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.

MR BLACK

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!

MR BLACK

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.

Cigars

(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.

Drinks

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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A post shared by ケリー 〔kelly limerick〕 (@kllylmrck)

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

Martina Bonci, Gucci Giardino 25's bar manager

As the birthplace of Renaissance art and culture, even after the rolling decades, Florence still retains its ancient beauty. The creative place is made livelier with the presence of Gucci Giardino 25, the latest addition to the Gucci House.

In a nod to the flower shop that used to occupy the spot and Gucci’s former CD’s favourite number, the venue embodies the House’s codes while luxuriating in Florence’s vivacity. From dawn till dusk, it offers an all-day menu created according to the ever-changing seasons and inspired by Tuscany’s verdant lands. But it is the cocktails that are the focus here. Bar manager of Gucci Giardino 25, Martina Bonci, hails from the picturesque Umbria. Having taken up the position during the pandemic, Bonci has steered the ship towards safe harbour buoyed by her signature cocktails. We pulled Bonci over for a quick chat about mixology and Gucci Giardino 25.

ESQUIRE SINGAPORE: We have yet to get to Gucci Giardino 25. What can we expect when we visit?

MARTINA BONCI: You’ll be welcomed by a young and smiley team. Expect to have a unique experience in a unique location. It’s not just about having a good cocktail but rather you’ll have an experience you will remember fondly.

ESQ: When people visit Gucci Giardino 25, what should they order?

MB: Our best seller Mémoire di Negroni, of course. It’s the first signature drink I’ve ever made, which also became a bottled drink. I’d recommend the Mémoire di Negroni if they like a ‘dry’ drink. Or if they prefer a sour, [I can point to the] Chi si Ferma è Perduto, which is a twist on Margarita with tequila mint bergamot and spirulina salt.

The signature Mémoire di Negroni

ESQ: How did the Mémoire di Negroni come to be?

MB: I had just joined the Gucci Giardino 25 team. The bar was about to open and I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. I was walking the streets of Florence and I saw a shop selling Fiorentina (the Associazione Calcio Firenze Fiorentina, Florence’s football team) T-shirt merch in its official colour: purple. That’s where I got the inspiration. And since Negroni started in Florence as well, the drink is also a tribute to the city.

ESQ: I’m curious, what was your first drink?

MB: Long Island Iced Tea. It was a bit of a shock, tasting it, to say the least! At the time, I expected it to be more of a tea than an actual alcoholic drink. But I still have it from time to time when I want to have something less “nerdy” than my usual orders.

ESQ: Do you think that there can ever be a “terrible drink”?

MB: One thing I love about mixology is that there’s no such thing as “bad for everyone” or “good for everyone”. There may be some technical errors in [making] a drink, but ultimately, it all boils down to what you’d like to drink. 

Baccarat and MO BAR join forces to create an enchanting celebration for the Year of the Dragon. The partnership, a highlight of Baccarat's Cocktail World Tour, unfolds at MO BAR. Patrons will have an exclusive experience with dragon-inspired cocktails. MO BAR Singapore presents four signature cocktails as part of the "Ripples of Pleasure" collection. Each cocktail is a manifestation of the "joie à vivre," an ode to finding delight in life's little pleasures, symbolised by the elegance of crystal glassware. The cocktails will, of course, be served in Baccarat’s dazzling crystal barware. 

First on the list, the "Blue Manhattan" pays homage to classic New York City vibes, blending Johnnie Walker Blue Label with the oaky finish of Hinoki Bitters.

Next, the "Walker Sour" challenges the line between dessert and cocktail, featuring Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Bourbon Oak Barrel Syrup, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in the elegant Baccarat Narcisse Coupe. 

Meanwhile, the "Disaronno Expectations" in Baccarat Harmonie Highball unveils a tropical-meets-smoky fusion with mezcal, Disaronno Amaretto and Verjuice.

Closing the quartet is the "Insomniac" in Baccarat Beluga Tumbler, awakening the senses with Osmanthus Aged Rum, Mr. Black Coffee, and Coconut Water— a cool, sunrise-ready concoction.

Indulge in the artistry of Baccarat's "Ripples of Pleasure" cocktails and savour the harmonious fusion of crystal and creativity at MO BAR. Priced at SGD38++ each, these cocktails will be available until 29 February 2024. The Baccarat collection is also available at its two boutiques, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Takashimaya Department Store B1.

A lot of whistles were wet

In a symphony of flavour and tradition, Whisky Journey 2023 was held at the iconic Marina Bay Sands Jasmine Ballroom. This year's programme superseded last year's event with a staggering 2,500 attendees and played host to 30 distinguished brands.

Curated by The Whisky Store, Whisky Journey started as Singapore’s paramount whisky exhibition in 2019. Then, the pandemic forced it to pivot into an island-wide bar and restaurant whisky trail that ran over 10 days. In its fourth year, Whisky Journey offers patrons an exclusive portal into the world of spirits. With esteemed distilleries and brands hailing from Japan, Scotland and beyond.

In 2023Whisky Journey didn't disappoint. Showcasing a curated selection of over 300 whiskies and expressions, the event goes beyond mere tastings. There's also an immersion into the expertise of industry stalwarts via masterclasses hosted by luminaries from Bruichladdich, Kanosuke, Tomatin and more.

The Highlights

The 2023 edition not only boasted the title of Singapore's largest Japanese whisky showcase, with more than six eminent Japanese brands to be showcased; there was a new digital wallet feature that streamlined the attendee experience like seamless purchases, exploration of exhibitors and whiskies and the redemption of free samples. All these and more, all within a single platform.

But there was also a celebration of the future of whisky. For whisky culture to succeed in the coming years, newer brands needed to be introduced. Boutique local brands like Sing Sing Whisky and Compendium Spirits were featured among other international luminaries like The M&H (Milk & Honey). Other brand owners and distillers included Ken Usami, the Distillery Owner and Master Distiller of Shinobu and Iain Forteath, the Master Blender at Angus Dundee Distillers.

The Currach boys

Attendees were the first to taste the newly launched Currach Single Malt Irish Whiskey, the Atlantic Kombu Cask. This libation is finished in Killahora Orchards Apple Ice Wine Cask and was only available exclusively at the event. Founder Patrick Shelley shared the intricate craft behind this groundbreaking creation, adding an extra layer of excitement to the array of exclusive Whisky Journey bottlings.

For more info, visit Whisky Journey 2023

We don't give rum a fair shake as we do with whisk(e)y. Wade a little further into the world of rum and you'll be surprised—and entranced—by a multitude of flavour profiles. One of the shining stars of this industry is Neisson, overseen by master distiller Grégory Vervant. The man was in town for Whisky Live to reveal a limited edition rum that is destined to redefine the idea of indulgence.

Dating back to 1932, the storied Martinique distillery has been a hotbed of innovation transcending across three generations. Neisson's output of the organic Martinique rum in 2016 was a pivotal milestone. The distillery was also instrumental in popularising brut de colonne rums by pioneering experimental ageing techniques.

Before WhiskyLive, Vervant held a dinner at Restaurant JAG for a first look at the company's latest endeavour: Zetwal (Creole for "star"). Inspired by t h e celestial bodies charted by seafarers of yore; it pays homage to the Neisson family's maritime heritage. Imagine the Neisson merchant vessel, traversing the oceans—this imagery is found as the company's logo.

The Profile

Using a blend of agricole rhum (2000, 2005, 2012 and 2013 vintages), it's distilled in a Savalle Creole still that was installed in 1952. It has an aromatic depth with notes of exotic fruits and chocolate. On the palate, you get a wonderful citrus welcome. That lays the path for a caramel middle before that long finish of honey.

The liquid is contained within a crystal flask made by artisans at Vista Allegre. The box that it comes in teases other future releases. Etched on the lid is Polaris, the pole star, which guides the way for forthcoming expressions.

Zetwal debuts at EUR1,990 in Europe. At the time of writing, a Singapore pricing wasn't provided by La Maison du Whisky, the local distributor of Neisson. But interested parties can reach out to customersupport@whisky.sg for further details.

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