Sample rare Karuizawa whiskies at this year's Whisky Live

Taste last two vintages from now-defunct Karuizawa distillery and other spirits at Whisky Live

Whisky lovers will have the opportunity to try the last two bottles of the very rare Karuizawa 1965 Bourbon Cask and Karuizawa 1965 Sherry Cask at this year's edition of Whisky Live, an annual whisky and spirits tasting event.

The Japanese distillery in Miyota in Nagano prefecture started production in 1956, the same year that Whisky Live organiser La Maison du Whisky was established in Paris. The distillery shut its doors in 2011.

Spirits importer and distributor La Maison du Whisky has owned the last casks from the distillery for the last decade and, to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Singapore, it will be hosting a comparative tasting of the precious liquids with respected Scottish whisky writer Dave Broom.

"It's going to be a very special experience because there's only one bottle of each. It's basically now or never because, after this, the whiskies do not exist anymore," says Mr Mathieu Musnier, 33, general manager of La Maison du Whisky.

There are only 30 tickets to the event, each costing $588.

People used to drink the same whisky for their whole life, but Dave Broom is the very reason they have opened their horizons and started drinking Japanese, Taiwanese, Indian whiskies.

MR MATHIEU MUSNIER, general manager of La Maison du Whisky, on the influential Scottish whisky writer

The tasting will be the first of 11 masterclasses that will happen at the two-day Whisky Live, to be held on Nov 12 and 13 at Capella Singapore in Sentosa.

The annual event, which began in 2009, is now in its seventh year. Tickets are priced at $99 (one-day pass), $169 (VIP one-day pass) and $259 (VIP two-day pass).

VIP passes allow the holders access to the VIP Tasting Room; The Collector Room, with its collection of rare whiskies; and a cocktail from the Trench VIP guest bar. All guests are entitled to two portions of food created by executive chef David Nicholas Senia of Capella Singapore, and one cocktail at each bar from the selection of 10 pop-up bars.

The event showcases close to 60 brands of whiskies and spirits and 300 expressions, with everything from world-famous brands to smaller, boutique distilleries.

This year, for instance, brandname Scotch whiskies such as Macallan, Old Pulteney and AnCnoc will be showing for the first time alongside the likes of Kyro Distillery Company, a cult Finnish micro distillery that produces small-batch single-malt rye whisky and rye gin.


  • WHERE: Capella Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa

    WHEN: Nov 12, 2 to 10pm (last entrance at 9pm), and Nov 13, 11am to 9pm (last entrance at 8pm)

    ADMISSION: $99 to $259 from www.whiskylive.sg or Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555). Additional $35 for masterclasses, $588 for Karuizawa masterclass, from Sistic

The organisers are expecting more than 3,200 visitors this year.

Masterclasses, conducted by Balvenie, Dalmore and Bruichladdich, among others, are an additional $35 each. A number of them - namely the Aberlour and sold-out Nikka masterclasses - will be helmed by Broom, who will be at the Singapore edition of Whisky Live for the first time. Whisky Live has also been held in Paris for the last 13 years.

Broom, an influential whisky writer who regularly contributes to Whisky Magazine, is responsible for The World Atlas Of Whisky - which explores more than 200 distilleries and 400 expressions.

Mr Musnier says of him: "We wanted to make Dave accessible to as many people as possible. There are very few people in the industry as influential as him."

"People used to drink the same whisky for their whole life, but (he) is the very reason they have opened their horizons and started drinking Japanese, Taiwanese, Indian whiskies."

Broom will also be joining rum expert Luca Gargano, from Italy, for a double-bill rum masterclass on Nov 13.

Gargano, who was also at last year's edition of Whisky Live, heads Velier, a premium rum company that carries some of the top names in fine rums, such as Trinidad and Tobago's Caroni and Guyana's Uitvlugt.

The third special guest at Whisky Live this year is Japanese-Brazilian mixologist Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, co-founder and chief bartender of Bar Tram and Bar Trench in Japan.

Bar Trench, which focuses on absinthe, has been named one of the bars to watch by the organisers of the World's 50 Best Bars list, ranking it at No. 77.

Trench will be re-created at Capella Singapore, where Vaz - who is in Singapore for the first time - will showcase the latest cocktail trends from Japan.

Guests can drink from 10 pop-up bars run by some of Singapore's finest cocktail establishments. Some collaborations include Jigger and Pony with Kyro Distillery Company and its rye whisky and rye gin, Anti:dote with Don Papa rum from the Philippines, and 28 HongKong Street with Teeling Whiskey Company from Ireland.

The Collector Room, with its rare whiskies and highly sought-after vintages, returns. A new addition this year is the Ladies' Room, where female VIP guests can get makeovers, massages and facials while sampling cocktails.

This room, housed in Capella's bridal lounge, caters to the increasing number of women turning up at Whisky Live.

"We've had very passionate female whisky enthusiasts coming through our doors (La Maison du Whisky) for a long time," he says.

"But standing for 10 hours trying whiskies can be a little exhausting, so we decided to be a little more thoughtful to our female guests."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 30, 2016, with the headline 'Very rare whiskies on show'. Print Edition | Subscribe