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Murree's Malt Whisky Classic Aged 8 Years

Midnight Whisky Express

10 1358

@talexanderReview by @talexander

10th Mar 2018

1

  • Nose
    16
  • Taste
    14
  • Finish
    13
  • Balance
    15
  • Overall
    58

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Murree's Malt Whisky
  • ABV: 43%

While a lot of whisky reviewed on this site has been procured slightly illegally (ie. not declared at customs, purchased through private sales, etc), this is probably the first that has been actually smuggled into Canada under serious threat of prosecution. Here is the story of how that happened.

A very close friend of mine of Pakistani ancestry travelled there to visit family and shoot part of a documentary he's making. He decided (perhaps unwisely) to seek out a bottle of local whisky and bring it back to me as a gift. Although Pakistan is a Muslim country, there is a brewery that also makes whisky, gin and other spirits (as well as various soft drinks, etc etc) called Murree Brewery. It was founded in 1860 and is the largest, most well known brewery in Pakistan (apparently the beer is quite good).

Anyway, because Pakistan is a Muslim country, neither local citizens nor those of Pakistani ancestry are allowed to drink within the borders. How then, could a brewery / distillery remain in business? By selling (completely legally) to non-Pakistanis. However, it is very difficult to find retailers who sell alcohol, so the vast majority of liquor in Pakistan is sold on the black market. Which is how it came to me.

My poor friend finally got a line on an illicit "retailer" who could sell him what he wanted. He went down an alley (he showed me a picture and I swear there are bloodstains on the pavement), entered a shadowy door and found a dark room full of heavy, bearded, scary biker-types who looked ready to snap your neck, just for fun. He nervously told them what he was looking for, and they led him to a back room where they pointed to a pile of garbage on the floor and said "Help yourself." Apparently, the pile of garbage on the floor was the "storage area" for their various liquors. He picked this bottle out of the trash, handed the scary dudes some money and ran out as fast as he could.

When he got back to his hotel, he was told by a friend that it was completey illegal to take alcohol out of the country! The only solution: smuggling. He took a small empty plastic container, filled it up (about a dram's worth), tried some from the bottle (he's not a whisky guy so he wasn't impressed) and poured the rest down the drain! He then hid the small plastic bottle in his luggage, as well as the empty bottle and the box it came with.

At the airport, while going through security, the empty bottle showed up on an X-ray of his luggage. They tore into it, found the empty bottle and proceed to mock and laugh at my friend for bringing it back as a souvenir. Certain he was about to end up in prison, he smiled calmly and laughed it off....and they let him through without finding that small plastic bottle of hooch. When he got home, he poured it back in the bottle and presented it to me as a very generous gift!

According to the packaging, Jim Murray is quoted as describing Murree whisky as having "crisp and delicate maltiness." Well, let's find out...

The colour is a very cloudy, pale yellow - the cloudiest whisky I've ever seen, and extremely oily legs. If I were poured this in a bar, I'm not sure I would drink it. Slightly peaty on the nose, with lemon, sour apple, mint and Creamsicle. Underneath all that there is a red liquorice sweetness that is mildly cloying. Plasticine. Tar. With water it gets very cloying, smelling like it's vaguely poisonous. Not pleasant.

Thin on the palate - and pretty bad. We're back to the plasticine, with gasoline, cotton candy, a hint of peat and very thin chicken broth (which could be an ingredient for all I know). Borderline-rotten Red Delicious apples (you know, the soft, mealy kind). Worse than the nose, though improves slightly with water.

The finish is olive-oil-flavoured Becel, Halls cough drops and something kind of rancid that I can't quite put my finger on. The label says this is "Bottled and Matured" at the distillery - it doesn't mention it was distilled there. I would guess much of this is scotch (and not good scotch), possibly mixed in with something distilled from molasses, and may have other flavouring agents in it. Who knows. Also, I'm amazed this is eight years old - it is so pale, with barely any oak to the nose or palate, that it could not have matured in Pakistan for that long unless it was kept in a dark, cool, humid cellar (which it very well may have been). Another concern is hinted at by what is printed on the inside of the label: "Please break the empty bottle to avoid fake filling." Counterfeit whiskies are a huge problem in Asia; hopefully this isn't one of them. I don't think it is though - it still tastes like whisky, just pretty damn bad whisky. And I haven't gone blind...yet.

13 comments

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Classic !!!!

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Possibly some competition for Turv Exloo and Lambertus?

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

Is that the scenario for the next blockbuster? expressionless That is the face of a producer.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

I've done some fact checking and have to slightly edit it...

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Hmmm looks like this site won't actually let me edit my review. So a couple of corrections to the above:

  • my friend is more accurately described as Pakistani-Canadian (rather than just of Pakistani ancestry)

  • technically speaking, local citizens are not allowed to drink - but those of Pakistani heritage or ancestry who hold foreign passports or visas can obtain permits to purchase and drink within the borders. My friend is totally allowed to drink in Pakistan because he holds a Canadian passport.

  • to add to colourful detail, the back-alley, black-market shop is actually WITHIN the grounds of the 5-star hotel my friend stayed at! Now that's bananas.

  • the "staff" of the black-market shop didn't actually have beards - but were heavily moustachioed (this detail actually makes the story better because now they look like pirates)

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

This might be the most entertaining whisky review I’ve read in a long time. It’s too bad the whisky is bad. Not surprising, but unfortunate.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

Ha! You know how I guess above that they must mature it in a cool, dark, humid cellar, given that after eight years you can barely taste any wood? Well, I did a bit more research (which I should have done prior to writing the review) and that is exactly what they do! They also mature most of their whisky in large oak vats rather than casks.

3 years ago 3Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@jeanluc & @pierre, by any chance is Connosr in need of a new slogan?

A lot of whisky reviewed on this site has been procured slightly illegally.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@talexander that sounds quite hideous. Many years ago I was in the southern Indian state of Kerala which is a major cashew producing area. I was offered a so called whisky called Fenny which is made from some sort of fermented cashew concoction. I should have declined when I saw it being poured from a Jerry can into a tin cup. Not wishing to be impolite, I downed the foul brew and stupidly accepted a refill, and another. I spent the next day lying in a hammock suffering through the worst hangover and banging headache of my life. I was doing some photography for Travel and Holiday magazine at the time and I have pictures somewhere. They are all on Kodachrome slides and I can’t lay my hands on them readily or I would love to show and tell.

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@BlueNote Wow that sounds truly horrendous! Lucky you didn't end up blind!!

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@talexander as long as there's no wood fibre in the mash, methanol should not be an issue.

3 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@talexander Funny you should mention that. It was shortly after that I started having to wear glasses. I'm much happier sipping some Springbank 14 year old Bourbon Wood. Tasty.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Nozinan Doug Ford? What's going on back there? Let's hope the #MeToo girls can find his dark secrets, there must be some. Sorry to stray off topic, but I just heard this today.

3 years ago 0

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