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Whisky Reviews

Capitol Kempinski Singapore's Got Itself Some Scotch: 1990 Springbank 33 Year Old & 1993 Tullibardine 30 Year Old


The Capitol Kempinski Singapore is a hotel and bar housed in a historic building right in the center of town. Its original structure was built in 1930, with a specification for it to be decked out in a neoclassical style - which today stands out as being strikingly stylish amidst the landscape of more metallic modern buildings - and has served its history as one form of an entertainment venue or another, at first a private live entertainment venue and then later a public movie theatre. Eventually the building was gazetted for preservation by the local authorities.

One fine evening I was invited to head down to the hotel's bar, The Bar at 15 Stamford, helmed by the very hospitable Edriane Lim, for what was to be a showcase of two very well-aged Scotch - not so common these days eh?

When I got down, I found a rather bustling scene of folks from the local drinks community, and in the center of it all, the two bottles in question - a 1990 Springbank with a whopping 33 years of age, and a curious 1993 Tullibardine that was no child either, 30 years old. 

Accordingly the bottles were jointly bottled by some of the higher up folks to do with the bar and the accompanying cigar lounge, and hence some of these were decidedly placed at the bar for sale as well.

So with all that said, let's give it a go!

Tullibardine 1993, 30 Years Old, Single Cask #975, bottled for The Capitol Kempinski Hotel (Singapore), 47.9% ABV - Review


Tasting Notes

Color: Gold

Aroma: Medley of ripe stone fruits - apricots, plums, nectarines, with some orchard fruits joining - apples and pears. It’s fresh but also rich, right on the cusp of being fruit jam. Backed up by more honey and vanilla cream. Some powdered sugar, cream frosting, marzipan, and alittle bit of apple compote.

Taste: Back to the fruits - stone fruits and orchard fruits, alittle heavier on the honey here. It’s alittle denser and darker here, with more on butterscotch, before some woodiness comes through with some oaky tannins.

Finish: Takes a more herbaceous and minty turn here, eucalyptus, and some dried oregano. Light bit of honey and cream to end off.


My Thoughts

I found the Tullibardine quite striking - it’s alittle more vibrant and fruit forward, supported by more confectionary notes that made it sweeter and more approachable. It’s quite surprising how this was brighter despite quite a hefty age on it. I only got a little bit more of a sense of its age towards the finish where there was more oakiness and herbaceousness coming through.

I think it’s not out of pocket to say that not many folks would’ve had too much experience with Tullibardine, much less one of this age, and this expression would certainly give cause to keep a look out for more. Definitely a surprise - a positive one!

Springbank 1990, 33 Years Old, Single Cask bottled for The Capitol Kempinski Hotel (Singapore), 44.5% ABV - Review


Tasting Notes

Color: Straw

Aroma: There’s a farmhouse funkiness that emerges fairly quickly, that bit of animal hide, saddle and hay. Moving beyond that, there’s some mellower notes of apricots, peaches and plums overripe and soft. Honey, soft cheese, vanilla cream - that vanillic, lightly sweet but also unpasteurised quality.

Taste: More tart on the palate with some immediate honeyed sweetness, vanilla cream, black pepper, and then there’s that farmhouse funkiness that comes through again - soft cheese, hay, saddle. A little light in terms of body here.

Finish: A more industrial quality emerges here, some of that engine grease, and then back to that farm-y funk. Some pressed flowers and canola oil.


My Thoughts

A real old style Springbank alright - it’s got all that farmhouse funkiness, and then all those meadow-y dried flowers and vanilla cream. In that sense I find it quite singular, really honing in on that Springbank funky quality, which is vastly different from modern whiskies in that sense. Here it feels alot more natural, with more of that rawness of the distillery’s character coming through. That said, I didn’t find the funkiness overpowering, rather what I was reminded of was that this really stood out from what we’ve come to be used to with whiskies today.

While I might have personally preferred if this was alittle sweeter with a heftier body, I can also appreciate how closely this threads Springbank’s of yesteryear. A glimpse of a different time!