• Now on its third year, one of the most anticipated events in the alcohol and mixology industry in the Philippines and the most prominent international whisky event in the world, Whisky Live returns to Manila on November 9 and 10, 2018. Organized by Grand Cru Wines and Spirits, Inc., the whisky festival will once again take over The Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La, BGC.

Read about Whisky Live 2017 

This year, the event promises a whole new experience—new brands, bigger booths, and a lot of interactive activities that whisky and spirit aficionados will definitely enjoy.

Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Whisky Live 2018:

1) Taste the largest selection of whisky in one event

Over 131 different types of whisky, Scotch, bourbon, and blends from all over the world will be available on the tasting grounds. Participating brands include Diageo, Jim Beam Suntory, The Balvenie, The BenRiach, Bruichladdich, Chivas Regal, Tomintoul, The Dalmore, Dewars, Glencadam, Glendronach, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Glenmorangie, Highland Park, Jura, Jameson Irish Whisky, Kavalan, Mounkey Shoulder, The Singleton, Teeling Whiskey, Tomatin, Yamazakura, The Belgian Owl, Duncan Taylor, Mars Whisky, The Glenrothers, and many more.

Jim Beam Suntory booth

Each of these companies will be sampling various expressions under their portfolios so make sure you visit the big booths. For example, Diageo has Talisker, Cragganmore, Caol Ila, Mortlach, Lagavulin, and many more. They also have The Singleton whisky which will have their booth and Johnnie Walker which will launch Johnnie Walker House during the festivity. The blended malt Monkey Shoulder is under the family-owned William Grant & Sons, which also carries Glenfiddich and Balvenie. The Dalmore, owned by Philippines-based Emperador Inc. will have Jura and Shackleton.

Diageo Ambassador and Keeper of the Quaich Alex Whang served Johnnie Walker King George V at the Diageo booth last Whisky Live 2017

This year, Pernod Ricard have seven whisky brands and different expressions under their portfolio which includes the big brands The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute, Jameson Irish Whisky, and the market leaders of Chivas Brothers’ Chivas Regal, which will carry Chivas Regal 12, Extra, 18, Mizunara, Ultis, and new expressions to watch out for. Jim Beam Suntory will bring in Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Auchentoshan.

2) Learn from the industry experts

There will be a series of 12 masterclasses, and two Keepers of the Quaich will be present during the event. Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive and international society that recognizes those that have shown outstanding commitment to Scotch whisky. Drop by at Douglas Laing’s booth and chat with their ambassador, Keeper of the Quaich Paul Wang. Glenmorangie Brand ambassador and Keeper of the Quaich Murphy Chang will be holding a masterclass about Glenmorangie – Layering the Flavors of Lasanta and Hennessy Cognac – “Progression to Perfection.”

Glenmorangie Booth in 2016
Angus Dundee Distillers PLC Global Brand Ambassador ​Iain T. Forteath

If you want to learn about how to blend whiskies, Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador Hamish Houliston will hold a Chivas Regal Blending Session, learn to blend whisky and take home a 50 ml blend that you will create during the class.

Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador Hamish Houliston

For cocktail enthusiasts, make sure to book a class for cocktail making with owner and creator of Bitter Truth Bitters Stephan Berg and another mixology class with Singapore Manhattan’s (number 3 World’s Best Bar in the World and number 1 in Asia) head bartender Cedric Mendoza. If you want to learn how casks affect the flavors of whisky, don’t miss Pendyrn – Flavor Distinction of Different Casks by Technical Director of Penderyn Distillery, Dr. Giancarlo Bianchi.

Get the full schedule of the masterclasses at www.whiskylive.ph.

Brand owners and international ambassadors will be manning their brand’s booths so make sure to chat them up to learn a thing or two about their brands.

3) Taste rare bottles and new expressions

According to Grand Cru’s Managing Director, Johnssen Li, there will be nine new brands joining this year, among them are Michter’s American Whiskey distributed by Apotheke Craft Spirits in the Philippines; Jim Beam Suntory will have a booth specifically for Maker’s Mark as they launch Maker’s Mark Private Select in the Philippines; Penderyn, an award-winning single malt whisky from Wales; Naked Grouse, a Scotch blend whisky which recently relaunched as a blended malt apparently designed for older millennials; and Lambay, an Irish Whiskey with a distinct character due to the influence of Camus cognac in its polishing and finishing.

Be sure not to miss the booth of three independent bottling companies— Duncan Taylor, Douglas Laing, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, they usually serve hard to find bottles, old blends, and limited edition bottlings.

Duncan Taylor super-premium collection Dimensions Longmorn 20 Year Old 1996 (P20,000 ++ per bottle)

For new expressions, ask the person operating the booth if you can try their new releases. Chivas Regal might open the new Chivas Regal XV, a blended Scotch aged for a minimum of 15 years and selectively finished in Grande Champagne Cognac cask.

Chivas Regal XV

Grand Cru will be bringing in rare expressions for Whisky Live—The Tweeddale A Silent Character, World Whiskies Awards 2018 Best Scotch Grain, (only 564 bottles worldwide and 24 is in the Philippines) and The Tweeddale The Evolution (blend of classic Speyside single malts and a Lowland single grain). Each bottle is at Php14,000 range. They will also open a Raasay While We Wait (3rd Bottling Note), a lightly peated single malt.

The Tweeddale A Silent Character and The Tweeddale: The Evolution
The Tweeddale A Silent Character, Raasay While We Wait, and The Tweeddale: The Evolution

4) Overflowing cocktails

You can take a break in between your drams of whisky and savor free cocktails all over the premises. Cocktails are usually served within brand booths so guests can sample the brand’s signature serves.

2017 Whisky Live bartender champions—Remy Cointreau x Center for the Culinary Arts team, apprentice Arminel Joy C. Moniague and mentor Joey “Mayor” Cerdinia (Blind Pig and La Maison Cointreau’s PH contender for 2017)

The Whisky Live bartending competition will feature brands, bartenders, and school collaborations. Taste the cocktails that will be presented by these 12 collaborators:

1) Pernod Ricard X Jose Rizal University

  • Mentor Vanessa Rabadon (Nokal) and apprenticeMaureen Diosa Comendador; mentor Julius Veloso (The Spirits Library) and apprentice Charles Dominic Allado

2) Grand Cru Wine & Spirits X Enderun Colleges

  • Mentor Lennon Aguilar (Discovery Primea) and apprentice Thirdy Ramirez; mentor Lloyd Montelibano Shangri-La BGC and apprentice Sandra Kahn

3) Willam Grant and Sons X FEU

  • Mentor Katherine Eckstein (Dulo) and apprentice John Andrew Basa; mentor Royce Pua (WGS) and apprentice Ian Andrew Lazaro

4) Philippine Wine Merchants X Saint Scholastica’s College

  • Mentor Auie Benisano (Gallery Chele) and apprentice Priyanka Hariramani; mentor Kalel Demetrio (Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen) and apprentice Allea Rivera

5) Lambay Irish Whisky x Lyceum of the Philippines Manila

  • Mentor Paul Perez (Raffles Makati) and apprentice Lea Razielle Palmera; mentor Jason Heaven (Grand Hyatt Manila) and apprentice Noelle Anne Fajardo

6) Remy Martin and Bruichladdich X De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde

  • Mentor Ian Serdick Libang (Nokal) and apprentice Enrico Luis Adolfo; mentor Loreen Hernandez (Versus Barcade) and apprentice Heike Marlis Kuczera

5) Non-whisky brands to discover

Whisky Live is also a host to various spirits, usually courtesy of sister brands of the whiskies featured in the exhibition. William Grant and Sons will be featuring Hendrick’s Gin in a separate booth. Bruichladdich Distillery, makers of Octomore and Port Charlotte, will highlight their Islay gin, The Botanist. Jim Beam Suntory will also bring in the complex Japanese gin Roku. Bacolod rum Don Papa Rum will also grace the event together with local brands Tanduay Gold and Silver Asian Rum and Tanduay CLX Rum Chairman’s Reserve, and Lakan Lambanog,

Roku Gin

6) Because FOMO

Whisky Live is the biggest whisky event in the Philippines, and the attendance gets bigger and bigger every year. Your friends, your classmate, your client, your boss, your colleague will probably drop by so if you don’t want to be left out in the IG and FB stories make sure you get your ticket today.

For Php 2499 per head, you will be able to taste various whisky expressions, rare bottles, and drams that you wouldn’t normally buy on a regular basis because some bottling will cost more than a month’s rent.

To make the most out of Whisky Live 2018 follow these tips:

1) Have a plan – Whisky Live for nubes will be an overwhelming experience. There will be a lot of bottles to taste, so, take your time and choose the brands you would like to try. Start with the rare bottles, the most awarded brands, and whiskies that will not be available in the market yet. You don’t want to finish the night with only three booths because you drank more than one dram of the whisky bottle you usually have at home.

2) Eat before heading to the event – Trust us, we’ve learned our lesson well. Don’t attempt to navigate a festival of this size on an empty stomach, you will regret it.

3) Explore / Ask – Whisky Live is a learning experience, do not hesitate to ask the ambassadors about their brands, or their recommended ‘must-tries”. Make sure to ask the booth for special bottles as it’s not usually displayed and they only open limited editions at specific schedules throughout the evening.

4) Stay Hydrated – Your Whisky Live pack comes with a bottle of Evian water, stay hydrated throughout the night. You will be tasting hard spirits, and it will be strong, so you need to keep hydrating to remain sober. If you’re out of Evian, there will be water stations available throughout the event.

5) Drink Responsibly – The Whisky Live Manila organizers are monitoring consumption by using a token system to serve the drinks. Tokens are unlimited, but they must be procured from the in-house license nurse, who will run a series of tests (walk a straight line, breathalyzer, etc.) to make sure it’s safe for the attendee to continue sampling. For the safety and enjoyment of all participants, the organizers of the exhibition reserve the right to remove any person who is behaving irresponsibly from the venue.

6) Be ready to shop – Whisky bottles from brands will be available for purchase during the tasting event. Some will be sold at lower than the normal retail price. So, dear imbibers, ready your wallets, this is the best place to shop if you’re loading up for your home bar.

7) Take your glencairns home – Your Whisky Live kits contain one glass of glencairn. Most attendees leave their glasses lying on tables after they’re done with their tasting. These tasting glasses costs from Php 600 or more depending on which store or shop you will purchase it from. It serves as your take-home token so make sure you take it home and start your glencairns Whisky Live collection every year!

Whisky Live Manila 2018 is organized by Grand Cru Wine & Spirits, Inc. Visit whiskylive.ph to purchase tickets and view the full list of master classes and participating exhibitors. Follow @drinkmanila on Instagram and Twitter for our Whisky Live event coverage.

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