Archive for October, 2015

Malt Box Reviews Benromach 30yr Old – Scotch Whisky News


This week Andy at Malt Box reviews the Benromach 30yr Old


New Blog from – Scotch Whisky News


New Blog from Innovation or Thrift? The Rise of Whisky’s Unusual Oak Finishes.


The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Introduces a Second Annual Event Uniting Speyside Distilleries Under One Roof – Scotch Whisky News

AA SOSWF Whisky 1

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival introduces a second annual event uniting Speyside distilleries under one roof

Speyside’s leading malt whisky producers will unite on their own doorstep for the first time – to launch a brand new ‘dramfest’ organised by the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Brand rivalries will be put to one side when Spirit of Speyside brings distillers from all over the region together under one roof in celebration of the area’s most famed product – malt whisky.

Plans for the first event – to take place in September 2016 – were unveiled at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival AGM yesterday (Tuesday, October 13). It will offer an alternative weekend devoted to Speyside whisky in its home and heartland and complementing the internationally-renowned Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival held annually in May.

The September whisky weekend is being introduced to sate the public’s thirst for whisky-themed events in the area that is home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries.

Elgin has been chosen as the central location for this Speyside showcase, which as well as whisky, will feature other drinks – including local gin and craft beer – along with fine food and produce from the region.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has become one of the leading events of its kind over the past 17 years. It attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world to Speyside during the May Day weekend to savour a selection of more than 400 events, from tastings to ceilidhs, food pairings to comedy.

Many events are sold out within hours of tickets going on sale and accommodation in the region reaches capacity. Festival organisers could see scope to introduce a second – but distinctive – event to its annual calendar, which will allow people to celebrate Scotland’s national drink in its spiritual home without the need to plan a five-day itinerary.

The event will be held from September 9-11, 2016 at Elgin Town Hall, drawing visitors after the summer season and helping provide an economic boost for the area.

As well as tastings, cocktail making, a food court, and masterclasses will be part of the offering. Distilleries, businesses and partners will be encouraged to develop themes to add to the visitor experience.

Festival chairman James Campbell says, “Our annual whisky festival has grown in size and stature to become one of the leading events of its kind in the world.

“We are now creating a brand new weekend event with the big difference that the distilleries will be together, under one roof, and that’s something that doesn’t normally happen on their home territory.

“We’ve chosen Elgin for the venue because it is central, with good transport links, and we’ll be encouraging businesses and other partners to get involved too. Further announcements on what people can expect from the new event, including its official title, will be made in the coming weeks and months.

“This is a great opportunity for distilleries and food and drink producers of Speyside to showcase their products and share what they do.

“While the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has an international audience, and overseas visitors may be among the contingent, we expect our September event to have a particular appeal to the home market, including people from the local area.

“We look forward to developing our plans and helping keep one of Scotland’s most famous whisky producing regions well and truly on the map, inspiring more visitors to develop their interest and knowledge of our national tipple.”

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival’s position as a major tourism attraction in Scotland was underlined again this year when it attracted 26,389 visits to events from a record 34 different countries.

The 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – and its traditional musical arm the Spirit of Speyside Sessions – takes place from April 28 to May 2. For further information about the event visit with tickets on sale from January 2015.  The Festival is also active on social media – and @spirit_speyside on Twitter. 


Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival runs from Thursday, April 28 to Monday, May 2.

Check out for up-to-date news and follow the Festival at or

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is committed to promoting responsible drinking. Visitors travelling to and from festival events can take advantage of a range of transport options. Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has received funding from EventScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is also financially supported by many other private and public partners.

Nova Scotia Whisky Celebrates a New Canadian Tradition – Canadian Whisky News


Nova Scotia Whisky Celebrates a New Canadian Tradition

Glynn Williams today celebrates the traditions that bring family and friends together with the launch of GLYNNEVAN® Double Barrelled Canadian Rye Whisky. Born in the West and matured on the Atlantic coast by the Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company in historic Guysborough, Nova Scotia, GLYNNEVAN® is the culmination of its unique journey across our great nation.

Truly Canadian, GLYNNEVAN® whisky develops its character as it is shaped by the regions of Canada on its way to Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company’s home on Guysborough harbour. A second barreling by the sea lends a distinctive maritime character to the small-batch spirit, softening and adding depth and complexity to the whisky. At a time when so much seems to divide us, GLYNNEVAN® is the Williams family’s toast to new traditions that bring us together.

“An important belief I share with my son Evan is that character is shaped through personal journey and discovery. Travel can contribute to learning and personal development, with the journey being just as important as the destination. By exploring our limits, we learn more about ourselves,” said Glynn at the launch. “From our travels together, whether by single engine plane to Canada’s high Arctic or hiking at the southernmost point of South America, our desire for adventure has given us a strong sense of purpose in the world and strengthened the bond between father and son. GLYNNEVAN® rye whisky characterizes this spirit of adventure and life-long learning together. The GLYNNEVAN® emblem, that incorporates prairie grains and ocean waves, features the rampant lion, common to the Canadian coat of arms, the Nova Scotia flag and the Williams’ family crest, proudly illustrating the ties that bind us.”

GLYNNEVAN® opens with layers of aroma starting with sweet rye spices and honey, followed by toasted oak, vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of tropical fruit. The well-balanced taste is sweet and creamy offering vanilla, spice, hazelnut, butter, toffee and caramel sensations. A mahogany-colored whisky, at 43% alc./vol., it has a powerful, yet smooth mouthfeel, with a finish that is long and warm.

GLYNNEVAN® Double Barrelled Canadian Rye Whisky is now available at the distillery in Guysborough and throughout Nova Scotia at select Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) stores and other fine spirits retailers. Read more about GLYNNEVAN® at:

About Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company

Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company Ltd. produces handmade, craft distilled and blended spirits including GLYNNEVAN® Whisky, Sea FeverTM Rum and FortressTM Rum at its distillery next to Osprey Shores Golf Resort on the historic Guysborough harbour. It is a key part of Authentic Seacoast Company Ltd, which also includes historic DesBarres Manor Inn, Rare Bird Pub & Eatery, Skipping Stone Café & Store, Full Steam Coffee Co., Harbour Belle Bakery, Authentic Seacoast Brewing Co. (makers of Rare Bird Craft Beer), Glanbùrn Artesian Water, Authentic Seacoast Soaps and the Authentic Seacoast Store.

Authentic Seacoast Company’s vision is to restore the proud trading legacy of a seacoast village in Nova Scotia and to create jobs in the community on a sustainable basis by producing and sharing high quality products and experiences that are authentic and memorable. The Authentic Seacoast Company embodies the fresh sea air, industrious people and proud determination that has kept this special place by the sea alive over the past four centuries.

Read more at:

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2015 – Karuizawa Nepal Charity Tasting – Japanese Whisky News


The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2015 – Karuizawa Nepal Charity Tasting


It was billed as the most expensive whisky tasting ever staged, and there was an appropriately reverent, almost nervous air as people took their seats for this one-off tasting of five extremely rare Karuizawa whiskies at The Whisky Show. Every seat was sold and the event was hugely over-subscribed, despite the £6,000 ticket price, which included an ultra-rare bottle of Karuizawa 1983 (limited to just 50) that all attendees took away with them; all proceeds from the tasting have gone to charities helping those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Nepal.

The five whiskies tasted in the Karuizawa Nepal Charity Tasting (© Simon J Hanna)

Our host Dave Broom summed up the feeling in the room: ‘Karuizawa tastings are always tinged with regret, because once these whiskies have gone, they’ve gone. The distillery is never going to reopen. We are indulging in liquid necrophilia.’

None of the whiskies in the tasting were originally planned to be released as mature malts by the distillery’s owner, Mercian, because Karuizawa was never designed to be released as a single malt whisky: ‘At the beginning of the century, you couldn’t give Karuizawa away,’ Dave said. ‘The whiskies just sat there in the cask. They were meant to be blended, and Karuizawa was there to provide that big bass note.’

The first whisky of the evening was a 29-year-old, aged in bourbon and bottled at 53.9% – first released at last year’s Whisky Show and described by Dave as ‘the lightest of the lot; it reminds me of Brora’. Here are my notes:


Karuizawa 29 Year Old Bourbon Cask, 53.9% ABV

Nose: Dark chocolate cake and toasted nuts with bitter espresso and exotic fruit – passion fruit and banana. Then a rich creaminess, with toffee and vanilla ice cream appears.

Palate: Quite hot, but with wave after wave of sweet spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, with notes of sandalwood, sweet smoke and barrel char.

Finish: The spices mingle with the oaky notes and last a very long time. No sherry here, so less of that dried-fruit character, but delicious layers of rich flavour nonetheless.

Stylistically, Dave noted the similarities between Karuizawa and Macallan: ‘Both have small stills, downward-facing lyne arms, less reflux and low copper contact – producing big, powerful, rich whiskies. The reason the people at Karuizawa put the spirit in sherry casks was because the new-make spirit was big. It’s very different to the Japanese norm of soft, aromatic whisky – it’s bold and muscular.’

The second Karuizawa demonstrated this perfectly; a 30-year-old whisky aged solely in sherry casks:



Nose: Heady rush of orange oil. Fresh, with wood polish, leather and tobacco. Water brings out a meaty character.

Palate: Chocolate cake laced with citrus, bolstered by a touch of peppery smoke. Christmas-cake spicing, dried fruit soaked in rum, cigar box and coffee. Needs a lot of time to appreciate.

Finish: Big, big big! The flavours go on and on, particularly the savoury notes of wood, leather and spice.

Dave first visited Karuizawa a decade ago, arriving on a train packed full of skiers eager to hit the slopes (the town is an affluent holiday resort): ‘You’re in the middle of the mountains and there is snow everywhere. It’s a place where the elite of Tokyo go to get away from the heat. It’s a chic place.’ When Dave toured the distillery, he was told by staff that they never considered Karuizawa to be sold as a single malt. One employee said to him, ‘We think of Karuizawa as a soldier.’

Whisky number three was made in 1981, aged in a sherry cask and bottled at a hefty 60.3%. Dave likened it to a Brothers Grimm fairy tale: ‘It’s a bit of a beast… don’t go into the woods… there’s a slightly dangerous air to this whisky.’


KARUIZAWA 1981, 60.3% ABV

Nose: Fresh, with menthol eucalyptus aromas, with floral, minty, sponge-cake notes. Not heavy on the nose at all.

Palate: Bigger flavours now: dark chocolate, toffee, crème brûlée, but that floral freshness is still there, bringing in a clean, refreshing note to what is an intruigingly sturdy whisky, packed with Christmas-cake spices, dried fruit and leather-book notes.

Finish: Everything in balance, with the fresh mintiness counteracting the rich fruit and spice.

The other reason so many casks of Karuizawa were allowed to gather dust in the warehouse was because the Japanese whisky market took a downturn in the late 1980s, and the owners waited – in vain in this particular case – for things to improve. The distillery was eventually mothballed in 2000. Attempts to buy the distillery have fallen on deaf ears, and the site remains locked and disused. ‘Karuizawa could have been saved,’ said Dave. ‘Port Ellen and Brora probably couldn’t have been.’

The fourth whisky of the Masterclass was from 1970 and in marked contrast to the whisky that preceded it.



Nose: Alcohol prickle, rich spiciness with heady aromas of cinnamon, mulled wine and raisins, then hot buttered toast, brioche and cookie dough. Very enticing.

Palate: So much sherry-cask influence – boozy raisins, dried fruit and sweet spice – ramped up by exotic sandalwood and incense notes. Bit of a crowd-pleaser, this one, with the classic fruit-and-spice combo that sherried whisky fans crave.

Finish: The rich dried fruit lasts longest, but it’s jazzed up by warm spiciness. Powerful but not over the top.

The fifth and final whisky had never been seen before. An ultra-rare 1983 Karuizawa, limited to just 50 bottles, and bottled specially for the Masterclass. After tasting it, Dave said it was ‘like walking into a fine antiques shop’.

This 1983 Karuizawa was created specially for the Masterclass. Only 50 bottles exist (© Simon J Hanna)


Karuizawa 1983, 59.1% ABV

Nose: Rich, gooey chocolate cake is the first aroma that hits you, quickly followed by roasted almonds and hazelnuts and woody spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. There’s a lovely heady blast of Madeira-soaked fruit mixed with molasses and crème brûlée, with a welcome freshness, too.

Palate: The spiciness is more pronounced on the palate. The dark chocolate is still there, but it’s Maya Gold with a sprinkling of pink peppercorns and ground espresso. Weighty toffee fudge and burnt treacle are enlivened by Morello cherry notes, and extra complexity arrives in the form of leather-bound books, linseed oil, sandalwood and cigar box.

Finish: Fresh, fruity notes counteract the rich chocolate and spicy character, creating a beautifully balanced finish.

The five whiskies were all big and beautiful, rich, spicy and generous, but all so different, much more than I’d expected. Of course, the dried-fruit and Christmas-cake spices were all there, but we went from light and playful (29yo bourbon) to dark and brooding (1981) and finished with a bells-and-whistles bottling whose flavours went on and on (1983).

This unique tasting raised £225,000 for charity; thanks must go to all those who contributed by attending this Masterclass. They were rewarded with five diverse, delicious whiskies from a distillery that will never produce another bottle. Dave concluded: ‘A tasting like this is a warning. This shouldn’t happen again. Other distilleries shouldn’t go through the same fate as Karuizawa.’

If you wish to find out more about the charities involved, you can by clicking the links below: Community Action Nepal

Help Nepal Network

Maiti Nepal

The Nepal Trust

Your One Wish

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 – Whisky News

Coming Soon….

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016

Bulk-Available-Soon (4)

Rupert Patrick, CEO and Co-founder of WhiskyInvestDirect, is Interviewed at Malt – Whisky News


Rupert Patrick, CEO and Co-founder of WhiskyInvestDirect, is Interviewed at Malt

WhiskyInvestDirect is a new investment company that allows anyone to invest in a cask of whisky – without having to pay for the whole cask. It effectively crowd-sources investment. Rupert Patrick co-founded the businesses, after a long career in the whisky industry, and he is interviewed at whisky website Malt. Rupert talks about how the business came about, how anyone can invest, their plans are to release their own whisky, the state of the industry, and the perception of Scotch whisky to investors.

To read the interview visit

For more information email

Link to interview here

Compass Box “This Is Not A Luxury Whisky” at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


Compass Box “This Is Not A Luxury Whisky” Limited Edition Scotch Whisky 750ml ( $249.99)

This whisky is a TEXTBOOK John Glaser whisky, the esteemed head blender of Compass Box. It’s so subtle and nuanced, not meant for those who want big, bold, and brash. It’s a big wave of ripe stonefruit, sweet grain, soft vanilla, and waves of toasted oak. It’s like I’m tasting Scotch again for the first time. Made from: 79% 19 year old Glen Ord in sherry; 10.1% 40 year old Strathclyde; 6.9% 40 year old Girvan; and 4% 30 year old Caol Ila. This is where I’ll have to beg to differ with John. This is the definition of luxury whisky. It’s like a super high-end version of Johnnie Blue, but 1000x better and bottled at cask strength. More please!!! (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

K&L Wine Merchants
Phone: 877-KLWines (toll free 877-559-4637)
San Francisco, Redwood City, Hollywood CA


New Limited Edition Release from the Isle of Arran Distillery – Scotch Whisky News

AA Arran Bothy

Come Home to a Bottle of Bothy

New Limited Edition Release from the Isle of Arran Distillery

Monday 19th October: The award-winning Isle of Arran Distillery has today launched its latest limited edition bottling. Named for the modest dwellings that were common to the highlands and islands, The Bothy Quarter Cask was matured in small barrels reminiscent of those used in the whisky trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The multi-vintage Arran Single Malt selected for The Bothy was initially matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels. It was then transferred for secondary maturation into smaller casks, made of the finest American oak.

This process produces far greater contact between the whisky and oak and a faster, more intense maturation. The end result is a full-bodied expression of The Arran Malt.

James MacTaggart, Master Distiller at the distillery said: “The centuries-old history of whisky making on the island is at the heart of everything we do and with this new bottling we’ve captured those traditions.

“There are only 12,000 bottles available worldwide so we expect this edition to be highly sought-after. The picturesque artwork on the bottle, coupled with a superior dram laden with heritage, makes this a beautiful collector’s item as well as a fantastic whisky to drink and savour.”

Evoking the scents and colours of autumn, The Bothy has a nose of sandalwood, malty barley and damp oak. A sweet palatte with the Arran character of fresh pineapple, green apples and toasted brioche is enriched with a kick of red chilli. Finishing with refreshing citrus notes, The Bothy delivers all the complexity and richness for which the distillery is well renowned.

Bottled at Natural Cask Strength 55.7% abv, The Bothy Quarter Cask will be available at specialist whisky shops and from 11am on the 19th October priced at £54.99. 


For more information visit

* 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 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.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society “OCTOBER & EARLY NOVEMBER TASTINGS” – Scotch Whisky News

AA SMWS Nov Previews


Cheese & Whisky Tasting – The Vaults – Thu 29 Oct  More >

Manchester Exclusive Tasting – Malmaison – Fri 30 Oct  More >

Cheltenham Exclusive Tasting – Hotel du Vin & Bistro – Sat 31 Oct  More >

Melrose Exclusive Tasting – Town House Hotel – Sat 31 Oct  More >

Which Whisky is Witch? – 28 Queen St – Sat 31 Oct  More >

Ian Macleod and Glengoyne Distillery – The Vaults – Mon 2 Nov  More >

New List Open Tasting – 19 Greville St – Sat 7 Nov  More >

Steak & Whisky Tasting – 19 Greville St – Mon 9 Nov  More >

Society Preview Extravaganza – 28 Queen St – Tue 10 Nov  More >

Big November Outturn Preview – The Vaults – Thu 12 Nov  More >

Cambridge Exclusive Tasting – The Gonville Hotel – Fri 13 Nov  More >

Leeds Exclusive Tasting – Malmaison – Fri 13 Nov  More >

Whisky and Chocolate Tasting – 19 Greville St – Mon 16 Nov  More >



Sherry & Wine Casks Theme Night >  Mon 26 Oct

Islands & Campeltown Theme Night >  Mon 9 Nov

The Vaults Poker Night >  Mon 16 Nov

Browse All Tastings


Whisky Online Auctions’s Specialist Angus MacRaild will be presenting seven old and rare bottles at The Vaults on Friday 20 November, talking about bottle valuation, the allure of old bottlings and the history and collect-ability of the SMWS bottlings. Call 01253 620376 to book.  More details & booking >

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact:mailto:sales@smws.comor 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

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