Tag Archives: whisky

The Macallan and Roja Dove Introduce Edition No. 3

There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon with whiskey (A Macallan Edition No. 3 to be precise) and watches (well, the Bell & Ross VIntage BR V1-92 Military actually) – both, exemplars of a gentleman’s lifestyle and in understanding the heritage and craft of both genres, a noble pursuit for men seeking a greater understanding of the centuries of skill it takes to produce works of art which serve to make life tolerable.

The Macallan Edition No. 3 is a new limited edition whiskey from the label. As implied by the name, it is the third release in the Edition Series which sees Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno and Master Perfumer, Roja Dove uniting the worlds of whisky and aroma to reveal the complexities of single malt character and more importantly, expanding the complexities of flavour profiling beyond that of seasoned whisky drinkers and master sommeliers experience and often, extol.

Discovering Roja Dove and The Macallan Edition No. 3 in an Afternoon of Gentlemanly Pursuits

While it is frequently asserted that somewhere between 75 and 95 % of what we commonly think of as taste actually comes from the sense of smell, there is little empirical evidence to support this quantitative claim, however, though the precise percentage is in dispute, the reality is that If one has ordinary tastebuds like mine, most of us would be unable to detect the hints of whatever flavours compose the profile of the whisky. I am glad to report that the pioneering work of a Master Perfumer like Raja Dove means that story of The Macallan’s oak casks and obsession with wood will finally be truly understood by regular joes who want to get into whisky but hesitate for fear of seeming uncultured for not being able to taste hints of vanilla, cherries or whatever happened to be used to fertilise the grounds. The Macallan Edition No. 3 is a salve in that direction, though a limited edition, serves to widen knowledge of the whisky production and consumption process.

“There are great parallels between the worlds of whisky and perfume and it has been fascinating to work with Roja to explore the power of aroma in individual oak casks and its influence on the resulting whisky. Edition No. 3 is a remarkable journey of the sense, delivering an intense experience of flavour and aroma.” – Bob Dalgarno

Edition No.3, created by Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno and Master Perfumer, Roja Dove is the label’s commitment to unlock the intricate workings and in a feat of true transparency, demystify the processes and flavour profiles; furthermore, it also showcases the absolute skill of the Master Whisky Maker. While Edition No. 1 and Edition No. 2 highlighted the influence each cask has on the taste and flavour of the final whisky, Edition No. 3 provides an insight into the distinctive aromas that combine to build character and depth and create a multi-sensory experience of taste and aroma.

Roja Dove is a fragrance specialist, fragrance historian, and perfumer whose fragrances are sold at luxury department stores worldwide. Beginning in 1981, his career saw him joining French perfume house Guerlain where he worked for 20 years before setting out on his own. Dove is himself, a “rock star” in his field with a celebrated ‘nose’ and ability to identify 800 scents blindfolded. Thus, his inclusion into a whiskey redefining product like The Macallan Edition No.3 is revolutionary, serving to delight old guard whisky aficionados and enlighten a breed of newbies as well.

“Inspiration and innovation lie at the heart of The Macallan and in Edition No. 3 we have collaborated with one of the world’s most respected aroma experts to create a single malt whisky which pushes the boundaries and challenges convention.” – Master Whisky Maker Dalgarno

Master Perfumer Roja Dove

Roja Dove provided his expertise and sensory knowledge to describe distinctive aromas to specific oak tastes and with the assistance of Dalgarno, the mix of aromas and dominant notes to shape the Edition No. 3. As in previous Editions No. 1 and 2, the brand’s exceptional oak casks are the primary contributors for the colours and distinctive aromas but in Macallan Edition No. 3, the a higher proportion of smaller casks are used. What results is increased contact between the spirit and the wood (both European and American oak), delivering an intense yellow gold nectar presenting a sweet and fruity character, bringing to the fore notes of vanilla, fresh cut oak, delicate florals and rich fruit cake.

“We worked together to master the balance of taste and aroma, resulting in an incredibly flavoursome, fresh and citrus whisky with enveloping sweetness. Edition No. 3 is an exceptional example of the whisky maker’s art where Bob has interpreted my thoughts so accurately, when combined with the extraordinary power of scent.” – Roja Dove

The Macallan Edition No. 3 Price and Tasting Notes

The Macallan Edition No. 3 is an alluring whisky that reflects the artistic genius of the collaborators who united to curate this distinctive single malt. With an ABV of 48.3%, the sensory journey of flavour and aroma are not just intimately entwined but obviously presented – the Macallan Edition No. 3 will retail at SG$190.

Colour Barley Gold
Aroma The nose leads with vanilla ice cream, fresh cut oak and delicate florals. Orange oil provides subtle grandeur with hints of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Vanilla leads with sweet notes, guiding citrus profiles followed by chocolate to show

C = Number of cask types (6)
V = Number of casks vatted to create the full year volume (523)
T = Colour tint of the product (T.23)
2017 = Year of Release (2017)
003 = Annual limited release number (Edition No. 3)

Why Taiwan is Thirsty for Whisky

Why Taiwan is Thirsty for Whisky

An upstart Taiwanese whisky is outshining veteran brands on the global stage as the island fast earns a reputation as a stamping ground for connoisseurs. Taiwan’s whisky-drinking tradition is nothing new, fuelled by long business dinners and a “bottoms up” culture of throwing back hard liquor.

In 2015 it ranked as the fourth largest market by value for Scotch, behind the US, France, and Singapore, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

But now a flourishing scene of specialised bars and tasting workshops has emerged as Taiwanese drinkers become thirsty for in-depth expertise.

Helping to galvanize interest is the island’s homegrown Kavalan distillery. Set among rice fields in northeastern Yilan county, it sees a million visitors a year.

“A lot of people only know how to drink, but they don’t know how it is made,” says CEO Lee Yu-ting, who hopes the distillery can “educate” consumers.

Kavalan was founded just 11 years ago by local conglomerate King Car – best-known for mass producing bottled water and canned coffee.

The brainchild of Lee’s father, King Car founder Lee Tien-tsai, experts were skeptical that good whisky could be produced in such a humid climate. But Kavalan has succeeded in wowing the international whisky circle.

It earned its global stripes by taking first place in a high-profile London blind tasting in 2010, beating four Scotches and one English malt just two years after its whisky hit the market.

In 2015 Kavalan’s Solist Vinho Barrique was named the “World’s Best Single Malt Whisky” by the prestigious World Whiskies Awards.

And this year it scooped the “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky” at the same awards for its Solist Amontillado – named after a Spanish sherry which had previously been stored in the casks.

Kavalan has capitalised on the tropical climate to develop a method that allows it to age whisky more quickly, says CEO Lee.

That means it can hit the shelves within five years, compared with 10 years or more in traditional production regions.

“People tend to judge the quality based on its age – that’s not always correct,” says Lee. “Taiwan is the new player in the whisky world.”

Taiwan’s awakening

Just over an hour away from Kavalan’s distillery, in the capital Taipei, a growing number of specialist bars are testament to the island’s burgeoning whisky scene.

Tucked away in a quiet alleyway, “L’arriere-cours” welcomes a steady stream of customers on a rainy night against a backdrop of jazz.

Neatly dressed in dark grey waistcoat and bow-tie, bar manager Peter Huang says the Taiwanese have experienced an “awakening” when it comes to how they drink.

“Drinking used to be pervaded by the ‘gan bei’ culture,” he told AFP, which means draining a glass in a single swig, a drinking style often encouraged in Asia whether at a business dinner or at a private karaoke room with friends.

“Consumers are becoming more curious about what they’re actually putting into their stomachs,” said Huang, attributing the trend to a proliferation of tasting workshops held by bars and local experts.

Stocked with over 400 bottles, from Scotches to Kavalan to India’s Amrut, “L’arriere-cours” does not have a set drinks menu. Instead, bartenders chat with customers to determine what to serve them.

The bar food also reflects its whisky obsession – slices of chicken, more traditionally marinated in Chinese rice wine, are instead soaked in whisky from the Scottish island of Islay.

For regular Mike Su, 35, the personal approach and wide selection has won his loyalty.

“You can try each kind one-by-one to find the drink you like, most suited to your mood that day,” said Su, who works at a technology equipment distributor. “It is finding pleasure through experimenting.”

Edinburgh-based whisky expert, writer and researcher Charles MacLean says the level of whisky knowledge in Taiwan is impressive.

“In my judgement, there are more malt whisky connoisseurs in Taiwan than any other country I have visited,” he tells AFP.

MacLean has followed Kavalan’s rise from the beginning – it was he who arranged the London tasting where it first rose to international prominence. He describes the brand as “consistently excellent”.

“Of course it is not better than Scotch – or any other non-Scotch whiskies – it is different, made with the same care and attention as other whiskies are.”

While MacLean says Taiwan still has to catch up with its more established competitors, it is now on its way. “It is too soon to describe Taiwan as being in the top whisky regions in the world,” he told AFP. “But it already has a reputation.”

Interview: Mathieu Musiner, La Maison du Whisky

Interview: Mathieu Musnier, La Maison du Whisky

If you are around Robertson Quay, Singapore, and in the mood for some rare whiskies and spirits, then La Maison du Whisky is the place to go. Under the direction of General Manager Mathieu Musnier, the establishment brings a wide array of rare and collectible spirits to those who simply cannot resist a dram or two. We speak with Musnier to find out more about the growth of whisky appreciation in Asia and more about the Whisky Live 2016 (November 12-13) that is currently in its seventh year.

How has the whisky appreciation scene grown over the years in Singapore / Southeast Asia?

Whisky and spirits enthusiasts in Singapore have been very dedicated in the exploration and growth of whisky appreciation. The general understanding and knowledge about whisky and craft spirits are already advanced among these fans, and will without a doubt rival those from traditional markets very soon.

There has been a noticeable rise in the Asian market in the demand for the spirit. The increasing affluence in Asia creates a demand for high-end whisky for collection, personal enjoyment or even as an investment. A growing number of distilleries have also been eyeing the growth of the middle class in Asia.

Additionally, we noticed that with the younger generation, whisky is no longer a typical ‘masculine’ indulgence. In some events, we have actually more women coming to us and they are very eager to learn.

Whisky Live 2016 is the 7th installation in Singapore. What can guests anticipate or expect from this year’s Whisky Live event?

We are very happy and excited with the line-up of distilleries this year. There is a significant increase in exhibitors, especially big and iconic distilleries such as The Macallan, Kilchoman and Littlemill who are joining us this year for the first time. Guests can also look forward to visiting last year’s favorites again, such as Teeling and Nikka. Whisky Live is about discovering the big stars of tomorrow and seeing established distilleries from a new perspective, and I believe that we have reached that goal this year.

How do you ensure that this event stays interesting and exciting for the increasing number of guests attending the event each year?

It is important to grow, improve and offer new attractions each year. For 2016, we are proud to introduce our guests to the four different zones at the venue for a holistic experience: The main Whisky Plateau, the Tasting room (for Rum and Brandy), the Patio (for live experiences and food) and the Erasmus Bond Cocktail zone.

For the first time in Singapore, we welcome prolific Whisky writer Dave Broom to Whisky Live; He will be conducting several masterclasses as well as book signing sessions. We are also excited to present a new bar experience for attendees with the recreation of the (renowned) bar Trench from Tokyo, helmed by Master Mixologist Rogerio Igarashi Vaz.

Executive Chef of the Capella Hotel Singapore Chef David Senia has also curated a very special menu for our guests, which we believe will bring their experience with whisky to a whole new level. Potato Head Folk will also offer tasty burgers for a small fee.

On the cocktail front, crowd-favorite Monkey 47 has prepared a very intense weekend with some of the island’s best bartenders, and guests will definitely be spoiled for choice with the return of our most popular Whisky Live Pop-up bar where (bartenders from) 10 of Singapore’s best bars take turns to make the best cocktail for Whisky Live.

Ultimately, we want our guests to enjoy themselves with the best experience at Southeast Asia’s largest whisky and spirits show.

Is there an increasing number of female attendees at Whisky Live each year? If yes, could you offer an indication of statistics and consumer insights on this group?

We always had a large female attendance due to the casual approach that Whisky Live offers when it comes to experiencing and appreciating whisky. From last year’s event, we have seen a double-digit growth in terms of the number of female attendees, and they account for more than 35% of the entire attendance.

Whisky Live has a very educational feel to it and everybody is free to interact with the makers at the booth and ask as many questions as they like. We expect this year’s Whisky Live to garner the same turnout, and of course it would be fantastic if there would be more female attendees!

How has Whisky Live catered to the rise of women appreciating whiskies?

Women do not attend the event just to keep their other halves company; they are passionate about learning, and sometimes they can be even more dedicated to developing their understanding of whisky than their male counterparts.

Additionally, we also recognize that spending an entire day going around and experiencing whiskies can be daunting. This year, we have reserved a special room for our female guests with VIP tickets called the Ladies’ Room. This room will feature a special set of complimentary beauty services provided by Vaniday to help them refresh before continuing their tasting journey.

Asian whiskies have been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years, bagging awards at an international scale. What do you think it signifies in terms of market trends?

In recent years, many talented distillers realized they could make great whiskies, just as the distilleries from Japan have done, as long as they can acquire a good supply of raw materials and a source of clean water in an adequate climate.

There are whiskies from more than 20 countries currently available in Singapore and there is an increasing number of enthusiasts who are willing to discover products from these markets. They know that the next golden nugget might come from the most unexpected location. Whisky Live is no exception as we welcome great whiskies coming from traditional whisky markets (such as Scotland and Ireland) as well as new ones (such as Taiwan and India).

Do you foresee more Asian-made whiskies at Whisky Live in the near future?

In the immediate future, I know that existing Asian distilleries will come to Whisky Live in (ever larger numbers). The current demand for these products is often higher than their production capacity and most importantly, consumers really like their whiskies! As for having more distilleries joining the event, only time will tell where the next great whiskies are going to come from.

La maison du Whisky – 80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-10 The Pier – Singapore (6733 0059)

More info on Whisky Line 2016 on their website (November 12-13)

Kiln Embers

Kiln Embers Triumphs at Whiskies of the World Awards

You may not be familiar with the name but Kiln Embers is a limited edition bottle created for lovers of smoky and peaty whisky. It has taken the top prize at the Whiskies of the World Awards.

Kiln Embers, from independent Scottish bottler Wemyss Malts, was named Best in Show at the second annual event held in Austin, Texas recently.

A panel of 17 judges blind taste-tested whiskies on a 100-point basis with a focus on aromatics, flavor and finish.

With a limited global release of 12,000 bottles, the Kiln Embers was developed as a smokier addition to the distiller’s range, blended with double the amount of smoky Islay malt whisky than its sister whisky Peat Chimney.

The Kiln Embers is non-chill-filtered with a 46 percent abv. The distiller’s tasting notes describe the nose as “snuffed smoke” mingling with salted lemons and sweet cure bacon, while oats and orange peel “toast over embers and heathery peat on the palate.”

The result, says Wemyss Malts, is a sweet smoky finish.

Another winner that stands out on the list is Amrut Distilleries in India, which won a gold award for their Amrut Fusion and a silver award for its Amrut Single Malt.

The Kiln Embers was released last year. For the full list of award winners, visit http://whiskiesoftheworld.com/awards/

Kiln Ember Triumphs at Whiskies of the World Awards

Laphroaig Lore

Laphroaig Lore: Peaty Tribute

Putting nearly 200 years of experience into a bottle is no easy feat as Laphroaig, the Islay distillery, can attest. However, the whisky masters have done just that with the new Laphroaig Lore. More than just a fine whisky, the Laphroaig Lore is an example of how long-held knowledge is passed down through the generations.

To learn more about the Laphroaig Lore, visit Men’s Folio.

Chivas Regal Supports Singapore Entrepreneurs

It is all about luxury whisky, generosity and entrepreneurship with Chivas Regal. This is no wonder; founders James and John Chivas were entrepreneurs who generously contributed to their local community in Aberdeen, Scotland. Carrying this social conscience time and space to Singapore, Chivas Regal launched a platform for local entrepreneurs to collaborate, aptly dubbed The Venture.

Held June 30 at the Aliwal Arts Centre, The Venture featured a total of five social enterprises: Bettr Barista, Edible Garden City, Empact, Gone Adventurin’ and Social Creatives. The event saw generations of entrepreneurs coming together to exchange ideas and meet potential business partners, congruent to the Chivas Regal spirit.

“Ever since its founding in 1909, promoting entrepreneurship has been at the heart of Chivas Regal, especially for those who want to succeed whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others,” said Kyung Min, Marketing Director of Pernod Ricard Singapore.

The Venture also manifests itself globally in the form of an international search for the most promising aspiring social entrepreneurs, and has $1 million in funding and resources available in support. Let’s raise a glass to great spirits.

Drown Your Brexit Sorrows with The Balvenie

If you have the Brexit blues, this multi-sensory workshop by The Balvenie may well be the perfect excuse for you to drown (and down) your sorrows, Scottish-style. Honestly, we can’t think of anything better than a dram to honor Brexit, since Scotland overwhelmingly voted in favor of remaining in the EU.

In partnership with perfumer NoseWhoKnows and the Manhattan Bar, the Scottish firm has created special tasting sessions for the female drinker in mind, training her to identify the multitude of aroma and taste characters in whisky. The affable (and very knowledgeable) Neil Strachan, who is also Regional Brand Ambassador of Southeast Asia, leads the workshop and if his witty Scottish humor and cheeky grin doesn’t put the smile back on your face, little else will. Together with Sandy Blandin, Fragrance Creative Director of NoseWhoKnows, the sessions introduce the five Rare Crafts of the Balvenie through interactive activities that engage and educate women on the different flavor notes in a dram of whisky.

The Balvenie_workshop

“As the world’s most handcrafted single malt whisky, The Balvenie pays attention to the finest details to produce whisky that is acclaimed by the industry and connoisseurs alike. The Balvenie is at the forefront of craft whisky and we are honored to partner with a renowned perfumer like NoseWhoKnows, who are craftsmen in their own right,” said Strachan.

The exclusive workshop will be opened to public and with only 10 participants per session, you’ll have to act fast to secure yourself a spot. Email [email protected] for more details.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about spirits and purchase your very own bottle, today.

4 Asia-Pacific Wine Trends Revealed at Vinexpo

We’ve previously covered wine trends in Singapore and Japan, now Vinexpo brings us the findings from Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Here, we bring you the four major trends of wine consumption in these Asia-Pacific countries.

1) Reds over whites

The consensus is clear: reds continue to be the wine of choice in Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong, accounting for 89 percent, 74 percent and 83 percent of market share respectively.

In Taiwan, this figure is forecasted to grow by another 13 percent by 2019. Taiwanese consumers tipped back 1.45 million 9-liter cases of red wine, compared with 180,000 cases of white and 2,500 cases of rose. Even so, the reception of white wine is expected to grow 14 percent by 2019.

While Koreans generally enjoy reds for its purported health benefits, white wines are also fast gaining favor for pairing well with Korean cuisine. It is also interesting to note that the per capita consumption of wine in South Korea has doubled over the last decade, to average 0.8 liters of wine a year. Between 2010 and 2014, the per capita consumption grew nearly 40 percent, and is expected to rise another 20 percent over the next five years. This marks the consumption in South Korea as one of the sharpest increases in the Asia Pacific region.

img_0193_.8415f142002.h0

2) French wines are still preferred, except…

French wines are reported to be the most popular import in Taiwan with 37 percent of market share and Hong Kong with 27 percent. After French wines, Australian, US and Chilean wines are most popular. Between 2010 and 2014, US wines saw major growth, increasing by 41 percent.

Taiwan’s share of French wines is expected to dip due to the increasing popularity of Chilean wines (currently second in popularity at 18 percent), which are perceived as better value for money. US and Australian wines follow closely behind.

South Koreans bucked the French wines trend, favoring Chilean wines, with 10.2 million bottles imported a year.

3) Getting tipsy over bubbly

Like the Japanese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong people have developed a taste for sparkling wines. Vinexpo reported that its popularity has increased by a remarkable 51 percent over the last five years in Hong Kong, driven largely by the growing popularity of Prosecco and Cava which grew a whopping 89 percent and 110 percent respectively. Meanwhile in Taiwan, a 15-percent increase by 2019 is projected.

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4) Spirits still high in demand

As the world’s third largest market for single malt Scotch after the US and France, Taiwan boasted a consumption of 1.813 million cases of whisky in 2014, a figure expected to swell up to 1.921 million cases by 2019. Cognac and Armagnac are the country’s second most popular spirits.

The focus in Hong Kong, however, is on tequila and rum as its consumption is expected to grow 36 percent and 21 percent between 2015 and 2019 respectively. The popularity of whisky remains stable with 186,000 9-liter cases consumed, topping cognac at 77,000 cases. People in Hong Kong are also increasingly exploring Japanese whisky and American bourbon.

South Korea – the third largest spirits consuming nation in Asia-Pacific after China and India – has reported a decline in consumption of local spirits such as soju and baijiu. However, tequila, vodka and gin have marked improvements of 17 percent, 12 percent and 14 percent respectively.

The Vinexpo 2016 runs 24 – 26 May 2016 in Hong Kong. 

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about wines and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Vinexpo HK Reveals Singapore’s Favorite Wine

In the never-ending battle between red and white wine, Singaporeans have chosen a winner. In the run-up to Vinexpo Hong Kong, consumption trends in Singapore, as well as five other Asia-Pacific countries were analyzed, revealing a clear preference for red wine. It was revealed that red wine represented 70 percent of the market in Singapore, with 645,000 9-liter cases consumed in 2014. In contrast, only 251,000 cases of white wine were consumed in the same year, though that figure is set to grow slightly by 1.2 percent by 2019.

Australian wines have been shown to dominate the import market in Singapore (there is no other market in Singapore as the island has exactly zero wineries), holding a 38.5 percent of market share as compared with Chilean wines at 16.5 percent and French wines at 16 percent.

On another front, whisky remains Singapore’s favorite spirit (judging by our associate publisher and designers’ office bar, we agree), with its popularity projected to rise 14 percent by 2019. Cognac and armagnac – the second most popular spirits – are slated to decline nearly six percent over the next five years, mainly due to the declining numbers of Chinese tourists.

Gin and tequila are the fourth and fifth most popular spirits, with consumption predicted to spike through to 2019: gin is predicted to grow by 29 percent and tequila, 23 percent. Where is rum in all this, we have to wonder…

The Vinexpo 2016 in Hong Kong will be a three-day trade-only show for international wine and spirits professionals to converge to exchange ideas and knowledge. Held from 24 – 26 May 2016, the event is expecting 16,700 buyers from 24 countries and 1,300 exhibitors from all over the world.

Johnnie Walker House Singapore Unveiled

Perched 13 floors at the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore, the latest Johnnie Walker House overlooks the historical mouth of the Singapore River, port to the first shipment of Johnnie Walker decades ago.

Johnnie Walker House Singapore_2

This latest by-invitation-only private suite by Diageo joins 12 other Johnnie Walker Houses around the world, including Scotland, Melbourne, Seoul and Shanghai. Connoisseurs will appreciate the prestigious selection of Scotch whiskies available, including some of the rarest expressions of blended and single malt options from Diageo’s 28 operating and 11 closed malt distilleries. This means that exclusive blends from the John Walker & Sons Collection – which are not available otherwise – and limited releases (not blends of course) from Brora and Port Ellen, are available.

Johnnie Walker House Singapore_5 (1)

The Johnnie Walker House will also be home to some of the finest scotch whisky experts in the world. The Private Client Team, headed by Master Blender Dr. Jim Beveridge, will be on hand to offer guests with advice on whisky cellar curation and direct access to Diageo’s blending rooms, distilleries and craftsmen. Beveridge is based in Scotland of course but Diageo tells us that he is very happy to video conference-in. Expect in-depth knowledge on programs such as the Casks of Distinction, bespoke experiences at an unprecedented level of customization and a truly immersive Scotch whisky experience with the team.

Johnnie Walker House Singapore_3

“Over the last 5 years, there has been rapid growth of interest in rare whisky as a collectables, evidenced also by the success of our Johnnie Walker House limited editions,” said Lawrence Law, Global Director for Johnnie Walker. “With the addition of the Johnnie Walker House private suite in Singapore, we look forward to bringing the rarest of collections to enthusiasts – complemented with exclusive, unforgettable experiences.”

Tasting Notes: The Macallan Edition No. 1

One can never go wrong with The Macallan, as far as Speyside scotch is concerned, as we discovered with the Edition No. 1. Even with what it calls an unconventional take (there’s no age statement), the Edition No. 1 makes its mark in The Macallan family as a new classic. The single malt whisky is the first of a brand new limited edition that will be released annually — hence the name No. 1. At a private tasting session at the Black Swan, we were given an opportunity to learn more about the new whisky and how it was made.

Responsible for sourcing suppliers is The Macallan’s own Master of Wood Stuart Macpherson. Using wood from reputable suppliers such as Tevasa, Vasyma, Hudosa and Jose Y Miguel, the casks infuse the whisky with flavor and character. Even the sweet honey color is attributed to the cask rather than artificial caramel coloring.

The next step in crafting the limited edition whisky falls to Master Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno, who uses eight distinct casks to make the perfect mix. The 500 liter Puncheons, 250 liter Hosgheads and 500 liter Butts contribute 19%, 23% and 58% to the Edition No.1 respectively. Due to its strong flavor, the Gonzalez Byass Butts is used simply for seasoning.

The result is an aroma of orange, dried fruit and apple that comes from The Macallan orchard with a veil of vanilla, toffee and chocolate under oak. The palate is treated to nutmeg; cinnamon, fried ginger and toffee while fruit flavors make an appearance later. Bottled at strength of 48%, it may be strong for some but packs a rich flavor that gives way to a soft lingering finish.

The Macallan Edition No.1 retails for S$190 before GST. For more information, visit The Macallan’s official website.

Luxglove Expands into Rare Whisky

Luxglove, the online marketplace for luxury items based in Singapore, has expanded into curating rare whiskies for sale as well. The site works as a platform for individual sellers and dealers to place their valued collectibles for sale and the team takes pride in their careful selection of goods – requiring the items to be vetted for approval before being put up for the wider market. While they’re starting off in Singapore, there are plans to expand to other cities in the future.

The site previously dealt with Art, Furniture, Collectibles, Watches, and Jewellery. Now they’re featuring precious whiskies from a private collection of Scottish and Japanese brands, including names such as Yamazaki, Karuizawa, Macallan, and Bowmore. We take a look at a few options in their inventory:

Yamazaki 50 Y.O. First Edition bottled in 2005Luxglove-Yamazaki

With only 50 bottles produced, this very first edition of Yamazaki 50 years old, is as rare as they come. If you have about S$85,000 (US $62,778) to spare, then this would be an interesting investment. The highest priced single malt whiskey in Japan, was vatted from an extremely rare, slowly aged, mature key malt that was meticulously chosen from Suntory’s exclusive cache of whiskey malts. While we have not had the opportunity to savor the expertly crafted whiskey, we hear that it has an sweet-sour aroma with a full-bodied yet mellow taste. The slightly smokey, mild woody aftertaste and deep red colour of the spirit, is attributed to the Mizunara Cask in which it was stored.

Macallan (The) LALIQUE 60 Y.O. OBMacallan-Uncrate

This S$60,000 (US $44,310) bottle of whiskey is one of the rarest and oldest whiskeys to have been bottled by The Macallan distillery. Stored in a beautiful Lalique IV decanter, it is described to have hints of cinnamon, blackcurrant and toasted apple with a lightly fired malt caressed by peat. With a sweet cherry colour, the 60 year old edition available on Luxglove, comes with a seal to ensure that it retains its full flavor.

Karuizawa 50 Y.O. 1963 OBLuxglove-Karuizawa

With the distillery shut down in 2001 and a scarce stock left in the hands of a few bars and collectors, any bottle of Karuizawa whiskey is pretty much a legend. The Japanese distillery, located at the base of a volcano that is still live, had imported high quality Golden Promise barley from Scotland aged in sherry casks, but their business eventually became unsustainable and they were shut down. This 50 Year Old, one of 131 bottles released that year, has been bottled exclusively for the Taiwanese Market and it is the second oldest Karuizawa ever bottled. The fact of its rarity makes the taste of it nigh impossible to fathom, unless you’re willing to fork out S$60,000 (US $44,310) for the experience of owning it. Take note, though, that every drop tasted can never be replenished.

For more sales you can check out the site at www.luxglove.com

Images courtesy of Luxglove

Balvenie Madeira Cask Debuts at Changi Airport

Catch The Balvenie’s showcase at Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 from March 2 – April 11 to celebrate the introduction of the 21 Year Old Madeira Cask in an exclusive debut at DFS. This showcase features local craftsmen sharing expertise, whisky-tasting, and a handcrafted V6 Roadster called The Balvenie Morgan. Yes that is indeed a reference to one of our favorite idiosyncratic automobiles, from none other than Britain’s Morgan Motor Company.

You can read the story over at Men’s Folio here and discover the latest Morgan extravaganza at the Geneva Motor Show here.

3 Trends in Premium Spirits 2015

After Grey Goose proved that the world was ready for ultra-premium vodka, the spirits trade followed up with a highly successful effort with tequila. In 2015, rum finally managed to follow on the heels of tequila and push respectability by going premium, while new and emerging distillers created gins made with local botanicals to bring a native twist to the British classic.

Those are among some of the biggest spirit trends highlighted in 2015 according to experts interviewed at the trade site The Spirits Business.

Here are some of the top trends that got the spirits industry buzzing over the last year:

Premium Rum

Analysts saw the launch of Bacardi’s Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron in 2015, a super-premium rum, as a turning point for the spirit that is often cast as a party drink among young revelers. Double-aged using white oak casks, the white sipping rum is marketed as an upscale version of the brand’s flagship rum and was strategically launched at a James Beard Foundation Awards event in the spring. Experts also highlighted the popularity of spiced rums throughout 2015. At the World Rum Awards, the Professor Cornelius Ampleforth took the title of best spiced rum 2015 for its Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old. Notes include licorice, treacle, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, molasses and menthol.

Local Gin

Instead of using generic botanicals, emerging gin distillers in the US, France and Australia brought their own twist to the table in 2015 by infusing theirs with local herbs. Australian brand Four Pillars took Rare Dry Gin to the UK for the first time in 2015, introducing British palates to a distinctly Aussie gin made with Tasmanian pepperberry, lemon myrtle, lavender angelica root, cinnamon, juniper berries, cardamom and coriander seeds. Most interestingly, the small Australian distiller also uses whole, organic Australian oranges to the distilling process.

Bottled Cocktails

Experts predicted that consumers would drink more cocktails at home in 2015. To take the guesswork out of measurements and ingredients, Diageo helped drive the trend with the launch of pre-mixed, bottled cocktails with their line Studebaker Manhattan made with sweet vermouth, bitters and Canadian whisky, and Studebaker Old Fashioned, made with cherry, orange and bitters. Hosts are also serving pitchers of cocktails either as an alternative or addition to wine and beer, making pre-mixed cocktails particularly convenient.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about spirits and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Whisky will be world’s second most popular spirit

Whisky is set to overtake vodka to become the second-largest spirit consumed around the world by 2020, slipping in behind national spirits like baijiu and soju. You read that right, whisky is not already the most popular spirit in the world – that would be the aforementioned baijiu, thanks to 1.3 billion people in China.

This story, compiled by the AFP and somewhat deconstructed by us, cites a new report from the International Spirits and Wine Research Forecast for 2015-2020’s Global Review. It makes the bold claim that whisky will surpass vodka in the all-important cases-moved metric, which is impressive when one considers that vodka is the spirit of choice in much of Eastern Europe.

The analysts behind the report predict that the total consumption of whiskies will rise to 467 million cases and knock vodka from its position as the second-most consumed spirit in the world.

Whisky and tequila are also forecast to be the fastest-growing spirits over the next five years.

Overall, the global spirits market is forecast to grow by 122 million nine-liter cases between 2014 and 2020, to surpass 3.2 billion cases.

Most of the growth will come from Asia, particularly from China and India.

Crown Royal

Crown Royal is first spirit to feature nutritional labeling

Crown Royal

Crown Royal has become the first spirits brand to include information on alcohol and calorie content on its packaging.

After announcing the move earlier this year, parent company Diageo said their latest shipments of the Canadian whisky is the first within their portfolio of alcohol and spirits to feature a serving facts panel.

Information includes alcohol content, number of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving.

Diageo is the world’s largest spirits company, with brands that include Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Guinness and Johnnie Walker.

The move comes as the European Commission discusses making nutritional labeling on alcoholic drinks mandatory by 2016.

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old

Glenfiddich pays tribute to the US with new single malt

Glenfiddich has released a new whisky dedicated to the United States.

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old is a bourbon barrel reserve that celebrates the American spirit and pays tribute to the American oak ex-bourbon barrels that are the backbone of the single malt Scotch whisky industry.

Matured for 14 years in ex-bourbon American oak casks, the single malt has been finished in deep charred new American oak barrels supplied by The Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky.

The whisky will be available exclusively in the US.

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old is certified Kosher and will be available nationally this fall at luxury whisky retail stores, priced at $49.99 for 750ml.

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old

Whisky Live Paris 2015

Europe’s largest whisky tasting event opens its doors

Whisky Live Paris 2015

Paris, better known for its wine culture, is set to host Europe’s largest whisky and spirit tasting show.

For three days starting Saturday, 10,000 visitors will take part in tastings and masterclasses led by whisky masters Dave Broom, Salvatore Mannino and Ian Chang at Whisky Live Paris 2015.

More than 160 exhibitors representing 30 whisky-producing countries will be spread out across 4,000 square meters at the Cite de la Mode et du Design Exhibition Center along the Seine.

The show will serve as the launchpad for new whiskies from brands such as Karuizawa Distillery and Shinanoya in Japan and feature other spirits.

Mixologists Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the Dead Rabbit in New York, which was recently named the world’s best bar at the premiere drinks event Tales of the Cocktail, will also be making an appearance.

Though wine consumption in France has been experiencing a steady decline, interest in whisky has been steadily rising.

The latest figures from the world’s leading wine and spirits fair Vinexpo found that the French are the leading consumers of whisky in the world ahead of the US and UK.

Consumption in 2014 amounted to 13.3 million cases, and is expected to rise 3 percent in the period between 2012 to 2016.

At the same time, interest in bourbon is also rising in France, with consumption set to grow 18 percent between 2014 and 2018 among the French. The world’s largest spirits consumer is the Asia-Pacific region.

Whisky Live opens September 26 and closes September 28.

Royal Salute Eternal Reserve

Royal Salute launches The Eternal Reserve

Royal Salute has launched The Eternal Reserve, a blended Scotch created using a specific technique to create a whisky that is said to “live forever”.

The spirit was created by selecting rare and precious whiskies with an especially long finish which were then blended together and married in 88 casks to form the inaugural batch. The unique Circular Blending process means that the original blend will be used in every subsequent batch for decades to come, said Royal Salute.

Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve

Each time a new batch is released, half of the blend is re-casked in the Royal Salute Vault in Strathisla Distillery, meaning that hundreds of years later The Eternal Reserve could still be found.

The original blend is said to be forever preserved by the perpetual recirculation which creates a smooth, voluptuous whisky.

Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve

The bottle itself has been made with great care and precision with the porcelain flagon design themed around its Circular Blending process.

Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve is available now, priced $180 per 70cl.

International Space Station

Can You Really Age Whiskey In Space?

International Space Station

An unmanned cargo ship loaded with emergency supplies — including Japanese whisky — successfully docked at the International Space Station early Tuesday, officials said.

But thirsty astronauts will have to keep their hands off the golden tipple — it’s a science experiment.

Drinks giant Suntory sent the booze to space so it could test how time in a zero-gravity environment affects its flavour.

suntory whisky

Researchers for the company have said that storing the beverage in an environment with only slight temperature changes and limited liquid movement could lead to a mellower flavour.

The cargo was placed inside the 5.5-tonne vessel Kounotori, which blasted off from southern Japan last Wednesday attached to an H-IIB rocket.

Suntory has previously won the world title for the world’s best whisky and produces the drink at the oldest distillery in Japan.