Glenrothes 11, 2010 (Signatory)


From Ardmore in the eastern highlands we move a bit north and a bit west to Glenrothes in the Speyside. Like Monday’s Ardmore this Glenrothes too was bottled by Signatory in its Un-Chillfiltered Collection series and was also matured in a bourbon cask—albeit, unlike that Ardmore, this was not an ex-Islay cask. And like the Ardmore this is a recent release—both were bottled in 2021. Bourbon cask Glenrothes is not very common—most of the official releases from the distillery, past and present, have involved sherry casks in the vattings. As a result, Glenrothes is one of those distilleries—Highland Park is another—whose official profile is associated with sherry maturation, and it is to the independents we must go to get a sense of what their spirit is like when matured entirely in bourbon casks. I think I’ve mentioned before that I rather like bourbon cask Glenrothes and also that I have samples of a few ex-bourbon Glenrothes bottles on my shelves. And I think I may also have been promising reviews of those samples for almost as long as the blog has been active. Well, if I like this one maybe I’ll actually get around to digging those out and reviewing them as well. Continue reading

Tenant VI (Minneapolis)


Tenant was the first restaurant we dined indoors at after the pandemic started. That was back in July of 2021. At the time things were threatening to look up on the pandemic front and we’d begun to think hopefully of a return to something approaching normalcy. Then the delta wave hit…and soon we were not eating in again. Just when we got started again there was omicron… When we finally got comfortable with the idea yet again at the start of the spring, Tenant was one of the first places we’d hoped to return to. But between the need to make reservations more than a month out and the need to cancel the first set of reservations I was able to make, it was not until the end of May that we got back there. It was both a happy return to a familiar space and a new experience of the restaurant for us. Details follow. Continue reading

Ardmore 11, 2009 (Signatory)


Last week featured malt whiskies from three different Indian distilleries (Kamet, Amrut and Paul John). This week will feature malt whiskies from three different Scottish distilleries. In a further connection, they’re all bottled by Signatory—and to be more specific, they were all bottled in Signatory’s Un-Chillfiltered Collection. Bottles in this series, usually but not always at 46% abv, were a major part of my malt whisky education more than a decade ago. I lost track of them for a while after that but was very glad to see a bunch of recent releases in the series on the shelves of a local liquor store in early May. I bought two of those and both will be reviewed this week. First up, is an Ardmore 11, 2009. I am—as is no secret—a big fan of Ardmore’s peated profile, with its emphasis on pepper, mineral notes and fruit. I didn’t realize until I got home that this cask might not display those qualities. Why? Well, because the label says “Bourbon Barrel after Islay” which I take to mean an ex-bourbon barrel that had previously held Islay whisky. If a heavily peated one, those notes might easily overpower Ardmore’s more delicate profile. Did that in fact prove to be the case? Read on. Continue reading

Paul John Oloroso Cask


This week of reviews of Indian whiskies started out on an unexpectedly strong note with the new’ish Kamet single malt and picked up even more steam with the triple-distilled Amrut 7 yo bottled for Spec’s in Texas. The Kamet was put together from a mix of bourbon, sherry and wine cask matured spirit; the Amrut was from an ex-bourbon cask. Here now to close out the week is a sherry cask whisky from the Goan distillery, Paul John. I visited the distillery in 2020 (read about it here) right before the pandemic hit. I remember seeing sherry casks in the warehouse but didn’t hear anything about their plans for that spirit—I was on the basic tour; it’s possible they say more about their cask programs if you sign up for the tasting following the tour. Anyway, I don’t know if they’ve released any full-term sherry matured whisky. This is a oloroso finish bottled at 48% (there’s also been a release of a cask strength 7 yo oloroso finish). As per Whiskybase, there have been at least four numbered batches in this series and their Whiskybase scores are all over the map. I have to confess that I don’t know which batch this sample is from (I will check with the source). I do hope that it will provide a good end to this week of Indian whisky reviews. Let’s see. Continue reading

Rajma, Take 5


Yes, this is my fifth recipe for rajma—what’s your point? I am forever tinkering with my rajma masala. And when I recently saw dried pomegranate seeds on the shelf at my local desi store (here in the southern Minnesota “local” means “20 miles away”) I grabbed some just for this purpose. A good rajma masala needs some sourness and pomegranate seeds are a good way to get it. If your local desi store doesn’t carry them, or if you don’t have a local desi store, you can find them on Amazon [affiliate link] or doubtless at many other online outlets. Or I suppose you could sub amchur/dried mango powder. It’s also true that you could save yourself a lot of hassle and just use a good commercial rajma masala—there is no shame in that. Of course, if you’re going to do that you don’t need to read further as the main thing that distinguishes my rajma recipes from each other is the masala I use for them (well, there are other differences too but this is the one that really counts). Continue reading

Amrut 7, 2014, Triple Distilled (for Spec’s)


A week of reviews of Indian malt whiskies began with one from a new distillery: Kamet. I’ll continue now with the distillery that really put Indian whisky on the single malt aficionado’s radar: Amrut.

Over the course of the last decade Amrut has added to its core roster of malts—the Fusion and the unpeated and peated variants of its base malt—with a number of special releases. They’ve also bottled a large number of casks both for specific markets and for retailers across the world. This is one of the latter. It’s a 7 yo bottled for the Spec’s chain in Texas. It is made from unpeated Indian barley, triple-distilled and matured in an ex-bourbon cask—a far cry from the last Amrut I reviewed, the Naarangi, which featured an infusion of oranges. Not very many Scottish distilleries triple distill. In Ireland, of course, it’s far more common and I’ll be interested to see if there are any Indo-Irish crossovers here. And speaking of Amrut’s core roster of malts, I’m quite out of touch with the current state of all of those. I should look into some recent releases at some point—especially as it appears that I’ve never reviewed the Fusion. Continue reading

Saint Genevieve (Minneapolis)


A few weeks ago we were scheduled to eat at Myriel in St. Paul with friends. But just a few hours before our reservation they had to close suddenly because of you-know-what. Rather than cancel our plans entirely we cast around for other places that might have tables and were happy to find that there was room at Saint Genevieve in south Minneapolis. Though I have not reviewed them before, this was not my first meal there. I ate there at a work-related engagement some years ago. I enjoyed that meal but somehow they fell off my radar and I never got around to going back with the missus. And when they came back on it they had switched to requiring full payment at the time of booking. While I don’t object per se to this model of dining, it’s a bit of a no-go for parents of small children like us. But on this occasion they had tables freely available and—not that it would have been an issue that evening—I wasn’t asked to pay ahead. As to whether that’s because they’ve changed that reservation model or whether the policy is relaxed when last-minute tables are available, I don’t know. I do know that we all enjoyed our meal very much. Continue reading

Kamet Single Malt Whisky


The month in whisky reviews started on Friday with a 26 yo Speysider (from Dufftown). Let’s take a bit of a left turn for the first full week of June. This week’s reviews will be of whiskies from three different Indian distilleries. This first one is from a distillery whose existence I literally did not know of until I saw this bottle on a shelf at Total Wine in Burnsville, MN: Kamet. They’ve apparently been around for a few years, though I’m not sure how long their whisky has been available in the US. Unlike Amrut and Paul John, and like Rampur, Kamet is located in North India—the name comes from the Himalayan peak (so it says on a label on the back of the bottle, which contains a rather large amount of marketing twaddle—a “tale told by a parrot” and whatnot). Despite knowing nothing about the distillery, I was unable to resist the impulse purchase. With tax it cost me about $70, if I recall correctly, and these days that’s almost a reasonable price. This is, of course, like most Indian malt whisky, an NAS  release. It was matured in a mix of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and ex-wine casks and is bottled at 46% without artificial colour etc. I fully expected to regret this bout of cultural nationalism but the first couple of pours were decent enough. The bottle has sat for a few since I opened it and I’m interested to see what I make of it now. Continue reading

Dufftown 26, 1988 (Cadenhead)


As the last review for May was of a 20+ yo Speyside malt, I might as well begin June with a review of another 20+ yo Speyside malt. This one too is from an unglamorous distillery, Dufftown and at 26 years of age is easily the oldest Dufftown I’ve yet tried. It’s not a recent release, having been distilled in 1988 (not 1987 as I mistakenly listed it as in my “Coming Soon” post) and bottled in 2015 by Cadenhead. I don’t know if it took a while after that to finally make it to the US or if I just didn’t notice it before because that’s roughly when I started paying less and less attention to whisky release news. Anyway, I noticed it in a local liquor store a month or so ago, along with a few other interesting-looking bottles, and managed to convince some friends to go in on splits of all of them with me. I kept 9 ounces of each bottle and they took the rest between them. This is the oldest of the three and in some ways the one I’m most intrigued to try. Though it’s in Cadenhead’s squat bottled “Small Batch” series, I suspect it’s from a single cask as the cask type is a bourbon hogshead and the outturn 228 bottles—which is more or less what you’d expect from a single hogshead of this strength at this age. Continue reading

Alur Dom/Dum Alu, Take 2


Alur dom/dum alu was the top vote getter in this month’s recipe poll, which closed on Monday. I was not expecting it to be as popular as it turned out to be—I guess it’s a dish with a lot of Indian restaurant name recognition. I have actually previously posted another recipe for alur dom (which is the Bengali name, whereas dum alu is the Hindi name). That recipe—which came to me from one of my aunts—is very good in its own right; of late, however, I’ve been making it more often in this style which adds a few spices and leaves out the yogurt. In both recipes the final dish has a thick, sticky gravy/sauce that clings to the potatoes. The only challenge here is to get it to that point without scorching anything. A heavy-bottomed pan will help tremendously with that and I also have a cheat in the notes below the recipe which will not give identical results, probably, but will probably give you greater peace of mind. Either way, you’re likely to like this. And, oh yes, of course I made a Reel on Instagram the last time I cooked this. And of course you want to watch it. Continue reading

Coming Soon…


Here is your customary look ahead to the coming month on the blog. We’ll be traveling for a big chunk of the month, heading off soon to Los Angeles for a bit and then to Hawaii for another bit before returning to Minnesota in early July. There probably won’t be much sign of that on the blog this month though—maybe a quick restaurant report or two from Los Angeles. I still have a backlog of Minnesota restaurant reports to work through and those will probably take me through all the Tuesdays of the month. Recipes will be posted on Thursdays as usual (see the poll I posted this weekend for the five recipes that’ll be coming this month). I’m also hoping to get to the next edition of my round-ups of writing on South Asian food. And, of course, there’ll be the usual three whisky reviews per week. I have a bunch of potential themes—single distilleries, regions, cask types, profiles, age—and as always I invite you to help me select the month’s reviews by nominating the ones you’re most interested in from the long list below to the short list. Continue reading

Bangkok Thai Deli, May 2022 (St. Paul, MN)


It took more than two years but we finally ate in at Bangkok Thai Deli again. Our last visit was in February of 2020. During the pandemic we got takeout from them a number of times and enjoyed all those meals very much (here, here and here). But it’s not the same as eating in—and not just because some dishes don’t take so well to being reheated after a 50 minute drive. Some restaurants mean more to people than others and for us Bangkok Thai Deli is one of the cornerstones of our Twin Cities dining life. We’ve been eating there since we arrived in 2007 (which is when they opened, as per their menu; I would have guessed it was earlier) and it would have been a big blow if the pandemic had claimed them as well. All this to say, we were very happy to eat there again in person. Continue reading

Glen Keith 24, 1993 (The Glasgow Whisky Co for K&L)


Last week’s theme was 20+ yo whiskies from distilleries from different production regions of Scotland. They included an official 20 yo Arran and two indies; a 23 yo from an unnamed Speyside distillery, bottled for Costco; and a 25 yo Tomatin bottled by Hunter Laing. Here now to close out the month is another 20+ yo whisky. This is from the Speyside but the distillery is not a secret: it’s a 24 yo Glen Keith bottled by The Glasgow Whisky Co. for K&L (or at least they got part of the cask). Glen Keith is an un-storied distillery around which there is no romance. As with most distilleries in Scotland, it pumps out malt for its owner’s blends. And as with most distilleries in Scotland, individual casks from the distillery can be rather good indeed. I’ve liked a number of indie Glen Keiths in the past—when their mix of malt, fruit and oak comes together well, it can be rather good indeed. I hope that’s the case with this cask. Continue reading

Indian Accent II (Delhi, March 2022)


Sorry for the whiplash but we’re going back to the food reports from my trip to Delhi in March. I posted reports on most of those meals at a steady clip in March and April and then ran out of steam before getting to the last two. That’s not because these were the least memorable of the meals. Well, this one at Indian Accent certainly was not—and I’m not just saying this on account of a piece of high-concept unintentional comedy involving a napkin that was almost the highlight of the meal (more on this below). No, it was one of the best restaurant meals I’ve eaten in a while. Indeed, though this meal was not quite as extensive as our first dinner there in 2014, I may have liked it even more. And it made me rue the fact that we/I had not gone back to eat there in the eight years following. Continue reading

June’s Recipes: A Poll


There are still a few days left in May but here’s the poll already to select recipes for June. I post recipes on Thursdays which means I’ll need to have one written up by the second of the month. I once again have eight candidates. Unlike in May, almost half are vegetarian. Three are repeats from last month’s poll: the gurda-kapoora masala featuring goat testicles and kidneys; the lamb shank curry with peanuts and potatoes; and the lamb and bean stew. The spiced roast duck will show up again in a few months time—I’m unlikely to make it again in the next month or two and I do like to make things one more time before I post recipes for them. Joining the gurda-kapoora masala in the category of offal-based dishes that are unlikely to get too many takers is a spiced chicken liver mousse that I made recently for a small gathering. Other newcomers to the poll include a tangy preparation of okra masala with yogurt; a very spicy thick chicken curry/masala; another take on dum alu; and yet another preparation of rajma. Continue reading

Tomatin 25, 1994 (Hunter Laing)

My week of reviews of 20+ yo whiskies from distilleries from different whisky producing regions of Scotland got off to a good start on Monday with the Arran 20, Brodick Bay. It then hit a bump in the road with Wednesday’s Kirkland 23, Speyside. Both of those had sherry involvement. The Brodick Bay was matured in both bourbon and sherry casks and then finished in oloroso sherry. The Kirkland was matured in bourbon casks and also finished in oloroso sherry. I close out the week now with a whisky that received a full-term maturation in a sherry butt. At 25 years old this Tomatin is the oldest of the week and I hope it will give it a good end. Older Tomatin can be very good indeed. The butt yielded 452 bottles, which may seem particularly low to those used to Glendronach’s outturns from sherry butts. Keep in mind though that there seems to have been a fair bit of spirit lost to evaporation—at cask strength this came in at just 49.3%. Let’s hope that means that this will be an extra-fruity Tomatin. Continue reading

Chicken Curry with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions


Here is a recipe for a very simple chicken curry. Not very many ingredients and not very much work. And what work there is can be divided into two parts. Marinate the chicken the evening before and the next day all you have to do is saute the onions till they’re nicely browned and softened, mix in the chicken with the marinade, cover the pot and let it cook itself over low heat. There’s no added water and so you end up with a thick but flavourful gravy that goes wonderfully with a pulao like this one or with parathas. It’s one of those curries that’s both great as weekday/weeknight comfort food and holds its own on a dinner party menu. Give it a go. And if you do, you might want to watch the inevitable Instagram Reel I made of the last time I made it to give you a better idea of the steps. (You do follow me on Instagram, don’t you?) Continue reading

Kirkland 23, Speyside (Alexander Murray)


As you may recall, the theme for this week’s whisky reviews is 20+ yo whiskies from distilleries located in different production regions of Scotland. The week began with an official release of 20 yo Arran—Brodick Bay. It continues today with a 23 yo from the Speyside. Which distillery exactly in the Speyside? I’m afraid I can’t tell you as this was a private label bottling for Costco by Alexander Murrary and as with most/all such Costco releases, no distillery is specified. This was matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in oloroso sherry (which is hopefully the only explanation for the dark colour of the whisky in the sample bottle). I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Costco’s Kirkland-branded single malt Scotch releases. I believe I’ve only ever reviewed one other—this 18 yo, also from the Speyside. I didn’t think very highly of that one, finding it to be too watered down in every way. Will this at a more respectable 46% abv (ignore the abv on the sample label—it’s an error) have more oomph/character? I certainly hope so. Continue reading