For some, whisky is a form of liquid gold. From Scotch to Single-Malt, Bourbon to rare blends, each has its own complex profile and multi-layered range of flavours. No one understands this better than Benjamin Tan, the Head of Business Development and “Chief Butler” for TSH Corporation. Whisky Journey started as Singapore’s first island-wide bar and restaurant whisky trail that spanned 10 days in 2020 and 2021. After witnessing its initial success, Whisky Journey returns in 2023 for its most expansive exhibition yet, taking place at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

This year, Whisky Journey goes back to its original convention-exhibition style showcase. The show will feature over 20 exhibitors, with over 100 different whiskies and expressions available for guests to discover, explore and try. We talk to Tan about his passion for whisky, what to expect from this year’s Whisky Journey and its future.

You have operated Whisky Journey since 2019. How did the Whisky Journey’s concept come to fruition?

Actually, I joined the company in 2020. Whisky Journey was due to take place in 2019 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team decided to pause the event until government regulations were a little more slack in 2020. The first edition of the “bar-hopping” whisky journey was in 2020. Back then, I assisted my predecessor in running the event. Therefore, I'd say the initial idea was developed by the previous team and currently the team and I have enhanced it and brought a convention-styled (exhibition style) Whisky Journey since last year.

What is the relationship between Whisky Journey and Whisky Butler, Singapore’s whisky-tasting club?

When I joined TSH Corporation Ltd, Whisky Butler was brought together with me. Now both Whisky Journey and Whisky Butler are part of the concepts under TSH Corporation Ltd, providing an array of whisky products and services to our consumers. 

The 2022 Whisky Journey edition staged at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was an overwhelming success. What can we expect for the 2023 edition?

Do expect this year’s edition to be bigger with more interesting brands coming on board. We even have an independent bottler from Taiwan who is flying in to take part in this year’s event! At the same time, some of last year’s exhibitors are also trying to put together experimental masterclasses for our consumers. So expect more exciting brands and masterclasses coming in this year at Whisky Journey 2023!

Do you plan to introduce more workshops this year 2023?

We've increased the number of masterclasses this year on both days to give everyone a chance to participate.

Who conceptualised the brilliant idea of the Whisky Journey Passport? Can you explain the passport concept to our readers and whisky lovers?

This was the collective effort of the previous team after many rounds of brainstorming. They decided that a jet-setting format of a whisky exhibition is a novelty and an interesting theme to go with. Hence, the passport as a tool to make the whole jet-setting experience more real (especially in times of Covid).

Why is Singapore the ideal location to host Whisky Journey?

Being a Singaporean company, it is always good to build our base from here. Although we acknowledge that competition is stiff here, we firmly believe that it is also the (whisky) hub and trendsetter for the region. 

Who are your major 2023 partners?

Our official water sponsor is Perrier, our media partner is Heart Media and our event goodie bags sponsor is Black Bull by Duncan Taylor, which is also one of our premium exhibitors.

How is Whisky Journey different from other whisky events?

“EEE” is our concept and the key differentiator to other whisky events. The three “E” are namely: Explore; Educate; Experience. You need to allow consumers to explore themselves rather than telling them what is good or bad; educating them about the brand philosophy, brand history, and the process of creating the products allows consumers to understand and appreciate the brand more. Lastly, you need to allow consumers to experience it themselves by allowing them to try it. “Explore” is paramount amongst the three; we make sure that participants will get to find a wide range of whiskies provided by the official brands, and buy directly from these brands. Therefore, at Whisky Journey, you can find limited edition whiskies; aged whiskies as old as 40 years old opened by the dram for consumers to have a chance to try and experience them.

How do you see the Whisky Journey evolving three years down the road?

I hope to take Whisky Journey to multiple cities with more fringe events being organised in different parts of the world for consumers around the globe.

Will you bring this event concept to other capital cities in Asia?

Yes. That is definitely in our plan for the next three to five years.

What is your favourite moment of true accomplishment in the life of Whisky Journey? 

The biggest moment definitely comes from the smiles of all my participants and exhibitors. Because they are all my stakeholders. Only when they are happy, we are accomplished.

Can you share with our reader the name of the mentor who has inspired you the most in your career and life?

I am fortunate to meet many people in my life. I believe that everyone is unique in their own way and there's always something you can learn from them. Combining all these unique experiences, I turned them into my own life principles that guide me on my path. I wouldn’t say there is a single person who inspired me in my professional life but as a collective whole, I’ve learned from everyone who crossed paths with me.

Recently, a speech by a local female entrepreneur resonated with this belief of mine. She said, “One of the biggest life lessons is learning how to admire someone’s gift without questioning your own”. The statement coincides with how I believe that everyone is unique and instead of being jealous of someone’s talent, we embrace and learn from these people. Because life is not about what happened to us, but how we respond to it. You can choose to be bitter or be a better person.

For more on Whisky Journey, click here.

This was originally published on LUXUO.