Tag Archives: whisky

Blind Tasting series with Jim Murray

All Things Nice was happy to bring down leading whisky expert and author of The Whisky Bible Jim Murray over 4 days in Mumbai and Delhi. Over 340 guests attended the blind tasting conducted by Jim Murray himself. Our partners for this event were: Sofitel Mumbai BKC | Pullman New Delhi Aerocity | Shaze | Hafele | British Airways | Citi Bank (Mumbai) | Truefitt & Hill (Mumbai) | Gurkha Cogars (Mumbai)
The whiskies in Mumbai were:

Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack
The Quiet Man 8 YO
Ballantine’s 17 YO
Aberlour 16 YO
GlenGrant 18 YO
Paul John Kanya
Glenmorangie The Original

The whiskies in Delhi were:

Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack
Dewar’s 18 YO
Ballantine’s 17 YO
Aberlour 12 YO
GlenGrant 18 YO
Paul John Bold
Glenmorangie The Original

Michelin Star Chef Beppe De Vito Dinner Series

Phenomenal dinners were held in Mumbai at the JW Marriott Juhu and in Delhi at the JW Marriott Aerocity where Michelin Star Chef Beppe De Vito’s progressive Italian cuisine menu was paired exceptionally well by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal with single malts from Glenfiddich and The Balvenie.
Our partners for the dinners were:
Shaze | Elior (Mumbai) | JW Marriott Juhu (Mumbai) | JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity (Delhi) | Glenfiddich | The Balvenie | Gurkha Cigars | Truefitt & Hill (Mumbai) | Citi Bank (Mumbai) | Leo Travels (Mumbai)

The whiskies for the dinners were:
Glenfiddich IPA Experiment
Glenfiddich 12 YO
The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 YO
Glenfiddich 15 YO
Glenfiddich 18 YO
Glenfiddich Project XX

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Ok, so you’ve got some cash that you want to invest otherwise you’ll blow it all. The Euro crisis makes the equity market a jittery proposition and unless you’re South Indian you don’t see value in gold at the current prices. So you think hmm, what about whisky as an investment?

From a marketing perspective on the side of the brand I say go for it, spend your money on collecting these bottles of precious gems that will make you manhood seem more substantial and make you more confident. Oops sorry I digress, the thing is and to be perfectly honest, I’m on the fence on this one.

What good is a whisky really if it just keeps getting passed from one fellow to the other without being enjoyed. It isn’t going to get better with age (yes it will get rarer I understand). There has to be some fruition of all the efforts of the people behind the bottle that can only happen when someone enjoys it. Otherwise it’s the equivalent of the hottest permanent virgin on the planet, what’s the point?

Lets however step out of this passionate robe that still has the beautiful aroma of last nights whisky and discuss this with my maroo money making hat on. Should we treat whisky like a commodity and buy a few bottles or perhaps even a barrel or two to sell at a later date to make a tidy profit like wine futures or En Primieur ?

Sure I say, but be cautious, like all investments a significant percentage increase is required to make the risk worth taking, this will take time, its isn’t likely to happen with a 4 to 5 year horizon.  Markets fluctuate and so will the value of the stock you hold, do you have the chops to hold on or will it push you to taking to the bottle? Think about how your going to store or keep them safe – will the trader or distillery keep them for you? Is there a warehousing charge? You could buy them and keep your investment with them and sell it when you think the time is right.

Our aim if we are looking to buy whiskey as an investment and not to collect is very simply money. For now forget perhaps how we will manage to buy and sell whisky legally in India as consumers without the proper licenses and excise parameters. Perhaps you could buy a couple of bottles when you travel abroad, bring it in and then sell it here in India but it will all have to be done with your sneaky bugger hat on.

The brand, the year, the distillery’s pedigree, or whether it’s shutting down, the rarity of the whisky is all-important. Watch the price of your holding on various whisky exchange websites, be in the know, be mindful of exchange rates and only buy what you can afford to drink or lose.

At the end of it I have to admit there is something about drinking something that was made in another era, another time when perhaps you weren’t even around. Just to travel back in time through whisky somehow, that’s always going to be special and there will always be someone with enough money to pay for that experience.

If you think you can get the margins go for it, as long as you love whisky I think. Because if nothing else, you could always drink it!

By Nikhil Agarwal, Director & Sommelier – All Things Nice

Sangria and its evolution

Extract of the article by Nikhil Agarwal in Sunday-Midday | Sangria Story

1) Share the history of sangria. Classically, what were the ingredients used? Any back story of how it became popular?

The Romans planted vines in Spain for making wine. Red wine was used to make Sangria originally along with fruits, spices and brandy. Two probable reasons it became popular, at that time water was not safe to drink and wine was drunk since it had alcohol in it to keep diseases at bay. This way of drinking wine was cooling and refreshing and became popular in the hot Spanish summers. Tourist coming into Spain or Portugal for that matter flocked to drink Sangrias and took the concept back to their own countries where they became quickly popular as well.

2) What is the process of making sangria? Please answer in detail, how the fruits are fermented any particular sizes?

To start with, put together a good red or white wine, fresh fruits depending on what sangria recipe your following, fruit juice and brandy for making a good Sangria. The better the ingredients the better the sangria. I’m not saying buy an expensive bottle of wine, just a wine that you would not mind drinking on its own. Also keep the mix together in a bowl or jar for sometime to allow the flavors of all the ingredients to come together. Keep in a fridge to make it cool. Use sugar or simple syrup, or juice concentrate ( from Monin for example) as per desired sweetness or flavour. Try sparkling wine to top of the mix in the glass to give it a little zest if you like.

3) What wine goes best with what fruits-ingredients?

Wines like Chenin Blanc, Riesling or Viognier that have either very tropical fruit or floral notes go with the fruits used to make Sangria. In reds try medium bodied wines from grape varieties like Merlot and of course Tempranillo. Don’t use wines with too much oak or any oak at all.

4) Can you tell me a little about the red and white wines which are favorable for making sangria? You mentioned brandies too right?

Some people believe that the quality of wine is not important as so many other ingredients are used. But for a good tasting Sangria one must use a wine that tastes good on its own. Fruitier styled wines whether red or white work well.

5) What type of food is enjoyed with sangria?

Sangria is not a serious drink for food pairing. Enjoy it own its own or with appetizers and forget about the pairing bit.

6) Did sangria earlier meant to be a ladies’ drink? 

No I don’t think so. It’s only in our whisky soaked Indian minds that we think lighter style alcohol beverages are for the ladies.

7) Discuss the contemporary flavours used today? Some restaurants have peach and blue berry sangria… Comment on the popularity of sangria’s.

Sangria is becoming extremely popular in India. Pali Village Cafe in Bandra put in on the map and other restaurants have fabulous promotions working towards getting people to drink Sangria. Each restaurant or bar has their own version and the forward thinking ones are experimenting with new styles as well. It’s hot here in India so I’m not surprised that Sangria has taken off, plus its also a starting point for some people on their journey to drinking wine which itself is getting very popular.

New Drinks That Have Become Associated With Certain Social Situations

An extract of the article written by Nikhil Agarwal in Vogue Food & Drink Guide.

1. Why do you think patrons are preferring flavored mojitos over regular mojitos? 

Because woman today are looking for something new and are constantly experimenting to find the the next new thing that they like.

2. Could you give me 3-4 examples of such a change in drinking preferences?

I think wine is becoming extremely popular these days, specially when it comes to lunches whether done socially or for work.  There is also a cocktail revolution going on and I see women looking to try new powerful cocktails on a night out with the girls. At the same time I see a serious fondness for whisky and single malts on nights out with the girls or in general.

3. What do you think are the new Sangria and Martini?

– New Sangria – Sangria’s are relatively new to India on a larger scale and do really well at Sunday Bunch or sun downers but I think Prosecco or well made Indian sparkling wine is going to be a trend in the future for Sunday brunch.

– New Martini –  A glass or two of wine is certainly the new trend  for working lunch, drinks with colleagues

By Nikhil Agarwal
Director & Sommelier, All Things Nice

Raise Your Glass

Whisky, the water of life. Jim Morrison sang about it, the Scots swear by it, the Irish swear by it louder, we drink it in times of happiness and sadness and on a personal front it is the catalyst to me acquiring the best friends a guy could dream of. In India, besides cricket it’s almost a religion but shhh ! Keep it a secret before the moral police come banging on your door. We love our whisky don’t we? A trip to our favorite bootlegger, oops sorry, I meant legitimate retail store will show you just how much. Every brand of whisky whether real or made up is available for your drinking pleasure and your retail chappy is always happy to tell you just how good the one you’ve chosen is.

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