Whisky Journey 2021 keeps the now-familiar format but looks to provide new experiences with a slew of special new bottlings.

That little motivational quote about life being a journey and not a destination has often been mistakenly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. How the phrase came to be is probably lost in time, but in all likelihood, it had been paraphrased from his writings into a clear statement. Quite appropriately, it serves as a reminder of how things turn out in ways we never could imagine. 

In a similar vein, Whisky Journey – the whisky roadshow organised by The Whisky Store – was supposed to have been a large whisky festival but the pandemic politely, and passive-aggressively said, thanks but no thanks.

And as such, Whisky Journey went on an introspective voyage of its own, in more ways than one; the concept evolving into a bar-hopping adventure where we carved out precious moments of levity with friends in the face of enforced measures. And for some, it was the perfect motivation to get out of the house and relive the good old times. With whisky, of course.

This year, Whisky Journey returns and in more or less the same fashion, and offers the promise of another round of whisky bar visits to see familiar faces or open another chapter (bar tab, basically) in your personal whisky journey.

Whiskies taste best in the company of good friends. Photo credit: Whisky Journey

The mechanics are pretty much the same:

  • Get your ticket at participating bars and restaurants and redeem your Whisky Journey passport and Glencairn nosing glass, which you need to claim your free 10ml sampling pour. 
  • Visit each bar or restaurant, show your passport and get a chop (take it as a refresher course for when you leave on an airplane via one of the Vertical Travel Lanes) and claim your free pour. Don’t forget to enjoy their unique Whisky Journey selection of spirits at festival-only prices as well as the bar’s specialities since you’re there.

Here are some reasons why this year’s Whisky Journey is worth a look.

Frank McHardy Collection by the dram.

While highly coveted, ‘unobtainium’ whiskies are a dime a dozen these days, it’s always good to keep your ear on the ground because every now and then a bottle previously unavailable by the dram will be now open. The Collectors Clubs (CC) Frank McHardy series is one of these, and last we checked, you need to be a CC member to have any form of access. Find out here why we think the membership is worth a shot anyway (no pun intended). But for a limited time, you can see for yourself what the fuss is all about, and perhaps it can help you decide if the membership is worth the access. And to help you with that…

We have a giveaway you can’t refuse.

Yup, because we’ve worked out something with TSH and we’re excited to share this with you. Starting 18 November 2021 at 1600H, the first eight people to email us (link here) will be eligible to sign up for the Collectors Club membership and receive three Whisky Journey tickets worth $114. If that isn’t a good value proposition, I don’t know what is – You’re basically paying nothing for the chance to access exclusive whisky offerings from the Whisky Store as well as other benefits that membership brings. We don’t think the offer will last very long, but it’s valid till 9 December 2021.

Quaich Bar’s Yanli posing with our friends from Whiskygeeks. Photo Credit: Whisky Journey

A Journey of your own making.

It’s a chance to revisit your old haunts as well as new establishments while enjoying Whisky Journey offers unique to them, often a specific whisky distillery or brand. As such, you have a chance to sample whiskies not usually sold by the dram and will be able to buy rare bottles at discounted prices as well. As of now, there are 19 participating bars, all with their own unique selection of whiskies; familiar names with interesting bottling as well as new faces to acquaint to. 

No rush to wait.

The one thing that we have become more cognizant about after restrictions on party sizes is that we can’t take for granted that we will always have a spot at our favourite haunts or any respectable establishment for that matter. To make things easier, you can now book your tables via Chope or at the Whisky Journey webpage (look for the section labelled Partners and Deals) to minimise the risk of disappointment. While Whisky Journey is set to run from 10 December to 19 December, there’s a chance you might not be able to redeem your free pours. No matter, you have until 23 December to do so at selected establishments. Information can be found at the Whisky Journey website.

More Masterclasses, more fun.

One notable cliche of any whisky show is the difficulty in aligning schedules so that masterclasses can happen, but from what we understand, several have been lined up. What’s confirmed so far is a session with terroir-driven Irish label Origin Spirits, which is known for its distinctive Currach Single Malt Irish Whiskey as well as Kalak Vodka and Ornabrak Gin (both single-malt spirits). Currach, in particular, will be something the adventurous will be interested in – it made its name with its Atlantic Kombu cask Irish Whiskey, and now the label will be releasing a new Atlantic Wakame cask expression, which will be launching in Singapore for the first time. Whisky fans, take note.

What would a whisky festival be without masterclasses? Photo Credit: Whisky Journey

New Japanese Whisky releases.

Japanese whisky is still pretty much a hot item, and as prices of the usual suspects continue to hold, everyone’s always on the lookout for the next big thing. At this year’s Whisky Journey, fans of Japanese whisky can look forward to new releases from Mars distillery, including the 2021 edition Komagatake and Komagatake IPA Cask Finish (sadly the latter is only available by the bottle and not by the glass). 

If you want something a little off the beaten track, look for Sakurao. It’s the brainchild of the distillery behind Togouchi (a blended whisky that you might have heard of before). Sakurao is an old hat; a brewery and distillery that has been producing traditional Japanese spirits since 1918. But it only released its first Single Malt Whisky recently and this is as good a time as any to try some (before they disappear into collectors’ storage bunkers, basically). Also lookout for a limited edition Gin, and an Asia-exclusive Single Cask whisky.

To find out about this year’s Whisky Journey, visit www.whiskyjourney.com.sg

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