Paul John – Indian whisky gets serious

Well, I’ll come out and say it up front:  I’ve not previously been a fan of Indian single malt whisky, having tried numerous expressions of Amrut over the years.  Early experiences (2009) were very forgettable; several return visits between 2011 and 2013 left me wanting, and even when I tried some of the more recent releases of Amrut at The Whisky Show earlier this year, I struggled to get enthused.  But you cannot dismiss an entire country’s single malt production on the basis of one distillery.

So when the good folks at Paul John got in touch with me from India after their recent Australian visit and offered to send me their core range for critical analysis and review, I was happy to have my Indian experiences challenged and changed.  And if you want to read the Executive Summary, here you go:  This is good whisky!

Continue reading “Paul John – Indian whisky gets serious”

Kininvie – The distillery emerges…

Like so many other aspects of the whiskysphere in recent years, there are entities or processes that have been around for a long time, but simply weren’t well known. The internet, combined with a booming market, have resulted in many industry secrets or hidden jewels coming to light.  Distilleries are one such example – if there wasn’t a commercial release available (or widely distributed) on the market, consumers simply didn’t know it existed.   Ailsa Bay, Inchgower, Allt-a-bhaine, etc, are all examples of distilleries that most whisky drinkers simply haven’t heard of, despite the fact they’ve been around for many years.   Kininvie is another example, although that’s now all changing, courtesy of its whiskies suddenly being thrust into the limelight.

Continue reading “Kininvie – The distillery emerges…”

The art of matching food to whisky

SMWS Whisky Dinner

with Franz Scheurer and LuMi Bar & Dining

When the Scotch Malt Whisky Society launched and commenced operation in Australia back in 2002, one of the earliest and most staple activities was a healthy program of whisky dinners.   The tradition has never died and, here in Sydney at least, the Society continues to hold at least two significant whisky dinners each year for its members. When it comes to matters culinary, if you’re going to promote something as being uniquely special, delivering excellence, and showcasing “the best”, then you need to work with the best. For this reason, wherever possible, the Society chooses to team up with Franz Scheurer – the maestro of matching food to whisky.

Continue reading “The art of matching food to whisky”

Mortlach – the Beast beckons…

It was a long time ago now, but back in 1988, UDV (now Diageo) made the momentous and ground-breaking decision to launch the Classic Malts range. The launch of those six whiskies drew newfound attention to the world of single malts and helped propel the whisky boom we now find ourselves in.

I often wonder about how the marketing team at the time set about choosing which distilleries would be featured in the Classic Malts range? Looking at the portfolio available to them, Glenkinchie for the Lowlands obviously chose itself, as did Talisker for the Islands.  But what about Speyside?  We know now that Cragganmore got the gig, which subsequently thrust that relatively small distillery into the limelight.  But how different might the whisky world be today, and the fortunes of one or two distilleries if they’d selected, for example, Dailuaine, Knockando, Mannochmore, or Glen Elgin?   Or Mortlach?

Continue reading “Mortlach – the Beast beckons…”