A few weeks ago, I was invited to my very first Single Malt Scotch Whisky tasting session at Carcosa Seri Negara. When I first got the email invite, the one thing that immediately came up to my mind was “is there a dress code?”.
As it turned out, Carcosa was indeed a very apt location for the Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Wisky that we were being introduced to. A very classy place for top of the line scotch to be tasted by the weel heeled in this part of the world who came with their fancy cars (my car was sandwiched between a Ferrari and a Porsche).
30, 21, 15, and 12 year old Balvenie Scotch priced from RM 2000+ to RM 200+
Balvenie is the only distillery that employs their own internal resources in every step of the whisky making process, from growing barley to malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, to maturation process. Nothing is outsourced, and everything is still done in the good old fashion way. They even maintain the same copper stills by their own coppersmith of some fifty years.
David Mair, the Balvenie Brand Ambassador
Our host of the day was David Mair, the Balvenie Brand Ambassador who flew all the way from Scotland. Throughout the night I did learn quite a bit from about single malt whisky in general, and of course, about Balvenie.
- In Scotland, whisky is spelled without the E (as in whiskey)
- Single malt whisky is distilled by a single distillery in a pot still, using malted barley as the only grain ingredient
- Scotch whisky must be distilled in Scotland
- The 12, 15, 18, and 30 year old whisky each has a different process for maturation, keeping the 12 year old for another 18 years doesn’t make it a 30 year old Balvenie.
the buffet spread at Carcosa Seri Negara
We were treated to a buffet dinner prior to the tasting session. Most of the dishes from the buffet spread was pretty good, not overly impressive, but not disappointing either. I vaguely remember that the salad prawn was excellent, but the motto of the day was to review the whisky, not the food anyway.
I joined Fatboybakes, Lyrical Lemongrass, and Cumi as the four invited bloggers to be among those who got there with their Ferraris, Porsches, and Rolls Royce. I think we were also among the most misbehaved.
Balvenie Single Malt Whisky tasting session
At the tasting table, we were each presented the four different Balvenie Scotch Whisky, the 12, 15, 18, and 30 years.
- Balvenie Signature, 12 years – aged from finest first fill bourbon, then refill and sherry casks.
- Balvenie Single Barrel Single Malt, 15 years – aged in only selected casks which have the essential characteristics of The Balvenie Single Barrel, with honey, vanilla, and oaky notes.
- Balvenie PortWood Single Malt, 21 years – rare Balvenie is trasnferred to port casks, or pipes, which have held fine port wines.
- Balvenie Thirty Single Malt, 30 years – by marrying Balvenie slowly aged in traditional oak whisky casks with that aged in European oak sherry casks. The Thirty is bottled at 47.3% abv.
KY, Lyrical Lemongrass, Fatboybakes, and Cumi
My favorite? Of course the 30 years old! The whisky is silky smooth with a hint of plum, chocolate, and caramelized pear taste that lingers in your mouth with sweetness. That said, I really liked the 12 and 21 year old too, the 18 though, somehow tasted a bit too strong for me.
It is also interesting how the taste changes if you drink it neat compared to mixing with half a glass of water. The water really brings out the flavor in a good way. Coke, green tea, or orange juice is not the mixers you should ever use for whisky, especially these single malts.
The Balvenie whiskys are priced from RM 200+ for the 12 year old to RM 2000+ for the flagship product. Since the 12 year old is still perfectly drinkable after tasting the excellent 30, I think I shall start from there.
Single and Available,
G21, Ground Floor,
Bangsar Village Shopping Centre,
1, Jalan Telawi 1,
Bangsar Baru, KL.