When big minds meet, ideas tend to sprout. Words were exchanged between President Tony Tan, and Peter Gordon, company director of William Grant & Sons at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last year. And voila – this year, their distillery, Glenfiddich, joins Singapore in celebrating our joyous jubilee by releasing 5 limited-edition 50 year old whiskies, accompanied with a uniquely designed local art piece.
Whiskies more than 30 years old are prized, and in limited quantities. Every year, between 2-3% of the whisky in a cask is evaporated, so what remains after half a century, is a minute precious amount of liquid gold.
On that note, older whiskies may not necessarily be better. Prior to hitting the 20 year mark, the whisky ages gracefully and gets more flavourful, since it takes on the oaky favours of its vessel. But around 20 – 40 years, the law of diminishing marginal returns sinks in, and things start to vary depending on the conditions in which the whisky barrels are stored. This might result in an ‘overcooked’ whisky, with flavours of the wood overpowering the essence of the whisky, or perhaps, on the other end of the spectrum, a gorgeous, well-aged complex beauty. Glenfiddich, in preparing the Singapore Anniversary Edition 50 year old, took pains to ensure it was perfectly balanced, and the result is a well-rounded golden blend, with subtle hints of aromatic herbs, soft fruits and the residual taste of peatedness.
What surprised us as we delved further into the topic, is that Singapore topped the charts in 2014 for importing the most number of whisky bottles per capita. What surprised us further, was that a country like China, known for its excessive drinking culture especially in business transactions, lagged so far behind on the tables.
We discovered the reason: Counterfeit whisky. Its not hard for a club in China to keep used whisky bottles, then repackage it for selling – especially since most things are ‘made in China’ after all. Thankfully such concerns will hopefully be a thing of the past, with the advent of cloud-connected technology which keeps track of inventory. This ensures that once a bottle’s seal is opened, the information is sent back to the cloud using NFC such that the whisky bottle cannot be reused.
We were treated to a feast of the senses as we sat surrounded by evolving visual landscapes, at the soon-to-be-launched South Beach Club. Deconstructed delights by Chef Janice Wong, such as fusion-styled bak kut teh or chili crab, were meticulously paired with whisky. What took the show away, though, was the slow descent of a garden of earthly delights that hung above, featuring sugared Vanda Miss Joaquims and edible branches* (chocolates). With all the “oohs” and “ahhs” that ensued – it was certainly a Willy Wonka moment for all of us.
The day Singapore gained its independence in 1965 was unforgettable, quite like the day we experienced the perfect union of fiery chilli-padi chocolate and Glenfiddich 50 year old lingering on our tastebuds.
The Glenfiddich Singapore Anniversary Edition 50 year old will be sold privately, and is available for £30,000. Each bottle is accompanied by a unique art piece by either Andy Yang, Eugene Tan, Chan Wai Lim, Sean Dunston and Flabslab. Please contact [email protected] or 95477457 for purchase enquiries.
* Mr Bean would be most pleased.