Saturday 22 June 2013

Bar review #5: The Auld Alliance (Singapore)

Continuing with the unintentional theme of these bar reviews being as geographically dispersed as possible...the next review comes from Singapore, where Steph and I spent the long weekend recently (thanks to some very cheap direct Qantas flights through a certain Brazilian travel website..)

I'd visited The Auld Alliance on a previous trip, and found it to be probably the most comprehensive whisky bar I'd ever seen. I mean, where else can you find an entire page of Ardbeg (30+ bottlings!)? Unfortunately many bottles are only available to be purchased by the bottle (and many run several thousand dollars each), but they do have an excellent selection by the glass. 

The bar has an interesting layout - with low seating in a U-shape in the main room (below an elevated bar), as well as individual rooms to the left and right. Lighting, noise and service were all perfect. The menu (a weighty leather-bound tome) could keep even the most proficient whisky fan busy, flicking through in awe of the selection (Ardbeg 1974? Check. Glenfarclas Family Casks 1958? Of course. Karuizawa? Sure, which would you like?) It's not just single malt they specialise in either - they have a very decent selection of American whiskey too (I tried a Pappy Van Winkle 15 on a previous visit...sadly no 23 available by the dram).

Steph and I decided to make the most of it (and tick off several #101drams too - posts to follow), and settled in (which unfortunately included eating way too many of the addictive coated peanuts on offer.)

Prices are about what you'd expect for Singapore bars (i.e. not cheap), and I did find myself inevitably making comparisons (possibly unfair comparisons) to Sydney's Baxter Inn, Melbourne's Whisky+Alement and Edinburgh's Scotch Whisky Experience - some of the only bars I've visited with collections that come close to The Auld Alliance. Long story short - the prices are about what you'd expect for such a bar in Singapore. As a rough guide, the whiskies we tried included Karuizawa 12yo OB, Springbank 18yo and Ben Nevis 10yo and I think the bill averaged around $19-20AUD per 40mL nip (one thing I loved was that some whiskies were available by 20mL nips - great for when you want to try a few).
On our way out, I mentioned my blog to Matthew (the Manager, nice bloke) who to my surprise mentioned that there was ANOTHER Australian whisky blogger there that very minute. Considering there's probably about 6 or so active Aussie whisky bloggers, it was a pretty amazing coincidence! Turns out it was Squidgy Ash, a very active Perth-based blogger who's blog I'd read before. He and his wife were on their way back from a Scotland trip, and reading his latest post, it seems they had their fair share of amazing whisky (makes me want to go back). Small world.

Overall I can HIGHLY recommend The Auld Alliance as a must-visit for any whisky fan visiting Singapore. You can find it in the "Chijmes" complex at 30 Victoria St, and it's open until 1 or 2am depending on the day.

 - Martin. 

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