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  • The Isle of Lewis native spent the last two years as The Balvenie Ambassador for East Coast USA
  • Gemma will take over the reins from previous Global Ambassador Sam Simmons

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, today announces an important decision for the custodianship of the brand, as it appoints Gemma Paterson to be its next Global Ambassador.

Born in the Scottish Highlands, Gemma Paterson grew up in the Hebridean Isle of Lewis, Scotland. After graduating from the University of Glasgow in 2011 with a degree in Russian Language and Slavonic Studies, Gemma spent time at The Balvenie distillery, where she gained first-hand experience studying the art and science behind scotch malt whisky production. During her time at the distillery, Gemma also obtained a General Certificate in Distillation from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, where she is currently working towards her three-year Diploma.

Gemma’s tenure at the distillery earned her a place on the William Grant & Sons’ Nosing Panel, where she had first-hand experience working with David C. Stewart MBE at his tasting room in Glasgow.  Eventually Gemma’s love of single malt scotch and her passion for sharing this love led her to New York in May 2016, where she took up the post of The Balvenie Ambassador, United States East.

Commenting on her appointment, Gemma says: “Words can’t express how excited I am to start this next chapter in my career with The Balvenie. I feel so privileged to take up such a prestigious role and be given the opportunity to play a part in the history of this great distillery.”

Gemma will be taking over from current Global Ambassador Sam Simmons. Sam, a respected whisky expert and Keeper of the Quaich who often goes by the moniker of ‘Dr Whisky’, has been with the Speyside distillery since 2008, initially as The Balvenie Ambassador USA, and subsequently as Global Ambassador, which he was appointed to in 2010.

“Sam has provided a wealth of support and guidance to me throughout my time with The Balvenie and I’ve thoroughly enjoy our recent handover period,” Gemma continued. “We’ve followed a similar path from USA Ambassador to Global Ambassador, so he’s been the perfect mentor for me as I transition into my new role.”

Commenting on his successor, Sam Simmons says: “Having known Gemma for a number of years now, it’s abundantly clear that she has all of the credentials needed to succeed within the role of Global Ambassador. Gemma’s dedication to the distillery and passion for sharing the wonderful world of scotch whisky will set in her good stead for the future. I hope she invites me to a tasting soon!”

About The Balvenie: 

  • The Balvenie is a unique range of single malts created by David Stewart MBE, The Balvenie Malt Master was awarded an MBE for services to the Scotch whisky industry by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016. Each expression has a very individual taste, but is rich, luxuriously smooth and underpinned by the distinctively honeyed character of The Balvenie.
  • The Balvenie is dedicated to the five rare crafts that are used to create The Balvenie’s distinctive taste. It is the only distillery that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both coppersmiths and coopers on site – making The Balvenie the most handcrafted of single malts.
  • The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced by William Grant & Sons Ltd, an award-winning independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today run by his direct descendants.

Balvenie LOGO1

Looking up – landscape’s starring role at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News

TGL The_Livet_River9_s

Looking up – landscape’s starring role at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

It’s an environment that has sheltered illicit whisky makers of the past, and it’s one of the best places in Britain from which to study the night skies – little wonder the natural landscape has a starring role in the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

The festival programme boasts its greatest ever mix of events exploring the natural environment that has spawned some of the world’s best loved whisky brands.

From rugged hills to fertile plains, trickling burns to fast flowing rivers, the unspoilt nature of Speyside’s landscape can be explored on foot, by canoe or on board an eight wheeled Argocat during the five-day dram-fest.

Whisky author Blair Bowman and #LoveScotch’s Stephen Martin will deliver a Speyside by night experience – and what better time to enjoy the amber nectar than after the sun has set and darkness has fallen?

It will be a case of digging out a cosy sweater and pulling on stout boots for this guided night exploration, featuring whisky tasting and chat. Different drams will be encountered along the route, and a few surprises too, before returning to the warming fireside of the Copper Dog Pub at the Craigellachie Hotel.

The Glenlivet Off Road Smugglers’ Trails will head off into the hills on board an unstoppable eight-wheel drive vehicle to retrace the steps of Robbie McPherson, one of the area’s most successful smugglers, who hid his whisky through the winter in camouflaged pits dug in the hillside, then sold his smooth, matured spirit in the spring.

Off-road Argocat adventurers will travel to the Peat Reek Bothy to view a reproduction Pot Still and see a copy of McPherson’s last will and testament before being driven to the summit Carn Ghrantaich for a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic view of an area where scores of illicit stills were hidden throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Speyside’s soft, pure water has made the region a world leader in whisky production, but remote parts of the region would have undoubtedly have been a difficult place to live in the past, given the bleak and sometimes hostile environment and its remoteness.

An award-winning young adventurer will lift the lid on the plants and trees on which Speysiders of the past used to survive within this landscape. Passionate about outdoor education, conserving wild places, and retaining traditional wilderness living skills, 18-year-old Zeki Başan won the John Muir Conserver Award in 2016 and the Young Scot Award 2017 for the Environment.

He will lead a foraging walk around The Glenlivet Distillery, talking about the many ways that plants, fungi and tree bark were used. This will include natural fire lighting and explaining how people used to carry embers.

Botanicals aren’t just for gin – they will help give whisky lovers a sense of the place where Aberlour malt is made during a walk exploring the historic, medicinal, culinary and beverage uses of plants. Expert historical ecologist Dr Kathy Ader will lead the group along the Lour Burn to the Linn Falls exploring the aroma and flavours that make Aberlour single malt whisky unique with a rewarding dram at the end.

Every ticket has been snapped up for the canoe and whisky journey which is a hugely popular annual event with Spey specialist David Craig leading the canoeists from Knockando to the landmark Telford Bridge at Craigellachie, with a picnic lunch and dram en-route.

John Blyth, manager of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, says the region recognised as being the spiritual home of Scotland’s national drink, with over 50 malt whisky distilleries, is also a place of great environmental beauty too.

John adds: “Whisky, heritage and landscape go hand in hand. The remote hills and glens of Glenlivet offered places to hide illicit whisky making while today, the rich fertile landscape provides the water and barley that create some of the finest whiskies in the world.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer unique experiences to give Festival-goers the chance to discover this distinctive environment and to develop an appreciation of the intrinsic links between whisky and the landscape in which it is made.

“As well as the opportunity to explore and learn more about the region, many of these events include a welcome dram along the way. There could be no more appropriate way to toast Speyside than enjoying its most famous liquid export in the natural environment where it is created.”

The Festival takes place from May 3 to 7, with over 500 events taking place over the five days across Speyside.

The programme for the Festival, which attracts both connoisseurs and the curious, also features behind-the-scenes tours at internationally renowned distilleries not usually open to the public, whisky tasting masterclasses, whisky and food pairing. It has traditional music, outdoors activities and heritage events, meaning the festival offers something for die-hard whisky fans and those who have never tried it before.

For further information and tickets visit www.spiritofspeyside.com. The Festival is also active on social media: facebook.com/WhiskyFestival and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram18

Photograph: Let it flow – Speyside’s natural environment is the toast of the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Longmorn 23 Year Old Single Malt Scotch – Now Available at the LCBO – Scotch Whisky News


Longmorn 23 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Now available at LCBO.com and In-Store

Ever the perfectionist, Longmorn founder John Duff took every step to ensure the best for his whisky. Longmorn is the product of exceptional talent and precision.

Known for its great quality and taste, natural ingredients give Longmorn its unique Speyside character, using water from the local springs, barley from Moray and peat from nearby sources.

Longmorn 23 year old is the pinnacle of the Longmorn range, full of richly profound flavours. A rare and exquisitely crafted single malt, rested for more than two decades in the finest, hand selected traditional oak casks chosen to complement the flavours of the Longmorn spirit.

Now available online and in select LCBO stores in limited quantities, this is a perfect addition to your single malt collection.

Glenfarclas Family Casks Winter 2017 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Glenfarclas Family Casks Winter 2017

The very latest batch of Family Casks from the Speyside distillery in Ballindalloch. Vintages from 1970s to 2000s with some real sherry beauties included.

Buy – Family Casks W17



#barstraws - oldfashioned



Luxury Scotch whisky brand Chivas Regal, which is enjoyed in millions of cocktails every year, has pledged to stop using single-use plastic straws and stirrers in over 100 countries – and is now calling on cocktail lovers and bar owners around the world to go strawless too.

Through its #BarStraws campaign – which encourages people to show their support through straw-free ‘selfies’ – Chivas estimates that it will save many millions of plastic straws and stirrers every year. Cocktail lovers are urged to simply take a selfie while sucking on their drink through an invisible straw, and post to Instagram tagging @chivasregal #BarStraws. For every post, Chivas will donate US$1 to the Marine Conservation Society.

Chivas Regal is committed to using business to change the world for the better, and has launched the #BarStraws campaign in support of parent company Pernod Ricard’s ongoing mission to preserve the oceans and protect the life within them from plastic.

Sandrine Ricard, Head of Sustainability & Responsibility at Chivas, commented: “Plastic straws spend a moment on our lips, and then a lifetime in the ocean or in landfill. We wanted to demonstrate that plastic no longer has a place in Chivas drinks, and that small acts – such as refusing the straw – can make a big difference. “We created the #BarStraws selfie as a simple way for cocktail lovers to make a positive impact while having fun together. Through #BarStraws, everyone can be a part of this important conversation, and can help fund conservation too.”

The Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading marine charity, wants to see a reduction in the volume of single use plastic in everyday use, and is challenging businesses and individuals to refuse the straw.

“A plastic straw is used for such a short time before it is thrown away”, said Chief Executive, Sandy Luk. “Chivas Regal is showing real commitment to deal with this unnecessary waste pollution, and we now need many other businesses to follow their lead”.

To prove that cocktails taste better when sipped, not sucked, Chivas Regal Global Brand Ambassador Max Warner has created a #BarStraws signature cocktail: the Strawberry Sipper. And the only straw in this cocktail is a strawberry.

The Strawberry Sipper

  • 50ml Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
  • 20ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 10ml Strawberry Syrup
  • 50 ml Ginger Ale
  • 50 ml Soda Water

Build all ingredients in a glass over ice; garnish with a fresh strawberry.

To discover more about Chivas’ #BarStraws campaign and to see how you too can help protect our oceans, visit the Chivas website.


About Chivas Regal
Launched in 1909, Chivas Regal is the world’s first luxury whisky and is considered to be a timeless classic, renowned for its benchmark quality and taste, style, substance and exclusivity. A truly global brand, Chivas Regal has been integral to the growth of the Scotch whisky category worldwide and today sells 4.5 million 9L cases annually in more than 150 countries across the globe. With generosity, entrepreneurship and integrity at the heart of Chivas Regal, the brand launched its successful Win the Right Way campaign in 2014, which aims to inspire a new generation whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others. The Chivas Regal range includes: Chivas Regal 12, Chivas Regal Extra, Chivas Regal Mizunara, Chivas Regal 18, our first blended malt Chivas Regal Ultis, Chivas Regal 25, pinnacle of the range and ultra-prestige blend Chivas Regal The Icon, and the Global Travel Retail exclusive Chivas Brothers Blend. www.chivas.com

About the Marine Conservation Society
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK charity dedicated to protecting our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, and protection of marine life. Through education, community involvement and collaboration, MCS raises awareness of the many threats that face our seas and promotes individual, industry and government action to protect the marine environment. MCS involves thousands of volunteers in projects and surveys such as the Great British Beach Clean. www.mcsuk.org

chivas celtic logo

The Whisky Exchange “Why should you drink whiskey this St Patrick’s Day?” – Irish Whiskey News


Why should you drink whiskey this St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick’s Day is on Saturday. While it’s generally seen as an excuse to go out for some drinks, for me it’s also the ideal time to try and sneak some Irish whiskey into your drinks cabinet. Recent conversations online have shown me that not everyone is as big a fan of Irish whiskey as I am, so here are a few reasons to give it a try this weekend.

It’s not ‘just the same as Scottish whisky’

All whisk(e)y is far from the same, but Scottish whisky is made in a very similar way to other whiskies around the world – distillers from Taiwan to Canada base the way they make their whisky on Scottish tradition – but not the Irish. They’ve been doing things differently to distinguish themselves from their neighbours over the water for hundreds of years.

At first glance, it can all look very similar. But dig deeper, and you’ll find Irish whiskey is a bit different

While the debate as to who started making whisk(e)y first – Scotland or Ireland – will almost certainly never be answered, Scottish and Irish whiskey being different is much easier: they are.

The big difference people talk about is triple distillation: Scottish whisky is usually double distilled, while Irish producers almost all go for a third. This isn’t because ‘they couldn’t get it right after the first two times’ as a number of proud Scots have told me over the years, but to create a very different flavour profile. While I often ramble on about fruity Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey has a special kind of fruitiness of its own that you can taste in everything from Jameson to independently bottled single casks.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you definitely need a bottle in your cupboard.


There’s loads of Irish whiskey to explore

A few years ago, there were only three companies making whiskey in Ireland: Bushmills in the north, Irish Distillers and Cooley in the south. Over the past five years things have drastically changed, with tens of distilleries now making spirit, tens more sitting in planning and a handful already putting whisky and poitin on the shelves – Dingle and Echlinville, to name a couple.

This image is from a couple of years ago and is already out of date…

Getting into Irish whiskey at this moment in time gives you a chance to see the redevelopment of a whole country’s whiskey traditions.

While Scotch whisky is my first love, I’m increasingly finding myself turning to Irish whiskey when looking for something new. From the wannabe whiskey makers who are sourcing their spirit from elsewhere while building their own distilleries, to the established producers, everyone’s doing something interesting. It’s an exciting time to be an Irish whiskey fan.


It’s the classy way to celebrate St Patrick’s day

No comment

Which would you rather be doing on Saturday?

Drink pints of Guinness or Harp dosed with green food colouring while wearing an oversized novelty hat. And maybe face paint.


Share a selection of Irish whiskeys with friends. While wearing an oversized novelty hat. And maybe face paint.

I know which I’d choose…

You can find a wide range of Irish whiskey on our website. If you want to learn more, check out my recent blog posts on pot still whiskey and Slane distillery, Whisky Exchange boss Sukhinder’s love letter to the Ireland’s whiskey, and many others from over the years.

And in closing, if you must abbreviate St Patrick’s name, it’s Paddy not Patty.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival reaches new international audiences as awards judging sessions hit the road – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky Nosing - Copy

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival reaches new international audiences as awards judging sessions hit the road

A record-breaking number of whisky drinkers from around the globe are to determine Speyside’s top drams in one of the industry’s best-loved award schemes. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Awards is stopping off at 18 different venues with its roving judging sessions – 10 more than it visited last year.

Whisky drinkers in Canada, the USA and Europe – as well as the UK – will be asked to cast their vote following a blind taste test of eight malt whiskies that have been distilled in Speyside – Scotland’s most prolific whisky-producing region.

The expanded number of venues taking part in the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards sessions underlines the international appeal of the event and how much it resonates with people around the globe, says Festival manager John Blyth.

He adds, “From one international judging session in 2016 to eight overseas venues in 2018 – that shows the high regard in which Speyside whisky is held on a worldwide stage.

“Traditionally, judging sessions were held on Speyside during the Festival but we felt that staging these roving sessions abroad would help to increase awareness with international audiences.

“Now, however, rather than just being a vehicle to promote the Festival, we are hosting sold-out events, with those passionate about whisky delighted with the opportunity to cast their vote in such a hotly-contested awards scheme.”

The roving sessions will kick off later this month at Dr Jekyll’s Bar, Oslo followed by Scotia Spirit in Cologne – the venue that started the overseas trend – and will go on to visit new venues including The Brandy Library in New York and the Hopscotch Pub and Brewery in Toulouse.

Sessions have already taken place at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh as it celebrate its 30th anniversary, and there are also plans to host a round at renowned Glasgow whisky bar The Pot Still. Visitors to the Festival from May 3 to 7 will also be able to cast their votes at a number of venues across Speyside.

The eight finalists in four categories have been whittled down from an extensive entry list by a panel of industry experts. The awards, sponsored by coppersmiths Forsyths of Rothes, are unique in that the winners are determined by the whisky-loving public.

In the Non Age Statement category, Glen Moray Classic Chardonnay and The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated will go head to head, while Strathisla 12-year-old and Glenfiddich 12-year-old are contenders in the 12-year-old and under category.

Aberlour 18-year-old and Glen Moray 18-year-old will be vying for top honours in the 13-20-year-old category and in the class for malts aged 21 years and over, it will be a battle between Cragganmore Special Release 25-year-old and Glenfiddich 21-year-old.

Judging will be in the form of a blind taste test, ensuring that drinkers have to pick a favourite on taste alone and cannot be swayed by brand loyalty. The winners will be announced at the festival’s closing ceilidh, hosted by The Craigellachie Hotel, on May 6.

John says, “It’s a real honour for the distillers because they know the award is being given to them by the public – the people who will actually go out and buy their whisky.

“The awards judging sessions are always one of the most popular activities on the programme, with thousands of votes being cast over the years. The beauty of the awards is that you don’t have to be an expert to take part – you vote simply for the one you think tastes best.

“That approach mirrors the whole ethos of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in that we want to provide something for everyone, whether you are a malt connoisseur or a curious novice. With 500 events taking place over five days, we have everything from exclusive distillery tours to wildlife walks – it’s even possible to come to the Festival and revel in the atmosphere without touching a drop.”

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world. The five-day celebration includes a packed programme of events involving food, music, heritage and crafts alongside a wide range of distillery tours and tastings from some of the biggest names in Scotch whisky.

Tickets for all events, including the judging sessions, are available at www.spiritofspeyside.com. Keep up-to-date with the Festival on social media – facebook.com/WhiskyFestival and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram.


Picture caption: Whisky fans taking part in the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards judging sessions will cast their votes in a blind taste test.

The Dead Rabbit at Park Ave Liquor Shop – Irish Whiskey News

Park Ave

The new name in  

Irish Whiskey

The Dead Rabbit

From the NYC bar with the same name…

The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog is celebrating its 5th Anniversary with the launch of their very own five year old Irish Whiskey. We’ve only stocked the whiskey for a couple of weeks and the reports have all been positive. This St. Patrick’s Day ~ pull a five year old Dead Rabbit off your shelf!

Jonathan, Eric & Marlon
The Park Avenue Liquor shop
270 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
212-685-2442 PH
212-689-6247 FAX
whiskyconn@gmail.com (Marlon)

Dead Rabbit

~ The Dead Rabbit ~
5 Year Old Irish Whiskey  

“When it comes to whiskey, wood matters. We use two types: firstly, we age our whiskey in old, seasoned bourbon casks. This lends a distinctly American accent to an Irish story. We then finish Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey* in small, specially made, first-fill American oak barrels.  

The smaller the barrel, the better the whiskey-to-wood ratio. The result is real depth and depth and character over a lingering note of bourbon vanilla sweetness. 

A unique five-year-old blend of Irish malt and grain whiskey finished in half-sized, specially crafted virgin American oak barrels. crafted by world renowned whiskey expert and Master Distiller, Darryl McNally.”  


Dark golden honey


Rich overtones of bourbon and vanilla 


Irish Whiskey heart, with a burst of bourbon vanilla attitude


A long vanilla finish

(88 proof) 

PRICE: $38/btl  

*“The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey is crafted by Master Distiller, Darryl McNally of the Dublin Liberties Distillery, in Dublin’s traditional home of distilling.

The building is over 400 years old and, believe it or not, was once a tannery where rabbit fur was processed. In whiskey, as in life, some things are just meant to be.”

We cannot guarantee bottle availability but will always do our best to fulfill your order. We are not responsible for any typographical errors or or the lack of Free Agency agreements thus far by the NY Giants. Please contact the store with any questions.

The Park Avenue Liquor Shop | 212-685-2442 | 212-689-6247 |  parkaveliquor.com

Balblair 1991 3rd Release at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Balblair 26 Year Old 1991 vintage Highland single malt Scotch whisky. Double matured in first fill Spanish Sherry Oak Butts. Nose: Rich citrus fruits, toffee and chocolate developing into juicy apricots with just a hint of liquorice in the background. Palate: Rich creamy chocolate and layers of stewed apples and pears. Christmas pudding with hot vanilla sauce on the finish. Balblair Distillery was originally established by John Ross at his Balblair Farm just to the west of Ederton by the southern shore of the Dornoch Firth. Whilst distillation was probably in progress as early as 1749 Balblair malt whiskey distillery was officially established in 1790. Then a short move into new Balblair Distillery buildings situated right beside Ederton railway station in 1894. Balblair is a fantastic Scottish Highland malt distillery which has retained its round red brick chimney, single pagoda roof and dunnage warehouses. The Balblair Vintage series encompasses single malts from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Balblair 1991 3rd Release 46.0% 26 Year Old 1991 Sherry & Bourbon Cask Matured



Whisky Hammer March 2018 Auction Now Live – Whisky Auction News

AA Whisky Hammer


(ends Sunday 25th March)

…place your bids at www.whiskyhammer.co.uk

With an incredible selection of whiskies and other fine spirits there is certainly something for everyone – whether you are looking to collect, invest, enjoy!


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