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The More We Get Together…The Happier We’ll Be

Singapore has a large number of whisky bars for its relatively small surface area, and each whisky bar offers its patrons a different atmosphere, excellent whiskies and fantastic customer service. Even restaurants are also jumping onto the bandwagon! Before I unofficially join the industry as a blogger, I often thought that the competition is too stiff. How can the bars survive when they are serving the same, small group of whisky lovers in Singapore?

Well, to the uninitiated, that appears to be a tough question to answer. The bars in Singapore are come up with the perfect solution though – instead of “fighting one another”, they choose to work together (hence my blog post title). All these collaborations have come to one remarkable result for four of our bars and restaurants – a joint bottling.

The Whisky Project

Friends and media gathered at New Ubin Seafood Restaurant at Chijmes on 22 October to witness and taste the joint bottling by Quaich Bar, The Swan Song, The Writing Club and New Ubin Seafood. It is a Cadenhead Linkwood-Glenlivet 28 Years Old. The evening, however, was not just a tasting. It was a gathering of friends, and for all of us, it was the friendship that got all of us together in the first place.

We understood that there was never an intention for a bottling that boasts either old age or a popular distillery. The focus of the four bars and restaurant was the taste of the whisky. However, from all the cask samples that the group tried, a Linkwood stood out. It was the obvious choice, for the 28 years old Linkwood-Glenlivet from a sherry butt performs better in every single way.

The Evening with Cadenhead

The Food

Now, before I delve into the tasting, I wanted to make a statement about the food that New Ubin Seafood served to us on that beautiful evening. I think that warranted more than a mention because it was just amazing.

I missed out an excellent dish in the pictures (because all of us delve into the food before we remember that we forget to feed our phones…). That excellent dish was SMOKED PORK CURRY. Possibly the best curry I have ever eaten. The other dish worth mentioning was the cup you see on the right. Inside contained half-boiled eggs and Foie Gras. No, it is not wrong, and yes, it is the best way of eating foie gras – Singapore style.

The Linkwood-Glenlivet 28 Years Old

I believe that many of my media friends have already made their reviews about the Linkwood-Glenlivet 28 Years Old, and I do not wish to add on to more formal reports. What I want to do instead, is to encourage everyone to go to one of these four places – Quaich Bar, The Swan Song, The Writing Club and New Ubin Seafood – and TRY THE WHISKY. It is worth your time, efforts and the usage of your liver. If you have not tried it, you must try it. To all my overseas readers, if you travel to Singapore, go to these bars, and try it!

To give everyone an idea of the whisky, let me say this – it is a sherry bomb that gives you a nose that is full of plums, dark raisins, chocolate and hints of espresso. The palate is sweet and creamy, with slightly roasted notes of coffee. Plums and raisins are prominent with some dryness towards the end, reminding me of tannins. The finish is long, sweet and slightly tannic.

Ok, that is all I will say about the whisky – you must try the whisky so that you are not missing out on the good stuff, and since you are going to try the whisky, why not try the food at New Ubin Seafood too?

The Guy behind the Gathering of Friends for the Tasting

Right, it is not the best picture I have, but this is candid, and therefore, nice. The handsome chap that you see in this picture is familiar to everyone, of course! He is none other than Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, the Chief Marketing Officier at The Whisky Store. While you may know Matthew from his previous life as the brand ambassador for Glenfiddich single malt, he has since moved on to this new role with The Whisky Store.

A tiny interview

WhiskyGeeks did a short interview with Matthew before the tasting, and we asked him some rather personal questions, like why did he move on from being an ambassador when he was doing the job so well. Matthew’s answer was heartwarming. He shared his reasons candidly, saying that he would like to spend more time at home with his wife and children and that being an ambassador means lots of travelling and lesser time at home. He also passed the remark that it can be tiring as a brand ambassador.

As the Chief Marketing Officier, Matthew also gets to work with more brands as he is in charge of all the brands under The Whisky Store. With a much bigger portfolio, Matthew can grow in his journey as a whisky man. The role is also attractive because Matthew still gets to host tasting events (such as the one we went to) and yet get to do a job that is more or less flexible to let him spend more time at home.

Going back to his roots in Marketing

Matthew also shared that his first passion is marketing. He studied marketing as a student and loved every bit of what he did. While he chose to become an ambassador for quite some years, he decided to return to his roots in marketing with this new role that he takes up with The Whisky Store. Building marketing and brand plans come a little harder now, but it is coming altogether pretty quickly for Matthew! From now till the end of the year, Matthew shares that his focus is on his brand plans so that things get going in 2019. It was a lot of work when he started work, but now as things settled down, Matthew began to formulate what he wants to do next year as the CMO of The Whisky Store too.

I understand that his first and foremost target is to understand all his brands and get them in order. Once done, he will begin to develop each brand further. Matthew promises more tasting sessions, and also a better distribution plan for all the 27 brands that he looks after. There is also the bar side of things, which Matthew is looking into creating more synergies with. All in all, it seems like a hectic year ahead!

I am looking forward to Matthew’s work and believe that he would bring each brand to greater heights.

Future Joint Bottling?

Frankly, we do not know if the bars and restaurant gathered for this joint bottling will do yet another project, but it is with the hope that they may consider doing it yet again to benefit the rest of us whisky lovers! It was a lovely evening spent with friends who matter. Coupled that with amazing drams, and nothing else can be better than that!

Quaich Bar is the oldest whisky bar in Singapore, and we pretty much owe our whisky growth in Singapore to Khoon Hui, Joyce and their team at the bar. With Matthew joining the team at The Whisky Store, we can be sure that exciting times lie ahead of us as we move into 2019!

 

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    Five Whisky Bars in Singapore that WhiskyGeeks recommends

     

    Some of our readers asked if we have a favourite whisky bar to go to in Singapore, while others asked for recommendations of the whisky bars that we frequented. We thought that instead of answering them one by one, we would do a little post to answer all these questions. 😀

    As many of you already know, the whisky bar scene in Singapore is getting more and more crowded for a small country. As the number of whisky drinkers increases, the whisky bars popping up in Singapore are growing too. However, some of these bars may not always make the mark for a whisky lover.

    WhiskyGeeks do not profused to visit all the whisky bars in Singapore, but this is something that we will try to do now and then this year. It is a perfect time to have an article on whisky bars in Singapore since our readers are asking and it is also the next article after our first bar feature.

    Without further ado, let us start the journey then! Please note that we list the bars in alphabetical order.

     

    Quaich Bar

    Picture Credits: Quaich Bar South Beach

    Quaich Bar is the oldest whisky bar in Singapore, having celebrated its 10th years anniversary in 2017. They have a fantastic history and one which you can easily find out more in our interview with the owner, Khoon Hui.

    Quaich Bar has two locations. Their flagship store is over at the Waterfront Plaza, besides the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. The second bar is at the newly openly South Beach Avenue. Both bars offer whisky lovers a considerable choice of whiskies from Scotland as well as new world whiskies from South Africa and India.

    Address: 

    Quaich Bar Waterfront Plaza: 390A Havelock Road, Waterfront Plaza, #01-09/10, Singapore 169663

    Quaich Bar South Beach Avenue: 30 Beach Road, #01-16, Singapore 189763

    The Auld Alliance

    The Auld Alliance (AA) impress us with its pure opulence of the place. Decorated like a grand British library of a wealthy man, the AA is the perfect place to wind down. In this bar, you find exquisite whiskies from official bottlings to independent bottlings. As the AA also bottles whiskies under its name, you will find a range of whisky that is bottled for the AA.

    One of the most memorable dram that Geek Flora had in the AA was their bottling of a LittleMill. If you happened to be in the vicinity, you should visit the AA for a dram or two.

    Address:

    9 Bras Basah Road, RendezVous Hotel Gallery, #02-02A Singapore 189559

    The Single Cask

     

    The Single Cask, or TSC for short, is a cosy, little bar hidden in the corner of Chijmes. Brendan, the bar manager, runs the show with his trusty cocktail expert, Ronin. TSC offers you a home away from home with its cosy decorations and friendly bartenders. You wouldn’t go wrong if you pop by TSC for a dram or two after work because the bar offers comforting whiskies all around. What is unique about TSC is the fact that they are an independent bottler. The eye-catching square bottles that hold the golden nectar bottled by TSC are quite a sight to behold because they are going to challenge how you think whisky bottles should look like! Besides a massive range of independent bottling, TSC also offers up a killer menu of cocktails made by Ronin! If you are a cocktail lover, you need to head over too!

    Besides, TSC is also an SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Association) bar so if you are keen to find out more about SMWS, chat with Brendan!

    Address:

    30 Victoria Street, Chijmes Caldwell House #01-25, Singapore 187996

    The Wall SG

     

    We featured The Wall SG in our monthly newsletter for January, and if you have yet to read the article, you can find it here. Jeremie Tan runs the show here together with his colleagues to provide not just whisky, but also food pairing. The kitchen packs a punch here, and if you are looking for a bar with REAL food, The Wall is your perfect place to go! This bar showcases an amazing range of Japanese whiskies as well as a healthy range of Taiwanese independent bottlings of Scotch. Jeremie is also a friendly guy who will ensure that you are super comfortable whenever you are in his bar! There are also exciting new events coming up for The Wall, so do check out the bar feature post for more details!

    Address: 

    76, Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497

    The Writing Club

    The Writing Club is one of the newest whisky bars in town, and we were invited to their closed-doors Christmas party last December. A posh bar with British decorations and super friendly bartenders, you can find a welcoming troop here! The bar offers a range of whiskies that is bound to please. There are the regular official bottlings, and then there are the rarer bottles from mothballed distilleries. The bar also serves up fantastic cocktails that wouldn’t let you down!

    The bar owner, Soo San, also acquired some special expressions from Taiwanese independent bottlers, so if you are looking for something different, head down to The Writing Club!

    Address: 

    390 Orchard Road, #02-10, Singapore 238871

    Some last thoughts…

    While the above five bars are some of those which we go to most often, WhiskyGeeks is planning to visit new bars soon. We encourage our readers to try out new bars if you are still not sure of the whisky profile that you like. It is a better option to try whisky at a bar to decide if you want it instead of paying for a bottle only to realise that you do not fancy the taste profile.

    That’s all for now, folks! Until the next time!

     

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