink grapefruit and lime juice.
  • Batida - Cachaca, coconut water, and banana. An ikat tepi super filling banana dessert drink.
  • A-Maize-Ing -   a rum citrus cocktail with um, velvet falernum syrup, fresh lime juice, and bitters.
  • Maui Fizz - a light refreshing mix of rum, fresh lemon juice, chai spice syrup, coconut water, egg white, and soda. 
  • Orinoco Fog - a spirit forward number from a mix of rum, gin, cognac, dry curacao, orgeat syrup and fresh lime juice. 
For more information on the WIP Christmas Specials or the ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ Christmas Eve Luau, visit the WIP Facebook page: http://fb.com/wip.kl

Note: WIP will undergo a major cosmetic facelift to refresh the brand in anticipation of its 10th Anniversary. The facelift is taking place in two phases: the first phase involving the main entrance, mall entrance and restroom, which will be completed by the first week of December; and the second phase that will see a complete refurbishment of the interior, which will take place in January 2018

 - Jon

3 December 2017

Say hello to Somerby's Sparking Rose

Image: Carlsberg Malaysia
There is new sparkling Rosé newly launched that feels like bubbly, looks like a Rosé wine but priced like a apple cider - say hello to the new Somersby Sparkling Rosé cider!

Launched recently, launch party was held at Roofino @ Trillion, Jalan Tun Razak which saw a venue decked to look like a stunning orchard.

So how does this new bubbly hold up? You have the flavours of the acidic but sweet apple mixed with berries and a floral aroma on the nose.

With 4.5% alcohol, it really feels like a sparkling wine but still has the familiarity of apple cider.

If you’d like to sample this brand new bubbly, Somersby will be running sampling activities at leading restaurants, concept bars, hypermarkets and supermarkets from December 2017 to February 2018.

Image: Carlsberg Malaysia

Somersby Sparkling Rosé will be available across Peninsular Malaysia for a limited period of 6 months in individual bottles (330ml), 4-bottle pack and 2-bottle pack at leading hypermarkets and supermarkets, 100 premium restaurants and concept bars. 2-bottle pack will only be available in 7-Eleven convenient stores. Somersby Sparkling Rosé will retail at a similar price point to Somersby Apple and Somersby Blackberry for this 6 month period.

Lars Lehmann, Managing Director of Carlsberg, at the launch. That lucky fella's forever surrounded by hot chicks.
Image: Carlsberg Malaysia
If you ask me, I actually think this is quite a perfect gift for X’mas and CNY parties.

For more: www.facebook.com/SomersbyMy or www.carlsbergmalaysia.com.my.

- Jon

2 December 2017

Tap-it-Out: Malaysia’s First Self-Tapping Beer Bar

Wish you could have the experience of tapping your own beer? Wished you could sample just a bit of a strange new beer you've never had before committing to a full glass of it? Now you can with the launch of Tap-it-Out.

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Nestled in Solaris month Kiara, this is the first self serving tap beer in Malaysia with 10 types of beer for under RM50 per litre.

The grand opening of Tap It Out was officiated by its founders Ethan Yoon, Ryan Foo and Joltan Ng, in attendance of their key business partner from Carlsberg Malaysia represented by Managing Director Lars Lehmann, Managing Director of Luen Heng F&B Sdn Bhd Datuk Kenneth Soh, and their shareholders. Image: Carlsberg

Opened in August this year and officially launched in November, Tap-it-Out is a business collaboration between 3 main partners with Carlsberg Malaysia and Luen Heng. Carlsberg Malaysia supplies of course Carlsberg, Asahi, Connor’s and Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc while Luen Heng is the official distributor of Lowenbrau, Erdinger, Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe.


So how does the self serving tap concept work?

1. Buy an ATM beer pass card (it works like a Touch N Go card BUT BEER). Minimum load is RM50.

2. Choose your poison from the multiple taps on the wall and place your card on the slot.

3. Tap your beer! Note, you can stop at anytime you want, which means you don't have to fill up your whole glass. There is a metered reading that tells you how much (in litres) has been tapped and the remaining value left available on the card.


Sounds like fun, eh? The prices and discount offers will be displayed either on the overhead telly or on the taps itself so you’d know the best buy for your buck. At the time of opening, prices per litre were as follows:

Carslberg - RM33.50
Connor's - RM39.00
Asahi - RM46.50
Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc - RM52.00
Hoegaarden - RM54.50
Lowenbrau - RM56.50
Stella Artois - RM56.50
Erdinger - RM58.00
Leffe - RM58.50

Worth to note that apart from the 10 beers on tap, there's a couple of beer pong tables inside and a selected offering of whiskies.


For a very limited time a free 10% additional credit will be given to all top up reloads. Tap-it-Out opens from 4pm-2am every day. For more information go visit their Fb page:
https://www.facebook.com/tapitoutmsia/

Don’t say I bojio!

- Jon

Tags: #tapitoutmsiagrandopening #ProbablytheBest