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Heaven Hill Distillery Receives Best Bourbon, Best Small Batch Bourbon and Numerous Medals from 2018 San Francisco Spirits Competition – American Whiskey News


Heaven Hill Distillery Receives Best Bourbon, Best Small Batch Bourbon and Numerous Medals from 2018 San Francisco Spirits Competition

Awards continue legacy of excellence for Heaven Hill Distillery portfolio

BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Heaven Hill Distillery’s tradition of producing award-winning American Whiskey continues with the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition naming Henry McKenna Single Barrel “Best Bourbon” across all categories of Bourbon, as well as “Best Single Barrel Bourbon.” Elijah Craig Small Batch was named “Best Small Batch Bourbon,” placing second overall only to Henry McKenna.

Both Bourbons and Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey also received the Double Gold designation, which the competition defines as “awarded to the very few entries that receive a Gold medal rating by all members of the judging panel; these are among the finest products in the world.” This recognition comes on the heels of a banner award year for Heaven Hill Distillery. At the 2018 WSWA Spirits Tasting Competition Elijah Craig Small Batch was named “Best of Show Bourbon” and Pikesville was named “Best of Show American Rye Whiskey,” both receiving Double Golds. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof received the 2017 Whisky Advocate “Whisky of the Year” award, was named a 2018 Ultimate Spirits Competition Finalist and previously won Best Small Batch Bourbon in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The World Whiskies Awards named Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, and Pikesville Rye their respective category winners for 2017.

“Heaven Hill Distillery’s pedigree of producing Bourbons and whiskeys with award-winning flavor is a tale of more than 80 years of family passion,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira.  “Parker Beam’s favorite two words were ‘quality’ and ‘consistency,’ and we are proud to see that tradition carried on through the work of our Master Distiller Denny Potter and all that help bring the product to life. We don’t make whiskey to win awards, but it certainly helps validate all that we do here to make our American Whiskey the best way that we know how.”

The San Francisco Spirits Competition was founded in 2000 and has become a premiere tasting competition grounded in integrity and experience. All spirits are tasted over four days through a controlled blind tasting by expert panelists. No information on producer or price point is given out prior to tastings to ensure each is judged fairly and without bias. For insight on the judging process, Fred Minnick, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, chronicled Henry McKenna’s path to Best Bourbon on his blog here. For more information on the San Francisco Spirits Competition, check out the website at https://sfspiritscomp.com/, as well as the August 2018 issue of the Tasting Panel Magazine.

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ABOUT HEAVEN HILL DISTILLERY: Founded in Kentucky by the Shapira family in 1935, Heaven Hill Distillery continues its legacy as one of the foremost American Whiskey producers. Heaven Hill has cultivated the traditions and history of America’s Native Spirit with its fierce independence, passionate family ownership, dedication to quality, and thoughtful innovation. Today, Heaven Hill Distillery maintains over 1.4 million barrels aging in 55 warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson Counties. It is home to an award-winning collection of American Whiskeys including Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whisky and Parker’s Heritage Collection. Heaven Hill Distillery currently holds the title of 2018 San Francisco Spirits Best Bourbon, 2017 Whisky Advocate Whisky of the Year, and previously held the titles of 2016 Whisky Magazine Distillery of the Year, 2016 Whisky Advocate American Whiskey of the Year and 2016 Rye Whiskey of the Year from “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” For more information, please visit www.heavenhilldistillery.com.

Heaven Hill reminds you to “Think Wisely. Drink Wisely.”



AA Rock1



Little Rock, AR – (May 16, 2018) – Rock Town Distillery is excited to announce that it’s main line Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey has won a prestigious Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The competition was held April 13 – 15th and the full results just announced May 15th and can be found here: https://sfspiritscomp.com/results/search/

Rock Town also won silver medals for their Straight Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Four Grain Sour Mash Bourbon and their Rye Whiskey.

“The competition was fierce again this year” said distillery founder and head distiller Phil Brandon. “There were 2,469 entries with the bourbon entries up 60% from last year, so we’re extremely proud to win Gold and Silver this year. Wining 5 medals for our whiskeys is a testament to our hard work and quality”


Rock Town Distillery produces the award winning Arkansas Bourbon, Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey, Arkansas Rye Whiskey and Rock Town Vodka which are distributed to 15 states and the United Kingdom, Canada and Taiwan. Winner of the 2015 US Micro Whisky of the Year Award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
Rock Town Distillery, Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition, is located in downtown Little Rock at 1201 Main Street in Little Rock.  The distillery is open for tours 7 days a week. To find out more please visit www.rocktowndistillery.com
About The San Francisco World Spirit Competition
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC)) is one of the most prestigious spirits competitions in the world and recognized internationally as one of the most influential events in the world of spirits. The competition was founded in 2000 by Anthony Dias Blue, a James Beard Award winner.

The 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition was held at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco from April 13th through April 15th. The 2018 Competition was another record-breaking year that featured 2,469 spirit entries from all corners of the world, marking an 11% increase over last year’s competition.

Scotch Whisky Auctions Feis Ile 2018 Tasting – Scotch Whisky News


Scotch Whisky Auctions Feis Ile 2018 Tasting

As the Feis Ile is fast approaching we wanted to let you all know about our plans this year. We’ll be hosting our tasting at the Ballygrant Inn on Monday 28th May.

We’ll be pouring 7 phenomenal whiskies for you to enjoy over the evening with a 3 course meal from David and the team at the Ballygrant Inn.

Just to whet your appetite with a sneak preview of the drams – we’ll be pouring the legendary Rare Malts Brora 1977 24 year old and GlenDronach’s beautifully sherried distillery exclusive 24 year old. We’ll have a couple of golden oldies from
Islay and our Glenfiddich charity bottling.

The tickets are available here to buy in advance of the event. Speaking of which, you’ll want to be arriving at the Ballygrant Inn at 7pm for a 7:30pm start.

All the money is going to charity, so you can enjoy yourself in the knowledge that you’re supporting a good cause too.

So to summarise: 7 drams, 3 delicious courses, 7:30pm start on Monday 28th May all for £100 a ticket. We don’t need to tell you that this is an event not to be missed, you already knew that.

Failing that, the lure of a certain cheesecake should seal the deal……!

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Tam or Jess and we’ll be happy to help.

We’re looking forward to a great night!

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Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 203: Wolfburn Aurora – Scotch Whisky News


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 203: Wolfburn Aurora

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky blogger, tries the Wolfburn Aurora. In Thurso, a town with only 9000 inhabitants in the north of Scotland, the Wolfburn Distillery filled its very first cask with spirit in 2013, meaning that the first single malt appeared in 2016. After the initial release of their three year old malt, this Wolfburn Aurora appeared. It is a single malt that matured in three types of casks: 40% in second fill quarter casks, 40% on first fill bourbon casks and the remaining 20% on first fill oloroso sherry hogsheads.


The Good Dram Show – Episode 264 ‘A.D. Rattray’ – Scotch Whisky News

Chris Goodrum

The Good Dram Show – Episode 264 ‘A.D. Rattray’ – In this episode of the show, I’m celebrating the independent bottling company A.D Rattray’s 150th Anniversary, by looking at some new releases from them.


Gordon & MacPhail unveils new ‘Discovery’ range of single malt Scotch whiskies – Scotch Whisky News

G&M_Discovery Range_sml

Gordon & MacPhail unveils new ‘Discovery’ range of single malt Scotch whiskies

Family-owned single malt whisky creators, Gordon & MacPhail, has announced the launch of ‘Discovery’, a new range that is part of the company’s commitment to strengthen and streamline the brand’s portfolio.

The range of carefully selected whiskies is grouped and colour-coded under three flavour profiles – ‘Smoky, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Bourbon’. Designed to help whisky drinkers to begin an exploratory journey through the Gordon & MacPhail portfolio, each bottle features a brief tasting note and either a vintage or age statement.

The first expressions to be released within the new ‘Discovery’ range comprise spirit originally from Balblair, Tormore, Miltonduff and Caol Ila distilleries, then matured in Gordon & MacPhail’s own hand-selected casks. Prices start from £49.95 UK (RSP) and vary in available markets around the world due to taxes and duties.

Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige and a fourth-generation member of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail, remarked: “We’re proud to be the curators of the world’s most diverse stock of single malt whiskies from over 100 distilleries. We’ve spent several years working to develop this new range for whisky lovers globally.

’Discovery’ offers whisky drinkers the opportunity to begin a journey with us through the Gordon & MacPhail whiskies portfolio. By offering flavour profiles and tasting notes, we want to help the discerning consumer navigate their choices with confidence, beyond their usual malt.”

‘Discovery’ is the second range to launch as part of the updated portfolio, which offers consumers five distinct ranges. The new look ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range was unveiled last month (April 2018). The additional ranges for ‘Distillery Labels’ and ‘Private Collection’ will be revealed to consumers in the summer and autumn respectively. The launch of the next ‘Generations’ release is yet to be revealed.

For more information about the new ‘Discovery’ range and the streamlined portfolio, visit www.gordonandmacphail.com.


  • DiscoveryUtterly dependable, this flavour-led range is the perfect introduction to our portfolio of quality single malt Scotch whiskies.
  • Distillery Labels – A range celebrating our long-standing relationships with Scotland’s distilleries.
  • Connoisseurs Choice – The heart of our portfolio – always unique, these non-chill-filtered, natural coloured, small batch expressions are genuine one-offs.
  • Private Collection – Greatly-aged single malts from celebrated, little-known, or closed distilleries specially selected by members of the Urquhart family.
  • GenerationsA prestigious collection of old, rare, and exclusive masterpieces. 

Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail is a family-owned single malt Scotch whisky creators based in Elgin, Scotland.

Since 1895, Gordon & MacPhail has sent carefully selected casks to distilleries throughout Scotland, filled them with new-make spirit, and matured them either at the distillery of origin or in the company’s own bonded warehouses in Elgin.

Today, Gordon & MacPhail is the curator of the world’s most diverse collection of single malt Scotch whiskies – a liquid library of flavour. Pursuing a singular path to become the master of whisky maturation, each generation of the Urquhart family strives to expand its knowledge and expertise to pass on to subsequent generations.


40 Creek



TORONTO – Five lucky Canadians are on their way to Forty Creek’s award-winning distillery to help Master Blender, Bill Ashburn, select the 2018 limited edition release. This marks the first time that fans are invited to be part of the brand’s whisky making process.

Forty Creek recently hosted an online search where whisky fans across Canada were asked why Forty Creek was their whisky of choice. Due to the overwhelming response from fans, the award-winning brand decided to expand the VIP tasting experience at Forty Creek’s Grimsby, Ontario distillery to include five winners of the first-ever social initiative. Winners   were selected from over a thousand entries.

“We received entries from all over Canada. It was truly touching to not only see how far reaching Forty Creek is, but how ingrained the brand is in our fans’ lives and the role our whisky played in their most memorable moments,” says John Andersen, Senior Brand Manager, North American Whiskies. “We are thrilled to be welcoming fans representing different communities to our distillery for what will be a historic vote for Forty Creek.” 

The winning blend will be announced and available for reservation prior to Forty Creek’s annual Whisky Weekend in September. Whisky Weekend is Forty Creek’s annual celebration of all things Canadian and Forty Creek, with tours, tastings, seminars, and the official launch of the annual limited edition release. 

The winners hail from across the country. The five winners bringing their unique perspectives to the whisky making process and representing their communities are:

Mike Currah, Ontario

Forty Creek is always top shelf for Mike Currah. Mike was first introduced to Forty Creek in his early 20s – first the Barrel Select, then the Double Barrel Reserve – from the people he was living with in his home province of Ontario. As the brand grew, expanding to offer limited edition releases, so did Mike’s appreciation for and collection of Forty Creek whisky. To date, Mike has all but one of the limited edition releases. Learning from his previous mistake, he now makes sure to buy two bottles of each limited edition release – one to drink and one to save.

Sarah Phelps, Ontario

Sarah Phelps is a fan of whisky, specifically Forty Creek. Her love of the brand has brought her to the distillery so she could witness the process first hand. Her time spent at the distillery led to some surprising discoveries and inventive ways for Sarah to enjoy Forty Creek. Currently, some of her favourites include adding Forty Creek Cream to her coffee, hot chocolate, and ice cream.

 Mark Allanson, Alberta

For Mark Allanson, Forty Creek is the absolute best whisky. Having started off enjoying Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, Mark has gone on to add Forty Creek Barrel Select, Cream, and Spike Honey Spiced to his cabinet. Always looking to expand his collection, Mark keeps a lookout for blends that are a rare find to bring back home to Alberta.

Steven Schmutz, British Columbia

The simple switch from drinking whisky mixed with coke to drinking it straight helped Steven Schmutz discover the different flavours that can be present in whisky. While out shopping, Steven’s eye was drawn to a bottle of Forty Creek Barrel Select that had a special tag highlighting the blend’s recent showing in a whisky competition. With Forty Creek having beat out several brands that Steven had in his cabinet, he decided to give it a try. Since then, Forty Creek Barrel Select has become Steven’s go-to whisky.

Ryan Belmore, New Brunswick

Ryan Belmore was first introduced to Forty Creek 15 years ago. Looking for something to enjoy during a night out with friends in New Brunswick, he opted to give a bottle of Forty Creek a shot. That night, Ryan went from predominantly being a rum drinker to a Forty Creek fan. Ryan prides himself on introducing Forty Creek to his friends and credits himself for dozens of them making the switch from other Canadian whisky brands. He has never had someone try Forty Creek whisky and not make the switch. 

About Campari Group:

Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A., together with its affiliates (‘Campari Group’), is a major player in the global beverage sector, trading in over 190 nations around the world with leading positions in Europe and the Americas. The Group’s portfolio includes over 50 premium and super premium brands. Internationally-renowned brands include Aperol, Appleton Estate, Campari, Cinzano, Grand Marnier, SKYY Vodka and Wild Turkey. In 2014, The Group acquired Forty Creek Distillery Ltd., a Canadian spirits company with a portfolio of brands including whisky, vodka, brandy, rum and liqueurs. Internationally-recognized for its superior taste and quality, the multi-award winning Forty Creek Whisky serves as both the fastest growing brand in its category across North America and Canada’s first successfully launched whisky brand in over 70 years. Headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy, Campari owns 18 plants worldwide and has its own distribution network in 20 countries. The Group employs around 4,000 people. The shares of the parent company, Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI – Bloomberg CPR IM), are listed on the Italian Stock Exchange since 2001. For more information: http://www.camparigroup.com. Please enjoy our brands responsibly.

Diageo Scotch portfolio wins top honours at San Francisco World Spirits Competition and World Whiskies Awards – Scotch Whisky News

Talisker 10 Year Old bottle

Diageo Scotch portfolio wins top honours at San Francisco World Spirits Competition and World Whiskies Awards

Our Scotch brands, including Talisker, Lagavulin and Singleton, picked up 46 awards in total across the two prestigious competitions.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has grown to become the most respected and influential spirits competition in the world, with winners judged by carefully selected panels of spirits-industry experts. The competition awards brands with Double Gold, Gold, Silver or Bronze accolades.

See our Best in Class, Double Gold and Gold medal winners below. Visit the competition website for a full list of winners:

Best In Class (Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – Up to 12 Years)

  • Talisker 10 Year Old

Double Gold

  • Buchanan’s Master Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Buchanan’s Red Seal Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Johnnie Walker Red Label
  • Lagavulin 8 Year Old
  • Lagavulin 16 Year Old
  • Talisker Storm


  • Buchanan’s Special Reserve 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Oban 18 Year Old
  • Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old
  • Singleton of Glendullan 18 Year Old

World Whiskies Awards

The World Whiskies Awards, part of the wider World Drinks Awards, is a global spirits competition which selects, rewards and promotes the very best whiskies to consumers and trade across the globe.

Entries come from across the globe and the whiskies are tasted in groupings where liquids of a similar style and process of whisky production compete against each other. Find out more about the competition here.

World’s Best Blended

  • Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Best Scotch Lowlands Single Malt

  • Glenkinchie 12 Years Old

Category Winners

  • Buchanan’s Deluxe 12 Years Old
  • Haig Club Clubman
  • Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years
  • Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old


  • Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old
  • Johnnie Walker Double Black
  • Talisker 10 Years Old
  • Talisker Port Rulghe

Loch Fyne Whiskies “New release from the new-look Macallan!” – Scotch Whisky News


The Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Oak 2018

This 18 year old annual release from The Macallan has been matured in the finest sherry casks of both American and Spanish oak, and is extremely sought after. This year’s release comes as the new Macallan distillery is almost ready to open and is the first to feature in the striking new bottle.

£285 Buy Now

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Whisk(e)y News – Unprecedented Half Price Deals on Diageo Single Malts – Scotch Whisky News


The Single Malt market is still sizzling hot as more and more people get turned on to the special pot-stilled nectar of Alba. Scotch has been top dog in the spirits department for a long time and it’s still one of the best selling alcohol products worldwide. But sometimes our suppliers get it wrong. Either things are priced too high for market or perhaps they’ve just over estimated the interest in a particular product. When the big guys miss the mark, it’s a huge win for us. This sort of stuff doesn’t happen often so when it does we’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot. The first is a true work horse and easily the least expensive 15 year old single malt we’ve seen in decades. We’re not sure we’ll ever be able to sell whisky this old at such a low price ever again. This was perfectly good whisky for $60 and there’s just no good reason for this to be so low, but here we are. The next two are limited editions from Diageo that are nearly 50% off their original release and still selling around the world for double our price. Only a few bottles of each will be available.


The Singleton of Glendullan 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Previously $55) ($34.99)

The lovely and easy drinking Singleton of Glendullan is always a favorite with the staff. It’s easy drinking and well aged and with a price like this it won’t stick around for very long. The Singleton brand is a bit of an enigma. Owners Diageo use malt from different distilleries in different markets under the Singleton name. Other markets see Singleton of Dufftown or Glen Ord and typically it’s a pretty high end brand. So when we’re able to offer it at this exceptional price we don’t hold back. Grab as much as you can now because price reductions like this won’t last forever. The style is round, rich and malty, showcasing the classy apple fruit, honey, and subtle mineral quality that Glendullan is known for.


Auchroisk 25 Year Old 2016 Limited Release Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $500) ($249.99)

The wonderful Auchroisk distillery is one of the least understood and most mispronounced malts in Scotland. This wonderful Speyside distillery is actually one of Diageo’s youngest. Founded in 1974, the distillery was marketed for years under the Singleton brand, likely due to the incompressible mangle of letters that make up its name. The humble and efficient Auchroisk has become a stalwart of the Special Release line, having been featured in the 2010 and 2012 line ups. The 2015 release is inarguably the best of recent official bottlings and at 25 years of age it’s in perfect form. The 3954 bottles were meant to fetch upwards of $500, but it tastes way better at $250.


1991 Glenkinchie 24 Year Old 2016 Limited Edition Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $400) ($200.00)

This unusual limited edition from Diageo’s stalwart Lowland distillery is one of the finest we’ve ever come across. It was aged exclusively in refill European oak and bottled at full cask strength. Bigger and richer than the standard releases from this special little distillery, expect a heady mix of dense fruit, woodsy powerful oak, barrel spice, and strong vanilla. Powerful and tense, quite unlike most lowland whiskies, with the structure and depth provided primarily by the European oak. There’s not an overt sherry influence, but we assume that some of this would previously held sherry at one point, leaving the soft impression of dried fruit and honey to balance the intensity of wood.

That’s it for this week, but stay tuned for the next edition of the Whisk(e)y News!


David Othenin-Girard
SoCal Spirits Buyer

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