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What you need to know about The Swan Song

 

We are sure that some of you have heard of The Swan Song (SS) and possibly, already visited the bar more than once. SS is a new whisky bar located at Prinsep Street, just a short walk from Dhoby Ghaut MRT. The owners of the bar are Arun and Kelvin, also known as AK for short. They are veterans in the whisky scene and are not strangers to many of us.

AK invited us to SS recently, and we appeared that very night! Haha! It was a coincidence that the invitation came on the same day that we planned for a visit with our friends! We enjoyed ourselves so much that we went down to the bar again the following week.

Have you visited SS yet? What do you know about the Swan Song?

The bar at The Swan Song

 

The bar is born out of a dream

AK met a long time ago over whisky, and as time passes, they become close friends who love to drink and talk whisky. As passionate, like-minded whisky lovers, it is no wonder that talks turn into the shared dream of opening a whisky bar. Things moved faster than they thought, and so The Swan Song is born.

The idea is to share and learn together

SS houses a great variety of whiskies, from the modern to the vintages. The concept from AK is not to hoard, but to share. They believe in sharing good drams with other whisky enthusiasts to enrich one another. Vintages and rare whiskies are expensive and almost unattainable by most, so by opening rare bottles and sharing them with patrons by the dram, SS make these whiskies attainable and available for those who want to try.

Education and Accessibility is in the heart of SS

SS has a noble vision and a worthy mission. Their vision is to educate and spread the word for vintage and rare whiskies while their mission is to make such whiskies available. Both vision and mission are commendable indeed! With a heart to share as many whiskies with other whisky drinkers as possible, SS is a bar which charges fairly and reasonably. AK do not believe in overcharging their patrons for a whisky just because it is rare. They want to charge a price that makes it attainable by the dram and yet be sustainable as a business.

Price is always a consideration

Price is essential to any business, especially one which strive to be sustainable. In SS, you will not find overpriced whiskies, but reasonably priced drams. The essence of what The Swan Song stands for is value. They want their patrons to feel that there is value in what they are drinking and what they are paying for. With their heart in education and accessibility, they think that it is pointless if they priced the whiskies beyond the value of what people would pay for. Therefore, they strive to keep the expenses low. Rental is reasonable, and the decoration is simple and practical. What is important is the heart to serve, and the passion for sharing their knowledge with the customers that come through the doors of SS.

Vintage and rare whiskies are their differentiating factors

When we spoke of differentiation between SS and the other bars in Singapore, it is evident that SS is not interested to replace the other bars but to co-exist in harmony instead. Many of the bar owners and bar managers in Singapore are their friends, so replacement is never on their mind.

What SS offers instead is their vintage and rare whiskies which are hard to come by, even by the other bars. There is also the vast knowledge that AK has, as well as their generosity that is known by the regulars. Besides the vintage whiskies, SS also strives to bring in special bottlings that are hard to find in Singapore. For example, the Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal Islay Festival 2009 bottling is a limited release for the Islay festival only. It is so limited that most Bruichladdich fans outside of Islay will never taste it…until SS bring it in! Singapore is a lucky island!

Check out some of the bottles that we tried at The Swan Song!

(Old Malt Cask) Port Ellen 1983 (22 Years Old) Bottled for the Whisky Festival Noord Nederland

 

(Signatory Vintage) Linlithgow/St Magdalene 1982 (25 Years Old) Bottled for LMDW

 

(Whisky-Import-Nederland) Caol Ila 1982 (25 Years Old)

 

Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal Bottled for Islay Festival 2009

 

(BlackAdder) Bowmore 1973 (27 Years Old)

 

Old Style Jura 1970s (8 Years Old)

As you can see, there are many old and rare bottles which we get to try. It is exciting to try whiskies from the 1970s and 1980s, especially when some of these bottles are distilled during our birth years!

Plans for the Future

We spoke of masterclasses and whether AK will eventually hold tasting sessions or masterclasses at the bar. The answer is a resounding “Yes”, but more needs to be discussed before they finalised anything. What we can tell you is this: you can expect an exciting, value for money masterclass that is also sharing rare whiskies! The price tag might not be the cheapest in town, but you know that you are getting a good deal out of it.

Our impression of The Swan Song

The Swan Song impressed us with their open conversations and their willingness to impart knowledge to their patrons. Their generosity as a host is also undeniable. The cosy bar reminds us of a home, and the hosts invited us to share what they have with an open heart. We feel the honesty and integrity of the people behind the bar, and we know that they are there to share and learn alongside us. They deliver what they want to offer – a free education about whisky and the accessibility of vintage and rare whiskies. The team works together, lending strength to one another and making sacrifices on the home front. We are so proud of AK because they make Singapore just a little brighter with their bar!

 

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New Event: Whisky Fair Takao 2017

Taiwan is slowly but surely getting the limelight in the world of whisky. With Kalavan winning awards and Omar growing in popularity, more people outside of the country are starting to notice Taiwanese whiskies. WhiskyGeeks is, therefore, not surprised that whisky events are also beginning to pop up in Taiwan.

Introducing WhiskyFair Takao 2017

WhiskyFair Takao 2017 is taking place in Kaohsiung this year on 2nd and 3rd December. Held at 85 Sky Tower, it promises to awe visitors with premier whiskies, masterclasses and a good view of the harbour. This event is interesting because of its focus on independent and cask strength bottlings. Imagine a world where you can sample independent bottlings of whiskies from lost distilleries and those that are not easily attainable.

In this event, visitors can expect to taste drams from official bottlings (OB), independent bottlers (IB) and even rare vintages collections from private collectors. There is no better way to get your thirst cured!

What to Expect

The exhibitors’ list for Whisky Fair Takao is impressive. Besides the 39 distilleries and IB exhibitors, there are also 13 bars and whisky shops. Famous IB such as Cadenhead’s, Douglas Laing and Gordon & MacPhail will be there. Even a whisky distillery from Switzerland will be exhibiting! With such an extensive list of exhibitors, visitors to the Whisky Fair Takao are not going to be disappointed. WhiskyGeeks is definitely excited to attend this event.

Annual Bottlings

Whisky Fair Takao is also offering visitors the chance to buy annual bottlings. A restriction of one bottle per customer is imposed so you can be sure that it is good stuff. There will be bottles from Cadenhead’s, The Whisky Agency, and special bottlings from Whisky Fair Takao. For interest sake, there is a Littlemill to be snatched!

Masterclasses

Masterclasses may be overrated, but there is one that we should go at Whisky Fair Takao. The exploration of Old and Rare Whiskies by Angus MacRaild should not be missed considering the offer on hand. A tasting of 6 rare bottles from the 1970s is on the line! At a cost of 4800 NTD (estimated SGD$223), you get 6 drams of rare vintage whiskies. Is that worthwhile? You decide. For us, we have decided to go!

Important dates

Event date: 2nd & 3rd December 2017
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Venue: 85 Sky Tower, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Tips for Visitors to Whisky Fair Takao

If you are heading to Whisky Fair Takao, you may want to consider staying directly at 85 Sky Tower as it is convenient. You don’t have to worry about getting drunk too! Besides, room prices are surprisingly reasonable for this 5-stars hotel! We got a great deal at SGD$129/night for a deluxe room, so why not indulge yourself and treat it as a well-deserved year-end vacation?

WhiskyGeeks will love to meet fellow Singaporeans at Whisky Fair Takao. If you are heading there, give us a shout out and we can meet at the show for a few drams and photographs together!

 

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Whisky Review #16 – Tasting The Dalmore 50 Years Old

We just have to share this! Remember that we posted an article sharing the event of Richard Paterson’s 50 anniversary in the whisky industry? Well, what we did not tell you is that WhiskyGeeks was given the rare chance to have a taste of The Dalmore 50 Years Old whisky! This expression is released to celebrate Richard Paterson’s anniversary so all the numbers associated with this bottle have 50 in them, including the price! Launched at £50,000, up to 50 crystal decanters made by French crystal expert Baccarat and housed in cases made by furniture producer Linley will be hand-filled to order. Each bottle will also come with a solid silver stag, designed by silversmith Hamilton & Inches.

This limited edition was matured in American white oak, Matusalem Oloroso Sherry casks from the Gonzalez Byass Bodega, and Colheita port pipes from the Douro region of Portugal, before it was finished for 50 days in rare casks from Domaine Henti Giraud.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Amber
ABV: 40%

Nose: Typical Dalmore Nose – Orange chocolate with lots of fruitiness! Extremely elegant and refined with sweet oak and red cherries, melons with papayas and peaches too! Hints of overripe pears with notes of cedar wood with elegant violet flowers note came through after a while. Felt like a very dark red longan tea!

Palate: All we can think about was WOW…Orange fizz! A warm sensation of menthol replaced the usual expectations of alcohol when we sipped this precious liquid. The mouth is filled with so many dried fruits – sweet plum with dried apricots and dried longans! We can taste some orange chocolate too!

Body: Perfectly well-balanced whisky that is extremely easy to drink. The fruitiness of the whisky covers the spice of the alcohol and what comes through is a very pleasant note of menthol.

Finish: A medium and warm finish that reminded us of juicy fruits! Perfect for any occasions.

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