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Whisky Lady vs Everyday Asia

The hard thing about having a “real” job rather than running my own business is that the variables beyond my control alone are simply much higher.

Before I made this big change in October 2017, I committed to myself that no matter how busy things got, I would do my best to keep up with all three Mumbai whisky tasting groups and share notes on my other blog – Whisky Lady – at my own pace and timing. A nice no pressure way to keep doing something I enjoy, fitting this little bit of pleasure around work that I’m completely absorbed (one might say obsessed) with in the attempt to make a real impact.

From Canada, USA, UAE, Singapore, Germany (twice!), all over Mumbai I bounced and slogged through weekends, holidays… and somehow managed to miss only a few whisky tasting sessions. And when I did, found a fabulous “guest” writer in a fellow whisky explorer…

Linked to this commitment was my monthly round up here on Everyday Asia. Which for months has become the only activity I’ve managed to achieve on this blog…

So clearly it was time to stop trying to keep up appearances….

Quietly without fanfare my February monthly whisky “round-up” skipped across from here to there. If you are interested in whisky posts, do pop over to Whisky Lady… however you will no longer find once a month a list of tasting adventures.

As for Everyday Asia? As the 1st phase of the project winds to a close, it just might be possible to “get a life” again soon… til then….

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Whisky Lady – January 2018

January was nearly travel free!!! Til the 31st Jan when I hopped on a plane to Bangalore…

However I still couldn’t join all whisky related sessions…. sigh…  thus is the life of a working gal, even if the Whisky Lady element remains!

All our Mumbai based whisky groups had an opportunity to meet.

It kicked off the Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen hosting with the Whisky Ladies for an evening of three Douglas Laing blends and one Sansibar blend:

As the Whisky Ladies had already joined the gents for a round of independent blends, we decided to have a completely random evening of “Contributor’s Choice” which resulted in:

Our original club met however I alas could not make it… however samples reached my home so was able to compare my independent impressions with those jotted down by our guest writer Nikkhil… keep you in suspense for a bit longer…

Beyond the tasting group meetings, there was also an:

Plus a Rum Quintet:

Plus notes from previous sessions….

From Whisky Ladies Après-ski Austrian posts:

And our BMC’s “Peat Unusual” theme with narry an Islay whisky…

Also my “O Canada” celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary:

Finally caught up with “BMC goes Bourbon” night featuring:

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Whisky Lady – December 2017

December brought yet another a trip to Germany with much merriment and mischief for this  Whisky Lady on my return!

All three groups had an opportunity to meet…

Normally our original group does not meet in December. However I used my powers of persuasion to pull together an ‘off the books’ evening to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Our “O Canada” evening included:

Our Whisky Ladies embraced the season with an Après-ski theme featuring:

Keeping with the decidedly non-Scottish theme for December, our Bombay Malt & Cigar did a “BMC goes Bourbon” night with:

There was also an impromptu evening of Sinful Samples :

Plus I played some catch-up with notes from previous sessions, with more to come in the new year!

Here are notes from our November BMC’s “Peat Unusual” theme with narry an Islay whisky…

  • Lowland – Alisa Bay 48.9% – Sweet peat
  • Islands – Ledaig “Very Cloudy” Vintage 2008 40%*
  • Highland – Loch Lomond Peated 46%*
  • Speyside – BenRiach 25 year 46%*

Plus our original group’s November exploration of Sherry Elements:

Still to come is a wee glimpse into a Glenmorangie evening revisiting The Original, The Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar d’Or and the piece de resistance… the Private Edition 8 Bacalta…

*Whisky tasting notes coming soon…ish

Hope you had a terrific 2017 and may 2018 bring you much malty merriment!

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Whisky Lady – November 2017

November brought a trip to Germany and Singapore (with a side dish of WhiskyLive) that kept tastings on track for the  Whisky Lady!

The best was all three groups aligned to my mad travel schedule so there was a concentrated burst of all three sessions in less than a week!

Our Whisky Ladies enjoyed a carefully selected affordable trio Gordon & MacPhail:

For our Bombay Malt & Cigar  gents, we explored a “Peat Unusual ” theme with narry an Islay whisky among the selection…

  • Lowland –Alisa Bay 48.9%
  • Islands – Ledaig “Very Cloudy” Vintage 2008 40%*
  • Highland – Loch Lomond Peated 46%*
  • Speyside – BenRiach 25 year 46%*

(*Tasting notes coming soon!)

Just as the BMC gents explored peat, our original group explored different Sherry Elements :

(*Tasting notes coming in December… too much to squeeze into one month!)

Thrown into the mix was a Glenmorangie evening revisiting The Original, The Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar d’Or and the piece de resistance… the Private Edition 8 Bacalta…

Rye (Photo: Nikkhil Shirodkar)

Back in October, our original club had a remarkable Rye Night with tasting notes by our guest writer Nikkhil published in November:

I also got around to sharing notes from a peaty persuasion minis session:

Plus a revisit of Glenfarclas Minis:

  • 15 year 46% – Straightforward, no pretence
  • 105 60% – A full strength sherry berry cake, best had with a few drops of water
  • 21 year 43% – Approachable and multi-dimensional
  • 25 year 43% – A 2nd date dram that needs time to reveal its full character…

And guess what? I’m back on another plane  to Germany next week… let’s see what more can be discovered!

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Whisky Lady – October 2017

October was the 1st month that I juggled a new full-time ‘regular’ job that immediately plunged me into a demanding yet incredibly interesting project. And yet, what is a Whisky Lady to do but keep up with tastings too!

Thankfully it was a ‘slow’ month with only the Whisky Ladies and Original club’s having full tasting sessions. To keep things interesting, there were also were a few minis sessions too!

Our Whisky Ladies celebrated Diwali in all our finery and accompanied the festivities with Asia focused whiskies:

Rye (Photo: Nikkhil Shirodkar)

Whereas our original club had a remarkable rye focused evening:

My mini sessions had three distinctly different bents… The 1st was peaty with:

The 2nd was a revisit of Glenfarclas with:

  • 15 year 46% – Straightforward, no pretence
  • 105 60% – A full strength sherry berry cake, best had with a few drops of water
  • 21 year 43% – Approachable and multi-dimensional
  • 25 year 43% – A 2nd date dram that needs time to reveal its full character…

And the 3rd was not whisky at all but rum!

  • Diplomatico 40%
  • Zacapa 23 Solera 40% vs XO 40%
  • El Dorado 12 year 40%
  • Criterion 10 year 56%

October also introduced a new guest writer from our original club – Nikkhil Shirodkar – who provided the terrific notes on the September session I missed:

While I missed Mumbai, I did explore a whisky watering hole in Toronto… where I sampled a trio of bourbons at 1602 Dundas:

The month closes with my hopping on a plane to Germany… let’s see what can be discovered next!

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Whisky Lady – September 2017

September’s Whisky Lady tastings was a mixed month as one club didn’t meet and another did but it was a rare session I missed due to travel! Naturally I augmented with other experiences and shared the final set of tasting notes from our remarkable July which had seven different sessions!

The gents from the Bombay Malt & Cigar club met late August with an unusual selection of three Single Grains and two Indian whiskies:

Our whisky ladies had a lovely Sunday sundowner with this quartet:

Whereas our original club enjoyed the following (alas without me as I was off gallivanting in the North America!):

  • Writers Tears Cask Strength (2016 Release) 53%
  • Springbank 12 year Burgundy (June 2016 Release) Cask Strength 53.5%
  • Springbank 12 year (January 2017 Release) Cask Strength 54.2%

I also held a bottle polishing-off session with experiments in barley, wheats and more:

Plus a sample session with Duty-Free No Age Statement (NAS) drams:

I shared July’s tasting notes from our “Dream Drams” evening with an exceptional set enjoyed with India’s Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula featuring:

Plus revived the Whisky Tips with:

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

What to do if you NEED to “go!” Public toilets in India

There are simply things not done in polite society… and yet when there are no easy ways to do what most consider rather private activities, it becomes a very public matter.

My favourite walking spot is the promenade with a view of the Bandra Sea Link. I’ll never forget one time I watched a mother patiently help her young daughter learn how to squat and defecate over a drainage hole. If you live on the streets, it is certainly a better alternative than many other options.

So the other day, I was delighted to see colourfully painted public toilets for men and women… set up to service the labour community that has sprung up next to the Sea Link promenade to build the new metro station. How fabulous!

Except, despite appearances and it being a terrific initiative, they don’t work. At all.

Instead, they stand locked, testament to a great idea with infuriatingly poor execution. Clearly money was spent to set them up, but not to actually keep them functioning.

It is hard not to be cynical. Until GST, on every transaction an additional 0.5% cess was paid to raise funds for “Clean India” i.e. Swachh Bharat… which is best seen in propaganda paintings supporting the government agenda of the day rather than real change.

As a woman, I dare you to find a decent public toilet outside of fancy malls…. that works.

However I remain optimistic. I take hope in the efforts of individuals who work to improve things… despite the odds.

PS – Interestingly this post prompted racist hate mail, naturally by a man, offended that I was concerned that time, money, effort went into something which could serve public good but doesn’t. Because after all “Foreigners like you have only to say shit things about India like any typical Westerners.” Hmm… I suppose having a life linked directly with India since 1990, nearly 20 years calling India home means nothing and I’m not entitled to have an opinion as my origins are outside India. I wonder if that same individual, if living in say Canada, would believe he has no right to be concerned about something he finds potentially positive but frustratingly not fulfilling its mandate?

Related posts:

Whisky Lady – August 2017

August was a bit of a catch-up month for Whisky Lady tastings… chock full of notes from July’s excesses with even more from those sessions to come next month.

August sessions were held with each Mumbai based whisky clubs – yet two were of a decidedly social bent!

The Original’s session featured an Islay Trio:

The Whisky Ladies turned two! With a celebration of whisky women fellowship…

And finally on 31st August 2017, we had our Bombay Malt & Cigar partners night where we explored a trio of single grains:

  • Girvan 8 years (2006) Cask 532398 46% (Berrys’)
  • Strathclyde 25 year (1990/2016) DL11335 51.5% (Douglas Laing’s Old Particular)
  • Invergordon 28 year (1987/2015) DL 11004 56.5% (Douglas Laing’s Old Particular)

Followed by two Indian whiskies:

  • Sula’s Eclipse Blended Whisky 42.8%
  • Rampur 43%

I  shared tasting notes from our July 2017 American Westland trio of:

Our July Monsoon Malts & More evening covered an eclectic range with:

Check out what can be squeezed into just a couple of minutes “Speed Tasting” impressions with:

I also published tasting notes from July’s Krishna’s Collection with:

Naturally with a few odds and ends… including:

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Everyday Asia – 17th Quarter Summary

Who counts 17 quarters? Seriously?!

Quarterly updates was a tradition I began years ago – once a quarter share a bit on what is happening both in real life and a blog recap. So four and a quarter years later, I may not be regular but Everyday Asia is still around!

So what’s up?

I already shared the biggest news of all – getting married in Manitoba! Which sparked a bit of travel to London, Winnipeg (Canada), back to London, Mumbai, on to Singapore and finally back home. Not much has changed, with a few minor exceptions!

I also shared work has been busy… keeping me exceedingly pre-occupied pre and post wedding, surfacing only 2nd week of August. Reflections on one aspect of such projects led to my sharing The numbers game aka “When 1 + 2 doesn’t = 3” (or elephants have 2 trunks!). I’ve since shifted gears back to the regular activities and efforts, much neglected with the project pressures.

Ms Zoe has had a gentleman caller – Mr Q. While these two felines may not be best friends, they did become fridge buddies and could be found scampering around the flat. Q has since gone back to his home, and Zoe has repeatedly demonstrated her happiness at having her home back!

On that front… we were given notice… Our beloved rental home was up for sale. Which prompted us to consider finding our own place. After  an initial check on the market, decided though prices have come down, what you get for what you pay still isn’t justified. So redirected our efforts to a rental flat. Found one… were about to sign… only to have our landlord announce he’d changed his mind!!?

As it made more sense to stay, we backed out (with much chagrin). What a weird, short but fascinating glimpse into the absurd Mumbai housing market. Sheesh!

We are taking advantage of a bit of a lull to continue to tackle reducing our clutter – move or no move – and catching up with friends. All in all a good quarter.

As for Everyday Asia? The top posts for the quarter are:

Given my other blog Whisky Lady has been prodigiously producing content, my last three monthly round up made it into the top 10 with Whisky Lady’s May 2017, June 2017 and July 2017 summaries. That blog has been blasting through all expectations with the range of whiskies sampled, now surpassing Everyday Asia with over 500 posts and over 3,000 followers – yowza!

While my Everyday Asia posting may be sporadic – little when busy with projects and a sudden burst when between gigs – it continues to fun sharing a few insights into the amusing, mad and sometimes remarkable life of a Canadian transplant in India!

Thank you as always for joining the journey…

Earlier updates:

The numbers game aka “When 1 + 2 doesn’t = 3!” (or elephants have 2 trunks)

I can’t help but observe that folks love their data in India… lots of lovely numbers, preferably in pretty charts or graphs. Which are generally accepted as ‘truth’ and ‘correct’.

When I contrast the work I do in India vs say Indonesia or Malaysia, there is generally a wealth of data tracked and reported by companies here compared to sometimes quite limited data points in other markets.

But here is the thing, it can be absolutely maddening if you have to DO something with those lovely numbers.

Because, you see, 1 doesn’t necessary mean 1 and 2 doesn’t necessarily mean the 2 you think it does so as a result when you try to put them together you don’t get 3 but instead 4 or 5… and that result definitely does not match that other figure from another report or source that is supposed to be the same thing!! Arrrghh!!

During a recent project, I was reminded of this – full force! With much angst, long hours and considerable effort required for things that should have been simple to provide, understand and then use effectively.

Why? It seemed no one had ever probed deeper into the numbers. They were simply accepted. At the board level.

Yet as soon as I attempted to compare those lovely statistics across different reports and distribution channels, then attempted to validate with my own calculations, sense checking what I found during a diagnostic, nothing added up.

So I had to go back – asking what may have seemed like extremely obvious things but revealed quite different assumptions and completely different methodologies which meant those pretty numbers presented for years were actually not correct… or more precisely were correct only if the different definitions, assumptions and calculation methodology were disclosed.

Without such disclosures, one side looked really healthy whereas the other side looked like complete laggards… which when using the same definitions, assumptions and calculation methodology provided a slightly different picture. Hmm…

In another case, it was a classic ‘elephant’ scenario… each was busy describing the tail, trunk, leg and other body parts in isolation. So while the elephant trunk is a trunk and correct exactly as described on its own, when asked to show the elephant as a whole (i.e. put the pieces together), two trunks were added, making for a rather strange looking elephant.

Except just as this potentially misleading elephant photo proved, when the image is questioned and examined further rather than simply accepted as a freak of nature, another story (or in this case another elephant!) is revealed.

Had I simply accepted that elephants can have two trunks and reported this marvel at the shareholders meeting, we would have missed completely the 2nd elephant and continued to perpetuate the myth of the exceptional two-trunked pachyderm!

In a land where creative accounting is an art form and there is an army of experts to help dodge taxes, it is no wonder that blindly accepting numbers as fact without checking and making the effort to understand in context is a dicey thing.

This is not just in a corporate context but political too. Just take Scroll’s recent ‘fact check’ articles on the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address… or assertions on the effectiveness of demonetisation. If you probe a little deeper, do not accept ‘facts’ and ‘data’ at face value, an alternate perspective emerges.

In fairness, the complexity and range of variables found in India means simple measures may not be sufficient. That is a large part of why trying to neatly fit things together isn’t so easy.

I have a great deal of respect for the calibre and quality of the people at the companies I work with and an appreciation that the reality may be (and often is!) different than someone externally expects.

A standard global report or approach may simply not account for all the factors. Sometimes what it takes is creating a bridge between the two that helps provide the context or story so that everyone can see there really are two elephants.

Living India Tip #4

Moral of the story? The numbers you are given may not be ‘wrong’, however they just may not be ‘right’ as you initially interpret them!

Don’t be afraid to check there isn’t a 2nd elephant hidden behind! And help make it easier for others to quickly spot that 2nd elephant too…

Related posts:

Welcome!

Carissa Hickling

Carissa Hickling

Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, has called India home since 2003, working in Asia Pacific and traveling all over! She's also a bit of a 'Whisky Lady' too!

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