Malt Messenger Bulletin – Islay Whisky Tasting & the New Kavalan Whiskies are Here! – Whisky News

I’m only days away from finishing the next full Malt Messenger, however there are some tidbits I’d like to share with you now. As some of you are already aware, I’m off to Japan and Taiwan to guide a whisky tour in May. What most of you will not know is that I’m also paying a visit to south-western China to learn a little about that nation’s own thriving distilled spirits culture. It’s going to be quite an adventure, and you’ll be able to follow my journey on twitter, on the KWM blog: and at my Ferguson Whisky Tours site:

We have some incredible events coming up before I leave on May 12th, including tomorrow night’s “Whisky Tour of Islay” tasting featuring 7 Islay whiskies, two of them Port Ellens. Thursday I’ll be hosting our annual “Cinco de Mayo” tequila tasting which will include at least 3 new tequilas (one of them organic). Next week we have “Rare Malts” on Tuesday with yet another Port Ellen (the stunning Wilson & Morgan bottling) as well as some other interesting new whiskies never before featured at a KWM tasting. Finally, just before I leave, we are bringing back our ever popular “Whisky, Women and Chocolate” tasting on Friday May 10th. I’ve detailed some info on each of these upcoming tastings below.

The next Malt Messenger will include a slew of new whiskies. Some of these, like the latest releases of Kavalan from King Car distillery in Taiwan, are already here. We’ve received a small amount of 7 different Kavalans, four of which are exclusive to our store. In addition to some new whiskies already here (in the next Malt Messenger), there are also a number of highly anticipated whiskies on the near horizon including the Ardbeg Ardbog Day and Glenmorangie Elanta. We are already taking preorders for both of these and will have others to tell you about in the very near future.

I hope you enjoy this Malt Messenger bulletin.

Slainté! Gānbēi! (China/Taiwan) Kampai (Japan)

Andrew Ferguson

PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on twitter and Facebook .

WHISKY TOUR OF ISLAY – Tuesday April 30th (AKA Today) – $50 – Only 4 Spots Left

The Isle of Islay is a very special place, with a little over 3,000 residents and 8 operating distilleries! It is home to some of the world’s most iconic whiskies, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig and Port Ellen. Join us for a virtual tour of the island and a tasting of some of its finest whisky. Tomorrow night’s tasting will be blind, but I don’t mind sharing the epic list of whiskies with you. It includes two Port Ellens!

1.A.D. Rattray Port Ellen 24 Year
2.Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition 2012
3.Duthies Bruichladdich 20 Year
4.Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition 2012
5.Laphroaig Cairdeas Feis Isle 2012
6.Old Malt Cask Port Ellen 26 Year Rum Finish
7.Scotch Malt Whisky Society 3.188: The Camping Trip

RARE MALTS – Tuesday May 7th – $80

Only the rarest whiskies need apply: those more than 20 years of age, from closed distilleries, or the exceedingly rare. This is always a special tasting, and will include the following new whiskies: Speyburn 25 Year, Tomatin 25 Year, Wilson & Morgan Port Ellen 30 Year, Glenrothes 1978 and the Signatory Royal Lochnagar 1991. We’ll also put the MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt (Shackleton Replica) head to head with the MacKinlay’s the Journey (the Shackleton follow-up). To make it all a little more fun, the tasting will be conducted blind!

WHISKY, WOMEN & CHOCOLATE – Friday May 10th – $50

Gather the gals and head on down to the Wine Market for a pairing of everyone’s two favorite food groups, whisky and chocolate! We’ve brought this tasting back by popular demand, and have found some exciting new chocolates to tempt you with.


Kavalan whisky is a single malt whisky produced by the King Car distillery in Taiwan. Though young this maverick distillery has made quite a name for itself very quickly. There is a great write-up on Kavalan by Charlie Maclean available here: . I’ll be making my first visit to the distillery in May.

Exclusive to KWM:

1.Kavalan Podium – 46% – From the Distillery: “Created by our Master Blender from an array of specially selected and carefully treated brand-new American oak casks in combination with Kavalan’s re-fill casks. The expression is surprisingly delicate and extremely complex in character.” Hunter and I were both really impressed by this one! – Only Getting 12btls – $149.99

2. Kavalan King Car Conductor – 46% – “King Car is the name of the Taiwanese company that owns the Kavalan brand and this lavishly packaged single malt is its standard bearer. It’s not hard to see why. More subtle and complex than some earlier bottlings of Kavalan, this has an exotic fruit, cream toffee, and soft banana nose, and has bitter orange, dark chocolate, and pepper on the palate. It’s rapier-sharp, clean, and drying rather than sweet.” – Only Getting 12btls – 90pts Malt Advocate – $174.99

3. Kavalan Solist Vinho – 59.2% – Matured in American Oak Wine Casks – “With humidity roughly the same as Speyside – high – but the temperature more than 20° Fahrenheit higher, maturation is on fast forward. This is just 4 years old, but it’s a monster mix of kumquat liqueur, tropical fruit, blackcurrant, and strawberry and cream candy. Later on some eastern spices, especially turmeric, bring it all back home. Remarkable.” – Dominic Roskrow, Malt Advocate, 92pts. Some other casks have scored higher. $189.99

4. Kavalan Solist Fino – 57% – From the Distillery: “Spanish for ‘Fine’, fino is the driest and most pale of all varieties of traditional sherry wine. Kavalan’s Fino, however, provides mild sweetness that excites the palate. Solist Fino was matured in top Fino Sherry butts that were used for the wine making.” 90.5-97pts Whisky Bible (depending on the cask). This is the one that people all over the world are going nuts for. 90-91pts Whisky Advocate- Only getting 24. – $324.99


1.Kavalan Solist Sherry – 57.8% – Different cask from the previous release. – $193.99

2.Kavalan No.1 – The first whisky they ever bottled. “Taiwan’s tropical climate pushes the maturation cycle along at a ferocious rate, but the key here is its complexity. Maybe its auto-suggestion, but I could swear there’s ginseng in here, as well as honeycomb and black cherry pie filling. Fresh and clean, the spirit is rich and accompanied with great wood. Mature whisky in three years? It’s an accountant’s dream!” – Dave Broom Whisky Advocate 90pts – $114.99

3.Kavalan Concertmaster Port Finish – 40% – A port finished whisky from Taiwan’s Kavalan, marrying their fruity young whisky with extra maturation in wine casks to create a balance of rich and fresh flavours. Kavalan Concertmaster single malt whisky is first matured in specially selected American oak casks and then finished in port barriques. The marrying in the barriques mellows the flavours and adds indefinable smoothness to the whisky. 87pts Jim Murray – $94.99

TAKING PRE-ORDERS: Ardbeg Ardbog Day & Glenmorangie Elanta

These two hotly anticipated whiskies will be available in May/June. They will go fast, so we are taking pre-orders on both. No firm details on the Ardbeg Ardbog yet, other than an image of the corner of the box and a price:

1. Ardbeg Ardbog Day – Details to follow. – $119.99

2.Glenmorangie Elanta – 46% – 19 Year – 4th Release in the Private Edition series – “The result is a nose of American cream soda, milk chocolate, fudge, pineapple, and honey; spicy and creamy. Silky smooth in the mouth, with brittle toffee and orange notes; gently herbal, with a suggestion of cloves and newly-sawn wood. Long in the finish, with citrus fruit, oak, aniseed, and an enduring spicy creaminess.” – 90pts Whisky Advocate – $103.99


We brought some of this in last week and were really impressed. Feel free to pop by for a taste, or sign up for our Whisky Tour of Islay tasting tomorrow night!

Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition 2012 – 12 Year – 43% – Finished in Moscatel Casks – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: sweet, oily and pungent; fruit flan and honey with an overlay of peated malt, steamed mussels and some tropical fruit? Melons; Palate: sweet, oily, chewy and peaty with some crisp salty beach fire smoke; candied trout, smoked mussels and chunky-earthy-malt; sweet, creamy and still fruity, the whisky has freshness even with the salt and peat; there is even burnt bacon…; Finish: long, coating, sweet and salty with more peated malt, fishy oils and salty smoke. – $96.99


If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change, don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson

Manager & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Owner & Opperator

Ferguson’s Whisky Tours

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