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(Jim Beveridge, Master Blender at Diageo, and his team receiving the Golden Barrel Trophy during a special award ceremony held at Diageo Archive.)

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND (July 23 2015) — Held annually in Chicago since 2010, the International Whisky Competition awarded the title Whisky of the Year to John Walker & Sons King George V who scored an impressive 97 Points during the blind tasting competition last spring. With this highest award comes the Golden Barrel Trophy symbolizing the mark of excellence in whisky making.

A ceremony was held last week at Diageo Archive in Menstrie, Scotland to present the trophy to the winning blending team responsible for creating John Walker & Sons King George V. The team is led by Jim Beveridge, master blender at Diageo, who was also awarded the title Master Blender of the Year by the International Whisky Competition.

This is the first year that a blended whisky scored higher than a single malt for the top position and shows that a complex marriage of grain and malt whiskies can produce a whisky of exceptional quality. As one of the judges wrote in his notes after blind tasting John Walker & Sons King George V: “This whisky has everything that makes a complex, beautiful, majestic dram featuring all the components of perfection.”

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About the Golden Barrel Trophy

Designed in Switzerland and unveiled at Diageo Archive, the Golden Barrel Trophy represents the pinnacle of excellence in whisky making, showcasing two lions holding a whisky barrel. It is casted in bronze with 24K golden leaves on each side of the barrel. The Golden Barrel will be kept by the winner of the Whisky of the Year until next year’s competition and the name of each winner will be engraved in its marble base to commemorate the history of each annual Whisky of the Year. Basically, the Golden Barrel is to whisky what the World Cup is to football.

About the the International Whisky Competition™

The International Whisky Competition brings whiskies from around the world together to be tasted and rated by a professional tasting panel. Unlike other competitions, the judges on its tasting panel are presented with one whisky at a time, to ensure each whisky gets the proper attention. In-depth notes are taken at every step for review ultimately to be compiled by the tasting panel. It’s the only such competition in the spirits world to deliver unique medals designed to promote each of the winning whiskies. Only 3 medals (Gold, Silver & Bronze) are awarded per category. Just like in the Olympics, not everyone can be a winner.

ARRAN Bourbon Single Cask 15 Year Old at Hard to Find Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

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ARRAN Bourbon Single Cask 15 Year Old



Another superb value for money single cask from Arran this time drawn from a Bourbon Cask and bottled at 15 years old.

Click Here For Price & Information

Cadenhead’s London “Single Grain Whisky – Girvan Distillery 1988 26yo” – Scotch Whisky News

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Single Grain Whisky – Girvan distillery 1988 26 year old 57%

 We know that single grains are seen by most as somewhat inferior to malts so we have been running a few blind tastings during the trip around Scotland nights and daytime tastings trying to gauge what people think of them. Most if not all have not spotted they were drinking a grain whisky side by side with south highlands and lowland malts. Once we tell them they are somewhat surprised.

GIRVAN DISTILLERY 1988 26Y/O 57% (246 btls)

Nose: Tangerines ; grapefruits ; kiwi fruits and soft candle wax.
Palate: Lots of vanilla and rich woody notes. Salt and pepper with runny caramel and lemon peel.
Finish: Very creamy finish with lemoncurd; coriander and pine needles.

If you are unsure about grain whiskies and would like to try one or two come along to the store on Chiltern street to see what you think of them. Best avoid 1pm-2pm or 5-6pm on Saturdays as we might be busy but most days we can give you a dram to try this month from our grain selection.

All the best from

Stephen and the London team.

New Arrivals & Back in Stock at K&L California – Whisky News


United States – Bourbon and Rye

  • I.W. Harper 15 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey 750ml ($79.99)
  • Jefferson’s Barrel-Aged Manhattan 750ml – 4 available ($36.99)

Japan – Single Malt Scotch

  • White Oak Akashi Single Malt Whisky 750ml – 5 available ($89.99) Located in the town of Akashi, near the famed city of Kobe in Japan, White Oak distillery has been in operation since 1919; although very few Americans are familiar with the whisky. Owned by Eigashima, it is actually the oldest operating distillery in Japan, having received its license four years before Yamazaki produced any whisky, despite the fact that it would be another forty years before they actually used it. The single malt whisky has no age statement, but has plenty of rich malty flavor and a supple fruited character that should please fans of the genre.


K&L Wine Merchants
Phone: 877-KLWines (toll free 877-559-4637)
Email: wine@klwines.com
San Francisco, Redwood City, Hollywood CA


Tamdhu 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky at Robbie’s Drams – Scotch Whisky News


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Tamdhu 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

£31.99 – £38.99

DECADENCE DEFINED “Introducing The Macallan Rare Cask” – Scotch Whisky News

The Macallan Rare Cask


Introducing The Macallan Rare Cask

Since 1824, The Macallan name has been a guarantee of unrivalled craftsmanship and quality.  And now there is a new whisky bearing this name; a single malt born from this unwavering endeavour.  This is Macallan Rare Cask, the embodiment of our obsession.

Rare Cask is crafted by our Master Whisky Maker from a small proportion of maturing casks at The Macallan distillery.  These casks are handmade from Spanish and American oak; and are the best in the business.   Wood defines the flavour of The Macallan, with over 60% of the character comes from the cask it is aged in.  But as the name suggests, there is more to this story.  Rare Cask is truly rare.  This rarity comes from the fact that some of the casks used in the creation of this whisky will never be used again.

The Macallan Rare Cask captures a true decadence; its creation goes beyond any other Macallan whisky and its rarity is absolute. It is a single malt of such diversity and intricacy it challenges the very conventions of whisky creation.  It is almost a reinvention by design, but yet The Macallan at its core.

Bob Dalgarno, the Master Whisky Maker is responsible for creating Rare Cask, testing his knowledge and skill to create a whisky worthy of The Macallan name.  “Rare Cask is about firstly identifying a selection of casks which can truly be called rare.  Each of the cask styles result in different character, so each imparts their own distinct influence on the final whisky.”

With a rich mahogany red hue, The Macallan Rare Cask showcases two of The Macallan’s greatest strengths, exceptional oak casks and natural colour, which are combined with knowledge, skill, passion, commitment and creativity.  A whisky produced through meticulous dedication to wood.  Some would call this an obsession. We call it The Macallan.

The Macallan Rare Cask is available from specialist whisky retailers including The Whisky Shop and has a RRP of £200.

The Macallan Rare Cask Bottle


About Rare Cask

Rare Cask is a truly individual Macallan whisky.  It has been crafted from whiskies selected from 16 individually different casks profiles –the most ever used in a single Macallan whisky.

Less than 1% of the casks maturing are selected for Rare Cask, some of these are no longer available. Owing to the number of cask types involved and the length of time it takes to identify them, it takes longer to create than any other The Macallan. This is an extremely rewarding whisky owing to the complexity of flavour.

Rare Cask has been crafted from Spanish and American sherry seasoned oak casks, a high proportion of them being first fill, including some of the most precious and scarce casks.  Collectively these factors have given rise to an exquisite whisky with a splendidly rich and resonant hue, and an unmistakably woody whisky.

Soft notes of opulent vanilla and raisin pique the nose, giving way to a sweet ensemble of apple, lemon, and orange. All balanced by a spicy quartet of root ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. On the palate this spicy quartet are unwavering. Oak resonates, timeless, polished and rich. Vanilla and chocolate lead the finale along with a light citrus zest. The finish of this naturally occurring mahogany-red spirit is full, warming and woody.

The Macallan Rare Cask is available from specialist whisky retailers including The Whisky Shop and has a RRP of £200. 

About The Macallan

Founded in 1824 in the heart of Speyside, The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then it has built a reputation as one of the world’s finest single malt whiskies.  The story of The Macallan is built on the Six Pillars, each influencing the whisky in its own distinct way.  From the spiritual home of Easter Elchies House; curiously small stills giving richness and fruit to the pure spirit; finest cut or the best of the best of the distillation to exceptional oak casks which account for over 60% of the final whisky; natural colour and peerless spirit, The Macallan itself.

Wood sits at the heart of The Macallan.  The vital contributing influences of Spain, North America and Scotland, together with true mastery, set it apart from the rest.

For more information on The Macallan, visit www.themacallan.com

Like The Macallan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMacallan

Follow The Macallan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/The_Macallan

Follow The Macallan on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/the_macallan

Just Whisky “Highland Park Valhalla” – Scotch Whisky News

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Highland Park has caught the imagination in recent years with their effective use of Norse legends and the integration into Orkney’s heritage and culture. The Valhalla Collection, which we’re focusing on here specifically is the most recent themed set from Highland Park. This built upon the achievements and experience gained from the Earl Magnus Editions although it’s not a recipe for success as the Warrior series demonstrated. 

It was this trio celebrating local nobles that inflamed the collector and investor market thanks to the heritage styled labels, bottle design and wooden boxes that protected the whisky. These can be a real pain to unlock and no doubt assisted the team when they moved onto the Valhalla concept. An additional learning point was the release numbers for each of the Magnus releases, as these varied hugely and caused an avalanche of demand and bitterly disappointed enthusiasts unable to secure a bottle.


The Valhalla Collection debuted with the release of Thor in 2012. For those of you who weren’t interested in whisky back then, this release caused a huge debate with many criticising the pricing and packaging. The argument was that Thor was all presentation and little else. Priced at £120 for a 16 year old whisky also came under fire and for a while it seemed many turned their back on the concept.  

I can recall being at the distillery around this time and Thor’s were in ….. Read more at Just Whisky’s Blog.



whisky.auction – Our Latest Auction Is Now Live! – Scotch Whisky News


Our latest auction is now live, and will run until Tuesday 4 August, closing from 7.30pm BST.

You can now bid on your favourite bottles or simply add them to your Watch List and place your bid any time you like.

You can bid in two ways: either increase the highest bid by a fixed amount, or place your maximum bid straightaway – ideal if you can’t be online on the last day of our auction. Be the first to bid!

View our current auction

Get bidding, and good luck! The Whisky Auction team.


Glendronach 15 Year Old at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Glendronach 15 Year Old

Revival Discontinued! Bidding a fond farewell (while stocks last) to the Highland favorite which will disappear until 2018.

Buy – $61.34


Scotch Malt Whisky Society “August Previews: All things Summer” – Scotch Whisky News

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Summer fetes rich with the heady aromas of home made jam and freshly baked treats; rosemary-skewered bangers on the open fire; ocean spray topping the sea wall as you ride past on your motorcycle… However you love to enjoy this brief, beautiful season, the first nips from the August Outturn are sure to make the perfect sundowners.

Oily & Coastal

4.209 The Cinderella cottage

Chilly cottage, damp plaster and salt encrusted windows. Old cinders in the grate reignited with heather, peat. Grilled sausages with rosemary. A makeshift feast of prawn crackers, dimsum and tempura shrimps with sesame seeds. Crispy skinned baked apples in the embers.

19 years old
Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

66.71 An apothecary on a motorcycle

The nose has wood and clean smoke, suggesting first aid boxes, hospital laundries, menthol-suffused saunas and motorcycle workshops. The palate delivers menthol cigarettes, pan-drops, spicy fennel seed sausages, smoked mussels, embers, bicycle repair kits, light smoke and some pleasant balancing sweetness.

12 years old
Refill ex-bourbon barrel

Old & dignified

G1.13 Summer Fete and flower shows

Summer fetes with peach jam, banana bread, golden plums. Airfix paint and crisp florals. Sweet and short as Scottish summer. Pink wafers, warm scones, homemade chocolate truffles and caramel coffee cake. Greenhouse aromas mingled with warm wood of old deck chairs.

36 years old
Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

Browse New Outturn >
Browse All Bottlings >

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: sales@smws.com or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information

This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

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