In our minds, we have conjured impressions of what makes the perfect spirit. And there’s no right answer because it all boils down to taste. Two distinct groups would probably be our parents’ flights of fancy versus what we look for in a nightcap. We could disagree and agree, debate for hours but no party will budge. The world’s first all-Asian whisky blend is certain of one thing: It’s not your father’s whisky, and that’s okay.
Dreamed up by founder Michel Lu, The Orientalist Spirits knows it’s playing a different game compared to other heavyweights out there. And it prides on that fact. Stemmed from only Asian botanicals, the distiller is a noble nod to bring forth the greatest crafts of Asia. While its tagline might skew it to be a millennial’s choice — but is there really an age restriction on alcohol preferences? We shudder at that thought.
The bottles are themed to embody the Asian arts, but not overtly exotifed, bearing a screw cap (a controverisal feature to purists). Sure, it looks anything but traditional; but its distiliing techniques are rooted in time-tested flavours and methods. Base ingredients are cooked, fermented, then distilled in hot and cold conditions.
The Orientalist Dragon Whisky is a woody amalmagation of three distillations from India, Japan, and Taiwan. Sherry-aged in Northern Taiwan (where you can find Orientalist Spirits’ distillery), the amber liquid draws out prolonged spiced sensations (thanks to the figs, dried fruits, and spices) — working up a smokey and nutty emulsion within. Best savoured neat, in our opinion.
Other spirits include The Orientalist Gunpowder Gin as well as The Orientalist Origins Vodka. The latter was a surprise — as it fell through like sweet silk, without the typical burn you get from a vodka on the rocks. Almost creamy to a certain extent. Perhaps, credit goes to the organic longan honey from Thailand, Tibetan highland barley, and nine varieties of premium potates blended with spring water from Kagoshima.
Its blended gin is also delicately sweet to be sipped on its own — with Asian botanicals like Taiwanese gunpowder tea, Siberian ginseng, Korean omija berries, Kampot peppercorns, Malaysian torch ginger, and Chinese osmanthus lending floral, fruity touches to the palate.
With plans in store for a distinctive rum, The Orientalist Spirits is definitely flying the Asia flag high, and pioneering a newfound appreciation for the East.
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