Lunar New Year isn’t quite complete without the right whisky to serve your visitors – here are some Chinese New Year whiskies to celebrate the season with in style.
The Lunar New Year festive season isn’t complete without visitations that involve plenty of red packets, feating on seasonal tidbits and good food, and all manner of gambling with family and friends. In our humble opinion, it’s also not quite complete without plenty of whisky drinking.
Here are some limited edition festive whiskies for the Chinese New Year – to be exact, some single malts, one blended Scotch whisky, and a premium blended malt whisky – to celebrate the Year of the Rat with, be it as a gift for loved ones or for your drinking pleasure with friends and loved ones.
Glenfiddich Limited Edition Lunar New Year Set.
The world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky, Glenfiddich, has launched a series of three Lunar New Year whisky sets to celebrate the season. The whisky brand has collaborated with Shenzen, China-based illustrator Rlon Wang to design – or, to be more precise, reimagine – the distillery’s royal stag icon that will be featured across its limited 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, and 18 Year Old festive editions. Sure it’s not specific to the Year of the Rat, but at least the design’s contemporary and colourful.
You’ll find Wang’s designs splashed across the front of those festive packs, each of which come with a bottle of Glenfiddich as well as two branded glass tumblers for your drinking pleasure (although we would have preferred glencairns or copita glasses, to be honest). We’re somewhat disappointed that the design hasn’t quite translated to the bottles within, which makes them a little less collectible than they would have otherwise.
On the bright side the whisky within those boxes are the same ones that’s won the celebrated Speyside distillery a slew of awards; if we had to choose our money would go to the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old, which is curiously made with the solera method.
The Glenfiddich limited edition Lunar New Year sets are available at Habanos (Suntec City) at a recommended retail price of $128, $168 and $268 for the 12 year Old, 15 Year Old and 18 Year Old respectively.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Rat.
You can always count on Johnnie Walker to jump onto the Chinese New Year festive bandwagon. We’ve all seen its insane Zodiac collection of 12 bottles each featuring an animal from the Chinese zodiac launched a few years back, for example, or its commemorative Blue Label bottling each year for Chinese New Year, such as the one for Year of the Dog.
It’s more of the same this year with its Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Rat. The limited edition comes with a Chinese New Year design that’s not only on its signature blue box but also featured on the bottle itself. The bottle has a stylised rat peering up at a Chinese lantern silkscreened on it, and according to Diageo captures the “wit, entrepreneurship, and adaptability of the intelligent creature, heralding the opportunity and good fortune the Rat’s arrival signifies”.
The liquid within remains the same; those who’ve fallen in love with this premium blended Scotch whisky expression can rely on its consistency and quality, which means this would make a great festive gift for the father-in-law to share with his whisky-loving friends over a game of cards on the second or third day of Chinese New Year.
This limited Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Rat edition is available at 1855 The Bottle Shop at a retail price of $249, or $478 for two bottles.
Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 18YO Year of the Rat Edition.
Best known for its “Remarkable Regional Malts” series of blended malt whiskies is independent bottler Douglas Laing, and it has specially bottled a commemorative bottling for this year’s Chinese New Year. This festive bottling comes under its Timorous Beastie series of blended Highland malts. And very appropriately too, for Timorous Beastie is a tribute to the famous Scottish poem “To A Mouse” by Robert Burns and features a rodent emblazoned on its livery that’s perfect for celebrating the Year of the Rat.
As is with all Timorous Beastie whiskies this particularly vatting sees a blending of various Highland malts that can include those from the likes of Blair Athol, Dalmore, Glengoyne and Glen Garioch. What’s different though is that unlike the regular Timorous Beastie expression that’s generally matured in bourbon casks, this exclusive bottling has been blended from spirit aged for a minimum of 18 years in 100% Spanish sherry casks. You can expect this whisky to be on the sweeter, bolder side, and luscious with fresh ginger and red fruit flavours.
Just 1,588 bottles have been produced for selected Asian markets – specifically Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong – with just 300 bottles allocated for the Singapore market. We think this whisky is possibly the best Chinese New Year gift you can give a whisky connoisseur.
The Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old Year of the Rat Edition is available from Le Vigne, The Straits Wine Company, Vom Fass and Hermitage at a recommended retail price of $268.