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  • Writer's pictureGenevieve

... More World Whiskies

We tried something a little different and for our whisky tasting yesterday evening we joined forces with local restaurant, Kenton Asian. Kenton Asian make some really amazing Asian food, and they kindly offered everyone who came a discount on all meals after the tasting. They were also the perfect venue (with their international cuisine) for the theme of our whisky tasting: 'More World Whiskies'. 

The theme for our very first whisky tasting which took place in November 2021 was 'World Whiskies', and it's a particularly enjoyable theme to revisit. There are just so many countries around the world that are now producing really delicious and interesting whiskies, and it is great to have the excuse to taste some of them with fellow whisky enthusiasts. It's also always wonderful to have the opportunity to potentially introduce someone to whiskies they may not have heard of before (most people don't think of Taiwan when they think of whisky!).

We had a difficult time fine-tuning our final selection of whiskies for the evening, but we settled on the following:

1) McConnell's Irish Whisky:  A 5-year-old blend of Irish malt and Irish grain whiskies, released under the recently revived brand "McConnell's". You'll notice that they spell 'whisky' without the usual Irish 'e' - this is because the brand is so old (it was established in the 1770s) it dates back to the time before Irish distillers introduced the 'e' in the 19th century as a way of differentiating their whiskies from their Scottish counterparts.

2) Kavalan Distillery Select: A Taiwanese single malt whisky from Kavalan. Kavalan has been producing award-winning whiskies for a number of years now. One of their whiskies shook the world of whisky when it won 'World's Best Single Malt Whisky' in 2015. While the particular release from Kavalan that we chose has no age statement, Taiwan’s hot and humid climate means that whisky matures rapidly in the cask than it would in cooler regions, like those of Scotland or Ireland.

3) Penderyn Legend:

Penderyn is a Welsh whisky distillery and brand, and when they first opened their doors in 2004 they were producing the first commercially available whisky that had been made in Wales in over 100 years. With interest in whisky growing world-wide, there are now a few other distilleries in Wales too. This particular single malt from Penderyn is matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in ex-Madeira casks.

4) Knob Creek 9:

This is a 9-year-old bourbon from Kentucky, USA. All bourbons need to be made from a minimum of 51% corn (the rest of the grain in the mashbill can be made from a mix of anything from rye to malt to wheat etc.), and they have to be aged in new, charred oak casks. This gives bourbon a particularly rich and intense flavour, full of vanilla and spiciness. Again, the hotter, drier climate of the USA (when compared to places like Scotland), causes accelerated maturation of the whisky in the cask - so 9 years is a very decent age statement.

5) Three Ships 10:

The James Sedgwick Distillery, located in Wellington (just outside of Cape Town), is home to South Africa’s most well-known whisky brands: Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky. While the Bain’s range is made from a corn-based mash bill, the Three Ships range mainly focuses on blends, but also includes a number of single malts. This 10-year-old is a lightly peated single malt, and is probably the most widely available South African single malt in South Africa - even so, because South Africa is not well-known when it comes to whisky-making, there are a large number of South Africans who have never tried it.

6) Kilchoman Machir Bay: This is a peaty Scottish single malt from Islay. Kilchoman is one of the newest distilleries on Islay, set up in 2005. It's also one of the very few distilleries that does absolutely everything related to their whisky production itself. They are a farm distillery with the motto: "from barley to bottle" - so they actually grow and malt their own barley instead of buying in malted barley from large malting houses. Machir Bay is at present the signature whisky from Kilchoman, and it's matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. 

We really enjoyed the evening ... and of course we also enjoyed some really wonderful food from Kenton Asian when we were done tasting whisky!


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