John Walker & Sons returned for its annual XR 21 Mastery, paying tribute to the rich history and culture in the island of Penang. The third edition of the XR 21 Mastery took place at the acclaimed Colonial Penang Museum, which is rated one of the top 10 museums in Malaysia featuring some of the oldest artworks and artefacts in the country – a standing testament to the over-pouring history the state has painted for itself.

The Western art pieces in the museum brought in by Chinese trade merchants back in the 18th century enabled guests to engage in the vibrant stories of the past. The heritage-enriched experience was also an extension of the successful XR 21 Mastery held in Khoo Kongsi last year.

The main event was held in a dome built around 20 Scottish iron pillars in the courtyard of the Colonial Penang Museum. Continuing on the journey of discovery with a gastronomical concept, XR 21 Mastery saw the presentation of authentic Penang cuisine reinterpreted by the Chef Andus Yeap of HH+ by Haven Harbour.

First off: Pasembur canapés made of cucumber, jicama, tofu and deep fried fritters were served alongside Lor Bak canapés, a local meat roll originating from Hokkien and Teochew cooking.

The culinary experience continued with inspired dishes comprising pegaga salad, wild boar stew, white curry mee, and nasi lemak – each reinterpreted in Chef Yeap’s contemporary influences. The dishes were paired with the rich and smooth craft of John Walker & Sons XR 21 blended Scotch whisky.

That evening, Brand Ambassador of Diageo Malaysia Jeremy Lee also introduced guests to a limited-edition blend – The 28-Year-Old Midnight Blend, which exudes notes of rice fruits, butterscotch, cream and a tinge of smoke. Crafted from the finest whisky casks of Johnnie Walker’s Private Collection, only 3,888 bottles were produced by Master Blender Jim Beveridge.

The XR 21 Mastery continues to venture around the idea of heritage and history across Malaysia, and we were told that the fourth edition will be something even more exciting and magical – perhaps in a different historical site.

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The Johnnie Walker statue placed at the front of the Colonial Penang Museum.

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The museum carries some of the rarest artefacts and objets d’art brought in by Chinese merchants from the 18th to the 20th century.

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Guests were invited to step into the Colonial Penang Museum to discover one-of-a-kind artefacts dating as old as the 18th century and learn more about the over-pouring heritage of Malaysia’s northern state, Penang.

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A dome was built around 20 Scottish iron pillars in the courtyard of the Colonial Penang Museum.

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Canapes of the night were inspired by famous Penang street food — Lor Bak and Pasembur.

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The starter was the Pegaga Salad, where its ingredients were harvested from the southwest region of Penang Island, Balik Pulau, well-known as the state’s agricultural hub.

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A pretty presentation of the Nasi Lemak, served in a modern rendition – pea flower coconut rice plated with a side of Penang pork sambal, acar and other staple condiments.

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Guests indulged in the exceptionally rich and smooth craft of the John Walker & Sons XR 21 blend.

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Guests were also treated with a special ‘preview’ tasting of the latest 28-Year-Old Midnight Blend.

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Crafted from the finest whisky casks of Johnnie Walker’s Private Collection, only 3,888 bottles were produced by Master Blender, Jim Beveridge.

Martin Teo
Content Editor
Martin loves traveling the world to see ancient ruins and classical architecture. He enjoys the culinary experience of various cities but (still) refuses to eat anything insect-like. On a daily basis, he finds time hitting the gym to compensate for the amount of food he needs to eat just to write an article.