Whisky Live returns this November, and with a bang. The premier whisky event in Singapore will now stretch over two days and will be held at the glamorous five-star Capella Singapore at Sentosa.
For those who have attended Whisky Live previously, you probably have more than a fair share of questions regarding this year’s format; it arguably feels like the biggest change in recent years. But don’t worry, we got in touch with Mathieu Musnier, General Manager of La Maison du Whisky, to answer some of (most, we hope) the burning questions you might have regarding this year’s extravaganza.
Why is Whisky Live 2015 going to be held over two days this year?
The decision to extend Whisky Live 2015 was heavily influenced by frequent requests from last year’s participants. There are over 70 brands waiting to be discovered and hundreds of expressions available during the free tasting session. In addition, exciting sights consisting of pop up bars, food partners and such are specially prepared by these brands.
For example, Dodd’s Gin will recreate its distillery from London, an edible garden will present the different botanicals used in their featured gins. The Balvenie will give an outlook on craftsmen; Glenfiddich will set up a highly entertaining game to test your knowledge.
As compared to Whisky Live Paris, which is held over three days, Whisky Live Singapore’s two-day event this year may not even be enough when there are so many sights, sounds and tastes to explore!
Anything fundamentally different about this year’s approach?
We are keeping the same relaxed spirit that everybody enjoyed last year, but sprucing things up by adding in more unique elements to the mix.
Firstly, guests can expect an exciting new line-up: nine of the best bars and five of the best restaurants in Singapore will have different shifts over the two days to prepare special cocktails and food samplers, all included in the entrance tickets. These include Tippling Club, The Library, Anti:dote, Burnt Ends, Sorrel, FOC and many more.
Next, there will be a change to the way guests can access the Collector Room. A special ticket was needed last year but this year, visitors who purchase Collector tokens at the entrance of the room will be granted access. These tokens will then be redeemable for tasting.
Due to the overwhelming responses received last year, we are definitely anticipating a large number of guests in the Collector room this year. To ensure the best experience, we recommend for guests to visit the room closer to the opening time to avoid having to wait longer.How did the VIP packages come about, and what can we expect from them?
This package is to ensure an even more premium experience: guests can enjoy a quick access to the event and to the highly demanded Collector Room with no waiting time. Two selected Collector drams are also included in the ticket as well as an access to the VIP relaxing room for guests to take a break when needed. On top of that, some brands will keep a special dram hidden especially for these VIP pass holders.
For the absolute experience, the night package for two also includes a night at Capella Hotel, all for a very competitive price (when best rates for a room only is around S$800++). This package is extremely limited but it is the best opportunity for whisky aficionados looking for an exclusive experience.
It looks like other spirits in general are gaining prominence in terms of presence. What’s the main reason behind this and what is your general approach in choosing the mix?
Whisky Live is actually the short form of “Whisky Live and Fine Spirits”, and spirits represent about 40% of the brands. The proportion has been growing, as the event is now becoming a larger-scale event. We counted 35 brands for 900 visitors 2 years ago, and 70 brands for 2,500 visitors expected this year.
It also reflects the trend on the market: Rum has experienced a huge growth, and categories that were virtually unknown a few years ago, such as Mezcal, are now getting a lot of attention.
For Whiskies or Spirits, we always want to have a good balance between the well-known names and the more confidential distilleries so that connoisseurs can discover new brands at the event as well.
Given that the whisky scene is developing nicely, are we going to see a bigger Collector Room this year?
The room will definitely be significantly bigger this year. With the new way to access the room via the aforementioned tokens, this ensures a heightened experience that more people will be able to enjoy at the event this year.
What special offerings can we expect to see at the Collector Room this year?
A Whisky expert from France, in charge of Collectors for La Maison du Whisky, will come with her selection: around carefully chosen 40 bottles, and a significant part of which are Japanese.
One of the world best rum experts, Mr. Luca Gargano, will also bring some bottles from his own collection, which counts as some incredible jewels for rum lovers.
In your opinion, what are the key highlights to look out for this year?
Keep an eye out for the new brands, such as Teeling, the new Irish whisky, and try the new range of Vestal vodka, a single-estate potato vodka that is incredibly flavourful – you wouldn’t think this is a vodka!
The line-up of bars and restaurants is also very exciting, as they count some of the best ones in Singapore.
The masterclasses this year are also extremely promising: GlenDronach, Nikka, The Balvenie, Kavalan, Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Highland Park… This year, there will be two special rum masterclasses by Luca Gargano that can’t be missed if you want to learn from the best about rum! It’s said that he will be bringing a private bottle of Bacardi from the 1930s and preparing a daiquiri with it to illustrate the evolution of the similarity of taste profile with some rums that most people are unaware of.
Certainly, there is more than enough for two very rich days!
What would be your one-line pitch to whisky fans to come to Whisky Live this year?
Give a try to everything you haven’t experienced yet, you won’t be disappointed!
TL;DR version of Whisky Live 2015
OK, maybe not that short but still fits into a nutshell…
- The largest Whisky Live in Singapore to date, with close to 500 expressions and over 90 spirit brands on show.
- Star-studded pop-up bar includes 28 HongKong Street, L’Aiglon, Tippling Club, Sugarhall, The Library, Anti:dote, Spiffy Dapper, FOC and Longplay.
- Food glorious food in the form of smoky creations from Burnt Ends and Meat Smith, refined tapas from FOC, Mexican delights from El Mero Mero, and fine dining from Sorrel.
- Five themes over the course of two days, featuring one restaurant and two bars. E.g. El Mero Mero will be serving food during the Mexican shift, with two bars serving cocktails based on Tequila and Mescal.
- Inaugural Night Package ticket: Includes two express passes to the Collector Room.(includes two complimentary drams) and VIP Relaxing Room over the two-day event, and overnight stay for two at Capella Singapore.
- Collector’s room returns with a specially curated collection of 40 bottles, a significant number of which are Japanese.
- Rum legend Mr. Luca Gargano will run a masterclass and introduce Velier’s range of premium rums. Velier owns some of top names such as Caroni, Clairin, Diamond, Enmore, and Uitvlugt.
- Newcomers include Teeling Whisky (first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years), the up and coming Indian single malt whisky Paul John (scotch style), and Vestal, who will debut its new range of single estate potato vodka.