Travel Retail

DFS Masters of Spirits

The toast is to Singaporean independence
By Joe Bates
It’s that time of year again for whisky loving travellers to dive underneath the sofa and root around for any spare change. Asia’s largest duty-free retailer DFS Group is once again hosting its annual Masters of Wines & Spirits event in Singapore and the amazing collection of rare drinks on display there do not come cheap. So come on a quick tour of the rare and collectible whiskies on show at this year’s event, which coincides with Singapore’s 50th year of independence.

To mark that anniversary The Macallan will present The Five Decades Collection, which features five Fine & Rare single cask vintages from five decades. The 1946 and 1950 expressions are two of the oldest The Macallan have ever released. The Five Decades Collection comes in a suitably luxurious display cabinet.

The Dalmore has also produced a Five Decades Collection. Richard Paterson has created five expressions, each one of them commemorating a decade of Singapore’s independence.

Another tribute to Singapore’s independence landmark is Glenfiddich 50 Years Old, a cask strength whisky limited to just two decanters. Mind you, these are not any old decanters of course; we’re talking hand-blown Baccarat decanters closed with a red crystal stopper. Each decanter is presented in a leather gift box, which cleverly also contains two additional 5cl bottles of the rare whisky.

Islay’s long-closed Port Ellen Distillery has a legendary status among whisky aficionados and this year’s Masters of Wines & Spirits will see the showcasing of a rare Port Ellen 33 Years Old Single Cask taken from a refill hogshead. Described as ‘intensely smooth’ with a ‘sweet centre’ and a ‘gentle salty-spiciness’, this complex, robust whisky is limited to only 210 bottles. DFS has secured 12 bottles.

The whisky on offer is not just about single malt whisky either. The ultra-premium blend Royal Salute will unveil the Age Collection at the event. Launched to honour the 62 years Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne, the Age Collection comprises ten different age statement blends, starting at 21 Years Old and ascending to 30 Years Old, each presented in a standout dark blue porcelain flagon and silver stopper.

This really is a case of if you have to ask the price you shouldn’t be browsing. The collection will be launched at a gala event at DFS Group’s T Galleria in November before transferring to the retailer’s new Duplex store in Changi Airport.

Given the undoubtedly stratospheric prices of these luxury spirits, some might question whether any get bought. Well, as this event is now in its fifth year and continues to be supported by many of the Scotch whisky world’s most prestigious distilleries, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

 

Best Buy



Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve

Although a non age statement, I’m assured all of the whiskies in this blend are over 21 years. The complex process involves 88 casks blended together and married in another 88 casks.

This initial blend is then blended with another 88 casks to complete the first batch. We’re not finished, though – half of the batch is kept back to begin the production cycle.

Why 88? Eight is a lucky number in Asia I guess, which is where Royal Salute does most of its business. As for the whisky, expect pears, honeycomb and vanilla; honey, juicy oranges and hints of liquorice on the palate. Long, sweet finish.

 

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Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century

€450 (£330) for a 1 litre bottle of Jack is steep, but this is no ordinary bottle. Released to mark the centenary of the legend’s birth, the 100 proof (50% ABV) Sinatra Century is limited to 100 barrels. It comes in a blue lacquered case with a booklet and a replica of the singer’s tie clip, which doubles as a flash drive. It even contains an unreleased digital Sinatra concert from 1986.

Matured in so-called Sinatra barrels, with deep grooves on the inside, the result is smoky aromas and flavours along with honey, caramalised fruit, honey and coconut. Expect to find this at Frankfurt, Istanbul and Amsterdam airports this autumn.