There’s just something about whisky that appeals to me. Ever since I had my first sip of JWB, I knew whisky was my drink of choice. Most people think of whisky as an “old uncle” drink or a man’s drink, but as with teas, I like pu-er, so smoky whisky is not a big departure from my taste.
Last Monday night, I was invited to a party hosted by Auchentoshan, featuring Auchentoshan and Bowmore single malt whiskys.
Mr. Jamey Merkel, Auchentoshan Southeast Asia Brand Ambassador, was there to teach us how to appreciate whisky.
When we arrived, before the event started, we were treated to this cocktail called the Earl of Auch, which I really liked:
Before we go any further, I’m sure some of you are wondering how to pronounce Auchentoshan. It’s a Gaelic word, and it’s pronounced something like ock-ken-toh-shen, with the e’s pronounced as schwa sounds.
The party was held at Yes Please, located at the corner of the block where The Brewery and Revel are located, near the big open parking lot across from Uptown Mall.
Glencairn glasses set up and ready! This is the official glass to use to drink whisky.
Yes Please is a nice bar to hangout, and caters to slightly older crowd than the millenials. You can actually hear people and carry a conversation around your table.
The food at Yes Please is also good, we especially enjoyed the pizza, the beef cube rice bowl with egg (seasoned heavily with ground black pepper). Since I was engrossed with the whisky, I totally forgot to check the menu, so I have no idea about the prices and the names of the dishes.
But the highlight of the night were the whiskys. I was able to try 5!
Here’s some info about them:
The Auchentoshan distillery is located in the lowlands of Scotland near Glasgow, and so far, is the only one in Scotland doing triple-distillation. I learned that whisky actually has no color after being distilled, and gets all its color from the casks used to age them.
All these whiskys are single malts – they are all made in just one distillery. Blended whisky, which many of us are more familiar with, like JWB, are a blend of several kinds of whiskys – someone blends whiskys to create that flavor that is unique to JWB. With single malt whiskys, you get to experience the taste and aroma of each individual whisky on its own.
I am not a whisky expert, in fact, I am just at the beginning of my journey, and this is my first time trying single malts! So I’m happy to learn what I can.
How to appreciate whisky
Jamey taught us to first swirl the whisky, but not too much, just a little. Whisky has more alcohol content than wine, so you don’t need to swirl it too vigorously or else all you’ll smell is the alcohol.
Next, bring the glass to your nose and breathe in the scents from the whisky, make sure your mouth is open or slightly open. This adds a little bit more air when you inhale and makes you smell it better. You can smell the whisky as many times as you want – think of it like getting to know someone – first whiff is like Hello, second whiff is like How Are You, and so on – this way you get the different layers of the scents.
Then taste the whisky – small sips – it’s not something that you gulp down.
The traditional way to drink whisky is to drink it neat – this means nothing is added – just pour the whisky into a glass and start drinking.
You can also add some ice, especially with our tropical weather, that’s an option.
But don’t waste good whisky by adding it to a mixer. The only time you add whisky to a mixer if it’s bad whisky and you want to mask the taste.
Auchentoshan 12 Years Old
- Sweet, caramel flavors with citrus and spice
- Easy to drink
- Aged in bourbon casks – bourbon cask gives it that golden color
Auchentoshan Three Wood
- More spicy, raisin flavors; instead of caramelized sugar like in the 12 Year Old, the Three Wood smells like brown sugar
- Aged in 3 kinds of wood casks, including bourbon and sherry casks
- It’s the sherry casks that give it the darker color
Auchentoshan 18 Years Old
- Aged in bourbon casks for 18 years – this is a bit rare so this type of whisky is more difficult to find
- Still golden, but darker; but not as dark as the Three Wood
- For me, smelling this, the alcohol is not as strong on the first whiff; more mellow
- Still sweet, with a bit of chocolate on the nose; also a bit nutty
Bowmore 12 Years Old
- Islay Scotch, made in the small island of Islay (pronounced eye-la)
- My favorite of the 5, but I like the smoky, peaty whiskys
- Very nice, rounded body; I like how you get like a softness in your mouth after drinking it;
- You know when people say they can taste the sea when drinking whisky? Drinking this whisky, I could smell the sea breezes, some seaweed-ish earthiness (probably the peat), and some smokiness, like cigar smoke or ash
Bowmore 15 Years Old
- Mellower than the 12 Years Old, a bit iodine-y, like the sea…
This is the Bowmore 12 Years Old:
PRICING & WHERE TO BUY
They didn’t tell us where we could buy the whiskys, or the prices. A quick Google showed that most of these are in the US $40 – $70 range. The Auchentoshan 18 Year Old is around $100.
A few days later during a visit to S&R, I saw the Auchentoshan 12 available there! It was around P1,800, I believe. I’ll try to take pictures during my next visit and update this post.
Don’t be pressured into liking something just because it’s more expensive. Try different whiskys and like what you like. Sometimes the price has little to do with the taste, sometimes it is priced high just because it is rare or difficult to make.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!