Malt Messenger No. 72 – Irish Whiskey Edition – Whiskey News

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Looking for a way to celebrate on this St. Patrick’s Day? We have a very interesting Irish Whiskey tasting at the shop with Evan if you’re looking for an opportunity to raise a glass to the Irish. At the time of writing there are just two tickets left for Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 7PM, $50. Formerly know as Pure Pot or simply, Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Single Pot Irish Whiskey is the most Irish of whiskey styles and we have a great range of them planned! Call 403-283-8000 to register.

While on the subject of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Whiskey, we have a special focus in this edition of the Malt Messenger on Irish Whiskey. While Scottish single malts hog most of the attention, and real estate on our shelves, Irish whiskey is experiencing a resurgence of interest, demand and most importantly supply. While there were just two Irish Distilleries operating between 1975 and 1987, one of which produced almost all of the brands, there are now 16 distilleries operating with close to a dozen more in various stages of planning.

We have a great single malt tasting coming up this Monday night with Andrew Laing of Hunter Laing & Co. We will be featuring whiskies from the First Editions and Old Malt Cask lines. Andrew is even bringing advanced samples of three whiskies currently on the water. Tickets are just $35, and there are only 8 left. More details below.

Our biggest tasting(s) of the year is also upcoming. We have two seatings for Ancient Malts, Wednesday March 29 and Thursday March 30. The cost is $200, for a range of whiskies that retails for more than $10,000.00. We have a pair of whiskies nearly 50 year old from 1967, a closed distillery bottling from 1966 and as if that were not enough, we are opening one of the 5 bottles of Tullibardine 1970 Custodians Collection that are coming to Alberta (two of the others have sold). More details and a teaser photo of the tasting below.

We also have a couple of exciting pre-order announcements. We are expecting a very cool Blended Malt in the next few weeks. The Infamous 22 Year, is actually a 23 year old whisky, bottled at 50%, a marriage of two legendary single malt whiskies. The other whisky available for pre-order is the Arbeg Kelpie. Kelpie is the 2017 Ardbeg Day special release, and should be here in time for Ardbeg Day. The whisky is matured in Ex-Bourbon but also Virgin Oak!

Finally, our full Spring Tasting Schedule will be online at the end of the month. Knowing our friends and customers can’t wait that long for everything, we have opened the new April tastings for registration today. Get em while they’re hot! The 5 April spirits tastings are detailed below.

I hope this message finds you well, and that you have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day… My advice, why bother drinking anything died green, when there is plenty of fine golden amber spirits to enjoy? That’s what the Leprechauns would go for!


In This Edition

  1. Hunter Laing Tasting with Andrew Laing, Monday!
  2. Ancient Malts Is Two Weeks Away
  3. Spring Tasting Schedule Teaser
  4. Coming Soon Ardbeg Kelpie
  5. Coming Soon The Infamous 22 Year
  6. Focus on Irish Whiskey

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

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Hunter Laing with Andrew Laing 

7 Whiskies, Monday March 20, Just $35

Even though it was short notice we jumped at the opportunity to welcome Andrew Laing, ofHunter Laing & Co. for a tasting at KWM on Monday March 20. For just $35 you will be guided through a range of older single malts from their family run firm known for the Old Malt Cask, Old & Rare and First Editions lines. Andrew is bringing with him 3 bottles not yet released in Alberta for the tasting, including First Edition Braeval 18 Year and Old Malt Cask Craigellachie 20 Year! A bargain priced tasting at => - $35

Call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!


Ancient Malts is Two Weeks Away! 

Two nights, a $10,000.00 range of whiskies! 

It has been a while since we’ve held the last round of Ancient Malts at Kensington Wine Market. Rare and old whiskies are getting harder and harder to come by, and the prices for them are only going in one direction. So you can imagine our excitement when we realized we could get our hands on a pair of 1967 single malts, and a 1966. Our first thoughts turned to, how on earth can we get these open for a tasting! Rounding out the range has not been easy, but we have put together what we feel is a stellar lineup for our March 29th and 30th seatings of Ancient Malts. $200 may seem like a steep price to pay, but not when you consider it is for a chance to sample a range of whiskies worth North of $10,000.00. Two nights only, with a lineup never to be repeated…

Can’t quite make out the destails on the bottles in the photo? Here’s what is confirmed for the lineup:

  1. Gordon Macphail Longmorn 1967 – $2000
  2. Celebration of the Cask Caol Ila 1981 – $830
  3. Tullibarine 1970 Custodians Collection – $2000
  4. Gordon Macphail Rare Old Banff 1966 – $2500
  5. Gordon MacPhail Strathisla 1967 – $2000

Register Online, or by phone at 403-283-8000! 

Spring Tasting Schedule Teaser 

The first month of an epic 3 month schedule is now open for registration!

2017 is our 25th Anniversary, and we are celebrating bigly! (That’s a word now right?) We have an epic assortment of tastings, especially on the spirits side of the equation for the months of April through June. While the whole schedule won’t be up until the end of the month (May & June), we have opened up our April tastings for registration. Get em while they’re hot!

  1. Classic Malts – Tuesday April 11 – Our introduction to the world of Single Malt Scotch whisky. You’ll learn about different styles and regions while enjoying a fine range of drams. – $35
  2. GlenDronach Batch 14 – Thursday April 13 – The 9 oldest whiskies from GlenDronach’s 14th release of single casks. You’ll be in sherry-bomb heaven as we sample vintages 1985 and 1990 through to 1996. – $150
  3. Chateau Montifaud Cognacs – Thursday April 20 – Welcome our first exclusive bottling of this 1992 Cognac to mark our 25th Anniversary!  Please join us for a master class directed by Sophie Cabanes from Chateau Montifaud. – $35
  4. East of Scotland – Tuesday April 25 – While the Japanese have been making world class whisky for nearly 100 years, India, Taiwan and Australia are recent arrivals to the game and deservedly gaining an international reputation too! - $100 
  5. Hidden Gems of the Highlands – Thursday April 27 – Blair Athol, Glenturret, Aberfeldy and Royal Brackla are but a few of the stalwart yet little known and mostly unheralded Highland distilleries we’ll feature to shed light on some of the lesser known distilleries. – $60

Call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!


Coming Soon – The Ardbeg Kelpie 

The 2017 Ardbeg Day Edition is available for Pre-Order!

The Ardbeg Day 2017 special release is Ardbeg Kelpie, a whisky produced with a heart of virgin oak and Black Sea casks, married with “hallmark” ex-Bourbon matured Ardbeg. The whisky is a limited release bottled at 46%.

Ardbeg Kelpie – 46% – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: a wonderful, intense, ‘dancing’ nose, with lots of different, intertwined aromas – powerful, oily peat, dark chocolate, smoked fish, hints of seaweed, and a curious sharp herbal note. Waves of spicy, black pepper. A splash of water brings forth some classic Ardbeg notes, such as creamy coffee, smoked fudge and pine resin. Even some hints of smoked coconut. Palate: a peppery mouthfeel is follwed by a crescendo of rich flavours. Treacle toffee, Turkish coffee, smoky bacon and lots of dark, dark chocolate. A curious burst of peachy, estery fruit, hickory wood, clove oil and a suggestion of black olives on the aftertaste. Finish: seemingly lasting for ever, with deep, deep, almost subterranean flavours of clove, tar and rich toffee.” - $140 Available for Pre-Order!


Coming Soon – The Infamous 22 Year 

An old Blended Malt of two Legendary Whiskies – Available for Pre-Order!

This is an amazing value Blended Malt Whisky, 50% abv and 22

years of age. The producers can’t disclose the whiskies used to produce it, but we are under no such restrictions… The whisky is composed of lightly peated Orcadian single malt and a heavily sherried and sought after Speyside whisky, married at 22 years of age. The sherry Speyside notes complement the soft oily peat smoke of the Orcadian malt nicely. This one is a steal!

J Wheelock says: “Heavily sherried malt from a luxury Speyside producer that rhymes with Jack Fallon and a lightly peated Island Malt that has more in common with Vikings than Braveheart!”

The Infamous 22 Year Blended Malt - 50% – My Tasting Note: Nose: starts decadent and fruity, cocoa nibs emerge with peachy floral tones, jujubes and wine gums; the sherried tones catch up first: candied nuts, leather and dark fruits with crisp spices; then the peat chimes in: soft earthy peat oils, maritime tones and clean smoke. Palate: big, rich and fruity; oily and spicy with dark fruits and more clean smoke; Christmas cake balances nicely with creamed heather honey; becomes leathery and more meaty (it’s bacon…) with building firm spice and we leaf litter; more cocoa nibs, salted caramel and soft peat oils. Finish: long, rich and very layered; dark fruits and spices with earthy oils; the sherry, spices and clean smoke linger longest! Comment: this is a big whisky and a great cigar malt; I imagine a great Speyside stag rearing on its hind legs about to clash with a Viking warrior from the Orkneys!” - $110 Available for Pre-Order!

Focus on Irish Whiskey 

An Industry In Full Renaissance! 

The 20th Century was a tumultuous time for Irish Whiskey. At the end of the 19th Century Ireland’s whisky was the most respected in the world. A series of unfortunate events however lead to a rapid and almost fatal decline in the late 1910s and early 1920s. When the New Midleton Distillery opened in 1975 it was one of but two distilleries left operating on the Emerald Isle, the other being Bushmills in Northern Ireland.

The Industry’s recovery was slow to take hold, slowly picking up steam in the 1980s. The first new distillery, Cooley, a converted potato ethanol plant, was opened by Jack Teeling in 1987. Cooley reopened Ireland’s oldest distillery, Kilbeggan in 2007, and that is when things really started to get rolling. As of November 2016 there were 16 operational distilleries in Ireland, including a new Tullamore Distillery and the Teeling Distillery (opened by Jack Teeling), Dublin’s first distillery to be built in Dublin in over 125 years. And there are at least as many more new distilleries on the way. Like the song say, “The futures so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Here is a rundown of 30 Irish whiskies available from KWM. Far from a complete list, we sure there are more than a couple herein to temp your taste buds. And yes, we have a thing Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey… it is after all the most Irish of whiskies!

  1. Berry’s Craoi Na Mona – Craoi Na Mona is an Irish Whiskey bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd. What makes it a little bit different is that it is finished in ex-Islay whisky barrels sourced from Laphroaig. This gives this Irish Whiskey just a hint of peat and smoke. – $83
  2. Blackadder Drop of the Irish - A cask strength single cask Irish whiskey by Blackadder, under their Drop of the Irish line. Probably Cooley, but we don’t know for sure. 60.4% from a single hogshead. One of 286 bottles, only a dozen are coming to KWM! – $150
  3. Bushmills 10 Year - Though it claims to be the world’s oldest whiskey distillery, the claim is debatable. What is not up for debate is the quality of this tripple distilled whiskey! Matured for at least 10 years in bourbon season barrels which give it it’s honey, vanilla and milk chocolate aroma. – $50
  4. Connemara Peated – Connemara is a peated single malt from the Cooley Distillery. The malt is an example of what most Irish whiskies would have tasted like historically! Connemara’s smooth sweet malt taste and complex peat flavours makes it a truly unique Irish whiskey. – $65
  5. Connemara Cask Strength – This is one of the only cask strength Irish whiskey, let alone peated Irish single malt. Sweet, dry, smoky & spicy. – $72
  6. Dunville’s Old Irish Whiskey PXComing soon! This is a stunning new Irish Whiskey, bottled by Echlinville Distillery. The whisky is finished in Pedro Ximenez casks and bottled at 46%.Best Irish Single Malt under 12 Year, World Whisky Awards 2015 & 2016. – $92
  7. Green Spot – Green Spot is an 8 to 9 year old Pot Still Irish whiskey made under license for Mitchell & Son of Dublin, an independent wine merchant. 94.5pts in the Whisky Bible it is “unquestionably one of the world’s great whiskies.” – $90
  8.  Hyde 10 Year – The whisky is named for Ireland’s first President, Douglas Hyde. This 10 year old Irish single malt whiskey has been matured 10 years in Ex-Bourbon and finished for 6 months in Ex-Oloroso Sherry Butts. Bottled at 46%, this whiskey has won a number of awards. – $110
  9.  Jack Ryan 12 Year - This whiskey is a tribute to 100 years of the Ryan Family at their famous Beggars Bush pub on Haddington Road, in Dublin’s Ballsbridge. Bottled at 46%, this 12 year old Irish single malt is sourced from casks produced at the Cooley distillery. Matured in Ex-Bourbon barrels. – $110
  10. Jack Ryan 15 Year – Bottled at 46%, only 2500 bottles have been produced of this Irish Single Malt Whiskey. The whisky, probably from the Cooley distillery, has been matured in Ex-Bourbon and finished in First Fill Oloroso Sherry. – $160
  11.  Jameson Gold Irish Whiskey – This is a blended Irish whiskey, triple distilled with a high proportion of proportion of pot still whiskey, and the rest grain. The distillery decribes the casks used to mature it as Grade “A”. Bottled at 40%. - $135
  12.  Jameson 18 Year – This is a superb Jameson bottling, a blend of 2 different pot still whiskies and a grain matured in Oloroso sherry and finished in Ex-Bourbon casks for 6 months. – $135
  13. Kern Premium Irish Whiskey - Kern is blended Irish whiskey made from Irish malts and grains. The whiskey is distilled in pot stills, blended, and then aged in American oak for 3 to 5 years. – $39
  14. Kinahan’s 10 Year Single Malt Whiskey – A new to Alberta Irish Single Malt Whiskey, bottled at 46% after maturing in American oak for a minimum of 10 years. The whisky is probably from Cooley distillery. 86pts Whisky Advocate magazine. – $96
  15. Kinahan’s Small Batch Whiskey – This blended Irish whiskey is bottled at 46% after maturing in American oak. The youngest whisky in the bottle is 6 years old. 85pts Whisky Advocate. – $70
  16. Liquid Sun 2003 Irish Single Malt – Exclusive to KWM, we have just 12 bottles of this independently bottled Irish single malt coing into the store. Distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2014 after 11 years at 53.7%. – $145 – 25%off Today!
  17. Maltbarn Irish Malt 2001 – A 14 year old Cooley Irish single malt from Maltbarn, bottled at 48.3% from a Bourbon Barrel; 167 bottles! Round, chewy and malty; more pineapple and banana chips; crisp spices and orange slices in an old fashioned cocktail; more candied ginger and some licorice. – $230
  18. Midleton Barry Crocket Legacy - Released to mark the 47 years of service that Barry Crockett gave to Irish Distillers, who retired in 2013 as Master Distiller. Barry is aid to have aidded in the blending of this single pot still whiskey himself. The whisky is a mariage of light, medium and full bodied pot still whiskies up to 25 years of age. The whisky was mostly matured in American oak with some of it matured in virgin oak. – $267
  19. Powers Signature Release Single Pot Still – This single pot still Irish Whiskey has been matured primarily in American oak, with a touch of Oloroso Sherry. Bottled curiously, at 46%. Single Pot Still whiskey, is a triple distilled style of Irish whiskey comprised of both malted and unmalted barley. The spirit is distilled at the New Midleton Distillery in Cork. – $68
  20. Redbreast 12 Year - Redbreast is one of the best-known Irish whiskies on the market, and one of just a few single pot still whiskies. Complex with great depth. Huskier than Powers but that same robustness, with apple notes. – $95
  21. Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength – Canada is finally got the cask strength version of Redbreast 12 Year, and it is just $5 more than the regular. This single or pure pot still Irish whiskey is tripple distilled from a mash of malted and unmalted barley. This batch has been bottled at 57.4%. – $100
  22. Redbreast 15 Year – Until recently even the Redbreast 12 Year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey was an irregular bottling on our shelves. The 15 year old is said to be like the 12 but on steroids… we can’t wait to put that to the test! The Whisky Advocate gave it some glowing reviews, and we love the bottling strength! 46% – $115
  23. Redbreast 21 Year – The oldest single pot or pure pot still Irish whiskey to have come to Canada to date. Love the bottling strength, 46%, some of the better known Scottish distilleries could take a page from this book. The reviews are impressive, 96pts Whisky Advocate Magazine, I smell a pot still tasting coming! Matured 21 years in a combination of Ex-Bourbon and 1st fill Ex-Sherry Oloroso casks. – $220
  24. Teeling Single Malt – The whisky has no age statement, but consists of whiskies of different ages, the oldest of which were laid down into oak in 1991. The whisky is matured in American oak but finished in five different wine casks: (Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon). The whisky is bottled at 46% without colouring or chillfiltering. - $72
  25. Tullamore D. E. W. Special Reserve 10 Year - 12 Year Old Special Reserve is a carefully crafted blend of old Irish whiskeys,” according to the team at Tullamore. “Early spice accompanied by red wine while a nice nuttiness follows. A hint of citrus can also be noted. Taste: A deep robust taste with spice and linseed oil giving a creamy body and powerful flavour. Sherry notes are evident with a real depth of cinnamon and vanilla. Finish: The finish is long and rich with a creamy sherry, dark chocolate and almond taste lingering.” – $55
  26. The Whisky Agency Eiling Lim Irish Malt 1989 – This Cooley single malt is a colaboration between The Whisky Agency and Eiling Lim, distilled in 1989 and bottled after 27 years. Only 177 bottles produced from a single barrel and bottled at 45.0% – $530
  27. Tyrconnel Single Malt - A brand steeped in history and heritage Tyrconnell dates back to the glory days of Irish whiskey. Traditionally, most Irish malt has been used to create blended Irish whiskey so it is rare to find Irish malt whiskey bottled in its purest form. This pure pot-still single malt whiskey uses only barley and fresh spring water. The resulting whiskey then matures in oak casks stored in 200-year-old granite warehouses, allowing it to develop its full flavor and character. – $51
  28. West Cork – This smooth Irish Whiskey comes from West Cork Distillers. It is a blend of malt and grain Irish Whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels. – $37
  29. Writers Tears Pot Still – 93 points from Jim Murray’s The Whisky Bible. The review: “Soft honey tones which dovetail with lightening kumquat-citrus tones. Quite a curious, but always deliciously appealing animal. … The sweeter, more yielding notes dissolve with little or no resistance, leaving an acacia honeyed trail; towards the middle. a juicier malt element mingles with soft vanilla.” – $52
  30. Yellow Spot - The older sibling of Green Spot. The Yellow Spot is a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey that is at least 12 years old. Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is a style unique to Ireland in which both malted and unmalted barley is used to make the whiskey. – $90

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 All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson

Owner & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Kensington Wine Market

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