Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Urban @ Hotel Istana KL

Gosh! I just realised my last visit to Urban has been this long! I guess that it's time to revisit Urban and see if this place still lives up to my expectation. It's not the most popular dining outlet in town but my friends and I liked the privacy here.

We ordered from the degustation menu and it solves my problem of thinking what to eat!

Breads are always a very important starter at any fine dining restaurant. Urban serves a very unique soft bread that is dark brown in colour and it goes very well with the olive oil or even the pesto. Then for the butter selection, they had 2 very interesting flavours - curry butter and parsley butter. Both tasted equally good which surprises my own palate.

Kumamoto Oysters done in 2 different styles as amuse bouche. Love both styles.

We started with a bottle of Chateau d'Armailhac 2006 from Pauillac. This is perhaps the least well known Bordeaux property in the Rothschild portfolio. Did you also know that the tending of the vineyards and making the wine is down to the team at Mouton Rothschild? This wine has a very dense ruby colour and it's best decantered 30 mins to 1 hour before drinking. The nose has a very earthy, fruity and leafty edge to it and on the palate, it's full-bodied, dry and tannic but tight and slightly off. We had a feeling that there's something wrong with this bottle that night as this is not our first bottle of d'Armailhac and it's not supposed to taste like that.

The 2nd bottle we had was a Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere 2006 from Pessac-Leognan. This bottle of red has a very beautiful nose of fruit, concentrated sweetness with a smoky character. On the palate, it has soft chewy tannins, plush and sweet but lacking in some acidity and less impressive compared to the nose.

This is a tuna rolled in seaweed and served on a spoonful of spaghetti. I liked the contrasting textures of the semi raw tuna with crispy seaweed edges while the spaghetti balances the taste of the meat.

The entree is a slow roasted Roma tomato salad with extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, Kalamata olive powder and ginger mozarella ice-cream. At first I thought it's pretty weird to serve ice-cream with an entree but it blends in very well because it's a mozarella ice-cream and not a sweet-based ice-cream. Very interesting but ice-cream melts too fast.

Another entree would be the Creamy Seafood with Saffron Tagliatelle Pasta which I really like because of the rich and thick creamy sauce but it's not over the top due to the addition of lemon juice. However, the lemon juice was too much and it overwhelmed the dish and we did provide feedback to the chef about this. Otherwise, this is really delicious!

Grilled Black Angus Sirloin with roasted parsnip, Nasu Dengaku, Glazed shallot and red wine jus.I had mine at medium-rare and it turned out to be wonderful. The meat was juicy and there's the smoky flavours from the grill and taking it without any sauce is the way to go. This place used to serve the USDA Prime beef for a certain time period and I just missed it!

Dessert was a Creamy Vanilla Malibu Fennel parfait with glazed pineapple and mango sorbet.It's really out of the norm because I've not tried any ice-cream with fennel seeds before. It's really interesting to try an ice-cream made with spices and then paired with a mango sorbet and sweet glazed pineapple. It's not my kind of dessert but at least I am adventurous enough to try.

It was so nice of a friend to bring along this Dalmore 28 year-old Stillman's Dram. It's a very rare find because this bottling by Whyte & Mackay which has been discontinued. This is a very dynamic and lively whisky with sherry notes, orange marmalade, briny and with hints of spice. It's very well-balanced and I like this very much.

Then, another friend brought delightful Chocolate Whisky Truffles from Grandjean Freres where each of these truffle is handmade and brought in freshly from Switzerland. The packaging itself is already very impressive though simple and each of these fine whisky truffles are individually boxed. Guess how much for a box of 10 pieces?!! It costs a staggering RM188. Having said that, if price is not a matter, then this chocolate is worth the try and many more tries after that!

I don't know how much is the degustation menu we had that night but the appetizers are RM 50 nett per dish, the mains are RM90 nett per dish and the desserts are RM40 nett per dish. There are also 2 different set dinners available with an appetiser, main course and dessert (comes with tea or coffee) for RM145 nett and RM185 nett. This place is really worth visiting as well for its stellar dishes and service.

Lobby Level, East Wing,
Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2141 9988 ext: 3691

Business Hours: Opens Mon - Fri from 12m - 2.30pm for carvery lunch and 6.30pm - 10pm for dinner. Saturdays open for dinner only. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching Tiger at CIMB Classic 2012

I was really lucky to have a friend who extended this pass to me. It's not just a pass to catch Tiger Woods at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, it's also a pass for free flow of beers at the Chang room where food is catered by The Westin and there's a nice patio where you can catch all the action at hole 18th.

 Wonderful pose there, Tiger!

The CIMB Classic actually started 2 years ago as a showcase that featured PGA Tour players and Asian Tour players. Beginning next year, it will be a full-fledged PGA Tour event, when the tour begins its new season in October after the FedExCup competition. The tournament this year features a 48-man field - 30 from the PGA Tour, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight exemptions (which include two Malaysian professionals — Danny Chia and Shaaban Hussin) all competing for RM16.85million. This is Tiger's 2nd time in Malaysia, the last being in 1999 and the lady beside me was telling me that the last time she saw Tiger Woods in person was 13 years ago!

The closest I could get to Tiger. Not bad huh?!!

Tiger's tee-off was at 10.30am and we managed to catch a glimpse of him and at that time, the number of his followers have already started to build-up. This is my first time watching a golf tournament live and I didn't know what to expect but I was lucky to have two experienced golfer friends who knew the game well and the course so well that they explained to me what was going on and taking me through short-cuts and getting a good spot to watch Tiger in action. Tiger was playing alongside Kruger on the 2nd Day.

After following Tiger around until the 9th hole, we decided that it's time to return to the CIMB-Chang room to have our lunch and to quench our thirst with some Chang Export beers! It was such a hot weather out there and I must say that following these golfers around are no easy feat. There's a lot of walking up and down the terrain. We even caught a glimpse of Siti Hasmah watching the tournament at her home compound.

I had 3 beers and then another glass of Old Pulteney 12yo while waiting for Tiger and Kruger to arrive at the 18th hole. By then, I was getting too comfortable with the air-conditioning and too lazy to walk out into the sun. Although I don't know the game well but this experience did ignite my interest towards golfing. Looks like I have to stop fooling around the driving range and start taking up lessons from professionals. I don't know when I will start taking up lessons but I'm sure I do like golf!

Tiger did perform quite well on the 2nd day by posting a four-under round of 67. Standing at nine-under overall and five strokes behind leader Robert Garrigus in a tie for fifth. Overall after the 4-day event, Tiger Woods' eight-under 63 on Sunday put him on 4th place, a tie together with de Jonge and Kirk. Asked if he would be coming back next year and he replied that he would like to come back. Well, I do hope that he would be here next year and I would definitely like to go around chasing Tiger again!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm UK Qualified!

By the way, it's not Ulu Klang.

When I was young, I heard so many wonderful stories from my parents about their student days in London. They told me about the red telephone booths, the Big Ben and the London Bridge (which was not falling down by the way). It also included stories of how they met in UK, fell in love, came back to Ipoh and then tadaa... there's me! Coming from a family educated in the UK, I always dreamt of being able to visit the country when I was a kid.

 And my first visit to London in 2006. Don't make fun of my hair!

The Great Britain has always been one of the best countries to offer music, heritage, culture, sports, spectacular countryside and fantastic experiences including festivals, art fairs, film screenings and ancient traditions. If you're really looking around for the right qualification and experience, embrace your independence with a UK education.

Getting a UK degree or qualification nowadays is not as complicated as before. With so many education fairs and information on the net, getting yourself prepared for an education in the UK is a breeze.

Top 4 Reasons - "YES" to Education UK!

1. An outstanding quality of teaching, and a world-class learning experience
Proof a: Over 86% of postgraduate students in the UK stated that their overall research programme experience either met or exceeded their expectations

Proof b: Over 92% of postgraduate students in the UK positively rated the quality of teaching received

Proof c: Over 88% of international graduates are satisfied with their learning experience
Source: Tracking International GraduateOutcomes 2011. BIS. Published January 2012

2.  Great value for money
Proof: UK degree courses are typically shorter than many other countries courses and the UK is typically less expensive than the US and Australia in terms of fees charged.
Source: International Pricing Study: A snapshot of UK and key competitor country international student fees', UK HE International Unit, 2011. 

3. World-leading universities for research & innovation
Proof: The UK’s share of the world’s top 1% of most cited papers, indicates its share of the highest quality published research, which was 13.8% in 2010, only 2nd to the US

4.  Your passport to an outstanding career
Proof: UK-educated international graduates achieved higher average salaries than in their home country.

With so many plus points and favourable statistics, studying in the UK does provide a lot of opportunities for those who look for quality education and desire to enhance themselves by pursuing a UK based post-graduate qualification in addition to the multitude of experiences in the UK.

Join the Education UK exhibition in Malaysia to find out more!

It'll be so exciting to see what this exhibition has to offer. You might just discover a programme that is well suited for your needs and to get that qualification that you've ever wanted! So, do join me on these dates (below) and get the first hand information here. Don't miss this opportunity to talk to the experts.

Date   : 3rd to 4th Nov 2012
Time  : 1pm - 6pm 
Venue: The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

There will also be a strong line-up of speakers and seminar topics during the exhibition. Enhance yourself with these useful talks and equip yourself with the tools you'll need for success. Check out this website for more info. Be there or be square!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Crib : A Toilet Transformation (Part I)

Finally all the renovation works in the house is coming to an end. No more drilling on Saturday mornings to wake me up from my sleep and no more dust flying around in the house. I think of all the areas in the house, I paid most attention to the 3 toilets because all I ever wanted in my new home is nice toilets with a touch of modernity.
The toilet work progress. Will post the completed toilet work in the next post.

It's actually quite exciting to see the old toilet transforming to the new look day by day from the day the workers hack the tiles to the re-tiling works and then installation of the new wc unit and the basin. It was not a smooth journey as sometimes shit happens (I've blogged about the mixed-up hot and cold water pipes here). But I was glad that everything has been fixed now.

Having the right shower and water system is utmost important. Afterall, a good shower will be able to refresh oneself and having the a good centralised water heater will not only provide a good and continuous supply of heated water during shower, it should also be safe and saves electricity consumption. Therefore, I have no qualms about investing in a good shower and water heater system considering the long term use.

I realised that being new home owner, I am really a noob in house appliances. When I was shopping for bathroom accessories at Better Living, Mr. Ng introduced me to the centralised Seers Hot Water System, I was instantly hooked to the fact that the water heater can be powered by a 12 volt and only consumes 480 watts of electricity compared to the conventional water heater units that consumes up to 3000 watts. This is one of the most cost-saving hot water system out there thanks to their breakthrough technology.

Many people has asked me to install a solar system which is not something new in Malaysia due to bountiful sunshine all year round. While generating power with the solar cells is free, purchasing and installing the panels is not and they're never cheap. An inherent disadvantage of solar system is that it only works when there is direct sunlight and many people didn't know that the solar panels need frequent maintenance like cleaning to ensure that the sunlight can be absorbed properly. And thus, going solar is out for me.

My 40l vertical hot water system unit from Seers

In the end, I invested in 2 units of Seers DC-Heater where 1 unit of 40 liter heater for the downstairs bathroom sharing with my kitchen tap and 1 unit of 100 liter for the 2 bathrooms upstairs which can accommodate up to 4 hot showers. Although the price of the Seers Hot Water System is more expensive than the other brands in the market, the advantages of this system supersedes its price.
  • Saves energy, electricity and eventually the environment
  • 100% consistent supply of hot water for day and night
  • No dangerous live wires to be connected to the water
  • No heating element and compressor unlike conventional heaters
  • Programmable temperature control
  • Protected against overheating, leakage, corrosion or explosions
  • Low/minimum maintenance

I don't see why I mind spending almost RM4k on these 2 units. The idea is to have a system that saves, saves and saves in terms of electricity and also environment due to its efficient use of energy. The other important factor that most people tend to overlook is the safety feature. Most hot water system uses heating elements which resembles those of electric kettles and consumers often are not warned of the risks of electrocution when the life span is up. For a heavy usage household, the heating elements might have to be changed every year and that's something we all wasn't informed while purchasing these units. With Seers, there's no heating elements involved and it prevents electrocution while showering.

Not only I was impressed with their technology, their sales staff was very professional. Mr. Ng explained the features of the hot water system so patiently and the installation workers were also very skillful. They even came back on a 2nd visit to help me check on the system. I was glad that I came to know about this wonderful product or else I would have gone into conventional water heaters. Sometimes, it's really worth spending that extra dollar for a good shower!

If you're interested in Seers, you can always visit their website here or contact Mr.Ng at +6012-4810015 or the list of dealers here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Amadeus Bistro & Wine Bar @ Life Centre KL

On nights where the KL traffic is so crazy, don't you just wish that you could just seek a quiet refuge yet cosy outlet where you can indulge in some thirst-quenching European beers or even wines, food and bask in the company of friends?

Amadeus at KL Life Centre provides that ambiance. Located away from the loud-blaring music and bar streets of KL, this place is where you'll find soothing music and good food from different regions of Europe. Drawing insipration from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who is a prolific and influential composer of the Classical Era, Amadeus Bistro & Wine brings out the best flavours in its simple and yet cosy dining area.

 Dina, the General Manager showing us how it's done!

I like the Wine Enomatic machines where you can enjoy 12 different types of wine on every night without having to open 12 different bottles. No more dent in the wallet. The wines are quite affordable too ranging from RM18 to RM26 a glass.

This place serves European cuisine with a strong Austrian influence and it reflects the melting pot of dishes from all the regions that was within the former Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. That night, we were served some of the new dishes of Amadeus which is not on the menu at the time we were there.

 Bruschetta with pickles, grilled pepper and cheese with condiments. 
A yummy prelude to dinner.
Some of us were served with the mushroom soup and I assure you that this mushroom soup does not taste anything straight from the can. You can taste the contrasting textures of a smooth and creamy soup with bits of fresh mushrooms. The ultimate - such fragrant and crispy garlic bread to compliment the soup. It's so precious because there's only 1 piece!!!

The grilled salmon with spaghetti is a really must-try. I tried searching for this in their menu while writing this and looks like this is a new dish! I like how the salmon is perfectly grilled and meat was still juicy. The spaghetti wasn't overwheling the salmon as I believe the portions of this dish is just right.

That's Bob, the executive chef putting the final touches to the duck confit. And then you have Suanie who is busy taking pictures of the Rack of Lamb while Ciki looks on with her usual cheeky self.

 The Duck Confit is also another must try. The flesh wasn't too dry and the sauce compliments the duck pretty well.

 The rack of Lamb is another feature of Amadeus. The lamb is so good- moist and juicy. Even when I'm not a fan of lamb, I did sink my teeth into some. And looks like there was not enough of it to go around and the chef ended up making a plate full of lamb racks that is enough to feed a village!

I thought I'll skip desserts but my heart tells me otherwise. I took a bite at the yellow Lemon Cheesecakes and I was smittened. Then, I try the Red Velvet cakes - oh so nice! Then I asked Dina where did she get these cakes and guess what? She baked them herself. Dina bakes all the cakes in this restaurant and I'm so impressed. Can I bring her home?

Dina is really a friendly and chatty host. For one thing, she doesn't have an European accent and if you talk to her on the phone, she sounds like any Malaysian! Malaysia has been her home for many years now and she has her "kampung" too which is in East Malaysia. I wish her all the luck with this new restaurant and hopefully people out there will get to know about Amadeus and their little gems here.

Prices range from RM17-20 for starters and RM20 - 32 for mains. 

Amadeus Bistro & Wine Bar
Life Centre,
No.20 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 603-2162 2788

Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Melbourne Peking Duck @ Bangsar

My friend found us a new place to dine. Since he's been trying almost every outlet in Bangsar, he has spotted this place when dining opposite this row of shop houses a few weeks ago. Now that it's finally opened, we scheduled a lunch together at Melbourne Peking Duck. From what I understand, the chef is from Melbourne and is specialised in preparing succulent Peking Ducks.

The Peking Duck on that day didn't turn out to be the best and it was very courteous of the lady to apologize to us while serving the duck telling us that there was some problem with the roasting machine and thus the duck didn't appear to be very crispy.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the duck. It wasn't as crispy as what we would expect it to be but the duck was robust with taste and tantalising.

The "pancake" skin is thin and pairs very well with the duck.

Here's the video on how to wrap the duck the proper way!

The restaurant offers 2 set menus of Peking Duck. The 1st one is a menu that costs RM78 which serves four comfortably and it comes with....

1 Peking Duck with 16 slices served with Pancakes, scallions and cucumber.

A plate of Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Duck Meat

Duck Soup with Salted Vegetable and Tofu

We tasted the two set menus. Eventhough there were just 5 of us, we were really into the "duck" feasting mood. The 2nd Menu is priced at RM88 and it comes with...

1 Peking Duck with 16 slices served with Pancakes, scallions and cucumber.

A choice of either Fried Mee Hoon, Hor Fun or Rice with Shredded Duck Meat
Duck Soup with Salted Vegetable and Tofu

Besides the Peking Duck set menu, the restaurant also offer a variety of dishes from meat to vege and tofu. We wanted to try some of the ala carte dishes and we ordered another 2 to try. You can imagine how stuffed we are after lunch!

Deep Fried Tofu with Minced Pork (RM16) and Aromatic Crispy Pork Belly (RM18). Both of these dishes are nice but I find that the tofu is a little greasy. The crispy pork belly is really good and I wished there was a bowl of porridge for me to eat it with! Yums.

Since this is a very new restaurant, expect it to have a few glitches. I will definitely come back for another meal. This place is very easy to find. Located at 1st floor of the shophouses opposite Bangsar Village 2 which is just beside PappaRich.

Melbourne Peking Duck
24-1, Jalan Telawi 3, 
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-22021588

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fuzio @ Changkat Bukit Bintang

Pre-dinner drink is a glass of Glenfiddich 19 years old from the Age of Discovery range which is originally released as a travel retail exclusive but now you can buy it from anywhere. This bourbon cask is the 2nd release from the Age of Discovery which replaces the 1st release in Madeira casks. The nose consists of toffee, vanilla and spiced orange. The palate is complex, layered with caramel, vanilla and nutmeg with hints of spices. It has quite a medium to long finish of warm spicy notes. For a 19 year old whisky, this is superb!

Replacing the previous Bar Italia, Ivan Tan is the new boss of this place. Being a little adventurous, I decide to give this place a try and to also celebrate a friend's birthday here. I've always like the ambience of this place and from the looks of it, nothing much changed except the menu and the staff. They serve mostly Italian fare here but some with an Asian twist.

Handcut Salmon Carpaccio with strips of young mango, tomato, rocket leaves, lemon juice and olive oil (RM28). This is recommended by the staff and it's indeed a wonderful starter. The tangy lemon and a little hint of sourness from the mango keeps the appetite going.

Fuzio sausage salad with tuna dressing, mushrooms and grilled chicken top with croutons (RM28). I like the dressing of the salad and the tuna chunks which paired very well but they could have done better with the sausage part. I'll prefer a more robust tasting sausage with a slight crisp on the outer layer.

Before we leave for the restaurant, my friend asked me to select any bottle from his cellar that I would like to drink that night. I chose this bottle of Segond de Dufort 2003 as I've always enjoyed a Margaux and also the Chateau Dufort Vivens. Being the 2nd label, I expect this to live up to the expectations that I have for a Margaux but only to find this one here a little too mellow and monotonous for my liking. It's fruity and dense but lacked a balance of acidity and tanins.

Don't be surprised to see quite a number of bunny dishes on the Fuzio menu. Apparently they serve rabbit ragout and also rabbit casserole here! I had a Parpadelle with Rabbit Ragout (RM38). The rabbit is tender and not too overpowering in terms of taste and texture. It goes very well with the tomato-based pasta with sprinkles of black pepper. I like it.

For dessert, I ordered a Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice-Cream (RM18) where I secretly asked the staff to help me with the Happy Birthday message. And they are so sweet to help me with the surprise and also giving me a cue before the plate is presented. Aww... so sweet. This apple crumble is different from the usual apple crumble using the flaky filo pastry. This one here has a dense pastry that is crisp and crunchy. The apples with cinnamon is done well too.

Overall, the food is good but it's not exceptional. As Paolo used to put it "our food is not the best in town" but what makes this place tick is its service and ambience. The staff did a very good job in serving the patrons and I will definitely come back to try the other dishes.

(previous Bar Italia and beside Albion)

29 Jalan Berangan
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
(the street behind Changkat Bukit Bintang)

Tel: +603-2110 0303

Sunday, October 07, 2012

A night with Luc Timmermans

The title sounds a little misleading but a night at Auld Alliance with Luc Timmermans is really one of the most enriching experience I had. It's one of the best tastings I've been to and if you're a whisky aficionado, you'll love to get to know Luc. He has this terrible virus that he brings with him where ever he goes because he gets you in the mood to start drinking exceptional whisky and then build a whisky collection.

In fact, an introduction of Luc himself is a little extraordinary. He is not from a whisky-making family nor is he an owner of any distillery but he carved his name in the whisky world through humble beginnings and great passion for the "water of life". 

Born in Belgium in 1968, he used to have a software business but how he got himself into the whisky business is purely a lightning strike. He was on a holiday in the Southern part of England in 1998 where he has his first taste of single malt whisky in the form of Dalwhinnie 15 years old where the bartender introduced him to drink scotch instead of his usual Jack Daniels No 7.  After that, he bought his first bottle of single malt whisky which is also the Dalwhinnie 15yo and there's no turning back. By year 2000, he has over 100 bottles in his collection and the collection grew to 4000 bottles to date.

Not only he's one of the most famous whisky collector in the world, Luc is also a Glenfarclas expert. He is renowned for selecting fantastic casks of Glenfarclas 1968 to be bottled for him under his own Independent Bottling Brand, Thosop which is a combination of the names of his two children, Thomas and Sophie. His Thosop bottlings carry an iconic handwritten label which notes his experience with each of the whisky.

These are the whisky that we tasted that night that is personally selected by Luc himself.

There's no other place more suitable than Auld Alliance at Chijmes in Singapore. It's my favourite whisky bar whenever I need a dram in the republic. Not only it's the best whisky bar in Singapore with the most comprehensive selections of whisky, Emmanuel is also a close friend of Luc and before stopping over in Singapore, they were in Whisky Live Taipei to launch Highland Park 30yo bottled by Silver Seal exclusively for Auld Alliance. According to Luc, the Highland Park 30yo was one of the most impressive whisky at the show.

Emmanuel brimming with joy with this bottle.

Since this is a trip of leisure, I put up 2 nights at a budget hotel in Bugis. I was surprised how convenient it is to get around by staying near the Bugis Junction area. The trip from Changi airport to Bugis on MRT cost no more than S$3+ and it was a breeze! And at night, I could just walk to Chijmes from Bugis in 10-15 mins and I walked back at 3am without a glitch.

The whisky tasting took place in one of the two rooms at the bar which could easily accomodate a seating capacity of 30 people. The whisky glasses are already laid on the table with a paper mat labeled with the bottles that we would be trying. I was placed at the table where all of them are young men who appreciates whisky and most of them are from KL. In fact, I am the only lady in the whole room!

Tomintoul 1967 43yo 49.3% Bourbon Cask #5426 Thosop

We started with Tomintoul from Speyside which is 43 years old. There's only 112 bottles of this expression and its unchillfiltered, single cask, cask strength with no water added or colouring. In some cases and a probably a normal industry practice, spirit caramel are added into whisky to give it a nice golden colour. These bottles under Thosop are sold to France, Germany, Holland and Japan. From my tasting notes that I made that night, this one here has a slight peat, honeyed, peppery and has strong spicy tones.

Port Ellen 1982 - bottled 2010 56% Thosop
This cask yielded a mere 150 bottles. It's very precious since the distillery is already closed and there is only so much of Port Ellen you can find out there. Many were surprised that Port Ellen was the 2nd whisky that we would be tasting and therefore Luc did a little explanation why he put an Islay malt in the middle of the tasting and not at the end. "When doing a whisky tasting, one should have a big variation (in whisky taste profile) so that you'll stay as refreshed as possible for the next whisky".

A superb nose. Medium, clean and refined peat, vanilla notes, sweetness from the fruits and nectarine and has a little saltiness towards the finish. It's a full whisky, complex and well balanced. A bottle very worth collecting. Now, how much did I have in my bank account again? Hmm....

Glenfarclas 1968 bottled 2011 cask #697 47.5%
This Glenfarclas 1968 cask #697 was selected by Luc Timmermans where this cask was previously used by Pedro Domecq to mature manzanilla, which is the most peculiar type of sherry with a dry, briny and delicate profile. It has a great nose, fruity notes with nutmeg and a little minty taste. It's sweet and spicy at the same time. The finish is full, well balanced and has a salty edge. Impressive!

Glenfarclas 1968 bottled 2010 cask #702 & #5240 49.7%
This is also another cask specially selected by Luc himself for the Thosop bottling. He wanted this bottle to be special and has worked very hard to get the official Glenfarclas bottling combined with his iconic handwritten labels for this expression. He bottles only 6 casks a year to ensure hat the quality remains high enough with all his bottles scoring a minimum of 89 points and above. 

The nose was of tangerine, mint and toffee. On the palate, you can taste it richness of fruits, the dusty oak characters, some mint and spices that interwined so well together. Towards the finish, there's some cigar, cloves and nutmeg. A velvety whisky that has been aged really well.

And the mysterious bottle that was a gift from Luc for the tasting that night is none other than the Glenfarclas 1968 Single Cask Bottle Private Selection No.1 cask #689 which produce only 152 bottles. The nose has a faint black tea and ginger bouquet. This is a very well balanced whisky with floral and notes, caramel, apricots and a creamy texture. Balanced finish and a whisky with a wow factor.

Emmanuel, Me & Luc Timmermans

Now, if you wonder why Luc is obsessed with the year 1968, that's because that's his birth year. When he turned 40 on 26th Feb four years ago, he had invited 26 friends to share 26 bottles of 1698 whisky to celebrate his birthday! You can read all about his passion towards the 1968 Glenfarclas and how it started here. He's now working on his Last Tribute where he will be holding a special dinner for his final Glenfarclas 1968 cask which will only yield 175 bottles. I'm saving up for that dinner in Singapore next year!

It was such a wonderful night sharing whisky and stories with people I've never met and some familiar faces who I've seen some time ago at the bar. We drank on even after the tasting is over and it was such an enriching experience to just listen to others about their views and takes on these whisky. At the same time, the blues started playing through the speakers and everyone is so into Albert King! And that very night, not only I learnt how to appreciate these whisky, I found out about men and their toolkits! That's another story for another day.

Luc recommended me to try this Caol Ila 12 years by Bulloch Lade & Co. Ltd and I thought to myself, "well, it's just another Caol Ila" and boy I was so wrong! This is a wonderful old bottling of Caol Ila in the 80's which is 12yo 43% bottled for Zenith Italia and it has been discontinued now, making this a precious collection. It's special because this one here has tastes of olives and sea salt. The finish is really long with a wave of saltiness and malt. It's currently auctioning for €500 a bottle. *faints

Arun, Emmanuel, me, Luc, Ben from The Singapore Whisky Blog & Galen.

We had such a fun night that I also didn't realise that I was at the bar from 8pm to 3am!!! And by the time I got back to my room, I was starving and then ended up having a Nissin cup noodle before jumping to bed. I was really glad to make a trip down to catch up with Luc as we both has previously exchange comments on Facebook and he had also sent me some delicious samples of the 1968 Glenfarclas a few months ago. This is the best whisky tasting I've attended so far! Cheers...

 The Auld Alliance 
 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, #01-08 S(187996)
Tel: +65 6337-2201
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat: 5pm-2am

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