It’s that time of the year that every whisky aficionado in Manila looks forward to: Whisky Live Manila. Now on its third year, its 2018 run will feature Master Classes, which will be conducted by international whisky experts; and 100 whisky brands (including the unique ones from small-scale producers).
We were rather fortunate to have sampled a line of whiskies from one such a producer, Raasay and Borders Distillery (or R&B Distillery as known to most whisky-philes). Known for their limited production, handcrafted whiskies, they are also known for having put up the first legal distillery in the Isle of Raasay (a town of 150 located between the Isle of Skye and the mainland of Scotland) in 2017, creating a new regional category for Scotch.
This seemingly young label actually has a rich history: The founder’s great-grandfather, Richard Day, was a whisky blender in the late 1800s. His book, a collection of “acquired wisdom, decades of whisky learnings and lore,”* is sacred to their family. The book also contains blended whisky recipes that, after 70 years, R&B Distillery’s founder Alasdair Day used to recreate The Tweeddale Blend.
Youthful exuberance indeed met years of experience which was evident in the whiskies that we had during the kick-off party last 11 October: The first whisky was The Tweeddale: The Evolution. It was an easy drinking blend of Speyside single malts with Lowland single grains, the youngest component of the blend being 28 years old. The Tweeddale: A Silent Character, was named after the fact that a “now silent” distillery’s whisky was once used in most original Tweeddale recipes. This one ended up being my favourite because of its gentle complexity, both on the nose and on the palate. It’s a single grain scotch with a small production of only 564 bottles worldwide. The last we had was the Raasay While We Wait, a multiple award winning scotch made by artfully blending two whiskies (one peated, one not) and aged in French oak Tuscan wine casks that once housed Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This process resulted in a smoky, spicy whisky that was quite unlike anything I’ve ever tried, and a true exercise for the senses (why am I getting Islay and wine in a glass?).
People wanting to try these whiskies (and more) should go to Whisky Live Manila on 9-10 November 2018 at the Shangri-La at The Fort BGC. Tickets are available through whiskylive.ph or facebook.com/WhiskyLiveManila.
See you there (with a glass of whisky in hand). Cheers!