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“What is your favourite whisky?” MCLEANSCOTLAND Sunday – Scotch Whisky News


Blog Post for McLean Scotland

“What is your favourite whisky?” is a question I am asked all the time. It is an interesting question but it is also a silly question to ask anyone who loves whisky (and I really love whisky). It is like asking me which is my favourite child, and I have three wonderful kids.

There is such a wide variation in styles and flavours of Scotch whisky that I think it is impossible to have a favourite, and if I did it would be changing all the time. There are styles that I prefer, but not to the extent that I would say I do not like the other styles. For example I am a ‘bourbon head’ rather than a ‘sherry head’, preferring whisky that has been matured in an ex-bourbon cask over an ex-sherry cask, however only last night I thoroughly enjoyed a Talisker Distillers Edition (finished off in an Amoroso sherry cask). I also prefer peated whisky from Talisker and Islay rather than other regions, but this does not put me off enjoying a Benromach 10 year old now and again. If it were winter and cold outside my favourite would be a big and bold Lagavulin or Caol Ila, if it is summer and warm I would rather have a gentle yet complex Glenmorangie Original.

When my son is home or we have something to celebrate my Talisker 25 year old becomes my favourite, but if it is just a wee dram before bed I could just about anything. Different seasons, different times, different company all alter my favourite whisky. For a long time my I would have answered the original question as, “Caol Ila 18 year old”. This is a wonderful whisky, with the added benefit that I got it cheap as a Diageo employee. At that time I also really stuck with Diageo products, being a loyal employee wanting to see the share price continually rise.

Since leaving Diageo and starting my own business I have had the joy of nosing and tasting numerous other Scotch whiskies, increasing the range of flavours and aromas perceived and thus increasing my enjoyment. I first experienced the delights of whisky from a virgin American oak cask when tasting the Glenrothes Alba. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before and became in instant ‘favourite’. Then along came the Glen Moray Chardonnay 10 year old, also unlike anything I had ever tasted, also becoming an instant ‘favourite’. Oh, and how about Glenfiddich 14 year old Rich Oak, finished in both new American and Spanish oak cask, also an instant and now my current ‘favourite’.

I was once asked if Japanese whisky was as good as Scotch whisky, I said no. I was then asked if I had tried Japanese whisky, again my answer was no. There is too much Scotch out there to be bothering with anything else I told the reporter. This is not actually true as I am starting to discover the delights of some Japanese expressions and some bourbons, but Scotch is still my first love and the product I will keep returning to again and again.

I intend to find lots more ‘favourites’ as I carry on in this journey of exploration, do you have any suggestions for me?

Vic Cameron

Discerning of Spirits 


Note; Vic is a great pal of ours and has taken many special tastings for us and whisky schools, he will continue to do so.

“What is my favourite whisky?  The one you are about to buy me!”   Paul McLean

www.mcleanscotland.com/   http://www.whiskytours.scot/

Day 4 of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Whisky Advent Calendar News


Day 4 of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 4 Blog #137 – Lost Distillery Company Jericho

It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon here in Calgary to take some time out for today’s dram. I must add a big welcome to The Lost Distillery company on their debut with their take on Jericho. A unique and enthralling story unravels as we delve into the ghostly past of a long dead distillery.

Jericho began production as a distillery in 1822 and was renamed Benachie in 1884. Unfortunately even with a certain degree of success the distillery was closed in 1913. Brian Woods and Scott Watson founded The Lost Distillery company as a means to turn their passion for the history of closed distilleries into a rebirth of forgotten drams.

To quote Scott Watson, co-founder of Crucial Drinks and The Lost Distillery Company “We’re obsessive about craft and uncompromising when it comes to whisky quality. Each resurrected brand is the subject of an in-depth research project to establish the original character of the long lost distilleries”.

They have an absolutely amazing in depth history of the distillery that you can read here.

As a secret bonus that we did not include on the label today’s dram is actually the Christmas Pudding edition of Jericho that was a limited release in 2015. Thanks guys for allowing us to take the last of it.

Lost Distilleries Company Jericho Christmas Pudding Blended Malt – Sherry Finish 46% ABV no chill filtration and natural color.

Color:   Not overly dark for a sherry finished whisky but certainly some tinges of red among the amber hues.

Nose: Does certainly take me in a Christmas direction with cinnamon and rich glazed sultanas and orange peel.

Palate: Much richer on the palate than the nose implies with a lovely Christmas Cake (the dark fruit laden kind) edge including the ever present marzipan icing. Rolls into some dark blackberry notes like an accompanying berry coulis. Softly sweet throughout over a base of heavier almost savory notes that only come through in sporadic bursts.

Finish: Mouth watering with some drying citrus that immediately asks for more. I could happily drink this pre or post Christmas dinner or anytime for that matter.

The wonderful world of whisky is so much fun and to delve so deeply into the past and recreate as closely as possible the style of long departed distilleries is awesome. Thanks for all your attention to detail guys The Lost Distillery Company is a really cool edition to our Scotch Whisky Calendar landscape.

For those of you looking for your own bottle of Jericho please email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Please head on over to Whisky Lassie for her take on today’s dram here.

Blended malts as anyone that has read my past blogs knows are the decidedly delicious and mostly ignored category of Scotch that offers up so much for more often much less than you would pay for an equivalent Single Malt. Remember that Blended malts are made up of a combination of Single Malts the very same ingredient that is seen as the pinnacle of Scotch Whisky.

Tomorrow we head to the Highlands for an a-typical Highland dram that will make a lot of you very happy.


Jonathan – Taster of Secrets






Kings County Peated Bourbon is made from malted barley, grown and kilned in Scotland, which has been exposed to peat smoke. This malted barley produces a scotch-like bourbon, flavourful and robust from having been aged in new barrel, with an added light smoky finish reminiscent of single-malt. As far as we know, this is the world’s only peated bourbon and has limited availability of only 400 bottles globally. This Bourbon will appeal to the adventurous whiskey traveller who has tried everything. Their Peated Bourbon has already won numerous awards, including double gold at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

In addition to the Peated Bourbon, Kings County have also released a Barrel Strength Straight Bourbon, pulled from some of their oldest barrels, stronger and richer; they decided to bottle this release at barrel strength – 126% proof.

The innovation continues from Kings County with their extremely unique, Grapefruit and Jalapeño Moonshine; a winning recipe, made from infusing Kings County’s signature moonshine with cut grapefruits and whole jalapeño peppers. It was designed to strike the right balance between citrus, bitterness and heat and is best served over ice as the perfect winter refresher.

Amathus are delighted to be able to expand the range of Kings County available in the UK.


Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery, the first since prohibition. Founded in 2010, Kings County makes handmade moonshine, bourbon, and other whiskies out of the 117-year-old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

They use New York grain and traditional distilling equipment to make distinctive spirits. With traditional copper whiskey stills fabricated in Scotland, wooden fermenters built locally by the Isseks Brothers, a corn and barley patch at a small farm onsite; the distillery is a model of sustainable and traditional whiskey production and one of the preeminent craft distilleries in the United States, having been acclaimed the Distillery of the Year in 2016 by the American Distilling Institute.

Kings County is distributed in the UK by Amathus Drinks PLC. Place your orders now: sales@amathusdrinks.com

Virginia Distillery Company “‘Tis The Season…For Whisky!” – American Whisky News


12pm-1pm Bitters Demo Kip McCharen of McCharen’s Bitters Our new ‘Virginia Signature Bitters’, designed by Kip to complement our whisky, will be available for the first time!

1pm-2pm Slow Cooker Demo by Kendra Bailey Morris (Author of The Southern Slow Cooker) Kendra will be teaching us how to make Bacon Wrapped Dates with a Maple Whisky Glaze (featuring our Virginia Highland Malt, of course).

2:30-5pm- Music by Jason Burke

Help us support the Nelson County Pantry this holiday season. Make a donation while you’re here and receive a special gift!




Planning a holiday outing?  We are open for whisky tours and tastings 7 days a week during the month of December (Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm) except for these holiday adjustments:

Saturday, December 17th- Closing at 5pm Christmas Eve- Open 11am – 2pm CLOSED Christmas Day Open regular hours on December 26th New Years Eve- Open 11am – 2pm CLOSED New Years Day CLOSED on January 2nd



New this year at our Visitors Center- gift baskets for the holiday season!  Choose your basket (small or large) and then add your choice of whisky. We also have a variety of other gifts for your favorite whisky lover including our Virginia Highland Malt Whisky and a small amount of our limited release Cider-Finish Virginia Highland Malt Whisky. Apparel, Hats, Barware & Gifts are also available in our new online store.




This Holiday season, give the gift of whisky – a full barrel that is – with a membership in our Cask Society. This four year program comes with a variety of fun perks as we wait for the whisky to age. Be one of the first to reserve a cask for your most loved one – or perhaps yourself! Email casksociety@vadistillery.com for more information.



Planning a wedding, party or corporate event?  Our Whisky Loft offers a unique option for smaller events while the Visitors Center offers flexible space, including our beautiful stone patio, for up to 75 guests. Please e-mail events@vadistillery.com for more information.

Whistle Pig “Boss Hog” 14 Year Old Straight Rye Canadian Whisky at K&L California – Canadian Whisky News


Whistle Pig “Boss Hog” 14 Year Old Straight Rye Canadian Whisky

(750ml – 1 bottle limit, ships as 1.5L) 

90 points Whisky Advocate

More Canadian core rye from WhistlePig, this time at full-bore. It’s strong with rye, sweet with melon and dark chocolate notes, but with a wood character like the unfinished inside of an antique oak wardrobe. The antique wood is strong in the mouth, an oddly elegant note, but afterward comes the melon and chocolate, and oily, coiling rye. Interestingly complicated; a bit hard to make friends, but worth the time and effort. (LB, Spring 2015) $299.99


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 149: Linkwood 2008 Signatory – Scotch Whisky News


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 149: Linkwood 2008 Signatory

Mark Dermul, Belgian Whisky blogger, tries a young Speysider. The Linkwood distillery was founded in 1821 in Elgin, not too far from the BenRiach en Longmorn distilleries. In 1840 it was run by James Walker, today it is owned by Diageo. Not many official releases can be found, so Mark turns to the independent bottlers. He tried a very young single cask Linkwood by Signatory, bottled for a Belgian whisky restaurant.


Day 3 of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Whisky Advent Calendar News


Day 3 of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 

Singlemalting Whisky Blog # 136 – 3rd edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 3 – Shetland Reel Blended Malt

Today’s outing sees us heading up to Unst and the site of what soon will be the most Northern whisky distillery in Scotland. I have not yet had the pleasure of getting up there but it is in the works sometime over the next few years. It is a very, very long way from Scottish civilization. So while you are installing your whisky still and distilling gin from your small gin still what else can you do to get the distillery name out there?

Stuart Nickerson is never backward in coming forward and his fast track rebranding of Glenglassaugh is proof. Stuart came up with the fun idea of moving barrels from the mainland all the way up to Unst, aging them there and bottling them as Shetland Reel blended malt. I am a true believer in Stuarts abilities and pedigree when it comes to whisky and so I was not surprised even one bit that this blended malt is really delicious.

Blended Malts are as I’ve mentioned many times before the most maligned and misunderstood Scotch whiskies to ever be bottled. If you are a Single Malt lover then you will also love Blended Malts end of story. A blended malt is simply made up of a number of Single Malts from different distilleries. It’s the word blend that catches most people out and has a lot of consumers dismissing it before even reading the rest of the label.

So we will always showcase a number of outstanding blended malts in each edition and I know that a lot of calendar customers have already become blended malt converts over the past few years.

Shetland Reel – Blended Malt from various regions and distilleries bottled at 47% ABV. No chill filtration or colouring added.

Colour:     Nice polished gold hue with a touch of something deeper when you tilt the bottle.

Nose:     Char and spice like leaning over an old tandoori clay oven and smelling the years of delicious dishes that have been prepared along with a smoky edge that infuses everything.

Palate:     Like what the inside of my pencil case would have tasted like if I decided to eat it instead of what mum packed inside my lunch box when I was a kid at school. Rubber and pencil shavings with a mouth coating waxy character (crayola). Dried mandarin peel and turmeric.

Finish:     lovely warming length that carries a long way past the palate. Dates and sweetly burning incense.

The combination of single malts for this whisky are a closely guarded secret that Stuart keeps to himself. It is really delicious and has a lot going on. The combination of some obvious Islay is really nicely balanced with some heavy speyside influence. 47% is really a good ABV carrying a ton of weight but not overpowering and still allowing for us to play if we wish.

Good job again Stuart I cant wait to see what the Shetland Island Distillery has to offer in the future along with the release of their first in house distilled whiskies down the road.

Last year on Day 3 we had ironically enough a blended malt from Samaroli, albeit all of the Single Malts contained in that whisky came from Speyside. You can read about it here…

As we do every year we like to give people a heads up as to where they can find these whiskies in full bottles. As stated earlier we normally have a list but unfortunately it is against the laws of the land for us to do so publically on a web site. Please just email me about any whisky and I will forward a list of retail options for you.

Tomorrow we head back down South and welcome a brand new independent bottler to the party. The guys at the Lost Distillery Company have a fascinating tale to tell and we are going to find out all about it.

Get ready for something to get us all in the holiday mood.


Jonathan – Taster of Secrets





The Benromach Distillery Company Ltd has added an incredibly rare single cask malt whisky to its range with the launch of Benromach Heritage 1973.  Exclusive to the UK market, there will only be an outturn of 52 bottles of this limited edition single malt.

Benromach 1973 (ABV 48.1%), cask number 4606, is a dark golden malt, matured in a Refill American Hogshead, with hints of dark chocolate and a peppery smooth finish.

The rare Speyside single malt is presented in an evocative decanter-style bottle; the contours of the neck and shoulder line sculpted to represent copper stills, whilst the copper-coloured neck collar adds a luxurious touch.

The wooden presentation box is inspired by the home of Benromach, reflecting the copper of the stills in use today, as well as the dark, grained wood of the original washbacks and the white of the lime washed distillery walls. A book accompanies the whisky which delves into the Benromach history, as well as providing whisky fans with some fascinating stories about the people behind the whisky.

This UK exclusive was distilled before the Urquhart family took the reins and brought Benromach Distillery back to life in 1998.

Former Brewer Tom Anderson, who still lives in a cottage at the distillery, was one of the men to witness the filling of the last casks at Benromach, and proudly signed his name on the wall of the filling store. Former malt man and warehouseman, Willie McArthur, was responsible for tending to the precious casks.

Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank explained: “Benromach 1973 is very much a dram to be treasured. It was crafted with great care using many of the same skills and practises adopted at Benromach today.

“It’s been maturing for 42 years, but now is the time for whisky lovers to savour this precious single malt. I’m sure those who really take their whisky seriously will enjoy the chance to experience a little bit of Benromach history.”

The limited edition Benromach 1973 is available at specialist UK whisky retailers with an RRP of £1395.

For more information on Benromach, and to explore the wide range of expressions available, please visit www.benromach.com.


Benromach 1973 Tasting Notes 

Pour your dram of BENROMACH 1973, cask number 4606, and prepare your senses for an incredible journey of exquisite enjoyment.

First, lift your glass to the light and appreciate the beautiful dark golden colour created by lingering for 42 years in a single Refill American Hogshead as the whisky grew and matured in character. Take a short inhalation, savouring the aromas without water… enjoy the subtle hints of oak infused with sweet pear, exotic pineapple and fragrant vanilla aromas. Underlying all these are hints of spicy ginger, crisp apple and subtle oak.

Now take a sip. At first, you may taste ripe banana, mango and fresh lime. These develop into hints of dark chocolate, leading to a peppery, smooth finish with a hint of tobacco. Add a few drops of water and take time to enjoy the nose as it develops… fragrant pineapple, apricot and passion fruit aromas follow sweet honeyed notes, with developing hints of subtle menthol. Now lift it to your lips and enjoy a slow sip… a fruit cornucopia of bananas, apricot, mango and raspberry emerges, complemented by hints of toasted oak. Finally, a creamy spicy edge combines with a trace of smoke on the finish.

Benromach Distillery

Originally built in 1898, Benromach Distillery was brought back to life when leading whisky specialists Gordon & MacPhail purchased it in 1993. The distillery was extensively re-equipped over a five-year period before it was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.

In reopening Benromach Distillery, Gordon & MacPhail decided to create a classic Speyside single malt – a style that draws its influence from Speyside whiskies pre-1960s.

Benromach Distillery is located on the outskirts of the ancient market town of Forres. A four-star visitor centre is open to the public throughout the year for tours and tastings. Benromach Distillery is a member of the world famous Malt Whisky Trail.

Midlands Whisky Festival “Tickets for Spring 2017 + Early Birds!” – Whisky News



Our festival returns on March 17-18 to where it all started. We’re back to present you with the World’s best whiskies, along with masterclasses, food pairings and whisky chat. The two-day show offers you the experience to learn more about the extraordinary spirit in a relaxed and friendly environment, at Stourbridge Town Hall.


Meet dozens of exhibitors with first hand knowledge of what they love most – whisky. Every year the Midlands Whisky Festival team does their very best to bring you distilleries from each corner of the globe including some of the greatest independent bottlers, too!


Want more from your whisky show experience?  Our masterclasses offer an exclusive whisky tasting experience with well-known faces in the whisky industry. So far we’re delighted to announce sixth generation family member of Glenfarclas, George S. Grant and Brand Ambassador of The Macallan, Daryl Haldane.


Friday Ticket £35

Early Bird Standard Saturday Ticket £35 (Save 20%)
(Offer ends 31st December)

Premium Ticket £75
(Inc. The Macallan Masterclass + More)

Devotee Ticket £150
(Inc. George S. Grant Masterclass, Drinks By The Dram Devotee Tasting Set + More)

Save £5 by grabbing yourself an Early Bird before the new year. An ideal Christmas gift for any whisky aficionado!




Friday 17th 6.00pm – 9.30pm
(last pour at 9.10pm)
Saturday 18th 12.00pm -5.00pm
(last pour at 4.30pm)

Milroys Whisky Exclusive Gift Box – Scotch Whisky News



Available from our website www.milroys.co.uk/


Buy Now

Our Milroys Gift Box with all 4 of our exclusive whiskies in 20cl bottles and 2 Glencairn glasses This Wooden Gift Box is perfect for a gift. When you can’t decide which one of our exclusive 3 single malts and blend to get, why not get all 4 in this excellently presented Gift Box. Limited run so get them while you can. It includes our 28 year old Blair Athol, 2008 Glentachers, 2010 Ardmore and our own 8 year old Blend that we designed. All of the Single Malts are Cask Strength, Single Cask Limited number of bottlings.

This has been an excellent first quartet from the new-look Milroy’s.

Hie thee to Greek Street! – David Broom http://www.scotchwhisky.com/

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