Now in its eighth year, Whisky Live Singapore proved itself a truly unique experience over the weekend. The event brought in various brands of rum, whisky, gin and other spirits from near and far for attendees to savour and purchase. Taking place alongside the waters of Robertson Quay, rather than in a hotel ballroom like in previous years, proved a pleasant change for the experience, even though it got a bit wet towards the end. Tropical rain for the win!
This year’s event offered plenty of firsts for its attendees. Most notable of these additions was Cocktail Street, where various spirit vendors and local restaurants like Monkey Shoulder, El Mero Mero and Nikka were able to sell food and make cocktails. The public was welcome to attend and experience Cocktail Street, which was completely cashless; the wrist-tags given to eventgoers containing a RFID, which could be topped up with credits to be used at the booths.
One of the many headlining moments of the festival was the unveiling of Nikka’s Coffey Vodka and Coffey Gin for the first time outside of Japan. The Coffey Gin was introduced to the public with a special cocktail to pair with some oysters from their booth partner, Humpback. The event also brought forth an exclusive launch of Glenfiddich’s “Winter Storm”, a 21 year old single malt Scotch whisky finished in an ice-wine cask; the third of their Experimental Series bottles. It tasted as amazing as the bottle looked, and its smooth, sweet body was definitely my favourite at the event.
Another new addition to Whisky Live Singapore was their Appreciation Gallery situated at the STPI, right next to Theatreworks. On display was a number of Compass Box bottle label art, each with their own story behind the artwork. La Maison du Whisky also introduced various labels from their ‘Artist Collection’ line of bottle art, which was used on their Artist line of rare whiskeys. They were conveniently available at their bar just around the corner from the event venue. The gallery also showcased some behind-the-scenes photographs the of farm-to-bottle processes of Velier and Neisson.
Although the event was from 1.30PM to 8.30PM, the party didn’t stop too early, as La Maison’s bar hosted a few special guest bartenders both nights. Melbourne based Boilermaker House guested on Saturday night while Sydney’s Baxter Inn held the bar on Sunday night, bringing over Aussie hospitality to Singapore along with a few special drinks late into the nights. I managed to pop-over on Sunday and had a quick chat with James Irvine, award-winning bartender of Baxter Inn right before they closed off the weekend.
You’re one of two Aussie companies here this weekend, what experience do you plan to bring tonight?
I mean, we don’t think we reinvent the wheel or anything, we just kinda do our own brand. If you’ve ever been to the Baxter Inn, its all ‘come as you are’, welcoming; so we’ll just cater to that experience here.
Are there any special drinks from Baxter tonight?
Ross’ ‘West Coast Cooler’ is my personal favourite, and the ‘Whiskey Apple’, which has been institutionalised by our first venue, which we opened 7 years ago.
What do you think the bar scene is like here in Singapore compared to Australia?
I can say that, and this isn’t a negative thing, we’ve probably had a longer bar culture. In saying that, I think Singapore’s bar culture is amazing. There’s been some venues that we’ve gone to that’s really stood out and said “Woah, this is something new”. I will say one thing though, the tech and gadgets here are second to none. There’s some really cool things going on here.
All in all, Whisky Live Singapore was definitely an enjoyable experience for an absolute beginner to the ins and outs of the spirits industry. Although the tasting area was absolutely crowded, making it tough to really get the back stories of some of the bottles available, that didn’t ruin the fun in the slightest as the overall vibes and spread at the Cocktail Street took the cake for me overall.
For more details about the event, which took place on 25th and 26th November 2017, head to whiskylive.sg
The writer was invited as a media guest of Brand Inc. and stayed at AMOY Hotel over the weekend. All photos taken by the writer unless stated otherwise.