We were invited to a tasting session of The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky at Carcosa Seri Negara yesterday, a highly appropriate venue for the well-heeled of KL to drive in with their fancy cars where they can carelessly chuck their Porsches by the side of the road for all and sundry to see.  I’m not one to be in awe of wealth (we try to be thankful for whatever little we are blessed with *saintly look*), but in this case, I understand exactly how KY felt, being sandwiched between a Ferrari and a Porsche.  Then again, I’m being too presumptuous here;  KY probably enjoyed the ménage à trois.

*picture courtesy of Balvenie

Whisky.  Did you know that The Balvenie is the only distillery that still grows its own barley, malts its own traditional floor maltings, and employs coopers to tend all the casks and a coppersmith to maintain the stills?  At least some crafts aren’t dead, hallelujah.


To satiate our hunger before the tasting, we were treated to an amazing spread of smoked salmon, satay, shepherd’s pie, lamb shank, roast duck breast, pastas, potatoes, rice, noodles…endless!  Eating outside under candlelight was pleasant but far from romantic.   “The shepherd’s pie is quite good,” someone quipped.  “That’s not the shepherd’s pie lah….that’s the lamb shank,” said someone else.  “Hey, which one is the duck breast?” went another person.   In Shakespeare-esque, this would be a comedy of errors.  Not necessarily the funny sort.   Of outstanding mention is the duck breast wrapped in some sort of cabbage (I couldn’t tell in the dark), and the smoked salmon (especially when one is used to the supermarket variety all one’s life).

David Mair

Once seated inside, we were treated to a presentation by The Balvenie Brand Ambassador, David Mair, an affable man in a kilt, no less.   Incidentally, I think men in kilts are yummy, Mr Mair.  BUT, to show that I was concentrating, Mr Mair, these are some of the things that I learnt:

  1. The Scots hold very strongly to their spelling of whisky (without the “e”) for their Speyside single malts, and God forbid that you should cross their paths with an “e”.  The distinction between the two may seem pedantic, but there are clear differences between the two, starting with their origination.
  2. The Balvenie was created by David Stewart, the Malt Master.
  3. If you keep a bottle of 12-year whisky for a further 18 years, it will NOT taste like a 30-year old whisky.
  4. Uhmm….

I blame Fatboybakes for distracting me.  I strongly doubt that he was teacher’s pet in school (many MANY years ago).


Four glasses were placed before us:

  1. The Balvenie Double Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aged 12 Years.  This whisky is basically matured in a traditional oak cask before being transferred to a European oak sherry cask.  Incidentally, the transferring from one cask to another brings about multi-dimensional flavours to the whisky.  In the usual tasting jargon, this would fall under fruity, with a long and warm finish.  Very drinkable.
  2. The Balvenie Single Barrel Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aged 15 Years.  My favourite by far (although everyone else at my table disagreed with me saying that my Indian genes were talking), this whisky is drawn from a single traditional oak cask of a single distillation.  The aroma of vanilla is very strong in this one (and I had a blocked nose, mind you), and although we were told that there was a taste of liquorice, I only detected this on my third gulpful.  Blame my untrained tongue.  I don’t pretend to be a connoisseur.
  3. The Balvenie PortWood Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aged 21 Years.  The Malt Master is crucial here in ensuring that the right amount of character is imparted by the port casks.  At this point, my cold is cured, thanks to the warm and lingering finish of this whisky.
  4. The Balvenie Thirty Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  What were you doing 30 years ago?  This whisky comprises Balvenie aged in traditional oak casks and that aged in European oak sherry casks.  This is one smooooooth whisky, but at about RM3,000 a bottle, I don’t think I shall be purchasing this in the near future.
  5. Back to The Balvenie Double Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aged 12 Years, for a second round of intoxication on the house.  Aaah.  Sheer pleasure.  I could live with this (below RM300 a bottle).  We must have a party soon.

balvenie 1

Our pleasure is evident.  Clockwise, from top left:  KY, Tangechi aka Fatboybakes, Cumi and yours truly.  Thank you, Marian Eu, for your kind invitation – it was such a pleasure to have finally met you, and thank you Single and Available (NOT a matchmaking agency) for having us.

The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be purchased at:

Single and Available
G21, Ground Floor
Bangsar Village Shopping Centre
1, Jalan Telawi 1
Bangsar Baru, KL.

Tel: 03-22834257