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Eat Stay Love | A Brave New World by Nikhil Agarwal

This is a fascinating time for whisky enthusiasts. Gone are the days when the entire world of whisky would be broken up into what the folks in Scotland made or what the Americans drank. In fact, even in Scotland and America, people are choosing rebellious artisanal brands over well-known commercial labels. Malt lovers are wandering off the beaten path to explore the more exotic and the unknown. And they haven’t been disappointed. Stellar quality whisky is currently being produced across the world from Japanese brands that have taken the world by storm ever since the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 won the title of ‘World’s Best Whisky 2015’, granting it a cult status; to its neighbour, Taiwan, who has introduced Kavalan, an instant favourite amongst collectors since its launch in 2008. India too has had its own tryst with whisky. Some distilleries have gone and done what would have been considered impossible—making single malts that are truly world-class using local ingredients. And then there is Australia’s island state of Tasmania where several distilleries have started creating magic, taking advantage of the gifts given to them by nature. A word of advice to venture capitalists looking to invest, put your money here. As for whisky lovers, they can now explore this sacred water of life from different parts of the world just like wine connoisseurs have been doing for decades. I, for one, am eager to see what we discover on this journey. Here are some labels that have caught my attention in the last year or so from my travels around the world.

The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland Recently launched in India, this coveted bottle is for the collection. It offers sweet and crisp floral fragrances with notes of vanilla and oak. On the palate, it leaves a hint of honey, warm vanilla and spicy oak, and ends with a smooth finish.
$53.00

Woodford Reserve, USA Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey crafted from 51 percent malt. It is aged in charred oak barrels, which lends it a rich flavour and amplifies its nutty characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve.
$43.00

Amrut Rye Single Malt, India
Amrut Rye Single Malt is the first Indian whisky to be elaborated exclusively with European rye. With this, Amrut has become one of the few distilleries to be producing with rye. Aged for five years in American oak casks, this is a fruity and delicate dram. On the nose, it is white peach, caramel, roses, bread dough and cassia buds, while on the palate, it leaves notes of cherry, papaya, sauerbraten, cocoa, lemon and caramel bite candies. The finish is refreshing with subtle flavours of lemon, melon, dry sand, quince, honey, wood shavings and lime.
$190.00

Kavalan Soloist, Taiwan
Owned by King Car Group and named after the indigenous group that inhabited the region, Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength is a delightfully complex, multidimensional single malt whisky with vanilla, fruit and coconut highlights. Matured in hand-selected fresh American ex-Bourbon casks, the whisky is available at cask strength. Unlike some distillers, Kavalan does not control the climate during maturation and adds no colouring for consistency, which leads to greater evaporation, giving a lower yield and making the final product even more valuable.
$98.00

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old – Scotland
A personal favourite, this 14-year-old single malt is matured in traditional oak casks for 14 years, and then ‘finished’ in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum. Rich, sweet and creamy toffee on the nose combines with fresh fruit notes. On the palate, the malt is rounded with vanilla and sweet oak essence with a fruity character that develops with time.
$75.00

Yamazaki 18 Years Old, Japan
The award-winning Japanese single malt features a rich flavour of mature autumn fruit. The nose has raisin, apricot, café au lait, Mizunara (Japanese oak) with blackberry, strawberry jam and dark chocolate. The finish is long, spicy and smooth. We suggest you savour this exquisite elixir by itself, either neat, or with a splash of water or ice.
$1230.00

Lark Single Malt Whisky Classic Cask, Australia
Celebrating the distillery’s use of quarter sized casks, this complex tipple is distilled with Tasmanian (Franklin) barley and malted at the Cascade Brewery. The lightly-peated brew resembles a Scottish Speyside or Highland whisky in flavour. It is double distilled in locally-crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100-litre oak casks. The spirit is matured for five to eight years in these small barrels, which have a much larger surface area-to volume of liquid. This allows a faster rate of evaporative losses and a considerably shorter maturation period than that required by the larger barrels commonly used in Scotland.
$145.00

Rampur Vintage Select Casks, India
Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Rampur is a non-chill filtered single malt, refined and matured in the foothills of the Himalayas. It features rich fruity top notes, which are toffeeflavoured in the background with hints of honey, dried fruits and balanced spices. This handcrafted potion offers an all round balanced taste with malty and creamy vanilla. Shining in all its glory in beautiful golden amber, Rampur will leave your taste buds with a rich and long finish.
$60.00

Longmorn 16 Year Old, Scotland
The master distillers have used the perfect balance of first, second and third fill ex American oak and ex-sherry casks aged 16 years or more to infuse this premium malt with natural ingredients, including local spring water, barley from Moray and peat from nearby sources. It is fresh and green on the nose with notes of ripe pears and sweet vanilla, as well as hints of creamy chocolate. On the palate, the whisky is rich and compact thanks to the high level of tannins that develop with a vinous character and spice.
$110.00

Wine Tasting with Alchemy at The Chambers, Taj Lands End

Allan Scott Single Vineyard Moorlands Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand – Aromatic with lemon citrus and perfumed notes with hints of passion fruit and freshly crushed herbs. The palate is elegant with citrus, passion fruit and dried herbs; the oak influence is delicate and perfectly balanced with the clean refreshing acidity giving this wine a deliciously appealing finish.

Pighin Pinot Grigio DOC. 2015,  Friuli Grave, Italy – Straw yellow with lightly amber-coloured tinges in color with fruity and floral aromas including banana, pineapple and wisteria flowers. Persistent, excellent body and correct balance.

Château de Parenchère Cuvée Raphaël AOC 2011, Bordeaux, France – A very dense, very concentrated wine with elegant tannins that stand out, but are mellow and smooth. They are elegantly      woody, but not excessively to leave plenty of room for the fruit.

Prunotto Barolo DOCG 2012, Piedmont, Italy – Garnet red in colour with ample and complex aromas of violets and berry fruit, full and velvety in flavor and very balanced. Its structure and body make it an ideal match for meat and game dishes and for cheese.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley, USA – Deep, enticing wild berry and black currant fruit weaves harmoniously with layers of fragrant tobacco leaf, forest floor and toast in a complex ribbon of flavor that flows into a deliciously long finish in this powerful yet refined taste of Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot.

Blind Tasting at Cafe Zoe

Casablanca Vino Spumante NV, Nasik, India: Pale straw color revealing its fresh and young character. A generous fruity nose of kiwi and grape fruit layered with lime and floral undertones.  Light bodied. On the palate reminiscent of pear and green apple with a predominant acidic structure.

Bertani Soave Classico 2015, Veneto, Italy: Greenish yellow in colour, this white boasts a light nose exuding floral and fruity aromas. Discover this dry, fruity and light-bodied wine expressing lively acidity and offering a slender texture. It also unveils a light mouthfeel that leads into a short finish.

Fratelli Chardonnay 2016, Akluj, India: Straw coloured with light green reflections, the wine has citrus aromas of orange and lemon with subtle notes of white flowers. On the palate, Fratelli Chardonnay exemplifies great balance. It reflects the freshness and minerality of the sandy soils it is grown on. An east-west sun exposure ensures proper ripeness and thus, good acidity. The use of French oak lends roundness and buttery notes on the finish. Elegance and structure combine together to make for a delicious wine that does justice to the varietal.

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Chardonnay 2016, Casablanca, Rapel & Limari, Chile: Light lemon yellow with expressive and attractive aromas of pineapple, citrus, and vanilla. This elegant wine is balanced with bright acidity and a long, memorable finish.

Grover’s La Reserve Blanc 2015, Nasik, India: La Réserve Blanc is aged in French oak barrels, with the fragrant notes of honeysuckle, apricot and pineapple. Rich and powerful with a long persistence, it finishes on tropical fruit, citrus and soft oak notes.

Le Grand Noir GSM 2015, Minervois, Languedoc Roussillon, France: A lively Grenache-Syrah-Mouvedre with prominent notes of black cherry, blackberry, dark plum with hints of cloves and black pepper. Well structured, medium bodied with gentle tannins.

Dona Paula Malbec 2016, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina: Intense purplish red color. Sweet, spicy and intense aromas, with notes of red fruits and herbs (such as Herbes de Provence). In the mouth, this wine is soft, velvety, fresh, and well balanced.

Sula Rasa Shiraz 2015, Nasik, India: It is a complex wine, with power and finesse. Crafted from handpicked grapes from our own estate vineyards, Rasa Shiraz is aged for 12 months in premium French oak barrels and then further matured in the bottle before release. The wine is drinking beautifully now, opulent and lush, with supple tannins and a peppery finish.

Reveilo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2014, Nasik, India: Barrel aged in French oak, the bouquet of this wine is exceptionally intense. The fruity notes of cherry, raspberry and blueberry are enriched with the spicy notes of pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. On the plate, the structure is extremely full. The body is velvety and harmonious.