The successful turnout of the whisky festival Malt Manila, proves that Philippines interest in whisky is growing. Held at the exclusive private membership club Manila House last March, the festival was crawling with curious whisky tasters and connoisseurs.


Attendees sampled drams of whiskies from brands Port Charlotte; Ledaig 10 Year Old; Highland Park 12 Year Old and Dark Origins; The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Year Old and Double Cask 12 Year Old; Glengoyne Cask Strength, 10 Year Old, 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, 18 Year Old, and 21 Year Old; Irish whiskey’s West Cork, The Pogues, Teeling; Pernod Ricard’s’ Jameson, Chivas 12 Year Old, 18 Year Old, Extra, The Glenlivet 12 Year Old, The Glenlivet 15 Year Old, The Glenlivet Nadurra, Aberlour 12 Year Old, and Royal Salute 21 Year Old; Kavalan expression’s Solist Bourbon Cask, Single Malt classic, Concert Master, and Podium; and Diageo Scotches Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old, Oban 14 Year Old, Lagavulin 16 Year Old, Cragganmore 12 Year Old, Talisker 10 Year Old, and Glenkinchie 12 Year Old.

Aside from the whisky selection, Whisky and Cigar bar Mandalay’s mixology booth was a crowd favorite. The complimentary whisky craft cocktails ran out early before the event even finished.

Bartender Ian Libang

Port Charlotte Whisky Sour
Team behind the Mandalay bar

Learning about whisky was one of the highlights of the festival; all master class sessions were full from the afternoon until late into the night. Industry connoisseurs and resto-bar owners flocked to the class on Whisky Collecting and Investment hosted by Rare Japanese Whisky founders Jay Sala of and Elliot Faber, who shared industry insights on Japanese whisky and rare bottles that are good for investment. Mandalay and Bitters Bar owner Lee Watson’s Blind Tasting class was a hit among new whisky drinkers as he shed light on sensory perception, misconceptions, and service styles of whiskies.

Jay Sala of Rare Japanese Whisky
Rare Japanese whisky bottles–Ichiro’s Malt Ace of Hearts, Vintage 1982 Karuizawa, The Nikka 40 Year Old (bottles are all priced above P200,000 plus)
Rare Japanese Whisky founders Jay Sala and Elliot Faber (HK Beverage Director Yardbird/RONIN)
Lee Watson’s Blind Tasting class
Discovering The Mystique Of Perique with Cigar Class Speaker, Jose Perfecto, Tabacalera Incorporada’s Cigar Expert
Distillers Edition Selection class with Philippines Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Rian Asiddao

A unique gentleman’s lounge offered complimentary grooming, custom tailoring, bespoke footwear, and complimentary shoeshines by Felipe and Sons. Miniature Liquor Collectors-Philippines (MLCP) exhibited dozens of miniature whisky bottles in the gentlemen’s lounge for viewing.

Miniature whisky bottles from Miniature Liquor Collectors-Philippines (MLCP) display

“The current Philippine whisky consumer has a growing interest in whisky education,” says Malt Manila founder Karrie Bitanga. “Malt Manila plans to introduce new brands to the Philippines and encourage a deeper understanding of whisky by way of tastings and seminars,” she adds. By next year, Bitanga says, they are working on bringing in international speakers and staging more seminars, as well as organizing talks about whisky investment funds.

Kieran Crowe international Brand Ambassador for Jameson,Malt Manila Founder Karrie Bitanga, Mandalay and Bitters Lee Watson, Chivas Brothers Brand Ambassador Asia Darren Hosie,  and Malt Manila founder and Trisha Juico
Malt Manila founder Karrie Bitanga, Marco Lobregat, and Malt Manila founderTrisha Juico
Pernod Ricard’s Mark Arreza and Remy Cointreau International Joey Pineda
David Azanza, Danny Isla, JP Tuason, Takuya Tanaka, Jeanette Tusaon, and Duke Ng
Vicky Herrera and Lynn Pinugu
Nicole Whisenhunt and Pam Lopez
Mandalay’s Indy Villalon, Tricia Centenera, Marco Lobregat, and Marcel Crespo
Raj and Kai Moreno
Jerianne Ejercito, Jane Dee, and Karrie Bitanga

Malt Manila holds private whisky tastings and whisky pairing dinners around Metro Manila throughout the year. For event updates visit @maltmanila2017 on Facebook and Instagram.

 Photos and video by Star Sabroso is your learned drinking buddy who can tell you what to drink, what you’re drinking and where to drink. Learn about the coolest and the latest bars in the metro, or the newest beverage or new product out in the market, or have fun creating enjoyable drinks from our features and videos within the comfort of your homes.

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