RAISING THE BAR
New whisky releases to usher in the new year
The interest in malts continue unabated in 2019 with these new releases.
Sherry cask expert Glendronach is making a splash not just with its Revival Aged 15 Years ($299) – which was brought back after being discontinued in 2015, but with the 1993 #393 Aged 25 Years ($1,099). The latter was selected by master blender Rachel Barrie as an exclusive for Southeast Asia, and is memorably composed of apricot Danish and sultana notes, with a dry sour raspberry and dark chocolate finish. Distributed by Malt Wine Asia and retails at The Grande Whisky Collection.
Speyside single malt Glenrothes heralds its return to Edrington ownership with the bright and catchy Soleo Collection, featuring four all-new whiskies now available in Singapore. Newer drinkers will find the 12 Year Old easy to enjoy with sweet vanilla notes, while longtime fans gravitate to the 18 and 25 Years Old, aged in sherry casks. The Whisky Maker’s Cut at 48.8% is the strongest and most appealing with its nutmeg, orange and warming spices. At leading retail outlets including asherbws.com Manzanilla sherry, Bordeaux wine and port barrels contribute their commanding, individual character to the limited release Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy. The 18 Year Old Double Matured Manzanilla is the youngest but also the most all-rounded, with salted caramel and a bitter note of orange peel on the finish. The most popular, 26 Year Old Wine Matured’s amber hue hints at its full-bodied spice and oak, with a dry, tannic finish. The final 27 Year Old has the richest balance of peat smoke and port-finished toffee character, finishing with Bowmore’s signature hint of salt. $2,197, set of three from The Grande Whisky Collection, #05-01 ION, 2 Orchard Turn.
Two new distributors have joined the fray with fresh picks for the market. Interco MLE is established by Jeremiah Kee, who aims to bring in more independent bottlers to Singapore. They are the main distributors of Blackadder International, which is acclaimed for its Raw Cask bottlings complete with cask sediment and bottled at cask strength. Look for a range of rum and Japanese whisky, alongside heavy hitter Scotch gems, such as the Raw Cask Glen Ord 13 Year Old 2004 ($167 from interco-mle.sg). At 61.5%, it’s a powerhouse of ripe fruit with lingering grassy, leathery notes on the long finish.
Zerlina Zhuang is the driver behind Spirits Castle, which also brings in independent Taiwanese bottles along with the exciting single malt from Wales, Penderyn. While the Madeira Finish expression is the best-known Penderyn house style, its Dragon Series is noted for maturation finishes in Madeira, red wine barriques and peated quarter casks. For connoisseurs, the Gold Range is bottled at 46% and the latest Rich Oak ($140 from spiritscastle. sg) edition was officially launched in Singapore. Its youthfulness of green apple and guava notes balance well with accents of cinnamon, vanilla cream and oak.
Special bottlings are all the rage, and 1855 The Bottle Shop has managed to secure a highly rare aged Lowlands single malt for Singapore. It’s the first time that Auchentoshan is participating in a single cask programme, and the result is The Auchentoshan 1987 30 Year Old Single Cask ($1,088 from 1855thebottleshop.com), with just 383 bottles for Singapore. The triple-distilled malt is smooth with honey and melon notes, delicately accented with hints of apple pie and rose petal, finishing with a distinct ginger aftertaste.