PSA: Please do not leave your belongings, drinks, or body parts unattended. This writer denies any responsibility for your forgetfulness.*
Whiskey and I don’t go very far back, but that’s to be expected. My exploration of alcohol began fairly late in life (ie, at the ripe old age of 24), and up until recently I was stubbornly a rum girl. Whiskey was this mysterious, overwhelmingly smoky substance that was reserved for bosses, and middle-aged men, and Richard Gilmore. Two things brought me around though: the fact that whiskey was the drink of choice for many of my colleagues (and I sadly kissed my college cocktail days goodbye), and yet another speakeasy that very quickly made itself my personal Holy Grail of all things speakeasy.
Mandalay is a bar tucked in the back of Belle and Dragon, behind Narnia-like doors. Going into the place, you will be greeted by dim lights and stone dragons, and the heady smell of whiskey and cigars in the air. It was love at first sight.
But Mandalay goes beyond looks: it is first and foremost a whiskey bar, and what pride it takes in its collection. The bottles line the walls, boxes of whiskey overflow from shelves, and I have heard many an aficionado talk about how impressive the collection is.
This isn’t just exclusively for whiskey aficionados though. For those who would like to learn about whiskeys, Mandalay provides flights on the menu, which is a selection of pre-selected whiskeys to get an idea of the breadth of profiles for every type. One can take tasting notes on the flight sheet to get a better idea of what taste notes each flight has in common, and what sets each whiskey apart from others in the same category.
If that’s still too intimidating (which, admittedly, it can be), they can make whiskey sours with different kinds of whiskey to help people get a better understanding of which flavour profiles they might prefer. The night we went, we had whiskey sours with bourbon and some pretty cool single malts.
We also got a sneak peek at how and why they do these cocktails, which made the experience even more fun.
*No, seriously. Please don’t leave your body parts unattended.
Special Thanks to Mr. Sunnil Jhamtani, Mr. Mike Fox, and Mr. Arlie G. Gole of Mandalay
Mandalay is located along C. Palanca street in Legaspi Village
This Article’s Whisky Cheat Sheet:
Elijah Craig 12
Classification: Kentucky Bourbon (corn based)
Trivia: Named after Reverend Elijah Craig, a Baptist Minister said to be the “father of Bourbon”; Uses heavily charred oak for ageing
Tasting notes: a hint of sweetness, aromas of caramel, vanilla, spice, and honey
Classification: Single Malt Scotch from the Isle of Skye
Trivia: Currently known as Tobermory
Tasting notes: Unpeated, which means minimal/no smoky flavours, but retains the seaweed and salty characteristics because of the region’s proximity to the sea
Classification: Single Malt Scotch from the Isle of Mull
Trivia: Oldest and only surviving distillery in the Isle of Skye
Tasting notes: Pungent, with a slight peatiness and pepper