Spirits Castle Pte Ltd is a distributor in Singapore, but we are also an independent bottler. From 2019, we have been bottling whisky with our friends and getting our suppliers to bottle whiskies for the Singapore market. In 2022, we finally realised our dream to become a Singaporean independent bottler ourselves! We launched our first ever overseas bottling in South Korea in August 2022. The first launch was two expressions exclusive for South Korea – a Linkwood 2011 11 Years Old and a Benriach 2013 8 Years Old.
Singapore has no lack of independent bottlers so Spirits Castle wants to dream bigger. We want to become a Singaporean independent bottler that has the world as our stage. We want to share our love for brown spirits with people all over the world and will strive to bottle unique expressions to give drinkers a different perspective.
First Launch in South Korea
Spirits Castle launched our brand officially in South Korea in August 2022. Designing our own label and getting it approved by HMRC was a huge challenge but it was also fun. We got a designer in Singapore to do the design for us as we want it to reflect our Singaporean identity. Proudly Singaporean, our brand encompass our passion, beliefs and dreams of becoming a Singaporean independent bottler on the world stage.
The lion represents Singapore, the castle as our fortress, the rising sun as our hopes and the snowdrops surrounding the castle represents our director. The iris at the side symbolises our determination to bottle unique liquids.
We launched 2 expressions in South Korea, exclusive to the market. The first expression was a Linkwood 2011 11 Years Old, matured in bourbon cask with an alcohol percentage of 48.6%. It sat in a refill bourbon barrel before it was finished in a Buffalo Trace first-fill bourbon cask.
The second expression was a Benriach 2013 8 Years Old, matured in sherry cask with an alcohol percentage of 59.4%. It sat in a refill bourbon barrel before it was transferred into a refill sherry hogshead for further maturation.
Mahjong is a game that most Chinese love to play, especially during the Chinese New Year holidays. It is a game that requires more skills than luck to win, and learners often have to “pay tuition fees” to perfect their skills.
Our Mahjong bottling is the first baby step Spirits Castle took to become a Singaporean independent bottler. We work with our friends from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China to jointly bottle the series.
Our work involves sampling various whisky casks and making our joint choices in bottling single casks for our Mahjong Series. Covid-19 has made it impossible for us to meet and sending whisky samples four-ways is proving more challenging than ever. Please be patient with us as we take a rest from the series. It will be back next year!
The current eight bottles are selected for their excellent qualities and the interesting differences that they have compared to official bottling. The total collection will be 34 expressions, and the release dates will span three to five years.
Our second independent bottling started with a wee sip of a mysterious liquid at a whisky fair in Taiwan. Tony from HNWS Taiwan passed it to us and asked for our opinion on it. Not knowing that it was a cask sample, we tried it and got interested right from the first sip.
It turned out to be a rare cask sample of Talisker. When Tony asked if we would like to bottle the whisky jointly, we shouted “YES”! Later on, we discovered that Whisky Lovers Hong Kong, the distributors for HNWS Taiwan in HK are also interested. It became a three-way joint bottling.
It was another baby step towards our dream as a Singaporean independent bottler. While these baby steps are still small and tentative, we will keep doing that to gain more experience with sampling and bottling.
A note on our Talisker: It is mellow for an 8-year-old whisky. Our customers think it is awesome for its age, but hey, that’s the beauty of whisky. Not all young whiskies are sharp and frisky! Sometimes, they have an old soul. 🙂