Getting bored with Scotch? Consider these new spirits that have just hit the Singapore market.
Bacardi premium portfolio
While whisky holds the world's attention for fine sipping, rum, too, can reach that kind of smoothness and complexity — in a much shorter time, since ageing under the Caribbean sun means more than double the evaporation, and much faster barrel "breathing". Bacard's Gran Reserva Diez is one such rum — blended from barrels of rum that have been aged for a minimum of 10 years, the spirit boasts a similar complexity and depth of flavour compared to Scotch that's been aged twice, or even thrice as long. The luxurious spirit features plenty of vanilla, oak, spice, and tropical fruits all underscored by the characteristic toasty sugar notes of rum — definitely not a rum you'd want to mix with Coke.
The Gran Reserva Diez will also be launching with two other premium expressions of Bacardi: the Añejo Cuatro (aged for 4 years); and the Reserva Ocho, an 8 year-minimum aged expression that has remained in the personal reserves of the Barcardi family since 1862, until it was released to the public in 1996.
Bacardi's premium rums will be launching 19 Aug in the Singaporean market. Meanwhile, the Bacardi Premium Portfolio is available as a complimentary tasting flight at 10 bars island wide: Origin Bar, Martini Bar (Grand Hyatt Singapore), MO Bar, Madame Fan, b bar, IB HQ, The Bar at 15 Stamford, Oxwell & Co., Shin Gi Tai and 1880 Member's Club (only for members). Available until 22 August 2019
Making its Asian debut in Singapore is Westward, the highest rated American single malt. Founder and master distiller Christian Krogstad (who's also responsible for Aviation Gin, which Ryan Reynolds hold stake in) had a previous career brewing beer, so Westward's spirits start off with a 100% malted barley American pale ale that's fermented at low temperatures. This gets double distilled in custom-made pot stills, aged at 62% ABV, and bottled at 45% ABV. It's also a purely American product — everything from the grain, to the yeast, to the ageing barrels are found locally.
The whisky, which is the "highest rated American single malt", is released with age statements, and features plenty of dark chocolate, sweet malt and baking spices.
Available at bars including Manhattan Bar, Six Senses Maxwell and Bar Stories. The product is also available for purchase at www.dyspatchr.com.
From the guys behind Singapore-produced mead Rachelle the Rabbit comes Compendium Gin, a series of spirits flavoured with locally-inspired combinations of botanicals. Just another locally-distilled gin? Not so much — Compendium uses neutral base spirits that they distill themselves, which gives rise to gin with smoother flavours. They've launched with two flavours, rojak and cendol, both with different production methods. While the rojak uses a honey distillate with lemon peel, torch ginger, and juniper for botanicals; the cendol is produced from a gula melaka distillate, together with just pandan, coconut, and juniper for a full-bodied, almost creamy spirit.
While we'd sip the rojak gin neat or in a gin and tonic — the torch ginger and lemon peel forwardness gives it a refreshing cordial-like quality — the cendol gin works beautifully in rounding out cocktails or slipped into a bowl of, well, cendol.
Chinese baijiu has a reputation. To drinkers more used to the rich smoothness of whisky or the botanical aromatics of gin, baijiu might seem somewhat more challenging, since baijiu is usually high-proof (usually clocking in at 53%), with flavours that range from mellow and sweet to intensely umami; and sometimes with an oxidised, oloroso-like finish. While there are low-quality firewaters that offer more burn than flavour, well-made baijiu combines complexity, fragrance, and smoothness.
Most recently launched in Singapore is Langjiu, a Sichuan-based producer that counts among China's largest producers. Langjiu will be offering their signature "sauce aroma" (for comparison, Moutai is also a sauce aroma-type) baijiu, with age statements ranging between 10 to 50 years. While the 10 year-old label — dubbed the Hong Hua Lang 10 — is already dense, umami, with a lingering finish; the 50 year old is something else. It's astoundingly rich, with an intense savouriness similar to aged soy sauce.
There's more than one way to skin a cat — for the baijiu neophyte, Langjiu is also being used in cocktails at bars like Oxwell & Co., Komyuniti by Yotel, and Telok Ayer Arts Club.
Also available at restaurants and retail shops including Xi Yan Maxwell, Old Peking, and Yue Hwa Chinese Products.