Bigger, more varied Whisky Live

Whisky Live is back for its fifth instalment with food pairings, double the number of participating spirit brands this year and double the number of masterclasses for the public.

There will be at least 70 brands this year, up from 40 last year, as well as a total of seven masterclasses open to the public. Only one masterclass is reserved for trade professionals. Each class is limited to 30 people and is subject to availability.

For the first time, the doors will also be open to the public from 10am to 10pm, unlike in previous years, where the first part of the day was reserved for only trade participants. It will be held at Raffles Hotel's Bar And Billiards Room on Oct 25.

It is organised by La Maison Du Whisky, a French whisky and spirits distributorship in Singapore.

Mr Julien Nicolay, 31, general manager of La Maison Du Whisky in Singapore, says he expects a turnout of about 1,500 people, up from 900 last year, because of the rising interest in whisky and craft spirits. This is also evident from the increase in the number of craft cocktail bars here.

Over the years, Whisky Live, which used to feature only whiskies, has evolved to include other spirits, such as gin, vodka, rum and cognac, as well as other speciality liquers. On the reason to widen the focus of the once whisky-only event, Mr Nicolay says: "The line between whisky and other spirits is subtle. There is a good synergy between whisky and other spirits. People like to discover new things."

Some interesting artisan and small-batch spirits which are being launched at this year's event include Don Papa rum from The Philippines and Chalong Bay Rum from Thailand.

Those keen to nibble and heighten their whisky- and spirit-tasting experience can also look forward to food pairings from Burnt Ends, a restaurant in Teck Lim Road which specialises in grilled food; and The Cheese Ark, an artisan cheese shop at PasarBella at The Grandstand in Bukit Timah. Food items and the types of cheese which will be showcased have not been finalised yet.

Ticket holders will also be treated to cocktail creations by five of Singapore's top cocktail bars, which will be holding a friendly competition to see whose cocktail will resonate with visitors.

Each bar will be working with different spirits. For instance, 28 Hong Kong Street will be using Babicka vodka, while Jigger & Pony will be working with Nikka whisky. In addition to these, Monkey 47, a gin from Germany, will also have its own bar, while some booths will also be offering their whisky expressions in a cocktail.

Every ticket holder is entitled to a free cocktail from the bars participating in the contest, and from the Monkey 47 bar. Additional cocktails are priced at $5 each. Other highlights include a Collector's Room, which will feature at least 40 rare whiskies and spirits. It is open to only 150 people.

The room caters to Singapore's strong collectors' market and the increasing number of affluent whisky aficionados here.

rltan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 14, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

 

A toast to new offerings

Be spirited away by these new offerings. Here are some highlights of this year's Whisky Live. Prices have not been finalised yet, but will likely be 10 to 15 per cent lower than recommended retail prices.

Chalong Bay Rum

Origin: Thailand

The rum distillery is named after its location, in Phuket's Chalong Bay. Made with local sugarcane and water, the rum is smooth and has tropical notes.

Don Papa Rum

Origin: The Philippines

The small-batch rum is made in a distillery located at the foothills of Mount Kanlaon in Negros. The rum, which is aged in oak barrels for seven years before it is blended, has notes of mandarin zest, dried apricots and strawberries. It is slightly sweet on the palate, with a strong taste of vanilla, candied orange peel and cinnamon.

Dark Corner Distillery, Moonshine

Origin: The United States

The unaged whisky is made from corn, red wheat and barley. Expect a rich, buttery kettle-corn aroma accented with the smell of Graham cracker piecrust, with notes of farm-fresh sweet cream and toasted spice on the palate.

Milagro Tequila

Origin: Mexico

The distillery's tequilas are characterised by bottles with a beautiful hollowed-out agave design. Try the Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado, which has a honey-amber hue, as well as vanilla and light oak notes on the nose. On the palate, it is dry and clean, with flavours of vanilla, white pepper and cinnamon.

Dodd's Gin

Origin: England

The distillery is located in Battersea, in the inner-city district of south London. The small-batch gin is made with organic botanicals, such as juniper, angelica, fresh lime peel, bay laurel, cardamom, red raspberry leaf and honey. It has a dry, lime sherbert finish.

Whisky Live 2014

Where: Bar & Billiards Room, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road

When: Oct 25, 10am to 10pm

Admission: Standard entry - $80 (early-bird price $69); Masterclass Pack, includes one masterclass - $110 (early-bird price $89); Collector Pack, includes entry to the Collector's Room and two free drams in the room - $120 (early-bird price $99, limited to first 20 people); Collector VIP Pack, includes one masterclass, access to the Collector Room and two free drams in the room - $150 (early-bird price $120, limited to first 20 people). The early bird promotion ends tonight at midnight.

Info: For tickets and more information, go to www.whiskylive.sg and Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg/events/whisky2014 or call 6348-5555).