The Single Cask, Singapore
A translation company voted ‘serendipity’ as the third most difficult English word to translate (it wasn’t as hard as ‘gobbledegook,’ but according to the survey, more challenging than ‘poppycock’). The word was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 and is often ascribed to the history of scientific innovation, such as accidental discovery of penicillin and the invention of the microwave oven. But our finding of The Single Cask was even more serendipitous than even Spencer Silver’s creation of the Post-it note in 1968.
Our friend read an advert for The Single Cask above a urinal in Chijmes, Singapore. As any man can tell you, the ad space above a urinal is valuable real estate, it’s also how we keep up with the football and the X-Factor. The Single Cask is tucked away in a quite corner of Chijmes in the historic Caldwell house. With over 300 different single malts and a focus on independent bottlers and lesser-known distilleries, we climbed up the uneven stairs like Caligula striding into a Las Vegas casino.
The bar was the dissembled slats of a whisky barrel supporting a single piece of hammered copper. A wall of whisky, backlit against snow tiles, reflected pristinely in the glistening metal. They’d call it, intimate, but really it was small with just four tables and five seats at the bar. More an elongated closet, then a bar, the whisky in lustrous boxes imposed itself, smothering us.
The man behind the bar, who spoke with a liquored French accent, looked questioningly at us, like people only came into the bar to ask for directions to get somewhere else. But, when we talked about his independent bottling, his passion pushed against the claustrophobia and the room expanded like a balloon.
2/3 –It’s a bit like the beginning of a party before everyone has had enough to drink, but it has potential
The Single Cast represents family-owned distilleries and independent bottlers, the back wall looked like a duty free if duty free, full of glimmering boxes. But rather than the shelves being weighed down by bottles of big brands, they only have small players who make up for their lack of marketing with craftsmanship, character and an unshakeable faith in their product. So, really it was the opposite of a duty free.
If you walked in with something specific in mind, you’ll be disappointed. Your best option is to go with their independent whisky label, ‘The Single Cask’. They select interesting and unique barrels for their private bottling, and choosing one of those is your best bet. As they say: ‘when in The Single Cask …’
3/3 – An exceptional selection that will make you feel bad for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.
The Atmosphere and Clientèle
Our drinks were served on a graphite slate and paired with a side of chocolate. The Single Cast is, unashamedly, a whisky bar. With its weekly tastings and master classes, it is the haven for the connoisseur and enthusiast. It was our local when we were living in Singapore. The stools, shaped like whisky barrels, are not the most comfortable things to sit on; but if you’re lucky enough to get one of the leather couches with its tartan cushions, you can spend hours at The Single Cast without realising it.
But the best part about The Single Cast is the service. If you say what sort of flavours you’re looking for, they’ll pour you a measure of something you didn’t know existed. The only problem is that, with the limited edition bottles, your new favourite whisky is quickly gone forever. Luckily, they can help you move on.
3/3 – This is your new local. Go, even by yourself, it’s a great advantage to not drink among hard drinking people