AFTER a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic, whisky lovers can again converge at Shangri-La at The Fort for Whisky Live and Bar Show Manila.

Whisky Live is an annual event by UK-based Paragraph Publishing, which also produces Whisky Magazine. The event is franchised in cities all over the world, from Taipei to New York. In the Philippines, the franchise is operated by spirits distributor Grand Cru Chief Executive Officer Johnssen Li. Whisky Live has been soaking its patrons in Manila since 2016.

For its 2022 edition, Whisky Live and Bar Show will run on Nov. 4 and 5, with doors opening at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from P2,999 (for a one-day pass) to P4,899 (a two-day pass). This will come with a Glencairn glass for tasting, and all the whisky and other spirits you can drink.

Of course, safety first. Breath alcohol tests from previous Whisky Live events will be scrapped due to pandemic protocols. “We’re going to go for a visual check instead of a Breathalyzer, because of COVID. I don’t think it’s hygienic,” said Mr. Li of evaluating the sobriety of patrons. Other requirements include a mask during entry, as well as a vaccination card.

The two-day event anticipates more than 100 spirits from more than 30 merchants. Aside from the tasting, other programs lined up include masterclasses, one of them by Whisky Master and Keeper of the Quaich Paul Wang (The Keepers of the Quaich is an invitation-only whisky society).

The two-day event will also see bartending competitions and will introduce mentoring programs between hospitality and food and beverage students with top bars in the city.

Brands to look out for include Duncan Taylor (which owns one of the largest privately held collections of vintage and rare whiskies), and the world’s first Fair Trade-certified and sustainably sourced premium rum, Flor de Caña Rum.

“I really love the whisky industry. Out of all the wines and spirits — I’m not an expert in a specific category — but there’s just a special place in my heart for whisky,” said Mr. Li, who looked back on the reasons he brought Whisky Live to Manila after attending his first in Taiwan back in 2010.

This place in his heart also has room for the Scots, the original whisky lovers. “Scottish people are very different people. They’re very down-to-earth, and they’re very loyal.”

“There’s a special connection in my heart, and at the same time, it’s the only category that is very diverse.”

For tickets and more details, visit Whisky Live Manila or call the Grand Cru office at 5180131 or 0917-5333373. — Joseph L. Garcia