This story began near the equator, in the lowlands of the sea-town Temasek, in the Malay Archipelago. Two malt masters with similar aspirations collaborated to take forward their legacy. It was evening on a certain Thursday of July, when rays of the sun raced to cast the first golden-hued shadow of this malt.
In Temasek, casked in an Indian oak brought from the land of ‘five rivers’, it lay maturing gently, benefiting from the breath of the bold sea on one side and an amalgamation of oriental influences on the other.
Three years hence, it was brought across the Bay of Bengal, two thousand miles away, to the banks of the river Hooghly. Here, it arrived at a distillery - 175 years old, set up by a visionary Frenchman - to be re-casked in English oak. For sixteen years it lay maturing, absorbing the refined aromas of this oak, the environs and its cool southern breeze carrying whiffs of mustard and smoke emitting from ‘dhunachis’.
To encompass a balanced doubling of flavour, it was shipped to the isle of Bombay. In this sleepless city, it arrived at another distillery, unique for its ‘musical chair’ - like approach in maturing malts interchangeably. Re-casked in a new oak barrel, it developed a distinct smokiness of beach-bonfires brought alive by a subtle hint of sea salt, as it lay maturing for a further four years.
After 23 years of aging, a Master Distiller was sought; found at the northern tip of the Aravalli, he refined this malt slowly over the course of several years, infusing in it a mellow dryness and giving it the well-rounded flavour of experience.
Left to its own devices for the final few years of aging, it sought its own delicate balance of flavours, overpowering the excesses of some, with the subtleties of others.
Aged 30, unchill filtered, bottled at Cask strength. It opens reservedly with the aroma of glacial water chiseled over rocks, followed by its characteristic smokiness of smoldering bonfires.
2015 Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
M : +91 9819154852