Tuesday 27 February 2024

Tasting Singapore's first whisky! Brass Lion Distillery [Tasted #658]

A very belated Happy New Year (of both the regular & Chinese variety)!

You may be wondering why our first post of 2024 is in late February, and why the blog disappeared from the face of the Internet for ~6 weeks in  December / January. I'll address that in due course, but to summarise:
  • We weren't hacked
  • It was entirely unexpected
  • We didn't expect to get the site back, and had resigned ourselves to losing ~11 years / ~700 posts worth of content, comments, hits, etc..
  • Hendy & I are very, very, very glad to have it back!

Expect some big changes in 2024, but for now, onto some whisky...

We've covered some fairly geographically-diverse drams and distillery visits over the years - from Scotland, Japan, USA and Ireland, to Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, India and beyond. Personally, I really get a thrill from trying whisky from a new country or region.

..so on that note, 2024's first "Tasted"  post comes from Singapore, by way of Brass Lion Distillery! Distilled & matured entirely in Singapore, this is the first (and so far, only) single malt whisky release to come from the Island. 

To quote their website:
"Brass Lion Distillery worked with The General Brewing Co. to tailor-make a wash that would accommodate Singapore's high humidity and equatorial climate. They selected top-fermenting ale yeasts and Maris Otter malt, to yield a wash with fruity and complex flavours. Fermentation was done at local ambient temperature, which was possible due to the thermotolerant yeast used. 2000 litres of wash then underwent double distillation to obtain a precious 180 litres of new-make spirit. Finally it was all poured into a bourbon barrel to mature for over three years, adhering to international whisky standards and regulations."

Filled into a single ex-Bourbon barrel in September 2019, the whisky matured over 3 years in Singapore's intensely tropical climate (with no temperature control applied) and was bottled in both Cask Strength (65%) and 48% guise, for a total of 427 bottles.

The bottles sold out as quickly as you'd expect (very), but luckily a recent trip had me passing through Singapore for a few hours - just enough time for a quick dinner at the excellent Analogue Initiative, followed by a few drams with The Single Cask with Brendan & Wei De (below).

Brass Lion Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (65% ABV, Single Malt, 3yo, Singapore, $468SGD)

Colour: Orange gold

Nose: Nutty at first, followed by stone fruits (apricot, peach) and a rich "ex bourbon vanilla" note.

Palate: Big, mouth-filling and viscous, but not harsh. I would have picked mid-50% ABV, not 65%! A bit of vanilla sweetness and some more nuttiness, but water brought even more nuts (almonds), followed by peach and pear notes.

Finish: My summary notes say "long nutty apricot pie", which sums it up nicely!

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100 (Martin). Honestly, way better than I'd expected. I'm not sure if they plan to do any further whisky releases (their main product is gin), but I hope they do.


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