Returning to Kuala Lumpur for its second edition, WhiskyPLUS was held recently at the beautiful new Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur Managed by Banyan Tree. This year, some 60 brands joined in, complemented by an eclectic range of over a dozen excellent supporting partners, as WhiskyPLUS 2019 welcomed hundreds of enthusiasts to enjoy themselves in Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s stunning 6,800-square foot grand ballroom.
This single-day event, once again organised by TEG Media, the publisher of this website, included two terrific sessions for eager guests, with each session offering an unprecedented range of whiskies and other spirits from many of Malaysia’s top spirits importers, distributors, and wholesalers.
TEG Media’s Group Editor Chad Merchant, who served as WhiskyPLUS Event Director, spoke about the enthusiastic response, saying, “It’s clear that people in Malaysia are increasingly embracing whisky and premium spirits. The words I heard over and over at the event were, ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ when compared to our inaugural edition last July. For this edition, nearly 700 guests enjoyed unlimited tasting from a whopping 60 different whisky and spirits brands. I think we have firmly cemented WhiskyPLUS as Malaysia’s biggest and best whisky and spirits tasting event.”
Brands on offer in this year’s edition included global favourites like Dewar’s, Glenfiddich, Chivas, and The Glenlivet, along with such Scotch whisky treats as Bruichladdich, Auchentoshan, Benromach, Old Pulteney, Jura, Glenfarclas, Port Charlotte, and many more. Apart from Scotland, other regions were represented as well, including whiskies from India, Ireland, Taiwan, South Africa, and the United States, along with four different brands of Japanese whisky.
Guests savoured the PLUS in WhiskyPLUS by sampling a selection of outstanding rums and gins from around the world, including the popular Diplomático range of premium rums from Venezuela. Gins from Thailand and Scotland, a pair of rums from Thailand, and a trio of beguiling gins from Italy were on offer, as well. Guests were also able to purchase bottles of whiskies or other spirits that they liked, and with the special WhiskyPLUS event pricing extended by exhibitors, many guests took full advantage and added to their own personal collections.
Undeniably, much of a large whisky event’s appeal is the opportunity to be introduced to new and unfamiliar spirits, and guests had plenty of options here, from approachable blended malt whiskies like Lower East Side and Shackleton, to an impressive array of independent and single cask bottlings. Indeed, the independent bottlings made one of the biggest splashes at this year’s WhiskyPLUS, with no less than five independent bottlers exhibiting. Popular labels The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and The Single Cask both returned for this year’s edition, joined in by three others new to WhiskyPLUS. Douglas Laing & Co., with three different ranges and over 70 different labels offered, attracted a huge amount of attention, and whisky fans were delighted to see bottles from That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Eiling Lim, Malaysia’s first independent bottler, on hand.
Of course, plenty of smaller and lesser-known distilleries were also offered, with single malts from Kilkerran, Ledaig, Aberlour, Hazelburn, Deanston, and Craigellachie all represented, among many others. Guests even had the opportunity to sample multiple expressions from Omar distillery in Taiwan, Glendalough distillery in Ireland, and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky in South Africa.
Those selecting the VIP entry pass also enjoyed sampling from an expanded range of premium whiskies offered in the main tasting hall. Additionally, they gained exclusive access to the Premier VIP Lounge, a 3,000-square foot sanctuary of relaxation and refinement, where additional food was offered, along with premium artisanal ice cream from Crème de la Crème. The VIP Lounge even featured an extensive exhibition from locally based artist Dr. Ralph Richard Klemp, lending an additional touch of class to the already plush surroundings. Lucky VIP guests were also able to indulge in drams of a rare Douglas Laing XOP Single Cask Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old, provided courtesy of HRZ Beverages.
In collaboration with Cigar Bar, the official cigar partner of WhiskyPLUS, this year’s edition boasted an indulgent Cigar Corner, 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. Experts from Cigar Journal magazine and Cigar Bar were also on hand to answer questions and guide enthusiasts through the intriguing world of premium cigars.
Once again, an especially popular area at WhiskyPLUS was the Collector’s Corner, a remarkable gathering of nearly 30 rare, old, or collectible whiskies representing a unique offering at a Malaysian whisky tasting. 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 hard-to-find bottlings like Redbreast Dream Cask and Pappy Van Winkle, private and independent bottlings, and some seriously aged liquids in the 35- to 45-year-old range, 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. The guys behind the newly launched 1B4 drink, a tasty and nutrient-packed liquid supplement designed to protect consumers from the aftereffects of a big night out! 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 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 popular and somewhat-hidden gem of a bar in Damansara Kim returned again for year two of WhiskyPLUS, serving guests a tempting array of freshly made cocktails!
WhiskyPLUS was also supported by EatDrink.my, Boozeat, and DiineOut.com, with the team from Boozeat on hand at the event to dish out their special offers to guests just outside the main tasting hall. Hundreds of guests also took their chance at a Turkish Airlines lucky draw to win two return tickets to any of the airline’s European destinations!
Generously portioned set meal boxes were provided to all guests, with a choice of Western or Asian meal sets. Additionally, everyone who attended the event received cash vouchers good for selected food and beverage outlets at the Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur and its sister property, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur.
WhiskyPLUS was delighted this year to have partnered with the Malaysian chapter of The Glenlivet Guardians as well as Dram Full Malaysia, both among Malaysia’s best-known whisky enthusiast clubs. Guardians and Dram Full members received special discounts on WhiskyPLUS entry passes, and other select goodies, too.
A big thank-you to all who joined this year for another successful and enjoyable edition of Malaysia’s Premier Whisky and Spirits Tasting Event!