Now as we were discussing in the previous post about how the Black Dog Scotch Whisky is manufactured today, we have an interesting story about how and why the 4 whisky producing regions are perfectly married in it.

Wikipedia states that as of 23 November 2009, the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (SWR) define and regulate the production, labeling, packaging as well as the advertising of Scotch whisky in the United Kingdom. They replace previous regulations that focused solely on production. International trade agreements have the effect of making some provisions of the SWR apply in various other countries as well as in the UK. The SWR define “Scotch whisky” as whisky that is:image

1.      Produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been:

a.      Processed at that distillery into a mash

b.      Converted at that distillery to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems

c.      Fermented at that distillery only by adding yeast

d.      Distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8% (190 US proof)

2.      Wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters (185 US gal; 154 imp gal) for at least three years

3.      Retaining the color, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation

4.      Containing no added substances, other than water and plain (E150A) caramel coloring

5.      Comprising a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40% (80 US proof)

Black Dog’s Scotches follow all the above rules and are made using the Barley that is grown in the Lowlands, water from the Speyside, distilled in the Islands and finally matured in the Highlands. These Scotches are matured in the Highlands for a reason. The weather is fairly constant through the year and it is neither too cold nor too warm. It is just right for the wood to breathe and allow the scotch to soak in the flavor.

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While we were talking, Andrew also explained to us the process of preparing whisky as it has been followed since time immemorial. While there are different types of whiskies, the most refined sophisticated and authentic are those that follow the same process as was followed when the preparation was first identified.

Whiskies can be classified based on whether it is made out of Malt or Grains or Blended. It is also further classified on the basis of how and under what conditions it is matured. It can also be classified from where it comes, the Speyside, the Highlands, the Lowlands and the Islands. While several whiskies these days may be matured in Bourbon casks made of white American Oak, authentic whisky, though expensive to procure, is still matured in European Red Oak casks that once had sherry in them.Poster-2

The story of how sherry came about to be taken over by whisky was also an interesting one. While in the 17th century, women generally had sherry and men stuck to brandy. At that time an unknown bug wiped out and destroyed major crops of grapes resulting in very low production of Sherry and Brandy. This created a demand for alternatives and hence for something better. Whisky was available at that time and was immediately accepted thus filling in the void created by Sherry and Brandy.

Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve is definitely an authentic whisky even today, from the time when Sir Walter Millard first came down to Scotland to pursue his search for a unique scotch and his love for angling, since the method of preparation is hardly undergone a change. It has been streamlined, technologically improved and employed the learnings from the past failures, yet, when the whisky is supposed to be bottled, it follows a strong process of maturation and blending that was laid down by Sir Walter Millard.

Well, some things are best changed, but things like Black Dog’s Scotch are best left untouched in terms of taste!

Disclaimer: The content featured above is only for people aged above 25 years. Underage drinking is illegal and against the law. Drink sensibly and carefully and please never drive under the influence of alcohol.

We were given the privilege of interacting with Andrew Skene, a scotch expert at the Puma Social Club today. He was here to tell us more about Black Dog’s Triple Gold Reserve, our favorite scotch, all the way from Scotland. We are really grateful to Black Dog for inviting us over for this session.
A little about Andrew –
·        Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland, on the doorstep of Speyside (Scotland’s whisky producing heartland), Andrew grew up with a love for Scotch whisky, its culture, and socio-economic significance.
·        With a background in Marketing & Branding, and a certificate of expertise in sales and service of Scotch whisky, Andrew set off in 2003 to bring his passion for Scotch whisky to South Asia.
·        Since setting up Spirit of Scotland Pvt. Limited in 2006, in Singapore, Andrew has created various Scotch whisky concepts, organized and run numerous tasting and training sessions over the last decade.
imageWhile Andrew was here, he carried on him various articles of interest that we had only heard about. He spoke at length about how scotch was made back home and also what went into making Black Dog TGR “The Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve.”
It was also the first time that we had seen a Black Dog Fly in real after seeing it several times over the internet and hearing so much about it. Now I can appreciate and understand why the Black Dog was Walter Millard’s favorite, so much so that he named the brand after it. 2014-05-11 16.40.05We were also made privy to the actual spirit that is got post the distillation process. I must say, it kind of burnt my nostrils. It was so strong. No wonder the process of maturation was needed. It made the whisky a lot mellowed down! Did you know that the word whisky was an Anglicized name of “Usquebaugh

” which is what the Scots referred to Whisky when they first started making it; that it means the water of life and was supposed to be had very conservatively?

Disclaimer: The content featured above is only for people aged above 25 years. Underage drinking is illegal and against the law. Drink sensibly and carefully and please never drive under the influence of alcohol.

BD TGR_Poster April14

It was one of those evenings alone and I had been working from home the entire day. I was supposed to be at a musical event but work kept me busy. This had ensured that I could not make it to the event at all. Feeling highly demotivated, since I had been looking forward to the event, I decided to create my own mini event at home. I have collection of classical songs that I have built up over the years and which I am very proud of. I also have a large collection of lounge music, Buddha Bar mostly.

I loaded my entire collection of classical and lounge music onto a mixer and let shuffle take charge. Before I started off, I picked up my trusted Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve, added some ice and soda and put the music on! It has rightly Poster-1been told, music is an enchantress and can seduce you away to mystical lands unknown. But once you are there, you would never want to come back.

This is exactly what happened to me. It was the evening, a Friday evening to be precise, and the music was reaching its high note. With that, the flavors of TGR were only doing the trick to get me to the mystical lands faster. The woody aroma from the triple maturing, the effortless roll under my tongue. It was all so very alluring. Not wanting to be back so soon, I kept the flow of TGR into my glass steady and the music at a high note!

Zakir Hussain and Ustad Allah Rakkha Khan saheb’s jugalbandi has always been top notch. They have always entertained me. On the other hand, Rahul Sharma’s western influenced santoor vadan has its own uniqueness. All masters of their own art. The music, the musicians, the scotch and the connoisseur.

Disclaimer: The content featured above is only for people aged above 25 years. Underage drinking is illegal and against the law. Drink sensibly and carefully and please never drive under the influence of alcohol.

My friends were over for a night out. Something we organized after there was no one at home; neither parents, wife and kids nor my bro! It had been a long while since us college friends had met. There was so much to gossip. Some about the wives, some about the other college friends, some about work. Although we were all so desperately waiting for these moments together, somehow, the mood was not setting up.
Just then I remembered that my brother and I had a Triple Gold Reserve in stock that we had saved for some special occasions. We decided it was time we let our hair down. It wasn’t too late in the evening and the night was yet young! We walked down to a store near my house to pick a bottle of Soda and some chakna. What was the fun in having plain scotch and nothing to munch! As usual, we settled at peanuts.
Poster-1On the way back, the mood was already building up. We were already opening up. Topics varied. The constant back biting, peer pressure everything started flowing. Back home, we poured ourselves a drink each. We were enjoying the time alone. No one to come and stop us, no one to even ask us to talk slowly! We were having a gala time.
A few more pegs in and we opened up some more. Words flowed freely now. Memories came back much easily. The collection of songs that we had, the acting skills that were crushed under heavily weighed jobs, all came out. And who was responsible for that? Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve. The world could wait a little longer. Calls from the wives could hold on a little longer. We were living the life on our terms today. We were living our evening the way we had intended 10 years back when we had all parted after college. On our terms. Our friendship only grew stronger with age. Just like the scotch matured with age!

Disclaimer: The content featured above is only for people aged above 25 years. Underage drinking is illegal and against the law. Drink sensibly and carefully and please never drive under the influence of alcohol.


I have again come to a point where I am at a loss of words. I am really finding it difficult to mince words. If someone were to come down and put words in my mouth, I would lovingly accept them and pen them. Sadly, no one is going to do that. Every writer who has been portrayed in movies, every artist at such a stage is shown to take support of Scotch. I’m planning the same tonight as well. I don’t know how much it is going to work but then I am going to try it.
I am also planning to pick up one of my favourite book from the series that I have been following. The series written by Amish. The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas. The final book in this series is out already now and is waiting to be read. The Oath of the Vayuputras. I have come to expect a lot from the series after reading the first two books. I wonder what Amish has n store for me in his third and final book. How he manipulates the life of Shiva is fairly interesting read.

Whatever you say, I have come to kind of like semi fictional, semi mythological stories. In fact I own a mini collection of that. All these books are classics in my own accord. Lamb by Christopher Moore, Yajnaseni by Dr Pratibha Ray, Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi and now finally the entire collection of the Shiva Trilogy. If I were to really look at the Godly figures these books were addressing, I have one on Jesus, one on Draupadi from Mahabharath, one on Vishnu and one set on Shiva. Yet, if I look back at my collection, I am missing so many Gods here! Indira, Brahma et al.
I love reading my books in solitude with no disturbance. But then one thing that I would never want to set aside is my choice of Black Dog. That is the best company I can have with a classic book! How I wish I was of legal age to drink when I studied Shakespeare in school! I would have definitely enjoyed him a lot more! Even today, when I get a chance, I would definitely want to read a Shakespeare. But then again, I think I may have grown out of him now. One shot at school was good enough.

Talking about the classics, I have teamed Rabindranath Tagore and Black Dog. Let me tell you, it definitely is a wonderful combination. While the book grows on you, so does the Scotch. Neither wears away from your senses so soon. Tagore is known for his masterpieces and slowly building up the character. I think Black Dog took a page out of his writing. It so slowly grows on you that you would not want to let it go. Much like a lover wanting leave your arms and go home after spending a passionate evening of romance.
So while I romance my books and Scotch, you go ahead and see if you can catch up on some beauty sleep. It’s Sunday night here. I am planning to live it up in style. What about you?

After Suman left, Rishi looked at the missed calls he had. There were literally hundreds of them. All from the same person in the last two hours alone. Sunny. He knew had to come up with an excuse fast for not picking up the calls. He could not tell him he was messing around with two girls. Sunny hated it when he even messed around with one girl! If he said he was drinking, he would be punished with words even worse! What would be the best excuse? Just then, like manna from heaven, his subject walked in to the bar. He was saved.
He called Sunny back. Sunny literally barked his mouth off! Rishi’s ears were ringing hard! He waited for the storm to pass. Then when Sunny was finished, he asked him the progress of the case. This was Rishi’s chance to gain some solid ground. If he wanted Sunny to apologise, he had to do it now. He told Sunny he did not have too much time to small talk. He was busy on the case and had just arrived at the Kama Sutra Bar tailing the subject. His continuous calling was putting him off his guard.
In any case, he told Sunny that Sunday may be a big day because the subject was to visit a party at the Mayor’s house. They were planning to discuss a few deals about the latest road work contract that was going to be out. He was also expecting some currency to change hands. The entire of the last week the subject had been meeting all kinds of people to get them to invest in his venture. He even went ahead and visited a top CEO of a well known country to get him to invest. The CEO had agreed and the deal had been struck. The money had changed hands already and was lying with the subject in his quarters.
With the call disconnected, Rishi went back to looking at what his subject was doing. He was in the pool. Rishi wanted the relaxation himself after the harrowing time he had had with Sneha and Suman. He ordered for his Black Dog Quintessence to be brought in a while at the pool side while he himself went for a shower and a change. His mind was at peace now. All that he could think of was Suman. She had agreed to go out with him finally. They had agreed to meet this Sunday evening. Thank goodness she had said the Sunday evening. He would have had to give the chance a miss if she had asked him to meet in the morning. All that happens, happens for good. This was all that came to his mind. He wanted his tonight to be his Black Dog Easy Evening!
He wound up the evening relaxing on the poolside sipping his Black Dog and tapping away on his cell phone. He was checking his mails. He had a lot of mails that needed to be answered. He was in no mood to do just that. He wanted the world to wait for him. Recognise that he lived by his own terms. Recognise that he lived in style. He ordered for another large portion of Scotch. He shifted to using his tab. He had long come out of the pool. His daily dose of day’s news’ catching up had to be done. His favourite music pumped away into his ears! He had just bought the latest iPod! The deal had not come sweet in terms of money, but the pleasure of it turned out to be the deal sweetener. He was in love. With music and a lady!

Rishi was spell bound at the sight of this girl. She was all that he had ever dreamt of. She had the same eyes that dogged him in his dreams every night. He sat mesmerised on his bar stool wondering what way he could strike up a conversation with her. This was not his nature. He was supposed to be an outspoken extrovert. Girls were like toys to him, ones whom he had dancing on his fingers. On one end, his heart wanted to go out strike up a conversation with her and on the other, his playboy image did not permit it. He was torn apart by his own personalities.
Alex was watching Rishi and following his eyes. He knew exactly what Rishi was looking at and what he wanted. He offered Rishi his help. He said he knew the girl as a regular at the bar. Rishi agreed. He saw no option. He thought of the best pick up line that he thought would work. He put it down on a tissue paper and sent it across. The answer that came back was something that Rishi had expected. A resounding slap. After all, this was real life and not a movie where if the hero sent across a cheesy pick up line to the heroine she would fall for it and then the two would be singing a romantic duet the next minute. But what came next was not what he had imagined. The girl told him that if he wanted to talk to her, he had to be a man! He had to walk up to her and talk to her. Saying so she turned around and walked away clicking her heels behind her.
This definitely was not an easy catch to be. He had expected some retaliation but not this kind. His senses were now alert. He took the girl’s advice and walked down to her table and politely requested if he could join the two girls. Suman was about to say something when Sneha’s heel struck her hard on her foot and she shut up. Sneha twirled her hair and said “Of course!” Rishi saw an empty table and asked the girls if the would have something. Once again Sneha replied, “Sure, we would have something, but then what would that something be?” Rishi signalled for the menu and deferred with the girls if they would like Sushi. The girls agreed. He was not sure what the girls would like to drink. He deferred to them again. They did not reply. He decided to let go of it. He ordered a Black Dog for himself. The girls were not sure if the choice was good but they decided to try it none the less. They added that they would like a Scotch as well.
All this while Suman kept trying to avoid the gaze. This was the very opportunity she had been waiting for. But how could she let him have it so easily. She wanted to play a little hard to get as well. After all, Rishi had not been easy himself! She said she would also like Salmon with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Fingerling Potatoes. She wanted to know how deep Rishi’s pockets would go. She wanted to know if he knew how to live in style!
Rishi introduced himself as a businessman. The girls introduced themselves as well. Sneha was particularly curious about the pairing of the Scotch with food. After all Scotch was supposed to be had as an after food accompaniment. Somewhat like a dessert. Rishi cleared the air of doubt. He went on to explain how Scotch could be paired with many different kinds of food items including Dark Chocolate. he even explained that Suman’s choice of Salmon with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Fingerling Potatoes was indeed a great combination since it paired the Scotch with a food item from it’s place of native origin! Just then Rishi’s phone rang. He let it ring. He could let the world wait while he wooed his woman of dreams!

Sneha had been bitching incessantly about her boyfriend. She seemed to be totally inconsiderate of the fact that Suman was no longer listening and was lost in her own world. Sneha’s boyfriend had been recently caught in a compromising position with another girl. This expose had been orchestrated with a TV show in the tie. She had been seeing such instances happening very often in the last few weeks. This had raised a suspicion in her mind for long and the answer how loyal her guy was dogged her for long.

Suman was a TV Show producer and worked with a well known production house. She was also the person who ha seen to it that Sneha had gotten rid of the douchebag as soon as possible. She worked with the same production house that produced the loyalty test show. Being a part of the media industry meant that she often was privy to some of the best page three parties in the town. She chose not to attend those was a different question altogether. Today was however different. Sneha had dropped by her place and managed to pull her out of hiding to a party she had intended to throw. After all, Sneha owed Suman one.

Sneha’s Dad was one of the richest people in town. He owned the TV Channel where Suman’s shows were aired. The two had come across each other at the Channel house when Sneha was in a huff after having an umpteenth fight with her Dad. Choicest expletives were being exchanged between the father and daughter. Suman had ignored and had gone straight to the cafeteria. The cafeteria was teeming with all kinds of people and was full of gossip and incessant chatter. She found the sole empty table and settled down there.

After the fight Sneha had rushed out of the office but then decided against it and took to the cafeteria for a cup of cold coffee. Unfortunately for her, the cafeteria had been full. There was only one table that had one alone chair inviting her. Being the spoilt brat, she sploshed down on the chair without any permissions or pleasantaries and yelled out her order. “One Cold Coffee with double ice cream now!” Suman had not liked this attitude but ignored. After all she was not concerned. Sneha was not like that. She started off with her rants. She poured herself to Suman. This was the first time she had poured her woes out to someone. Suman sympathised with Sneha.

Nobody till this date has any clue how then these two totally different girls become thickest of the pals. However, Sneha post this would be found only at Suman’s place if she was not sleeping over at her boyfriend’s place. She seldom went home. Even if she did, it was only for her clothes or for more money.

Sneha’s party did not look like it was in any mood to get over soon. Suman grew impatient by the minute. Finally not being able to hold any longer, Suman had wandered out of the party area into another event that was happening. She hoped it would be better here. The event read “Black Dog Comedy Evenings with Russell Peters”. She dragged herself there hoping to get her evening better. And she had been right. Russell had had  soothing effect on her and had left her in splits. She was having a gala time.

It was here that she had first seen him. A rather simple looking guy, yet fairly handsome. Not so fair, yet not so dark. She had some how felt an attraction towards him. She kept looking at him for the rest of the evening. The guy never noticed though. She wanted to talk to him but then she could not. She had been tongue tied. Her phone buzzed incessantly. She could let the world wait for him.


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I am starting out a story that I am planning to build. I would be posting an episode daily. I haven’t thought of a suitable title for the story yet and would be hosting a poll at the end of the series to get it a suitable name.
It was a fine evening and Rishi was relaxing in the bar. He had had a fairly rough day at work and was badly in need of unwinding. It being a Friday today, he had plans to hit his favourite hangout; the place where he generally picked up his weekend dose of fun and girls; the Kama Sutra Bar at Hotel Ashok. The place was famous for having the best pick from the entire town!
Rishi was a Private Detective, 30, suave, unmarried and a playboy with the girls! He had had enough of being pestered around by his parents to get married but had no intentions of doing so. He lived alone in Bangalore, away from his parents who stayed in Lucknow. He had come down to the city to make a living out of working for a software firm but then things had not worked out as he had intended. He was soon out of job thanks to the recession. Just when he was planning to go back to his parents in Lucknow, his friend Bobby had introduced him to Sunny, a Private Detective and the two hit it off well. The money was good, and even better was the prospect of being at the best places at the client expenses. His clients were mostly women who wanted to know what their husbands were up to. Today, he had successfully solved a high profile case. 
Once at Kama Sutra Bar, Rishi ordered his favourite drink, Black Dog Scotch, 21 years old blend on the rocks. He loved sipping the scotch. It always left a fine taste in his mouth. It was a relief after the down market whisky he had been drinking at the dingy dungeon like place while tailing his client. Since Rishi was a regular at the bar, it was only one Bar Tender who served him, Alex.
Alex was someone who was known to his colleagues as a fun loving person. Always alive and had never had a dissatisfied client. It was his capability to entertain clients and get them to mingle that kept him everybody’s favourite. 
Today, the bar was empty. The people had not started pouring in yet and Rishi had come in early. Out of curiosity or out of plain humor, Alex asked Rishi why he preferred Black Dog over the other brands. Rishi was not surprised. He had thought of it often too. But then one swig and he knew why he chose it. The brand was over a hundred years old. 130 to be precise and carried true Scottish legacy on its shoulders like a responsibility. It was an international luxury brand. One to which people all over the world relaxed to. One of the world’s finest Scotch Whiskeys! Beyond that Rishi loved the colour. It was intensely golden and had shimmering highlights. It tasted bold and magnificent. Intense flavors of Seville oranges, ripe sweet mangoes and ginger spice rewarded the palate and then whispers of bitter chocolate, liquorices and crushed almonds drifted lovingly on. Just like a lady in the arms melting just after a deep passionate kiss. The smell was no less. Soft peaches and ripe citrus fruits coupled with pear, marzipan and bergamot all blended well by a master, one who was definitely a magician in disguise! 
Alex had certainly not expected so much of knowledge about the scotch from a person like Rishi. After all, Rishi was known to Alex as only a guy who often came to the bar to relax, unwind and enjoy. This was the first time Alex realised Rishi to be a fairly learned and a well-travelled person! Rishi loved to refer to these as just his, personal evenings, Black Dog Easy Evenings!
Just then someone caught Rishi’s eye. She was stunningly beautiful and he had never seen her at the bar earlier. She was just the right person he would call living in style!