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Owning a whisky cask is not as difficult as in the past, and there are plenty of Independent Bottlers (IB) nowadays. However, to have your name printed on an Official Bottling (OB), what you need is not only money and connection, it also depends on willingness of your desired distillery.
This year, Laphroaig released the very first bespoke cask in Asia, for Allen Chan of Aqua Vitae, a new Taiwanese Independent Bottler.
Laphroaig 25 Year Old for Aqua Vitae Cask 5124
Aqua Vitae, means “water of life” in Latin, at the same time is the name of a Taiwanese IB. Similar to other founders, Allen hopes that more people can enjoy whisky which he is in favor of, “ Whisky market in Taiwan was growing rapidly in recent years, but the flavour profile of people in Taiwan are still similar with each other. My own preference is similar with whisky drinkers in Europe, it probably because I studied overseas in the past. This is why I would like to select something different from other Taiwanese IB, to provide more options for drinkers and to promote the culture.”
When mentioning his OB single cask, Allen became excited and started to share his story, “Laphroaig is actually one of my favourite distilleries, and they indeed seldom release bespoke cask. I was lucky enough to grab this unique opportunity, as I attended their 200th Anniversary Charity Auction in 2015 and I successfully bidded for a cask. Because of some other reasons, Laphroaig had to take the cask back and they offered me some samples to pick another cask,”
“From 2015 to 2017, I went to Scotland three times to confirm which cask I was going to select. At the end, I arrived at the warehouse of Laphroaig, tried the 5 samples I had been interested in, and I finally selected the #5124 cask.”
Allen pointed out that this single cask is similar with 60s, 70s Laphroaig, it contains characters of old bottles and bottling with cask strength gives a great mouthfeel. After pouring into glasses for few minutes, a delightful sweetness appears with peaty characters of Laphroaig, and this is the reason why he picked this high-quality cask among 15 samples.
On the other hand, Allen told us that he is a big fan of old bottles, “ Other than this Laphroaig, whiskies I picked for another series - Greek Mythology, like Zeus - Bunnahabhain 29 YO and Venus - Blair Athol 21 YO, they contain characters of old bottles as well,”
Aqua Vitae x Bar TCRC & the Greek Mythology series
“And the new comer of the series, Ben Nevis 20 YO, contains similar characters as its name, Athena, the ancient Greek goddess. Aroma and flavour are strong and powerful at the beginning, and the characters offered by the sherry cask express beautifully all along. For the label, it is designed by nomo®creative, they recreated the immortal Greek Mythology with five new visuals as the first series for Aqua Vitae.”
Other than the OB series and the Greek Mythology series mentioned above, Aqua Vitae is working with different bars on another series as well. Bar TCRC in Tainan, which captured Asia's 50 best bars 2018, is the first member in this project.
“We have three series at different price points. To promote whisky culture, other than uniqueness, price is also one of the big factors. I personally think that Independent Bottler can release different bottles without limitations and we can give a big hand on this!”
And there is an exciting news for you - a new member will be launched soon in OB series of Aqua Vitae!
Athena - Ben Nevis 20 Year Old
Nosing: Honey, Toast, Orange Marmalade, Creamy, Tropical Fruits
Palate: Citrus, Honey, Nutty, Spices
Finish: Medium Length, Toast, Cinnamon, Woody