SINGAPORE - Rare whisky collectors and connoisseurs, take note.
Singapore has been chosen as the debut destination of the world's first Distillers Library, an invite-only private client suite by centuries old, independent Scottish distillers William Grant & Sons (WG&S).
They opened their first distillery in Scotland in 1887, and are better known for their range of commercially-available expressions of scotch whiskies like The Balvenie and Glenfiddich.
Officially opened on Thursday (April 22), The Distillers Library by WG&S houses ultra rare and old expressions from the family-owned distiller's archives, some of which are world exclusives and have never been released before.
A select group of connoisseurs and collectors from the ever growing Asian luxury market and beyond, will now have access to this curated portfolio of whiskies.
Prices range from approximately $6,000 for a Glenfiddich 1978 Hogshead; to $350,000 for the full 11-bottle collection of the newly-released Ladyburn Edition One - a 54-year-old whisky that was distilled in 1966, and the first in a collection of strictly private releases of the long-shuttered Ladyburn distillery.
Featuring bottles labelled with black and white images taken in London's East End in the 1960s by renowned British photographer, David Bailey, the Ladyburn release - hand-signed by Bailey - has been limited to 210 bottles worldwide.
The distillers chose Singapore as the first place to open their reserves outside of Scotland as "Asia is the epicentre for the growth of the luxury whisky category," says Mr Satya Sharma, 37, regional managing director for South-east Asia and Australasia at WG&S.
He adds: "In terms of how much is being spent on luxury goods, Asia has become the nucleus... Singapore is clearly a lighthouse and within the next few years, it will overtake Tokyo as home to the most ultra high net worth individuals."
The demand for luxury whisky shows no signs of abating. According to Knight Frank's 2021 Wealth Report, rare whisky has grown in value at 478 per cent - outperforming every other luxury asset, including cars and watches - over the past decade.
Furthermore, the compound annual growth rate (between 2014 and 2019) of prestige plus malt scotch in Asia was at 34 per cent, compared with 15 per cent for the rest of the world, according to a 2019 report by wine and spirits analytics firm IWSR.
A visit to the Distillers Library would be specially tailored to each guest and occasion whether he or she is looking for a commemorative wedding anniversary cask to bottle; a birth year bottle or collectible whiskies for investment. It includes a personally-guided experience led by brand ambassadors or Mr James Ting, head of direct to consumer, South-east Asia.
Collectible whiskies are those whose value is expected to rise over time, based on two basic factors: rarity and quality. The collection will also be regularly updated so that guests will be able to discover new liquids with every visit.
While more Distillers Libraries are set to open in key cities in Asia, Mr Sharma says they want to "get this one right first before we go further afield". WG&S also owns its distribution in markets such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Korea, Taiwan and Australia.
"While Scotland is the central hub of everything we do, coming to Asia is a statement of intent, and a show of confidence from the family."