Hazelburn 12 year 46%

My astute whisky sampling companion in Singapore selected the Hazelburn 12 year at Quaich bar. Thank goodness as our first sample – the Glengassaugh Torfa – simply wasn’t to our taste!
Hazelburn 12 year (Whisky Lady)

Hazelburn 12 year (Whisky Lady)

Hazelburn 12 year
  • Nose – Clear sherry element with caramel, fruit – particularly plums. A hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and then dried fruits. Quite peaceful… with wet moss, a drizzle of rain… After sampling and more time to breathe, the nose gained even more sugar until it became almost too sweet like sugary orange marmalade
  • Palate – Well-structured, balanced, smooth, spice with a very pleasant curl of smoke, not ‘chewy’ but has some substance with darker elements – roasted coffee and chocolate?
  •  Finish –  Some warm spice, licorice, sweet…
  • Overall – Simply delicious, complex, lots of sherry yet still well-balanced

The Hazelburn is triple distilled, non-chill filtered with no caramel added.

Without a doubt, both my fellow Whisky Lady in Singapore and I put this in our ‘Would buy‘ category… Satisfying in every way and enough to make me regret passing up buying a 1st release Hazelburn 8 year from earlier in the week.

While most would already be aware, the Hazelburn distillery in Campletown was technically in operation only from 1825 and 1925, when it was bought by Springbank distilleries and shut down. Which means this whisky is produced in honour of Hazelburn rather than actually from the original distillery.

Springbank produces three distinct whiskies:
  • The Hazelburn’s you find today are part of their un-peated line
  • They use the Longrow brand for their peated line and
  • Their most popular Springbank standard can most readily found in their 10 year vintage

So far, I’ve overall enjoyed all three ranges from Springbank and look forward to seeing what will emerge with 18 years maturity – for many Scottish whiskies this seems to be their most interesting age.

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Will Quaich Bar in Singapore quench your whisky cravings?

The ‘big close’ to my Singapore whisky tasting adventures was my last evening in town – Saturday night – with a fellow Whisky Lady. We had ambitious plans to hit a few different places however after a slow start at her place, then the limitations of my newly twisted ankle, we decided to take a more selective approach.

After a stellar evening earlier in the week at The Auld Alliance and the usual delightful purchasing pit stop at La Maison du Whisky, I was primed for surprises and an opportunity to discover something completely different – in a good way!

After considering :

  • The Secret Mermaid – known for craft American whiskies yet eliminated as shortly off to N America
  • 28 Hong Kong Street – reservations required
  • Pony & Jigger – likely crowded Saturday night
  • B28 – the latest incarnation of the Malt Vault – closed for an indeterminate time…

We finally settled on beginning our evening at Quaich

Quaich (pronounced Quake) takes its name from a traditional whisky bowl offered as a symbol of friendship. Around since 2006, it is one of the well-known whisky sampling spots of Singapore.
Quaich Bar Singapore (Whisky Lady)

Quaich Bar Singapore (Whisky Lady)

We strolled into a cosy space that conveniently has both an outdoor area for smokers, indoor for non-smokers plus semi-private cigar lounges around the side… in which a couple were (ahem), taking advantage of the seclusion offered.

The whisky menu began with suggested tasting sets then long lists by region.

Excited, I perused the sets, then had a sinking realisation that I’ve sampled just about all the whiskies listed in the them…

Now… I consider myself a novice in the world of whisky, so this did not bode well.

While the overall selection is fantastic by Indian standards (easy to achieve!), clearly one of the pre-set samplers was not going to satisfy my quench for something unique.

So naturally I asked for help from the staff which was… erm… just not on par with my Singapore single malt sampling experiences til date.

Whisky dram (Whisky Lady)

Whisky dram (Whisky Lady)

Now, I’m sure they must get this a lot “I want to try something different!”

And it is not easy to know what someone will enjoy until you have a deeper conversation about experiences til date and preferences… but that’s just it, there wasn’t much of a further probe and well… let’s just say the lass helping us didn’t seem terribly enthusiastic.

I shared my quandary about the sample sets with a sincere request for guidance.

No offer to craft a modified set, and in the dance to determine what may be of interest, my queries lead to her frankly admitting that she hadn’t been permitted to sample most of those I asked about, and hence could not speak to their character. Hmm…

Not that it should impact the equation, however, I shared a bit more background:
  • I live in India and appreciate the range available in Singapore
  • Am part of a whisky tasting group in Mumbai and
  • Share our tasting notes in a blog on whisky

All to provide context as to why I was so keen to try something less accessible and open to recommendations.

Normally, this would be the point during which other support would be brought in, if needed…

Off she went and came back suggesting the Glenglassaugh Torfa which, indeed, I’ve not tried. Unfortunately, it was not an entirely positive experience and we did not even finish our whisky. My friend opted for the Hazelburn 12 year – smart choice!

A bit of India at Quaich Bar, Singapore (Whisky Lady)

India at Quaich Bar, Singapore (Whisky Lady)

What amused me the most was spotting two bottles of India’s Paul John proudly displayed… with one bottle clearly already empty!

It could be that I just happened to get someone newer to the team or perhaps I wasn’t able to articulate my expectation well enough. However, would I go to Quaich again? Doubtful unless there is a specific draw…

What stood out was staff pride in their new Quaich bar in Myanmar “Do come visit us in Myanmar! Here is the card!” I simply wish that level of passion had extended to the collection right there in Singapore.

In our case, the evening ended on a high note as we gave up on further whisky adventures in favour of going straight to BluJaz to catch the end of a friend’s set. There the whisky choices may be limited, but the price is as reasonable as one gets in Singapore and best of all, by the time we reached, the band was smoking. I opted for a Macallan and considered my Singapore trip overall a success.

Slainthe!

Quiach Bar is located at 390A Havelock Rd, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Singapore 169664.