Thursday, December 08, 2016

Teeling Whiskey, The Irish Whiskeys (With an "E") Rise From the Ashes of Scottish Domination!!!!

Life really is a continuous learning process.  I did not know that before the great Scottish domination of whisky, was the golden era of Irish Whiskey, spelt with an "E"... and looks like they're poised to make a comeback.

We were privileged to have the company of Martin Lynch, from Teeling Distillery, Ireland, sharing with us about Teeling Whiskey, under the auspicious of local distributor, Single and Available.  A cosy gathering at LaBodega Lounge, it was a fun night with the usual suspects.

We were privvy to three types of Whiskeys that evening, ie, The Single Grain, the Small Batch and the Single Malt.

Three


It was interesting to note that because of the separation of the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom, which I just read happened in 1922 under the Anglo Irish Treaty, there was a huge decline in the Irish Whiskey distribution.  Of course, as an ex colony of the the UK, we know how vital the British Empire was in as far as trade was concerned, and how they were effectively the distribution channels to the ends of the earth.  Simple logic dictated that well, since you're no longer part of us, why should we promote your whiskeys...and thus the rise of the the Scottish whiskies, (spelt whisky).



To make things a bit more interesting, instead of the usual food pairing, Martin Lynch decided to pair the whiskies with music, and specifically with music by Irish Singers and bands.

The Single Grain, made from maize and corn, was recently awarded Best Single Grain Whiskey in the World Whisky Awards. It is only one of a handful of single grain bottlings in the world, and is matured in California Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels.  Hence the strong spice and tannins in the taste, with a strong dry finish dominated by wood and spice.


Next, pairing with this  Thin Lizzy song, (this is when Martin asked the audience what was the mistake in the poster, and it was the missing "E") was the Small Batch, a rum finished Irish Whiskey with a distinct character.  Bottled in small batches with no chill filtration at 46%, thus allowing the capturing of all the natural flavours of whiskey.

Finally, the Teeling Single Malt, paired with music from the famous iconic Irish musical, Riverdance.  Made from 100% malted barley of different ages, including some from 1991.  Like all Teeling whiskeys, it's bottled with no chill filtration at 46%, and is vatted in 5 different wine casks, including Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cab Sauv.

It's always a fun party with Single and Available....



And check out this cool key chain.  The phoenix is the logo because like the mythical bird, it has risen from the ashes....

The Story of Teeling and Irish Whiskies is written so well, that I shan't even bother trying to paraphrase these excerpts:

Right in the heart of the Liberties, against the backdrop of a city steeped in whiskey history, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery opened its doors in 2015 as the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years. Once home to over 37 distilleries, Dublin is no stranger to the craft of whiskey making. Distilling is in the fabric of our city and our family, this is more than a beginning, this is a revival. With one eye on the past, but looking to the future, we’re the new generation of Dublin distillers. We approach our craft with a respect for generations passed but with the confidence to forge the next chapter. Here at the home of the Spirit of Dublin, the liquid tells the story.





For more information or to purchase, contact
Ms. Abigail Chua
Brand Executive
Single Malt Sdn Bhd

Office: (03) 62032151
Fax: (03) 62031972


Friday, December 02, 2016

The Mystery Unravels Through A Journey Through Penang, THE JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL CHINESE NEW YEAR EDITION 2016, Starring Ernest Zacharevic


On the 8th of November, a few lucky members of the media and blogging community were invited on a road trip to Penang, for the unveiling of the mysterious limited edition of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Chinese New Year Edition 2017.

And we got to eat famous street food....


Tah dahh.,....did that get your attention?

8 HOURS EARLIER

So, I was wondering, why Penang, and why a street tour of Penang, to launch a Chinese New Year Edition bottle.  Clearly, a  lot of thought had gone into this, and it wasn't just some random venue.  In fact, it was total genius.

Afterall, Penang is known as the "The Pearl of the Orient", and is one of the states that retains a strong Chinese flavour through its colourful culture, traditions, community, food and landmarks.  Whilst it may be a thorny issue in some circles, reality is the wealth of the history of Chinese ethnicity, and the Peranakans run deep in the veins of Penang.

And we all know that one of the main attractions in Penang in recent years has been the eclectice street art work who hitherto was just a name, the famous Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian street artist who fell in love with Penang years ago, and who made is mark in 2012.

A fun bus ride starting at Solaris Mont Kiara took approximately 5 hours including toilet stops, with narratives on the way, including the brief history of Penang, before we arrived at Ah Leng Char Kueh Teow for lunch.  This iconic CKT has been around for at least two generations, and we all placed our individual orders, which must have been a major headache, all the different permutation...no cockels, with cockles, with mantis prawn, without, big, small, extra egg....



The wormy looking thing on top the CKT is a mantis shrimp...


You'd assume the chappie is "AH LENG" himself, but actually, that is Teoh Yeong Hee, who is the successor of the stall which was established by his father, Teoh Koon Leng back in the 1970s. Yeong Hee who embodies the Keep Walking spirit, prides himself on the hard work and perseverance of his father in making a name for himself, and to date, he continues to maintain high standards of the delectable dish through the art of refining his recipe from time to time and upholding the secrets to serve the best Char Kuey Teow, similar to how Johnnie Walker meticulously crafts its whisky blends.

Loved the way JWB weaved that into the storyline.


The next item on the itinerary was rather unexpected and a rather pleasant surprise, a trishaw convoy to see the sights.


I learnt that the difference between a trishaw and rickshaw was that the latter was pulled by a person.  Like a human bullock cart.  Oh dear!!! But trishaws of course a pedalled by the trishaw man, and if it's just one passenger, be it fat or thin, it's quite manageable.

Meanwhile, our American friend was closely monitoring the US Election updates....

With the trishaw Mural.

The purpose of the trishaw tour was to highlight the murals of Ernest Zacharevic, as mentioned earlier, BECAUSE...



..... Ernest Zacharevic’s intricate design created for Johnnie Walker Blue Label 2017 Chinese New Year limited edition bottles stemmed from a love-affair with the rich heritage of Penang, and the contemporary work of art features a combination of graffiti and traditional mediums to depict the classic Chinese dragon dance with a playful twist. The blue dragon is especially inspired by the rarity of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, in which only 1 every 10,000 casks are of sufficient character to deserve the Blue Label blend. The blue dragon moves gracefully in the mist as it is controlled by dancers, performing in tandem to bring it to life against the backdrop of historical and cultural Penang landmarks.

So the bottle of  Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky is a slice of time and stature; a blending of prestigious histories, talent, and craftsmanship.

The tour continued to the last spot to quench our thirst (since there was no Blue Label in sight thus far) with the famous Penang Road Cendol.

The hotel where we did NOT stay in...enroute to Cendol...



This iconic stall was started 80 years ago by  Tan Teik Fuang and today is run by his 6th son Tan Chong Kim (in photo), who has expanded the business even out of Penang. On a side note, right across his stall is another chendol stall, which apparently is run by a feuding member of the family.

As they continue to embody Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking brand belief of forward progression they have branched out nationwide in various locations, yet, still pride themselves on ensuring its quality excellence while remaining humble to their loyal customers.

THE MAIN EVENT


As dusk approached, we were brought to Macalister Mansion, a gorgeous boutique hotel on Macalister Road,  and were greeted by this dragon dance, to complete the jigsaw we had been fitting together all day.

The exterior of Macalister Mansion, all lit up in blue...for obvious reasons.

Greeted at the door by Jeremy Lee, Brand Ambassador of Johnnie Walker Malaysia...




The banquet hall was set up with great aplomb, gorgeous place settings and high was the anticipation of a fabulous dinner ahead.


In line with the Keep Walking spirit to continue inspiring Malaysians to think about how they can make their tomorrow better than today, Rajesh Joshi, Marketing Director of Möet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia for Diageo Brands, announced that they will be hosting charity auctions in the first quarter of 2017.

The proceeds of the auction items which include three autographed sets of Johnnie Walker Blue Label 2017 Chinese New Year limited edition 1.75cl bottles...
Autographed.....

and the Blue dragon a masterpiece by Ernest Zacharevic, will not only go towards the preferred beneficiaries of the successful auctioneers, but also to one of Ernest’s preferred charitable organization, the Sumatran Orangutan Society.

Together with renowned calligrapher from Penang, Master Wong, who was also featured in one of Ernest’s famous murals in Georgetown. Guests immersed themselves in the traditional art of Chinese calligraphy as they learned and wrote some auspicious Chinese characters including 春 (spring) , 福 (prosperity) , 财 (wealth) ,满 (abundance) , 喜 (happiness) ,富 (fortune).
My own piecing together of the jigsaw, taken from the different angles....


Q&A with Jeremy and Ernest....

THE DINNER

Amuse Bouche...
I simply had to put in this statesmanlike pic of the Brand Ambassador...

Smoked Salmon with Watercress, Cauliflowere and Egg Mimosa



Foie Gras With Dark Chocolate and Orange....I could have had a few more slices of this, if it wasn't so rude to ask...

Palate Cleanser, White Snow Fungus, with Shaved Ice..

Black Cod with Miso and Blue Label Marinade...was wondering WHEN the Blue Label was going to feature in the food.  This was really excellent.

Wagyu beef....

HAPPINESS

Red Bean Crepe Cake....




JOHNNIE WALKER® BLUE LABEL™ CHINESE NEW YEAR 2017 LIMITED EDITION BOTTLES is exclusively available in Malaysia, in conjunction with the 2017 Chinese New Year festive occasion.

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label has a remarkable signature taste, where only one in every ten thousand casks has the elusive quality, character and flavor to deliver its unique notes. As rare as the blend itself, the partnership with Ernest Zacharevic is a one-off collaboration and there are only less than 4,000 bottles made available for the local market. Celebrate the 2017 Chinese New Year responsibly with your friends and family with Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s latest collector’s edition that is available for purchase at selected distributors only.
For further information, please visit:-
Official website : www.johnniewalker.com
Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/JohnnieWalkerMalaysia/
Official hashtags : #johnniewalkermy, #johnniewalkerblue


For media enquiries, kindly contact:
ROOTS PR Sdn Bhd
Olivia Chan / Aloshana Pandair
+603 7494 0292
olivia.chan@rootsasia.com /aloshana@rootsasia.com

For purchase queries, kindly contact: diageoinfo@mhdm.com.my