Brass Lion Distillery makes history by releasing Brass Lion Whisky, the Lion City’s first-ever made-in-Singapore whisky.
Eyebrows were raised when Brass Lion Distillery announced that they were going to make Singapore’s first-ever single malt whisky. Brass Lion was well known for making gins, sure. Flavourful locally-inspired expressions such its Singapore Dry Gin, Butterfly Pea Gin, and Pahit Pink Gin can be found used in cocktails across the island.
And a proper single malt whisky as well, produced from barley and not rice like Compendium Spirit’s Hom Mali Rice Whiskey.
It’s not white labelled, like some others. Neither are we talking about distillate that’s first made overseas – in, say, Scotland or Japan – and then shipped to be aged here. And it’s definitely not (already good) whisky that’s poured out of their bottles for further ageing on Singapore soil.
Brass Lion Distillery’s ambitious plan was to make the product, from start to finish, here in Singapore (except for importing the malt, of course, since Singapore doesn’t produce any barley). In 2019, they collaborated with The General Brewing Company – you’ll know them for producing the brews by That Singapore Beer Project and Daryl’s Urban Ales, among others – to custom create a beer wash using two-row Maris Otter malt, commonly employed in making English ales, and using top fermenting ale yeast. 2000 litres of wash were produced, which was turned into 180 litres of new make spirit after double distillation. These were then poured into an ex-bourbon barrel, to quietly mature on the distillery premises. The spirit was tasted every six months, until it was deemed to be ready.
“Experimentation is at the heart of everything we do. Whether it’s through flavours or technique, we always try to push the boundaries of what local distilleries can do. We had the resources to create a whisky, so why not? It was a challenge but being the first always is,” muses Brass Lion Distillery founder Jamie Koh.
Three years later, Brass Lion Whisky is now a thing.
Why three years? Singapore doesn’t have any whisky regulations to speak of. But a minimum of three years maturation would adhere to most international whisky standards and regulations to be called a whisky. Also, the folks at Brass Lion decided to allow Singapore’s climate to naturally mature the whisky. Singapore’s severe tropical heat and humidity would accelerate the ageing process – compared to cool temperate Scotland with its more benign diurnal swings – so it wouldn’t need as long to reach its desired maturation.
This highly-anticipated release is technically a single cask whisky with an outturn of 427 bottles. 70 of those bottles have been drawn at cask strength of 65% ABV, with the remaining moderated to a less robust 48% ABV.
“Scotland, Japan… whisky can come from anywhere, including our little island.”
The launch of Brass Lion Whisky may have just placed Singapore on the whisky world map.
A limited number of Brass Lion Whisky and Brass Lion Whisky – Cask Strength is available from 9 September 2023 at Brass Lion’s web store with the price of S$328 and S$468 respectively.
Official Whisky Maker’s Tasting Notes
Brass Lion Whisky (500ml)
nose Wood-kissed vanilla with notes of dried apricot.
palate Honeyed sweetness with a rich mouthfeel balanced by notes of bitter almond
finish Smooth and creamy with a hint of nutmeg spice
Brass Lion Whisky – Cask Strength (500ml)
nose Warm oak with aromatic notes of creamy vanilla and dried apricot
palate Rich caramel and honeyed sweetness complemented by flavours of bitter almond and nutmeg spice
finish Smooth and full-bodied, with a lingering finish
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