Archive for January, 2010

McTears Winter Whisky Auction Catalogue is Available On Line! – Scotch Whisky News


The catalogue for the McTears Winter Whisky Auction auction is up and available: 

The SMWS bottlings are top rate and the guide price suggests they’ll go for a song. Ditto some of the other Independent Bottlings – real gems in there.

The SMWS Glenmorangie 125.1, 125.2 and 125.3 which are being sold without fanfare but are stellar and sold out on the morning of their release.

Many of the lots are from the Nick Brown Collection

Johnson Whisky Tot Reappears in the World of Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

The Johnson’s Whisky Tot from Bottega del Vino Crystal becomes the Official Whisky Tasting Glass of the 2010 International Whisky Competition

January 15, 2010 (WI is catching up…slowly)
Official Whisky Tasting Glass will shine at the International Whisky Competition

CHICAGO; Jan. 15, 2010 – In a joint press release, the International Whisky Competition (IWC) and Bottega del Vino today announced that the Johnson’s Whisky Tot is becoming the Official Whisky Tasting Glass of this year’s edition of the IWC.

This noble single malt glass will be used by the master whisky experts judging at the whisky competition. Benefiting from a unique design by noted Scotch Whisky authority, David Johnson, the Johnson’s Whisky Tot is designed to be a tasting glass, as compared to a nosing glass.
“If the whisky matters, so does glass – it’s that simple” said Robert J. Hall, Chief Whisky Officer at Bottega del Vino. “Several fine nosing glasses are available in the world today,” he went on, “and a couple of them are even made by friends of ours. We’re proud to have been recognized by the International Whisky Competition for our focus on tasting glasses and look forward to participating in this wonderful event” added Robert.
The International Whisky Competition will take place at the Hotel 71 in Chicago, IL USA from April 8th to 10th 2010 and will be hosted live on the web by a panel of whisky experts acting as competition judges.
About International Whisky Competition
International Whisky Competition is a young and creative company organizing a world-class whisky competition.  The International Whisky Competition is the first whisky-only international competition in the world. Our goal is to bring as many whiskies from around the world to be tasted and rated by a panel of judges. The annual International Whisky Competition attracts whisky lovers from across the world via the web and these can vote on whiskies participating in the competition.  The company was founded in Canada by a group of three whisky connoisseurs in 2009.  Its home page is

About Bottega del Vino Crystal
If the wine matters, so does the glass™ – it’s that simple. Tasting after tasting, test after test, time after time, wine enthusiasts are amazed by the difference the glass makes. Inspired by a life in wine and created by Severino Barzan, Bottega del Vino Crystal wine glasses are first and foremost, wine-driven in design and creation. Each piece is painstakingly mouth blown and hand finished to the highest world standards for balance, weight, shape and the tactile pleasure of holding the stem and drinking from it. Each piece features a superbly crafted bowl with single pull stem for the best possible feel in hand and mouth. Our crystal is unique in the world because it is not fragile, yet it offers the finest presentation available for your wines both in appearance and taste. It homepage is





Introducing The Dalmore Candela – Scotch Whisky News


The Dalmore distillery is soon to release Candela, an outstanding 50 year old single malt. Selected from the oldest maturing stocks of any Highland distillery and with spirit dating from the last 140 years, Candela is set to become one of the most sought after expressions the world has ever seen.

Just 77 incomparable Candela decanters are available worldwide. Each decanter, and accompanying hand-crafted crystal case, provides a fitting complement to the precious liquid it carries.

Find out more about The Dalmore Candela. To secure your own decanter, contact

‘Bruichladdich 1988 21yo Signatory’ at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News


Loch Fyne Whiskies News has stocked a new item, ‘Bruichladdich 1988 21yo Signatory’

 Bruichladdich S 1988 21yo

Distilled: 11 February 1988

Bottled: 11 December 2009

Matured in Hogsheads

Limited to 525 bottles from casks 58 and 59

By chove! Here’s a genuine Bruichladdich and for a super-fair price!

Everything is in place, nice cereal notes about the aroma, with a little whiff of smoke about the schnoz. Fruity, spicy and immensely satisfying, original style Bruichladdich, I love this stuff and most definitely an ace!

On the Flavour map I have this in square E6:

A Signatory unchilfiltered bottling.

See ‘label explanations’ above for more information.

Price excluding VAT: £38.21
£44.90 Including VAT at 17.5%
46% abv

 …’ I love this stuff and most definitely an ace!’

Best regards,
Loch Fyne Whiskies




Whisky-Meet in Bergen Norway February 12th & 13th 2010 – Scotch Whisky News

It’s time for the second edition of Whisky-Meet in Bergen next month.
Have you heard of this festival???
With visitors from Japan, Scotland, New Zealand, USA, Denmark and Norway, and 16 masterclasses to choose from, I’m confident that this will be a great weekend of whisky for everyone.

Time and place:
Hotel Grand Terminus Bergen – Norway
February 12th and 13th

See for more information.
Or send me a email on

Happy new year
and Slainte
Frode Harring

Federal Wine & Spirits Boston Glenmorangie Tasting; the Release of Sonnalta PX With Dr. Bill Lumsden – Scotch Whisky News

Federal Wine & Spirits  
Glenmorangie Tasting
Release of Sonnalta PX
Dr. Bill Lumsden
Thurs Jan 28
Pourings at 5:00 P.M. & 6:00P.M.

Dr. Bill Lumsden at work

I’m very pleased to welcome to Federal Dr. Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Head of Whisky Creation for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. Dr. Bill is one of the best and most respected throughout the industry. This down to earth guy is not only a scientist, he is a magician, too.

He’s done a little magic for us, He waved his pipette and the Glenmorangie prices melted down. We will have the best pricing in years for this tasting and for you at home, too.

Great Whisky – Great Pricing. I hope Bill’s competitors take notice that without people buying, they won’t be working.

This tasting will center on the release of Sonnalta PX which Glenmorangie feels is the BEST sherried casked whisky in the world.

So come by and try the Best with the Best. We will take orders for signed bottles if you want one for a gift or yourself. They make a great conversation piece when friends come over to taste.

This tasting will be remembered for a long time. Bring a friend or a coworker. No reservation necessary, but please try to come right at 5:00 or 6:00 .

The Malts

Glenmorangie Pricing OLD NEW Tasting

Original $52.99 $41.99 $34.99

LaSanta (Sherry) $67.99 $53.99 $49.99

Nectar D’ Or (Sauternes) $73.99 $67.99 $64.99

Quinta Rubin (Port) $67.99 $53.99 $49.99

Sonnalta PX 46% $84.99 $76.99

Extremely Rare 18 Y.O. $154.99 $89.99 $87.99

Astar 57.1% $83.99 $75.99 $74.99

Signet $214.99 $199.99 $189.99

Tasting Prces are good for advance orders through the tasting day only

Please pass this on to any friends who are scotch enthusiasts.

Joe Howell
Federal Wine & Spirits


Phone: 617-367-8605

The Enduring Legacy Of Dewars A Company History by Ian Buxton – Scotch Whisky News


The Enduring Legacy Of Dewars- A Company History
Ian Buxton

The rags to riches story of John Dewar & Sons is probably the most colourful of any whisky company, largely owing to the remarkable talents of John Dewar’s two sons, John Alexander Dewar (who finished as Lord Forteviot) and his brother Thomas (who was created Lord Dewar of Homestall) – and as such provides a fascinating insight into the Scotch whisky industry during its formative and most colourful era.

The Dewar’s story is also a benchmark study in the history of advertising and marketing, in which dark arts Tommy Dewar was a pioneer. “If you don’t advertise you fossilise”, was one of his aphorisms, as were “advertising is to business what imagination is to poetry” and “keep advertising and advertising will keep you”.

In this extensive company history, leading whisky writer Ian Buxton tells the story for the first time, building on unique access to the Dewar company archives and bringing the story from the firm’s foundation in 1846 right up to the present day.

To quote Charles MacLean’s Foreword, “This is not only a beautiful book, it is engaging and informative.”


Foreword by Charles MacLean

1. History: “Most men are great believers in heredity until the son makes a fool of himself.”

2. People: “No two men are alike, and both of them are glad of it.”

3. Aberfeldy Distillery: “We have a great regard for old age – when it is bottled.”

4. Dewar’s Blends: “We never brag about our long lineage, except upon the label.”

5. Awards: “The quality of the article should be its greatest advertisement.”

6. Timeline: “The only thing you can get in a hurry is trouble.”

Available from Neil Wilson Publishing

Ralfy Whisky Review #104(A to L!?) Now Available On Line – Scotch Whisky News


Ralfy is prolific this week and on location at the 5th Annual Victoria Whisky Festival at the Hotel GrandPacific in Victoria, British Columbia Canada.

Visit Ralfy at

Whisky Cast EPISODE 236 Now Available On-Line – Scotch Whisky News


This time around, I’m on location at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia, and I’m joined by a panel of whisky experts to discuss some of the issues facing whisky producers and drinkers alike. Jim Murray, Malt Maniac Davin De Kergommeaux, Ed Patrick of Canada’s Companions of the Quaich, Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh, Andrew Gray of Bruichladdich, and Dan Tullio of Canadian Club discuss the state of Canadian whisky, government regulation and taxes, premiumization, and their dream drams. In the news, Maker’s Mark is experimenting with a new formula that may or may not make it to market, and Bruichladdich is experimenting with technology to turn its waste into fuel.

Visit Whisky Cast at

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter No. 15 March 2006 – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky Intelligence has reproduced (with permission) The Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter for March 2006; a small sample of scotch whisky archeology. The author, Chris Goodrum, has some excellent insights of whisky, which makes for excellent reading on a Sunday.  Enjoy!

Dear Whisky Customers
I don’t know where to start there are lots of exciting new things to tell you about, but first time to get on the soapbox……….!
I often receive updated lists from various bottling companies and virtually all of them are now offering a bottling of Springbank. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say, but a few years ago virtually the only bottling available were the distillery bottlings. The reason for this thought was that I was tasting a 12 year old 57.5% Springbank bottled by Dewar Rattray which was ok, a bit too young and a bit too soapy and rubbery on the nose and with a price tag around the £50 region, I didn’t think it was good value for money. I compared it to the distillery 12 year old Bourbon Cask bottling of a year or so ago and the distillery bottling was far superior, with a greater depth and concentration, the Dewar Rattray bottling seemed quite anaemic next to it.
So the question is are the distillery selling off inferior casks, knowing that independent bottling companies will snap them up or is it that there are a lot of third party casks floating around. So I thought I’d speak to Springbank and ask the question. Pete Curry at the distillery told me that the last cask that they sold was in 2001 and that during the 1980s and 1990s quite a few casks were sold to private individuals. They decided to stop selling casks because they wanted to be able to control the quality of malt that was being bottled as Springbank. He told me that as one of the tasters for Cadenheads there are a lot of inferior casks doing the rounds, this was confirmed by some of my other sources in the industry.
Pete told me that it was practically impossible to get hold of casks of Ardbeg, Talisker, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, yet there are vast quantities of Auchtentoshan, Bruichladdich, Jura and Bladnoch available. He believes that in a few years only the independent bottling companies with strong links to the trade will survive and the rest will either fall or their lists will be made up of the four previously mentioned.
So this answers the question as to why there is quite a bit of Springbank available, it doesn’t however answer the question as to why so much of it is lacking in character. I believe that there are two reasons for this. The first is Historical and the second Geographical. What I mean by Geographical is that when a private individual purchases a cask from a distillery part of the purchase price will be for a set number of years storage, therefore many will opt to leave the cask maturing at which ever distillery. When the come to sell it to a broker it will invariably be moved to the brokers warehouse, which will be on the mainland, often in the middle of Glasgow, and it is here that the cask will be left, often for quite awhile. Some may disagree that the air surrounding the cask has no influence on the malt, but as wood is pours and Springbank has the famous Campbeltown salts character from the briny sea air I believe that the environment the cask is stored in has a profound affect on the flavour of the whisky, and if it is sat in a warehouse in the middle of Glasgow it is going to loose its coastal freshness quite rapidly, and especially if it is a well used ex-bourbon cask it will taste like it could have come from practically anywhere, which reminds me of the Cheiftains Choice bottling of a year or so ago.
For the historical reasons I had to turn to John McDougall’s ‘Worts, Worms and Wash-backs’, which incidentally is a great read. As you may or may not know John was appointed distillery manager of Springbank in 1986. At his interview with Hedley Wright, the then MD of J&A Mitchell  & Co, the owners of the distillery he asks what budgetary controls were employed by the company. “Budgetary controls, Mr McDougall? The only budgetary controls we operate are that we don’t spend any money.” John goes on to mention that years of under investment in the distillery had left it in a terrible state, there were casks lying all over the place and a lot were stored in the disused malt barn, but had become saturated as the roof had rotted through. Although he dose not mention the state of the warehouse holding stock, you can imagine that they to may have been in quite a poor state.
Essentially Springbank had been silent for a number of years, being run on an adhoc basis, similar I imagine to Bruichladdich before being bought by Murray McDavid. Distilling started in ernest in 1987/8 and John being a master at resurrecting distilleries must have known that a large injection of hard cash would be needed, so throughout the late 80 and early 90’s I imagine, although he doesn’t say a lot of the new make sprit was sold off, probably in salvaged casks to anyone who would buy them along with some of the more mature stock. As John says the first spirit to flow was decent stuff, but I believe that the casks may have been somewhat deficient and may not have stood the test of time.
So to sum up. I may be making a generalisation but the combination of poor casks and mainland storage may be at the root of some of the poor independent bottlings that I have tasted, and lets be honest there are a lot of poor casks of all number of different distilleries doing the rounds, as Pete at Springbank told me, Cadenheads probably dismiss 18 out 20 casks that they are offered, a claim which has been backed up by others in the industry I have spoken to. In fact if I am honest I have only tasted three independent bottlings which really match up to the majesty of the distillery bottlings, one was a 1991 Blackadder Raw Cask and the other two were Murray McDavid bottlings (look guy’s I’m praising you!) a 1965 34 year old and the 1965/1993 Cuvee they released a few years back.
As I said earlier I’m quite excited about some of the new whiskies that we will be getting in so here is a round up.
Sales of the wonderful whiskies from Blackadder seem to be going through the roof, therefore I have had to order more. As is the way with single cask bottlings some have now finished, but it gives me an opportunity to add new ones. So this is what I have added to the list.
1980 Blairfindy (Glenfarclas) Raw Sherry Cask (23 year old) 43% £63.95
Glenfarclas is one of those distilleries which will only allow its name to be used on its own bottlings, hence the name Robin uses is Blairfindy. This bottling has a wonderfully deep and quite perfumed nose with herbal tea, old honey, deep spices, liquorice, caramelised fruit, angelica and oh lots of sherry wood. This one is for all you wood lovers, as the spirit lurks somewhere beneath. Dry on the palate with coffee, caramel, dark sherry spices, prunes, dried fruit and orange and yes you guessed it lots of sherry oak. Very long with oak, oak and more oak. Superb finish with a serious coffee liquor note and creamy aftertaste.
1988 Tullibardine Raw Sherry Cask (17 year old) 57.1% £48.95
Clean, crisp and earthy with sherry cask maturing orange fruit which displays a lovely creaminess with toasty vanilla and spice notes. Off-dry with lots of juicy sherried orange and citrus fruits. Extremely spicy middle, lots of power with the alcohol dominating the finish. A drop of water brings out a beguiling cinnamon note and a slight vegetal note. However it really makes the palate superb, it becomes lusciously soft and luxuriant with honeyed citrus orange fruit and a touch of lime, plus bringing out the wood spices which linger on the finish. Lovely length with a warming, earthy after taste.
1989 Rosebank Raw Cask (16 year old) 60.1% £50.95
Crisp and clean on the nose with earthy citrus fruits, slightly Sauvignon Blanc-esque with a vanilla note. Lovely and smooth on the palate with clean, crisp citrus honeyed fruit and lots of sweet spices. Great intensity of flavour with a grassy finish and the Sauvignon-esque character on the after taste. Water softens and sweetens the nose, brining out an orange blossom and vanilla note. On the palate it really sweetens it, softens the honeyed fruits, increases the length and brings out a white chocolate note.
Ok aside from the Springbank I have added the following rather superb whiskies to the list.
1985 Glen Grant (19 year old) 58.4% £58.95
A lovely deep nose. Marzipan coated rich orange/ tangerine fruit, slightly floral, sumptuous, rich and lusciously nutty. Lovely complexity with vanilla, orange marmalade and wood spice notes. Off-dry, soft and smooth, very liquor like with orange fruits and wood spices. Quite dry on the middle with the nutty/ marzipan flavours coming through. Lovely length with a soft, dusty finish. Water emphasises the oily/ marzipan character and brings out dried apricot fruit and honey, it certainly doesn’t detract from the intensity. This is a very good cask and the wood spices last for ages – great to drink while listening to Hawkwind!
1991 Caol Ila (15 year old) 56% £47.95
Clean, very fresh nose of garden fruits, slightly oily, yet crisp with light tar and light peat plus a slight mint/ menthol and coastal note. Clean and quite oily on the palate with the coal smoke entry followed by clean fruits and more coal. Nice length with a salty-fruitiness. Very crisp with the coal smoke ever present. Water really brings out the garden freshness and mint on the nose. It softens the palate and doesn’t detract from its very smoky character. I like this, it is not the heaviest of peated Caol Ila’s but very delightful nevertheless.

Now this is really exciting, well the first part of the story isn’t but the finish definitely is. I was asked by a trade customer to find out a price for a specific bottled beer. So I contacted the agents and during the conversation asked what other brands they had the agency for, the reply was Buffalo Trace. So we practically said in unison “So you do George T Stagg” and the second question was; “Can I have some please”.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with George T Stagg it has been awarded “World Whisky of the year” in 2005 and 2006 by the renowned whisky writer Jim Murray’s and is extremely difficult to get hold of, but I have some, well three bottles to be precise, so form and orderly queue, and as always it will be first come first served.
Along with the Stagg, the distillery do a number of small batch and hard to obtain bourbons, which are all pretty spectacular, thus I have added the following of their speciality bourbons to the list. In fact we were the first UK merchant to be offered the William Laurue Weller wheat bourbon.
Eagle Rare 10 year old Single Barrel 45% £29.95

Big, rich and creamy on the nose with honey, rye fruits and hints of Demerara. Initial corn sweetness and peppery spice layered with chewy toffee and caramel. Very long with the vanilla and caramel flavours lingering.

Eagle Rare 17 year old 45% £63.95

A blend of Kentucky Corn, Minnesota Rye and North Dakota Malted Barley.

Initially it has a quite fragrant nose, and an almost winey character with a fabulous mix of almonds, pecans, brown sugar and stewed apples?  The ideal American breakfast! The body is big and silky and is far spicier than the nose suggests with a superb depth and complexity of maple syrup, vanilla toffee cream, violets, and a very long spicy finish with a hint of old leather.

Sazerac 18 year old Rye 45% £63.95

A blend of Minnesota Rye, Kentucky Corn and North Dakota Malted Barley.

Huge, complex spicy aromas of   crisp grain, oak, molasses, old leather and an abundance of slightly oily, delicious toffee. Thick and chewy with unbelievably spicy and powerful flavours ? mint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, vanilla oak, leather, pepper and violets. Complex and sturdy the flavours come in waves and waves. One to sit and wallow in.

William Laurue Weller 12 year old Wheat 45%£88.95

A blend of Kentucky Corn, North Dakota Wheat and North Dakota Malted Barley.

The initial nose impact is full of cotton candy and black walnuts. It develops into a luscious dried fruit sweetness that is in perfect harmony with soft vanilla, powdered sugar and cinnamon spices. On the palate it boom?s with an explosion of Bourbon flavours, oak and a beguiling smoky sweetness. Its an uncompromisingly hearty dram, but the finish is fresh and invigorating.

George T Stagg 15 year old 70.6% £120.95

A blend of Kentucky Corn, Minnesota Rye and North Dakota Malted Barley.

So why is this World Whisky of the Year? well I leave Jim Murray to tell you why.

“I cannot really find a fault here: the oak is big enough to add a herbal almost medicinal quality, which on its own could be a downer were it not for the extraodinary, just about perfect, counter provided by sharp, juicy rye fruitiness and sweetening corn. Stick your nose in this ? but only after you have warmed it to body temperature and have 15-20 minutes to spare. Really tasting notes are pointless in some ways: look for it and you will find it there. This in some way redefines complexity; the enormity of the age and strength at first wrinkles and shrivels the palate, but when your eyes have stopped watering and you can focus, you will see you?re in Eden. The splendour of the rye leads the way, with a soft, oily body forming from which much more succulent corn springs. The oak is a vaguely bitter pulse somewhere in the background. In the midst of this a buttery, small grain anthem is played over and over again; much quieter by comparison but the fruits remain and now a natural, caramelised corn sweetens the building, coffeed oak. I have tried this with water at varying strengths, but to get the best out of this bourbon you have to be brave. Take at full strength, but only in very small amounts. Such is the enormity of this whiskey it will soon spread around the palate offering its full service. Along with a certain Ardbeg, this George T Stagg is without any shadow of a doubt one of the two best whiskies it has ever been my luck and privilege to taste in nearly 30 years”

Like the Stagg, this is really exciting for me (sad me? – my wife would probably say so). I have always felt that this was something missing from the whisky and by chance I have found a supplier. Funnily enough there is an interesting story behind it (well I think so – you might disagree). As you may or may not know I have been having trouble getting hold of Irish whiskey from our usual supplier and have had to look for an alternative source, and what do you know, they have a small range of interesting Japanese Whisky. So if you have never tried them, there will be no excuse, because we will be stocking the following ones.
Nikka Miyagikyo 10 year old 45% £45.95
Teasing layers of peat amid ripe fruit – very fruity in fact with fig notes. The flavours come in waves of fruit, peat and gentle smoke. This malt is very deft and complex.
Pure Malt Red (Vatted) 50cl 43% £21.95
Firm vanilla gives an oaky lead. Light and malty with lots of vanilla and a dash of honey. This is quite a light malt that appears heavier than it actually is with an almost imperceptible oiliness.
Pure Malt White (Vatted) 50cl 43% £21.95
On the nose it there is soft Islay style peat, gentle oak and glorious orange citrus fruits. The smoky flavour build nicely on the palate along with the sweet vanilla and orange fruit. Great length and depth finishing with a dry, tangy, salty liquorice flourish
Pure Malt Black (Vatted) 50cl 43% £21.95
I am going to let Jim Murray explain why you should buy this malt – Take it away Jim! “An exquisitely crafted nose: studied peat in luxuriant yet deft proportions nestling amid some honeyed oak and malt. The balance between sweet and dry is faultless. There is neither an off-note nor a ripple of disharmony.The kind of nose you can sink your head into and simply disappear.. For all the evident peat this is medium weighted, the subtly encased in a gentle cloak of oil; long, silky , fabulously weighted peat running a sweet course through some surging malt and liquorice tones with a bit of salt there for zip. Well, if anyone can show me a better balanced whisky than this you know where to get hold of me. You open a bottle of this at your peril: best to do so in the company of friends. Either way, it will be empty before the night is over.”
Nikka Yoichi 10 year old 45% £42.95
A lovely soft, sensuous delicately peaty nose. Sweet and soft on the palate with a gradual build up of peat along with a touch of vanilla and orange fruit. This malt has a lovely balance of bitter-sweet flavours and a long sweet, slightly creamy finish with an ever present soft smokiness.
Nikka Yoichi 12 year old 45% £52.95
A big, fresh, clean, spicy Oloroso nose with dried fruit,ripe dates and  sweet, gently smoked malt. A magnificent palate with an intensity of Olorosos dried fruits, juicy malt and gentle smoke. very long finish with oak coming through.
Nikka Yoichi 15 year old 45% £60.95
An intensely clean, nutty, malty nose with a touch of smoke and peat. In the mouth it opens with delightfully clean malt. Creamy and quite oily with lashings of vanilla and delicate gapey/ winey fruits. The peat has softened to an almost imperceptible level, but adds a deft level of complexity. Amazingly delicate but all the components, barley, vanilla and peat are in perfect balance. The finish is long, succulent and enormously complex.
Well I think that’s enough excitiment for one newsletter. If you have any comments or would like to place an order, you can contact me in the usual ways.
Chris Goodrum 

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