Archive for March, 2014

BARRY CROCKETT JOINS THE WHISKY MAGAZINE HALL OF FAME – Irish Whiskey News

AA BARRY CROCKETT - 17TH INDUCTEE INTO THE  WHISKY MAGAZINE HALL OF FAME

BARRY CROCKETT JOINS THE WHISKY MAGAZINE HALL OF FAME 

Barry Crockett, former Master Distiller at the Midleton Distillery, has become the 17th inductee into the coveted Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.

Awarded by ex-editor of Whisky Magazine, Rob Allanson, at the publication’s annual awards ceremony in London, Crockett was recognised for his contribution to the growth of the Irish Whiskey category during his 47 year career with Irish Distillers. 

Allanson commended Crockett for “redefining Irish whiskey by combining technology, innovation, and craftsmanship with a deep sense of history” and overseeing operations at Midleton during “some of the most eventful times in Irish whiskey’s history”. 

Crockett’s award was supported by other key wins for Irish Distillers at the Icons of Whisky Rest of World* competition, including ‘Whisky Distiller of the Year’ for the third year running and ‘Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year’ for the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin. Final tasting results for the World Whiskies Awards were also revealed, with Redbreast 15 Year Old scooping ‘World’s Best Irish Pot Still’. 

Irish Distillers’ success last week follows a groundbreaking medal win at New York’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge earlier this month, with Redbreast 21 Year Old awarded the Chairman’s Trophy in the Irish Pot Still Whiskey category. With a perfect 100 score, Redbreast 21 Year Old became the first Irish whiskey to ever achieve this feat and is the only spirit from any category to do so this year – it also marks the fifth consecutive year that a Redbreast expression has received the top Irish Pot Still Whiskey score. 

Crockett, who was also recognised for his Outstanding Achievement at the International Spirits Challenge last year, said: “I am deeply honoured to join the list of whiskey greats in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. The success of Irish whiskey around the world in recent years has given me a great deal of pleasure and I am particularly proud to have been able to contribute to its development. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Midleton distillery and I would like to thank, once again, everyone at Irish Distillers who has supported me over the last 47 years.” 

Notes: 

*Icons of Whisky Rest of World judges whiskey distillers based outside of Scotland and the USA 

Icons of Whisky results:

Hall of Fame (17th Inductee) – Barry Crockett

Whisky Distiller of the Year (Rest of World) – Irish Distillers

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year (Rest of World) – Old Jameson Distillery 

World Whiskies Awards results:

Redbreast 12 Year Old – World’s Best Irish Pot Still 

Ultimate Spirits Challenge results (out of 100):

Blended Irish Whiskey:                                                     

93  Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel                     

93  Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve                                                  

93  Jameson Gold                                                              

93  Jameson 18 Years Old                                               

92  Jameson 12 Years Old                                                

92  Midleton Very Rare                                                       

92  Powers Gold Label                                                      

89  Jameson Original                                     

Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey:

100  Redbreast 21 Year Old

96  Powers Signature Release                        

94  Powers John’s Lane Release

94  Redbreast 15 Year Old

94  Redbreast 12 Year Old

94  Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength

92  Green Spot

92  Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy 

About Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard

Irish Distillers Group was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between Irish whiskey distillers, John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and the Cork Distillery Company. In an attempt to reverse the decline in Irish whiskey sales, the board of directors decided to close the existing distilleries in Cork and Dublin, and to consolidate production at a new purpose-built facility.  

A site alongside the existing distillery in Midleton, Co. Cork was chosen as the location for the new distillery, as there was no room for expansion in Dublin. Both the Old Jameson Distillery and the Old Midleton Distillery currently operate as visitor centres attracting over 330,000 visitors annually. Following an early unsolicited takeover offer and one of the most protracted battles in Irish corporate history made by GrandMet, Allied-Lyons and Guinness, Irish Distillers was taken over by Pernod Ricard in June 1988 with the support of the management and employees. 

Irish whiskey brands within the Irish Distillers’ portfolio include Jameson, Paddy and Powers, with Single Pot Still brands, Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Redbreast and the much-revered Midleton, which includes prestigious expressions such as Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy and Midleton Very Rare. 

Scotch Whisky Auctions 36th Auction – Scotch Whisky News

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The 36th auction is now live. Enjoy!

We are also delighted to announce we will be able to step up our deliveries to the United States, thanks to a new arrangement we have with an internationally-renowned shipper. You may wish to continue using our friends at Mailboxes etc but we will now be able to offer an alternative which may prove to be more competitive.

We are also now offering the option to insure your bottles during shipment. The premium will be 3% of the hammer price and will be added to your totals at check out if you select that option.

Kind regards from Glasgow

The SWA Team

36th Auction

SAN FRANCISCO 2014 AWARDS – More Awards For Tomatin! – Scotch Whisky News

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SAN FRANCISCO 2014 AWARDS 

Further to our press release from last week, I am delighted to inform you that we have since been awarded four medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014. Regarded as one of the most respected spirits competitions in the world, the competition saw our products evaluated by top spirits professionals on a blind tasting basis. 

We are understandably delighted to be scoring consistently high in our industry’s esteemed awards competitions reflecting the consistently high quality whisky we produce.   

2014 Awards: 

Tomatin 18 Year Old Single Malt – DOUBLE GOLD

Tomatin 12 Year Old Single Malt – GOLD

Tomatin LEGACY Single Malt – GOLD

Cù Bòcan Single Malt – SILVER

Exel Wines to host Home of Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News

 AA WM 2014

Exel Wines to host Home of Whisky Festival

Exel Wines is to host the first ever whisky festival in Perth with the support of Homecoming Scotland 2014. The Home of Whisky Festival will take place in the Salutation Hotel, Perth on Saturday 3 May between 12-5pm.

Perthshire has long had a love affair with the ‘water of life’, As one of Scotland’s great whisky producing regions, it is home to both the country’s smallest distillery, Edradour as well as Scotland’s oldest, Glenturret, with many other notable distillers to be found on the Perthshire whisky trail.

Cabinet Secretary for Food and Drink, Richard Lochhead said:

“Whisky is one of Scotland’s most iconic products and, with a number of great distilleries in Perthshire, the Fair City is the perfect location for a festival celebrating our national drink. The master classes and tasting sessions on offer in the first ever Home of Whisky Festival are the perfect opportunity to enjoy and learn about Scotland’s finest during Homecoming Whisky Month in May.”

Where better to hold a whisky festival thought Dianne Barrie, Company Administrator at Exel Wines, “It came out of a discussion I was having with Peter McKay, UK Sales Manager at the Scottish Liqueur Centre who was in our shop on 47 South Street a few months back. We were talking about Perth’s rich whisky-making heritage and the idea of hosting a whisky festival in the city seemed like a great way to celebrate this. When I got back to the office I put the idea to my colleagues who liked it too and the rest, as they say, is history!”

Russell Wallace, General Manager added, “Exel Wines is delighted to be hosting a whisky festival in Perth with the support of Homecoming Scotland 2014. The Home of Whisky Festival will showcase not only the whisky industry in Perthshire, but also throughout Scotland, giving those attending an opportunity to sample some of the best whisky Scotland has to offer and learn more about whisky production and distribution across the globe.”

AA Homecoming

As well as having the opportunity to taste some fine drams from distilleries and independent bottlers across the country, part of the day’s event will include a number of in-depth master classes led by some of the most notable names in the whisky industry. With free dram tokens, a free tasting glass and some of the most knowledgeable whisky experts in the industry, this festival is set to be both informative and enjoyable.

Established in 2009, Exel Wines has gone from strength-to-strength over the years to become one of the UK’s largest online retailers of wine, whisky, craft beer and spirits (www.exelwines.co.uk). With a retail outlet based on 47 South Street, it is also Perth’s leading whisky retailer offering both the wine and whisky enthusiast a little treasure trove of delights, including many rare and collectable bottles.

For more information about Home of Whisky Festival and to purchase tickets visit: http://homeofwhisky.exelwines.com/

Notes:

Homecoming Scotland 2014 – Whisky Month

Whisky Month is a key part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme of events

Whisky Month will be a month-long, country-wide celebration of Scotland’s national drink during May 2014 

It will explore the subtle blend of stories, circumstances, provenance and generation after generation of skilled craftsmanship that make it the national drink – a drink that is as uniquely Scottish as the landscape and people that created it 

The packed month of events will highlight the very best of Scotland’s food, drink and music, celebrated through festivals and events both large and small, taking place right across the country

AA Scotland

 

Scotch Malt Whisky Society “APRIL PREVIEWS: BREATHE IN LONG!” – Scotch Whisky News

APRIL PREVIEWS: BREATHE IN LONG!

Fill your lungs with fresh air and let our three new bottles evoke the great outdoors with meditative breathing exercises in a flower-filled garden, fresh laundry on the line and – perhaps more realistic – a bracing walk on a windy beach…

Old & dignified

9.82 Breathe in long!

The first nose made us all feel very calm and relaxed just like aromatherapy or Zen meditation. A walk through a garden filled with mellow aromas of summer flowers combined with a soft woodiness of cedar and salsa wood gave us the feeling of a sense of tranquillity…

Age: 25 years
Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt

BUY £100.00

Young & spritely

36.74 Whiter than White

Undiluted on the nose the Panel was awakened by pink grapefruit accompanied by strawberries. A clean whisky. Freshly washed linen with a hint of musky perfume…

Age: 9 years
Cask: First fill ex-bourbon barrel

BUY £44.00

Peated

53.202 A Bracing Outdoors Loving Character

If this was a person it would be a bracing outdoors loving character taking a brisk walk along the shore in windy weather. You know the sort, ruddy cheeks, with Kendal Mint cake and cinnamon balls in his waxed jacket pockets…

Age: 17 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

BUY £59.30

Browse all bottlings

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: sales@smws.com or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

Universal Whisky Experience “Complimentary Events” – Whisky News

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Universal Whisky Experience

Complimentary Events Exclusively only to All Nth 2014 Attendees – April 3rd and 4th 2014

Thursday April 3rd 2014

Redbreast Tasting
6:30pm-7:15pm Complimentary event – Redbreast Tasting Location: Brahms 3 and 4 (Encore Hotel)
(Admission will only be allowed on first-come, first-served basis only)

Friday April 4th 2014

Orphan Barrel Tasting

4:15pm – 5:15pm Complimentary event – Orphan barrel tasting Location: Chopin 1-4 (Encore Hotel)
(Admission will only be allowed on first-come, first-served basis only)

Please see schedule for full itinerary http://www.universalwhiskyexperience.com/schedule

Springbank and The Mitchells – Scotch Whisky Sunday

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Springbank and The Mitchells by Mark Davidson

All distilleries can be said to be unique but the story of Springbank distillery is of particular note. It is normal when cataloguing distilleries to start at the beginning and record the date of birth of the still. However in the distilling industry it is often the case that formal documentation of origins start when a licence is acquired. It is also common that a license is attained after a period of illicit operation. Such is the case with Springbank distillery. In these occasions it is almost certain that a date will never be attributed to the initial distillation of spirit. This is due to the distiller’s belief that it is their right to produce the ‘water of  life’ free from taxation. Being a product of the land and elements most early distillers were farmers, using crop surplus as a means of supplementing their income. It seems that Springbank was not much different.

The first distinction to be made about the distillery is it’s lineage. Still in the hands of the family that first produced spirit on the site before official accounting began Springbank is the oldest distillery to remain in the hands of the founders. This part of the history begins when the Mitchell family settled in Argyll. making Campbeltown, at the tip of the peninsula, the location of their farm. It would not have been long before the family put it’s knowledge of malting to use and added distilling into their working schedule.

It is but a short sea voyage from Ireland, widely recognised as the origin of the art of distillation in this part of the world, to the south western extremities of Scotland. The spread of Christianity has long been mapped in its journey from inner-Hebridean islands to the mainland. Missionaries like Saint Columba have also been credited with bringing the alchemy of the still to Scotland.

Campbeltown being an ancient seat of power for early Celtic Scots would have also been a centre for commerce. Thanks to an outstanding natural harbour the importance of its settlement as a port was sealed. Further blessed with a milder climate and untypically fertile soil for this part of the country the region was known for the farming of the land as well as the sea.

The earliest date ascribed to the production of whisky in Scotland is 1494, in Campbeltown the record starts in 1591. John and William Mitchell began their legacy in 1837 when they acquired William Reid Junior and Company. Although there is no excise return for the date, the Reid family are said to have started distillation on the present site of the distillery in 1828. However thanks to a local coppersmith’s ledger there is evidence of one Archibald Mitchell Senior’s apparent need for a kettle shaped piece of copper!

To track the history of Springbank the story of Campbeltown as a capital of distillation must be told. The importance of the town in distilling history can be illustrated by the fact that even at this early date Springbank was the fourteenth of Campbeltown’s documented distilleries. This statistic is further put in perspective when it is appreciated that there have been a total of 34 stills recorded. Nowhere else has had such a concentration of production. Why should it be that such an isolated spot has excelled in the perfection of the art? Beyond the factors already mentioned for the location of the town itself several other important facets of locality, changes to distilling regulations not to mention the dice rolls of opportunity can be cited.

Close to town there was long a coal mine supplying fuel for the fires to heat the stills, peat fields were also local and used to great effect during the malting process and the short distance by sea to the major centre of population, Glasgow, was easily exploited thanks to the strong shipping network. The illicit nature of production, whereas not unusual around Scotland- particularly in the remoter regions, was promoted when an act of 1785 excluded Argyll from the lower taxed Highland region. Around the time of Springbank’s foundation there was one of the landmark events in Scottish distilling history. 1823 saw the passing of an act which equated to the liberation of commercial distilling. Up to this date most control of illicit distillation had been lost and steps taken to regulate the legitimate producers by taxation, licensing and other legislation had merely driven down the quality of the legal spirit to the further advantage of the smuggler.

Recognising the weakness in the system and in a position to influence those abusing the law the Duke of Gordon was able to persuade government to lift the stifling restraints on production and opened the door to a revolution which saw the production of spirit exponentially increase. Hand in hand with this mushrooming of quality output at affordable prices  was the proliferation of legal stills. From an established base of three licensed stills, before 1823, Campbeltown was able to count 27 registered distillers by 1834 and 30 by 1843. A total of 34 licences have been recorded in the period of 1817 to 1829. Indeed one street alone, Longrow, had no less than 7 distilleries along its length.Hence, uniquely, a town became a whole region classification in the production of whisky. Although today flavour boundaries are less well defined geographically compared to the past in its heyday Campbeltown was known for its full bodied malts, similar in taste to today’s heavily peated Islay whiskies. This character was popular in Glasgow at this time and welcomed by blenders when grain and malts were mixed. By adding an economic amount of Campbeltown to a cheap mix of grains the drinker would not notice a lack of flavour in their glass.

Taking full advantage of their position the Mitchells, as well as 2 or 3 other local dynasties, built their own mini empires. Archibald Senior had 5 children, son William was at first a business partner to brother John (who himself had originally bought out his cousin’s stake in Toberanrigh) in Springbank having bought it from John’s father-in-law in 1837. Records show their partnership as J. & W. Mitchell & Co. at least between 1852 and 1860. However after a disagreement William left to partner other brother Archibald Junior at Rieclachan (founded 1825). Later still William set up on his own as founder of Glen Gyle in 1872. On William’s departure from Springbank John was joined by his son, Alexander. Together they went on to found J. & A. Mitchell in 1878 which by 1881 was limited as a company after some rebuilding of the plant. This was to be dissolved on Alexander’s sequestration in 1890 but was later reconstructed by 1897 and remains the name of the present owners. The last brother. Hugh, joined Archibald Junior at Rieclachan. Their sister, Mary, founded Drumore in 1824.

Around the date of 1887, in a town of less than 2000 inhabitants, there were 21 distilleries. As an example Springbank was employing 15 people. The town was said to be the second wealthiest in the British empire. So what went wrong? Why is there only three distilleries operating in Campbeltown today? Is the town still considered a region? The answer does not lie in a single event but like the ascendancy of the town can be attributed to a conspiracy of circumstances. As the industry received a huge leg-up by the relaxing of laws in 1823 it benefited once again at the end of that century. This time the rise in popularity can be credited to the phenomenal success of blending. It was now possible to reach more palates and pockets thanks to the mixing of the expensive full flavoured malts with the cheaper lighter grains. Twin this with some marketing entrepreneurs and a lack of brandy, brought about by the decimation of European vines after an insect plague, the late Victorian era saw another spate of distillery construction. Campbeltown, perhaps at saturation point, did not partake in this latest bonanza to nearly the same degree that the Speyside region enjoyed. An excellent transport network offered by the railways, Campbeltown’s remoteness now acting as a weakness, further attracted blending company accountants to deal with the previously distant North East. The Cognac drinkers of England could more accept a  substitute that was based on the milder character of the Speyside region’s spirit, finding the once popular full flavour of peaty malts too aggressive.

As their grip on sales began to weaken the opportunity presented byprohibition in the USA (1919-1933) must have been a real gift horse, even if an awkward one. However by reaping this harvest they sewed the seeds of their decline. By pandering to a desperate market where the eye was forced to be on supply first quality second most Campbeltown distillers succumbed under economic pressure to temptation. Corners were cut in order that demand was met. Stills were not allowed to cool down between distillations, poor barley was used, casks of doubtful virtue were filled, immature whisky bottled – generally poor practice was employed. To further compound their misery the distillers had to source still fuel from further afield than up to date when a local coal mine closed in the 1920s. The region’s barley production was also in decline around this period. Of course this was all happening in the post war world wide economic depression, a time when the temperance movement held a serious social influence. Without revenue for investment the future of the industry didn’t look good. The cutting of trade ties with the nearby new Irish free state again would work against good fortune.

During this dark time 19 of the remaining 20 stills shut. Prompting one commentator to pen “if the full repertoire of hisky is not to be  irredeemably impoverished the Campbeltowns must remain”. This quote is from 1930 when 10 distilleries stood but few actually distilled. With the closure in 1934 of Rieclachan there were to be only two distilleries left producing for the next 70 years.  This begs the question, why did Springbank survive? Perhaps their longevitycan be explained by the fact that the brand’s taste was distinct from the classic Campbeltown. It was milder than the regional hallmark fully weighted and peat based flavour. Unusually the malt was promoted as a single as earlyas the end of the 19th century, underlining its identity as a unique expression. During the era of prohibition the whisky rebranded itself as a ‘West Highland’ as opposed to a ‘Campbeltown’ in order to further remove it from customers’ association with the progressively poorer standards of its neighbours. Retaining independence was also critical in their survival. As the recession tightened its grip on small producers it was common to find them selling out to the mighty Distillers Company Limited (DCL). DCL was on a mission to rationalise the supply network. By simply buying up and closing down stills the remaining operators had a greater chance of finding a buyer for their spirit. The distillery, not for the only time in its history, did close. Come 1926, a year after no less than 4 still closures, the situation was so bad that the savings made by stopping production would hopefully tide the company over until the market could sustain a restart. As it turned out it only took a few years until the stills were at work again.

Thanks, most probably, to always having been a family legacy rather than a profit driven commodity- bought and sold, rationalised and produced for the mass market, Springbank is and always has been very traditional. By controlling all aspects of production the distiller can ensure the level of quality necessary to retain his customers’ loyalty. This requires the ability to turn grains of barley (optic variety) into bottles of malt. Where every other of Scotland’s 100 malt distilleries are required to buy in ready malted barley and, with two noble exceptions, pass on the mature item to a bottling facility Springbank do it all themselves. The modern maltster is able to guarantee high quality at low cost. The development of massive malting and kilning vessels means one headache of a distillery manager is soothed. Lorries arrive with tens of tonnes of specifically peated (or unpeated) malt as close to invariable as is possible. The price of this consistency is perhaps a loss of complexity in a certain aspect of detail in character.

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When malted by hand in relatively small amounts on traditional floor maltings the barley cannot behave uniformly from batch to batch. Although perhaps indiscernible in the finished product this is one method that influences the layers of taste and aroma to be experienced by the senses. At Springbank there are two malting floors each capable of handling 10-12 tonnes of barley which has been steeped in water for about 35 hours. By raising the grain’s moisture content to about 47% germination is triggered. The sprouting barley is left for 5-7 days and is turned every 4 hours. This movement helps keep an even temperature throughout the green malt and prevents rootlets and shoots entangling. At this stage the enzyme diastase begins to convert the plant kernel’s energy from a dormant starch form into a more accessible sugar ready for the next stage of growth. This laborious task is repeated over a 14 week period in order to store enough malt for the season’s few weeks of mashing and distilling. The floors were reinstated in 1992 after being abandoned in the 1970s.

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In order to yield a viable amount of alcohol from the malt the germination must be stopped at an optimum point. Heat is generated which halts the plant’s development and captures as much sugar as possible for the brewer. This stage involves the malt being roasted on a wire mesh floor in the kiln. For the Springbank specification a peating level of around 15 parts per million (PPM) is required. This entails burning peat for 6 hours before switching to hot air from an oil fired source for 18+ hours. 

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After going through a 50 year old Porteus mill the grist is ready for mashing. A 100+ year old cast iron and, unusually, open topped mash tun is used. Progressively hotter water is fed in four batches through the porridge like mash. The last two being used as the first two for the next mash. The sweet and thick wort is then held in a washback for the fermentation stage.

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Again tradition is adhered to. Where modern efficiency prefers easily cleaned stainless steel many companies hold on to their wooden washbacks. It seems another small component of character can be traced to the donation made by the organic nature of the material. 5 of these vessels, each of 21000 litres (4625 gallons) are required. Swedish boatskin larch is the wood of choice. After the introduction of yeast and a particularly slow fermentation, about 70 hours, the crude beer is now ready for distilling. In almost every case a Scottish distiller distils using two stills. The first, or wash, still raises the alcoholic content of the liquid from below 10 % alcohol by volume (abv) to somewhere above 20% abv. This is done by heating the contents of the copper kettle to boil off the alcohol. Alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, the condensed vapour is gathered and sent through the second, or low wines/spirit still. This still is nearly always smaller than the previous and may or may not resemble it in shape, the contours very much moulding the make-up of the spirit. As the first part, foreshots, and last portion, feints, are too impure they are collected for redistilation along with the next batch of low wines from the wash still.

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At Springbank a unique system is employed. Three stills lead to what has been called a “two and a half” distillation technique. Nonsense to chemists it would be more appropriately described as a partial double partial triple distillation. The wash, at about 5% abv produces low wines at about 20-25% abv after being run through the wash still. 20% of the low wines are fed straight to the second spirit still. The rest go into the first spirit still to produce feints at 50-55% abv. 80% of these feints also go into the second spirit still. The foreshots and feints from the second spirit still are fed back into the first spirit still along with the next batch of low wines. The spirit ultimately collected for filling into casks is about 72% abv.

By choosing to retain an ‘old fashioned’ still heating method Springbank again help the ultimate flavour of their whisky become a particularly hard to pigeon hole taste. In days gone by all stills would have been direct fired by some fossil fuel. More recently oil or gas have been used directly but today the most common type of heating is the use of steam in coils or pans within the still.. Offering a safer, cheaper and more controllable heat source the benefits are obvious. However the traditional method did result in another contribution of character to the dram. Occasional flares of heat found in direct firing meant solid particles within the wash would stick to the bottom of the still and begin to toast. In order that this didn’t foul the stills a rummager would be needed. Basically a copper link mesh the rummager rotates internally scrapping the burnt yeast and other particles from the still body. As it does this a fresh surface of copper is exposed allowing the valuable catalytic qualities of the metal to be promoted. Although there are a few companies still sticking to this option of heating Springbank is unique in that their wash still is both heated externally by oil flame and internally by steam coils. Like current normal practice their spirit stills are exclusively steam heated . Also of note the wash still is one of only very few left in the industry that is riveted. Advancements in coppersmithing sees spot welding produce very smooth surfaces on today’s stills where the joining of plates are difficult to see. Finally the wash still continues to have its vapour condensed in the traditional manner. Whereas, like most distilleries, the two spirit stills use shell and tube condensers the wash still uses a worm. This is the way it has been done for centuries, a tube of diminishing diameter is coiled into a tub of flowing water. As the vapour comes into contact with the cold copper surface it returns to liquid. The point at which gas turns to liquid decides the particular chemical structuring of the spirits components.

Where the modern method results in a more predictable path worms will vary their efficiency depending on the temperature of the cooling water- yet again adding another layer of individuality. In size and shape the stills are similar being relatively small (wash ~10,000 litres, spirits about 12,000 litres odd) and are onion like in shape. Before the last and longest step in the process, maturation, casks are filled on site this practice once again more traditional then most as many distilleries road tanker their spirit to centralised warehouses. A steel tank can store up to 2 weeks production before it is reduced in strength to 63% abv and then put into cask.

Springbank does well in a variety of wood types while other makes tend to reveal their qualities best when a particular variety of oak is selected- perhaps ex-sherry red oak for full bodied spirit or refilled ex-bourbon white oak for peaty malts and lighter spirits. Water for all aspects of use is sourced from the dammed Crosshill Loch. The loch is filled from springs on Ben Ghuilean. It appears that all the town’s stills were fed from a single, common source- a unique feature compared to other regions.

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When it comes to the storing of casks Mitchell’s own some of the oldest warehouse of their type. Unlike the modern aircraft hangar-like constructions of today yesteryear’s distillers built low level, slate roofed, stone walled, earthen floored bonds. Ideal environments for the slow steady ageing of casks these buildings, particularly when at sea level, tend to keep humidity and temperature variances to a minimum. Although a racked warehouse is also used Springbank owns 6 of the old fashion style dunnage warehouses.

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The final influence a company has on its brand is its bottling Although on the surface this stage may seem straight forward over time market forces have influenced, via processing, the final product. Discovering sales are more buoyant when a whisky is dark in colour most whisky companies see fit to alter the colour of their brand. This is done by adding E150a, essentially caramelised sugar. Often legitimised by claims that because a brand bottling will vary in appearance from batch to batch but ‘quality control’ steps ensure flavour is maintained, the consumer is being reassured of consistency thanks to a standard colour hue. Embracing the variance of not only appearance but also flavour Springbank reject the addition of an impurity in any of its bottling as a deception and taint.

Another process adopted by the dominant players in the market is that of chill-filteration. Whisky contains fatty acids, esters, proteins, etc, (known as congeners) derived from, among other sources, the barley and the cask. Some of these are invisible when kept in solution by alcohol but can appear as a haze when in low alcohol mixes, particularly at low temperature. As industry standard is to pre-water to 40% abv clouding can be expected.

When some drinkers take ice in their glass the effect is usually more noticeable. Seen as unappealing to some the industry arranged for these troublesome elements to be removed guaranteeing a clear product. However by extracting these valuable components flavour, aroma and texture can be compromised. It could be thought of as a loss of soul. For mass appeal this may not necessarily be a bad thing. These brands are all the best selling, lack of strong character leading to more accessibility to the immature palate. However Springbank does not accept the simplifying of the drinking experience to reach the majority as acceptable and avoid any techniques to alter the natural qualities of its malt.

SOME (UNATTRIBUTED) ACCOLADES

“Complexity which astounds”

“Simply stupendous”

“Incomparable” “Perhaps the finest liquor distilled on the planet”

“An elderly eccentric among distilleries”

“Springbank is majestic in its resonant complexity, its subtlety and weight”

 “One of the most remarkable distilleries on Earth”

 “Reputation and renown second to none”

“A hidden Jewel”

“Fiercely independent”

 “Synonymous with style and complexity”

 “A malt drinker’s dream”

“An embarrassment of riches”

“you won’t refuse the second one”

“A dram for the connoisseur”

“Beautifully balanced”

“(A) benchmark dram”

Besides these words Springbank has earned numerous awards, perhaps principally being unanimously voted premier grand cru classe in a blind tasting for The Times. It was at one time the best selling malt in Japan, was chosen as the house whisky on the QEII and was voted favourite in Whisky Magazine’s 1999 readers poll. Enjoy Springbnak responsibly, i.e. finish every drop and share it.

Isle of Arran Distillers’ Latest Release Sets A New Standard – Scotch Whisky News

AA 17 Year Old, BottleTube

Isle of Arran Distillers’ latest release sets a new standard 

Early next month Isle of Arran Distillers will unveil the latest impressive addition to their collection of quality malts – the Arran Malt 17 Year Old. 

The second in the trilogy of malts leading up to the launch of the 18 Year Old next year, the new release has taken nearly two decades to reach discerning drinkers. 

Made from un-peated malted barley and matured in the finest ex-sherry casks, the 17 Year Old has a unique and distinctive flavour in-keeping with the delicious malts from the Isle of Arran. 

Demand is anticipated to be high as the whisky is a very limited edition with just 9,000 bottles being released worldwide at the beginning of April. 

James McTaggart, Arran’s Master Distiller, has overseen the creation of this bottling.  Talking about the inspiration behind it he said:  “We try to make each bottling unique whilst remaining true to the fresh island character of the Arran Single Malt. 

“With the 17 Year Old we’ve created a sweet spicy palate with hints of cigar tobacco. Adding a touch of water brings out flavours of dark chocolate and orange oil to add a depth of flavour to this decadent dram.” 

The Arran Malt 17 Year Old has an ABV of 46% and is free from artificial colours. It has not been chill-filtered to ensure it retains its depth of aromas and flavours. 

Euan Mitchell, Managing Director at Isle of Arran Distillers, said: “We’ve got some big plans for 2014 and I’m excited that we’re kicking off the year with this fantastic whisky. 

“We never rest on our laurels and always challenge ourselves to produce something people will find genuinely interesting and different. 

“This is certainly true in this case as the 17 Year Old malt is some of the first whisky we laid down when the distillery opened in 1995. I’m sure it won’t disappoint our discerning customers in the UK and beyond.” 

Retailing at £64.99 the Arran Malt 17 Year Old is available from www.arranwhisky.com and in specialist whisky stores. 

Notes  

For more information visit www.arranwhisky.com 

* Accolades for Isle of Arran Distillery include Winner for: Best New Exporter (2004), Queen’s Award for International Trade (2005), Scottish Distiller of the Year (2007) and Scottish Drinks Producer of the Year (2007.)

Product awards include: Best Whisky Liqueur (2007), ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Years & Under’ for The Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish (2008) ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 Years’ for The Arran Malt Sherry Single Cask 1998 (2010) and ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 Years’ for the Icons of Arran Peacock (2011.) ‘Double Gold Award’ for Arran’s 14 Year Old Single Malt and ‘Gold Award’ for Arran’s 10 Year Old Single Malt at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2012). Double Gold in FiftyBest.com awards (2012). Double Gold Medal for the 12 year-old Cask Strength in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2013). Double Gold for both the 10 year-old and 12 year-old Cask Strength at the China Wine & Spirits Best Value Awards 2014.

Milroy’s of Soho Spring Sale – Whisky News

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AA Milroys

SCOTLAND

Johnnie Walker Black Label,
40% ABV, Centenary Edition
£34.95
(RRP £44.95)

Girvan 1989
52.8% ABV, Cask Strength, Carn Mor, Celebration of the Cask

£78.00 (RRP £90.00)

Tomintoul 10 Year Old 
40% ABV, Distillery Bottled

£26.55 (RRP £29.50)

Glencadam 10 Year Old 
46% ABV, Distillery Bottled

£32.00 (RRP £36.50)

Glenisla 1977, 32/34 Year Old, 
50.7% ABV, Hogshead,  Signatory Bottling
£155.00 (RRP £169.95)

Inchgower 1993 Managers Choice 
61.9% ABV, Sherry Cask

£165.00 (RRP £230.00)

Ballantine’s 17 Year Old,
43% ABV, Scapa Edition
£54.00
(RRP £61.50)

Campbeltown Loch 21 Year Old,
46% ABV
£65.00
(RRP £71.95)

Glen Scotia 18 Year Old,
46% ABV, Distillery Bottled
£60.00
(RRP £65.00)

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old,
40% ABV, Rich Oak, Distillery Bottled
£30.00
(RRP £35.00)

Glengoyne 21 Year Old,
43% ABV, Sherry Matured, Distillery Bottled
£97.00
(RRP £110.00)

Tomintoul 31 Year Old,
40% ABV, Distillery Bottled
£200.00
(RRP £220.00)

Teaninich 10 Year Old, 1996,
55.3% ABV, American Oak, Manager’s Choice,
1st Single Cask Collection, Distillery Bottled
£169.95
(RRP £200.00)

INDIA

Amrut 
61.95 ABV, Cask Strength,  Indian Single Malt
£45.55
(RRP £49.00)

Amrut Intermediate Sherry, 
57.1% ABV, Indian Single Malt
£62.00
(RRP £66.00)

JAPAN

Nikka Miyagikyo 10 Year Old, 
45% ABV, Distillery Bottled
£57.00
(RRP £62.00)

BOURBON

Hancock’s Reserve, 
44.45% ABV, Single Barrel 
£67.00
(RRP £75.50)

Old Fitzgerald 12 Year Old
45% ABV, Kentucky, 75cl bottle
£35.00
(RRP £38.50)

Rock Hill Farm, 45% ABV,
Single Barrel bourbon
£62.95
(RRP £68.95)

Roughstock Single Malt,
75cl 45% ABV, Montana
£45.00
(RRP £50.50)

SWEDEN

Mackmyra Special 06, 
50.6% ABV, Swedish Single Malt
£60.00
(RRP £65.95)

THE SALE

Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada “Edmonton Tasting for Cancer Fundraising” – Scotch Whisky News

We’re heading to Edmonton on Saturday, April 5th to host a very special tasting!

To raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society one of our Edmonton members, whose daughter is a cancer survivor, is training with Team in Training for his first marathon. In conjunction with training he has been putting on whisky tastings as a way to gather donations for the LLS.

We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a great evening – details and registration link are below. If you can’t make it then please forward this on to your scotch-loving, philanthropic friends and we encourage you to donate directly to the cause at our member’s support page:

http://ow.ly/uZ6uT

As always, you can expect a wonderful line-up of Society single cask scotches. There will also be light food and a great selection of auction items!

Team in Training & The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

present

A Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fundraising Tasting

Saturday, April 5th

Doors open at 6:30pm, tasting starts at 7:00pm

$65.00

Happy Harbor Comics

10729 – 104 Avenue NW, Edmonton

780-452-8211

To register click here: http://ow.ly/uZ6PP or contact Happy Harbor Comics

We look forward to seeing you there!

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