Only just officially launched at a virtual event worthy of the Oscars is “Best Malaysian Whisky” Timah. Produced by Winepak Corporation, it’s blended in Malaysia from two imported aged peated malts and a local base spirit made from sugar cane. Timah is a “new generation” whiskey, created to retain its smoky flavour characteristics without being overly powerful.

It won gold at the International Whisky Competition for Best Malaysian Whisky (with the catchy hashtag #MYBestWhiskey), but they had to create the Malaysian category especially for Timah. Does that mean it’s not as good as whiskies from elsewhere? Well, Timah also won silver at the established and competitive San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020 in the Other Whisk(e)y category (results here) for whiskies that do not originate in traditional whisky-producing regions. In addition, it scored an incredible 92 points at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2021, another famous and well-contested event, and a silver at the International Spirits Challenge 2020.

“SILVER – outstanding spirits that show refinement, finesse and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of their categories.” – San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Now, if all that still doesn’t impress you, just wait. We tried Timah, and it’s good! Timah is very light, the aroma is slightly fruity and floral and it has a smooth, smoky flavour and oaky, sweet finish. The peaty flavour is definitely there – you can’t miss it – but it’s not kick-you-in-the-teeth strong.

Much like New World wines were once underestimated, so too are new international whiskies.

Timah whiskey from Malaysia

Whisky or whiskey?

The Irish make “whiskey”, and it is supposed that the large number of Irish immigrants to the United States is the reason why the word is spelled “whiskey” in the USA. In Scotland, it is always a Scotch “whisky”, and it is also “whisky” in Canada and Japan . The wonderful Indian whiskies we tried at the new Bombay Dreams are a fusion of Scotch and Indian barley (and so is “whisky”), but Timah has gone with the Irish/American spelling of “whiskey”. This might give us a hint as to where the imported malts originate.

Timah kopi recipe

Being travel-starved, the immediate attraction of this whiskey was the brand’s recipe for a Timah kopi cocktail. A Timah kopi is the Malaysian version of Irish coffee, and it works really well because this whiskey is part of what they call the “new generation”, blended to be less overpowering but still retaining peaty and smoky characteristics.

You just have to schedule in the sweet spot in your day when you can have both coffee and whiskey.

Timah Kopi

Ingredients:

  • 50ml Timah whiskey
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • brown sugar, to taste (optional)
  • 50ml unsweetened whipped cream
  • chocolate powder or flakes

Method:

  1. Combine the freshly brewed coffee with the sugar, if using, and then stir in the Timah.
  2. Top with the whipped cream and chocolate powder or sprinkle with chocolate flakes so that it looks like a chocolate milkshake.

There are more great cocktail recipes with Asian twists listed here.

Where can we find Timah in Hong Kong?

We can’t (yet). Stay tuned though – it won’t be long.

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