A luxe library stocked with libations and spirits

THE X-PAT FILES - Scott Garceau - The Philippine Star
A luxe library stocked with libations and spirits
Raising the bar: The 45-seater statement bar at Newport World Resorts is jaw-dropping.

Arguably, you could get some reading done while inside The Whisky Library, the newest and most luxurious spirits and cigar bar launched at Newport World Resorts Manila. But it would mostly be whisky bottle labels you’d be reading, because this venue — launched with Newport World Resorts chairman Kevin tan, CEO and president Kingson Sian and chief marketing officer David Jorden with a ribbon cutting last week —carries over 240 of the world’s finest Scottish and international single malts, plus premium spirits from around the world. Of course, The Dalmore holds pride of place, with an alcove to the left displaying its Constellation Series (the most premium bottles made by the Highland single malt distiller); but gaze around and you find a galaxy of bottles, set into the brightly lit alcoves surrounding the two-story luxury haven.

As the Pixies once sang, “It’s… educational!”

The night was young when the Resorts World chiefs cut the ribbon and we entered the russet brick-and-mortar façade to a high-ceilinged main bar packed with guests, music thumping. Besides the high-set balconies, chandeliers and comfortable, er, reading chairs, there are special, German-made humidors housing prized Cuban, Nicaraguan and Dominican cigars, and an awesome 45-seater bar where a team of barmaids whip up curated cocktails inspired by Hollywood stars: The Trojan Horse with Suntory Sui Japanese Gin (inspired by Brad Pitt), or Undercover with Hennessy VS Cognac (inspired by Sandra Bullock), to name a couple.

Kevin Tan and Kingson Sian unveiled the speakeasy-like shrine to whisky luxury, which led to numerous toasts throughout the night.

A signature welcome drink to a statement-making new bar

Indeed, it was worth celebrating.

As Jorden said in welcoming us, “As you can see, on our shelves, we've taken the library concept and really celebrated the spirits that make the world go around.”

Little private nooks are everywhere for relaxing, conversing and just soaking up all the intriguing touches and design details. A spiral staircase leads upstairs to even more treasures. Who wouldn’t want to hang out here?

Tan, holding a 12 Year Dalmore later, explained the Whisky Library origins: “We needed a place where our guests at the resort could kind of just chill out and relax. We wanted to do a concept that was separate from the casino and we thought at first, with the high ceilings, what came to my mind was a library.”

The bar is connected to the casino, but has its own entrance, so you don’t need to pass through the gaming area.

“We call it The Whisky Library because we obviously have The Dalmore here, but actually it's a cocktail bar, it’s a cigar bar — you can actually smoke here, and there’s a private cigar lounge. We also have a fantastic menu of cocktails inspired by Hollywood actors — we invested in all these high-tech cocktail devices and machines.”

Later, I try the Enchanted Kiss, an Angelina Jolie-inspired frothy beverage that has a huge cloud bubble growing up from the rim of the glass before your eyes.

Undercover — a cocktail inspired by Sandra Bullock — features Hennessy VS cognac.

Besides cute and sweet drinks, there’s a real dedicated curation among these shelves, everything from rare Glenlivet to Tamnavulin to Singleton to The Macallan. I ask Tan, whose Megaworld is behind The Dalmore and many other brands tonight, why he’s fine with so many competing brands gathered in one place. “We're agnostic when it comes to whisky,” he says with a laugh.

On launch night, the staircases were crowded with social influencers getting numerous shots. (It’s a very ’grammy spot.) The upstairs features another lounge on the right; on the left balcony, DJ J Medina is laying down a chill vibe. I spot James Deakin and wife Roxy Delevin on the floor. Rovilson Fernandez is hanging with Aziza Mondoñedo and Will Devaughn.

And there’s George Schultz, The Dalmore Resident Asian Whisky Expert.

What inspired this place, I ask?

“The inspiration was just a place where you can sit down, soak up the ambience and really enjoy the room,” he says. “We’re excited to lend support with The Dalmore Constellation collection. This is actually the only bar in Asia that's housing these expressions all in one place.”

What’s the vibe like? Furnished with modern-Eurocentric sophistication, The Whisky Library radiates an allure of pleasure and exploration. Sit at the statement bar and peruse the lineup of rare bottles. Soak in the chestnut wood-paneled walls and brick pillars. Sink into the inviting leather seats and set your drink down on cast-iron tables.

With its luxe interiors, atmospheric lighting and abundance of premium whiskies from around the world, along with expertly crafted cocktails and premium cigars, this is a relaxed haven amid the hubbub of gambling tables and glitzy flashing lights: a place for connoisseurs to enjoy the finer things, and the finer moments.

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Check out The Whisky Library at Newport World Resorts Manila Grand Wing, Link 1.

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