The return of Hong Kong’s Whisky Festival

15th February, 2017 by Lucy Jenkins

Lovers of the dark matter are in for a treat as Hong Kong’s biggest whisky festival returns next month with a plethora of new expressions on offer.

Dramming up support: Last year’s Hong Kong Whisky Festival © Time for Whisky

Hong Kong’s whisky dramming public are in for a treat as the Intercontinental Grand Stanford and its whisky-focused Tiffany’s New York Bar will host Hong Kong’s Whisky Festival for a second time on Saturday, 4 March.

Dreamed up between ardent whisky lovers, John Drummond, general manager of the Grand Stanford and John Rhodes, importer of the Glencairn whisky glass, the Hong Kong Whisky Festival 2017 will feature 16 masterclasses with bottlings from Scotland, Japan, USA, Sweden, Taiwan, India and Australia.

Last year’s inaugural festival caused a stir among Hong Kong’s whisky drinkers as a whole new array of whisky not previously seen before in Hong Kong and John Rhodes said that this year promises to be even bigger.

“There are over 350 different expressions this year and double the number of vendors from last year,” said Rhodes, who also runs Hong Kong’s specialist whisky retailer, Caskells.

“There is a bigger focus this year on independent bottlers with some really interesting new expressions. Adelphi is certainly one to look out for. It’s got quite a cult following in Scotland and will be here with The Glover, which is a fusion of three single casks of Japanese and Scotch Malt whiskies, distilled at Hanyu, Longmorn and Glen Garioch distilleries and limited to just 390 bottles.”

For fans of more ‘cultish’ whisky, there’s ‘The Drunken Master’ series which is a collaboration between the Whisky Agency and Art Taiwan which consists of a 23 year old Speyside Malt and a 35 year old blended malt with scenes from Chinese opera on the labels.

“We’re building on our first festival of last year,” said Rhodes. “We wanted to do something different and bring Hong Kong’s whisky distributors together, big and small. The surprising thing is that we are still aimed at the local Hong Kong market but last year we saw a sizeable visitor turnout from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.”

Rhodes also commented on the upsurge of Hong Kong’s younger, female whisky enthusiasts who also made up a large percentage last year.

“Hong Kong has really made a push on getting more ladies into whisky,” he said. “There was Hullett House’s ‘Ladies Who Whisky’ events and a lot of introductory classes proving that whisky is not just for men. It was great to see so many of them last year and we hope it’ll be the case again this year.”

1,500 tickets have been released for this year which are available from the Hong Kong Whisky Festival website.

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