We’re officially living in the age of whisky — new bars dedicated to this distilled beverage are popping up all over town, with each proffering unique experiences and deep shelves of bourbons, scotches and ryes catering to both new and discerning drinkers. Amongst the gamut, an all-new whisky library with an expansive collection, and a lounge targeted at the female clientele. Read on for picks of the very best.
1. The Whisky Library
Newest to the scene is The Whiskey Library: A watering hole nestled in boutique hotel The Vagabond. Grab a glass of something special— the options are plenty, with 1,000 bottles of curated whiskies of mostly single cask and limited-edition bottles from distilleries around the world, including Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the United States. Luxury hotelier Satinder Garcha helms the vision, and founded the ba after travels around Scotland where he discovered “the depth of craftsmanship, the artistry, the culture and the incredible history behind whiskey making.” No two bottles are the same here, with each boasting its own story. Similarly, your experience at The Whiskey Library is unique to other bars. Drop in for a special night of jazz and intimate theater performances, book readings, artist evenings, musical showcases, and even independent film screenings.
2. The Writing Club
The Writing’s Club’s name takes inspiration from the code word that stood for clandestine whisky drinking nights amongst groups of men. Located in the opulent Palais Renaissance, the bar boasts more than 700 hand-picked labels of rare and collectible whiskeys from all around the world, and prides itself on its intimate atmosphere — it comfortably accommodates 36 people on its luxurious leather armchairs and bar stools. Founded by husband-and-wife team Soo San and Sherin, the two scour the world for the most exquisite drams from distilleries, hole-in-the-wall whisky shops, and remote liquor stores.
3. The Single Cask
Whisky connoisseurs frequent The Single Cask for a unique reason: The bar collects drams from lesser known family-owned distilleries and independent bottlers and has a bountiful glossary of liquor that includes single malts, boutique blended malts and single cask rums for varying noses. Tucked away in Chjimes’ Caldwell House, the bar was the first Whisky Ambassador accredited venue in Singapore. Aficionados will enjoy the independently bottled The Single Cask 21-year-old The Ardmore, which combines the sweet, thick waves of honey and caramel with heady smoke and mature oak, and finishes with a light pinch of sea salt and pepper.
4. Quaich Bar
Pronounced ‘Quake’, Quaich refers to a Gaelic two-handled drinking bowl that symbolises hospitality and friendship — an apt name for a watering hole that’s quickly become a popular spot for get-togethers and post-work drinks. What started as a humble retail kiosk in Tanglin Mall has now thrived, with a second locale at South Beach Avenue. More than 500 exquisite labels are available, with the bulk of these being Scottish and varying in flavour profiles. Can’t quite decide on a libation? Quaich Bar offers a single malt tasting set comprising of four tasting portions.
5. La Maison Du Whisky
La Maison Du Whisky began 60 years ago as a French specialist of rare, original and exclusive whisky. Its Singapore arm does double duty, transforming from a daytime shop into a bar by night. This is a mecca of the world’s whiskies, with selections from burgeoning distilleries from as far as Taiwan and Sweden. The selection includes a cherrywood rye whisky, which boasts the flavours of a classic Manhattan in a distilled spirit, and the notes of dried figs, toasted almonds, brandied cherries and new leather, and the innovative, lighter-bodied buckwheat whisky from Eddu, which proffers a complex combination of floral, fruity, spicy and nutty notes.
6. The Swan Song
The Swan Song wears its whiskey pride on its sleeve — its lengthy lineup spotlights vintage and rare whiskys for serious aficionados. For newbies, intimidation is not the name of the game. The bar began as a approachable way to bring whisky to new drinkers — it organises customised sessions for groups and personalised one-on-one sessions, as well as a range of whisky flight samplings. The bar has 450 open bottles from closed distilleries such as Port Ellen and Brora while also offering underrated whiskies like Ledaig and Convalmore.
7. Room For More
Leather Chesterfields, dim lighting and endless bottle-lined shelves are what typically come to mind when one thinks of whisky bars. Room For More overturns all expectations with its contemporary approach to whiskey drinking. For starters, the bar is a millennial haven of trendy velvet sofas in bright shades propped against jewel-toned walls; brass and marble accents keep the interiors sleek, complementing the lush palm plants. Flip through the 31-page menu and you’ll likely be spoilt for choice. Take a quiz to help you determine your whisky personality; this is available online. First, determine your poison: Single malt, Japanese Whisky or Scotch. Then, choose the depth of flavour from easy, light and mellow, luxuriously medium-bodied or full-bodied and complex.
8. The Cooperage
Located along HongKong Street’s row of watering holes is The Cooperage: A recently opened bar that serves a full-fledged dinner alongside its concise whisky menu of over 2oo, mostly from Scotland, and featuring names such as Glengoyne, Inchmurrin, Singleton of Dufftown and Glenfiddich. Whisky tasting flights are available, with vertical ones across a single brand. Those with finer taste buds have to try The 100 Years of Dalmore whisky flight: A trinity of a 40-year-old, 35-year-old, and 25-year-old whisky. Heaven in a glass.