Last Updated: August 23, 2018
Calling all whisky lovers, The Grande Whisky Collection in ION Orchard houses a massive collection of rare and unique whiskies collected from all over the world. It is also the first ever Whisky ‘Museum’ in Singapore and we were excited to be here.
“I’m not an expert, can I go there?” you might ask. Well, you don’t have to be an expert in whisky, the staff are more than willing to share their passion and love for the liquor.
It might get a bit tricky to find the location; to get to The Grande Whisky Collection, head up to Level 4, pass by Häagen-Dazs till you see an escalator. Take the escalator up and it will lead you to the carpark. Make a left turn and continue walking until you see this big signboard.
The Grande Whisky Collection conducts tours to learn more about the liquor, which will last for approximately an hour and priced at S$55 per person.Patrons will enter its highly guarded vault guided by whisky ambassadors, each tour has no more than 10 people, letting you in on an intimate experience. Feel free to ask questions!
Once inside, you will be brought through a maze starting with the insights, secrets and history of Scotland’s famous whiskeys, and ending with Japan’s whiskies such as the Nikka, Yamazaki and Saburomaru.
Keep a lookout for the special limited edition Glenfiddich, a bottle to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the independence of Singapore. I was told there was a small outturn of only 180 bottles of it!
After the tour, you will be invited to a massive room decked with a rare collection of whiskies that reaches the ceiling — six meters high to be exact. You are allowed to take photos in here unlike in the secret vault.
The natural lighting and high ceiling create an inviting and warm ambience, setting the right mood for some drinks.
The fun starts when we had the opportunity to taste a variety of carefully-curated whiskies. The ambassadors will guide you on how to taste, smell and describe the different scents.
The Hibiki smelt like lychee at first, but on the second whiff, I smelt thyme and a hint of sandalwood. On my palate, it is akin to honey and candied oranges. Sip by sip, it was interesting to pick up the different notes and find the flavours evolving.
Next, was the Auchentoshan 18. It smelt a little like vanilla and caramel. However, on the second sniff, there were hints of tobacco leaves. The drink leaves an aftertaste of bourbon spice, almost cigar-like.
The last was my favourite; the Bowmore 18 has a sweet scent that reminds me of cinnamon buns. A slight smell of ginger was present too. Best served with an ice cube or two, the taste of it was an explosion of saccharine and chocolatey flavours.
Upon completion of the tour and tasting, you can head on next door to Saint-Louis House for a more private tasting. If you’re feeling indulgent, you might want to try their two rarest whiskies. Let me warn you, prices ain’t exactly neighborhood-friendly here.
The first on the list is The Royal Lochnagar 31-year-old single cask hails from the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, it is a stone’s throw away from Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish residence. It is Queen Victoria’s favourite distillery after she visited in 1848.
The Royal Lochnagar 31-year-old was hand-selected for the Whisky Trust and was aged in a single whole cask for 31 years, using the water from the nearby Scarnock Springs.
Matured for over half a century, the Yamazaki 50-year-old single malt made headlines when it was auctioned for a record-breaking price of HK$2,337,000. At The Grande Whisky Collection, you’ll get up close (and possibly taste) one of the rarest and oldest Japanese single malt whiskies of all time.
But here I am a glass cabinet and a few salaries away from tasting this beauty.
The Grande Whisky Collection’s tour was truly educational and having a chance to see the collection of whiskies they have is mindblowing.
This is the first ever Whisky ‘Museum’ in Singapore and the people here are warm and eager to share their extensive knowledge with you. Don’t be shy to ask any burning questions that you have over a drink or two.
Expected Damage: S$55 per pax/tour