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Whisky bars in Singapore: where to try new drams

Rare bottlings, ghost distilleries, or final bottles - these whisky joints bring something special to the table.

Whisky bars are no longer the dark, stuffy lounges they used to be. And more than just for the connoisseur, they also cater to drinkers who are just entering the world of whisky.

These are the places offering rare and unconventional bottles by the glass.

  • The Swan Song

    Prinsep Place may be better known for its alfresco beer joints, but hidden on the second floor of a shophouse is a treasure trove of rare and vintage whiskies called The Swan Song.

    Co-owners Kelvin Hoon, 36, and Arun Prashant, 37, are likely to pull out something that they hand-carried from Scotland, or an independent bottling acquired at an auction or from a private collector. "Sometimes bottles are so rare that there is only one available and once it's gone, it's gone. You'll never get it back," says Hoon. That makes it the whisky's swan song or "final performance".But the co-owners have no qualms opening a bottle — at a price — to share with customers.

    "Maybe purchasing a rare bottle is too prohibitive for one person, but if we split it by opening it at the bar - yes, there'll be a premium per pour, but it'll be available to 35 people to partake," says Mr Hoon. "Otherwise they would never splash out the cash for that one bottle."

    For example, a rare Port Ellen 1969 Celtic Label currently retails on the secondary market for about €15,000 (S$23,900) a bottle. At The Swan Song, you can get it at $300 per half pour. Its half pour is 20ml and not the 15ml at most whisky bars.

    At this 25-seat bar, you are not going to find commonly available, big-brand whiskies. Instead, the co-owners will find you equivalents from their collection of more than 500 bottles. They add about 20 bottles a month.

    The Swan Song

    50A Prinsep Street, #02-01

    Photos: ST/SPH

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A version of this article was originally published in The Straits Times.