If you can only attend one whisky related event this year in Singapore, it would have to be the upcoming Whisky Live. Organized by La Maison du Whisky, Whisky Live is Southeast Asia’s largest whisky and spirits show, and this year’s edition – its fifth year – will be themed Whisky Live 2014: Collections, and is set to be a celebration of some of the finest and rarest whiskies money can buy.
Usually, the annual Whisky Live allows attendees will have the chance to sample a wide range of whiskies and spirits, including rare bottles along with craft spirits. Masterclasses, led by experts of the industry, are also open to trade visitors and the public to provide a more in-depth experience. This year, however, La Maison du Whisky is ramping the whisky extravaganza up a few notches.
William Grant & Sons regional brand ambassador Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, introducing a range of The Balvenie during a masterclass at last year’s Whisky Live. This year Fergusson-Stewart will again reprise his role, and will be helming masterclasses to showcase The Balvenie and Glenfiddich.
The Collector Room
In fact, Whisky Live this year will showcase a separate dedicated Collector Room – yes, you’ll have to pay extra to enter – with over 40 bottles of the world’s rarest, oldest and most acclaimed whiskies for you to oogle and sample. There’ll be vaunted whiskies such as several Karuizawas dating back to 1968, Lagavulin 37 year-old, Port Ellen from 1977, the classic Glendronach 1972, the latest release of Hanyu, The Joker and many more to try at decent prices. For example, Karuizawa 1968, the Graal of Collectors, can be tasted for $135 a dram or $75 a half dram, instead of a regular bar price of $200, or a Port Ellen Milroy’s Single Cask 18-year-old from 1977 can be tasted for $40 a dram or $22 a half dram instead of $80.
Benjamin Chen, the only Singaporean invited to be part of highly-acclaimed whisky community The Malt Maniacs, will also be on hand at the Collector Room to share his passion and knowledge with visitors. Camera brand Leica will be showcasing a photo exhibition on whisky (and whiskey) specially shot for the Whisky Live, and attendees can have a professional “presidential portrait” taken and printed by Leica.
Last year’s Whisky Live saw Taiwan’s Kavalan introduce its range, with Kavalan’s master blender and global ambassador Ian Chang explaining the origins and making of its whiskies.
The American Invasion
And if there’s further proof needed to show that American bourbons and other whiskies have recently been making inroads into the Singapore market, Whisky Live will for the first time see a booth that’s fully focused on American spirits at the normally Scotch-dominated event. Recently established Singapore-based craft American spirits importer Liberty Spirits Asia will be having a booth at Whisky Live to showcase some of their American single malts such as Lost Spirits Leviathan III and Blue Ridge Distilling’s Defiant Whisky, as well as rye whiskey in Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye.
Blue Ridge Distilling has rethought whisky by taking the best of Scottish tradition and combining it with American ingenuity, using only four ingredients: premium American white oak that’s toasted to perfection, specially cultured yeast selected by owner Tim Ferris, two-row premium brewer’s barley, and pure water from the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“Since most of the people attending will be heavy Scotch drinkers, we felt that it would make sense to feature our American single malts,” explains Howard Lo, owner of Liberty Spirits Asia. “For those who like Islay whiskies, I think they’ll love Lost Spirits Leviathan III. It’s a monster – 100ppm compared to Ardbeg 10’s 54ppm, but surprisingly it’s not some crazy peaty experience but more like a smoky Christmas fruit cake with cinnamon and spices.”
“I think rye has been getting a lot of attention recently, and (the Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye) is a great whiskey distilled from 100% rye,” says Lo, who adds that Liberty Spirits Asia will be showcasing their 80 proof, 92 proof and cask proof.
Whisky is great on its own, but even better when paired with food. This year Whisky Live will see the support of highly regarded modern Australian restaurant Burnt Ends offering visitors a creative food pairing based on five whiskies and spirits. A cheese pairing by The Cheese Ark will also be offered to visitors.
And for those sacrilegious types who can’t taste whiskies without it being mixed into cocktails, Whisky Live this year will see some of Singapore’s best cocktail bars – 28 Hong Kong Street, Anti:Dote, Jigger and Pony, L’Aiglon and the Library – compete in creating the best cocktail at the event’s pop up cocktail bar.
“Whisky Live Singapore has been a sold-out event for the past four years. Singapore is a country with one of the highest consumption of Scotch whisky, one of the most emblematic ones, and has great influence in Southeast Asia; making it the perfect location to showcase the best of whisky and spirits in this region,” shares Julien Nicolay, general manager of La Maison du Whisky Singapore, which has organized Whisky Live since 2010. “Local and regional demand and appreciation of whisky and spirit are on an unprecedented high. Whisky Live serves as a perfect platform to experience a selection of the world’s best whiskies and spirits for novices, enthusiasts and experts.”
“This year’s event features a lot more brands and offers varied exciting experiences, making it a thrilling event for both whisky connoisseurs and beginners just wanting to have a great time. Some of the most prestigious and highly celebrated whiskies from legendary distilleries as well as recent releases from innovative new producers from all over the world will also be featured at the event. With the introduction of The Collector Room, we are bringing the experience to a whole new level,” he concludes.
Tickets for Whisky Live will cost S$80 for the Standard Entry Pass, S$110 for a Masterclass Pass (with entry to one Masterclass), a Collector’s Pass at S$120 (with access to Collector Room and 2 free Collector drams), and a S$150 Collector VIP Pass (with access to one Masterclass, entry to Collector Room with 2 free Collector drams). Entry to additional masterclasses costs S$35 for one and S$60 for two. Tickets to Whisky Live can be purchased on SISTIC.
Whisky Live: Collections
Date: 25th October 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Venue: Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, 189673