Archive for October, 2017

Vignettes ‘Moments in Whisky’ Trip to Islay by Mark Dermul – Part 3 of 4 – Scotch Whisky News

Trip to Islay – Part 3 of 4

by Mark Dermul

The early bird catches the worm… well, we certainly were early birds when we arrived at the northernmost distillery on the island: Bunnahabhain. The distillery was already in operation – the smoke from the stillhouse was clearly visible against the cloudless blue sky – but the visitor center staff had yet to arrive.

9 bunnahabhain

Our treat for being so early was a stunning view of the distillery in the early morning mist. And another advantage of being there before 9 am was the fact that we got the earliest tour and were the only visitors at that moment. That made this wonderful tour extra special. And without trying to sound too blasé, I do consider myself quite knowledgeable about whisky, but I did learn something new today. Bunna takes its cut – like most distilleries – until the alcohol has gone down to around 63%, but for their peated runs they keep collecting further until 59%. I had never heard that before.

After a couple of drams – well, eight if I’m being totally honest actually – we drove south towards Caol Ila. Along the way, we came across the building site of the soon-to-open 9th distillery on Islay: Ardnahoe.

10 ardnahoe

Construction was well underway. This distillery is being built by Hunter Laing & Co, the independent bottler that was founded a few years back by Stuart Laing, after he left the company Douglas Laing which he ran with his brother Fred. As a sidenote: Hunter Laing is also the owner of the land that Jean & Martine Donnay wanted to buy to build their Gartbreck distillery along Loch Indaal. But apparently they did not agree on the price and Gartbreck is now off the map.

Our next stop brought us to the last distillery we still had to visit: Caol Ila. This huge distillery – the largest on Islay in volume – was unable to offer tours at the moment of our visit as one of the spirit stills was being replaced. A serious setback in my opinion, as Caol Ila is my personal favorite from Islay and I was really looking forward to the classic view of the still with the the Paps of Jura in the background. It was not going to happen.

11 caol ila A

But our host – a Brit from Southampton who had lost his heart to Caol Ila – more than made up for it with a special tasting in the shop. We got to try the Caol Ila Distillers Edition (my wife’s preferred dram), the Coal Ila Distillery Exclusive Bottling for 2017 (with some red wine cask matured Caol Ila in the mix, a first for the distillery) and both the 17 Year Old and brand new 18 Year Old Unpeated Style. I put my credit card to good use and will enjoy those back home while reminiscing about this wonderful trip.

12 caol ila B

With a heavy heart, we set course for Port Askaig, where soon a ferry would arrive to pick us up and returns us to the mainland.

to be concluded… (the final article will be published November 5th).


Yellowstone® Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2017 Launching in October – American Whiskey News


Yellowstone® Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2017 Launching in October

(Lebanon, Ky.) October 12, 2017 – Limestone Branch Distillery introduces the 2017 version of Yellowstone® Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, finished in charred wine casks, set to hit the market in October. This year’s limited edition combines hand-selected, seven and 12-year Kentucky Straight bourbons, with a special addition of Limestone Branch Distillery’s first available, 4-year Kentucky Straight bourbon. The bourbon is then rested in once-filled, double seasoned barrels, which are toasted and then lightly charred.

“We are beyond proud to be using some of our own distillate in this year’s Yellowstone Limited Edition,” says Steve Beam, president and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery. “This is a momentous release for our family and it is meticulously handmade, grain to glass, right here at our distillery.”

Bottled at 101 proof and available in 750ml bottles signed by Steve Beam and nestled in commemorative tubes, Yellowstone Limited Edition offers an earthy flavor, dark and rich, with a nose of toasted oak, caramel and butterscotch at the front of the palette, giving way to rich leather and dark summer fruit on the finish. Approximately 7,000-8,000 bottles of this bourbon are being produced this fall at Limestone Branch Distillery, and the suggested retail price is $99.99.

“By finishing the bourbon in charred wine casks, we allowed the juice to intensify and evolve, creating a wonderful result,” says Beam. “While last year’s edition was more about subtle nuances, this year’s edition we focused on intense flavors and a richer final product.”

About Limestone Branch Distillery

Steve Beam and his brother Paul Beam opened Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011, with the goal of crafting the finest whiskey in small batches, honoring their long family heritage. With a history of distilling on both sides of their family – Beam and Dant – the brothers are seventh-generation distillers. In 2015, by partnering with Luxco, they brought the Yellowstone brand back to the family, just in time to commemorate the brand’s 105th anniversary. As one of the founding members of the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail, Limestone Branch Distillery is located in Lebanon, Ky., in the heart of bourbon country. The distillery is well-known for its handcrafted products, including Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey.

For more information on Limestone Branch Distillery and Yellowstone, please visit, or

E. H. Taylor, Jr. Bourbon Named World Whisky of the Year – American Whiskey News

EHT Four Grain

E. H. Taylor, Jr. Bourbon Named World Whisky of the Year

Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Whiskeys Sweep Whisky Awards with Wins in

5 of the 6 American Whisky Categories  

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Oct. 16, 2017) Buffalo Trace Distillery dominates the American Whisky Category, according to Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018, winning the top prize of World Whisky of the Year for its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon, and also taking home Bourbon of the Year, Rye of the Year, Best American Whisky No Age Statement, Best American Whisky 9 Years and Under, Best American Whisky 10 Years and Over, Best Rye No Age Statement, and Best Rye 11 Years and Over.

            The E. H. Taylor Four Grain scored a remarkable 97.5 out of 100 and is described by Jim Murray as “nothing could match the astonishing beauty of its surprisingly delicate weight and complexity combined. It was as if time stood still in the tasting room, I just knew…”

            Buffalo Trace Distillery’s complete list of winners from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018 are as follows:

  • 2018 World Whisky of the Year – Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon
  • Bourbon of the Year – Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon
  • Rye of the Year – Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof
  • Best American Whisky No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels) – George T. Stagg 144.1 Proof
  • Best American Whisky 9 Years and Under – Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Organic 6 Grain Whisky
  • Best American Whiskey 10 Years and Over (Multiple Barrels) – Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain
  • Best Rye, No Age Statement – Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof
  • Best Rye, 11 Years and Over – Sazerac 18 Years Old

            This is the first time so many top whisky winners have been made by the same distillery in the 15 years Jim Murray has been giving the awards in his Whisky Bible.

            “To not only be named World Whisky of the Year, but also to win 5 of the 6 American Whisky categories and 2 of the 3 Rye Whisky categories is simply remarkable,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer, Buffalo Trace Distillery.  “It is truly a testament of the skill and dedication of not only our Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley, but to all of our team members at the Trace. We are simply thrilled.”

            The E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon joins numerous other whiskies produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery that Jim Murray has also named the World Whiskey of the Year, including Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 128.6 proof in 2013, the Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye Whiskey in 2010, The George T. Stagg Bourbon 129 proof in 2006, and the George T. Stagg Bourbon in both 2005 and 2004. In all, six whiskies produced by Buffalo Trace have been named to Jim’s top spot in the past 15 years, an astonishing accomplishment.

            Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018 can be pre-ordered at

 About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 17 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named “Brand Innovator of the Year” by Whisky Magazine at its Icons of Whisky America Awards 2015.  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 300 awards for its wide range of premium whisk

Scotch Malt Whisky Society ‘November Outturn Alert’ – Scotch Whisky News


SMWS Nov17

Released in time for Hallowe’en, November Outturn takes taste buds to another realm with 12 full-bodied single cask whiskies to taste and explore. Treat the senses to a rich and indulgent experience with spiced fruits, treacle toffee pudding, gooey chocolate cake, blood oranges and pumpkin pie.


To Join:

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ

Contact: or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information

This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

A Pair of Very Attractively Priced Whiskies from Luxco at K&L California – American Whiskey News


A Pair of Very Attractively Priced Whiskies from Luxco

These newest additions to our whiskey section are poised to earn many adoring fans. Not only are they very attractively priced, but they hold their own against some of the more coveted bottles in the market today.

Let’s start with the 100 proof Wheated Edition. Just to make double sure, I put a few glasses in the hands of my assistants here at K&L and told them it was a sample from a new Weller 107 single barrel that I had just purchased. Their eyes lit up and not one of them assumed the whiskey wasn’t what I said it was. In fact, they were downright stoked about the quality. Then I immediately confessed. Alas, it was not Weller 107, but rather a new 100 proof wheated Bourbon from Luxco, the folks behind Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks. How much would it cost, they asked? A cool $26.99, I replied.

The nose is an absolute dead ringer for Weller. If you poured it for me blind, that’s what I’d say. Pencil shavings, sweet oak, and caramel. Big spice. 50% ABV booming right out of the glass. The palate has more of those three elements, but also a creaminess that’s perhaps even more compelling. The finish has another flurry of oak spice, pepper, cinnamon and clove. It’s basically a really great version of Old Fitzgerald BIB in a different bottle and for the price I’m backing up the truck. I’ll have no problem selling every single bottle we have before the week is over.

And then I’ll be backing up a few trucks after that. There’s no amount of this whiskey that will satiate the current demand for delicious, high proof, wheated Bourbon right now in California right now. We have guys selling their souls for Weller Reserve, yet the Nicholson is far better.

Now let’s talk about the Nicholson Reserve, a classic corn/rye mashbill Bourbon also at 100 proof. Basically, if you liked our 100 proof Faultline release from a few years back, this is like a baby version for a $12 discount. There are some great herbaceous accents, lots of pepper from the rye, and a gush of savory notes on the finish, but again the texture is the real star. The nose is brimming with toasted wood and the 50% ABV really dials up all that oak from front to back. The Nicholson Reserve at $32.99 is like the perfect middleground between the standard Elijah Craig and the Barrel Proof.

Basically, you’re gonna want at least one of each and there’s plenty to go around. When I sell out of the first lot, I’ll be heading back to Luxco for more. And more after that. And more after that. This is exactly the type of Bourbon I’m after right now: abundant, delicious, with no hype, and plenty of availability and no allocations.



Ralfy Publishes Ralfy Review #693 – Canadian Whisky News


Ralfy heads north for Ralfy Review 693 – Alberta Premium 30yo Canadian Rye @ 40%vol


The Dalmore 50 sells out as Richard Paterson completes his year of celebrations – Scotch Whisky News

Richard Paterson and The Dalmore (4( photo credit David Parr)

The Dalmore 50 sells out as Richard Paterson completes his year of celebrations

The Dalmore’s Master Distiller Richard Paterson has completed the final leg of his world tour celebrating 50 years in the whisky industry.

Widely considered to be the greatest whisky maker of his generation, Richard’s 50th anniversary milestone was celebrated with a series of tasting events around the world while showcasing a selection of bottles including the renowned The Dalmore Paterson Collection, the recently released The Dalmore Quintessence, and The Dalmore 50.

Over the past twelve months Richard has hosted eight 50th anniversary events around the world, meeting with connoisseurs and industry experts in cities including Paris, Singapore, London and Las Vegas.

The global tour provided an opportunity for a selection of The Dalmore’s customers, alongside many people with whom Richard has worked over the years, a chance to celebrate his special milestone with an exclusive tasting of the exceptionally rare, champagne-finished The Dalmore 50.

All fifty bottles of the Domaine Henri Giraud champagne finished 50 year old single malt, which were prepared to order, have now sold out.

Similarly, The Paterson Collection, a one-of-a-kind collection created to honour those who have shaped, influenced and inspired Richard’s whisky career has also been sold. The twelve individual expressions were purchased earlier this year for £987,500 by a young Chinese collector. The collection encompasses some of The Dalmore Distillery’s oldest and rarest whiskies.

Richard Paterson, Master Distiller at The Dalmore said: “It has been absolute privilege for me to travel the world these past six months celebrating my milestone with friends and colleagues from the wider whisky industry who have helped shape my career to date.

“To share with them a whisky which defines my working career, has been an extremely rewarding experience. Showcasing the champagne-finished The Dalmore 50 at each of these events has been a fitting way to mark these celebrations while showcasing our ability to innovate in both maturation and cask curation.”

“With all 50 bottles now sold and the sale of The Paterson Collection, which is truly a distillation of my life in the industry, this has drawn a perfect close to what has been a truly exceptional year in my life.”


The Dalmore 

The Dalmore is the definitive luxury malt, since 1839.

Founded by Sir Alexander Matheson, a restless entrepreneur and international businessman, The Dalmore was born with a different purpose, to go above and beyond to create luxurious single malt whisky unlike any other.

An unbroken chain of exceptional whisky makers have been fulfilling Sir Alexander’s vision ever since, pioneering multi cask maturation over 100 years before this was commonly adopted by others in the industry.

Richard Paterson has been Master Distiller at The Dalmore for nearly 50 years.  The whiskies he has created during his tenure have help Richard to achieve global celebrity status.  He is the man who, with The Dalmore, created the category of super luxury single malt, a category he continues to define to this very day.

Scotch & Soda: R&B Distillers team up with Fentimans – Scotch Whisky News


Scotch and soda is a classic pairing, redolent of smokey bars in the Mad Men era, but in recent years, it has been usurped by ubiquitous Aperol Spritzes and G+Ts as the effortless bar order. Craft whisky makers, R&B Distillers have teamed up with artisanal soft drink makers Fentimans to attempt to change our drinking habits and reinstate this matchless combination.

While some whisky drinkers believe that Scotch should not be mixed, R&B Distillers aren’t afraid to be adventurous and turn away from stereotypes of the spirit and have found that Fentimans’ premium sodas provide a disarmingly simple counterpart to its highland single grain Scotch, Borders. The whisky has been paired with Curiosity Cola, Rose Lemonade and Ginger Ale. Fentimans’ invigorating cola is brewed using cinnamon which adds depth of flavour to the traditional cola which complements the sweet vanilla notes of Borders. The herbaceous notes of the whisky are picked up by the Rose Lemonade and give the drinks a pleasing pinkish hue while Ginger Ale adds an autumnal heat to a long serve.

Brand Ambassador for R&B Distillers, Chris Hoban, comments: “Looking for a whisky alternative to the classic G&T we started experimenting with the extensive range from Fentimans because we felt their story shared our values. We were delighted to discover our personal favourites of Borders with Rose Lemonade, Ginger Ale or Curiosity Cola which are now our go-to long drinks for any season.”

Using time honoured recipes, Fentimans traditional sodas are botanically brewed, using a combination of infusion, skilful blending and fermentation of natural ingredients. Borders is an award-winning highland single grain Scotch whisky. Unusually, it is the only single grain Scotch Whisky to contain 50% wheat & 50% malted barley from one highland distillery. The whisky is a testament to the brand’s 19th century heritage and a nod to the future: Co-founder Alasdair Day’s great-grandfather blended whisky in the Coldstream and R&B hope to bring a distillery back to this forgotten region with Borders an exciting representation of what’s to come.


The Whisky Shop “Now Available: The 12 Drams of Christmas” – Scotch Whisky News


It’s beginning to look a lot like…

There’s still 62 days until the big day, but you can cross one thing off your Christmas shopping list early with the brand new 12 Drams of Christmas. Guaranteed to be on every whisky fan’s letter to Santa, these fantastic whisky selection packs feature twelve 3cl drams, one for each day of the festive season, and come in Standard and Deluxe editions – now in stock and available for immediate dispatch at The Whisky Shop!

Next day UK delivery available International Shipping


12 Drams of Christmas

Fresh off the first sleigh from the North Pole workshop, this whisky selection pack is the perfect gift for your true love this Christmas! Featuring twelve 3cl bottles of some fantastic whiskies, one for each day of the season, 12 Drams of Christmas will keep the festive spirit going to January 5th.

We’re all about Christmas surprises, but if you really can’t wait to find out which whiskies are included in this wonderful gift pack, just click on the link below for the full list.

£70 Buy Now


12 Drams of Christmas Deluxe Edition

Looking for something a little bit extra special for your true love this Christmas? The 12 Drams of Christmas Deluxe Edition has a 3cl bottle for each day of the festive season.

Featuring some rare and old whiskies including limited edition Scotch, Japanese whisky and a single cask exclusive to The Whisky Shop, you can find the full list of drams by clicking the link below.

£125 Buy Now

AA tws-logo

The Newest “Old Particular” Single Cask Selection – Talisker 8 Year at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


The Newest “Old Particular” Single Cask Selection – Talisker 8 Year

As promised, we’re about to being moving into the Fall/Winter segment of our Old Particular single cask selections. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and that little nip in the air starts awakening our thirst for peated Scotch whisky. Let’s begin with the perfect October warm up: an absolutely perfect cask of Talisker 8 year old. If you liked the Lagavulin 8, you’re going to love this Talisker (especially since this one’s at full proof and costs about the same).

Anyone familiar with Talisker understands its role in the pantheon of Scotland’s greatest distilleries. Located on the Isle of Skye, a rugged and remote locate battered by the wind and sea, the malt produced at Talisker has always captured the imagination of whisky drinkers with its maritime flavors of salt, smoke, oil, and peat. It has also long been one of Scotland’s most refined and elegant whiskies, balancing those elements with restraint and delicacy in comparison to Islay’s more powerful and intense expressions like Ardbeg and Laphroaig. Talisker is a smoky whisky, full of bonfire and soot, but the standard 10 year distillery release manages to mellow out the phenolic elements with ample fruit and vanilla. It’s that ability to restrain those rugged island forces into something accessible and beautiful that has made Talisker’s reputation.

What this single barrel cask strength eight year old edition allows for is an unbridled and unrestrained look into the whisky’s true power and potential. It’s everything we know and love about Talisker, just dialed up. The first sip brings sweetness from the malted barley and oak cask maturation, followed by fruit and baking spices as well, but then the power of the proof kicks in and the peat takes over. There are notes of tar and salt, followed by more chimney smoke and earth, before those notes begin to fade and the earthier notes of pure peat highlight the finish. All in all, it’s a Talisker lover’s dream, but it’s Talisker with an ode to Islay in terms of power and potency. I’ve tasted it on seven different occasions today and I can’t get enough of it.

2008 Talisker 8 Year Old “Old Particular – K&L Exclusive” Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) – $59.99


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