Nikka Whisky from the Barrel at Whisky Tango Foxtrot
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by the Yum List (Monica Tindall)
WTF IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT? So shrieks the typeset on the website of Whisky Tango Foxtrot, the newest in KL’s slowly mushrooming selection of charismatic speakeasy style bars. This outlet, on the top floor of Avenue K, is the second in what promises to be a small empire of signature whisky and cigar bars.
Nikka Whisky, 12 Years, Pure MaltA red London telephone booth hidden at the back of Samba Brazilian Steakhouse is the secret entrance. Pick up the telephone to be buzzed in. WTF is not just quite as tiny as it initially appears. A gangster style mob boss sliding door on the back wall opens to reveal further seating hidden behind. I suspect many men will enjoy a little fantasy life here. Solid black armchairs cluster across from sophisticated floor to ceiling locker racks. The regal purple ceiling has a splash of colour, echoed by the backlit drinks cabinet that groans with bottles of WTF’s signature golden spirit. Ranging from traditional Scottish malts to trendy Japanese whiskies, you’re sure to find what my granddad would call ‘a swally’ to suit your tastes here.
Enter Via Samba – Brazilian Restaurant on the Third Floor
Look for the Phone BoothAfter You’ve Entered the Secret CodeInteriorWhisky Lockers with InitialsPrivate RoomOur host tonight is Jazz who tells us proudly that WTF is the first outlet in KL to offer the Nikka range of whiskies that he is inviting us to taste.
The first glass is the Nikka Coffey Grain (RM535 a bottle). Distilled in a copper still, this distinctive tipple gets it’s unusual name from the still’s designer, a Scot, named Coffey. We try it first without ice, my preference being no Sassenach! The taste is golden amber with a slight bourbon hint and an undercurrent of sweetness. The texture is quite viscous and we are all smacking our lips with satisfaction. For the Coffey Grain, Jazz recommends a light to medium bodied cigar such as the Hoyo de Monterrey Flor Extrafina.
Cigar and Whisky PairingOur second taste test is the TAKETSUKU, Nikka 12 year old pure malt (RM530 a bottle. We all enjoy the smoky notes of this classic Japanese Whisky. A signature ball of frozen mineral water is added to the second glass, creating a slightly thinner, lighter taste. It all depends on personal preference, but when it comes to whisky, I’m a full punch kind of girl. According to our host, TAKETSUKU is best paired with a medium cigar such as the San Cristobal de La Habana.
San Cristobal de la Habana Cigars and Nikka Whisky 12 Years Pure MaltA short squat bottle reminiscent of Chanel in design is Nikka from the Barrel (RM435 for a 500 ml bottle). Be warned – this is a 51% liquor! I have to admit that this one makes my eyes water and Jazz laughs as my face screws up a little as the strength hits. However a little swill and a rest in the moist air and the flavour warms up nicely. Probably most would enjoy this one with a drop of water, but I still can’t get my palate around whisky with iced water, even in this climate. For cigar pairing a medium to full bodied smoke is suggested, such as the Partacas seria D No 4.
Nikka Whisky and Partacas CigarsBy now the temptation has overwhelmed Caning and he capitulates to trying a cigar. The cigar is clipped and a stylish gun style lighter sizzles searing heat on the end. Señor Jaramillo is now puffing away like an engine giving the seal of approval with raised eyebrows and a nod. Even I am tempted to try a puff and am coached in the correct lip smacking approach, as I taste the pleasantly malty flavours. WTF offers a mighty range of cigars from all over the cigar-producing world. First timers might enjoy a Don Diego Panatela sweet with a vanilla hint, while connoisseurs could sample the mighty Padrona, an unusual, really airy complex boutique cigar from Nicaragua. A special pairing of Cohiba Bahiti is offered with Martell Cognac.
Lighting UpOur host Jazz is a true ‘patron,’ with his twin passions of whisky and cigar. If you’re not sure what to try and need a guide, staff are there on hand to advise you on pairing for your own particular tastes. Box after box is opened for us and each cigar has its construction, taste and texture explained with ‘gusto.’ Jazz muses, ‘every one is special to me… ‘ while offering us a taste of Don Papa, an unusual Filipino rum that I’ve never even heard of. It has a vanilla scent on the nose then butterscotch, with aromatic citrus undernotes in taste, almost like a liqueur but with thinner texture and stronger alcohol bite. Jazz assures us anyone can ask for a taste and then breaks out some bottles of Morano schnapps. ‘Some times we offer our guests a certain ‘on the house’ shot. We want them to enjoy the that feeling of being special.’ Ok remind me to eat before coming, the next time…
Don Papa RumWhisky Tango Foxtrot is primarily a Membership Establishment and although drop-ins are welcomed, you will be expected to buy a bottle! Although the concept is definitively whisky drinking and cigar smoking, a few other wine and liquor options by the bottle are provided for the client with a more diverse taste centre. We’re assured that the wine list will be expanding. If you enjoy sharing a few tipples with your friends or business partners to chew the fat or seal a deal in a funky atmosphere with a fat cigar on your lip then this could be a spot for you to tap into.
Nikka Coffey Grain WhiskyWTF membership has three tiers:
Corona is a free membership with which you receive notification of special events.
Robusto is a RM500 membership which gains you 5% off your spend.
Churchhillis a RM2000 membership which gains you 10% off your spend, a personal drinks locker and, the password for the door.
Reasons to visit: sophisticated simplicity; personalized lockers to keep your stash; Asia’s largest selection of fine cigars and: frankly a whisky aficionado’s dream.
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
(The entrance is via Samba Brazilian Steakhouse – head to the back of the room and look for the telephone booth. Pick up the phone to enter.)
Level 3 Avenue K
156 Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur, Malaysiafun@whiskytangofoxtrot.mywww.whiskytangofoxtrot.myWTF is open daily midday ‘til midnight
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Food Blog by: THe Yum List