Timah assembles two imported peated malts with a neutral spirit of Malaysian origin for the first whiskey made in Malaysia.
Malaysia now has a whiskey to call its own. While there have been a number of whiskies bottled by Malaysia’s first independent bottler Eiling Lim, Timah – officially launched worldwide last week – represents the first made-in-Malaysia whisky.
Timah – what its producer Selangor-based alcoholic beverage manufacturer Winepak Corporation calls a double peated whiskey – actually blends two imported peated single malts with a made-in-Malaysia neutral spirit into one single expression. What’s more bizarre? The neutral spirit, aged in oak barrels in Malaysia’s tropical climate, is derived from sugarcane molasses. Which, of course, makes it more rum than it is whisky/whiskey (and possibly why Winepak opted to call it a ‘whiskey’ rather than ‘whisky’).
Winepak, unsurprisingly, declined to reveal the origins of the two peated malts – we hear they are aged to around 8 years old – that go into the Timah blend.
Maybe international experts know better. Timah landed a silver medal too at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and another silver at the International Spirits Challenge that same year, even before the blended whiskey was officially launched. It then went on to score 92 points at the recent 2021 edition of International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), which is no mean feat.
Most recently Timah picked up the ‘Best Malaysian Whisky’ award at the International Whisky Competition 2021 (though we do question how many entries the competition received for the category, considering there were no 2nd or 3rd place winners).
But more on Timah‘s origin story. Timah means ‘tin’ in Bahasa Malaysia, and harkens to the tin mining era of British Malaya. The face on the label depicts Captain Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy. Captain Speedy, as he was known, was an English explorer who in 1871 travelled to Malaya, and in 1873 helped to quell the riots occurring in the tin mining district of Larut in Perak. Good job, Cap.
Presumably he was the first person to have brought whisky to the Straits Settlements, which is why Winepak decided to immortalise the man on their bottle.
How does Timah measure up as a whisk(e)y, though?
Spirited Singapore Tasting Notes: Timah Double Peated Blended Whiskey
colour Bright, pale gold.
nose A waft of fresh stone fruit poached in syrup, with hint of baking spices and a touch of smoke
palate Surprising initial burst of rich vanilla sweetness that tapers off into notes of cooked stone fruit in plums and peaches, lightly wrapped in delicate incense-like smoke
finish Short, watery, and a somewhat fresh Agricole rum-like finish
Our verdict? The non-age statement Timah is no serious sipping rum, but takes rather well to highball-style cocktails. We find it best enjoyed with a splash of ginger ale and a touch of lemon, or as a whiskey and tonic, but we’re guessing it’ll work too in an Irish Coffee.
Would the Malaysian blended whiskey pigeonhole itself into a novelty, though? It is Winepak Corporation’s hope that consumers enjoy Timah as a Malaysian whiskey in its own right, and to “enjoy it and give it the recognition it deserves”. The best way to do that for most serious whisky drinkers, ironically, may just be to disregard it as a whiskey in the strictest sense, and judge the whisky-rum blend as a different spirit altogether.
Timah Double Peated Blended Whiskey is available in Singapore from its official appointed distributor Ang Leong Huat at a retail price of S$78 (750ml).
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