Richard Barr is a member of the Whisky Israel tasting society , a blog correspondent at times, and a good whisky friend and big whisky lover. From time to time he posts his notes and adventures on our blog.
A few weeks back, I spent a couple weeks in Hong Kong for work. On this visit I didn’t spend any time exploring for Hong Kong’s Whisky haunts, though it’s certainly a city with more than a couple serious Whisky bars. That, I’ll save for a future trip. But Macau is a simple 1 hour ferry ride away. And it is from Macau that I received a generous from my friend, Durham. For those who don’t know, Macau is the Asian version of Las Vegas, very clean & very glitzy these days.
My host met me at the ferry terminal where we caught a cab to Senado Square, the centre of old Macau, where we walked around and chatted, as I took in the Portuguese architecture in sharp contrast to its very Chinese location and the modern towers beyond it.
From there we meandered over to the StarWorld Hotel & Casino, where Durham works. To my pleasant surprise, StarWorld has a Whisky Bar. The bar is aptly named “Whisky Bar”.
I think it’d be hard to pass up a visit there for whisky fans such as us. The StarWorld Whisky Bar is a wonderfully light and airy place, where one can actually see each other, have a conversation and ponder their dram without loud music interfering or feel like one’s sitting in a dark cave. It also has a decent selection of wines & cigars, though our mission this visit was to sample whisky. From the 50 or 60 whiskies on the menu, we selected a lovely 18 year old Glenlivet, which I used to guide Durham through a refresher crash course on whisky tasting. My one complaint has to do with the type of glasses used. As a Whisky Bar, I’d expect them to not automatically reach for the lowball glass, but rather carry Glencairn glasses, or sherry copita (The copita has an aroma-enhancing narrow taper, perfect for whisky.). Are you listening Whisky Bar? But other than that small point, I had a thoroughly delightful time there, and would recommend it to one & all. The Whisky Bar at StarWorld is open Sun-Thu 5pm – 2am and Fri-Sat: 5pm – 3am, which gives plenty of time to savour a dram or four.
From there we took the hotels’ complimentary shuttle to the StarWorld’s sister property, the Galaxy Macau where the core reason for my visit to Macau lay, “The Macallan Bar”. First let me tell you that the Galaxy Macau is one of the newest casino hotels in Macau. As such it’s also one the glitziest, flashiest, most neon bedazzled of the lot; that all changes after you take the lift up to “The Macallan Whisky Bar”. The only Macallan Whisky Bar in Asia I might add.
The Macallan Whisky Bar appears as staid and true as any old British Gentlemen’s club, with its dark wood veneer, red Persian carpets, large leather sofas and high back comfy wingchairs. While the flagship Macallan range is obviously showcased here, the bar is well stocked with over 360 whiskies from all over the world.
A thick multi-page whisky menu is presented upon being seated. But this being The Macallan Whisky Bar, we simply couldn’t pass up a wonderful sampler of the Macallan. This sonata of 5 small drams consisted of the:
- 12 year old Sherry Oak
- 12 year old Fine Oak
- 18 year old Sherry Oak
- 18 year old Fine Oak
- 25 year old Fine Oak
A glance at a watch tells us that we better leave if I’m to make the last ferry back to Kowloon but not before a final dram. For this good night cap to the day, I’ve selected, not a single malt, but rather a wonderfully fruity Hibiki 17 year old. I can’t think of a better dram to toast my friend, Durham and thank him for playing host to such a splendid day.
The Macallan Whisky bar is located on the 2nd floor of the Galaxy Hotel in Macau. It is open is open Mon-Thu 5pm – 1am and Fri-Sat & Eve of Public Holidays: 5pm – 2am. Unfortunately it’s closed on Sundays.
It’s hard to leave this apex of whisky luxury. This is a place to sink into and wrap one’s self in the warmth and forget about the outside world. Your mundane worries and concerns are forbidden to pass the doorway, to be banished from your memory while here. I take one last look back, longing to stay a bit longer.
One thing’s for sure. On my next trip to Hong Kong, I’ll be adding an extra day or two on the trip dedicated to the wonders of Macau & the joys of its whisky havens.