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Inaugural whisky event drams up HK support

Hong Kong’s first ever whisky festival reflects the changing styles of Hong Kong’s drinkers with expressions from Sweden and India in the event lineup.

Hong Kong’s whisky dramming public are in for a treat as the Intercontinental Grand Stanford and its Tiffany’s New York Bar will host what is thought to be Hong Kong’s biggest whisky event this Saturday.

The brainchild of Scotsman John Drummond, general manager of the Grand Stanford and John Rhodes, importer of the Glencairn whisky glass, the Hong Kong Whisky Festival will feature 10 masterclasses with bottlings from Scotland, Japan, USA, Sweden, Taiwan, India and Australia.

“It’s whisky everything and on a large scale,” said Rhodes. “John and I felt that other events have been small and niche in HK and we thought they didn’t quite serve what drinkers were looking for which is variety and the chance to try unusual independent bottlings that are typically hard to find.

“So, together with many of the large brands there was a common thought that this kind of event was needed and here we are! I can say it will be a busy one as we have had to release a few more tickets for online sales but will keep some back for people who show up on the day.”

As a particular draw, whisky writer, Charlie Maclean will host the keynote masterclass, ‘Then & Now’ which compares 10 and 12 year old whiskies bottled in the 1970s and contrasts them with today’s bottlings. He will also have a very limited number of one of his books to sign in addition.

For lovers of other Scottish exports, the Peat Pavilion will also offer oysters and smoked salmon alongside Islay peated whiskies.

“It all starts in Tiffany’s New York Bar,” continued Rhodes. “Tiffany’s New York Bar is going to be turned into the ticket office for the event so that people can come into the hotel through the outdoor entrance of the bar, get their tickets logged in and issued their starter tokens and complimentary Glencairn glass and then into the venue to start their day’s journey.”

For Hong Kong, a fruitful market where a bottle of Karuizawa sells for a record-breaking HK$918,750, Drummond and Rhodes hope that this will be the first of many more events in celebration of the dark matter.

The Hong Kong Whisky Festival will be held on Saturday, 20 February at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford from 12-7pm with the Peat Pavilion on from 5-11pm. Admission tickets available from the Festival website.

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