Friday, October 04, 2013

Puerto Banus @ Marbella, Spain

We were recently in Marbella, Spain for Luc's brother's wedding. I have only been to Valencia, Bilbao and Madrid and thus going to Marbella is a new experience for me. It's really a popular destination for many Belgians as the flight only takes 2 and a half hours from Brussels airport and many Belgians own a holiday home in Marbella due to warm weather. From 11 degrees Celsius in Belgium, we arrived in Marbella with 26 degrees Celsius. That's a escapade from cold weather.

We hired a Fiat 500, a very cute car for just EUR8 a day from Firefly where they have a car rental office at the parking area of the Malaga airport. Yes, the rental fees is cheap but that does not include the full coverage insurance (EUR35) and also the payment for a full tank of petrol (EUR60). You can practically send the car back with an empty tank. In the end, it's not really that cheap. It's quite easy to drive in Marbella, partly because we have a GPS and also Luc has been there a few times before.

 Puerto Banus is one of the must visit places in Marbella. This is a marina located in the area of Nueva Andalucia and many of the big and beautiful and luxurious yachts are docked here. Around the marina, there are many bars, restaurants and expensive boutiques which is a popular place among celebrities and the rich and famous. A common sight here is the cars. There is never a lack of cars like Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley and many other sports cars. Afterall, only the rich has yachts.

The bars and restaurants here are quite happening. Many people enjoy a drink here watching people and also the wonderful yachts. After a long walk, a mojito is necessary! The Sinatra Bar is quite popular here and it was already opened since 1977!!! That's a long time ago...

What I love about Puerto Banus is that it is a very beautiful port with amazing view of the terrains and crowded buildings in white by the sea. The weather was cool and it's perfect for a day out!

And of course I don't mind owning a yacht this size.

Looking for a dinner venue is not difficult as this place is filled with restaurants. One of the places that Luc recommends that we visit was Lamoraga. It's a contemporary restaurant serving Spanish cuisine and it used to be packed and reservation is not easy.

However, that night Luc and Peter felt that the food offerings were not so good anymore. To top it up, we could get a reservation easily and the quality of the food has gone down. To me, this restaurant does not have a wow factor for me but it's okay. We had a great night nevertheless dining and chatting and sipping our wine. The night went by in a breeze.

Marbella is really a nice coastal town. Hopefully we can return soon!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Tomintoul 1968 (Thosop) is MORE than just Whisky

It all starts with an appreciation for whisky that turned into a love story.

Sometime last year, I met Luc for the very first time in Singapore at The Auld Alliance (to be exact) for a whisky tasting on Thosop Handwritten Labels and I fell in love with the man his bottlings. When I reflect on this, I find it funny that how come we have never met even when we have been friends on FB due to a passion for whisky more than a year ago prior to the tasting in Singapore. And in Jan, we met again in London and that's where cupid planted a love arrow in both of our drams.

Emmanuel from Auld Alliance, Me and Luc Timmermans

I remembered the first few whisky that I tasted in Auld Alliance with Luc were these bottles...

Tomintoul 1967 43yo 49.3% Bourbon Cask #5426 Thosop
Port Ellen 1982 - bottled 2010 56% Thosop
Glenfarclas 1968 bottled 2011 cask #697 47.5%
Glenfarclas 1968 bottled 2010 cask #702 & #5240 49.7%

And therefore, it is no surprise that this Tomintoul 1968 is the choice of Luc Timmermans for his new and upcoming Thosop Handwritten Label. Everyone in the industry knows his affinity towards good quality whisky and the year 1968. It was his birth year and also the vintage of six Glenfarclas casks that he has bought and bottled. 

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". 

Luc's Thosop bottling carry an iconic handwritten label which notes his experience with each of the whisky. Sadly, the Tomintoul 1968 handwritten label is the oldest cask he has ever bottled and it is also his last cask. And for he has also fell in love with Malaysia and its diversity, my very home country, we decided to dedicate this bottling exclusively for the Malaysian whisky lovers. Together, we had chosen this Tomintoul 1968 which yielded only 198 bottles to be the final bottle to complete the range of 18 handwritten labels.

The Tomintoul distillery is located in Ballinloch in the Speyside region of Scotland. Founded in 1964, the distillery is located in an astoundingly picturesque Glenlivet estate surrounded by a diversity of flora and fauna. The distillery also stresses that they uses pure spring water drawn from The Ballantruan Spring. It is said that the clean air at an altitude of 345m where the distillery is located, and also the purity of the water contributes to the smoothness and easy drinking of the single malt whisky. In 1974, the first official bottling for Tomintoul was launched with a 12 year-old vintage and today, we are so lucky to have found this gem which was distilled in 1968 and only bottled 45 years later.

Luc has also personally written his tasting notes on this whisky and this is what he thinks about this Tomintoul 1968.

Tomintoul 1968/2013 (45 years old)

47.9%, Thosop Handwritten Label for Malaysia, 198 Bottles Only

Nose: Very smooth and fruity.  At first I get some melon, banana, and tangerine with a fine touch of pear. After this you get some green tea notes, grass and wet hay with a touch of leather.  All are perfectly integrated.

Palate: First mouth attack is nicely sour and a bit oaky but the fruitiness comes thru showing banana and oranges mixed with some liquorice and green tea.

Finish: Juicy, long and a bit dry with hints of green tea.

A fine 45 year old Tomintoul expression that makes you want to take a sip after sip.

We hope that many single malt whisky lovers will love this bottle. It's our everyday dram because it's so easy drinking and it reminds us of how whisky brought us together even though we are from different parts of the world! There's more to this bottle than just a single malt whisky. While this may be the last cask of Thosop Handwritten Label but it's the beginning of a love journey. 

Slainte mhath, Luc and Eiling.

*Please write to if you are interested in getting a bottle.

Related Posts:
A Night with Luc Timmermans
The "My Tribute" Glenfarclas 1968 by Luc Timmermans

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