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

10 November 2019

Balblair's Core Range Release in Malaysia


We were recently invited for a tasting and dinner to introduce the Bablair's core range aged expressions of the 12yr old, 15yr old and 18yr old.

But is Balblair's new? The answer is.... not really.

Previously, Balblair was originally introduced as a whisky bottled by "vintage" like, wine. The Balblair 95 for example; was bottled in 2015.

What made them change? Well my guess would be, like every other brand going NAS, stamping Balblair as an aged expression is a way of changing their game plan for meeting demand. So, if you can get your hands on their vintage variant though, do it.

Image: The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

If you're curious, you can read about their change here:
https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/latest-news/25093/balblair-removes-vintages-amidst-revamp/
http://www.thewhiskybusiness.com/2019/03/balblair-distillery-launches-new-age.html

Of the 3 new expressions released, which one do I like? To be honest, all 3 make for a decent everyday easy-drinking dram. The 12 yr old was a nice dram to start the evening with the 15 yr old makes a decent after dinner dram, and the 18 yr old was a good way to end the night.

For more:
https://www.balblair.com/
https://www.facebook.com/asiaeurogroup/ (main distributor in Malaysia)

Thanks for the jio, AsiaEuro.

- Jon

Sorgin, The Bewitching Gin

Image: Sorgin

Most gins are distilled from grains. However, Sorgin is made from fine Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Not just any grapes, but grapes from the vineyards of Francoise Lurton, the 4th generation wine producer from one of the biggest Bordeaux wine families, producing wines since 1897.

Sorgin is the first spirit created by him and his wife, Saabin, after he diversified the family's business by relaunching the distilling activity his great-grandfather, Léonce Récapet, had inherited in 1880. Sorgin was designed to be a link between his new venture into spirits and his family''s heritage in wine.

Apart from juniper berries (mandatory for gin!), it also has pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, violet, broom (cinnamon), blackcurrant buds. The finished product of 43% abv  has a fruity, tangy notes while the nose has a hint of wine (thanks to its grape base).

Sorgin means witch in Basque french, an ode to its French South West origin.

Single & Available brings it in. While it is only exclusively available at Mr Chew's for now, I am told that this will eventually be available from year-end onward.

For more: http://sorgin.fr/ or https://www.facebook.com/sorgin.fr/

- Jon

3 November 2019

WhiskyPlus 2019 does Penang

Here's one for the whisky lovers in Penang - WhiskyPlus, arguably Malaysia's largest whisky event, will be coming over to you!


WHERE:
Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort

WHEN: 
Saturday, November 30, 2019 (Session One 12-5pm; Session Two 6-10:30pm)

PRICING: 
Entry passes for attendees range from RM178 (regular entry) to RM298 (VIP entry).

Just some of the whiskies featured at the recent WhiskyPlus 2019 KL event

WHAT DO YOU GET: 
Unlimited samplings of whiskies and spirits to try, from the familiar big names to independent bottling and even new expressions, a Glencairn-style whisky tasting glass, and a food box to line yout tummy! VIP entry pass will receive additional privileges and goodies, including access to the older and higher-end expressions of whiskies poured by each exhibitor.

DISCOUNTS:
1) Be a Dram Full - Malaysia member on Facebook (free!) and you get RM40 off the ticket price.
2) If you're a The Glenlivet Guardians member, you'll also get RM40 off the ticket price.
Both requires a special code to redeem your discount. :)

Some more of the good stuff featured at the recent WhiskyPlus 2019 KL event

FOR MORE: 
Email info@whiskyplus.my or head on to www.whiskyplus.my

WIN!
We've got 2 pairs of tickets worth RM356 each to give away. All you have to do is participate in our little contest on Facebook and Instagram!

Don't say we #bojio!

30 October 2019

TGG Launch x Oktoberfest x Carlsberg


The Good Guys (TGG) bar and kitchen officiated the opening of its third outlet at the Square, Publika by hosting ‘Probably The Best Oktoberfest Celebration’ on the 25th Oct partnered with Carlsberg Malaysia in support.

 Publika chalks the 3rd TGG outlet after Damansara Utama and Plaza Arkadia. Similar to the first two outlets, TGG plays on five elements – good ambiance, good food offerings, a good beer range, good service delivery and good pricing that is a proven to resonance well with the urban and hip working crowd. Congratulations...... Guys!


- Jon

5 October 2019

Brouwerij Martens Bochol Craft Beers Comes to Malaysia

Brouwerij Martens Bochol (the Marten Bochol Brewery) from Belgium has officially launched a series of their specialty craft beers at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur recently.

The brewery was founded 260 years ago in 1758 and is an independent company. Today, Jan and Fons Martens are the eighth generation in the family; who are still continuing the tradition of brewing beers.


We were introduced to:

1) Kristoffel White (5% abv), Blond (6% abv) and Dark (6%). Named after the Saint Kristoffel in the church at the heart of Bocholt, the Kristoffel range are abbey style beers, made with high fermentation. Kristoffel White is a cloudy unfiltered beer, Blond is made with a combination of barley, cornmeal and a special selection of aromatic hops and Dark with a selection of special malts and aromatic hops.

2) Sezoens Blond (6% abv) - a top fermented ale that is made using a special double dry-hopping process.

3) Boot Tread (5% abv) - An amber ale brewed with Saaz hops

4) 1758 IPA (6.5% abv) is brewed in small batches with a blend of 6 different type of hops, this beer marks the year that Brouwerij Martens Bocholt is established.

All beers are available in selected Village Grocer stores, Jaya Grocer stores, all BIG supermarkets and selected bars in the country. Dionysus Asia Sdn Bhd brings them in and you can check them out on https://www.dionysusasia.com/home

-Jon

29 September 2019

The 4th East Imperial Gin Jubilee 2019 @ Malaysia


Gird your liver. Gin Jubilee's back - bigger and better. How?

13 participating Gin brands!
  1. The Botanist 
  2. Caorunn
  3. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
  4. Four Pillars Rare Dry
  5. Gin Agricolo Blagheur
  6. G’Vine Floraison
  7. Hendrick’s
  8. Napue by Kyro Distillery Company
  9. Monkey 47
  10. Rock Rose
  11. Scapegrace
  12. St. George Terroir
  13. The West Winds Cutlass
Image: Wholly Spirits
26 participating outlets!
  1. 61 Monarchy
  2. Bar Shake
  3. Bar Trigona
  4. Beta KL
  5. BotakLiquor
  6. Coley
  7. Elements
  8. Flying Monkeys
  9. HYDE at 53M
  10. JungleBird
  11. Knowhere
  12. Mari Gin
  13. Mezze
  14. Mrs Jones’ Parlour
  15. Pacific Standard Bar
  16. Pahit
  17. Pinchos Tapas Bar
  18. PS150
  19. Soma
  20. The Locker & Loft
  21. The Pawn Room
  22. The Sticky Wicket
  23. The Vault
  24. Three x Co
  25. Tickets
  26. Woo Bar @ W Kuala Lumpur
Image: W KL's Wet Deck
Lots of fun between 8-12 Oct 2019!
  • Kick-off party at W Hotel's Wet Deck on 8 Oct 2019
  • Bar crawl through participating bars to vote for your favourite Gin & Tonic between 1-12 Oct 2019. Each post MUST include the hashtags #EastImperial, #GinJubilee2019 and also the Location of the bar.
  • Catch guest shifts, masterclasses and workshops between 8-12 Oct 2019. For updates, follow https://www.facebook.com/ginjubilee
  • Catch Gin Jubilee's finale party- the Gin Lane on 12 Oct at the Sentul West Depot for RM25 g&ts all night by all the participating outlets and gin brands!
For more check out https://ginjubilee.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/whollyspirits/

J

26 September 2019

Will the Grinch of Octoberfest Present Itself Again in 2019?

That's been on my mind lately.

Image: MyBeer Malaysia
2 years ago, you might have recalled The Better Beer Festival 2017 was cancelled (after 5 years!).  One Utama's annual one was also cancelled.  It would've been alright if their permits were outright rejected in the first place - but authorities gave them the okay, only to revoke their permits at the 11th hour, burning all monetary and effort costs involved. 2017 was a hard year for imbibers and organisers indeed.



Reeling from what happened in 2017, in 2018, the 2 local breweries managed to host relatively subdued events - either using different names and only through outlet promotions.

As we're heading towards October - I've not seen much fanfare. So far, we've noted only a couple of pubs promoting their version of Octoberfest.



Other than that, it has all been quiet.

I really miss those big Oktoberfest parties. Sob..

J

19 September 2019

Connor Stout Porter's 'perfect pour' September

Connor’s Stout Porter, Malaysia’s premium draught stout continues to entice the taste buds of stout lovers with a  comeback campaign of its Perfect Pour Challenge.

Upping the ante for the second time this year, Connor’s Perfect Pour Challenge throughout September will feature the Connor’s booth and truck at more than 50 locations nationwide covering Klang Valley, Ipoh, Penang and Johor.

If you choose to accept the challenge for the next 2 weeks, quickly go catch the pop up bar at Pavilion KL @ Connection Level 3 every day from 4pm to 10pm; and 4pm to 12am on Fridays and Saturdays
or visit www.connorschallenge.my for the upcoming locations and states.

31 August 2019

Carlsberg's New Look for Its 50th Anniversary

Wow! Did you know that Carlsberg Malaysia turns 50 this year? And in conjunction with their 50th birthday, they've launched a brand new look.

Image: Carlsberg
The font on its label is now bigger and bold - perfect for old foggies like me to identify it from a mile away on the shelf.

Image: Carlsberg

The bottle cap has also been re-engineered to better seal in the beer, thus making the beer fresher on the pop. Now I can buy Carlsberg in bulk during CNY and store it for longer!

Also, the 6 pack packaging has been udpated so that you can tear one beer easily from its 6-pack packaging without damaging your car keys or finger nails.

Image: Carlsberg


Lastly, they also redesigned their glass. At the bottom of the glass, there's a laser-engraved, hop leaf-shaped logo that agitates the beer to allow more bubbles to float to the top and maintain the foam head for longer, like magic!

I took a closer look at it at home:
Can you see the laser engraving?


Compared it against a normal stemmed glass - can you see that the new Carlsberg glass on the left is agitating the bubbles to rise upwards?

Like magic!

50 years old and looking good Carlsberg - I hope to look as good when I hit my big 5-0 next year!

- Jon

Margaret River Tours Kuala Lumpur


When in Perth for the first time, what would you do? Well if you love your wines, it's got to be a visit to Margaret River. It has built its reputation as Australia's "mecca" of premium wines. While the region produces less than 3%  of Australia's wine, it accounts for more 1/5 of its premium wine.

Margaret River on Tour made its debut in KL at the newly revamped Pullman KLCC on the 24th of August.


It featured 10 brands including Cape Mentelle, Churchview Estate, Flametree, Howard Park, Pierro Margaret River Vineyards, Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Woody Nook, and Xanadu for wines, and the Margaret River Distilling Company for a selection of whiskies and gins.



We got to meet winemakers, owners, and producers and VIP guests could also attend the masterclass hosted by a panel of winemakers to learn more about the quality of wines from Margaret River and what makes them unique.


The place was really packed! No surprises there because the entry price was a well-priced RM120 (RM100 for early birds.

Let's all hope they'll be back again next year, and make it bigger!

Thanks for having us, Thirstmag.

For more: https://margaretriverontour.com/

-Jon

(Images from Thirstmag)

25 August 2019

AD Ratttray Whisky X Mooncake Pairing

Thanks to Thirstmag, we had some whisky and mooncake fun at Pullman KLCC's Blu Bar & Cigar in conjunction with the upcoming mid-autumn festival.


AD Rattray is an independent company that bottles whisky ans has been around since 1868. AD Rattray buys spirits and whiskies in casks, then age and blend them into their own label's expressions.



Ben Ng of Drinks Alliance (Also Dram & Leaf, also Mish Mash) took us through the tasting.

His advise for a good pairing is to pick mooncakes which are not too sweet, has subtle flavours, and the texture shouldn't be too wet or sticky.


We sampled:

  • Stronachie x lotus paste mooncake - the whisky is like a blank canvas that intensified the sweetness of the mooncake
  • Cask Orkney 18YO (Limited Edition) x roselle and berry mooncake - surprisingly, this combination of the tart and sweet mooncake with the salty slight peatiness of the whisky
  • Cask Islay x green tea mooncake - FA's favourite, the combination has a creamy toasty ice cream flavour that works so well.


Thank you Chef Jeffrey of Red Chinese Cuisine in Pullman KLCC for showing us some love in your handmade mooncakes.


- Jon

21 July 2019

Launch of Cigar Bar KL @ Naza Tower


If you’ve been stalking us on instagram or Facebook,, you’d know that we're starting our cigar appreciation journey. Well, should't really come as a surprise as whisky and cigars go together like cheese and crackers... or rum and raisin... or steak and wine.. .. you get the drift!


We were recently honoured to witness the launch of The Cigar Bar KL which is located on the ground floor of Naza Tower Platinum Park.

Image: Cigar Bar KL


Image: Cigar Bar KL

The bar’s co-founder and director Jay Walia is an avid cigar enthusiast.

The bar stocks many Cuban and non-Cuban options including new world special editions as well which are available by the stick.



What makes Cigar Bar KL different from other cigar lounges? It’s not just a lounge, it's also a bar and what Jay wants you to experience is not just cigars but a curated experience marrying cigars with the flavors of whisky or rum, chocolates and salt to bring you a whole different flavour experience through his curated pairing menus ranging from RM55 to RM130.



Cigar Bar also offers a variety of whiskies, rum, brandy, wine and beer too.

For more: https://www.facebook.com/cigarbarkl/ and http://cigarbar.my/

- Jon

20 July 2019

Kronenbourg's Dinner in Blue


On 12 July 2019, French wheat beer, Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, celebrated Bastille Day in Kuala Lumpur. The Frnech National Day, also known as Bastille Day, actually  falls on 14th July.


In conjunction with the celebrations, an opulent “Dinner In Blue” dining experience in true blue fashion was held at Chateau de Caffeinees. Celebrating all things French, the dinner included a fashion show as Kronenburg 1664 is also the official sponsor of the upcoming KL Fashion Week 2019 (KLFW 2019) which takes place from 21st to 25th August.



To conclude the meal, we were served a decadent dessert by Nathalie Gourmet Studio for a excellent finish. The evening was accompanied with French music and ended with a spectacular display of fireworks in celebration of Bastille Day.



In addition to the celebration, limited-edition designer merchandise up for grabs in the September campaign - enjoy Blue Happy Hours from now till end August to get a FREE half pint of 1664 Blanc! Simply spend RM50 and above every Friday when dining at participating modern bars, cafes and restaurants nationwide.

Carlsberg Team in Blue: Ted Akiskalas - MD, Gary Tan - Sales Director, Caroline Moreau - MD, Lim Chee Kaet - CFO, Pearl Lai - Corporate Communications & CSR Director, Lew Yoong Fah - Government Affairs & Duty Free Director, Felicia Teh - HR Director

For more, visit www.facebook.com/KronenbourgMY or www.carlsbergmalaysia.com.my.

- Jon

Images by Carlsberg.

13 July 2019

MARIMBAR - Marini's latest concrete tropical retreat in PJ


The Marini's Group has finally ventured out of KL and now holds a high position in Petaling Jaya (PJ) with its latest venture in Marimba. Marimbar (Marini + Rimba - get it?),is located on the 35th floor of Pinnacle PJ Tower A, right next to Sheraton Hotel, PJ.


This latest venture by The Marini’s Group is a nature-themed watering hole that boasts a panoramic bird’s-eye view of PJ city and part of Kuala Lumpur. Similar to Marini’s on 57, guests can expect good music, fun cocktails and the delicious Italian food, all staple signatures of The Marini’s Group.


Signature cocktails:
The Red Rimba, RM40 - Lemongrass infused Gin, raspberry puree, lemon juice, pandan syrup, ginger & egg white
Blue Moon, RM45 - Gin, sweet & sour, pineapple juice & blue curaçao
Pisco Disco, RM38 - Chrysanthemum infused Pisco, lychee liqueur, lime juice, lychee juice & pandan syrup


For more:
https://marimbar.com
https://www.facebook.com/pg/MarimbarPJ

 - Jon

Images from Marimbar.

8 June 2019

Carlsberg Red Barley


As a proud supporter of Liverpool FC and a long time sponsor since 1992, the Carlsberg Group decided to create a special brew to celebrate their 25th year in partnership.

Carlsberg Red Barley is a limited-edition 4.5% ABV pilsner that gets its distinctive colour from a barley variety that is specially curated and bred by the scientists at Carlsberg Research Laboratory.


This brew, according to the official tasting notes (because if nobody got to taste this unless you're one of the lucky 9 winners in Malaysia), is suppose to have clean, crisp and slightly hoppy taste expected from a traditional pilsner. Due to the barley’s rarity, Carlsberg Red Barley was produced in very limited quantities.

Carlsberg Malaysia only managed to get a few bottles (9!) into the country which they decided to give away during the long-awaited showdown between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur at the Thirsty Bar, PJ  Two Square during the Champions League finals on 1 June.

Some of the lucky Red Barley winners.
Now, if only they had opened their winnings to share. :(

- Jon

Images from Carlsberg.

5 June 2019

WhiskyPLUS KL 2019 - Game Plan

Malaysia’s Premier whisky and (some spirits) tasting event returns for its second year.

Some of whiskyplus kl 2018's offerings.
It is going to be bigger and better with even more brands than last year. Expect 50 participating brands including independent bottlings and new expressions to the market.

Some important details:

Where: Pavillion Hotel (next to Pavillion Mall)
When: 15th June - Session 1: 12-4pm, Session 2: 5-10pm.
Discounts available to: The Glenlivet Guardians Malaysia, Dram Full Malaysia members, bulk purchases
Expect: A set meal, a tasting glass, access to the main tasting floor, opportunities to join masterclasses, pop-up bars, a VIP Lounge to access a selection of premium whiskies (for VIP pass holders),  the return of the popular Collector’s Corner (featuring a special selection of exceptional purchase-by-the-dram old and rare whiskies), complimentary F&B vouchers for restaurants at Pavilion Hotel and its sister Banyan Tree property, a Cigar Corner in the main tasting room (and you can smoke your cigar at the Whisky Cove lounge!)
Ticketing & more info: Check out https://www.whiskyplus.my

Some strategies on how to get through the event:
  1. Your ticket purchase comes with a set meal - please make sure you eat and line your stomach if you want to last the session.
  2. Strong tasting foods will affect the taste and scent of your whiskies, so maybe not have them before the event. Also note that curries and chillies will hurt your nostrils IF you puke.
  3. 50 whisky brands, with a few expressions each. 4-5 hours. Pace yourself. Head for the ones you’ve never seen or heard first. 
  4. Spam your body with lots of water. Water will be made available everywhere for free. Take this opportunity to "rinse" your glass in between your tasting so that your next dram won't be affected by your previous tasting.
  5. I’d STRONGLY advise you to not go home driving - Grab the MRT or a cabby/e-hail ride please. 
  6. Don't lose the given tasting glass otherwise how on earth will you get the exhibitors to pour you some whisky? Well, if in the event that you do, you can purchase another at a very cheap RM15 each.
  7. Stay classy and don't be a nuisance please. Don't be that idiot that causes a scene and then get viralled for all the wrong reasons. We deserve nice things! Also - there will be no-nonsense security guys stationed all over so you wouldn't want to be messing with them, trust me.
  8. Lastly, have a swell time. For the price you pay, you're getting fed, so much whisky, a tasting glass, discount vouchers, chance to taste some rare stuff, and hang out with classy like-minded people. What a treat!
See you there!
So don’t say I bojio! If you do recognise us, do hit me up and slainte mhath with me.

See you then!

- Jon

P/s: We have a pair of Gold Pass tickets to giveaway. How? 
1) Share this post on your Facebook timeline
2) Tag the person you'd like to bring & tell us why you want to go.
3) Leave a comment on https://www.facebook.com/Ang3ltini so we know you're participating.