Here's Your Chance To Sample Some Of The World's Rarest Whiskies
The fad surrounding popular distilleries may have subsided, but it’s only because today’s market for whisky has matured—outgrowing its association with the hipster imbiber and a market's infatuation for big brands only to fall in love with a wider variety of quality pours, not to mention a whole new world of rare bottlings.
It is also this confidence in this growing Asian demand for fine whisky that has led to the birth of The Grande Whisky Collection by The Whisky Trust. Located at Ion Orchard Singapore, the 3,600 sqft space that was launch today is said to be home to one of the largest collections of fine and rare whiskies in Southeast Asia, with a collection of over 4,500 bottles from some of the oldest and most established distilleries—including some closed ones.
“Through The Grande Whisky Collection we want to share our passion and knowledge of whiskies, and provide a space where seasoned and experienced whisky aficionados will feel at home, yet beginners or those just starting their whisky journey will also feel welcome,” says Christopher Lee, Director of The Whisky Trust, who also affirms a maturity among consumers over the years, particularly among younger Asian whisky drinkers, and females who are developing a taste for fine whisky.
“You will experience a journey from the highlands of Scotland to the distilleries of Japan, tasting, smelling and seeing the whisky-making process, surrounded by some of the rarest, oldest and finest whiskies in the world,” Lee expounds, adding that he does have a soft spot for Bowmore whisky. There is quite a collection on show, including the some of the Islay distillery's oldest—the 1957 and the 1965.
One the best ways to acquaint yourself to the variety offered is via a quick tour, available daily. Whisky ambassadors will explain the whisky making process and talk guests through the various distilleries across Scotland, before finishing the tour with insights into the whiskies of Japan. Keep an eye out for the Hibiki 35 in porcelain bottles.
Tours are conducted in small groups of no more than ten people, guaranteeing an intimate and personal experience. Upon exiting the Vault where its rarest bottles are kept, visitors will be guided to the Grande Hall overlooking Orchard Road, lined with bottles of whisky stacked from floor-to-ceiling, where they will have the opportunity to taste a variety of carefully-curated whiskies. While the topics will vary, this tasting session is aimed at helping guests indentify the difference in colour, aroma and taste, and to better understand the complexities of whisky.
The opportunity to taste two of its rarest bottlings will cost extra, available next door at Saint-Louis House by the dram or bottle, but we are talking about the Royal Lochnagar 31-year-old single cask and the Yamazaki 50-year old single malt.
Fact is, should you feel compelled to taste any of the prized expressions on display, you can do so, but in a more comfortable setting at Saint-Louis House.
The former hails from the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, a stone’s throw from Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish residence. The distillery’s storied history and reputation for being Queen Victoria’s favourite following her visit in 1848 and subsequent Royal warrant aside, the Royal Lochnagar 31-year-old was hand-selected for the Whisky Trust and was aged in a single whole cask. Made with water from the nearby Scarnock Springs, all 194 bottles from the cask are available at The Grande Whisky Collection.
The latter is from Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery, the Yamazaki distillery, which opened in 1923. But it is perhaps best known for fetching the highest price ever achieved for a single bottle of Japanese whisky at a recent auction. It is one of the rarest and oldest Japanese single malt whiskies, matured for over half a century in the finest Japanese Mizunara oak cask giving it an elegant, unique aroma of eaglewood.