As whisky enthusiasts accustomed to our tipples in small, cosy, dark bars (best located in an alleyway of some sort), we weren’t sure what to expect when we were invited for a preview of The Singleton’s international debut of its Glen Ord Single Malt Whisky ”Sensorium“ experience at Central Harbourfront ahead of Taste of Hong Kong presented by Standard Chartered 2018. Upon stepping inside the giant replica of the same wooden washbacks used at the distillery, we were instantly virtually transported to the Scottish Highlands while seated at an intimate circular tasting bar fitting up to 16 guests.
Though not really a VR-type of experience (no glasses required!), the Sensorium was a sight for the senses as a brand ambassador guided us through a flight tasting of The Singleton of Glen Ord’s 12-, 15- and 18-year-old whiskies. The full-immersion experience came complete with surround sound and a 360-video projection of scenes, from the snowy hinterlands where Glen Ord is located in the western part of Inverness, Scotland, to the large copper mash tuns in the interior of a working distillery.
Designed to complement and heighten notable elements of each of the whiskies, the progression of smells of barley, pear drops, beer and yeast from a mash tun wafted from hidden flavour infusers as we slowly sipped our way through the tasting. A few tasting notes:
- The Singleton of Glen Ord 12-year-old: The Singleton is a brand representing various single malt distilleries, including Glen Ord, a distillery that still malts it own barley in an area famous for growing some of the best in Scotland. The most well known of the three, we liked the subtle and slightly nutty tinge of the barley that balanced the fruity and floral berry notes, making it an all-round crowd-pleaser and easy daily quaff.
- The Singleton of Glen Ord 15-year-old: longer fermentation in American and European casks results in a darker copper colour, with a longer finish and richer flavours of vanilla and ginger. A regular award winner, the 15-year-old’s updated bottle design was recently launched in Asia and is now available in Hong Kong.
- The Singleton of Glen Ord 18-year-old: rich and more mature, with sultry hints of spices, sultanas and chocolate. Though its 15-year-old counterpart receives more awards, we prefer the more complex taste and finish of this whisky.
For those who prefer a decidedly more low-tech experience, there is also a small outdoor patio area with a long bar serving single drams to sip outside and enjoy the weather. Either way, the Sensorium offers a fun way to taste a flight of whisky and learn more about the distillery process without having to make a trip to Scotland.
The Singleton of Glen Ord Sensorium will be open to the general public during the four-day Taste of Hong Kong festival at Central Harbourfront, from 22–25 March 2018. Tickets on site are $100 per person or $188 per person for a combined ticket with Taste of Hong Kong general entry and a Sensorium whisky masterclass. Tickets are available online here.