Archive for March, 2017

Scotch Whisky Auctions 72nd Auction Now Live – Whisky Auction News


Hi folks. We are live with the 72nd auction – our biggest ever and with something for everyone.

Enjoy – and remember: Don’t Lose Your Bottle!

SWA header

Malt Box Reviews Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon – American Whiskey News


Andy at Malt Box reviews the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon @maltbox

Please click HERE to view.


History in the making ~ Strathearn’s Cask Ownership Scheme Returns – Scotch Whisky News


History in the making

Strathearn’s Cask Ownership Scheme Returns

One of Scotland’s Scotland’s smallest distilleries, Strathearn, has revealed they will reintroduce their elite Private Cask Ownership Scheme, giving customers the chance to own their own whisky or rum cask.

Whisky aficionados can purchase a 40 litre cask or a 100 litre oak cask with a variety of types on offer including Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Maderia, Portuguese Brandy and more. Strathearn’s Cask Aged Golden Rum will also be available to purchase in 30 litre casks.

Working on a single cask basis has allowed Strathearn to experiment with different wood types and finishes, as well as learning to appreciate the natural variations that occur throughout spirit production, influenced by the climate and ingredients.

Tony Reeman-Clark, Founder of Strathearn Distillery said: “We are excited to reintroduce our ‘club’ which allows our customers from around the world to own a little piece of our distillery history. Being VisitScotland’s Year of History and Heritage, our ownership scheme couldn’t come at a better time.

“So far, we’ve only released the first batch of our Single Malt Scotch Whisky and are yet to unveil our Scottish rum so it is great to be able to offer a huge variety of finishes, catering to all tastes. We believe rum is the next big thing in the Scottish spirits scene so there’s no better way to allow people to get their hands on a whole cask of a true pioneering Scottish spirit.”

Originally the Private Ownership Scheme was introduced by Strathearn to pay homage to The Wash Act of 1784, where simplified rates of duty were applied to small scale distilleries north of the Highland line. The Scheme embraces the ethos and the simplicity of the 1784 act.

The casks are exclusively available through the Strathearn Distillery website and will vary in price according to spirit, finish and size. The casks will be limited and offered on a first come, first fill basis.

For more information on Strathearn Distillery or the Private Cask Ownership Scheme please visit


  • Strathearn Distillery was established in 2013 by Tony Reeman-Clark who has a passion for whisky and small scale distilling.  Production began in the October of 2013, with their first cask being filled with Strathearn new-make spirit. After three years of maturation, the first bottles of Scotch Whisky were auctioned off in December 2016.
  • Strathearn produces a range of highly acclaimed Scottish gins, experimenting with innovative production techniques and flavour profiles.
  • Strathearn has created a range of spirits, their soon to be released Golden Rum is being distilled now.


Victoria Highland Games Whisky School 2017 May 20th to 22nd, 2017 – Whisky School News



Saturday May 20th 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Whiskies of the World
Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!
with Roberto Roberti & Fountana Beverage

Join Roberto Roberti on a tasting of whiskies from around the world, highlighting classic regions as well as some “off the beaten path”. This around-the-world flight will showcase the wide array of possibilities employed by global whisky producers.

Saturday May 20th 1:45 – 2:45 PM

Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!
with Roberto Roberti & Fountana Beverage

Classic Highland malts meet the newest offerings from Islay in this sampling of whiskies from Tullibardine and Kilchoman. Roberto Roberti will lead you through a tasting of whiskies from both distilleries, and will preview a dram brand new to BC.

Saturday May 20th 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Roberto Roberti & Fountana Beverage

Climate has an effect on the production and ageing of whisky. Roberto Roberti will guide you through a tasting featuring premiere whiskies produced in distinctly warmer regions of the globe.

Sunday May 21st 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Regions of Scotland, The Beautiful Myth
Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Andrew Campbell Walls & Macaloney Distillers

A discussion of the regions of Scotland and their flavour profiles. Leading into the prevalent myth of terroir and the reality that still shape and production methods are more important that water source and terroir.

Sunday May 21st 1:45 – 2:45 PM

The Douglas Laing Scottish Regional Malt Collection
Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Stacy Kyle of Rare Drams

Remarkable Regional Malts; Containing some of the very best Single Malts from their respective regions, Timorous Beastie from the Highlands, Scallywag from Speyside, Rock Oyster from the Islands and Big Peat from Islay, Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts deliver the Ultimate Distillation of Scotland’s Malt Whisky regions

Sunday May 21st 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Nature vs. Nurture, the Oak Masterclass
Price $35 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Andrew Campbell Walls & Macaloney Distillers

With 50-70% of a whiskies flavour profile coming from the cask it is matured in, it is important to understand the differences between oak types and fill types.


Monday May 22nd 12:00 – 1:30 PM

Whisky and Local Food Pairing
Price: $45.00 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Bill Jones

Join Deerholme Farm owner, Cookbook Author and Celebrity Chef, Bill Jones as he guides you through a sensory journey pairing single malt whiskies with delectable local food choices. Bill will lead you through a variety of local food choices paired with outstanding whiskies. For more information on Bill, visit

Monday May 22nd 2:45PM – 3:45 PM

Whisky and Local Charcuterie Pairing
Price: $45.00 – 45 attendees. Buy Now!

with Corey Pelan.

New to the whisky school this year, join The Whole Beast Owner Corey Pelan as he leads you through a selection of local made charcuterie paired with outstanding single malt whiskies. For more information on Corey and The Whole Beast, visit

Spirit of Toronto Tickets on Sale Today at 10am – Whisky News


Tickets on sale (TODAY) Monday March 27 at 10:00am

This is your reminder: tickets for Spirit of Toronto 2017 go on sale this morning, Monday March 27, at 10:00am!

These may be purchased as follows:

  • In person at Roy Thomson Hall’s box office at 60 Simcoe Street
  • By calling Roy Thomson Hall’s box office at (416) 872-4255
  • Online through Roy Thomson Hall’s website

Buying tickets online for several people? Please keep reading!

Masterclasses: the more, the merrier?

May we make a suggestion based on feedback from our regular guests?

If this is your first time coming to the show, one masterclass will be plenty, leaving you with ample time to explore the tasting halls, take in some live jazz and see why everyone is queuing for the prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.

For those determined to attend masterclasses at both 7pm and 8:30pm, please allow enough time to check-in, check your jacket, collect your glass and event programme, and queue for the class itself. But please keep in mind that attending two classes leaves little time to enjoy the event itself


Buying Multiple Tickets Online

If you are buying multiple tickets and wish to attend different masterclasses than your fellow ticketholders, please note that you will be required to build these different selections as separate packages before proceeding to the checkout to pay for the full order.

Furthermore please note that masterclasses cannot be purchased without including a ticket to Spirit of Toronto as part of your package.

For example…

Buying tickets to the show for yourself and a friend, but planning on attending different masterclasses? Purchase your tickets as follows…

Select the following as Package #1 and and click ‘Continue’:

Sat 5/6/17 6:30PM Spirit of Toronto 2017 Sat 5/6/17 5:30PM Balvenie Malt Master Memories Sat 5/6/17 7:00PM Bowmore’s Hidden Depths

You will then be prompted for the number of tickets being purchased for Package #1, after which you may either “Go to Cart” to pay for your purchase, or “Build Another Package” to select a different grouping of masterclasses as Package #2:

Sat 5/6/17 6:30PM Spirit of Toronto 2017 Sat 5/6/17 5:30PM Legends of Bourbon Sat 5/6/17 8:30PM Bunnahabhain: Islay’s HIdden Gem

When finished building all your packages you may now select ‘Go to Cart’ to review your order and proceed to the checkout page.

There’s always standby…

Didn’t get the classes you wanted? Not much of a planner? There may still be hope: any empty seats courtesy of no-shows will be assigned to those waiting on standby. Note that this only applies to the classes at 7pm and 8:30pm; please review the About section of the website for more details.

Springbank Society Newsletter – Scotch Whisky News


Springbank Society 

How are we all?

Feels like we haven’t spoken in ages. Don’t worry, you will hear from me a lot more in the next few months. For today, however, I am very happy to drop you all this quick, little email to tell you about Spirit of Freedom which is available in the UK Cadenhead shops now. Containing 62 different Scotch Whiskies, this blend is the perfect dram for the 62% ahead of Article 50.

Tasting notes:

Nose – A lovely introduction to this whisky; sweet and fresh with a minty background. It then becomes really fruity with apricots, bananas and pears.

Palate – A light and easy-drinking dram.The fruity theme continues with melon and raspberries, combined with vanilla cream; a Scottish malty panna cotta.

Finish – You’ll want to share it with your pals or then again, maybe better to keep it to yourself, it’s very moreish and buttery.

Please see the advert above for full details or check out our website.

It will likely retail at about £25.00; please contact your preferred retailer or stockist if you would like a bottle.

And although I am sure you will know this, please be aware of the following:

  • This is not a Society bottle
  • This is not a core range product

Swedish Society Members

Our Springbank Burgundy and Hazelburn Barolo are being launched in Sweden today (Thursday 23rd March 17). The Springbank Burgundy 12yo has been matured in Fresh Burgundy Casks and bottled at cask strength 53.5%vol. The tasting notes for this (as included in the newsletter back in June):

Nose:  Bold and rich with mineral and dunnage warehouse notes combining with maple syrup, pancetta, cranberry and red currants.

Palate:  A soft velvet like texture with buttered brown toast and chocolate shortbread complimenting light herb & oak notes.

Finish:  A medium dry finish gives up liquorice and mint accompanied woody tannins

The Hazelburn 9yo Barolo (57.9% abv) spent 6 years in a fresh bourbon cask and then 3 years in a refill Barolo wine cask (which had previously contained Springbank).

Nose: The dram begins with perfume and confectionary, then the essence of sugared almonds is revealed, complimented by the sweetness of sherbet

Palate: Peppery with light tannins and the sweetness is continued with dry fruits and the subtle hint of coconut shavings

Finish: Sugary, with dark chocolate guiding us throughout the pineapple custard combined with vanilla

Please click on the link here for all the details you need.

I will be speaking to you all again very soon, in fact I will be in touch so often you will be tired of hearing from me.

Until then,



For the Springbank Society

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Instagram –  Search Springbank Whisky (@springbankwhisky1828)

The English Whisky Company “Finally the secret’s out… Malt ‘n’ Rye is here!” – English Whisky News


Ralfy Publishes Ralfy Review #636 – Scotch Whisky News


Ralfy gets busy about barley with Ralfy Review 636 – Springbank Local Barley 11yo @ 46%vol

Oban: West Coast Whisky Feis – Scotch Whisky News


Oban: West Coast Whisky Feis 

A new whisky festival to be held in Oban, written by Paul McLean of MCLEANSCOTLAND

Gather your strength and gather your pennies … there will be a superb new whisky festival in Oban this July, we will be there and it would nice to see as many friends as possible, to support this new festival.  So where? When? What? And Who?

Where? My hometown, Oban, gateway to the isles and the capital of seafood in Scotland.  It’s only a few hundred yards from Oban Distillery, where you are surrounded by great pubs, food outlets, shops and of course – accommodation, our advice, stay the night, or like Liz and myself, make it a weekend! Just over the water on Mull is another distillery; Tobermory, with an excellent pub within spittin’ distance, owned by a pal of ours, Macgochans Bar.

When? From 12pm – 6pm on Saturday, 22 July, at Oban’s Skipinnish Cèilidh House.

What?  West Coast Whisky Feis, the brainchild of local drinks retailer, Oban Whisky and Fine Wines, good pals of ours by the way (I think everyone in the drinks industry are friends!).  Skipinnish Ceilidh House will host a range of exhibits from west coast distilleries and food stalls highlighting local producers.

And who? Scotland’s west coast distillers. Distilleries such as Isle of Arran, Caol Ila and Ben Nevis. The local Diageo-owned Oban Distillery will also hold on-site master classes a couple of hundred yards away, based around their world famous whiskies.

Euan Finlayson, owner of Oban Whisky and Fine Wines, said, “We wanted to create an event that shows off the incredible whiskies that the west coast has to offer. The aim is to offer a range of whiskies and master classes that can appeal to newcomers and aficionados alike.”


Ticket holders will receive a dram glass and will be able to take samples from all of the exhibitors. There will also be a nosing competition where attendees can attempt to identify various whiskies by smell alone, with a bottle of single malt whisky up for grabs. Samples are included in the event ticket price and master classes are available for an additional fee. Tickets cost £30, available; – the official website, go and soak up the aromas of this new dramfest. The good news just got better, they are offering subsidised UK & worldwide shipping from the Fèis shop within the venue, so no need to be stuck carrying bottles around with you when the shows over.  Whisky Fix is a company specialising in single malt scotch whisky, for whisky lovers, connoisseurs and collectors alike. Working closely with distillery partners to offer very rare and collectable whisky along with your everyday whisky needs. So if you have been looking for a certain bottle to complete that collection, get in touch, you never know.

For any help with this new fest or interested in whisky tours around Scotland and Ireland,

ask Paul and Liz;  We can certainly assist with add on dates before/after this event.

oban by ian with text

Whisky writer is the envy of thousands as he lands top job at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News

Sean Murphy

Whisky writer is the envy of thousands as he lands top job at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

Writer, barman, foodie, whisky aficionado – Sean Murphy wears many different hats in the course of his day-to-day working life. And now he is about to add another job title to the collection with a role that is widely considered to be the most sought-after job at one of the world’s leading Scotch whisky festivals.

Sean has been appointed as judge in the Best New Event competition at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – a role that will see him visit five brand new events to the Festival programme and determine which one whets his appetite.

It’s a position that Sean, who is based in Glasgow, was only too happy to accept after making his inaugural visit to the Festival last year. During his five days at the event, he was amazed at just how much could be crammed into one visit and the range of activities on offer.

This year there are almost 500 events taking place across the Speyside region from April 27 to May 1. From exclusive behind the scenes distillery tours to the chance to meet the people who put their hearts and souls into the region’s most famous export, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is truly unique.

Sean says he has become the envy of colleagues and friends since his appointment was announced, and he feels a little overwhelmed that such an important task has been placed in his hands.

He adds, “I’ve promised the people that I’ve spoken to about it that I’m there in an official capacity and not just to enjoy myself, although most of them don’t believe me when I say that. There’s some envy there, certainly!

“What I discovered last year is that the Festival itself is expansive. I don’t think I was prepared for how spread out it would be or that there would be so many events, but in the end I realised that was the beauty of it.

“The events were varied and never boring and it was amazing to meet so many people who were as massively passionate – if not more so – than I was about the subject.”

Five events have been shortlisted for the coveted Best New Event title and it seems that they have already proved a hit with this year’s revellers, as tickets have been in high demand.

Sean will have his scorecard at the ready for the first stop on his tour – Whisky Tasting: The World of Duty Free Whiskies. The event, organised by The Whisky Shop Dufftown, is with critically acclaimed spirits writers Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison and participants will take an immersive flight of unusual whiskies only available from travel retail.

He will then hook himself a rare opportunity to meet a man who most definitely enjoys a little water with his whisky – ghillie Robert Mitchell, who works on beats of the River Spey owned by The Macallan.

During The Macallan Ghillie’s Tour and BBQ Lunch, Sean and the other participants will be able to chat to Robert about his life on the river, before walking one-and-a-half miles along the mighty Spey while he shares the secrets of its salmon pools. He’ll then host a BBQ lunch at one of the distillery’s fishing huts before sharing one of his favourite drams of The Macallan.

Sean will then be at Speyside Cooperage, which was the scene of one of his favourite events from 2016. He was one of a handful of visitors who witnessed the blackening of two apprentice coopers – an ancient ritual which marked the pair becoming fully-fledged coopers – which went on to win the Best New Event award last year.

This year Speyside Cooperage will be setting up four coopers in a head to head battle in a bid to set a new world record for the fastest time to build a 190-litre barrel. The minimum requirement to achieve the record is seven minutes and 30 seconds.

Speyside’s whisky smugglers will be the focus for the Glenlivet Smugglers’ One Life Livet Tour by Glenlivet Hill Trek. During the tour, experienced guides will take guests to historic sites not usually open to the public on foot and on eight-wheel drive argocat vehicles.

They will enjoy drams of malt whiskies, lunch in a renovated stone bothy on the slopes of Carn Liath and finish off with a guided tour of The Glenlivet Distillery, which became the first licensed distillery in the Glenlivet Valley after the Excise Act of 1823.

The final stop for Sean and his scorecards will be the Mortlach History and Whisky Walk organised by the Seven Stills historic inn and malt whisky bar. During the tour with a qualified guide, participants will walk just over a mile, enjoying drams of Mortlach along the way.

Although the focus will be on learning about the history of the dram and distillery, Celtic monks, grave robbers, excisemen and the temperance movement in Dufftown will also be among the topics up for discussion.

Sean has excellent pedigree for the role of judge: his passion for the amber nectar blossomed into life when he started working at Glasgow’s famous whisky watering hole, The Potstill. His cousin now owns the bar, and Sean continues to do the odd shift when he’s not writing about food and drink for The Scotsman newspaper.

During his time at the 2016 Festival, Sean was surprised at just how accessible the key players in the industry were and did not realise there would be opportunities to come face to face with the distillery managers, master distillers, blenders and ambassadors that are so critical to the industry.

The fact that he was able to meet to many of his own whisky heroes – including the likes of writers Ian Buxton, Charlie McLean and Dave Broom – made it all the more memorable for him.

Sean believes that interaction is the key to a successful event, and is excited to see what organisers have been able to put together. Sean says, “The mention of a Guinness World Record attempt caught my eye, I think that will be an exciting prospect.

“The Macallan Ghillie tour will also be very interesting. I’m intrigued to see a different side to the Spey and specifically the fishing that goes on there. The events look as varied and as enticing as last year and I can’t wait to attend them and see what the different teams come up with this year.

“Interaction is hugely important, either in the activity itself or giving people the chance to meet the producers and teams who work so tirelessly to create these stunning whiskies.

“A unique offering is also something I’m keen on. Getting the chance to experience something like the blackening event last year – an event that only a few people have been privileged enough to enjoy – is hugely important.

“Overall though, I think the ability to deliver something interesting and fun will be most important to me. Seeing people’s reaction to the events will definitely effect my judgement of them.”

Based in the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky country, the five-day Festival has events from Kingussie in the south to Forres in the west and Buckie in the east. The programme includes almost 500 different events, from whisky tastings to whisky walks.

More information about the event is available at and tickets are also available to buy on the website. The Festival is active on social media – and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram17.

Picture caption: Sean Murphy has landed a plum role at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – the writer and whisky enthusiast has been appointed as sole judge in the best new event competition.

SOSWF Awards 2017 Finalist Line Up


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