Under normal circumstances, six hours in a room with all the whiskey and spirits you can explore would be a dangerous proposition. Not for the whiskey and spirits enthusiast: Whisky Live returns for a fourth edition on Saturday, 19 October at The Raffles Hotel, and will feature close to 40 distilleries, bottlers and importers.
Here's why you should be there:
New and rare whiskey
Between different distilleries, regions and countries, whiskey vary remarkably in aroma, flavour and texture. Experiencing the kinks and quirks of a new label for the first time is one of the great joys of drinking whiskey, and you'll get plenty of opportunities to do that here. Take Mackmyra, a distillery from Sweden that uses juniper smoke to give its Svensk Rök whisky a peaty character and stores its barrels 50 meters underground in an abandoned mine. Or Kavalan, the much talked about and bemedalled Taiwanese distillery that makes its whiskies with water drawn from the springs of Xue Shan (translated from Mandarin to mean "Snow Mountain"), south of Taipei.
Established distilleries and bottlers also use the event as an opportunity to roll out special and limited edition bottles – past highlights have included a 1965 Strathisla and a 1972 Glendronach. This year, Nikka launches the Nikka Coffey Grain exclusively in Singapore. This new single grain whiskey is distilled mainly from corn in a patented Coffey still in Miyagikyo Distillery.
While the Jägermeister counter won't be making an appearance, there is no shortage of artisanal spirits to sample. Whisky Live 2013 will see the launch of The WestWinds gin which is crafted with exotic botanicals like wattle seeds and Australian bush tomatoes. You'll also be able to try the wormwood-infused Czech vodka Babička (the word means "grandmother"), small batch cognacs of Merlet, the single estate and single vintage tequilas of Ocho and Rhum Agricole (rums made with pure sugar cane juice) from the French Caribbean brought into Singapore by Eastory Rums. And don't forget the mixers – Fever Tree is right up there.
Win tickets to Whisky Live 2013 here
Whiskey and spirits nerds alert: this year's event will also be graced by makers and professionals like Dr Jim Swan, master blender of Welsh distillery Penderyn, and respected whiskey consultant and writer, Ian Chang – master blender of Kavalan. Alexander Stein, the founder of Monkey 47 gin will also be present. Who better to learn how to get the most out of your whiskey and spirits, than from the makers themselves?
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, there's no better way to figure out the nuances of whiskey than a tutored tasting. There will be five masterclasses at this year's event which cost an additional $30 on top of your admission fee ($35 if you purchase tickets on the day itself) – The Balvenie, Nikka, Kavalan, Diageo Classic Malts and Nardini Grappa. A brand ambassador or master blender will lead each masterclass. Reserve your seats quickly though; only 25 are available for each session.
Quality spirits generally lend themselves well to any meal, but pairings that really work can be a bit tricky to create. Enter chef Dave Pynt from Burnt Ends: the oven-adept chef has created a menu of five dish-and-spirit pairings which includes smoked quail eggs with Chase Distillery's limited edition Islay Whisky Cask Aged Vodka.
The pop-up store
Run by Fine Spirits by La Maison du Whisky, the on-site pop-up store will carry all the brands of Whisky Live 2013, for purchase at discounted prices. You won't have to worry about having to line up to reserve your selections before they sell out either: even if they run out of stock, La Maison du Whisky will take your orders and honour the discount when they replenish their inventory. What a dream come true.
Whisky Live 2013 | Where: The Raffles Hotel Bar & Billiard Room, 1 Beach Road | When: Saturday, October 19, 4-10pm | Price: $80 per person, add $30-$35 per person for masterclasses, to be purchased via Whisky Live 2013's website
A beer enthusiast first and a writer second, Kurt Ganapathy has tried over a thousand brews from 80 countries. Some of his most memorable exploits include tackling the one-time world's strongest beer – BrewDog's 41% abv Sink The Bismarck! – and getting his name on the wall of an Irish pub in Melbourne for drinking 100 pints of Guinness (not in one sitting, of course).