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Whisky Review #105 – Glenmorangie Whiskies

The Exciseman Whisky Bar

There were so many Glenmorangie events recently that our heads were practically swimming with the whiskies from the distillery. Even though we shared two previous posts about Glenmorangie, we wanted to share a particular event hosted by The Exciseman Whisky Bar because we thought it was truly exceptional.

Brendon McCarron and The Exciseman Whisky Bar

With Brendon in town, it was an excellent chance to share some moments with the trade personnel in Singapore on a cosy Monday afternoon. Lewis and Patricia from The Exciseman Whisky Bar hosted an afternoon tasting session on 1 July 2019. It was a rare chance for Brendon to interact with more trade people in Singapore, and to give all of us a better understanding of what Glenmorangie is all about.

The Whisky Line-Up

The Glenmorangie Whisky Line-Up

WhiskyGeeks has spoken extensively about Glenmorangie and Brendon, so we will not repeat them. What we want to share here are the reviews of the various expressions that we tasted at The Exciseman Whisky Bar. It was a unique tasting because we paired whisky with the wine that the whisky was finished in.

Lasanta 12 Years Old x Pedro Ximenes (PX) Sherry

Lasanta 12 Years Old

The first whisky on the list is Lasanta 12 Years Old. Its name means warmth. We understood from Brendon that the whisky matures for ten years in ex-bourbon casks before finishing in both Oloroso and PX sherry casks. 75% of Oloroso sherry and 25% of PX sherry gives a result of “clean sherry” influence. For the pairing, a PX sherry was used.

Lasanta 12 Years Old

Nose: The first nose was that of cinnamon spice, sweet raisins, toffee and chocolate. With some time, vanilla and honey surfaced. It also becomes relatively oaky.
Palate: We tasted cinnamon, caramel, raisins and hints of chocolate. There was also a pleasant warmth. It was a light and easy dram. With time, sweet vanilla, honey, coconuts and white pepper came out to play.
Finish: The finish was medium, with dark chocolate, hints of cocoa powder, raisins and honey. It was also oaky and dry.

PX Sherry

Nose: It was full of dark raisins (reminded me of Ligo brand), plums and sweet stewed fruits. I could nose this all day!
Palate: Full of raisins, stewed and candied fruits, there was also some honey that I could get on the palate. It was a delicious dram even though I find it a tad too sweet for my liking.
Finish: Long and sweet with raisins and stewed fruits lingering on forever.

Conclusion: I may like the sherry more than the whisky with this pairing. The nose and palate of the sherry bring back beautiful memories of snacking on raisins in my childhood! This is a perfect example of memories helping us to like a particular drink more than others!

Quinta Ruban x Ruby Port

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old

The Quinta Ruban is a port cask finished whisky bottled at 46%. The whisky matures in ex-bourbon casks for ten years and finishes in ruby port casks for two years.

Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old

Nose: There was vanilla, honey, musky caramel, hints of oranges and spice in this one. The sweetness was more muted than the Lasanta 12 YO, but there appeared to be more complexity in the whisky.
Palate: Yes, the complexity continues in the palate. I got the vanilla, honey, cinnamon spice with hints of oranges. There were also dark chocolate and oak to it. The level of maturation and finish in the whisky was more exciting than the Lasanta 12 Years Old.
Finish: The finish is long and oaky, with the slight bitterness of very dark chocolate.

Ruby Port

Nose: The nose was full of chocolate, light raisins and fragrance of grapes
Palate: Extremely sweet with heavy chocolate notes and the fruitiness of grapes.
Finish: Soft and short, there isn’t much of a finish here.

Conclusion: The whisky is the winner over there. The spirit character of Glenmorangie is evident in the Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old. The level of maturation is also excellent with both the bourbon and port influence showing clearly.

Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old x Sauternes

Glenmorangie Nectar D’òr

The Nectar D’òr is a 12 Years Old whisky bottled at 46% too. The whisky matures for ten years in ex-bourbon barrels and finishes for two years in Sauternes casks.

Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old

Nose: Initial nose gave green fruits such as apples and pears. It then developed into melons, honeysuckle, vanilla and hints of white pepper. With some water, I got oranges, lemon zest and a more substantial sense of white pepper.
Palate: There was light fruitiness of melons and apples, but the white pepper were prominent. With water, the orange peels and lemon zest showed themselves alongside white pepper. The overall was spicy, but lingering sweetness hid below.
Finish: Long, oaky and tannic. Water reduced some tannins, but it remained oaky. The fruits were subtle.

Sauternes Wine

Nose: There were light raisins, Qoo white grapes juice and hints of melon and apples.
Palate: I got plenty of sweet Qoo white grapes juice and raisins. It was also tannic.
Finish: The medium finish was oaky and tannic.

Conclusion: I did not like the Nectar D’òr as much as the other two. Perhaps it might be due to the peppery spice and tannins from the Sauternes cask. As you can imagine, I did not like the Sauternes wine very much too.

Astar 2017

Astar 2017

Finally, we had the Astar, which was made using the designer American White Oak Casks that we spoke of during Brendon’s interview. The Astar is fully matured in designer first fill bourbon casks and bottled at 52.5%. It is also a non-age statement whisky.

Astar 2017

Nose: We get coconuts, vanilla, melons, honey, salted caramel, and hints of white pepper. With time, citrus lemon zest appeared alongside the other aromas.
Palate: Plenty of vanilla, lemon and honey in the palate with the higher alcohol percentage showing up as white peppers. There were also hints of coconuts. With time, the coconuts and lemon zest became more prominent.
Finish: The medium finish is full of honey, pepper and oak. With time, the finish lengthened and became sweeter.

There was no bourbon for us to pair with the Astar, as we were all quite high by then. Pairing wine and whisky is no easy feat, and we applauded The Exciseman Whisky Bar for doing so. Brendon also did a fantastic job through the guided tasting, and we learned more about the different wines as we go along.

Conclusion: I think I like the Astar 2017 best among the four. It has the complexity that my tongue was looking for, with the bourbon-matured whisky showing significant wood influence. This was my first time tasting a whisky that was fully matured in the Glenmorangie designer casks, and I must say that I am impressed.

Tasting the Glenmorangie Whiskies at The Exciseman Whisky Bar

If you are keen to try the whiskies from Glenmorangie, look no further than the Exciseman Whisky Bar. They have a wide spread of Glenmorangie to choose from at reasonable prices. We present to you a short list of what you can expect.

  1. Lasanta 12 Years Old @$15 (30ml) or @$22 (60ml)
  2. Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old @$16 (30ml) or @$24 (60ml)
  3. Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old @$18 (30ml) or @$27 (60ml)
  4. Astar 2017 @$20 (30ml) or @$30 (60ml)
  5. Signet @$32 (30ml) or @$48 (60ml)

Full bottles are also available if you are keen to bring them home or open them at the bar to share among friends.

 

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Launch: The Vagabond Club & The Whiskey Library

The Whiskey Library

Have you heard of The Vagabond Club? With a tagline that invites you to get into trouble at their premises, you can expect nothing but fun when you visit. Housed in a 1950s heritage Art Deco building, The Vagabond Club is a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Singapore. Situated near to Little India and Kampung Glam, it is near to tourist locations such as the Singapore River and the Marina Bay enclave. For business travellers, it is also convenient since it is not far away from the Central Business District (CBD).

If you are wondering why I put up a picture that states “The Whiskey Library” and babble on about a heritage hotel, it is because The Whiskey Library is located right inside The Vagabond Club! Yes, this is not a simple hotel lounge; it is a full-fledged whisky bar!

The Whiskey Library

Bartending under the Golden Banyan Tree

The Whiskey Library is spelt with the ‘e’ as an attempt to differentiate itself from the other “Whisky Library”. Housed in The Vagabond Club, it serves as the hotel bar, lobby lounge and a whisky bar all at the same time. The bar counter has numerous official bottlings from various distilleries such as Penderyn, Bruichladdich and Macallan. It also serves the usual Johnnie Walker and Chivas. Cocktails are also available at the bar.

Independent Bottlings

The Whiskey Library also stocks many different bottles from independent bottlers. At the back of the bar, you can see a grand glass shelf stock full of independent bottles. The labels there are astounding. When I visited, I saw bottles from Douglas Laing, Hunter Laing, Gordon & Macphail, Carn Mor, and Signatory Vintage. These are the typical independent bottlers we know. The shelves also contain hard to get bottles from The Boutiquey Whisky Company and Berry Bros and Rudd. Importantly, as The Whiskey Library, it also holds stocks of boutique independent bottlers such as The Single Cask and The Drunken Master!

The Artist behind the Decorations

Artworks

The artworks in the various pictures so far portray a flamboyant and lively atmosphere, and it reminds one of the Indian arts. The artist responsible for the interior design of the bar is Jacques Garcia, a man fascinated by the Indian arts. His idea stems from the proximity of The Vagabond Club to Little India, where the Indian heritage is showcased in abundance. Hence, his designs incorporated Indian artworks and its heritage beautifully in every detail of the hotel and bar. From the elephant at the entrance to the various golden Banyan Trees at the bar, Garcia works with the landscape to create art within the boundaries of an old Art Deco House.

Some Interesting Artworks

The Captured Elephant and the Golden Banyan Tree

Some of the artworks in the hotel belong to the owner of the Vagabond Club. His passion for the art has given him a compassion towards local artists and he houses various artists under his “Artist-in-Residence Program”. You can find out more about it from here.

You can also find unique art pieces within The Whiskey Library, such as the two below.

Self Portrait of Jacques Garcia

 

The Lonely Fox Awaits

The artworks are different, for the first one is a video art (it moves!) and the second one a sculpture. Each artwork inspires in its little way and patrons to the bar can enjoy all the artwork within the lovely space. Do note that the names of each art piece are my own interpretation of the art pieces. They are not in anyway, representing the actual artwork.

The Whisky Library Membership

There is a membership which is offered to anyone who wishes to explore The Whiskey Library. Here are some details that I gathered:

Membership includes

  • 10 nights in the Classic Room at the Vagabond Club
  • 15% off bottles
  • Exclusive invites to the hotel events (whisky related, of course)
  • Buy any 2 bottles at the bar, and you can bring one of your bottles to leave it at the bar, without corkage or storage charge

Each membership cost $3000/year. Sounds rather steep, but that 10 nights at the hotel should be able to cover the cost.

The Official Launch Party

The Vagabond Club and The Whiskey Library held its official launch party on 26 October 2018 and it was a tad disappointing when I discovered that the only whiskies available are three expressions from the Old Malt Cask – a Tobermory 21 Years, a Glenallchie 16 Years and a Bowmore 21 Years. The bar had free flow beer, wines and champagne instead. It appears to have a very different crowd from our usual whisky bars in Singapore as well.

With the party officially over and done with, serious business resumed. We wish The Whiskey Library success and may their whiskies grow! Check them out at 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630 or click here to go to their website.

 

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New Whisky Bar – Tipple and Dram

 

Have you heard from Tipple and Dram Bar? Located at 24 Ann Siang Road, the appearance is that of a wine bar when you first walk into the bright and cheery place with rows upon rows of wine. However, if you go down the stairs to the basement, you walk into a completely different place. Tipple and Dram Bar hides its whisky bar from view, which gave it an air of secrecy and a sense of cosiness when you sip a dram there.

Visiting the “Underground Whisky Bar”

Once you step off the staircase and around the corner, there is a big table with armchairs just inviting you to lounge in them with a Glencairn glass in hand. Continue to walk in, and you will find another table and armchairs to your right, and the bar right in front of you!

Behind the bar, there is yet another table and armchairs just waiting for whisky lovers. If you are not in a big group, the best place to sit is, of course, at the bar. You get a full view of the bottles, and you can just pick the bottles that you want by looking instead of using the menu!

Whisky Selection at Tipple and Dram

Tipple and Dram Bar has a wide selection of special official distillery bottling on offer by the dram. Think of special releases like the Laphroaig Cairdeas (meant only for Friends of Laphroaig) and Bowmore Islay Festival bottling (the bar has an entire range from 2014 to 2017). There are also a series of Cadenhead bottlings to whet the appetite of those who prefer independent bottling.

Geek Choc had a couple of drams from Islay – a Bowmore Islay Festival 2014 and the Laphroaig Brodir. I had an Edradour Fairy Place and a Cadenhead Bladnoch. Our friend, Fab, who went along with us despite a tiring day, comforted himself with a Cadenhead Cragganmore. While we did not get to try a lot of whisky due to time, the drams we had were excellent.

Food at Tipple and Dram

We cannot have this post without talking about the bar food available. We ordered a “Half Half Platter”, which consisted of some hams and cheese.

These were some of the best hams and cheeses I had, especially the cheeses! The French Brie was my favourite as it was incredibly creamy with a super soft and smooth texture. I like the spicy salami as well. The spiciness is well-balanced and pairs well with whisky.

Then, there is the complimentary bread bowl. Flora loves French pastries so you can imagine her excitement at the sight of the bread bowl! Hahaha…The bread complimented the cheese beautifully!

 

What We Hope to See in Future

Tipple and Dram is a very new bar with barely just two months in operation. There is room for improvement definitely, such as leaving the whisky bottle with the customer for a short while so that we can take a picture. It is unfortunate that we only managed one picture of the whisky bottles, but seeing that it is our first time at the bar, we did not wish to encroach on their policies of not having bottles at the bar too.

The selection is broad but not extensive. There is also room for improvement on this one, but the current collection is enough to please a whisky drinker who loves to try the special releases from official distillery bottlings. We understand from the bar manager, Chris, that more will come shortly. They are also working hard to make the whisky bar a haven for everyone to relax and enjoy a dram!

We look forward to seeing whisky flights and more whisky selections at Tipple and Dram. For now, we encourage you to visit them and see the place and the fantastic offer of special distillery bottling that they have available by the glass.

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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An exclusive invite to Diageo’s Bar

Whisky Selection at Diageo’s Bar

Geek Choc and Geek Flora visited Diageo’s bar in late December 2017. One of the employees whom we got to know at Singbev’s recent sales in Suntec invited us. The bar is newly renovated and opens to the employees and their friends just one week before our visit.

The Journey to Diageo’s Bar

The procedure to get into the bar was somewhat exclusive. After our security check-in at the office lobby, our host ushered us to the bar where we registered ourselves as “Friends of Diageo”. After all the necessary check-in, we headed straight for the bar (hidden behind a curtain)!

Mr Johnnie Walker

We were greeted with a grand walkway (attached to a pantry) before we hit the bar. Once we entered the bar, Mr Johnnie Walker was there to greet us. The bar counter was also right in front, with seats all around.

Geek Choc in deep conversation with our host at the bar

It is a beautiful place that is artistically decorated to give a homely feel. We understood that Diageo opens the bar to friends of the employees on Thursdays and Fridays of every week from 6 pm to 8.30 pm and they can invite up to three friends at one go. It is a good initiative and one that we appreciate! The drinks at the bar are free-flow (except the JW Blue Label), and there is a menu for cocktails too!

Comfy tables and chairs behind the bar

We had a wonderful time with our host as we chat about nothing in particular but the conversation veered towards whisky (of course)! We understood that the bar displays some rare and old whiskies through the chat and we were determined to check them out! So, before we left for the night, we went to take a closer look.

The Rare Gems in Diageo’s Bar

Here’s what we found!

Display on the left of the bar

 

Display on the right side of the bar

 

Part of a whisky-making kit

 

Johnnie Walker 1920 Edition

There are indeed rare gems to be seen here, especially that Johnnie Walker 1920 Edition! While that is not for sale, our host reminded us that we can always go for the Johnnie Walker Ghost – the only blended whisky with liquids from mothballed distilleries!

Alas, good times always end too fast. It was 9 pm too soon, and we had to go. It was a short visit but one that inspires us to continue our whisky journey with all of our readers.

 

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Bar Feature: The Wall SG @ Tanjong Pagar

View of The Wall Bar

The bar scene in Singapore is vibrant, and many new bars are popping up almost everywhere in Singapore. While most of the bars serve all kinds of alcohol, some distinctive bars are serving mostly whisky and whisky cocktails. We have featured Quaich Bar – the first whisky bar in Singapore and The Single Cask – one of the cosiest whisky bar ever. Today, we want to present to you, one of our newer bars in Singapore – The Wall SG.

Introduction to The Wall

The Wall is an interesting name for a bar, don’t you think so? It is a quaint, bespoke bar nestled in the shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road. Operations of the bar started on 31 December 2016, and it celebrated its first year anniversary just some weeks ago!

Jeremie Tan, the bar manager of The Wall, is not an unknown person in the industry. He started bartending at a young age back in 2002 and got into the whisky scene as early as 2005. His passion for whisky grew, and so did his collection. By the time he was headhunted by The Wall to work as their bar manager, he already has an impressive whisky collection.

The Wall and its history

The Wall may not have a long history, but it has a fantastic story to tell. An import-export company called Hao Fung International, who has a considerable presence in China, Hong Kong and Macau opened it. Hao Fung International imports and exports high-end whiskies (especially from Japan) as well as 100-pointers wine. They have retail shops in China, Hong Kong and Macau as well as a presence in most of the popular alcohol fairs in these areas.

One of the reasons for opening The Wall was because the boss ran out of storage space from his Singapore warehouse and decided that he has a large enough collection to start a bar. With that in mind, he hunted for an excellent location and came upon the shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road. Wanting to protect his assets that he wants to leave in the bar, he bought the whole unit instead of renting because he did not want the landlords to step into the bar as an owner at all.

With the location set up, The Wall is ready to hire a capable and knowledge bar manager to handle it. That’s where Jeremie comes in. Headhunted from a local restaurant, he set up shop for The Wall and has not looked back since.

The Whiskies available at The Wall

Jeremie Tan behind the bar

Here’s Jeremie, beaming happily behind the bar as we chat about the whiskies that are available at The Wall. As you could see in the picture, there is a row of Ardbeg, and hiding behind Jeremie, is a row of Laphroiag. Besides these, there is a prominent row of SMWS bottles.

Yes, The Wall is the second SMWS bar in Singapore, after The Single Cask. 2018 is the start of their showcase for SMWS bottles. So now, you know another place where you can enjoy some SMWS bottlings. Amongst the bottles in the bar, you can also find Taiwanese independent bottler – S Spirit Shop Collection as well as German independent bottler – Sansibar. Here’s a range of S Spirit Shop Collection that WhiskyGeeks got to try.

S Spirit Shop Collection

If the unique labels attract you, you are not alone! We love them too! These whiskies are affordable and very well suited for the Asian palate. Soft, elegant and gentle are three words to describe these whiskies. We are sure most ladies and whisky beginners will love these whiskies! Do note that these whiskies are Scotch, but S Spirit Shop bottles them.

For the robust whisky lovers, there are always the Scotch and the Japanese whiskies that appeal to you. In the bar, there are various famous Japanese whiskies such as the Yamazaki 18 Years Old. (They have the most substantial number of Yama18 in Singapore! Latest amount is more than 150 bottles). There is also a variety of Chichibus and Nikkas. If you are wondering if they have the Yama 18 Mizunara, the answer is YES!

Rare Whiskies on Display

The Wall has a range of exceptional whiskies on display. These are personal collections of the boss, but customers who are interested in buying can inquire within. Nestled within the wall of the staircase to the second floor of the bar, there is a window which is known as the “Million Dollar Window.”

The Million Dollar Window

The bottles inside this window are worth millions, hence the name. Jeremie shared that there were more previously, but some bottles were sold earlier in 2017.

On the second floor, there are also various rare bottles which are personal collections of the boss. We took some photos.

Rows upon rows of rare bottles

 

Hibiki

As you can see, there are so many good-quality bottles available at The Wall. It is a beautiful place where whisky lovers can attain whisky heaven quite easily!

Plans for 2018

The Wall has many exciting plans for 2018. Besides their collaboration with SMWS, Jeremie shared that The Wall is also tying up with Sansibar and S Spirit Shop to bring more decadent whiskies to the bar. We can expect more good bottles are coming our way this year!

They are also introducing a new idea called “The Whisky Passport”. Acting like a real passport, the whisky passport is a way to document the different whiskies which customers have tried at the bar. There will be around 50 to 60 whiskies in the passport, all of them available at the bar. The price range for these whiskies is kept affordable, from $14 to around $100 a dram. Every time a customer tries a new whisky in the passport, Jeremie or one of his co-workers at the bar will stamp the passport, documenting that the customer has tried the whisky. When the passport is completed, the customer gains a spot of their hall of fame and can choose to keep the passport at the bar or to bring it home. It is a journey or a tour perhaps, and one that helps the customer to understand whisky better.

There is no time frame or expiry date to complete the passport, and all you have to do is order three drams at the bar to get started with the passport. It sounds like an exciting way to try whiskies, isn’t it? Hop down to The Wall to get your passport soon!

Location Details

We believe that it is vital that you know how to get there, so here’s the address of the bar.

The Wall SG: 76 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088497

Directions:

By car: The nearest car park is the parallel parking available right out the bar along Tanjong Pagar Road, but it is often full due to the sheer number of Korean restaurants along the same road. What you can do is drive to Duxton Hill, and park at the open-air carpark before taking a short walk back to the bar.

By Grab/Uber: Watch out for the signage of The Wall when you are near. You should be able to spot it easily.

By Bus: Take bus 80 or 145 and get off one stop after Tanjong Pagar Plaza. The Wall is almost just right at the bus stop.

By MRT: Get off at Tanjong Pagar MRT, and walk towards Tanjong Pagar Road. Cross the road to the hawker centre/wet market and walk towards the shophouses. You will find The Wall easily.

Have fun at The Wall!

 

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Bar in Kaohsiung: The Drunken Master Whisky Bar

The Shop Front of TDM

Our trip to Taiwan in early December had been a fruitful one. Besides attending WhiskyFair TAKAO, we also had the chance to visit The Drunken Master Whisky Bar in Kaohsiung. It is a charming little bar with a shop front and a side door to slip into the bar behind the shop. Hidden in the middle of a row of shops, it is easy to miss this lovely bar if you are in a taxi.
The Drunken Master (TDM) belongs to Mr Li Chunfeng, a young but passionate whisky lover. This bar is also relatively new – the official operation period is about a year. There were two reasons why we went to TDM. 1) We heard excellent reviews from our friends in Singapore and 2) we found out that he is the organiser of the Whiskyfair TAKAO. It was a coincidence that we found out because we messaged Mr Li via Facebook Messenger to find out how to go to his bar. A little chat later, we discovered that he was the man behind Whiskyfair TAKAO. So, it became a must for us to visit TDM.

The First Visit to TDM

We arrived Kaohsiung on Friday morning, 1st December, and after checking in to our hotel, we rested a while before heading out to seek some good food and shopping. In the evening, we took a cab to TDM. Our driver almost missed the bar because it was such a well-hidden gem but we arrived there alright. The scene that greeted us when we opened the door of the bar was what we’d call organised chaos!
People were everything in the tiny bar! Nonetheless, we managed to get our seats from a kind gentleman from Japan who shifted his place to let us have our space. Wow…we were soaked into the jolly atmosphere immediately, even when we knew nobody in that bar! It was only later that we realised that some of the most well-known names in the whisky industry were squeezed in the bar that night!

TDM Bar Counter

We were lucky to be seated in the middle of the bar that evening, right where the TV was. Our inquires for Mr Li did not go unnoticed by many in the bar, and soon we drew a curious group of people who came to chat with us. We found new friends from Taiwan who were regulars of the bar. Then, there were friends from Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Rotterdam and Singapore! Our Singapore friends were none other than the owners of The Writing Club, a bespoke new whisky bar in the Orchard area! Toru Suzuki-san, the owner of The Mash Tun Tokyo, was also amongst the esteemed guests of the bar that night. We spoke to him briefly, and he invited us to his bar! We must save more dough for a visit to Japan again!

The Whiskies We Had

We are sure that you probably are more interested in what we had that night and what we’ll recommend if you visit the bar yourself. Here’s the stuff we drank – in pictures!

Caol Ila Bottles

Due to the chaos in the bar and how shorthanded they were (only one poor guy was behind the bar at first), we waited quite long in between drinks. As Geek Flora is a fan of Caol Ila, we had a few bottles of Caol Ila for comparison. Both Geek Choc and Flora concluded that the XOP Caol Ila 36 Years Old was the best out of the three! Well, it could be due to age, or it could be due to the IB doing an excellent job in choosing the cask! Whatever the reason, if you are a fan of Caol Ila, all three bottles are worth trying to form your conclusion.
Now, we want to draw your attention to both the Bruichladdich 10 Years Old and the Santis Malt Pinot Noir.

Bruichladdich 10 Years Old

The Bruichladdich 10 Years Old is an OB from 1980. When we had the first sip, it was notably different from The Classic Laddie. While The Classic Laddie has a honeyed palate, this one took on a slightly savoury, meaty taste, almost like honeyed ham. The oily mouthfeel helped to make this dram meatier. While it was a somewhat singular dram, it was excellent!

Santis Malt 14 Years Old

The Santis Malt from Switzerland was a surprise. It was a treat on the house by Mr Li. This is one of their oldest whiskies so far – a 14 Years Old. Matured in old beer casks, this 14 years old whisky was finished in a pinot noir cask. The nose, palate and finish of this dram were consistent, reminding us of an aged brandy, and sweet red berries juice. The balance is almost next to perfection!

Highly Recommended Bar

We would encourage you to drop by TDM whisky bar the next time that you are in Kaohsiung. You are sure to find rare gems in this little bespoke bar that draws in well-known whisky experts from around the world! If you happen to drop by, do remember to mention WhiskyGeeks to Mr Li Chunfeng!

Back to the hotel

Time flew by, and before we knew it, it was after midnight. We bid goodbye to Mr Li and his fantastic crew at the bar and headed back to the hotel in a taxi. Before we left, we received more than a couple of invites from our new friends in Japan and Hong Kong to visit them when we can. It was indeed an exciting night and one that we will not be forgetting so soon.

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Media Event: Quaich Bar launched Deanston 14 Years and Bunnahabhain 12 Years

Quiach Bar and Distell invited WhiskyGeeks for a media launch of Quaich Bar’s Deanston 14 Years old and Bunnahabhain 12 Years old Single Cask on 4 October.

Mr Steve Campbell, the retired Managing Director of Distell’s Asia Pacific invited us to taste 4 different whiskies. They were Deanston 12 years old, Deanston 14 years old (Quaich Bar’s special), Bunnahabhain 12 years old and Bunnahabhain 12 years old Single Cask (Quaich Bar’s special).

Deanston 14 Years Old (Quaich Bar special)

Deanston 14 years old matured in refill whisky casks for 9 years before it was finished in Spanish brandy butts for 5 years. As a Highland whisky, it is an easy dram to drink with pleasant honeyed notes even at a high abv of 57.9%. Deanston 14 years old is usually only available at the distillery. The first batch sold out quickly five years old. The current expression at Quaich Bar is the second batch. 1664 bottles are produced in this batch. 200 bottles are available at Quaich Bar with a bespoke label just for its 10th anniversary while the rest are available only at Deanston distillery. With a history such as this, it is no wonder that this bottle is definitely going to be precious to every whisky lover in Singapore.

Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old Single Cask (Quaich Bar special)

Bunnahabhain is an interesting distillery. Located in the northern part of Islay, it is the only distillery in the region to produce mostly unpeated whisky. The 12 years old Single Cask is bottled at cask strength of 55.5%. The expression matured in an ex-oloroso sherry cask for 12 years before getting bottled for Quaich Bar. The single cask yields only 332 bottles of this precious malt. The uniqueness of this liquid gold coupled with its status as the only Bunnahabhain bottled for Singapore makes it extra special.

Quaich Bar X Distell

Quaich Bar is Singapore’s first whisky bar and has won awards internationally. In the past 10 years, Distell and Quaich Bar has forged a strong friendship. Distell’s full malt profile is available at the bar. Deanston, Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Ledaig, as well as South African whisky Three Ships and Bains Cape Mountain Whisky, are all part of the profile.

The Single Cask – An Introduction to an Independent Bottler’s Bar

Picture Credits: WhiskyGeeks

The Single Cask (TSC) is a boutique whisky bar located at the charming Caldwell House in CHIJMES. Almost hidden by a spiral staircase right outside its doors, this cosy place is not your typical whisky bar. TSC dedicates itself to whisky lovers in Singapore and around the world with the motto of “by enthusiast, for enthusiast”.

History of The Single Cask

Ben Curtis founded TSC as a brand  in 2010 with only 4 casks. He spent the next 5 years looking for the right casks and distilleries for his bar. TSC opened its first bar in September 2015 in Singapore. The second bar opened in March 2017 in Stamford, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.

The Single Cask Singapore

Despite its short history, TSC won the hearts of many whisky enthusiasts in Singapore. Returning patrons walk through their doors on a regular basis. The bar stocks a range of more than 350 different labels. Most of these labels are independently bottled and drawn from a single cask. The brand also has its own range of independent bottling which showcases single cask expressions from Scotland, England, USA and Guyana.

Speciality of The Single Cask

Picture Credits: WhiskyGeeks

TSC specialises in single cask Scotch whisky and commits itself to source for only the best. The company supports and represents a number of family owned distilleries and independent bottlers. As an independent bottler, TSC takes care to select whisky casks that are unique and interesting. These casks are then bottled under their own whisky label “The Single Cask”. Patrons visiting the bar can have a dram of these beautiful expressions. If they like it, visitors can buy a bottle to bring home for their own private enjoyment.

Who is Who at The Single Cask

Ben Curtis: As you already know, Ben Curtis is the boss of TSC. He is the “whisky daddy” as he is the oldest in the team and knows the most about whisky and spirits. As a man who is in this trade for more than 2 decades, he has rightly earned the rights to be a “daddy” of whisky.

Brendan Pillai: Brendan is the bar manager of TSC Singapore. As a fellow whisky geek, he is considered the resident expert at the Singapore bar. Brendan also shares his knowledge through his blog, WhiskyMate.

What does The Single Cask offer its patrons?

TSC inclines towards independent bottlers and lesser-known distilleries due to their own experiences as an independent bottler. Within that impressive collection of more than 350 different labels, you can expect to find rare and beautiful expressions that are not found elsewhere.

Besides whisky, TSC offers a range of different spirits and cocktails to satisfy patrons who are not inclined towards whisky. Expect amazing cocktails from their “mixologist” as he creates cocktails suited for your palate.

Besides beautiful expression of whisky, TSC also hosts special events and masterclasses. It is also the first Whisky Ambassador accredited venue in Singapore. Patrons interested to host whisky tasting sessions for their friends or business associates are also welcomed. In addition, TSC offers whisky tasting sessions for corporates team building and networking events. Flexible arrangements and packages are available.

Where is The Single Cask?

TSC Singapore is located at Chijmes Caldwell House, #01-25, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996

TSC Stamford is located at 16 St Mary’s Hill, Stamford, Lincs PE9 2HN

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