If you ever wanted to play Master Distiller, you can now do so at Compendium, which is offering a barrel ageing programme that is customisable from distillation to bottling.
Chartered by Compendium is the Singapore distillery’s recently launched initiative that lets customers create their base spirit from scratch, age it in oak barrels and bottle it to their specifications, which they’re calling “the first bespoke barrel ageing programme in the world.”
The company was co-founded by Simon Zhao, who is no stranger to experimentation. He started brewing meads under the Rachelle The Rabbit brand in 2015, before transforming it into a distillery in 2019 and launching their flagship Rojak Gin and Chendol Gin. Last year, Zhao debuted Singapore’s first single grain whiskey made from Thai Hom Mali rice.
“With Chartered, we have used our knowledge to curate an experience that brings our customers onto a learning journey,” said Zhao.
There’s a strong focus on Asian ingredients at Compendium, and it’s no different with the four base spirits available at Chartered’s launch. Choose between a rum made using molasses from Malaysia, arrack from Indonesian gula Melaka, Thai honey spirit, or a Thai rice whiskey created from Thai rice. Compendium mashes, ferments, presses and distils it at their facility in Mandai.
The distillate then goes into a barrel of your choice. Made from American oak, four sizes between 4 to 32 litres are available, and each capacity determines how long the spirit ages and how many bottles it produces. An eight-litre cask, for instance, has a recommended maturation period of six months, and results in around 26 500-millilitre bottles at 40 percent ABV.
Price is another factor. A four-litre barrel ranges between S$1,188 to S$2,088, and can go up to S$8,888 for a 32-litre cask.
As the spirit matures, customers can taste it directly from the barrel alongside Zhao, who would provide tips. Tweaks can be made then, such as deciding if the liquid needs more time in wood, or if it’s ready to be bottled. Once matured, Compendium bottles it with a personalised name and label.
The journey does not end there. Once the spirit is bottled, Compendium offers the option of refilling the barrel with another spirit, which opens up possibilities of first-fill and refill-cask spirits down the line.
Custom barrel ageing is not new, especially amongst aficionados in Singapore. Certain whisky brands offer kits of un-aged whiskies and casks, and whisky investment firms sell barrels of single malt Scotch that can be aged to your desired length. But Zhao believes his programme takes people on an intimate adventure with their spirit.
“Chartered by Compendium Spirits is not a one-time effort, but a journey of understanding the beauty of crafting spirits with our customers,” he said.
To find out more about Chartered by Compendium Spirits, contact them by email or WhatsApp (8451 5389).
Distillery tours are also available by appointment only, priced at an introductory rate of $68 nett per pax (minimum 2 pax, introductory rate ends on 30 April 2022). This amount will be rebated if visitors sign up for the Chartered by Compendium Spirits programme at the end of the tour. The tour includes a sampling of four Compendium Spirits products.