KWM Calgary Malt Messenger “No. 61 – Glendronach, Glen Garioch, Highland Park, Jura and More! – Scotch Whisky News
What a Fall it has been with lots of great new whiskies, wonderful events and trips to both Scotland and Kentucky under my belt! Our Fall Single Malt Festival was another huge success, and our whisky week tastings were superb. We said farewell to Michael Urquhart with a Grand Gordon & MacPhail/Benromach tasting, launched the Springbank Society in Canada, sampled Kilchoman with distillery founder Anthony Wills and introduced a new KWM Glen Garioch cask at the Glen Garioch Cask Launch. Last night KWM hosted our Anceint Malts tasting and what an event that was. If you missed it, stay tuned to the KWM Blog for further details.
It’s hard to believe that 2014 is nearly over, and that there are less than 30 days until Christmas. My Annual Malt Messenger Christmas Gift Guide will be out next week along with our Winter 2015 Tasting Schedule. 2015 will start with a bang at the MS Calgary Whisky Festival on Thursday January 15th 2015. 1/.3 of the tickets have already sold so don’t drag your feet, the VIP tickets are already gone!
This edition of the Malt Messenger is heavily focused on Glendronach, and there’s no mystery as to why. We just received two stunning new casks from the distillery, and with the Batch 10 of the distillery’s vintage releases is about to land. This Malt Messenger is, in some ways, a return to the Malt Messenger of old, with a Distillery in Focus feature; this month its Glendronach.
However, there is much more to this Malt Messenger than just Glendronach, we also have a beautiful new Glen Garioch Cask filled in 1998 which is already more than half sold. We are also pleased to announce our partnership with the Springbank Society, offering Society whiskies for sale to members and anyone willing to join. More details on this below. We also have a new exclusive Port Ellen from Gordon & MacPhail, and you’ll forgive the hyperbole, but this is the last reasonably priced Port Ellen we will likely ever see again! Highland Park Freya, the third release in the Valhalla Series and the new Dark Origins have also just landed, as has the Whistle Pig 100-100 Straight Rye.
KWM is also very proud to be one of just three stores in Alberta selling Glenmorangie’s newest release Glenmorangie Taghta, or “Selected”, the world’s first crowd sourced whisky. We hosted tastings at the store with Ruaraidh McIntyre this spring as part of a global effort to create the whisky. The whisky is very limited and is already half sold!
There are also update in this edition on Jura, Kilchoman, the MS Calgary Whisky Festival and more.
I hope you enjoy this Malt Messsenger, stay tuned for the Chirstmas Gift Guide next week.
In This Issue
- !!!Talisker 25 Year Price Increase!!!
- Two New Exclusive Glendronach Casks for KWM
- Distillery in Focus Glendronach
- Glendronach Batch 10 is Coming
- Our Exceptional New Glen Garioch Cask
- The Springbank Society is Finally Here
- The Last Port Ellen?
- Introducing Whistle Pig Straight Rye
- This Just In: Glenmorangie Taghta
- This Just In: Highland Park Freya & Dark Origins
- This Just In: Three New Juras
- This Just In: 2 New Kilchomans
- Calgary MS Whisky Festival Update
- Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015 is Going Fast!
Kensington Wine Market
Scotch Malt Whisky Society December Outturn Dinners at The Brasserie Kensington
Sunday December 7 5PM or 8PM
Kickstart your Christmas season as we enjoy our December Outturn alongside a scrumptious three course dinner at our Calgary Partner Bar, Brasserie Kensington! Participants will sample 7 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Whiskies launched at the event. The tasting takes place at Brasserie Kensington, 1131 Kensington Road NW Calgary!
2015 MS Calgary Whisky Festival
Thursday January 15 2015
The 2015 Calgary Whisky Festival in support of the MS Society of Calgary is set to be another barnburner of an event. Last year’s festival drew 400 attendees and featured nearly 150 whiskies from distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the US, Japan and India. This year’s event is set to be even bigger and better with more whiskies, more presenters and a capacity of 500 participants.
Buy your tickets before December 15th and you’ll be entered in the draw to win the gift basket pictured above which is a $400 value and includes a sold out Silver Seal Glendronach 22 Year!
Two Exclusive New Glendronach Casks for KWM!
There’s Not Just a Decade Between 1993 and 2003….
There are two distilleries we’ve bottled more casks of than any others, Arran, and Glendronach. It is no secret why that is, both distilleries produce excellent whiskies which we love, and we keep finding exceptional single casks! Last fall we brought in a 2002 cask, and it disappeared in a little more than 6 weeks. Our new 2003 Glendronach is making its debut this week, and like the 2002, it isn’t expected to last long. The 1993 which was quietly launched in the shop a couple of weeks back is also a stunner, and even without a stitch of publicity its been steadily flying out of the shop. Here are the details on the casks:
• Glendronach 2003 Cask 1820 – 11 Year – 55.4% – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 619 Bottles – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: warming white peppers, stem ginger and sweet oak spices, which flow over oven-roasted orchard fruits and golden sultanas infused with black vanilla seeds. Palate: A delicious combination of rich apricot jam, wildflower honey and stewed barley, holding a crips, fresh ginger warmth and a citrus twist of orange oil. – $114.99
• Glendronach 1993 Cask 1625 – 20 Year – 57.5% – Oloroso Sherry Butt – 498 Bottles – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: a delightful balance of sweet and spice. Sultanas and yellow plums warmed by touches of ginger, cinnamon and candied peel. Palate: crisp oak spices in balance with rich plum juice and barley-dusted stewed apples. Gentle clove and touches of earthy nutmeg add ever-changing depth and roundness to the long finish. – $199.99
Distillery in Focus Glendronach
The New Kings of Sherry Cask Whisky?
Although it has always had a loyal following among those in the know, Glendronach didn’t come to the wider worlds attention until it was acquired by BenRiach Distillery Co. in 2007. At the time there were only a couple of official releases on the market, but when BenRiach took the distillery over with Billy Walker at the helm they made some immediate changes. Many of the younger whiskies had been filled into substandard casks and were immediately re-racked. The new owners also released a new core range of 12, 15 and 18 year old whiskies, to which they eventually added a 21 year and the Grandeur (initially at 31 year old, and now a 24 year). The distillery also launched a Cask Strength Expression released in batches and a number of wood finishes. But where did it all begin?
The distillery was officially founded in 1826 by a consortium including James Allardice. It was one of Scotland’s first licensed distilleries, opening just a couple of years after the passage of the Small Sitlls Act which made it easier for a petitioner to get a license to distill. The early days of selling the distillery’s whisky, ‘Guid GlenDronach’, were not without its challenges, but the aforementioned James Allardice was a resourceful man. One colourful story is best told by the distillery:
“On arrival in Edinburgh, he discovered that selling GlenDronach was going to be trickier than he first thought. “We already have our stock for the season,” the landlords all said, “but we’ll bear you in mind for next year.”
“After only selling a trickle, a disheartened Allardice wanders back to his hotel, ready to admit defeat. But, walking up the Canongate, he is accosted by two young ladies of the night who want him to take them… for a drink.
“James tells the women that he has his very own ‘Guid GlenDronach’ whisky that they can sup on, and so he returns to his hotel room, to the mortification of the hotel staff, with the two ladies on each arm!
“The following day, word of mouth spread like wildfire about the previous night’s shenanigans and the two women return for another bottle of GlenDronach to share with their friends. James had pretty much given up on his abortive sales drive in Edinburgh and had planned to return home, so he gave the women the remainder of his flagon. The ‘Guid GlenDronach’
“Later that afternoon, the street was full of women who had consumed one drop too many. This got the neighbourhood talking and everyone became curious to try some of what the ladies were drinking. So they started requesting GlenDronach by name when they went into their local pubs.
As the story goes, James did not return home as planned the following day. Instead, he stayed a while in Edinburgh where he sold all of his stock. Not long after, bottles could be found in every pub along the Royal Mile. GlenDronach had arrived!” (adapted from http://glendronachdistillery.com/)
The distillery grew rapidly through the 1830’s and was bought by a Walter Scott from Teaninich Distillery in either 1837 or 1850 depending on your source. 1837 may be the more accurate date as the distillery suffered a major fire in that year, which nearly totally destroyed it. It was rebuilt, and by 1860 the distillery was paying more duty than any other in the Highlands, and had a community of some 50 people living on site. In 1887 Walter Scott passed away and the distillery was bought by a consortium from Leith.
How long the distillery operated under these new owners is not clear, but there was a whisky boom in the late 1800s centered on Leith, Edinburgh’s Port. The Pattison Brother’s infamously built up a house of cards, buying whisky on IOUs. They also artificially inflated their profits through questionable accounting, somewhat like an early whisky industry version of Enron. Much of the revenue they brought in was squandered on the brothers lavish lifestyle and advertising fads like talking parrots, which they trained some 500 of to squawk the name of a prominent blend. Their firm began to fall apart around 1896 and by 1899 a huge proportion of Scotland malt distilleries were forced to shut their doors, some forever.
Glendronach was bought and reopened by Captain Charles Grant in 1920. Grant was the son of William Grant who had founded Glenfiddich in 1897 and Balvenie a few years later. The distillery remained in the Grant family until it was bought by Teachers, a blended whisky firm in 1960. A major upgrade took place doubling the distillery’s capacity in 1966-7, at the start of another major whisky boom. Curiously a visitor center was opened in 1976, well ahead of most Scottish distilleries. The following three decades under Allied Breweries (Allied Domencq) would not be the distilleries finest. The distillery was mothballed a number of times until it was sold in 2008. But for most of those years it continued to fill whisky into some of the finest sherry casks.
In one of the most surprising sales in the history of the whisky industry, Chivas Brothers (Pernod) who had acquired the distillery in 2005, sold it to BenRiach Distillery Co. in 2008. Four years earlier they had sold the namesake BenRiach Distillery to the same group. Although the Glendronach Distillery didn’t fit into Pernod’s plans at the time, the sale was surprising given the reputation of the Glendronach single malt and brand, and the industry’s trajectory.
It didn’t take the new owners long to make needed changes. A new core range of 12, 15 and 18 year olds was released a year after the purchase in 2009. The first Glendronach Grandeur a 31 Year was launched the following year and the 21 year old Parliament in 2011. The distillery also began releasing batches of vintage single malt (we are on 10, see below) with some casks going back as far as 1971. In 2013 the distillery launched the 1968 Recherche, a 44 year old, the oldest Glendronach ever bottled.
Here are the currently available expressions of Glendronach:
1. Glendronach 12 Year (The Original) – 43% – Matured 12 Years in PX and Oloroso Sherry – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet, creamy vanilla, with hints of ginger. Spiced mulled wine and pear. Palate: Rich, creamy, silky-smooth. Warm, rich oak and sherry sweetness, full mouth feel, raisins and soft fruits. Spicy with medium length and a dry finish.” – $67.99
2. Glendronach 15 Year (Revival) – 46% – Matured 15 Years Oloroso Sherry – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Incredible concentration of aromas. Treacle toffee and chocolate orange. Palate: A very dynamic and full bodied dram for its age. Chewy with coffee chocolate and treacle scones.” – $86.99
3. Glendronach 18 Year (Allardice) – 46% – Matured 18 Years in Oloroso Sherry – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose:Sweet aromatics of fudge and muscovado sugar. Fruit compote and glacier morello cherries provide added complexity. Palate: Rich dark and seductive. Remarkable flavours of stewed fruits and all-spice marry together with classical aged Oloroso and toasted walnut bread and chocolate orange. – $117.99
4. Glendronach 21 Year (Parliament) – 46% – Matured 21 Years in PX & Oloroso Sherry – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose:A delicate mix of ripe autumnal fruits – notably blackberries and red plums. Rich Oloroso sherry and candied orange segments. Spiced oatmeal biscuits and toasted oak fragrances bring excellent weight and balance. Palate: Resolute flavours of fine Oloroso sherry and bitter chocolate sauce, which has been spread liberally over homemade plum pudding. This is all infused with fabulous spicy notes – cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Full bodied with smooth tannins.” – $129.99 – 50mls also available for $7.99/each
5. Glendronach Grandeur Batch 5 24 Year – 48.9% - Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A magnificent combination of honey-drenched dates and succulent raisins which gently ebb and flow with waves of delicate orange blossom, mint and cracked black pepper. Hints of glazed cherries and toasted almonds perfectly complement the seductive nose – a nose to be appreciated slowly and often. Palate: A fabulously full-bodied, vibrant palate captures a multitude of classic sherry cask characteristics. The delicate sweetness of rum-soaked golden sultanas refines rich espresso, dark chocolate and treacle toffee. Zesty orange oil softens to a deep clove spice and prolongs the ever-changing palate. A sublime example of understanding the relationship between cask and single malt perfectly.” – $519.99
6. Glendronach 1968 Recherche 44 Year – 48.6% – Oloroso Sherry Butt cask 005 – The oldest Glendronach ever bottled! – 632 Bottles – KWM Has Sold 6/10 Bottles Which Came to Alberta – ONLY 1 LEFT! – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Nose: Lovely balance. Clean, fresh, with remarkable fruitiness. Juicy sweet sultanas, dates and marrons glacés centrally positioned around a bitter chocolate heart. Palate: Initial profile of freshly roasted coffee beans and a treacle tart character. This is succeeded with baked apples smothered with brown sugar. Brilliant structure with no dominant force but with plenty of depth and length.” – $4999.99
7. Glendronach 2003 KWM Cask - $114.99 (See Above)
8. Glendronach 1993 KWM Cask - $199.99 (See Above)
9. Glendronach Batch 10 (See Below)
Glendronach Batch 10
Coming Soon: 9 Single Casks from 1990 to 2002
KWM is very priviledge to be the only retailer in Canada to get one case each of the distillery Batch Vintage Single casks. It is hard to believe that we are already on to Batch 10. It seems like only yesterday that BenRiach was in the process of buying the distillery and turning its fortunes around. Batch 10 is due in store over the next few weeks, quantities are limited and much of it will be presold before it arrives.
From the Distillery: “Each cask was selected because of its excellent GlenDronach character. For example, on the nose, 1990 cask # 2970 has generous dustings of allspice over sundried raisins and roasted coffee beans with a delicate barley background. As a contrast, the 1995 cask # 3025 shows fresh green apple developing to prunes and raisins with a vibrant spice note of ginger, black pepper and soft clove oil on the palate. And the youngest expression of the nine, 2002 cask # 1500, gives aromas of sweet figs and chocolate-covered raisins dusted with vanilla and spiced by subtle cigar smoke, candied peel and stem ginger. A fascinating range of expressions that will appeal to all tastes.”
1. Glendronach 1990 Cask #2970 – 51.3% – 24 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon -Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Generous dustings of allspice over sundried raisins and roasted coffee beans with a delicate barley background. Palate: Initial intense rich molasses and dark bitter chocolate harmonise with fragrant, toasted oak spice.” – $234.99
2. Glendronach 1991 Cask #1346 – 52.1% – 22 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – Distillery’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Crisp white pepper and citrus zest flood through dates and sultanas. Hints of ginger and nutmeg give an earthy depth. Palate: Crisp, fresh oak spices develop to rich orange marmalade drenched over plums, dried prunes and dark chocolate. ” – $209.99
3. Glendronach 1992 Cask #199 – 59.4% 22 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Antique old oak and orange bitters infused in dark fruit cake with added hints of toasted walnuts. Palate: Fantastic contrasts from fresh-cut grass to cigar box spices with rich stewed damsons, Demerara sugar and a crisp zest of lime.” – $207.99
4. Glendronach 1993 Cask #494 – 55.8% – 21 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich, old oak characters lead to soft clove and peppercorns. A crisp, floral aroma gives tremendous depth to sherry-poached orchard fruits. Palate: Vibrant, fresh floral notes run through roasted apples and pears with a warmth of red chilli and sweetness of ripe Mediterranean fruits.” – $199.99
5. Glendronach 1994 Cask #326 – 53.5%- 19 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – Distiller’s Tasting Notes: “Nose: Fragrant waves of sour plums and freshly-cut rhubarb dusted in cinnamon combine with a lingering classic depth of leather and cedar wood. Palate: Dense, rich sherry and bitter chocolate hold lively humidor spice tones. Generous notes of treacle tart and rich plum compote.” – $189.99
6. Glendronach 1994 Cask #3397 – 53.8% – 19 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Luxurious chocolate warmed by aromatic herbs and toasted spices, paired with rum-soaked raisins and sultanas. Palate: Sumptuous depths of sweet dates and ripe figs hold a fantastic crisp, herbal balance. Milk chocolate rolls through the robust sherry character.” – $189.99
7. Glendronach 1995 Cask #3025 – 51.1% – 18 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon -Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A beautiful balance of sherry-soaked apricots and sultanas combines with hazelnut, ground almonds and toasted oak. Palate: Fresh green apple develops to prunes and raisins with a vibrant spice note of ginger, black pepper and soft clove oil.” – $169.99
8. Glendronach 1996 Cask #1487 – 54.1% – 18 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Nose: An enriched combination of dark Demerara sugar and espresso spiced by gentle herbs and soft touches of liquorice. Palate: Classic chocolate and orange merge with floods of rich plum juice. Roasted coffee beans enhance the full body and a crisp zest adds a fresh edge to the finish.” – $169.99
9. Glendronach 2002 Cask #1500 – 56.7% – 12 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon -Distiller’s Tasting Note:”Nose: Intense waves of treacle toffee and dark fruits are lightened by slight hints of mint and soft clove. Palate: Sweet figs and chocolate-covered raisins dusted with vanilla are spiced by subtle cigar smoke, candied peel and stem ginger.” – $119.99
Our Exceptional New Glen Garioch Cask
It only just got here, and more than half of the bottles are already sold!
We were very privileged to get a first crack at the small number of Glen Garioch casks the distillery made available for bottling this year. While at the distillery in May they lined them up before yours truly and the small group I had on tour with me. We took our time with them, but one really stood out, and we jumped on it. It was formally launched in store on Thursday November 6th, and since then we’ve already sold more than 100 of the 220 bottles. I haven’t had the time to formally write-up a tasting note, but I can state that it is fruity, floral and very soft. A real standout from the typical Glen Garioch bottlings.
Glen Garioch1998 KWM Cask 206 – 16 Year - Matured in an 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel – 54.6% – 220 Bottles – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Bourbon, vanilla and hazelnut cream with white peach and poached pear. Ice cream soda and mocha soak into the palate with traces of nut kernels and root ginger into the finish.” – $114.99
The Springbank Society is Here!
And nowhere else other than the distillery…
Springbank is Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery, established in 1828 in the picturesque town of Campbeltown. The distillery is one of Scotland’s smallest in production, a curiosity given its loyal following. The distillery was the first to bottle whisky unchilfiltered at 46%, and also the first to produce three distinct styles of single malt and bottle them independently. A little over 10 years ago the distillery established the Springbank Society to give the distillery’s most devoted followers a forum to chat and an opportunity to purchase one off Society only bottlings. Until now Springbank Society bottlings have been unavailable to Canadians, as the bottles are only available from the Society by mail. After two years of proposing that KWM could be an embassy for the Society in Canada, the whiskies are finally here!
To purchase Springbank Society bottles you have to be a member, but membership is open to anyone, and KWM will help facilitate the process in Canada. Membership in the Springbank Society is for life, with a onetime fee of £50, paid to the distillery. Members can access the Springbank Forum, get a Society polo shirt, membership card and a miniature whisky. Most importantly Sprinbank Society Members are the only ones who can buy the Society bottlings. If you are interested in joining the Springbank Society, send me an email and I’ll forward you the membership form. KWM currently has stock of the following 4 Society whiskies:
1. Springbank Society Port Cask 14 Year – 55.7% – 7 Years in Port Butt – 7 Years in Refill Bourbon Butt – Distilled June 1998 – Bottled June 2012 – 600 Bottles – $129.99 – SOLD OUT
2. Springbank Society Longrow Sherry 10 Yr – 53.9% – Fresh Sherry Butt – Distillery October 2001 – Bottled November 2011 – 611 Bottles – $134.99
3. Springbank Society Local Barley 14 Year – 57.8% – Refill Sherry Butt – Distilled September 1999 – Bottled April 2014 – 546 Bottles – $175.99
4. Springbank Society Madeira 15 Year – 56.5% – 10 Years in Refill Bourbon Hogshead – 5 Years in Fresh Madeira Hogsheads – Distilled June 1997 – March 2013 – $159.99
The Last Port Ellen?
Perhaps not, but certainly the last under $1500!
Of all of Scotland’s closed distilleries, none is more collected and sought after than Port Ellen. The distillery was closed in 1983 at the height of the most recent whisky crash by its owner Distillers Company Ltd or DCL. DCL (now Diageo) had three Islay distilleries, Lagavulin, Port Ellen and Caol Ila. Unable to justify keeping all three distilleries open during a major industry downturn the decision was made to shutter Port Ellen. There were a number of reasons Port Ellen was closed in favour of keeping the other two open. Of the three, Port Ellen was the smallest distillery, Lagavulin the most iconic, and Caol Ila the most modern. At the time of its closure Port Ellen had only been operating for just 16 years, having been mothballed since 1930. When it closed its equipment was sold off (supposedly to an Indian distiller) and most of the buildings were dismantled.
Today the remnants of the Port Ellen distillery can still be seen in the town of the same name on Islay’s southern coast. A drum maltings was built on the site to malt barley for the island’s numerous distilleries in 1973, and the warehouses were kept to mature whisky from other DCL distilleries. Over the last 31 years Port Ellen has developed a cult following, one of the most elegant of all the peated whiskies ever made. When I first started at KWM, over 13 years ago, Port Ellen was relatively easily acquired for $150 or so. We even managed to bottle our own cask of Port Ellen in 2008, a 25 year old bottled for us by Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing). But over the years Port Ellen has been getting older, rarer and more expensive with every passing year. Diageo has been releasing an annual bottling of Port Ellen for the last 14 years. It is not known if the 14th Release, a 35 year old, will come to Canada, but if it does, don’t be shocked to see a sticker price of $4,000.00 or more. It is selling for £2200.00 or more in the UK.
While visiting Gordon & MacPhail, one of Scotland’s most respected independent bottlers in May of this year, I noticed a palate of whisky that had just been bottled. It was a 34 year old Port Ellen, distilled in 1979. I immediately touched base with my importer, and he was able to secure just 12 bottles for us. These have arrived and half of them have already sold. I hope this is not the last Port Ellen to grace our shores, but I don’t expect we’ll be seeing many more. And if we do, it isn’t likely they be selling for less than $1500/bottle. This may be your last chance at a reasonably priced Port Ellen.
G&M Port Ellen 1979 34 Year – 46% – Refill Sherry Butts – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Smoky and liquorice influences with fruity undertones and hints of pear. A fresh sea breeze aroma. Palate: Sweet, with peat smoke elements emerging followed by hints of aniseed. Some hints of kippers linger. Finish: Medium – add water with care.” – $1449.99
Introducing Whistle Pig 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey
Distilled in Canada, matured in the US and sold around the world!
This whisky is not without some controversy. Like a lot of 100% rye whiskies bottled in the States, Pendleton and Mastersons to name a few Whistle Pigs origins are here in Calgary at Alberta Distillers. In order to get rye grains to ferment, you require at least some malted rye or barley. Alberta Distillers is one of the few places in the world where a straight rye mash is distilled. Whistle Pig distillery will soon begin distilling on site in Vermont, but has until now openly been sourcing straight rye whisky from Canada. The whisky is matured in a double barrel process, first new American oak (as all straight whiskies in the US) and then youthful refill Ex-Bourbon barrels.
Whistle Pig 100-100 10 Year – 50% – 100% Rye – 5 Years New American Oak / 5 Years Refill Ex-Bourbon – My Tasting Note: “Nose: sweet, syrupy and floral; notes of dill, silky honey, marshmallows and jellybeans; lots of delicate spices: ginger, cinnamon and cardamom; Palate: still sweet, dark and decadent spices, honey and more marshmallows, dill and peppery spices; some syrup notes and licorice; Finish: long, spicy and sweet with more delicate floral notes. – $119.99
This Just In: Glenmorangie Taghta
The World’s First Crowd Sourced Whisky – $114.99
Only a very small amount of the world’s first crowd sourced whisky is coming to Alberta, exclusive available from only 3 stores! If you attended one of the many Cask Masters tastings held at KWM, across Canada with Ruaraidh McIntyre, or in one of 29 other countries around the world, you aided in its creation! This sherry finished whisky are to be released at a strength of 46%. Taghta is Scots Gaelic for selected!
From the Distillery: “Each of our unique expressions is a glorious marriage of wood and whisky. How the two complement each other is crucial. In the case of Taghta, we extra matured our Glenmorangie original whisky in three cask varieties for a number of years. Each one imparted its own unique flavour, depth and character into our whisky. Finally, we asked you to decide which one you preferred.”
Glenmorangie Taghta – 46% - Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Curiously nutty and salty at full strength, reminding you of brazil nuts embedded in toffee, hints of linseed oil, and some savoury cured ham. A splash of water opens up the whisky, bringing into play a burst of aged balsamic vinegar, dried fruits, tangy-orange, and a gentle reminder of Christmas incense and spice. Taste: The texture is oily and viscous, with a delicious primary flavour of caramelised orange and lemon, plump sultanas, a hint of brown sugar, but then a wave of salty, briny notes – olives, salted cashew nuts and some nice, toasty oak flavours, like walnut and leather. Finish: The long aftertaste is rich, mellow and soothing, with flavours of toffee, caramel, chocolate and dates.” – $114.99
This Just In: Highland Park Freya & Dark Origins
Two Highland Parks that couldn’t be more different!
I had the great pleasure to attend a launch event for two new Highland Park expressions about a month back. We sampled through the distillery’s core range before sampling the first three limited releases in Highland Park’s Valhalla range. Thor and Loki are long since sold out, fortunately the brand ambassador Dan Volway was good enough to hold back a bottle of each to sample with the third release, Freya. Our allocation of Freya is very limited, and mostly spoken for. It won’t last. At the same event I also sampled Dark Origins, a new bottling celebrating the origins of Highland Park distillery, Magnus Eunson’s years as an illicit distiller.
1. Highland Park Freya - 51.2% – 15 Year – Matured in Ex-Bourbon Hogsheads with New Heads – My Tasting Note: “Nose: very Bourbonny and toasty with loads of coconut and marzipan, some coffee notes and nutty liqueurs; some dry grassy malt, melons and lemon sorbet; Palate: very honeyed, more melon and lemon sorbet with some crisp malt and clean floral smoke; more coconut and marzipan with juicy orange and gentle heathery peat; Finish: light, clean and subtly decadent with more honey, soft fruits and clean smoke.” – $299.99
2. Highland Park Dark Origins – 46.8% – NAS – 80% First-Fill Sherry casks & 20% Refill – My Tasting Note: “Nose: lots of dark fruit, very nutty, clean crisp smoke, some Dutch licorice and emerging peated malt; a touch of coffee bean, some classic Christmas cake notes and smooth leather; Palate: big honey, very nutty, leathery with damp tobacco, minty dark chocolate big salty smoke and some heathery peat; some chewy malt, burnt raisins, bacon wrapped dates and dried figs; Finish: long coating and sherried with more dark smoke and fading honey.” – $102.99
This Just In: New Whiskies from Jura Distillery
Brooklyn, 16 Year and 21 Year and a new KWM Exclusive Coming Soon!
Jura is one of Scotland unsung distilleries. Its whiskies, especially the older ones don’t always get the attention they deserve. KWM has an exclusive 1995 Boutique Barrel bottling finished in Sauternes casks due late in December. More on that in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, three new Jura single malts have just landed in Alberta. The first is a bottling inspired by Brooklyn, New York, only available in North America.The 16 year has returned to Alberta after an absence of a couple of years. C
1. Jura Brooklyn – 42% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon, Amoroso Sherry & Pinot Noir Casks – Distillery’s Tasting Note: “With notes of honey, currants and berries, it’s a fruity whisky with smoke and roasted coffee beans to balance it off. Just how the folk of Brooklyn like it!” – $81.99
2. Jura 16 Year Diurachs Own – 40% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon, finished 2 Years in Amoroso Sherry – Whisky Magazine Tasting Note: “Nose: Cedary. Shoe polish. Wood speaks up first but elegantly gives way to fruity notes. fruit cake. Marmalade. Raisin scones. Cinnamon. Palate: Round and mellow. Mouth-coating. Rich and luscious. Candied chestnut. Resiny. Smooth. Finish: Round, sweet, drying off on wood. Hint of chewed tobacco.” – $83.99
3. Jura 21 Year – 44% – Distillery’s Tasting Note: “Vintage casks have given this spirit a flawless finish of soft marzipan, crushed walnuts and bitter chocolate. The palate is further rewarded with whispers of succulent maraschino cherries, citrus fruit and soft liquorice to complete this memorable masterpiece.” – $135
This Just In: Two New Kilchomans
The Very Limited Port Matured & 100% Islay 4th Edition
Kilchoman is one of Scotland’s up and coming distilleries. First opened in 2005, 2015 is an auspicious year for the distillery, it’s 10th Anniversary. In less than a decade the distillery has very quickly earned the distillery a well deserved cult reputation. We love Kilchoman at KWM, and just recently sold out of our 3rd exclusive single cask. The distillery produces two styles, the standard Kilchoman, peated to 55ppm like Ardbeg, which makes up the bulk of the distillery’s production. The distiller’s second style is 100% Islay, made from Islay barley, malted on site at the distillery to 25ppm. We have two new Kilchoman expressions:
1. Kilchoman Port Cask – 55% – 5 Years in 1Yo Ruby Port Pipes – Only 90 bottles coming to AB – My Tasting Note: “Nose: chocolaty with plums, blood orange, soft leather, subtle smoke and baked kippers; the malt and maritime smoke are underneath but still present; Palate: rich with port notes, chewy peaty malt, chocolate shavings, soft leather and rich spices; the blood orange shows up with macerated fruits, lightly burnt bacon and kippers; Finish: fruity, chewy and malty with more fading citrus, leather and floral tones.” – $124.99
2. Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th Edition – 50% – 32 5 Year Barrels & 8 4 Year Barrels – First Fill Ex-Bourbon – Tasting note to come! – $94.99
MS Calgary Whisky Festival Update
Thursday, January 15, 2015 w/ 2 Ticket Options
The Macallan Reflexion. The 2015 Calgary Whisky Festival in support of the MS. Society of Calgary is set to be another barnburner of an event. Last year’s festival drew 400 attendees and featured nearly 150 whiskies from distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the US, Japan and India. This year’s event is set to be even bigger and better with more whiskies, more presenters and a capacity of 500 participants. New this year we are offering a VIP package, which will include a Macallan Master Class featuring a very rare and special bottling. The VIP Ticket is $149 (SOLD OUT) and the regular ticket $99. Only 40 VIP tickets are available!
Get your tickets now, they won’t last long.
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015 Is Going Fast!
The 10th Anniversary Edition – $30
This year’s edition includes articles by respected whisky authors: Johnny McCormick, Neil Ridley, Dominic Roskrow, Gavin D Smith, Charles (Charlie) McLean, Ian Buxton and Bernard Schafer. There 135 pages on malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, and another 100 pages on whiskies from around the world. If there is one must have annual whisky book, this is it!
Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger!
Contact & Disclaimers
If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.
All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com. 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.
Manager & Scotchguy
Kensington Wine Market
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Owner & Opperator
Ferguson’s Whisky Tours