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  • Famous Whiskies And Their Not So Famous Counterparts

    We are highlighting the famous whiskies that we all know and love. Drams like the Macallan 12 and Lagavulin 16 should be a part of everyone's whisky journey so as to have a benchmark to what others are referring to.

    For those who have already tried these, we've included an accompanying suggestion for each whisky that we think would suit your palate. So look out for your all-time favourites and check out our suggestions and let us know if we were spot on!

    BenRaich 12 ($105) as an alternative for the Macallan 12 ($120)

    benraich 12 - alternative to macallan 12

    The BenRiach is one of the fastest growing distilleries in the world and the BenRiach 12, matured in sherry wood is proving to be a real contender to the Macallan 12. We find it to be a little more spicy than the Macallan so look out for that kick!

    [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]BenRiach 12 - a rising new voice in the whisky world[/su_button] [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Macallan 12 - the whisky against which all others are measured[/su_button]

    Hakushu 12 ($194) as an alternative to the Lagavulin 16 ($154.90)

    hakushu 12 - alternative to lagavulin 16

    The Lagavulin 16 invites endless praise and has been featured in many movies as the ultimate whisky. It's richness and peat-monster status is well deserved and is in a class of its own. So, if you are a fan, we think the Hakushu 12 is definately worth checking out.

    As the peated cousin of the Suntory family, it often is forgotten in the search for that elusive smoothness that we associate with Japanese whisky. Known for being one of the highest in the world, the Hakushu has a certain lightness and crisp vibrant feel that will change your mindset about what Japanese whisky is all about.

    [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Hakushu 12 - the forgotten cousin of the Suntory family [/su_button] [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Lagavulin 16 - the ultimate peat monster[/su_button]

    Black Bottle ($99) as an alternative to the Hibiki 17 ($318/out of stock)

    black bottle - alternative to hibiki 17

    This is for the hardcore Japanese whisky people who are all about the Yamazaki and Hibiki. The Black Bottle will be something totally different, practically from a different planet. It is a classic Victorian blend that started life in a tea merchant’s shop in Aberdeen, Scotland back in 1879.

    The Black Bottle lets you enjoy a big, smoky, Islay-dominated blend that is rather more refreshing and easier to drink than many other peat-dominated drams.

    [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Black Bottle - a smoky Islay blend for the senses[/su_button]

    Bunnahabhain 18 ($310) instead of the Laphroaig 18 ($250)

    bunnhabhain 18 - alternative to laphroaig 18

    The Laphroaig has been dominating the headlines for its edgy advertising campaign #opinionswelcome with people giving crazy quotes like "tastes like a burning hospital". The 18 Year Old Expression is a much more balanced dram than the 10 Year Old which tastes of just peat

  • Great Alternatives To The Most Popular Japanese Whiskies




    With the crazy popularity of Japanese whiskies, there's been a drought in supply and a series of launches for no-age-statements from each distillery. These have been pretty well-received by the community, especially the Yamazaki Distillers' Reserve and we are starting to see traction for the Hibiki Japanese Harmony as well.

    Amongst the Bootleggers, we realise that the appeal of Japanese whisky is undeniable and its boom has brought many people to the whisky world. However, we think that in the rush to embrace this new wave, there are spots of opportunity to acquire great drams at a great price. As such, we've put together this short guide to give you some recommendations.

    In the process, we considered the general taste profile and sought to provide you an alternative that we think is just as good and at a lower price. Let us know if you think these comparisons make sense!

    1. Glenlivet 15 ($155) as an alternative to the Yamazaki 18 ($650/out of stock)

    Glenlivet 15 -  alternative to yamazaki 18

    The Yamazaki 18 is well-loved for its richness and complexity of taste. When you enjoy a dram of Yama 18, the waves of flavour just keeps on coming. The Glenlivet 15 is pretty similar as it provides a nuanced sort of rich flavour especially when compared to the Lagavulin 16. Taste wise, these two whiskies are in (approximately) the same vertical in the whisky flavour map. so if you are a huge Yamazaki fan, this should be right up your alley.

    As much as the Yamazaki is known for the Mizunara (Japanese oak) cask, the Glenlivet 15 is pretty much the standard bearer for the French Oak Cask.

    We found that many Bootleggers in the search for that elusive Yamazaki 18, have not tried the Glenlivet 15 even though it has been one of the gold standards in the whisky world for a long time. Give it a go!

    [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Glenlivet 15 - the gold standard for the French Oak [/su_button]

     2. Tobermory 10 ($149) as an alternative for the Hibiki 17 ($318/out of stock)

    tobermory 10 - alternative to hibiki 17

    Our second comparison is for the Hibiki 17 as its popularity is second only to the Yamazaki 18. Last year, we delivered an order of 12 bottles for a corporate client for them as Christmas gifts, but September this year, we are totally out of stock. We could probably still get them from parallel importers but we have a policy of supporting the authorized distributors especially when it comes to the crazy popular drams in case of fakes. So, long story short, we currently do not have any stock left. :(

    Regardless, we think the Tobermory 10 is a SUPER UNDERDOG in the whisky space and deserves much more attention. It's silky flavor has earned comparisons with the Johnnie Blue! Most people judge it by the age expression, but age is honestly just a number.

    If you have not tried anything from the Islands region, this is honestly your best bet. We've been silent supporters of the Tobermory, recommending it to all our whisky friends and it hasn't disappointed.

    [su_button url="" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ff9900" color="#0000000" size="4" radius="5" icon="icon: external-link"]Tobermory 10 - the super silky underdog [/su_button]

    3. Macallan 12 ($120) as an alternative to the Yamazaki 12 ($258/in stock)

    macallan 12  - alternative to yamazaki 12

  • Making Gin from Vodka

    November 10, 2015 News

    2014-09-16 14.14.29

    The short path from vodka to gin is ridiculously easy. We've been experimenting with some recipes and some of the results have been absolutely phenomenal. Having said so, this is alcohol and food here so there are risks involved. Please use your own discretion when following this recipe!


    We first randomly chanced upon this idea when we came across the homemade gin kit. Since they don't deliver to Singapore, we decided to search the Internet to see what we could come up with.

    The Internet rewarded us with a host of recipes from reputable websites: Serious Eats, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Metro, The Guardian .

    Long story short. Gin is essentially spiced vodka. The differences between the gin brands is the type of botanicals used to flavor the alcohol. Do you prefer floral tones? Hendricks would be a good option. If you prefer a more herbal spicy feel, then go for the Bombay Sapphire.

    With a DIY recipe, you can customize it to your own taste. We have tried to put together a uniquely Singapore (SG50 if you must) recipe that uses a mix of local flavours like hawthorn and osmanthus. It was a great process and we chanced upon this blend by accidentally combining two recipes that we were working on. We initially had a floral recipe and a spicy recipe which were fine but it felt a little flat. With the combination, there is complexity of taste and it blew our mind.



    750ml of vodka

    3 tablespoons of juniper berries

    1 teaspon of coriander seeds

    4 cardamon pods

    1 bayleaf (torn)

    1/4 teaspon of fennel

    1 pc of dried hawthorn fruit

    1 cinnamon stick

    2 cloves of star anise

    A bunch of dried rose petals

    1 tablespoon of dried osmanthus flowers

    You'll also need a sieve, funnel and a 1l bottle to fit both the vodka and botanicals.


    The Recipe

    1. Take the juniper berries and add it to the vodka in the 1L bottle. Leave it to steep for 24 hours. 

    Give it a little shake to make sure that the juniper berries are submerged in the vodka. If you prefer to play it on the safe side, you can just leave it in for 12 hours instead for a milder taste.

    2. Take the rest of the botanicals and dump it into the vodka-juniper berry mix. Leave it to steep for 24 hours.

    The basic ingredients of gin are the juniper berries, coriander seeds, cardamon pods, bayleaf and fennel seeds. These form the backbone of turning vodka into gin. The character of the gin is then formed by the florals and spices. In this case, we used local spices like star anise and florals like hawthorn, rose and osmanthus.

    Most of the other recipes also use some sort of citrus like lemon grind. We tried it and felt that it overpowered the whole taste. So let us know if you find a citrus that works!

    Gin Ingredients by Bootleg Brew

    3. Sieve out the botanicals and tadah you are done! 

    The entire process takes 36-48 hours depending on how long you decide to soak the juniper berries. We found that the longer soak gives it more flavour and made it more of a gin so that's what we generally prefer. We also don't end up with funny timings like 5pm and 5am.


  • Whisky Glass Giveaway With Bootleg Brew

    November 3, 2015 News

    Bootleg Brew November Whisky Giveaway

    We are launching a new giveaway for the month of November!

    The festivities are starting to kick up a gear and we are sure that you guys are starting to clear your annual leave and FINALLY have time to hang out and drink whisky.

    So, take a photo of yourself drinking a dram of whisky and tag 2 other friends with the hashtag #bootlegbrew. The person with the most likes on their Instagram post or Facebook post will win 2 sets of whisky glasses worth $70!

    Competition ends on 15 December 2015. 


  • The 5 Best Whiskies For Your Friends

    whiskies for your friends

    We are bringing you the 5 best whiskies that you share with your buddies, give them as a gift for their Christmas or just to celebrate being an awesome person. These could be for your co-workers, school friends or drinking buddies -  literally ANYONE that you decide to be nice to.

    We've put together a shortlist of classics, new kids on the block and all round favourites so we have something for everybody! Since there's no need to impress, we looked for inexpensive options where you can enjoy without burning a giant hole in your pocket. With the unpredictability of the whisky market, it may also be good to stock up on these, in case prices go up or the 12 year old expressions get replaced by a no age statement.

    1. Glenfiddich 12 - $95


    The Glenfiddich 12 is a classic. We all have it in our whisky cabinets and we rely on it for whenever our friends come over. It is mellow and easy on the palate.

    The Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old is the signature expression from Glenfiddich, which has received more awards than any other single malt Scotch Whisky at the International Spirits Challenge and International Wine and Spirit Competition since 2000.

    2. Glenlivet 12 - $105

    glenlivet 12 by bootleg brew singapore

    We were a little late to the party with the Glenlivet 12 and only stocked it in early 2015. Since then, it has become one of our all time favourites. In some international markets, the Glenlivet 12 is being pulled in favour of the no age statement Founders Reserve so stock up if you like this!

    The delicate and complex character of the 12 Year Old is derived from the height and width of stills at The Glenlivet Distillery. This expression is matured in a mixture of cask types, including American and European Oak.The mineral rich water from Josie's Well ensures the best possible results during mashing and fermenting to form the flavours that define this expression.

    3. Glen Garioch Founders Reserve - $124

    Glen Garioch Founders Reserve by Bootleg Brew Singapore

    The Glen Garioch Founders Reserve is one of the key bottlings of the Glen Garioch range. We've brought it on as it is being distributed by the Suntory Group and was pleasantly surprised by its character. This is the best choice for people looking for alternative Highland whiskies as it was recently reopened and does not have the depth of inventory to create a age statement expression.

    There are a few special features that together combine to create Glen Garioch’s unique Highland style. These include the mineral rich spring water from Couten’s spring, the use of unpeated malt (although with occasional batches of peated malt as was commonplace when the distillery’s own floor maltings were in operation prior to 1995), mashing in a lauter tun to give a fairly cloudy wort (encouraging the formation of long chain lipids) and 48 hours fermentation (with longer at the weekends).

    4. Yamazaki Distillers Reserve - $140

    yamazaki distillers reserve

    Take all the criticisms and preconceived notions on ‘No Age Statement’ whiskies with a pinch of salt, ta

  • Macallan Sherry Oak v Fine Oak

    Speyside Series - Macallan 12 SherryWe've gone quite a bit into the Macallan with separate features on the Macallan 12 Fine Oak and Macallan 12 Sherry Oak so for this blogpost for the Speyside Series, we want to bring it all together!

    Interesting Facts About The Macallan

    One of the most expensive whiskies in the world is the Macallan 1926. There are still 40 bottles left that are 60 years old. The price per bottle is $62.000.

    The Macallan is one of the key ingredients of the Famous Grouse blended whisky.

    With the prevalent use of stainless steel shipping containers, the supply of wooden sherry casks decreased dramatically. Macallan now produces their own casks and sends it to Spain before bringing it back to Scotland.

    Macallan Sherry Oak

    Macallan Tasting Note by Bootleg Brew

    This is probably the most famous single malt in the world and the benchmark for all other whiskies in its age group

    The Macallan Sherry Oak is exclusively matured for a minimum of 12 years in Spanish oak casks, handcrafted and sherry seasoned in Jerez, Spain, to create the signature Macallan taste that we know and love.

    It is a bold distinctive taste that is in a class all of its own.

    Macallan Fine Oak

    The Macallan Fine Oak range represents a lighter style Macallan with flavours of citrus, vanilla and coconut. It is triple cask aged with maturations in Spanish oak sherry, American oak sherry and American oak bourbon barrels to create a mellow, floral and subtle flavor characteristic of Speyside.

    From Matt's Whisky Trivia:
    The Macallan Fine Oak range is initially matured in European second fill sherry oak casks which help to impart a rich character with hints of dried fruits, spices and chocolate orange. The whisky is then transferred to American second fill sherry oak casks to help add delicate hints of citrus lemon, coconut and a toffee-like sweetness. The final maturation period is in ex-bourbon American oak casks which help to deliver floral aromas and sweet notes of vanilla and fresh fruits. This unique triple cask combination delivers an rather extraordinarily smooth but delicate and complex Single Malt whisky.

    Bootlegger's Take

    Our struggles with the Macallan has been well documented as we weren't sure whether to take it on. At the end of the day, it has an undeniable place in our whisky collection as we often use it in our tasting sessions as a comparative. So, we were already drinking more Macallan than ever! Such as classic case of paralysis by analysis.

    So yeah, we love it and so does everyone else. And there's nothing wrong with that! No point being indie for the point of being indie.


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