If you’re writing an article on 8 new whiskies, then a giraffe is as good a place to start as any other, and so it was. Before Dr. Bill Lumsden (Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation for Moet Hennessy) could lead us on a tasting of the Glenmorangie Bacalta, I first had to deal with an angry giraffe, which although only present in a virtual reality mock-up of Glenmorangie’s distillery, seemed all too real to me.
The giraffe is a nod to the towering stills at Glenmorangie. Anyway, the Bacalta (Gaelic for baked) is a beauty, and is the 8th in a long line of private editions from Glenmorangie, with the whisky finished entirely in sun-baked Malmsey Madeira casks. (Price / Delhi / INR 9,030/-).
From single malt, we move on to a household name in India, Black and White, seen here not in its usual form, but as an aged variant, and this time no less than a 12 year old. Aged in oak casks, the B&W 12 pays homage to James Buchanan’s original recipe for Black and White, created way back in 1884. (Price / Mumbai / INR 3,150/-).
Switching continents now to North America, we move to the home of Bourbon, Rye and Tennessee whiskies, with Tennessee pretty much equating to Jack Daniel’s. This one, however, will only be available in duty free shops, and is a hot one called Tennessee Fire – it brings together Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and a red-hot cinnamon spice liqueur. Drink it ice cold. (Price / Duty Free / USD 35).
Our other featured duty free exclusive is an innovation from the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, and this one is the IPA Experiment – the world’s first single malt whisky to be finished in India Pale Ale craft beer casks. Created by malt master Brian Kinsman in collaboration with craft brewer Seb Jones, they even pioneered a new IPA craft beer just to make sure that the casks were perfect. (Suggested price in India Duty Free USD 52 – 57).
We switch back now to India, and a highly awaited whisky from the house of Paul John – Kanya – that was anointed as Asian whisky of the year in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018, considered as the go-to for all whisky ratings. Aged for 7 years in American oak casks, the Kanya is unpeated, and as Murray notes, “Even towards the finale, there is still Manuka honey to be found.. when a distillery can find honey towards the end of its flavour range and profile, you know they have cracked it. Superb!” (Price / Goa / INR 18,000/-).
A bit of smoke in an Indian’s whisky never goes amiss, and so it is with the Ardmore Legacy. From the wind-swept region of Islay in Scotland, comes an expression of the Ardmore, a peated single malt, where the smoke doesn’t dominate, but is instead balanced by the sweeter flavours. Try this one with barbeque. (Price / Delhi / INR 4,100/-).
From Scotland we hop across to neighbouring Ireland, the home of Jameson, which has helped revitalize the Irish whiskey category. And beer seems to be the flavour of the season for whiskey. Barrels that had been previously used for Jameson whiskey are taken to The Franciscan Well Brewery to be used in the ageing of their craft beer. In turn, once used for beer maturation, they are sent back to the distillery where Jameson whiskey is aged in it for a signature finish. Thus is created the Jameson Caskmates, with a hint of Ireland’s famous stout beer, never far away from your palate. (Price / Delhi / INR 2,750).
And finally, a whisky to bring out for special occasions is the GlenGrant 18yo. Hailing from Scotland’s Speyside region, the GlenGrant was ranked as the 3rd finest whisky in the world in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018 and scored 2 major awards in the 2017 Bible – Single Malt of the Year and Scotch Whisky of the Year. Rich and floral on the palate, it has a sweet, nutty finish. (Price / Delhi / INR 19,740).