Friday, March 18, 2016

Whiskeys Are For Ladies

Whisky and whiskey are very much part of Singapore Cocktail Week 2016. But I can never tell if it's purely rye and bourbon or it also includes blended and single malts. Unless it's clearly stated, like the tasting workshop offered by La Maison du Whisky.

Signed up for 'Whiskeys Are For Ladies' because the workshop's description said we would taste "the best of American whiskeys". LOL. I was REALLY SKEPTICAL of the tagline. At S$48++, I kinda knew it wouldn't be what I hoped for. It was held at The Flagship which adopts the vibes of a dive-bar, carries loads of whisky and offers cocktails. There're so many small batch bourbon and rye out there that I wouldn't mind checking them out too. Although bars do try to make a distinction on the menu, and American single malts are establishing an identity and credibility of their own, these 'American single malts' are still lumped under 'whiskey'. Zzzz.

This workshop was for women only. It was led by vivacious Hannah Waters (consultant and bartender at Proof & Company). The information for the workshop also mentioned Beckaly Franks (owner and bartender at Hong Kong’s really cool The Pontiac) as co-lead, but she wasn't there. Nobody mentioned why, and I didn't care enough to ask. The lovely staff at The Flagship kept our iced water filled and snacks replenished.

The hardcopy notes provided gave a summary of flavor profiles we might find in the tasting list that night. Hannah is a good facilitator who lent the session easy vibes and was comfortable with her audience, knew her cocktails and the flavor profiles of whiskeys that would go great in the mixes. She cheerfully answered our many questions and poured out drinks. If I'm into cocktails and sugar, I would have stayed and checked out what the she and other guest bartenders were offering with Monkey Shoulder blended malt that night.

I was hoping to taste drams from any of these good American single malts, and hear what the workshop lead(s) had to say about them- Balcones, Westland, Westward (from House Spirits Distillery), Colkegan (from Santa Fe Spirits) and Hillrock. FAT HOPE. But it wasn't too bad. It certainly wasn't what I had envisioned, but it wasn't disappointing. On the tasting list were two American whiskeys and two Scotch whiskies. There were New York Hudson's Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye, and a William Grant & Sons' blended malt of Monkey Shoulder, and surprisingly, a Glenfiddich 21y.o.

I'm not fond of rye. Even a Willett single barrel and a Cadenhead small batch aged single grain didn't convince me of rye's virtues. While Hudson's Manhattan Rye is friendly and I satisfied my curiosity in trying it, it's just...rye. :p Hudson has a single malt I haven't tried. A pity it wasn't on the list tonight. Hudson's Baby Bourbon is still predictably good. But I've already given my bourbon vote to Basil Hayden and Four Roses; those are not bourbon you want to mix into cocktails. Hadn't tried Monkey Shoulder before tonight- it doesn't suck. Hahaha. It's honestly one of the better blended malts around, including those by independent bottlers. Think Burn Stewart's Black Bottle, Duncan Taylor's Black Bull and The Big Smoke, Compass Box's The Peat Monster, Ian Macleod's Isle of Skyeet cetera. Not even going to start on those that include grain in its blends.

Well, it's peachy to pop out once in a bit to see what the whiskey/whisky scene is like. Towards the end of the workshop, I was pretty happy to get refills of the Glenfiddich 21y.o. Of all Glenfiddich's expressions, this is the only affordable (for daily drinking) one I really like. Ah, good old dependable single malt. That never fails to put a smile on my face.

No comments: