*Produced by SilverKris for The Dalmore*
While Singapore’s F&B industry as a whole languished over the past 15 months, a curious counter-trend has characterised the luxury spirits niche. Affluent Singaporeans have gravitated towards fine whiskies, not just as refined drinks but as investment-worthy assets.
Just last January, Lion City-based private exchange HGX announced the launch of a blockchain-based service for rare whisky bottles. (Yes, you read that right.) Professional investors can now buy and sell tokens that represent a bottle of whisky valued anywhere from $950 to $15,000. More broadly, whisky brokerage Rare Finds Worldwide reported that in 2019, Singapore was Asia’s top market for Scotch whisky, valued at $425.7 million.
Rare whiskies outstrip rare stamps, coins and even cars as investment assets
The Lion City’s rare-whisky landscape is a microcosm for a broader and growing global trend. According to Sotheby’s 2020 Wine & Spirits Market Report, spirits now account for 19% of the auction house’s Auction & Retail sales share, compared to 1% in 2016. And for good reason, apparently: Knight Frank consultancy said in its 2020 Wealth Report that rare whiskies are more lucrative than rare stamps, coins and even cars as investment assets, increasing roughly 582% in value over a 10-year period.
A record-breaking whisky distillery
So what’s so special about these whiskies, you might wonder, and who is making them? Rare whiskies are special bottlings from prestigious distilleries. Not intended for mass market, these releases are usually produced in tiny batches – a couple hundred bottles or less, for the entire global market – and often feature very old spirit, a special one-off recipe or an exciting celebrity collaboration. Needless to say, you can’t find them at your regular liquor shop.
One distillery that has done all of the above – and has record-breaking prices to show for it – is The Dalmore, located some 20 miles north of Inverness in the fabled Scottish Highlands. With the royal stag as its symbol, The Dalmore claims a heritage that dates as far back as the 13th-century, and its rare aged single malts are consistently among the most expensive whiskies in the market.
The distillery set an important record in 2017 when its 12-bottle Dalmore Paterson Collection of rare whiskies sold at auction for an eye-watering £987,500. This was followed closely by the competition-eclipsing release of just 500 bottles of The Dalmore 45. Presented in a Baccarat crystal decanter, the whisky finished its maturation process in Graham’s Port Colheita pipes – specifically from 1961 and 1963 – and retailed at £12,800 per bottle. In the ensuing years, a rising demand for the increasingly rare release means each of those bottles will now sell for a great deal more.
A year later, The Dalmore’s legendary master distiller Richard Paterson teamed up with chef Massimo Bottura of three-Michelin-starred Modena to produce just a single bottle of The Dalmore L’Anima 49 Years. Presented in an Italian olive wood and ebony cabinet, the one-off release sold at a charity auction £108,900. And perhaps most impressively, in June 2020, during the height of the pandemic, two bottles of The Dalmore 62 Year Old sold for a whopping £266,200 each at an auction in London.
Stratospheric flavours here on earth
Back in Singapore, non-investor whisky aficionados now have an opportunity to sample this decorated legacy at earthly prices. The city-state will be among the first countries to see the release of The Dalmore 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Select, as part of the Highland single-malt maker’s 180th anniversary celebration.
Since it started operations in 1839, The Dalmore has aged its whisky in authentic ex-sherry casks. The Dalmore 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Select is both a celebration and the pinnacle of this practice. Master Distiller Richard Paterson worked with three partners from Spain’s Andalusia region – Tevasa, Vasyma and Paez – to create a bespoke oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry blend with which to season the casks for this whisky. Spirit made with native Scottish ingredients was aged for 10 years in American ex-bourbon barrels before finishing its maturation journey in these very special casks, delivering twice as much sherry influence than is usual for a Dalmore bottle.
Moreover, this long and careful journey enhances the chocolate, orange and spice flavours that have long been the hallmarks of The Dalmore brand. Whisky lovers will find hints of ginger, sultanas and honey on the nose and crushed almonds and cinnamon on the palate. And like all great whiskies, this one leaves a memorable and surprising finish: mangoes, panna cotta and lemon sponge cake.
During the month of June, The Dalmore 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Select is available in Singapore exclusively through Singapore Airlines’ omni-channel retailer, KrisShop. And for travel-thirsting whisky investors and aficionados alike, it’s an exciting way to experience one of Scotland’s oldest and most decorated distilleries.