The Den, Whisky Bar, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The Den, Whisky Bar, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, PenangThe Den, Macalister Mansion

The Den, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, Penang

Words by Caning Jaramillo
Photos by The Yum List

I’m always excited to visit Penang, a trendy island paradise that never seems to sleep, especially where the Food and Beverage industry is involved and, this time was no exception. In fact, this round only served to deepen my yearning for the city. The Den, a premium whisky lounge at Macalister Mansion, the main cause of my longing.
The entrance to The Den is marked with a wooden sign inscribed with its name and a whisky glass hinting at the specialty within. A circular leather lounge sits below a three-tiered hanging chandelier encouraging social interaction, while deep, engulfing king-sized armchairs encourage prolonged stays and private communions. Subdued yellow, red and black hues form cubic tessellations on the tiled floor. The background music is soft enough to allow comfortable conversation, but of sufficient volume to permit the deep base and funky rhythms to enter your spirit.
The Den, Whisky Bar, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, PenangThe Den, daylight hours
The elegant lounge is a wonderful place to relax, unwind and escape the humdrum routine of daily life. Specializing in serving Single Cask and Single Malt whiskies, as well as cigars from around the world, my attention was unfading.
We were fortuned to have a Flight of Fancy with three of their most exclusive Scottish spirits, The Single Casks (RM225 for a tasting portion of three selected whiskies). These Single Casks, only available at The Den, took us on a tasting journey over Scotland with the Linkwood (1984), Caol Ila (1981) and the Glen Scotia (1992). 
The Den, Whisky Bar, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, PenangWhisky Flight of Fancy
The Linkwood (1984), single bourbon cask only produced 330 bottles of this 26 year old whisky. With an alcohol content of 47.8%, this Scotch wafts citrus and orange on the nose, with a perfumed leather on the palate and, a nutty smooth finish. 
The Caol Ila (1981), a 28 year old, 49.1% alcohol Scotch, only had a production of 276 bottles that year. This single cask presents a typical Islay bonfire smoke in the nosing with seaweed mixed with leather and hints of apples on the palate. Slightly darker in colour than the Linkwood, the finish is long and lingering. Nose and palate change 180 degrees however with a splash of water. The ending is much longer, encouraging long pauses between sips. 
The Glen Scotia (1992) holds an impressive 58.4% alcohol. This 18 year old whisky had a production of a mere 240 bottles. Barreled in a bourbon cask for 12 years and finished in a Spanish sherry cask for six, the colour is the deepest of the three.  This is certainly a complex drop, evolving with water, exposure to air and, time. A serving of this gem could happily be chewed on over a number of hours. The nosing is rich and earthy. Vanilla oak is detected at the start and bitter chocolate and orange at the finish. The first sip bit the tongue and cleaned the nostrils, but not in a wasabi shock-the-senses way, more of a, ooooh-this-is-a-cool-experience kind of way. 
For being a good listener and appreciator of whiskies I received an additional single cask tasting - this time a Spanish sherry single cask whisky, with a production of 252 bottles. The 22 year old Glenrothes (1988) contained 48.4% alcohol and brandished a super smooth sweetness on the palate. On the nose black berries were detected reminding us a little of wine. With a splash of water the finish was extended, enough to keep me smiling all night.
Tasting flights are an excellent way of experiencing a range of whiskies, aiding in your refinement of taste preferences. Also available is an exploration of Japanese whiskies with the The Suntories (RM92), including Hakushu 12 years old, Yamazaki 12 years old and, Hibiki 17 years. The Tour of the Regions (RM103) flight covers Bowmore 1996, Glenburgie 1983 and, Bladnoch 1990.
We closed the night with the golden belt, a Tipsy Affogato (RM25). Vanilla ice cream is sprinkled with whisky infused raisins, crunchy crushed nuts and a dusting of espresso powder, then drowned in Highland Park 12 Scotch. This proved a wonderful alternative to the espresso version, assisting in sleep rather than suspending it. Gorgeous!
The Den, Whisky Bar, Macalister Mansion, Georgetown, PenangTipsy Affogato
Reasons to visit: impressive selection Single Cask and Single Malt whiskies and the gorgeous Tipsy Affogato dessert. 
The DenMacalister Mansion228 Macalister Road10400 George TownPenang, Malaysia+6 04 2283 [email protected] Sunday – Thursday 5pm – 1am. Friday and Saturday 5pm – 2am.

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