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March 2013

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As I was researching about my favorite Scotch Whisky, Black Dog Scotch Whisky; I got to know that you can also pair chocolates with Scotch Whisky. This was surprising to me as I always thought that non-vegetarian or spicy snacks pair well with Scotch Whisky. It was interesting to know that Chocolates not only allow you to get the correct taste of the Scotch Whisky as intended but also help in reducing alcohol burn which can be sometimes fateful to your heart.

Did you know that Single Malt Scotches pair perfectly with handmade chocolate? With unique flavor notes ranging from sweet to nutty to creamy to smoky—each Scotch Whisky comes together deliciously with luscious chocolate ganache. Single-origin chocolates are the same in that they take their character from their terroir and microclimate, giving them a true sense of place. For an ideal chocolate and scotch pairing experience, the aroma and flavor profiles of both products should be complemented and augmented.

In other chocolates, Honey and Hazelnut match with the Golden color. Sweetness of Honey matches well with the honey flavor in Black Dog Centenary Scotch Whisky also known as Black Dog 8 Year Old Scotch. In case, the chocolate has a bit of Ginger taste, then it will go hand in hand with the Black Dog Quintessence Scotch Whisky also known as Black Dog 21 Year Old Scotch. Butterscotch flavor chocolates pair well with Black Dog Centenary Scotch Whisky. Almond and Cashew chocolates pair well with Black Dog Quintessence Scotch Whisky.

Most of the Black Dog Scotch variants are with Vanillic sweetness and smooth texture. It pairs well with most of the dark chocolates or nutty or fruity flavored chocolates. In case, you feel that they are too sweet, opt for ginger flavored or spicy or peppered chocolates which will again go hand in hand with the Black Dog Scotch. Do remember not to bite in too much of chocolate. Start slowly or you might miss the taste of the Scotch totally itself!

You must be thinking most people prefer to pair Wine with Chocolates than Scotch Whisky. But the truth is that Scotch Whisky and chocolate pairing works nicely because of the digestive qualities of Scotch Whisky. If it is consumed after a meal, it aids in digestion. A small portion of fine chocolate paired with the Scotch Whisky heightens this experience. In a perfect pairing, both the Scotch Whisky and chocolate should be considered better together rather than enjoyed individually! Hope you dig into your favorite chocolate next time you want to enjoy the taste of Black Dog Scotch Whisky which has a legacy of over 130 years!

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When a highly anticipated movie releases, naturally there are a lot of expectations. And when it is the costliest movie ever made in India, the expectations double. And when it stars arguably the country’s best actor and is his come back vehicle after 4 years, these expectations hit the roof. That’s what has happened with ”Mangal Pandey – The Rising”, Aamir Khan’s first release after his ground-breaking films ”Lagaan” and ”Dil Chahta Hain” released in 2001. I recently caught this movie on DVD. I opened a bottle of the best Scotch Whisky in the world, the Black Dog Scotch Whisky which has a legacy of over 130 years so that I could sip it while enjoying World Class Cinema!

When the story is one which is known to most people and is derived from history, there is very little scope to try something new and experimental in it. As ”Lagaan” was a figment of fiction, they could show Indians beating English at their own game of Cricket. But they couldn’t have obviously shown Mangal Pandey as going ahead and killing the commanding officer of the Cantonment and thus winning the Sepoy mutiny for the Indians. Working among these limitations, I think the writing team of ”Mangal Pandey” tried to create an epic worth watching. But they failed to capture the imagination of the viewers and the movie has fallen flat on its face. Still I would want each one of my friends to watch the movie to applaud the genuine effort done by the entire team.

As most of you already know, the story revolves around Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan), a soldier in the 43rd regiment of East India Company which had slowly captured entire India by 1857. This story is about his values, his ideologies, his superstitions, his life in the East India Company, his friendship with one of the captains in East India Company – Captain Gordon (Toby Stephens) and the subsequent fallout. The regular masala has been thrown in to add to this – a sweetheart each to Mangal (Rani Mukherjee) and Gordon (Amisha Patel). The background story goes on its own pace, which starts from Mangal refusing to bite the bullets made of cow and pig fat, he being assured by Captain Gordon against the rumour, he biting the bullet, his worst suspicions coming true, he revolting against the British and finally he getting hanged for the revolt. Nothing new here – everything that we have studied in our history books in class 5.

The movie has a lot of great starts but what it fails in, is that it doesn’t capitalize on these starts. It has a lot of references to some burning issues during the British rule of India, but it doesn’t give them the due time and attention to develop into something concrete which will pull at your heart-strings. Consequently I think these issues should have been not raised at all rather than raising them and not giving them their proper due. The viewer feels cheated that he has been promised great cinema but it has not been delivered to him. Consequently the expectations fail and the real intent of the director and writer to move the audience to feel one with these issues, fails miserably. Thankfully my Black Dog Scotch Whisky didn’t disappoint me and allowed me to relieve my stress and exhaustation after a long work day and enjoy the brilliantly made movie which somehow didn’t match upto the very high expectations at that time.

The saving grace of the movie is some great acting by Aamir Khan (Brilliant) and Toby Stephens (Wonderful). They carry almost the entire movie on their shoulders. Aamir turns out a spirited performance in the gab of a national hero about whom we had only read about till now. He will be the person you will always remember for long when you think about Mangal Pandey. As usual, he gets into the skin of the character and very rarely do you feel that this is the same Aamir who did the Tapori acting in ”Rangeela” or the maverick Aakash in ”Dil Chahta Hain”. His hard work and perseverance have paid off and he is getting kudos from all over the world.

The background music by A R Rahman is fit for an epic. It gives you the goose bumps during the ending and in intense scenes. The songs like ”Rasiya” and ”Holi” could have been done without though. Himman Dhamija’s cinematography especially in the war scenes is outstanding. A scene which will always stay with you for long time is the arrival of British ships from Rangoon to Calcutta. Nitin Desai after providing art direction to some classics like ”The Legend of Bhagat Singh” and ”Devdas” creates a world which existed some 150 years back and does a great job in providing us with a glimpse into that world. It’s fascinating to see how similar the world was then to what it is now. As a final word, I would like to say that it is worth a watch for at least the genuine efforts put in the movie by the entire team. They may not have achieved their final goal but by watching the movie, at least we will applaud their efforts to make a movie different from the usual bollywood fare. Black Dog Scotch Whisky was a great companion to the world class cinema which was ‘Mangal Pandey – The Rising’.

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The Bangalore Rooftop Film Festival (BRTFF) was started as a medium for independent film makers to come together and showcase their films/shorts and documentaries to film-loving audience and have a fruitful discussion around them. We also have some interesting and thought-provoking films from World cinema which are displayed here. This festival is based on the concept of “Unconferences” where everybody is a participant and everybody tries and contributes equally to the festival – either by screening their film, discussing a film, getting snacks/beverages and arranging venue/projector/screen/speakers, etc. It has no fixed organizer or organization but a random set of people get together every month or so and have this festival to celebrate meaningful cinema. Our favorite Scotch Whisky, Black Dog Scotch Whisky was a perfect companion to the wonderfully made short films and acclaimed foreign films.

The first BRTFF was held in my friend jackol’s house at Hebbal. Because of the bad weather (overcast conditions/cold winds), we had to move it indoors and had it in his really big hall and living room complete with a staircase which could double up as seating place. We planned to start at 7pm on 07/07/07 but because of bad Bangalore traffic, people got delayed and most of them started trickling in only by 8pm and by 8.30 when we started our first film, there were 35 people who were choc-a-bloc in the hall waiting for the evening to get started.

We got the ball rolling by screening “That Four Letter Word” by Sudhish Kamath, an independent film maker from Chennai. This movie is about 4 upper-middle class urban friends caught at the cross-roads of their life not knowing where their career/life/love will lead them. I was really impressed by the movie and the way they managed to make a very professional looking movie it at a very low budget of Rs.5 lakhs and actually managed to release it in theatres in Chennai. After the movie, there was a discussion and Sudhish was able to fend off all the brickbats and receive the bouquets.

Next to showcase their films were two short-film makers from Bangalore, Vatsa and Gowtham. Vatsa showed his short films “Evolution” – about how to save fuel for the future and “Mission Zero” – about how a group of police officers combat crime and Gowtham showed his short film in Kannada, “Biruku” which talked about a father’s shattered dream for his son. Very short and crisp, I was surprised at the professionalism with which these guys made the movies. They also announced that they are looking for acting and production support for their next venture “H Cross” which is going to be a film in Kannada and English and released in multiplexes across Bangalore. Great going guys! All the best!

Pawan Kumar, another independent film maker from Bangalore who has been in this industry for the last seven years talked about the troubles that independent film makers have to take to ensure that their movie is made and reaches out to the audience. He showcased his film “A perfect Day” which talked about how spastic people look at our world and “Dream Catcher” which showed a guy shooting a film and we get to know something shocking at the end. Really touching and powerfully made films. Pawan called his films “No budget films” and seeing the message that he could put across with the scarce resources he had, all of us applauded his efforts.

Rabi Kisku, an ex-IITian and a full-time film maker rounded up the quartet of film makers that sparkled that evening. His film “Silicon Jungle” is a story of 3 friends whose dreams, ambitions and struggles begin and end in IIT. A very well professionally made film, it drew nods from the audience as they thought back to their college lives and secretly admired the way Rabi portrayed that time of their life on the screen.

During this time, we also dig into the pizzas and into wonderful conversation with all the strangers with whom we had cozied up over the evening. It was great to see such a well-behaved and well-mannered thinking crowd in Bangalore. We decided to open Black Dog Scotch Whisky bottle and have few drinks of it as it helps us to unwind and relax while watching world class Cinema and short films.

Christopher Nolan’s “Following” was the next. Shot in B/W and played at 1am, you would think we would have no takers for it. But surprisingly everybody was awake because of the gripping storyline and the dialouges between the principal characters which sets the pace in the movie. The twist at the end was like a rude shock and shook some of us from the sleep!

Keeping up the pace, we played “Run Lola Run” which was on my wish list for a long time now. It was really great to see the alternate versions of the movie and I was impressed by the director’s ideas and shooting styles. One very interesting thing for me was the “And then..” which is “What happens next” to some of the characters that Lola runs into while.. well.. running!

Our 7th film for the evening/early morning was an adventure-documentary called “Touching the Void”. This was about two guys climbing the risky “Siula Grande” mountain peak in the Andes in South America. This is a story of their descent in which one guy abandons the other and one has an almost fatal accident but miraculously survives to tell the tale. A wonderful film to end the film fest as it reminded all of us not to abandon even if you staring down the road to hell.

By the time the last movie finished, it was 7.15am and we actually had close to 15 people watching the film whereas the others just crashed on the mattresses. Said our good-byes, exchanged our numbers, promised to have it again (maybe every month) and took a group picture for our troubles! Interestingly Black Dog Scotch Whisky kept us awake as it allowed us to destress and enjoy the wonderful creations of filmmakers across the world!

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On my trip to the United States where I took along my Black Dog Scotch Whisky in my check in luggage to ensure that I don’t miss the taste of my favorite Scotch Whisky, I also visited Niagara falls and New York. Here is a travelogue of the same:

We reached New York on a Friday evening after finishing our meetings in Washington DC. We took rest at my friend Josie’s place. He was surprised that I had carried my Black Dog Scotch Whisky all the way from India to never miss it in USA. He said he was finding it difficult to find Black Dog Scotch Whisky in his locality in New York. We both enjoyed a couple of drinks of Black Dog Scotch Whisky while reminiscing about old times in Bangalore! After catching on some much deserved sleep, we left on Saturday morning from China Town, New York to Niagara falls in a 2 day bus tour. We drove through some beautiful places and feasted on Burger King food on the way. We checked out the Corning Museum of Glass at Corning, NY. It was a beautiful museum and we were really amazed by it! Our bus had a breakdown near Niagara and finally we reached Niagara falls only at around 10pm !! It was raining and very chilly (almost -2 degrees Celsius!!) but still we were amazed to hear the falls and see the illumination of the falls. Then we retired to our rooms nearby and had sound sleep. Just before that we made small drinks of Black Dog Scotch Whisky which kept us warm and cozy in the chilly sub zero temperatures in Niagara.

Sunday we got up early and went to check out Niagara falls again. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time checking out the American Falls, Bridal Veil falls and the Horse Shoe falls. We went on the Maid of Mist boat and checked out the horse shoe falls up close. It was an awesome experience of a lifetime! We then went back to Rockaway near New Jersey and had some good dinner at my friend Dhanu’s friend’s place.

Monday we took the bus to New York from New Jersey and landed at Times Square!!! Checked out the NYSE and Times Square there. Went to Planet Hollywood and bought the New York Pass for only $49 which enabled us to see lot of Museums and Exhibits free of cost. We checked out the awesome Madame Tussaud’s wax museum which had a host of stars and important figures molded in wax! We then checked out the NBC Studio Tour where we checked out the studios of Saturday Night Live and Today. We got to take our photo at the NBC desk too 🙂 Then we got an insight into the history of Manhattan in the Rockefeller Center tour and we got the information on Rockefeller Junior, one of the architects of Modern NYC and got a glimpse of the Avenue of Americas and the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. We then had lunch at an Indian Restaurant there and then left for Batter Park to have a view of the Statue of Liberty. We also checked out the WTC site and the new World Trade Center. We then headed back to Manhattan and went to the Empire State Building. Checked out the simulation ride called NYC Skyride showing us a bird’s eye view of NYC. Then we headed for the grand finale – the observatory tower on the 86th floor of empire state building ! 🙂 It was one of the experiences of life time – NYC is at its best at night and this gives the best view all across. Though there were strong winds and rains, still we had great fun checking out NYC and it gave a top of the world feeling ! 🙂

We celebrated the end of a wonderful trip to the United States of America by toasting with a glass of the best Scotch Whisky in the world – Black Dog Scotch Whisky!

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I had traveled to the US of A a few years back and so that I don’t miss out my favorite Scotch Whisky Black Dog, I carried a bottle in my check-in luggage and ensured that I get to have a few pegs of it after a hard day’s work after the conference and vacationing.

We left Bangalore on Tuesday early morning and reached Frankfurt on Tuesday morning. Then left for Washington and reached on Tuesday afternoon! Difference in Time Zones you see 😉 So we actually traveled for 24 hours but the clock just changed 13 hours (approx)! Got through Port of Entry as a breeze and then went to Wardman Park Marriott to check-in. We then realized that we were arriving early and Marriott had been booked out early, we got suite rooms at an American heritage hotel Omni Shoreham! 🙂 It was awesome!! Then we took a metro to the Federal Triangle and my LiveJournal friend Manju and her husband Nandu picked us up from there and took us around showing the sights and sounds of DC ! We had great home cooked Indian lunch at their place and then they took us around in their car showing us Arlington cemetery, Jefferson memorial and Lincoln memorial. It was great fun! After returning to the hotel we had a small drink of Black Dog Scotch which has a legacy of over 130 years. We really enjoyed this drink which made us forget the jetlag and got us to relax and unwind immediately.

Next day we met with our clients and it was great discussing the plans for future. In the evening, we went out to George town for Italian dinner. It was yummy and enjoyed ourselves a lot. I asked the waiter if they had Black Dog and surprisingly they did have a bottle! So we had drinks on the rocks and really enjoyed introducing the flavor to our american clients. Next day we spent most of the time at the conference but in the evening we checked out Hotel Wilmont just next to White House. We walked down the entire road though right from Capitol to Washington Monument and also checked out the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool. Next day early morning I checked out the Smithsonian Zoo next door to our hotel. Got completely drenched while coming back!!!

Next day we Metro-d to the Federal Triangle and checked out the Dinosaurs, African Bush Elephant and other Fossiled animals and the Hope Diamond at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Aerospace and checked out Apollo Space Crafts, lot of different kinds of flying machines and the suit worn by Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant and caught our flight to Newark. Having the Black Dog Scotch Whisky with me in strange lands like the US of A helped me in relaxing and unwinding at the right time and ensuring that good Scotch was near far away from me!

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Black Dog Comedy Evenings by Black Dog Scotch Whisky brought down Rob Schneider on Nov. 23 2011 at The Westin, Pune. He also performed later at The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore on Nov. 24; The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata on Nov. 25, The Westin, Gurgaon on Nov. 26 and at InterContinental-The Lalit, Mumbai on Nov. 27. The event was targeted towards people from all age groups and engaged more than 1,000 people in each city. The event was promoted through print and online media, apart from hoarding and advertisements in Times of India and The Economic Times. CNN was also promoting the initiative. The event was scaled up in terms of production and technicals, with the obvious ethos being getting a new artist.

Talking about the Black Dog Comedy Evenings initiative, Avishek Das, Senior General Manager-Marketing, United Spirits Limited said: “The brand Black Dog indicates composure and, laughter being an instant vacation, we decided that Black Dog Comedy Evenings is a great platform for a stress buster.” Black Dog Easy Evenings initiative brings down international comedy artists every four months and the brand Black Dog Scotch Whisky has been positioned in such a way as to create an experience for people to unwind.

Black Dog Comedy evenings featuring Hollywood star Rob Schneider of Deuce Bigalow and The Hot Chick fame was a smash hit in all the cities where he performed. People fastened their seat belts and got ready to take off on a comical journey like never before! The Emmy-nominated actor who is well known for his trademark blend of character and comedic acting has recently broadened his focus to include directing, producing and writing.

Opening for Rob Schneider was local talent Sorabh Pant popularly known as Pants on Fire. Sorabh Pant is one of India’s most successful comedians, having done over 250 shows in over 17 cities.He has been rated amongst India’s top 10 stand-up comedians by The Times of India. The Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has dubbed him as “the funniest guy on stage”. In a poll by IBN Live in March 2012, he was listed #1 in the 30 most interesting Twitter users in India.

Black Dog Quintessence was served there and also given as prize to some lucky patrons. Black Dog 21 years old Scotch is known as Black Dog Quintessence Scotch. It is pure liquid gold as it is handcrafted to meticulous perfection by Black Dog’s master blenders. Only 25 of the finest single malts and grain whiskies have been drawn from the Highland region of Scotland, in particular from the beautiful Speyside Valley to provide that special key – “finesse”. Like a loving partnership each individual part has made its own inimitable contribution. Balance and harmony prevails throughout this noble elegant spirit. Thanks to a long marrying period in the finest Oloroso sherry butts this has been achieved. Aged in the finest Oloroso sherry for minimum of 30 years these Matusalem butts provide the perfect platform to marry and mould Black Dog 21 years old Blended Scotch Whisky.

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For a long time I had been wanting to go to Ginseng restaurant at Royal Orchid Hotel, Old Airport Road, Bangalore as I heard they serve the best oriental cuisine in the town. But I was a little concerned about the pricing as it is on the expensive side. So when I heard that Food Lovers Bangalore magazine has come out with Food Lovers Gourmet City menu at 31 of the finest restaurants in Bangalore including Ginseng, I knew I had to surely try it out as it has best gourmet cuisine available at affordable set menu prices. My uncle who was in town decided to accompany me for the dinner which was a good decision so that we could order 2 varieties of set menus which could give us an option to try out 2 different menus at the same time. For just Rs.1199 (excluding taxes) you get an elaborate 3 course meal for non-vegetarians and for vegetarians its even less at just Rs.999 (excluding taxes). If you just wish to have a 2 course meal, the cost for non-vegetarians is Rs.999 (excluding taxes) and for vegetarians is Rs.899 (excluding taxes). A 2 course meal itself is very filling and enjoyable but I would advise you to go for the three course menu including the dessert as its got a very amazing taste which you must not miss out!

The first dish we tried out from Appetizers was the Gai Pad Gapaw which is juicy morsels of chicken tossed with hot Thai basil. The chicken morsels were very tender and succulent and we enjoyed eating it but I think maybe it would have been more better if it was a bit more spicy. Of course according to the thai standards the food was perfect and reminded of my time in Thailand when I tried out street food. The garlic sauce that it was served with, complimented the Gai Pad Gapaw perfectly well and tickled the taste buds.

Next Appetizer we tried was the Xin Jiang Lamb which is tender slivers of lamb cooked with red chilies and sprinkled with toasted cumin seeds. I would say definitely this was the best dish of the evening. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the spiciness of the dish was just to my liking. The cumin seeds added a very interesting flavor to the dish which was already having the wonderful flavor of the chilies which it was roasted with.

In the meanwhile we meet Executive Chef Sudhir Nair who talked about how Ginseng specializes in Oriental Cuisines from Thailand, Malayasia, Singapore, China and Japan. He mentioned that Food Lovers Gourmet City menu was carefully created by him to include their most popular dishes and some new dishes like Wasabi Ice Cream which would give a person a flavor of the Orient in an affordable set menu price. It was not the first time I was eating something which was created by Chef Sudhir Nair. He was surprised when I mentioned to him that I had seen him cooking at the Four Seasons Wine Tasting and Barbecue Cookout.

We asked Sudhir Nair for suggestions on main course dishes to try out. He mentioned Caramelized Roasted Pork Belly served with a side of Bao was one of their prized creations and also suggested Hainanese Chicken served with Buttered Ginger Rice. I tried out the Roasted Pork Belly. It was a little different from what I expected but was much more convenient to eat. It was small cubes of Pork in creamy red sauce with some Bao which is a type of dough which is fermented well and to be eaten with a gravy. I did not enjoy the Bao too much but liked the Pork very much.

My uncle tried out the Hainanese Chicken served with Buttered Ginger Rice. The sauces served along with this complimented the grilled chicken which might be a bit raw to the Indian palate but was perfectly matching with the street food I had in Hong Kong. The buttered ginger rice was the perfect accompaniment to this chicken but maybe I felt a gravy was missing in this combination.

Finally it was the time for Dessert and we wanted to experiment so we ordered for Wasabi Ice Cream and Tender Coconut Ice Cream. I liked the pungent yet sweet taste of the Wasabi Ice Cream but I might say its only for bravehearted who would love to try out a different taste! Tender Coconut Ice Cream was much milder and agreeable to the palate except for a lingering taste of coconut oil.

Even if you are a vegetarian, you don’t need to despair as the menu at Ginseng has a lot to offer for you too like the Pan Grilled Tofu in Teriyaki Sauce. It is served with Japanese Sticky Rice and is mouth watering as the Tofu is fresh and juicily succulent.

All said and done, it was a steal for the price specially when you get to try out different dishes at a very affordable price thanks to the Food Lovers Gourmet City menu. I would advise 2-3 of you to go together so that you can try out a variety of dishes by ordering for 3 different sets of the menu. What would usually cost you around Rs.5000-6000 to try out these dishes will cost you just about Rs.3500 now. See the following video to get an understanding of what Ginseng has in store for you if you want to go for the Food Lovers Gourmet City menu.

Black Dog Scotch Whisky organized another edition of Black Dog Easy Evenings, which is their flagship events platform, featuring Melissa Totten, who is world renowned for her impersonating skills specially impersonating Madonna. Termed the Madonna Forever Tour, the show took place in Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad and Vizag on Aug. 25, 26, 29 and 30 of 2012 respectively. The tour kick started the journey with the first round taking place in Goa on Aug. 17, followed by Gurgaon and Shillong on Aug. 19 and 23, 2012. Melissa’s singing act included hit singles by Madonna such as True Blue, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Bedtime Stories, Like a Prayer, Hard Candy, Something to Remember, American Life, Like a Virgin, and MDNA.

Avishek Das, Senior General Manager (Marketing), United Spirits Ltd. said while speaking about Black Dog Easy Evenings – “We ensure that our patrons witness and enjoy memorable performances by the best international artistes in comedy (improv or stand up), music and theatre. Madonna has many avid fans amongst Indians and we are sure that our connoisseurs, who are fascinated by her genre of music, will enjoy the Madonna Forever Tour.”

What started off with Black Dog Comedy Evenings is now branching out into the Black Dog Easy Evenings domain. Black Dog called Melissa Totten to India for a seven-city tour because they wanted to create an exciting format and needed a superlative artiste.

As part of the Black Dog Easy Evenings initiative, Black Dog had previously brought to India international artists like Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Wayne Brady of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Hollywood stars Rob Schneider, Russell Peters and Kenny G, along with national talent like Ash Chandler and Papa CJ. Venturing out to other divisions, it has also been a part of theatrical productions like The Game, One out of Six, Man for all Seasons, etc. Melissa and her troupe of seven dancers delivered their best in enchanting the audience in 7 cities across India! Folks at the event enjoyed two of the best variants of Black Dog Scotch Whisky – Black Dog Reserve dating 18 years and Black Dog Deluxe dating 12 years.

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Black Dog Scotch Whisky has come out with the concept of Black Dog Easy Evenings which appreciates, recognizes and supports World class music and events. This is a platform by which Indian audience get to enjoy and relish world class music and humor programs. An offshoot of the Black Dog Easy Evenings is the Black Dog Comedy Evenings where best stand-up comedians in the world come to India to perform to thunderous applause from swelling crowds. It is also very monumental in the fact that it appreciates and recognizes upcoming talents from India like Ashwin Matthew who is a stand-up comedian from Bangalore who is being recognized on a global and India level due to he being supported by Black Dog Scotch Whisky.

As you can see from the above video clip, Ashwin Matthew creates humor from normal daily situations which we face. I love the fact how he understands the different cultures in India and pokes fun at them without sounding offensive but still making people rollick with laughter. He likes to use different accents like that of a Malayalee uncle, Tamil Iyengar uncle and Bangalore hippie uncle. His sense of timing is perfect which allows him to create humor right out of thin air. I like the fact where he interacts with his audience and creates humor on the fly using their names or their attributes and habits. Lot of Bangalroeans didn’t know that such talent existed in our multifaceted city and were truly amazed by the world class talent possessed by Ashwin Matthew.

Ashwin Matthew got lot of recognition after doing events like Black Dog Comedy Evenings. He was recently seen in the Sridevi movie ‘English Vinglish’ as the malayelee headmaster of Sridevi’s daughter who struggles to speak with her in Hindi. His natural way of acting is very appreciable as he looks like a person just next door but has such perfect comic timing that you can’t hold back your guffaw at the comic situations he creates or talks about.

Along with enjoying this world class humor, people also enjoyed drinking the world class Scotch Whisky with a tradition and legacy of over 130 years – Black Dog Scotch Whisky. Black Dog Deluxe which is the 12 year old version of the world famous Scotch Whisky was the most preferred drink that evening which allowed people to relax and rejuvenate after a long hard day of work.

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As I’m enjoying my favorite Scotch Whisky with a legacy of over 130 years – Black Dog Scotch Whisky, I try to pair it with different types of cuisine to understand whether it tastes well or not. So when I was invited to a Blogger’s table at Benjarong the Thai restaurant in Ulsoor, Bangalore; I tried experimenting by pairing Thai food with Black Dog Scotch Whisky. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by my findings.

First starter we tried at Benjarong to along with Black Dog Scotch Whisky was the Miang Kham which is a traditional snack from Thailand and Laos. It means “eating many things in one bite”. It has many flavors like ginger, lemon, chillies, peanuts and onions. It is similar to Paan that we have in India but is an appetizer and the burst of flavors in your mouth is amazing!

Next on the list of appetizers were Grathong thong je and Tod mun pla. Grathong thong je was water chestnuts, mixed peppers, corn and peas with minced chicken tossed in a delicate sauce served in rice tartlets. Tod mun pla were Thai fish cakes served with cucumber and peanut relish. There was also Salad in form of Larb Gai which is minced chicken salad with mint and makrut leaves in a spicey dressing. These appetizers were relished by us and we asked for a second helping to enjoy the wonderful taste!

Main course for non-vegetarians was Pahd thai goong (wrapped in egg omelette) which is thai rice sticks cooked in a sweet and tangy sauce with prawns. I wasn’t really excited with this but what impressed me more was the Hormok Talay which was steamed seafood mousse – I loved the delicate tastes in this! To wrap up the main course we had Gai tod nam prik pow which was chicken tossed in a roasted chilli paste.

The birth of Black Dog Scotch Whisky took place almost 130 years ago when James McKinley from the second generation of the Leith Scotch-whisky blending family launched the masterful Scotch Whisky by the name of Millard Black Dog. It is said that in the year 1883 Walter Millard, a Scot from British East India company came searching for the perfect Scotch and eventually discovered the great taste of Whisky in these misty shores of Scotland. Today Black Dog is considered as a 100% genuine Scotch-whisky distilled, matured and blended in the lowland regions of Scotland. After more than 130 years also every time-honored process is followed the same way to produce the impeccable blend of robust, yet smooth Scotch-whisky which is relished as an intricate fusion of delicate tones and soft aromas. For 12 Year Old Deluxe Scotch-whisky, the Master blender guarantees a lavish finishing with a touch of cream. On the other hand the 8 Year Old Centenary Scotch-whisky comes with a promise of giving a balanced, long and intense finishing.

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Black Dog Scotch Whisky is my most favorite Scotch drink and I love to enjoy it not just in the comfort of my home but also at my favorite lounge in Bangalore which is the Mai Tai Lounge in Orion Mall in Malleshwaram area. I try to pair it with a lot of different starters available at Mai Tai Lounge. I generally prefer to have it on the rocks or mix a bit of room temperature water so that the flavors of the Scotch Whisky come out properly.

One of the best chicken wings that I have ever had anywhere in the world (and I have had the original Buffalo wings in Buffalo, USA too!) was the Kung Pao Chicken Wings at Mai Tai Lounge – spicy chilli glaze on top of the juicy and flash fried Chicken Wings sprinkled with crushed peanuts for a yummy taste! Served with a tangy sauce, we were licking our fingers not just with anticipation but with stupendous taste which I never tasted anywhere!

Another one of my personal favorites in starters which complimented Black Dog Scotch Whisky was the Maui Waui Shrimp which was Prawns with Maui Dressing and served with a sprinkling of crushed coconuts and cilantro. I added a dash of lemon juice on top of the prawns to make the taste more appealing to my Palate. My taste buds thanked me for this as they were exuberant after having tasted the Shrimps! Taste of these dishes went very well with Black Dog and I enjoyed the pairing.

Generally a place where you have wonderful finger food to go with a classy drink like Black Dog Scotch Whisky, you will not find good main course items to finish your meal. Mai Tai lounge is an exception though as it offers a complete dining experience not just with drinks and starters but also with an elaborate veg and non-veg main course menus. I went for a Mai Tai Island Burger which had a chicken patty, Cho Cho Glaze and was served with Island Slaw and Spiced French Fries. This was actually a meal meant for two so I shared it with my wife and we were blown away by the wonderful flavors in the burger.

My friends tried Chilli Basa Ciabatta which had the grilled basa fish which was marinated with chill-lime, asian tartar sauce and served along with French fries. They said it was delightful and the taste was endearing! It was a perfect night of tasting best Scotch Whisky in the world – Black Dog, amazing food and lots of fun with friends at The Mai Tai Lounge in Orion Mall, Bangalore!

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While I was researching about Black Dog Scotch Whisky on Google, I got to know some really interesting trivia about Scotch Whisky which I wanted to present for the reading pleasure of my friends. Read on to know some really amazing stuff about Scotch Whisky!

Did you know that Scotch whisky is always spelled without an “e” ? Most other nations such as United States, Australia and Ireland call their similar spirits Whiskey. Be sure you never add the “e” when writing to a Scotsman. Simple way to remember the spelling, if it comes from a country without an “e” in its spelling, then its spelt Whisky. (eg Scotland, Japan, Canada).

Scotch Whisky is a lot like distilled beer. It’s made using malted barley but no hops are added like you add to beer. It’s then distilled twice to create a smooth strong spirit that is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years before it can be called whisky. Traditionally these barrels came from the port-producing regions of Portugal and the Sherry-producing regions of Spain. As these became harder to obtain, Scotch distilleries turned to their American cousins in Kentucky to buy Bourbon barrels, which by law could only be used once before being discarded.

There are a number of classifications of Scotch whisky, but the main ones are:

  • Blended Whisky: This is a mix of grain whisky and malt whisky, and makes up the majority of Scotch that is consumed around the world.
  • Single Grain Whisky: This is relatively rare and is made from unmalted grains such as corn.
  • Blended Malt Whisky: This is also sometimes known as “Vatted Malts” or “Pure Malts” It is made from blends of a number of single malt whiskies from across Scotland.
  • Single Malt Whisky: This is made, as the name suggests, from malted barley grains from a single distillery. They’re often sold with age statements (10/12/18 years, etc.), which means that they are a blend of single malts from the same distillery where the youngest whisky used is the age stated on the bottle, unless it is a single cask bottle where the whisky must all be from the same making.

If you were wondering, the term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes. Very interesting history, isn’t it? Strangely the oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century.

There are over 100 distilleries and five regions for the production of whisky in Scotland: the Highlands, the Lowlands, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown. Each area produces whisky with a very particular style. Selling single malt whiskies is in fact a relatively modern creation as, up until the 1960s, most single malts went to make blended whisky.

A staggering one billion bottles of scotch are exported from Scotland every year. America is the second-largest customer, importing an impressive 120 million bottles a year. This is still quite a ways behind the French, however, who are rapidly approaching 200 million bottles a year.

Ever wondered What’s the best way to drink whisky? Most distillers suggest adding just a very small amount of room-temperature water to the glass. This lowers the alcohol content slightly and allows many of the distinct flavors of the spirit to come to the front.

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Black Dog Scotch Whisky has a tradition of over 130 years but you would be amazed to know that Scotch Whisky has been in existence since almost 1494 when it evolved from a Scottish drink called ‘uisge beatha’, which means “lively water” or “water of life”. Distillation of Scotch Whisky was well established by the late fifteenth century as you can see from the earliest mentions of Scotch Whisky which talked about distilling over 1,500 bottles. Ever wondered what exactly constitutes a Scotch Whisky? According to Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, ‘Scotch Whisky’ is Whisky that is:

  • Produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley
  • Wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres
  • Retaining the colour, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation
  • Containing no added substances, other than water and plain caramel colouring
  • Comprising a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40% (80 US proof)

Scotland was traditionally divided into four regions: The Highlands, Lowland, Islay, and Campbeltown. Speyside, encompassing the Spey river valley in north-east Scotland, once considered part of the Highlands, has almost half of the total number of distilleries in Scotland within its geographic boundaries; consequently it is officially recognized as a region unto itself. Campbeltown was removed as a region several years ago, yet was recently re-instated as a recognized production region. The Islands is not recognized as a region by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and is considered part of the Highlands region.

There are two basic types of Scotch whisky, from which all blends are made:

  • Single malt Scotch whisky means a Scotch whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.
  • Single grain Scotch whisky means a Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. “Single grain” does not mean that only a single type of grain was used to produce the whisky—rather, the adjective “single” refers only to the use of a single distillery (and making a “single grain” requires using a mixture of grains, as barley is a type of grain and some malted barley must be used in all Scotch whisky).

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Black Dog Scotch Whisky has come out with the concept of Black Dog Easy Evenings which appreciates, recognizes and supports World class music and events. This is a platform by which Indian audience get to enjoy and relish world class music and humor programs. An offshot of the Black Dog Easy Evenings is the Black Dog Comedy Evenings where best stand-up comedians in the world come to India to perform to thundrous applause from swelling crowds. One of the earliest Black Dog Comedy Evenings which happened in India was the one featuring the Youtube sensation and Indian origin Stand-up comedian Russell Peters. This happened in the largest hall available in Bangalore – the Chowdiah memorial hall in Malleshwaram. Only a world class scotch and a luxury brand like Black Dog Scotch Whisky could have got a world class comedian and most sought after stand-up comic to India. I was very lucky to get an invite thanks to Black Dog Scotch who thought I would be the best person to blog about the experience.

Russell Peters who was a virtual unknown till a few years back has got a lot of fame recently due to his videos at Comedy Clubs across Cananda and USA becoming a craze and going viral on Youtube. As he calls himself, he is an East Indian whose parents shifted to Canada when he was very young. But he was brought up in a conservative way while he saw his Canadian and American friends being brought up in a very liberal manner. This interesting mix of cultures makes way for many interesting anecdotes from his childhood which he converts into rib tickling jokes. His joke about how his Dad threatens him by saying ‘Somebody’s gonna get hurt real bad… not you, somebody!’ accounted for rip roaring laughter from the packed house at Chowdiah memorial hall.

Though he is such a sought after entertainer around the world, Russell Peters is very humble and friendly just like the brand Black Dog Scotch which got him to Indian shores. Black Dog Scotch gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet with Russell after the show. When we met him, we were too nervous to talk to him. But he made us relax and unwind just like Black Dog Scotch and joked with us to lighten the atmosphere. He gave us personalized autographs and took photographs so that we could cherish such a wonderful evening!

Having witnessed a wonderful International stand-up comedy event, we decided to unwind for the evening with a glass of Black Dog Deluxe Scotch at Vivanta by Taj on MG road. The sensation to the palate included feelings like it was beautifully rounded, had a heavy body, pronounced malty, mellow woody, fruity sweetness with teasing light warm peat. Looking forward to some more wonderful stand-up comedians perform at Black Dog Comedy Evenings very soon!

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Black Dog Scotch Whisky has been created over 130 years ago not by hurrying up the creation process but taking the right amount of time to ensure that the product is world class. It is fermented in Oak Wooden casks for a minimum of 8 years to a maximum of 21 years to ensure that World’s finest Scotch Whisky is produced. So its only fitting that we should take our time in savoring Black Dog Scotch and ensure that we let the World wait as we enjoy this wonderful drink.

Last Friday after a stressful week, my friends and I decided to unwind at a lounge near our office. It is a very nice lounge with a open air terrace and a lounge seating with a swimming pool providing a soothing and relaxing effect. It provided a nice view of the city from the top and looking at the city lights and our location, it felt like we were rulers of this world! We unwound by ordering 60ml each of Black Dog Deluxe Scotch which is Black Dog 12 Years Old Scotch Whisky. We decided to have the drink ‘on the rocks’ rather than add any water or soda to it and spoil the amazing taste. It provided us a real relaxing feeling and all our stress and worries were gone in a jiffy! We were wondering what music to listen to when the DJ asked us for our preference as we came in early and ordered the best drink in the bar! So we told him to play some wonderful saxophone music for us. The DJ told us that he had the Black Dog Easy Evenings CD featuring legendary saxophonist Kenny G. We were spellbound by Kenny G’s music and the way it paired very well with the World class Scotch we were having.

Black Dog Scotch Whisky has been unwinding and relaxing Scotch connoisseurs in the finest way since the last 130 years! Not only is the Scotch best in the class; but also through Black Dog Easy Evenings, they provide the finest lounge music CDs which can be listened to at any time of the day and it will provide instant relaxation and peace of mind to anyone who is stressed out or worried or feeling down. My friends and I enjoyed the evening at that lounge sipping on Black Dog Deluxe Scotch and listening to the best of the world’s music on Black Dog Easy Evenings CDs.

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