Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #202

Top Secret
Blended Whisky*

43% abv

440 KES/- (£3.50)

Top Secret, indeed. Over the past two days I have emailed and called the UK and European offices of the London Distillers Company to ask a few questions about their "whisky" only to find that the offices do not exist. I am told by friends and colleagues that this is not suprising: "The company probably only exists on paper in UK," "probably changes hands every two months," "probably a front," and "that's the way business works in Kenya."

Kenya's agricultural production is reasonably diversified and can provide most of their domestic needs. Because most of the land is arid, only 8% of the country is used for crop and feed production while 80% of the population work in agriculture or in the processing of agricultural goods. Although Kenyan coffee might be familiar to many of us, tea is Kenyas' leading agricultural foreign exchange earner. They are the leading black tea producer in Africa and #4 in the world. But you can't make whisky from tea.

In terms of grains, Kenya produces more than 2million tonnes of corn and about 1.5million tonnes of wheat per annum. But sugarcane production more than doubles those figures. I imagine most of this spirit is neutral sugarcane spirit with a small percentage of grain spirit (corn, maize, wheat).

* - the terms 'whisky' or 'whiskey' are not defined in interntaional law, so I canot guarantee that this spirit is made from barley, or even grain, for that matter.


Rum spice, some plastic, and nailpolish. Flax seeds, vodka, nylon tents and vanilla fudge.
Sweet and slightly spicy like fennel or caraway.

Sugary, waxy, and not completely unpleasant.


More expensive than the Safari whisky enjoyed(!?) yesterday, but certainly not worth it if I was counting my Kenyan Shillings month in, month out. I imagine it's the recipe that is Top Secret and it might, although this is a very slight possibility, even contain as much as 10% grain spirit. Although neither toxic nor completely unpleasant, to be handed a glass a told it was whisky would justifiably raise reasonable doubts in the recipient.

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