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Article: How Serendipity Turned Wine Into Single Cask Whisky

How Serendipity Turned Wine Into Single Cask Whisky

How Serendipity Turned Wine Into Single Cask Whisky

“Things happen for a reason”, reflected Ben Curtis as he recalled his past life as a first growth wine importer.

What do single cask whisky and first growth Bordeaux wine have in common? For those not familiar, there are five first growth Bordeaux producers. Each one being celebrated as an illustrious example of winemaking. Transforming raw, natural ingredients into jewels of flavour that are truly unrepeatable.

As a whisky fan you may have come across names like Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, or Chateau Haut-Brion. Maybe not for their wines but for their casks which have experienced a second life maturing single malt whiskies, many of which contained Bruichladdich whisky from Islay. Other than both first growth wines and whisky being unique pinnacles of taste, craft, and sharing some DNA and oak, there is another thread that has turned wine into whisky.

The story of wine, adventure and single cask whisky

That thread is Ben Curtis, who as mentioned, was once dedicated to the first growth wines of Bordeaux. Based in Hong Kong at the time, Ben imported Bordeaux wine into Asia. However, through a chance opportunity he also began importing scotch whisky too. While not being much of a whisky connoisseur back then, something one day grabbed his attention.

As anyone who is a fan of Glenfarclas 105 will verify, it’s the kind of whisky that will certainly grab your attention!

Ben’s own encounter with Glenfarclas 105 came about through becoming the Glenfarclas importer for Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. It’s through working with Glenfarclas single malts that he was introduced to the Family Series. A range of single cask Glenfarclas releases that spanned 1952 to 2004.

“I just could not understand how each cask could taste so different. Does the year make a difference? Or the ABV? The cask? It became an addiction. An addiction to discovering the differences between them.”

 

Scotch whisky tastes better shared

It’s part of the magic of single cask whiskies. An allure that that’s equal parts anticipation and exploration. But as with any good whisky, it tastes much better shared. Having an impressive array of unique bottlings from a wide range of Scottish distilleries, the next step for Ben was a natural one.

The Single Cask Bar Singapore opened in 2015 within a short distance from world renowned whisky bars such as the Auld Alliance. It was not long after it’s opening that another chance encounter would happen. Into the bar walked Brendan Asher.

Only two years out of university and full of enthusiasm, Brendan was already a keen scholar of scotch. Through actively pursuing his passion for distilled delights through the whisky bars of Singapore and writing his blog, Brendan found himself walking through the doors of The Single Cask Bar. Shortly followed by an email to Ben. And before he knew it, he was working behind the bar.

Both through the bar and through their own cask bottlings, The Single Cask began to grow into a family who all had a shared passion. The bar’s menu developed into a comprehensive who’s who of whisky, with each bottle accompanied by a thorough tasting note.

As Brendan put it, “It wasn’t just about selling people drams. It was about building conversions. Understanding what customers were wanting and providing the knowledge they needed to explore whisky more deeply.”

Of course, the Scottish roots were there throughout, as all scotch whisky must be matured and bottle in Scotland. Which brings us up to the present day. In the same way that Glenfarclas is a family distillery, The Single Cask has grown into a global family of passionate whisky explorers.

 

The charisma of single cask whiskies

As Ben puts it, “How can you take just three simple ingredients (barley, water and yeast), and transform them into something completely different each time?”

It’s this pursuit of wonder that drives us to seek the never-ending array of diverse flavours that come from the best single malt scotch whiskies. A diversity that only single cask whiskies can offer. From our home in Glenrothes, Scotland, each day we are excited about what awaits within these oak casks. What treasures do they contain, patiently waiting to be discovered, experienced and enjoyed? Everything does happen for a reason, which is why we are here to share these incredible casks.

Join us on our mission to uncover whisky flavours than veer off the well-trodden path. Discover the idiosyncratic characters and personalities that are normally kept behind closed doors. Become part of the family by joining our newsletter using the link below. Each edition is abundant with insider expertise, to build your knowledge, and ultimately enhance your experience of single cask whiskies.

 

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