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Bourbon Singapore: Exploring the Growing Whiskey Culture

Bourbon in Singapore

Bourbon whiskey has seen rapid growth in Singapore, with more locals and expats acquiring a taste for the original American whiskey. Historically, Singaporeans are not significant consumers of bourbon, but they are now flocking to specialty bourbon bars and buying more premium bourbon bottles as the spirit becomes trendier. This reflects bourbon’s appeal amongst  consumers that are eager to try new whiskies.

Whiskey Trends in Singapore

Whereas drinkers here traditionally favored Scotch, they  have now developed an appetite for a variety of whiskies, including American crafted bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel. This aligns with a boom in Singapore’s cocktail culture, with bartenders using high-proof bourbons and rye whiskies to add unique twists to their concoctions. As this appreciation grows, Singapore’s bourbon obsession is expected to continue.

Bourbon Whiskey Collection

There is a growing number of whiskey enthusiasts in Singapore, building impressive reserves of  private bourbon collections, including rare finds like Blanton’s Gold Edition and EH Taylor Small Batch. Stores specializing in importing alcohol also maintain exclusive bourbon selections, allowing their patrons to sample a range of  exclusive and limited single-barrel bourbons.

Popular Bourbon Brands in Singapore

From the best bars and restaurants to enjoy a glass of bourbon to the growing community of whiskey enthusiasts, this blog post provides an in-depth look at the evolving whiskey culture in Singapore.

The Rising Popularity of Bourbon and Whiskey in Singapore

In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in the popularity of bourbon and whiskey in Singapore. This growing interest in alcoholic beverages has sparked a newfound appreciation for Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey’s rich and complex flavors, such as Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, and Jack Daniels Whiskey. The appeal of these American whiskeys has transcended traditional spirit preferences, captivating the palates of seasoned connoisseurs and novices alike.

Several factors have contributed to the popularity of bourbon and whiskey in Singapore. The increasing exposure to Western culture and the influence of global travel have played a significant role in introducing and familiarizing Singaporeans with American whiskey. The rise of mixology and cocktail culture has also increased demand for high-quality spirits, including bourbon and whiskey.

Bourbon and whiskey have carved out a unique niche compared to other types of spirits in the Singapore market. While vodka and gin remain popular for cocktails, the depth of flavor and the versatility of bourbon and whiskey have made them increasingly sought after by consumers looking for a more robust drinking experience.

Best Bars and Restaurants for Enjoying Bourbon in Singapore

For whiskey enthusiasts looking to savor the finest bourbon selections, Singapore offers various bars and restaurants catering to their discerning tastes with some top bars known for their impressive bourbon collections.

The Auld Alliance Boasts over 1,000 bottles on its extensive whisky menu and is widely regarded as having one of the largest whiskey selections available at any bar in Southeast Asia. This refined whiskey bar offers an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, making it an ideal venue for special occasions and a quiet night out. The knowledgeable staff at The Auld Alliance can capably guide patrons through their substantial collection of whiskies.

The ExciseMan was one of the first specialist whiskey bars in Singapore. In addition to an impressive collection of whiskey, cognac, and armagnac, as part of the Le Vigne alcohol distribution group, The ExciseMan also offers patrons a remarkable selection of wines to complement its vast array of unique spirits, displayed within the bar’s distinctive brick-colored interior.

The Writing Club Whisky Bar, nestled within the elegant Palais Renaissance, features a meticulously curated selection of over 700 whiskies for guests to savor, including exclusive bottlings and limited-edition rarities. Offering a refined yet intimate atmosphere, The Writing Club caters to sophisticated clientele seeking an exceptional whisky experience and the opportunity to indulge in some of the world’s rarest and most coveted liquors. The extensive collection, opulent surroundings, and focus on whiskey connoisseurship creates a luxurious environment for appreciating fine spirits.

Singapore’s vibrant array of whiskey bars presents endless options for enthusiasts, This list highlights a few recommended venues, from those offering rare whiskey treasures to lively spots for sharing good drams with friends. Catering to all interests in the whiskey world, these bars exemplify Singapore’s dynamic enthusiasm for the spirit and provide guaranteed enjoyment. With such diversity across its whiskey bars, Singapore promises aficionados and casual drinkers opportunities to indulge in their passion.

The Growing Community of Whiskey Enthusiasts in Singapore

In tandem with the increasing popularity of bourbon and whiskey, Singapore has seen the emergence of a vibrant community of whiskey enthusiasts. These individuals, from casual drinkers to resolute aficionados, come together at various events and gatherings to share their passion for bourbon and whiskey. Whiskey-tasting events, masterclasses, and themed gatherings allow enthusiasts to expand their knowledge and appreciation of American whiskey.

For those looking to delve deeper into the world of bourbon and whiskey, there are resources available in Singapore to aid in their exploration. Whisky shops in Singapore offer a diverse selection of American whiskeys, providing enthusiasts access to a wide range of options to further their understanding and enjoyment of bourbon and whiskey.

Understanding Bourbon

What is Bourbon?

Bourbon is American whiskey made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. By law, this original bourbon must contain at least 51% corn in the mash bill and be aged for at least 2 years in new, charred oak barrels. This aging process gives bourbon its distinctive flavor and caramel color.

Differences Between Bourbon and Whiskey

While bourbon is a type of whiskey, not all whiskies are bourbon. The main difference is that bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and produced in the United States. In contrast, whisky can be made from various grains, aged in used barrels, and produced anywhere in the world.

Bourbon Aging Process

Bourbon derives much of its flavor from the charring of the oak barrels used for aging. Barrels are charred on the inside, which caramelizes the oak sugars. As the distilled spirit ages, it absorbs flavors from the wood like vanilla, caramel, and spice; longer aging times, usually 4 years or more, result in more complex flavors.

Types of Bourbon

There are different types of bourbon based on the mash bill (grain recipe), age, and bottling proof. Some common types are straight bourbon, single barrel bourbon, small batch bourbon, wheat bourbon, and bonded 100-proof bourbon. Limited editions and special releases also attract collectors.

Popular Bourbon Brands

Some of the best-selling bourbon brands are Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Knob Creek. These brands produce a range of classic and premium bourbons, including some highly allocated bottles that are hard to find.

Bourbon Tasting and Pairing

Bourbon Tasting Events in Singapore

Whisky Live

Whisky Live has expanded into a premier global tasting event, uniting whiskey and spirits aficionados in cities from Shanghai to New York and London to Paris.

Having commenced in Singapore back in 2010, Whisky Live Singapore has cemented its reputation as the flagship whiskey exhibition in Asia not to be missed. Attracting more international exhibitors and whiskey lovers annually has achieved remarkable year-on-year growth.

Whisky Journey

First launched in 2019, Whisky Journey was initially envisioned as Singapore’s most ambitious whiskey exhibition ever staged. However, the emergence of COVID-19 prompted organizers to swiftly reimagine a new event model – catalyzing Singapore’s inaugural island-wide bar and restaurant whiskey trail in 2020. This innovative concept spanned ten days over three consecutive years up to 2022, garnering tremendous success.

After a two-year hiatus, the much-anticipated Whisky Journey 2023 returns as a convention-style exhibition format at Marina Bay Sands. The previous year’s edition aims to be the largest ever, offering whiskey lovers an event of superlatives. Attendees can indulge in showcases hosted by over 20 renowned whiskey houses and distilleries. Visitors can explore and taste over 100 different premium whiskey expressions, with some specialty drams offered complimentary at selected booths. Visitors will also discover incredible deals, such as purchasing certain whiskies below standard retail prices and gaining access to exclusive Whisky Journey bottlings unavailable elsewhere. Whether a seasoned connoisseur or curious first-timer, Whisky Journey promises an entertaining, educational, and welcoming world-class whisky experience.

Pairing Bourbon with Food

Bourbon pairs well with smoked, charred, and barbecued meats, complementing its vanilla, caramel, and oak flavors. It also goes well with hearty dishes, aged cheeses, dark chocolate, and desserts. When pairing with food, avoiding more assertively flavored spirits is best.

Exploring Bourbon Cocktails

The Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Mint Julep, and Whiskey Sour are popular bourbon cocktails. These cocktails accentuate bourbon’s sweet and oaky notes. More creative modern cocktails also incorporate bourbon as a key ingredient.

Bourbon and Chocolate Pairing

Dark chocolate’s sweet, rich flavors pair incredibly well with bourbon’s vanilla, caramel, and spice flavors. They balance each other nicely when tasting side by side. Look for chocolate with complementary flavors like orange, cherry, coffee, or caramel.

Bourbon and Cigar Pairing

Full-bodied, high-proof bourbons make an ideal match for cigars. The sweetness helps balance a cigar’s natural tobacco spiciness, while the oak notes connect with woody cigar flavors. Medium or heavier cigars, like Maduros, pair best with bourbon’s bolder, intense character.

Bourbon Collecting and Investment

Starting a Bourbon Collection

When starting a bourbon collection, focus on highly rated premium and limited-edition bottles that will likely appreciate in value and become harder to find. Be prepared to pay above retail for rare bottles. Always store bottles upright and away from direct light.

Investing in Rare Bourbons

As bourbon’s popularity grows globally, there is increasing investor interest and opportunity in securing limited release and highly allocated bottles. Examples include special Blanton’s, Pappy Van Winkle, and William Larue Weller expressions which all demand high valuations.

Bourbon Collectors’ Community in Singapore

The Bourbon Collectors’ Community in Singapore, called Dram Full Whisky Community, is a Whiskey-focused group founded by spirits aficionado Matthew-Fergusson Stewart. With around 22,000 members, it is a platform for whisky enthusiasts in Singapore and neighboring regions to connect and share their passion.

Matthew-Fergusson Stewart, a 46-year-old industry veteran, moved to Singapore in 2009 after spending over five years as an award-winning brand ambassador for a significant bourbon distillery. He currently heads a spirits distribution and consulting firm while serving as a regional brand ambassador for Beam Suntory’s portfolio of Kentucky bourbons.

Factors Affecting Bourbon Price

Bourbon pricing and collectability depend on age, rarity, reputation of the distillery, taste, availability, bottling proof, packaging, and consumer demand. Older and more limited-release bourbons tend to be the most desirable.

Selling and Trading Bourbon

Collectors can engage reputable online liquor shops and auction houses to sell, and trade collected bourbon. There are also enthusiast collector groups in Asia and globally. Valuable bottles are often treated like fine art, wine, or memorabilia for buying and trading. Careful verification of authenticity is required when selling prized bottles.

Exploring the World of Bourbon

Understanding the basics of bourbon and whiskey is essential for anyone looking to embark on a journey into the world of American whiskey. Various elements contribute to the distinct characteristics of bourbon and whiskey, from the distillation process to the aging of the spirits. For beginners, learning about the diverse types of bourbon and whiskey, such as Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, can provide a solid foundation for further exploration.

When tasting bourbon, several tips can enhance beginners’ experience. Taking note of the aroma, flavor profile, and finish of the whiskey can help develop a deeper appreciation for its complexities. Additionally, exploring entry-level bourbon options, such as Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, can serve as an accessible introduction to the world of bourbon for individuals in Singapore.

As the whiskey culture continues to flourish in Singapore, there has never been a better time for enthusiasts to immerse themselves in bourbon and whiskey. Whether enjoying a glass of Woodford Reserve at a renowned bar, connecting with like-minded individuals at a whiskey-tasting event, or simply exploring the diverse range of American whiskeys available in local shops, the opportunities for whiskey enthusiasts in Singapore are abundant and ever-growing.