Homegrown distillery Compendium Spirits has launched Chartered by Compendium Spirits, a bespoke barrel-ageing programme that lets you customise your own aged spirits.

Singapore’s homegrown distilling industry may still be in its nascent stages, but so far there’s plenty of promise. In less than five years we’ve seen how the different local distilling outfits have trail-blazed and made their mark on the scene in different ways.

There’s Brass Lion, Singapore’s first full-fledged distillery, which launched a gin school to educate Singaporeans on distilling (and make their own gins in the process). Singapore Distillery has created an entire range of locally flavoured gins as well as creating Singapore’s first tonic water label.

Then there’s Compendium Spirits. First launched as Rachelle The Rabbit Meadery in 2015, it moved to distilling as well and officially launched its first distilled products – its Rojak Gin and Chendol Gin – in 2019. Then it further diversified its distilling activities. Aside from gin, they started making whiskey from rice, rum from molasses, vodka from honey, and even arrack from gula melaka.

Compendium Spirits Simon Zhao rice distilling
Compendium Spirits created the first Singapore rice-based whisky in 2020.

Its latest innovation? Chartered by Compendium Spirits. Chartered is a bespoke barrel-ageing programme offered by the distillery that lets you customise your own Asian spirits. This end-to-end customised barrel-aging programme is Singapore’s first, and may even be a first in the world.

There’s a wide range of customisable options available, allowing you to personalise almost every aspect of the production process. You can choose the spirit base you prefer, for example, from rice, honey, gula melaka i.e. whatever spirit Compendium already distills These raw ingredients are specifically sourced from Southeast Asia, such as gula melaka (Indonesia), molasses (Malaysia), honey and rice (Thailand). That’s right – unlike some other local distilleries that import and use neutral spirit in their products, all spirits from Compendium are distilled right here in Singapore.

Then there’s the ageing regime. For Chartered, Compendium uses a range of barrels that are specially hand-fashioned from top quality virgin American oak. Depending on the size of your project, you can opt for barrels ranging from 4 litres, 8-litres, 16-litres or 32-litres.

Chartered by Compendium Spirits casks
You get to pick from different cask sizes as part of the Chartered bespoke barrel-ageing programme.

The size of the barrel also determines the duration of ageing. A 4-litre cask takes around three months to age its contends, while a 32-litre may require a year or more, depending on the style you’re looking for.

The fun part, of course, will be the tasting sessions with Compendium founder and master distiller Simon Zhao to determine when the product is finally ready. Then it moves on to bottling and labelling, when you can finally receive the finished product.

What’s particularly fun about Chartered by Compendium is that it doesn’t have to stop there. Your empty cask can be used again, refilled with a different spirit for an entirely new permutation. And there’s also absolutely nothing stopping you with refilling the cask with some other liquid for ageing either.

Compendium Spirits Simon Zhao tasting
Tasting sessions with Simon Zhao of Compendium Spirits are guaranteed fun.

Want to make barrel-aged trigona honey using your cask that previously held your rice whisky? Or barrel-aged first-draw soya sauce with a cask that aged your molasses-based rum?

Entirely possible, Zhao said.

“With Chartered, we have used our knowledge to curate an experience that brings our customers onto a learning journey,” Zhao explained.

You might want to be among the first to get on with this program. The first ten customers of Chartered by Compendium Spirits will also enjoy a complimentary cocktail experience for two pax at private home bar Section D, where mixologist Dannon Har will create a bespoke cocktail using your completed customised spirit.

Prices for Chartered by Compendium Spirits are S$1,188 – S$2,088 (4 litres cask, 13 bottles), S$2,088 – S$2,688 (8 litres cask, 26 bottles), S$3,788 – S$4,988 (16 litres cask, 52 bottles) and S$6,788 – S$8,888 (32 litre cask, 103 bottles). For more information, visit https://compendium.sg/chartered/.

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