A pair of casks that theoretically should have clashed, wound up creating a whisky of exceptional character.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

THE WOOD FIGHT Wood finishing in whisky has become so popular in recent years that the Scotch Whisky Association finally announced earlier this year that maturation in casks that once held wine, beer, ale or spirits is now allowed in Scotch production. 

When a master blender encounters casks with characters too distinct to work into the house style, it’s logical to single them out for unique single cask expressions. That wasn’t the case for Glenmorangie’s Bill Lumsden. When the director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks came across two starkly contrasting casks – one finished in oloroso sherry and the other in red burgundy – he decided they would be the perfect ingredients for the distillery’s fourth Grand Vintage, the 1991.

According to Brendan McCarron, Glenmorangie’s head of maturing whisky stock, the combination is a highly unusual one. “The oloroso gives us big sweet, spicy flavours while the red burgundy makes whisky that’s more earthy and mineral. Nine times out of 10 this wouldn’t work because they would compete and cancel each other out, but in this case they harmonised to make something even better,” he says. The judges at this year’s International Whisky Competition (IWC) certainly agreed, awarding the surprisingly mellow 26-year-old 97 points and declaring it Whisky of the Year.

McCarron admits that there are and always will be people who still buy only whiskies with traditional age statements, but he’s seeing an increase in demand for something different. It is in fact actually more challenging to make vintage whisky. “If you’re going to make a 1991 vintage, all the whiskies you use have to have been distilled in that year. A regular 26-year-old whisky could have spirits that are 27, 28 or 29 years old to bring out different flavours. Here, we are forced to think more creatively about the stock we have and how we’re going to use them.”

Lumsden’s courageous creativity has given us a whisky that hits the nose with enticing chocolate sweetness and hints of truffles and star anise, before easing the palate into the classic stone fruit flavours that characterise Glenmorangie whiskies. The finish is slightly peppery but dominated by stewed apples, cherries and chocolate.

“We didn’t design this whisky to be collected just because it’s one of a kind. We were genuinely just trying to make a really beautiful, very drinkable whisky, so I really hope people are buying this to drink.” Well, we certainly will.

Available through Moet Hennessy Diageo Singapore’s Private Clients Channel while stocks last. E-mail for enquiries. 


After inheriting a book full of whisky “recipes” from his great-grandfather and master blender Richard Day, Alasdair Day created the Tweeddale brand to recreate them in a style he believes Richard would have, had he continued to produce whiskies after WWII. Though a considerably new player in the industry, Tweeddale’s whiskies have been received with enthusiasm. Its latest product, the Evolution 28 Year Old, won the Gold award at this year’s IWC, thanks to a rich and full character brimming with chocolate and blackberry, followed by woody spice and earthy notes. Now that the company has its own distillery on the Isle of Raasay, stay tuned for more expressions.

Available exclusively at The Whisky Distillery, #04-23 Ion Orchard. 

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There are few workday grievances that can’t be alleviated by some good champagne and oysters. MO Bar wants to ensure guests leave their worries (and possibly memories) behind, by offering all the Ruinart and oysters they could want every Wednesday evening during the hotel bar’s new decadent happy hour. While $68++ will keep your tulip glasses filled with the classic NV Ruinart, we suggest bumping it up to the toasty and tremendously elegant Ruinart Blanc de Blanc for $98++. Not only is it among the finest blanc de blancs on the market, its mineral freshness makes it ideal for shellfish.

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Mandarin Oriental Singapore. 

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Champagne can easily be enjoyed on its own but a whole new dimension of sensorial pleasure opens up when quality bubbles are paired with quality nosh. The House of Krug has been encouraging top tier pairings by partnering talented chefs for its Single Ingredient Programme since 2015, and this year’s spotlight is on the pepper. Jaan, along with two new Krug Ambassades Hashida Sushi and Zen, have each presented a dish to pair with the Krug Grande Cuvee 166 and they are as sublime on the palate as they are on the eyes. Chef Kenjiro “Hatch” Hashida’s (above) dish, for instance, is inspired by our local bak kut teh and features a crab and sea-eel dumpling wrapped in cabbage that sits in a toothsome broth of bonito, kelp and Timur pepper. The dishes will be available at their respective restaurants in August.