Food & Drink

That’s the Spirit! WhiskyPLUS Soars in Malaysia

With nearly 50 brands on hand, complemented by a range of excellent partners and exhibitors, WhiskyPLUS 2018, the biggest and best whisky and spirits tasting event ever held in Malaysia, saw hundreds of enthusiasts enjoying themselves at the successful inaugural edition of WhiskyPLUS, held at the prestigious Hilton Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, July 28, 2018.

This single-day event, organised by TEG Media, included two terrific sessions for eager attendees, with each session offering an unprecedented range of whiskies and other spirits from many of Malaysia’s top spirits importers, distributors, and wholesalers. Over 600 people in attendance at WhiskyPLUS enjoyed sampling from a whopping 49 different whisky and spirits brands in and around the 2,000 square foot main tasting room at the Hilton. Brands on offer included global favourites like Glenfiddich, Chivas, and The Glenlivet, along with such Scotch whisky treats as Bruichladdich, GlenDronach, Benromach, Old Pulteney, Glenfarclas, and many more. Apart from Scotland, other regions were represented as well, including whiskies from India, Ireland, and Australia, along with four different brands of Japanese whisky. Guests also got to enjoy the PLUS in WhiskyPLUS by tasting pours of outstanding rums, vodkas, and gins from around the world, including the incredibly popular Diplomático range of premium rums
from Venezuela, along with gins from Scotland, rums from Thailand, and craft vodkas from both Australia and the United States.

A big part of a large whisky event’s appeal is the opportunity to be introduced to new and unfamiliar spirits, and guests had a number of options here, from whiskies like Lower East Side Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and the 23rd Street Distillery Hybrid Whisk(e)y from Australia to an impressive array of single cask independent bottlings from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and The Single Cask. Plenty of smaller and lesserknown distilleries were also represented, with labels from Ledaig, Aberlour, Hazelburn, Deanston, and Port Charlotte all on hand, among many others.

In addition to the whisky and spirit tasting in the main venue, WhiskyPLUS offered guests opportunities for attending mini masterclasses held by both the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Cigar Journal, sampling cocktails from various bars, indulging a VIP Premier Tasting Room, and treating themselves to an exclusive selection of purchase-by-the-dram rare whiskies, some of which represented one-of-akind offerings!

WhiskyPLUS boasted an indulgent cigar room, with an outstanding selection of hand-rolled cigars, both Cuban and non-Cuban, on offer for enthusiasts to purchase, ranging from the affordable to the extravagant. Cigar experts from Trinidad Cigars and Cigar Journal magazine were also on hand to answer questions and guide enthusiasts through the intriguing world of premium cigars. Guests in the cigar room were also introduced to some of the team behind The Cabinet, one of Kuala Lumpur’s newest cigar and whisky lounges. Located in Bangsar, this secluded and exclusive haven offers its guests and members a plush, refined ambiance, a brilliant selection of premium cigars, and a range of fine whiskies and other spirits. The Cabinet also sponsored discount vouchers for the VIP Goodie Bags, allowing guests to enjoy a generous savings on any purchases made at the lounge.

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The VIP Premier Tasting Room gave guests who purchased the upgraded pass the chance to explore 15 special labels, with such offerings as the anCnoc 24, Old Pulteney 25, a trio of vintage 20+ year old Darroze Armagnacs, the Royal Salute 21, and more. True enthusiasts were happy to spot such rare treats as the Bruichladdich Black Art 5, Diplomático Ambassador, and the hard-to-find Foursqure Triptych, a potent and highly regarded single barrel rum from Barbados.

One especially popular area at WhiskyPLUS was the Collector’s Corner, a remarkable gathering of 20 rare, old, and collectible whiskies representing a truly unprecedented offering at Malaysian whisky tastings. Guests purchased tokens and then consulted with the experts to select a dram or two from the menu, got their coveted pour, and savoured their whisky in a special lounge area set aside exclusively for them. With whiskies encompassing old bottlings, expressions from now-closed distilleries, private independent bottlings, and some seriously aged drams of up to 43 years old, the Collector’s Corner afforded connoisseurs an uncommon opportunity to enjoy rare and old whiskies by the dram.

For guests wanting to take a breather from whiskies and spirits, a team from Monin was on hand mixing up delicious and refreshing mocktails with their premium imported flavour syrups. And
outside the main hall, a barista and his team from Mister Coffee were busy grinding beans and serving superb coffee drinks, made to order. Throughout the venue, guests were delighted to find bottles of premium Acqua Panna mineral water on hand to add to their whisky, helping them to
unlock the complex flavour profile of the dram.

Additionally, for a limited time during each session, a pop-up bar featuring the talented guys from The Locker and Loft, a somewhat-hidden gem of a bar in Damansara Kim that’s nevertheless quite well-known, served up a tempting array of freshly made cocktails, including some using their own house-infused ‘Jin’ liquor!

WhiskyPLUS was also supported by partner The Whisky Bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang. Owned and operated under The Werner Group, this bar was among the first to bring a substantial range of whiskies to one KL location and has certainly played a role in driving enthusiasm for whisky here. The Whisky Bar, which still boasts one of the greatest selection of whiskies to be found anywhere in Malaysia, generously sponsored cash vouchers for guests attending WhiskyPLUS.

All in all, the inaugural edition of WhiskyPLUS was a great success, and the responses from guests, exhibitors, and partners alike were overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone who
participated and attended!

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