The Single Cask is a whisky bar in Singapore with a selection of 350+ single malts and blends as well as single cask rums. With an emphasis on single cask whiskies bottled under their own label ‘The Single Cask’, they represent a number of independent bottlers and focus on lesser-known, family-owned distilleries. As well as running the bar, masterclasses and special events, they offer individual bottles for purchase via an online shop as well as single casks ownership with a minimum investment of £10.000.
What’s in a name?
The company The Single Cask Ltd is run under the watchful eye of managing director and owner Ben ‘The Whisky Daddy’ Curtis. The Single Cask Ltd are also The Malt Vault [an independent whisky company], listed on whiskybase.com as Single Malt Vault. The shop link on maltvault.com will take you back to the Singapore bar & shop website thesinglecask.sg. The UK website address [and online shop], is thesinglecask.co.uk. If confusion over the name hasn’t already set in, it must surely be on the cards, especially if ‘The Single Cask’ is to expand to bottling single malt vattings, marriages and blends – or will they have yet another name to carry those products? It’s reminiscent of the problems endured by the generically named Speyside Distillery. I’m sure that none of this will have a bearing on the actual quality of the whisky.
I got to try four ‘The Single Cask’ single cask, single malt expressions, with thanks to Chris.
Ben Nevis 1996/2016 19yo SMV ‘The Single Cask’ cask #871 [86 bts] 45.1% WB0 TSC£81
Owned and operated by Nikka Whisky since 1989, 30% of the Ben Nevis new-make spirit is sent directly to Japan every year to be used in Nikka’s various blends.
- N: Oiled & waxy tropical fruits, tinned peaches, dried elderflowers,…. and somewhat reminiscent of older Linkwood bottlings.
- T: Similar to the nose before becoming a touch ashy. It’s a fruity malt but dries quickly, becoming a little chalky dry with hazelnuts.
- F: Short finish on oak, accompanied by oily-herbal barley and a dash of lime.
- C: The finish dries up somewhat, but overall, it’s rather a good Ben Nevis – competent, interesting, odd and tasty.
Scores 85 points
Bowmore 2001/2016 14yo SMV ‘The Single Cask’ #31932 50% WB0 TSC£95
- N: A honeyed, oily malt with smokey confectionary.
- T: Edgy, carbolic engine oil to start, moving later to green olives on Bruschetta with a savoury-sweet in the middle. The form is dependable.
- F: Oily peat-smoke with a [green] grape-skin ending. Very nice, gentle & rolling shape, form-wise.
- C: Effortlessly easy to drink and enjoy, yet equally forgettable.
Scores 86 points
English Whisky Co. 2009/2016 7yo SMV ‘The Single Cask’ cask #B/443 [249 bts] 60% WB0 TSC£63
- N: It’s clean enough yet it’s a funky one that’s hard to read. I picked up notes of sweet corn, some tomato and honey with a touch of emulsion & vodka.
- T: An oily rich malt with chillies [Thai heat] and galangal too with light pepper and some rubber putty. Hard to read, hard to understand/get to grips with but that’s not to say it isn’t interesting nor engaging.
- F: Lovely drying [non-sugary] sweetness.
- C: Serge said of a TBWC Deanston [batch 2] recently: “whenever you need a different and totally un-commercial dram, this baby would make for a worthy candidate. The whisky world needs these funny drams”. True for this baby too! I like the fact it’s different, different to Scotch, different to what’s around on the market in general. It’s ticking lots of boxes but would this work at ‘normal’ strength? Good cask though, and thoughtfully bottled at strength. £63 is rather pricey for a 7yo. but i’m tempted all the same.
Scores 84 points
Glen Grant 1996/2016 20yo SMV ‘The Single Cask’ cask #67183 [101 bts] 50% WB0 TSC£80
- N: This shows serious intent and asks for one’s full attention. I nose Glen Grant – an oily-fluffy malt with honey-wood. The oak serves the grain as well as the best of the standard 10yo bottlings do.
- T: Strong but not over-dominant sour-sweet, provides a challenging complex opening. Long travel with consistence and endurance and a consolidated, pureed body – delicious.
- F: Fluffy-oily-waxy-honeyed and robust grain led finish, wrapped in supportive oak.
- C: Good Glen Grant with fine form for a 20yo. The price at TWE is 25% higher than buying from ‘The Single Cask’ direct? [link] – you decide!
Scores 87 points
The name ‘The Single Cask’ may or may not create issues and confusion in the future, but the whisky is anything but confused. From these four samples at least, there’s good juice from good casks.
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