Crafted to encapsulate the city’s vibrant energy, The Miami Polo Edition is the first Royal Salute whisky to be fully finished in first-fill rye and first-fill bourbon casks.

So Royal Salute just unveiled the latest in its iconic Polo Edition lineup. The sixth in the specialised collection and the third of significant Polo destinations to be exact, but who’s counting? True to your consumer-honed tendencies, you’d only be curious about at least one of two things: how the honey-golden liquor tastes, and what its vessel looks like.

Except those criteria could easily be ascribed to many aged whiskies. Since I have been bestowed the encounter of a lifetime to understand the brand at the official unveiling in Palm Beach Miami, it’s practically a life mission now to change your common stance.

What carves Royal Salute a distinct position is its ties to the royal family. As a dedication to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, the crafted blend embarks on its journey from where others often culminate—at a 21-year mark, in tandem with the 21-gun salute.

To give further insight on how the polo bit comes into play, imagine; what better union for a queen’s whisky than what’s been nicknamed the sport of kings. Admittedly from a 21st-century perspective, the overlap in the target market just makes perfect sense.

This 15-year partnership began when former England Polo Captain Malcolm Borwick was appointed as brand ambassador. Even if not privy to the Polo that runs in his blood through generations, or equestrian fondness in his entrepreneurial ventures, anyone can see the passion with which he conducts the polo clinics.

When you catch Malcolm Borwick (centre) off the field.

“It’s fun seeing people’s reactions to Polo because very often it’s much harder than what they perceive it to be,” says Borwick in a quick chat, “By the end of the lesson, they look at it with a completely [different] set of eyes. I get a real thrill when they have this newfound appreciation watching the games after.”

He finds a direct beneficiary (and potential prodigy because I’m delusional) in me. I don’t shy from athleticism, and I’ve never thought of the sport as an easy one. Yet after mounting a humbling, stationary wooden mare swinging about a shorter mallet, it truly makes you consider the level of coordination required to hit the ball whilst maintaining an upright posture, on top of directing an animal going 45 miles per hour.

For the launch, the leading professional exhibited his six-goal handicap skills (you work your way up to the highest at 10) for the ‘Royal Salute Polo Challenge in Support of Sentebale’. The charity is notably co-founded by Prince Harry, who also took to the field against fellow greats like Nacho Figueras that evening.

At Wellington’s Grand Champions Polo Club, you witness the modern polo haven that is Miami. It is host to Beach Polo World Cup and after all, where Borwivck spent a good eight years of his life.

“Polo is the sum of all sports to me. It’s teammates, it’s riding horses, it’s beautiful locations, it’s international,” he enthuses, “You can play alongside men and women, the most competitive players or non-professionals, in a team.”

Notes of smooth vanilla and coconut from the bourbon casks are reminiscent of its golden sandy beaches, with subtle spice from the rye a nod to Miami’s vibrant, glamorous lifestyle.

Then it all starts coming together. Royal Salute, Polo, and the city of Miami.

The most youthful of the lot in a striking pink flagon, the visuals of the newest release really bring out the city’s character in a box illustrated with that famous art-deco architecture. To answer your other question: vanilla and coconut notes and a light spiced finish resonate the essence of summer.

I’d like to think the whisky captures how sunset feels on the skin; a toasty glow you bask in. Solely because it goes down warm and lingers warm, much warmer than the other Royal Salute editions as I’m told by guests who can draw the comparison. This is possibly due to a rye cask finish, which is not always the conventional treatment, but one quite so complementary for this combination.

“I enjoy the product, and I love that there can be a relationship between the whisky and this incredible sport that I believe is symbiotic,” Borwick reflects, “We’re extremely lucky to be associated for such a long period of time, and a big ethos of what we’re trying to do is embracing experience. People don’t collect things any more; they collect experiences that are unique; and we love to be able to provide them that in great company as a community.”

The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Miami Polo Edition is available now in limited quantities at select retailers in Singapore and on Le Cercle website from SGD270.

Sora Bar.

Any modern bar these days has got to have a solid concept, respective motif cocktails, and all the vibes in the world. It’s practically law. Positioned near the peak of the city’s first true skyscraper, Sora Bar seemingly has its work cut out for it from the outset.

The bar scene in Cambodia does not lack its speakeasies and distilleries (it’s home to premium rum distillery Samai and World’s Best Flavoured Gin 2023 MAWSIM craft gin). From an outsider’s perspective, they all share a little rough-edged, charactered attitude inherited from the city.

So when you see Rosewood Phnom Penh sticking out from the skyline like a sore thumb—in a good way—and the bar’s cantilevered terrace sticking out like the sore thumb’s sore thumb, you know you’re in for divergence.

Sora (“sky” in Japanese) Bar is located 37 floors up, so obviously, the view’s great. While the outdoor deck hits the standard look of sky- high rooftop bars, the indoor seating features pockets of semi-intimate spaces, an open row by the almost unassuming counter and under a centrepiece of mirrored orbs.

Drinks perpetuate this school of refined thought. Nuance is the keyword here for the 12 progressive tipples in the new The Book of Yokai. The menu is divided into four chapters highlighting the country’s notable exports: rice, sugar palm, Kampot pepper, and banana, then framed according to Japanese folklore entities.

What usually transgresses the line from thematic to pure schtick is how on the nose you go. Here, classics are still revered and twists are subtle.

The Bow ‘n The Arrow has a complex amalgamation of sake and straight wheat vodka, rice and almond milk, grilled lemon and lemongrass. It ought to read highly peculiar on the tongue, but it is actually one of the smoothest in the lineup.

Another crowd favourite is the Green Leaf Fizz, a gin and white port base with citrus, kaffir leaf, matcha, soda and, of course, sugar palm that lingers quietly in the background. Representing the notorious Kampot pepper is Sora 75 in a refreshing aperitivo-style passionfruit sherbet topped with sparkling sake.

Finally, in a highball ode to the staple fruit, The Crow Collins uses the flower rather than other commonly used parts of a banana. This results in a naturally pink hue, a garnish that cheekily nods to the Pinocchio-like Japanese mountain spirit Tengu, and a slight medicinal note that satisfies a personal preference.

It’s easy to see why the bar has made it on the World’s 50 Best Discovery list. And in true Rosewood style, there’s more to experience. Like the food at neighbouring Iza (do yourself a true favour and order the ramen) and award-winning steakhouse Cuts.

If you want to go hardcore, visit Whisky Library for its wide collection of cigars and single malts in classy lounging. Have them neat or in six concoctions that play on the historical aspects of Japanese Samurais. Like Sora Bar, each establishment housed within the penthouse levels effortlessly exudes gentle confidence and brilliant thoughtfulness.

Sora Bar is located at Vattanac Capital Tower, 66 Monivong Boulevard, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh.

From the dramatic landscapes of contemporary Scotland, William Grant & Sons proudly introduces WILDMOOR, an exquisite collection of high-aged rare blended Scotch whiskies. Embodying the untamed beauty of Scotland, WILDMOOR invites whisky enthusiasts on a journey through ancient moorlands, rugged coastlines, dense forests, unspoiled mountain ranges, and imposing lochs.

It started 60 years prior when William Grant & Sons went on a quest to acquire a vast reserve of rare, high-aged malt and grain whiskies from every corner of Scotland. WILDMOOR is one such acquisition. Selected for its unique character, much like the ever-evolving Scottish landscape, these whiskies have matured over decades resulting in a phenomenal depth and complexity.

Further honed under the keening eye of Master Blender Brian Kinsman, WILDMOOR's catalogue can be seen as a "flavour map" of Scotland. Within each glass of WILDMOOR, you're transported to the Scottish territories beyond the confines of a single distillery style. WILDMOOR's core range is recognisable by its dark hue—a unique profile to its whiskies—thanks to the sherry cask maturation.

All WILDMOOR bottle exteriors are designed with the rugged, elemental textures and forms of the Scottish landscape. From rural lowlands to unspoiled uplands, coastlines, rivers, and lochs; each bottle acts as a physical panorama of Scotland's epic beauty.

The Collection

WILDMOOR Dark Moorland: 23 Year Old

WILDMOOR Dark Moorland: 23 Year Old

A blend of Highland and Speyside malts combined with Lowland grain whisky. Matured in both American and European oak, this whisky evokes the windswept moorlands of Scotland, its rich flavour further enhanced by an Oloroso Sherry cask finish.

WILDMOOR Rugged Coast: 30 Year Old

WILDMOOR Rugged Coast: 30 Year Old

Drawing inspiration from Scotland's rugged western coastline, you get notes of peat, sea air and crashing waves. This bold whisky blends smoke with rich stone fruit, culminating in a lingering finish. The Oloroso Sherry cask finish adds an extra layer of complexity.

Travel Retail Exclusives

The Travel Retail exclusives

The Travel Retail exclusives include the WILDMOOR Waking Forest: 23 Year Old, WILDMOOR Tropical Coast: 30 Year Old and the WILDMOOR Black Mountain: 40 Year Old (the Black Mountain is also available for domestic sale).

Waking Forest marries virgin oak and sherry oak that results in smooth vanilla flavours with a rich sweetness. While, the Tropical Coast captures the essence of Scotland’s northwestern coastline in summer. Finished in a Caribbean Rum cask, it is smooth, fruity, and sweet with a touch of rum spice. Lastly, the Black Mountain is an extraordinary blend that features rare grain and Highland malts, enriched with Ghosted Distillery stock. Finished in a Pedro Ximenez cask, it delivers an intense, deep, and elegant experience.

WILDMOOR Travel Retail range is available at an exclusive pop-up. Located in Terminal 1 Departures (Transit), this immersive space invites visitors for a multi-sensory adventure through Scotland’s rugged lands. culminating in curated whisky and food pairings at the pop-up bar. Exclusive gifting and complimentary personalisation are available with every purchase.

The WILDMOOR Travel Retail range, including the 23 Year Old Waking Forest and 30 Year Old Tropical Coast, will be available at Singapore Changi Airport Lotte Duty Free shops until 23 May, 2024, and in selected Travel Retail markets from 24 May, 2024. The rest of the WILDMOOR range will be available at selected retailers and online.

Punch Room Singapore

Every EDITION hotel in the world has a Punch Room. As an EDITION staple, each Punch Room has its own identity. Ours is swathed in "Yves Klein blue". The interior hits you like a punch of the whimsy as you stay for the drinks. With a focus on punch (duh), the bar uses spices and teas that are unique to our litte red dot. 

Believed to be the first "modern day cocktail", punch was originally infused with ingredients that were the go-to in 17th century sailors’ trade routes. As a homage, the Punch Room Singapore replicates said ingredients of the Southeast Asian region, which includes starfruit, butterfly pea and betel leaf. 

But aside from alcohol, the bar also offers a unique afternoon tea experience. This tea time offers savoury and sweet delights inspired by the five main ingredients that make up punch—spirits, spices, citrus, teas and sugar. 

The Savouries

Afternoon Tea experience

Upon arrival, guests receive the signature Welcome Punch. Guests will also choose between organic Jing teas or free-flowing punch bowls and Ruinart champagne. Next comes the first course, a savoury marvel of Poached Lobster. Placed atop blackcurrant and hibiscus tea gélee and citrus cream cheese, it is the perfect fusion with the acidic notes of raspberries and vintage balsamic.

Then, the Signature Finger Sandwiches are dished out. They are available in two combinations—roast beef with blueberries and osetra caviar, and smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese and ocean trout roe. The black and white bite-sized sandwiches are accompanied with a hot and fragrant Black Truffle Cheese Donut. Lastly, the savoury courses end off with a Crispy Tart composed of duck foie gras and spiced spirit poached plum. 

The Sweets

Daeng's Punch

Enter the desserts. Firstly, a Frozen Punch is presented, a rendition of Daeng’s Punch from the main menu. It is a great palate cleanser, marking a refreshing transition from the savoury to the sweet courses. Afterwards, we have the Punch Inspired Desserts. These jewel-like pastries comes in the flavours of the various teas and spices found in punch. They include the Chamomile Mascarpone Kochi Yuzu Tart, Piedmont Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate Pleyel, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Éclair and Matcha Green Tea Namelaka in a hojicha Cone. 

Kusu Island Punch

Following up, Executive Pastry Chef Alex Chong’s Kusu Island Punch Semifreddo is a play on the Kusu Island Punch. No prizes for guessing that this was inspired by the local legend of Kusu Island. Resembling a blue sphere, the dessert is reminiscent of the sculptural blue ceiling pendant in Punch Room.

Finally, the menu ends with an afternoon tea classic, soft buttery scones. Served with house-made strawberry jam and yuzu lemon curd instead of the usual butter or cream, the yuzu's tangy notes gives a satisfying finish to the whole set.

Reserve a table for the Afternoon Tea experience is available from SGD75 per person, from 2pm to 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

We know what goes into the making of cognac. Terroir; ageing in casks; the oversight of a cellar master... these and more give you that Martell taste that you're familiar with. But when you go into the nitty-gritty of the expression? That, mon ami, is when you delve into the soul of the bottle. You'll taste the character from which the eaux-de-vie is sourced. A single cru of the Cognac region. This is Martell's Single Cru collection.

The Single Cru collection takes from these regions—Fins Bois, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Grande Champagne—in the Cognac region. So diverse are these lands, that the Ugni Blanc grapes harvested lend the cognac the unique profile of that cru. Keeping a watchful eye over the project is Cellar Master, Christophe Valtaud, who was behind the L'Or de Jean Martell—Réserve du Château. There are three tiers of the Single Cru collection; each line heralds a new chapter in Martell's history by offering a wide net for enthusiasts to traipse through the Cognac region.

The Discovery Edition

These three cognacs are the Fin Bois, Petite Champagne and Borderies. Each cru lends itself to the profile of the cognacs. Fins Bois, characterised by its reddish clay and limestone soils, produces a light and airy eaux-de-vie. In contrast, Petite Champagne's greyish, chalky soils yield structured eaux-de-vie with robustness and linger on the palate. Renowned for its delicate and elegant eaux-de-vie, the Borderies cru exudes floral and fruity aromas.

The Aged Edition

The Grande Champagne and Borderies from this edition are our next stars. As the most esteemed Cognac terroirs handpicked by Jean Martell centuries ago, the Aged Edition comprises, not only the essence of the terroirs but also the ageing process. The XO Grande Champagne that's aged a minimum of 10 years as an XO and the XXO Borderies has been aged for at least a minimum of 14 years. Expect a blend of nutty, fruity and woody notes from the XO Grande Champagne and a complex offering of fruits from the XXO Borderies.

The Vintage Edition

This tier is the pinnacle of Martell's mastery: the Borderies 1999. These are rare bottlings because the encounter between a specific vineyard and a specific year only happens once. Cellar Master Valtaud starts the process by selecting a Borderies eau-de-vie from the Gallienne estate. Produced in 1999, that was a challenging year as the climate resulted in lower volumes at harvest. But lower volumes meant an increased quality and rarity of the grapes. Immediately after distillation, the eau-de-vie was transferred to fine-grained oak barrels and aged for 23 years to attain its apex in expression. Meant for the connoisseur, the eau-de-vie is presented in individually numbered bottles.

The Discovery Edition retails for SGD200 each; the Aged Edition retails from SGD460 and the Vintage Edition retails from SGD3,000. The Discovery and Aged Editions are available at select retail stores and outlets; the Vintage Edition will be available from May 2024 at select retail stores and Le Cercle.

The sea speaks of salt tang and stories, of siren calls and shanties about sea-faring lovers lost to the briny depths. The Psalms talk about revelation, where ”the secret sources of ocean are exposed”. And over 20 years, hidden along Scotland’s northeast coastline, a Glenglassaugh warehouse accommodated numerous rare casks.

Laid down back in the 1970s, these casks were left nigh forgotten and left to mature through the years with the coastal environment shaping their contents. They were uncovered in 2008 and the rest of the maturation was overseen by Glenglassaugh’s master blender, Dr Rachel Barrie.

Dr Rachel Barrie.

“It is extremely rare to find casks that have been left to mature in coastal locations for such a long period of time,” Dr Barrie says, “and our warehouses, perched on cliffs overlooking Sandend Bay, have acted as the custodians of this old and rare liquid for over five decades.

“These casks give a unique insight into the nature of whisky making at the distillery before it was closed and capture a moment in time like few other expressions can.”

Glenglassaugh’s 49 Year Old Bourbon Barrel and 48 YO Aleatico Red Wine Barrique.
Glenglassaugh’s 51 Year Old Oloroso Puncheon.

The Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection

Termed as the Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection, the range takes its name from the serpentine marble found in the surrounding cliffs of the distillery. For this collection, only three expressions were bottled. They are the 48 YO Aleatico Red Wine Barrique (distilled in 1974); the 49 YO Bourbon Barrel (distilled in 1973) and the 51 YO Oloroso Puncheon (distilled in 1972).

This liquid gold is contained in glass bottles inspired by the sand of Sandend Bay and sealed with a serpentine marble closure. The 48 YO has a pleasing blueberry and peach scent and tastes of blackberry, lychee and raspberry and a hint of sea salt. Whiffs of exotic fruit, like guava, emanate from the 49 YO, with dried fruit enveloping the palate. Finally, the 51 YO has blood orange preserve, spiced vetiver on the nose and tastes of salted treacle infused with a tempting orange and balsamic raisin.

Dr Rachel Barrie signing a Glenglassaugh Sandend bottle.

Limited to a few hundred bottles worldwide, their scarcity is another reason to indulge in this serendipitous find of the year. Prices are available on request.


Coffee has a rep. And it's a well-earned rep, especially in a society that practically reveres as something to kickstart the rest of the day. But you can give that dark brew a little more edge like alcohol. And one Australian company has run with that and made it their forte.

Mr Black—the brainchild of Philip Moore, one of Australia’s foremost distillers, and Tom Baker, coffee-fiend and designer—made its Singapore appearance at the 2019 Asia's 50 Best Bars awards ceremony. Bearing a range consisting of Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and Coffee Amaro, it can be poured over ice and enjoyed during that morning meeting as you quietly sip with a cryptic smile on your face—some might say, a "shit-eating grin".

ESQUIRE: Do you find any correlation between your past industrial design work to what you do now?

TOM BAKER: Once a designer, always a designer. While my day-to-day job now is very different from what it was, the approach is the same: thinking, iteration, and craft. Our goal is to make products that both taste great and speak to people and their desires. That’s what being a designer is, and I still do that every day at Mr Black.

ESQ: What’s the trickiest part of the cold brew-making process?

TOM: Consistency. The production of Mr Black is as much a science as it is a craft. Our head of coffee has a PhD in Chemistry—we’re that serious about it. We’ve made over 1,400 individual batches of Mr Black now, and we have an encyclopaedic knowledge on the impact of coffee varietal, seasonality, roast, and ambient temperature to name just a few variables. All of this rigour is in service of creating an exceptional and consistent bottle of coffee liquor each and every time.

ESQ: There’s as much thought that goes into the packaging as well as with its contents.

TOM: The goal of our packaging is simple: reflect our religious worship of the miracle of coffee, and do justice to the craft and care that goes into the divine liquid inside each Mr Black bottle.

ESQ: Is there any botanical you want to marry with the coffee in the future that you’re unable
to do so now?

TOM: The biggest challenge we have is not with botanicals, but rather coffees. We’re always looking to explore the flavour of coffee through our spirits. By way of example, recently we’ve been working with naturally processed coffees which are subject to a light fermentation before processing. They make delicious hot brews, but their intricate flavour can be lost in a cold-brew technique. There are more isolated flavours in coffee than red wine—Mr Black’s goal is to take that world into the night.

ESQ: What is the worst thing you can do with a Mr Black cold brew or an Amaro?

TOM: People never believe me, but coffee genuinely works well in most drinks. It’s delicious with tonic, soda and ginger beer. With whiskey (to make a Cold Fashioned), it becomes boozy and nuanced. From a craft coffee cocktail before dinner to a neat Mr Black after, there is genuinely no right or wrong way to drink it. The worst thing people can do is not give it a try—Mr Black is truly delicious and has to be tried to be believed. Coffee works with everything—except fish. That’s a strange pairing—don’t do that!


ESQ: I don’t suppose the Mr Black line would have a decaf liqueur in the future? Or is decaf just anathema to the very idea of coffee?

TOM: Death before decaf! Mr Black has the perfect amount of caffeine in it. It’s low enough that it allows you to have one drink before bed without keeping you up all night. Equally, if you want to turn it up, have a few and you’ll start to experience the caffeine a little more.

Mr Black is available online

Originally posted on 6 June, 2019

The move to Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa marked a new milestone for Maduro. Formerly located at Dempsey, the move to the luxury resort on Sentosa Island aligns with Maduro’s vision. Keeping to its goal as a lifestyle destination, providing an unparalleled experience for whisky and music enthusiasts in the region.

The beautiful new venue is filled with globally sourced artwork. Curated by Maduro’s culture-loving founder Peter Ng, the pieces add to its eclectic interior. Guests may spot a Banksy or two when exploring their new space. It is a haven of the arts for patrons looking for a respite from the relentless buzz of city life.

Live Jazz Music

Since its opening, Maduro has managed to build an identity and brand with patrons and the community through the gift of music, cementing itself within the local live music scene. Live music is held on most Friday and Saturday evenings, and it sure does know how to attract a crowd. Music takes precedence at Maduro, whether it's classical music, contemporary, fusion, pop or jazz. Unlike in other bars, when the music starts playing, the crowd goes silent as they listen attentively. No one talks over the music.


(Editor: Look, we really wanna to highlight the negative effects of smoking. We don't endorse smoking but you're an adult with excellent reading comprehension so you can make your own decision, natch.)

With a special private room meant for cigar smoking, Maduro provides a wide selection of Cuban, Dominican and Nicaraguan blends. There is a 24-hour temperature and humidity-controlled walk-in humidor, creating a sublime smoking experience. Additionally, a cosy retail corner offers a range of Davidoff accessories including humidors, cases, cutters, and Maduro merch.


At the whisky bar, a key highlight is Maduro’s focus in sourcing non-mainstream labels for their bespoke whisky selection, presenting a curated range of premium whiskies from Independent Bottlers (IBs). Regular masterclasses and tasting sessions are organised to unpack these gems, where guests are taken on a sensorial journey of smell, taste and storytelling led by a whisky connoisseur. Unlike mainstream whiskies, IB whiskies are bottled at cask strength, displaying the full flavour of the barrel and elements of the environment they were produced in.

Exclusive bottles include: Cask of Distinction Lagavulin 200th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition Aged 15 years, Isabella’s Islay Aged 30 years, and Eidolon Port Ellen 1983 Aged 36 years Sherry Butt, to name a few. Besides whisky, Maduro offers a range of other beverages such as rum, cocktails, champagne and wines.

“We are excited to present these new and choice selections and experiences to our clientele, many of whom are our loyal regulars who have grown with us since our early beginnings,” said Ng. “We look forward to welcoming new guests to Maduro and hope that they too will find comfort, inspiration and joy in our space.”

Maduro is located at 2 Bukit Manis Rd, Singapore 099891 Lower Lobby of Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa

For its latest promotional effort, Martell has brought Hong Kong’s finest together: the iconic Tony Leung and the charismatic Eddie Peng. To celebrate the Martell Cordon Bleu and the Martell XXO, Leung and Peng appear in two films by Wing Shya and Ryan Hopkins.

The Shya-directed short film, featuring the Martell Cordon Bleu, sees Peng leading Leung in a chase over Parisian rooftops. The Hopkins-directed piece featuring the Martell XXO has the two men outrunning an avalanche as they snowboard down the snow-covered slopes.

Together, Tony Leung, a veteran actor and recent Lion d’Or recipient in Venice, and Eddie Peng, a sought-after lead in over 30 box-office hits, mirror the prestige of the two cognacs. And how fitting that these intergenerational titans of the acting world represents Martell’s enduring legacy.

While this isn’t the first time that Martell has dabbled in the world of cinema, it showcases the maison’s audacious spirit in elevating a sensorial journey—one that goes beyond the discerning palates into the untamed imaginations of cognac connoisseurs.

Brands do this all the time. Collaborate with a fellow renowned brand or commission a notable person of interest. Nonetheless, if the brief here is not so much novelty but an apt fit for the occasion: Johnnie Walker clearly understood the assignment.

When you see the work of Taiwanese-American artist James Jean, you can’t think of a better mind to conceptualise what the Year of the Dragon could look like as a Blue Label skin. The vibrant, sinewy, yet altogether modern aesthetic wraps around the bottle in a playful, textural imprint.

According to Jean, the natural motifs prevalent in his work takes on the form of flowers and organic tendrils. These floral traits evoke the idea of roots; a connection. These are the bridges between respect for the past and looking ahead to the future with hope.

Celebrated artist James Jean and his designed Johnnie Walker bottle

Plus, the most powerful creature in the Chinese Zodiac and the highest-grade whisky in the JW collection? Insert Epic Handshake meme. If you're familiar with the Blue Label, you'd know that the blend is made from unparalleled—a term not lightly used here—Johnnie Walker reserves of Scotch maturation.

How Many Makes the Cut?

Chiefly because only one in 10,000 make the cut. It's selected from 10 million casks; of which some irreplaceable ones are sourced from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries (Cambus, Pittyvaich, Brora, Port Ellen, for the whisky experts among you). A 12-strong blending team infuses these rarities from across all four regions of Scotland, and it’s these very complexities that the visual artist was inspired to interpret.

“There are hidden elements in the picture as well—layers to be discovered, just like the layers in this incredible whisky,” he says, “I want the viewer to peel back the layers and discover more about the image. I want my work to function from far away but reveal more details the more closely you explore the imagery.”

Now where better to witness it up close than in Depth of Blue Room. The brand’s first flagship bar in Southeast Asia sits at the Park Hyatt Bangkok penthouse. It enhances the launch experience with a multi-sensory tasting complete with dedicated cocktails, an immersive room and scented touches. It presented a truly extravagant, thematic dive into what makes Blue Label a big deal.

It’s far from the first time a brand has pulled out all the stops. But such a celebration is certainly a worthy altar for a release as limited edition as this.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label (James Jean edition) is out now.

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Lately, with fibre craft on the rise, knitting and crocheting have been the new trend. The laborious craft requires huge dedication and commitment from craft artists. But the final results are testaments to the artists' passion and creativity.

Prominent local crochet artist, Kelly Limerick, is celebrated for her alternative take on the ancient craft of crochet. She was chosen to collaborate with LOUIS XIII to create an artwork called "100", which took four months to complete. Limerick journeyed to the LOUIS XIII Domaine du Grollet Estate in Cognac, France for inspiration for her art. There, she delved into the heritage of LOUIS XIII Cognac, allowing her to comprehend the values that the House holds. She became enthralled by the House’s timeless heritage.

“The sense of history in the old town was unmistakable, and... I grasped why LOUIS XIII is steadfast about its origin and identity,” Limerick noted. “There's an evident pride in the meticulous approach, a serene and unwavering dedication to savoir-faire passed down from one cellar master to the next. Ageing the eaux-de-vie holds an element of unpredictability... It falls upon the cellar master to trust their palate, sampling the diverse eaux-de-vie to craft the familiar blend of LOUIS XIII that we recognise. These two elements—trust in the unknown and confidence in personal skill—resonate with me and have inspired me greatly.”

"100" was unravelled and reworked 100 times to illustrate the progress in time. With its tedious craft-making process, "100" is meant to emphasise the similarity to the laborious production of LOUIS XIII. Limerick confessed that "it involved four months of daily dedication; more time and effort required than if I did 100 individual pieces."

The Work

The final sculpture resembles a vessel with a double-walled bowl within. Crafted as a single piece without joins or internal structures, like a fountain, the sculpture remains hollow. By holding soil from Cognac, it encapsulates the flavourful layers of LOUIS XIII as it ages. This is a cognac that could only be tasted decades later.

Anne-Laure Pressat, Executive Director of LOUIS XIII Cognac shares that “We are honoured to collaborate with Kelly Limerick, having her join us in exploring intertwined concepts of time and preserving artistic heritage for future generations..."

"100" represents THE DROP, the latest product by LOUIS XIII. An embodiment of a new generation that reinvents luxury codes through ownership, THE DROP fosters a unique 'art-de-vivre' akin to Limerick's approach toward art. Coming in a 1cl bottle, THE DROP retails at Tatler Bar at SG$288 and SG$1,440 for a pack of five 1cl bottles. The add-on lanyard accessory with a leather bottle case is priced at SG$168. 

Mezcal Machetazo

Before Mezcal Machetazo, your background is in chemical engineering. How were you first introduced to mezcal?

Mezcal is something I have always been familiar with. It was ever-present in my rural town upbringing. I grew up in Guerrero, which is one of the states in Mexico that produces mezcal. My memories of mezcal are associated with social gatherings of friends and family. Mezcal makes a regular appearance during popular town celebrations such as El Santo Patrón (the patron saint of the town), día de Los Muertos, and in rural funeral family reunions. When loved ones pass on, we traditionally mourn the body for one to two days and serve mezcal during the velorio candle lighting ceremony.

I have always been fascinated with mezcal. It is the perfect combination of nature and ancestral processes that have been around for hundreds of years. My initial goal was to create a quality alcoholic authentically Mexican beverage that I could enjoy at home with friends and family.  

How long ago did Mezcal Machetazo start and where is it produced? 

I started the Mezcal business in 2009. Our brands are handcrafted and produced in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and San Luis Potosí in small-batch distilleries.  

Tell us about the legend uniting Mayahuel, Goddess of Mezcal, and the mighty warrior named Machetazo?

Mezcal Machetazo

This is a legend inspired by Mexican folklore. Warrior Machetazo fell in love with Goddess Mayahuel. She had given him a taste of mezcal from the agave plant. He had lost her and in pursuit of trying to feel reunited, he decided to make mezcal for himself to bring back memories of her. He used his machete to cut the leaves of the agave and when he drank, he could see visions of her. 

What is the difference between tequila and mezcal? 

Tequila is made in Jalisco from one specific agave—it is the blue agave. Mezcal is made out of 20+ different agaves. This process is also different. Mezcal is made in a wood-fired hearthstone oven. There is also a difference in taste. Tequila has one taste while mezcal has a variety of tastes; this is why I can never get bored of mezcal.

Mezcal Machetazo

In comparison to other spirits, mezcal is best when served fresh and joven (young) so you can taste the agave itself and not the flavour of wood in a barrel after it has been aged.  

Mezcal is a product that’s difficult to scale given the long growth cycle of its agave. Why do you choose mezcal?

Mezcal Machetazo

That is true, the right agave plant must be aged for about seven to nine years, making mezcal’s production cycle quite unique in comparison to other spirits. I choose mezcal because of its Mexican authenticity. I am excited to see consumer trends moving away from what is mass-produced and artificially flavoured to fully embracing what is all-natural, chemical-free, and organically planted. This is what mezcal is all about: being unique!

What is the defining characteristic of mezcal? 

In general, Mezcal is fresh and natural with earthy flavours. The flavours depend on which Mexican region it is cultivated from. 

Mezcal has a strong smokey flavour that might be a bit “too much” for consumers. Were you concerned about that?

Mezcal Machetazo

Our Mezcal brand is a hand-crafted product; the smokiness depends on the hand of the maestro mezcalero (master mezcal maker). We considered smokiness when thinking through the consumer experience. In the case of Mayalen and Machetazo, we balance out the smokiness with the flavour so that the smokiness doesn’t take over.  

Mezcal is rather new across Southeast Asia. Are Singaporeans into trying new cocktails? 

Singapore has such a vibrant bar scene. If you need evidence, just look at the list of the best bars in the world. You are likely to find that half of them are in Singapore. People here are open to trying new experiences, cocktails, and flavours. Mezcal fits right in.  

What are your favourite cocktail bars in Singapore?

Mezcal Machetazo

Foxtail is my favourite cocktail bar in Singapore. You will find that Mayalen and Machetazo are served here. Foxtail can craft the best cocktails according to the customer’s request. They are also known for their margaritas and negronis.

What is your favourite cocktail and how would you change it up with Mezcal?  

It is hard to beat a cold Margarita. They are even better with mezcal and a little habanero chilli pepper on the side. 

If there is one ultimate thing you’d like people to know about Mezcal Machetazo, what would that be?

Mezcal Machetazo

You have to try the three different mezcals in the Machetazo and Mayalen collections and go through the journey of finding out the difference in flavour on your own. The mezcal collection is formed of Cupreata, Espadín, and Salmiana agaves. 

Where can people purchase Mezcal Machetazo? 

In Singapore, you can buy directly from our website here.

Moving forward, could a botanical gin made out of agave be your next creation? 

This is an interesting idea. By the way, some of the producers in Oaxaca have already started creating this drink with mezcal Espadín and botanical herbals. 

On a more generic level, what is the main quality an entrepreneur should always have? 

My advice is to have passion for what you do and enjoy it to the fullest. Money comes later if you do it right. 

Would you like to name a mentor who is inspiring you in your daily work?  

My mentors and driving forces are my friends and family. They give me feedback and advice and I listen to it. They are my purpose in life. I live for them. 

Originally published on LUXUO