SINGAPORE - Imagine a bottle of wine that costs as much as a Housing Board flat.
The most expensive item at the third annual Masters of Wines and Spirits showcase over the weekend was a bottle of 60-year-old single malt Scotch whisky that cost $350,000. Part of The Dalmore Constellation Collection, it is of 1951 vintage and the oldest whisky available from the Scottish distillery.
It was one of 79 individual bottles and collections of high-end spirits and wines at the one-day exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore last Saturday. The event was organised by luxury retailer DFS Group.
The entire collection is on sale at DFS concessions in Changi Airport Terminals 1 to 3. It is displayed as part of the Masters of Wines and Spirits World Traveller Showcase until the end of February.
"Pure liquid gold" is how Mr Richard Paterson, 64, a master blender of The Dalmore, describes the $350,000 bottle of whisky. He explains: "It started life in an American white oak barrel and was born on June 7, 1951. I have tried it many times. When you drink it at night, it is still there in the morning when you wake up."
The dark, rich whisky is said to have aromas of citrus and honeyed chocolate, roasted coffee, allspice and walnuts. Mr Paterson says that an individual from China has expressed interest in buying the whisky. As of press time, it had not been sold yet.
He was here for the annual wine showcase and has visited every year since it began in 2011.
"The event has the finest wines and champagnes every year," he says.
The most expensive item at last year's event was The Dalmore 1926 which contained whisky distilled in 1868, 1878 and 1926. It was priced at $300,000 and was sold shortly after the event last year.
This year's event has topped that. It includes a set of five cognacs in crystal decanters from the French brand Camus, housed in a large lacquered wood display casing that resembles a piano. It is called the Camus Cuvee Masterpiece Organoleptic Piano and costs $318,000.
Mr Frederic Dezauzier, 57, global brand ambassador for Camus, says: "Our president Cyril Camus wanted to come up with a three-dimensional form for the aroma of our cognacs and the artist came up with this form.
"These cognacs are from the private collection of Camus, a fifth-generation family business."
The premium spirits and wine featured in the exhibition are frequently accompanied by commissioned artwork. One example is a collaboration between champagne brand Dom Perignon and American artist Jeff Koons. The Dom Perignon Balloon Venus consists of a bottle of vintage 2003 Dom Perignon Rose encased in the artist's interpretation of the ancient Greek goddess of love, Venus. It costs $24,700 and is made to order.
Such artisanal packaging for fine wines and spirits is designed to appeal to more discerning consumers, say industry players. Mr Francois Rosset, 44, managing director of DFS Singapore, says: "We have a good combination of local and international customers who are becoming more and more sophisticated. The market for premium spirits and wine here is definitely growing."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.