Whiskies for the season

Whisky brands have rolled out special packages for Chinese New Year

In celebration of Chinese New Year, some whisky brands have released bottles in special packaging fit for the season.

Whether you want to add a limited-edition bottle to your home bar collection or take one to crack open at festive gatherings, whiskies by Johnnie Walker, Macallan and The Glenrothes are now packaged in striking designs and will make great conversation starters.


Monkey Shoulder has been named the No. 1 trending whisky brand by the Drinks International Annual Brands Report this year, which bases its rankings on a poll carried out in 106 of the world's top cocktail bars.

While the brand does not have a special release for Chinese New Year, its recommended signature cocktail, the Ginger Monkey - made with 30ml of Monkey Shoulder, 90ml of ginger ale, plenty of ice and garnished with an orange wedge - will suit festive gatherings where there will be plenty of Mandarin oranges lying around.

Monkey Shoulder is available at the recommended retail price of $79.80 at most spirits retailers, as well as online at RedMart and Lazada.


Not only is The Macallan Rare Cask mahogany red in colour, but it also comes in an auspicious-looking Chinese New Year-themed box.

Macallan Rare Cask comprises 16 sherry-cask styles, one of the broadest spectrums of casks used, and includes predominantly first-fill American and Spanish oak of various cask sizes.

While it does not come in a special festive package, Macallan's latest release, the Classic Cut, which is aged in European and American oak casks seasoned with Oloroso sherry, also has a red box.

Harkening back to the now discontinued Macallan Cask Strength, its alcohol by volume is 58.4 per cent - much higher than most current Macallan expressions.

The Macallan Rare Cask is available at the recommended retail price of $475 (before GST) at The Oaks Cellars, Olde Cuban and Simply Whisky, while The Macallan Classic Cut is sold at the recommended retail price of $170 (before GST) at 1855 The Bottle Shop, The Oaks Cellars, Le Rouge and La Casa Cubana.


Speyside single-malt The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve 12 brings together various vintages from the past three decades, resulting in its brassy gold colour and characteristic ripe fruit, citrus, vanilla and spicy finish that The Glenrothes distillery is known for.

The specially designed Chinese New Year gift box comes with a 700ml bottle of the Glenrothes Vintage Reserve 12 Year Old and a miniature (100ml) bottle of the same expression.

The Glenrothes Chinese New Year Gift Box is available at the recommended retail price of $133 at 1855 The Bottle Shop and RedMart.


Johnnie Walker has released the Year of the Dog Limited Edition bottle for its Johnnie Walker Blue Label, the fifth instalment in an annual limited-edition series for the label.

The collector's item features the Blue Label bottle etched with Johnnie Walker's Striding Man mascot on one side of the bottle, while the back shows a Shar Pei dog. Another side has a design filled with various symbols of luck and prosperity in Chinese culture, including lanterns, fireworks and dancing dragons.

Designed in collaboration with award-winning Taiwanese artist Page Tsou, the bottle comes in a collectible box with cut-out panels that show the bottle's sides with the special designs.

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dog Limited Edition is available at the recommended retail price of $260 at specialist retail stores.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 11, 2018, with the headline 'Whiskies for the season'. Print Edition | Subscribe