Next month sees the return of Singapore’s most biggest collection of whiskies and spirits all in one place, Whisky Live Singapore 2015; a perfect opportunity for members of the public to sample and learn about 70 different whiskies and spirits (if you can make it that far!).
Yes, you guessed it; Whisky Live is baaaack.
After making the rounds at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, St Regis, and two great editions at Raffles Hotel, Whisky Live 2015 will be taking place amidst the lush greenery of Capella Singapore. And this year, the boozy festivities are happening throughout the weekend, which means that if you don’t get to try everything you wanted on Day 1, you can always come back on Day 2. Considering the range of brands being represented, you might have to do just that.
Whilst you can expect a stellar lineup of the ‘big boy’ brands such as Nikka (Japan) and The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich (Scotland), one of my favourite aspects of Whisky Live is the smaller brands and countries represented, as well as the ‘spirits’ area featuring the likes of rum, tequila, gin, etc. These companies don’t have the marketing budget of the major brands, and are often made in small batches, so it’s a great chance to explore new entries on the market.
As much as I love Scotch, if you’ve heard anything about whisky in recent years, you’ll know that countries like Japan and Australia are picking up some serious awards these days. That being said, there are three brands worth mentioning that you many not have heard of coming to Whisky Live this year:
As mentioned, Whisky Live is a great time to discover new brands and bottles. Teeling Whiskey Co. is one of those brands that will be in Singapore for the first time at the festival this November. With the goal of reviving Ireland’s lost reputation as one of the best countries for premium whisky in the world, Teeling is the newest distillery in the Irish city in over 125 years.
Truth be told, I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to Irish whiskey, so I was keen to assess how the flavours and styles differentiated itself from Japanese or Scottish Whisky. To my surprise, Teeling presented itself as a closer comparison to a Scotch blend in my opinion. The Single Grain bottle was particularly interesting in flavour and overall delivering a pleasant, smooth mouthfeel. Price-wise, the Teeling bottles are quite a bargain, ranging around the $100 mark. Well worth trying.
Since its entrance into the Singapore market a couple of years ago, Kavalan has quietly made its presence known among whisky aficionados as one of the most surprisingly complex and flavourful whiskies on the market.
Whilst I would highly recommend the Vinho Barrique and Solist bottling, last week I had the chance to try their Sherry Oak. A gift that keeps on giving, what started out as an assault on the nose yielded an incredibly complex and unusual variation of notes. Worcestershire sauce, sour pickles and mustard combined with sweet tobacco and dried cranberries (trust me, it smells a lot better than it sounds!). As for the mouth, this bottle really packs a bunch, at 46% ABV, rich and spicy were key to the whisky’s robust mouthfeel and long finish.
Washington State is not the first place that pops into your head when it comes to whisky production in the US, but this new distillery is worth mentioning as it’s breaking all sorts of rules, and in many ways, it’s also getting back to the basics of spirit production. Producing an incredibly floral gin (also at this year’s Whisky Live), Dry Fly’s range offers a classic Bourbon 101 (50% ABV) as well as an interesting Port Finished Wheat Whisky for a sweeter finish. The bottle that really took me by surprise was their 100% Wheat Whisky at CASK STRENGTH!!! This 60% ABV spirit is like a retired boxer; potent, a little heavy and sure as hell packs a punch. Whilst not being hugely a fan of the spirit straight, the toffee and spicebox notes after a little airing would do very, very well as a substitute spirit for a Manhattan or Sazerac.
Aside from these three distilleries, there are plenty more to expect from this year’s Whisky Live, with other whiskies from Japan, India, USA, Australia, and Scotland. So if you feel like exploring the world of whisky on the weekend of the 28-29th November 2015, you can pick up tickets right here.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Whisky Live Singapore.
Top Image: Teeling Whiskey Distillery