Archive for 2017

Back in Stock at K&L California – Whisky News


Maker’s Mark 46 “K&L Exclusive – #2” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) $69.99 View

Macallan Classic Cut “2017 Limited Edition” Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View

Wathen’s Special Release “Barrel Proof” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) $79.99 View


Robbie’s Drams Whisky An’ A ‘That 2018 Festival – Scotch Whisky News


Tickets for our Whisky An’ A’ That Festival 2018 go on sale at 10am 20th November 2017. For updated information on 2018 Masterclasses please contact us by email or call the Hot-Line on 01292 284279.


RWM Team


The Whisky Barrel releases their latest exclusive 10th Anniversary Whisky! – Scotch Whisky News


The Whisky Barrel releases their latest exclusive 10th Anniversary Whisky!  

Specialist online whisky shop,, is proud to release Glenlivet 11 Year Old 2006 Signatory 10th Anniversary. 

This is the fifth addition to The Whisky Barrel’s range of exclusive bottlings commemorating the 10th anniversary of the retailer established in 2007 and which is now renowned as one of the world’s leading whisky and spirits merchants.

The Glenlivet 11 Year Old 2006 has been specially selected by The Whisky Barrel from the warehouses at Signatory Vintage at Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands. The Whisky Barrel hand selected this first-fill sherry hogshead cask due to its exceptional aromas and flavours.

Glenlivet Distillery produces single malt Scotch Whisky in Ballindalloch, Moray. It was founded in 1824 by George Smith and is the oldest legal distillery in the parish of Glenlivet. Following expansion in 2010 the distillery is now equipped with fourteen stills making it one of the largest malt whisky distilleries in Scotland.

Signatory Vintage was established by Andrew and Brian Symington in 1988 at Newhaven on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Having taken over the business in 1997 and purchased Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry in 2002, Andrew Symington moved his bottling business into new premises next to the Highland distillery.

The Glenlivet 11 Year Old 2006 Signatory 10th Anniversary has been aged for 11 years in a first-fill sherry hogshead cask #900552 yielding 316 bottles at natural cask strength. The whisky is richly sherried in colour and flavour.

Tasting notes: 

Colour: Beautifully dark. Shine a light on it and a lovely caramelised sugar on the cusp of catching come out. 

Nose: Rich sherry notes. Rum and raisin with soft Scottish toffee and dark chocolate. Leather boots and tobacco leaf add some real muscle but softened with strawberry and dried apricot. 

Taste: Lovely warming chewiness of the sherry. Crisp red berries giving way mil chocolate raisins, oak and a touch of apricot sherbet. The high ABV makes it a big hitter. Left to some air relaxes it and brings out a little more chocolate and toffee. 

Finish:  Long and lingering with a pleasant heat. Big spicy fruit cake with cinnamon and cloves with a touch of bitter chocolate. Dries to an oaky finish. 

Price: £79.99 GBP / $87.00 USD (+ P&P) 


Notice for Editors:-

  1. Q) What is the product called? A)  The Glenlivet 11 Year Old 2006 Signatory 10th
  2. Q) When will this product be released/was it released? A) Monday 13 November 2017. Q) Where is it available? A) Scotland, off-trade, Q) Is this product already available in other markets? A) Scotland only, ships worldwide. Q) How much is it? A) £79.99 GBP / $87.00 USD (+ P&P)
  3. Q) Who handles the product’s distribution? A) In-house at Q) What is the ABV of this product? A) 63.5% ABV natural cask strength.
  4. Q) Why has this product been launched? A) Limited Edition single cask bottled exclusively by The Creative Whisky Co. to celebrate 10 years of This is the third bottling in the 10th Anniversary series of single cask spirits.

Note to Editors 

The Whisky Barrel is a specialist online whisky and spirits merchant was established in 2007 and celebrates it’s 10th anniversary in 2017. The firm has been nominated for Whisky Magazine Awards and prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition runner-up in 2016.

Previous Anniversary Releases:

#1 Irish Cooley, 13 year old, 2003 Exclusive Malts 10th Anniversary

#2 Dumbarton 30 year old, 1987, The Sovereign

#3 Laphroaig 6 year old, 2011 Exclusive Malts 10th Anniversary

N.B. prices correct at the time of publishing and are subject to currency fluctuation.

TWB 10 Yrs

Malt Messenger No. 80 by Andrew Ferguson – Another New KWM Cask, New Islay Whiskies & More! – Whisky News

AA KWM Header

If they aren’t playing them already, then they soon will be… There are just 41 shopping days left until Christmas, and you know what that means, a seemingly endless stream of Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not curmudgeons here at KWM, and we get excited about Christmas too. But you have my, solemn promise that KWM will remain a Christmas music free zone (not even Michael Buble’s “Jingle Bells” will be played), at least for the next couple of weeks.

So that means if you swing by the store to take advantage of our great ‘Pre-Christmas’ “Super Sale” deals this weekend, you won’t be subjected to “Frosty the Snowman”, “White Christmas” or anything by Mariah Carey. You will be able to save 10% or more on all in-stock whiskies*, as well as 15% off all in-stock wine and 5% off all in-stock beer. Think of it as Christmas in November, except you give to yourself, and you won’t have to listen to “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney & Wings.

There are a couple of upcoming events to fill you in on. First and foremost, the final performance of “Tasting Scotch” a multi-sensory tasting experience is taking place at Last Best on Friday, November 17. It is a collaborative whisky tasting experience between KWM, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada and Ghost River Theater. Tickets are $125 and a $75 tax receipt will be issued. More details below.

Tickets are now on sale for the 7th Annual 2018 MS Calgary Whisky Festival, on Thursday January 18 2017. Of note, this year’s VIP Master Class will be an Old Pulteney vertical tasting including the soon to be released Old Pulteney 25 Year and 1983 vintage. Tickets range in price from $120 to $200 and all ticket classes include a glass. The General Admission tickets can be bought at the early bird price of $100 until November 30!

More new whiskies to tell you about, including another new KWM exclusive cask. Our first ever cask of Tomatin has just landed! The PX Sherry finished Tomatin 1999 KWM Cask, is a big sherried fruit bomb. Bottled at 52% after slumbering in Scotland for 18 years and 9 months. More details below!

We have 8 new Islay whiskies hitting the shelves tomorrow, 5 of them are exclusive to KWM. There are the Elements of Islay: Ci8, Lg7, Oc4 and Peat, as well as the Port Askaig 8 Year, 15 Year, 19 Year and 100 Proof. Port Askaig is a mystery malt label, the whiskies likely produced at Caol Ila distillery, which is the net cove over from the port. We will be setting up a tasting soon to introduce these 8 curious new whiskies to the market. Details and tasting notes below.

Speaking of mystery malts, the Lismore 18 Year and 21 Year The Legend are back in-stock. In honour of the occasion, I’ve written up my own tasting notes on the pair. The malts are very good for their age and price. Their origin a tad mysterious, but you’ll have to read more for my thoughts below.

I have also written up my own tasting notes on four other whiskies currently gracing store shelves, and one more that will be here shortly. It is a tough job tasting whiskies, but someone has to do it.

Finally a quick update on the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar. The first calendars should be hitting the store this weekend or Monday, November 20 at the latest. The project was delayed by 4 of the 25 whiskies, which did not arrive on time. Everyone involved has been working hard to rectify the situation, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you have yet to order a KWM 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar and would like to do so, I wouldn’t put it off much longer… there are but 40 of 384 which are not yet spoken for!

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Malt Messenger.


In This Edition

  1. Annual Pre-Christmas “Super Sale” This Weekend!
  2. Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar Update
  3. “Tasting Scotch” The Final Performance
  4. MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2017: 2 Weeks Left for Early Bird Tickets
  5. NEW KWM Exclusive Tomatin Casks
  6. NEW Exclusive Elements of Islay Whiskies
  7. NEW Exclusive Port Askaig Whiskies
  8. The Lismores Are Back
  9. My Tasting Note: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990
  10. My Tasting Note: Glenfiddich Winter Storm
  11. My Tasting Note: Cadenhead Small Batch Invergordon 1972 43 Year
  12. My Tasting Notes: Springbank 21 & 25 Year Current Bottlings

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

 or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:


Our Annual Pre-Christmas “SUPER SALE” This Weekend! 

SAVE 10-35% on all In-Stock Whisky*: November 17-19!

* Excludes the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar and Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings!



Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar Update 

Less than 40 of 384 Calendars left! 

Firstly, we are a little behind on building our Whisky Advent Calendar this year… A couple of products were delayed, and are expected to arrive late this week. This should allow us to have the first batch of calendars built and ready for pickup between the 19th and 20th.

There are a lot of exciting details about the 2017 edition, including the fact that we succeeded in bringing the base retail price down by $25, to $375+gst. We also have 25 all new whiskies, never before featured in the KWM Advent Calendar. This includes 5 whiskies bottled exclusively for the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar. While the bulk of the Calendar is still Single Malt Scotch Whisky, there are for the first time single malts from Canada, England and the Netherlands! This is our fourth straight year that we have designed and built our own exclusive Whisky Advent Calendar. It features 24 50ml premium whiskies, a 100ml Christmas Day bottling from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (The Society) and a custom logo Glencairn glass.

The Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar is more than just a product for us – it is a way for us to share and connect with other whisky lovers in Calgary, Alberta and across Canada. Details on the whiskies’ released and their distillery will be posted on the KWM Blog each day of Advent. Recipients of the Calendar are encouraged to share their thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The KWM Whisky Advent Calendar also comes with a 10% discount card, good for any of the whiskies in the Calendar (excepting the Society whisky), subject to availability.

A deposit of $150 will be charged for each calendar requested. This helps KWM with the production costs. The balance of the payment will be taken a few days before delivery to our shop. ETA is mid-November!

Order a Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar!


“Tasting Scotch” the Final Performance 

The final KWM/SMWS/Ghost River Theater Multi-sensory Collaborative Tasting

This is the second and probably final performance of “Tasting Scotch” a multisensory tasting experience put together by Ghost River in collaboration with Kensington Wine Market and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada. Tickets are $125 with a $75 tax receipt.

Tickets can be purchased here!

MS Calgary Whisky Festival Tickets Now On Sale 

Early bird pricing in effect until November 30! 

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 MS Calgary Whisky Festival! Calgary’s best and biggest whisky festival is now in its 7th year. It will take place on Thursday January 18 at Arts Commons, in the foyer of the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Early bird tickets are available until November 30. There will be at least 1, possibly 2 VIP Master Classes. Neither will disappoint!

There are three types of tickets for this year’s event:

  1. VIP Early Entry (includes a cut crystal Glencairn glass) – $175 – Only 72 Tickets Left
  2. VIP / Master Class (includes a cut crystal Glencairn glass) – $200 – Only 42 Tickets Available
  3. General Admission (includes a Glencairn glass) – $100 – Price goes up to $120 on December 1

Purchase tickets here!


KWM Exclusive Tomatin Cask 

Our Ever Tomatin is a PX Sherry Finished 18 Year! 

Our first ever single cask of Tomatin is here! The whisky was distilled in 1999, matured in Bourbon and finished for five years in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Butt. 621 bottles were filled at 52%. It was bottled at 18 years and 9 months of age. It is a classic big sherry cask whisky, and it does not disappoint! Think PX Glendronach…

Tomatin 1999 KWM Cask - 52% – 18 Year – Finished in PX Sherry 5 Years – My Tasting Note: “Nose: nutty and woody with soft leather; a touch of tobacco and clotted cream; moist Jujubes and candied fruit tones with a touch of musty oak; ginger and cinnamon in a cedar sauna. Palate: round, oily and thick; the sherry is laid thick over the creamy, honeyed, base; more Jujubes and big candied fruits; leather and tobacco with dark chocolate, candied orange peel and Demerara sugar; my mouth is tingling, watering and desirous of more; the sherry is bold but balanced, coming in big waves, eventually emerging into cloves and Dutch licorice. Finish: very fruity, rich, long and spicy; it continues to evolve in waves; very oily and coating. Comment: it is getting harder and harder to find good value sherry cask whisky, and so this exclusive Tomatin cask is timely; very good value for its age, here you have a very sherried but balanced malt; and for those with a sensitivity to sulphur I dare you to find even a trace herein!”  – $150


NEW KWM Exclusive Elements of Islay Whiskies 

Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Octomore! 

We have been trying to get the Elements of Islay range into Canada for a couple of years now. We have only just succeeded in doing so. We have three exclusive single malt offerings and there is a 4th generally available Blended Malt.

About the Range: “The medicinal, almost ‘elemental’ character of Islay malt whiskies was the inspiration for the laboratory-style bottle and element symbol/number naming system used across the Elements range (Lp1, Ar2, and so on). Coincidentally, even the 50cl bottle used throughout the Elements range is called ‘pharmacy’. Every Elements bottle also bears the signature of a whisky authority, so you can be confident of the quality of the liquid inside.”

  1.  Elements of Islay Ci8 – 55.2% – 5 Bourbon from the Mid-2000s – Producer Description: “Our eighth bottling from Caol Ila is a marriage of five bourbon barrels. Caol Ila is renowned for its light, flinty style, which adds elegance to the layers of smoke and strong coastal notes that are its trademark.” Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Classic coastal sea spray with an undercurrent of caramel and buttered popcorn. A background note of aniseed marries nicely with lime oil and thyme. Palate: The texture is creamy and full with flavours of baked lemon and rock salt. The distillery’s flinty edge is on show and balances nicely with the flavour of delicate custard. Finish: Juicy and long, with lemon oil and cloves coming through.” – $88
  2. Elements of Islay Lg7- 56.8% – 4 Bourbon Barrels from the mid-2000s – Producer Description: “Lagavulin whiskies are known for their meaty style, balanced by touch of sweet fruit. Lg7 is matured in refill bourbon barrels, and is everything we have come to expect from Lagavulin: Islay in a bottle.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: CInitially, maple-cured bacon and orange sponge cake give a great balance of sweet and savoury. Delicate honeysuckle is offset by barbecue char and toasted marshmallows. The smoke is full and aromatic, like Chinese tea. Palate: thick and creamy with the classic iodine character and some sweeter notes coming through. There is a thick and meaty note, almost like caramelised beef fat blended with cockles and burnt honeycomb. Finish: Warm spice with toasted caraway seeds and salty dryness.” – $132
  3.  Elements of Islay Oc4 – 59.1% – 3 2010 Bourbon Barrels – Producer Description: “The most heavily peated of all the spirits on Islay, Octomore showcases maritime and fruity notes among a dense and smoky character. Oc4 is a marriage of three bourbon barrels from 2010, showing sweet malty notes intertwined with powerful smoke.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Clean, with pine smoke and lemongrass. Juniper and fennel seeds make for an intense aromatic experience, with the distillate clearly in the foreground and wood in the background. Of course there is medicinal peatiness, and lots of it. Palate: White pepper and intense peat reek sit up front. The texture is rich and oily, and while there is heat from the strength, it is all in the background. There is something almost mezcal like about this whisky, run through with smoked juniper and iodine. Finish: Warm and tangy with flavours of well-cooked meat.” – $190

Also available, but not exclusive to KWM, Elements of Islay Peat. “PEAT is the perfect expression of smoky whisky, with all the full-on coastal character you would expect from an island whisky, as well as balanced sweetness. On its own or in a cocktail, it is the go-to peaty whisky for all, balancing serious smoky flavour with a sense of fun.”

  1. Elements of Islay Peat - 59.3% – Around 60 casks from the North and South of Islay – Producer Description: “We have used whisky from a handful of distilleries across the island to create an Islay blended malt, taking the distinct character of each and bringing them together, focusing on Islay’s most famous flavour – peat.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose:  Fresh, sprightly barley entwined with peat smoke and bonfire embers. Bracing aromas of salty seaweed and seashells. Plenty of clean fruit – lemon, lime and grapefruit, while hiding underneath are notes of rich earth and liquorice. Palate: Warm and leathery with thick-cut bacon, seashore campfires and roasted fruit: sweet apple and lime with a sprinkle of caster sugar. Layers of smoke and dark-chocolate limes envelope the palate and are intertwined with softer lemon oil and barbecue sauce, with hints of roasted spices and barrel char, complementing the peat and smoke. Finish: Sea spray and baked apple fade leaving heavier smoke, truffle salt and sweet spice.” – $55


New KWM Exclusive Port Askaig Whiskies 

And two others to boot! 

We have two interesting new KWM exclusive Islay whiskies. They are from the Port Askaig range, which is new to Canada.

Producer Description: “Nestled into the north coast of the island, Port Askaig has been the gateway to Islay for hundreds of years. For many it is the start of a journey that will stay with them for a lifetime.

“Port Askaig is a range of Islay single malt whiskies that embodies the unique spirit of Islay and its people. Its character brings together the robust smokiness and soft fruitiness found in this beguiling island. The range has been developed to appeal to the most discerning of whisky connoisseurs while also appealing to the novice whisky drinker. We have selected exceptional casks of Islay single malt and created a range that we believe will become recognised as an Islay classic.

“Each expression within the range is bottled in limited batches. While recognising that each bottling will vary, the aim is to achieve a consistency of quality and character over time. To ensure each whisky maintains its original flavour and character, the whiskies are not chill-filtered and no colouring is added. In a world of change, we believe there is still a place for tradition. However, one that embraces evolution and new ideas required to make it ever better. We believe that the expert cask selection and traditional yet contemporary look of the packaging will ensure Port Askaig stands shoulder to shoulder with Islay’s more established brands for many years to come.”

Exclusive to KWM:

  1. Port Askaig 100 Proof - 57.1% (100 British Proof) –  Producer Description: “A cask-strength Islay single malt with notes of sweet fruit, peat smoke and minerality, this is a benchmark Islay whisky and a great everyday peaty dram at this price.” – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fresh, herbaceous, medicinal and malty; seaweed, vanilla and honey; orange bitters, cedar shavings and dried cherries. Palate: starting light, fresh and herbaceous it quickly builds into something more malty, briny and peaty; still medicinal, earthy peat and tarry ropes; a touch of honey with vanilla, orange bitters and lemon clices on goat cheese. Finish: long, malty and medicinal with fading smoke; fresh citrus tones and more goat cheese. Comment: this is a firm, medicinal Ileach, though even at a young age and strength the alcohol has very little bite.” – $87
  2. Port Askaig 19 Year - 50.4% –  Producer Description: “This 19 year old cask-strength edition bursts with fabulously flinty, lemony, seashells-on-the-seashore flavours. This is a truly elemental whisky, perfect for sipping from hip flasks during cold winter walks.” – My Tasting Note: “Nose: doughy, buttery and fuity, silky peat oils and beeswaxy-honeycomb tones; delicate elegant smoke, bright berry fruits (raspberry), chantilly cream and more delicate tropical fruits: mango and papaya. Palate: round, delicate and doughy; a touch of maritime character, more buttery notes and silky peat oils; more beeswax, bright berry fruits and tropical fruits towards the finish; chantilly cream and clotted cream on dry Brittish scones. Finish: long, coating and creamy with fading tropical fruits, chantilly cream and silky peat oils. Comment: this is a whisky with the delicate finesse of a Ileach many years its senior; very elegant and delicate with a firm peaty base.” $195

Port Askaig 19 Year – 88pts Serge “The first version in 2013 was absolutely excellent (WF 88). Colour: white wine. Nose: some linguist may have invented the word ‘vibrant’ just for this. It is pure briny and smoky Caol Ila, polished by time and not by wood, with fresh apples, fresh almonds, and a discreet mentholy side. Then a little antiseptic/TCP/iodine, and a good dollop of seawater. With water: your old jacket after a walk on Islay. Should I add ‘after the rain’? Mouth (neat): once again, it’s the purity that’s impressive. A smoked blend of seawater and lemon juice, with a few essential oils thrown in for good measure. Mint, camphor… With water: gets a notch fruitier (citrus) and, as often, a little earthy. Mud under your shoes (after that famous walk on Islay). Finish: long, zesty, chiselled, blade-y. I had noticed some sweetness in the first batch, but not quite in this one. Comments: as Ayrton Senna used to say, “If you take away Caol Ila, you take away (one of) the reasons why I do this.” Just put Eau Rouge instead of Caol Ila. SGP:447 – 88 points.” – $195

Also available from Port Askaig:

  1.  Port Askaig 8 Year – 45.8% – Producer Tasting Note: “Elegant, soft, sweet, classy,minerally, medium-peated style perfect for novices to discover Islay and connoisseurs to enjoy as their regular dram.” – $70
  2. Port Askaig 15 Year Sherry – 45.8% – 90pts Whisky Advocate: “Matured in first-fill oloroso sherry casks, this is 20% peated whisky from 1997 and 80% fruitier whisky distilled in 2001. Earthy on the early nose, with bonfire smoke, vanilla, raisins, and prunes. The palate opens with sweet fruit notes and medium-dry sherry, giving way to nutmeg, brine, and peat. The finish features plain chocolate, bitter lemons, and a hint of smoky chili.” – $142



The Lismores are Back!

Well Priced 18 and 21 Year Old Possibly Glenfarclas! 

A mystery malt from the owners of Glenfarclas, possibly a second label for the distillery?! Both are excellent value for whiskies of their respective ages!

  1. Lismore 18 Year – 43% –  My Tasting Note: “Nose: very fruity, fresh and floral; as though someone has just sprayed a room with a fruity floral mist; jujubes, wine gums and jelly bellies; so fruity and decadent; creamy, velvety and smooth. Palate: soft, honeyed and creamy; still velvety, clotted cream and honey butter; then the wine gums, jujubes and jelly bellies with Demerara sugar and soft leather; the crisp decadent spice emerges late with a broad stroke of juicy orange. Finish: medium in length, creamy, coating and smooth; still velvety, the oak spices and fruit candy notes slowly dissipate. Comment: very good for a $100 18 year old single malt; eminently quaffable; wish it was at 43%; only wish it was 46%!” – $100
  2. Lismore 21 Year: The Legend - 43% – Definitely some sherry influence. – My Tasting Note: Nose: stewed fruits, chocolate covered espresso beans, soft leather and plum pudding; cooked medjool dates with prune and grapefruit juices; some musty earthy tones and classic Christmas cake sherry tones. Palate: round, fruity and chocolaty with building earthy sherry notes and spices; more milk-chocolate covered espresso beans, soft leather and musty old dunnage warehouse tones; nutty and a touch grassy; raisins, dates, figs and prunes with crisp spices: licorice, fennel and clove. Finish: medium length with big coating sherry notes and drying fruity tannins. Comment: quite sherried, but not a sherry bomb; a lovely malt at a good price for its age; possibly from the Ballindalloch Estate!” – $150


My Tasting Note: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1990 

The replacement for the Quarter Century Does Not Disappoint! 

To say this replaces the Quarter Century does both whiskies a disservice. The Grande Vintage Malt 1990 is the first release in the new Bond House No 1 Collection. It is a 25 year old single malt bottled at 43% from a single vintage and harvest, 1990. The whisky has been matured in a mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks. 92pts Whisky Advocate

I have written up my own tasting notes on it. Overall, it is very elegant and decadent. The best word to summarize it, ethereal!

Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990 – 43% – Bourbon & Sherry – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honeyed, elegant and silky; Earl Grey ice cream, tapioca pudding and creme brule; vanilla bean, just picked California oranges, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg; tarte tatin and tallow candles. Palate: delicate, waxy, honeyed, creamy and coating; ethereal and silky; the fruits come in waves: cooked apple, fresh orange, melons and kiwi fruit; the spices build, more cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and Earl Grey ice cream; more creme brule and clotted cream; very layered and pretty. Finish: long, elegant and silky; delicate, almost fragile waves of fruit and cream. Comment: very elegant and dangerously drinkable; though layered this whisky is also sessionable!” – $785

92Pts Whisky Advocate: “The first release in Glenmorangie’s new Vintage Collection, named Bond House No.1 after the 19th century warehouse that became the distillery’s new stillhouse in 1990. Matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. Mandarins, honey, and vanilla on the floral nose. Very smooth on the palate, with malt, vanilla, more honey, and milk chocolate orange. Attractive soft oak notes and gentle herbal spice in the medium to long finish.”


My Tasting Note: Glenfiddich Winter Storm  

Coming Soon to KWM! 

This limited edition 21 year old Glenfiddich was finished for 6 months in Ex-Peller Estate Icewine casks. A clever idea and far from a gimmick. The icewine casks have added a lovely, decadent touch. Only 36ish bottles coming to KWM, ETA December!

Glenfiddich Winter Storm – 43% – Finished 6 Months in Peller Estate Icewine Casks – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big, honeyed and grapey; lots of sugars, creamed heather honey, icewine and a touch of soft leather; Scottish tablet and molten brown sugar; exotic fruits: honeydew melon, pineapple and guava; waxy oranges and beeswax candles. Palate: sweet, rich and fruity; much more spicy and earthy than the nose let on; though the earthy tones and soft and delicate, as are the spices; more exotic fruits: melon, pineapple and guava are joined by some mango and kiwi; still thick with creamed honey, beeswax candles and grapey-icewine tones; the palate is big, but round, smooth and very layered. Finish: medium-long, waxy and coating with lots of fruit, honey and cream; very layered even the delicate spices and earthy tones make a reappearance. Comment: this whisky is no gimmick; it is pretty, fruity, honeyed and layered!” - $300

Producer’s Description: “Brian Kinsman, our Malt Master, is constantly on the lookout for ingenious innovations in Scotch whisky. So when he travelled to Canada, he made a point of visiting a winemaker at a renowned winery in Niagara. Despite the freezing January weather, Brian braved the tour of the vineyards, where he learned how the grapes had to be picked by moonlight at -10˚C when they were as hard as pebbles. These stories about extreme conditions and the unique production process of the intensely sweet Icewine were inspirational.”


My Tasting Note: Cadenhead Small Batch Invergordon 1972 43 Year 

One of the Standouts from Thursday’s Fall Single Malt Festival! 

This was one of the highlights of this past week’s Fall Single Malt Festival at Kensington Wine Market. A 43 year old 1972 vintage single grain from Invergordon Distillery. We were very luck to receive 30 bottles of this very old grain, because it is excellent.  Matured in 2 Ex-Bourbon Barrels and bottled at a cask strength of 48.3%.

Cadenhead Invergordon 1972 43 Year – 48.3% – Ex-Bourbon Matured – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big, rich, floral and oily; vanilla extract, corn syrup, premium olive oil, caramel sauce and candied apple; orange-chocolate-marzipan; toasty and woody, it is starting to show its age, but far from bitter; Marcona almonds quince paste. Palate: silky, sinful, sweet and fruity; wow this is big and sticky… so sweet; loaded with sugar, vanilla extract, honey butter and tangerines; cooked raisins, more candied apple with caramel corn and peach crumble warm from the oven; the wood is present and toasty, without a hint of bitterness. Finish: light but with a good length; coating, it stays sweet and fruity as it slowly vanishes. Comment: this is what good old grain whisky should be… silky, layered and dangerously drinkable!” – $385



My Tasting Notes: Springbank 21 & 25 Years Current Batches 

Hint, they are lovely! 

We opened both of these for our tasting with Melanie Stanger a couple of weeks back. They were a hit, so I have written them up. I compared them to each other and older bottlings of the same age statements for the same distillery. The batches we are currently sitting on are superior to the past releases, IMHO, and I have a slight preference for the 25 over the 21. That being said, the former is nearly double the price of the latter!

Both are buys in my opinion. The 21 year is the closest batch we’ve seen in terms of style, to the old Springbank 21s of a decade ago.

  1. Springbank 21 Year – 46% – Batch 15/52 – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, savoury and comforting; vanilla, clotted cream and salted caramel envelop you in a warm embrace; dried apricots, peaches and cream; wood smoke from a beach bonfire and steamed mussels. Palate: round, creamy, salty and still very savoury; vanilla bean, clotted cream, silky honey and salted caramel; the beach bonfire wood smoke is still there, but clean, without a sharp edge; more peaches and cream, dried apricot and cantaloupe. Finish: medium in length, it is creamy, coating and fruity with savoury salted caramel tones and clean smoke. Comment: lovely; I compared it to Batch 12/18 and this is heads and shoulders a better whisky; more akin to the legendary Springbank 21s of more than a decade ago!” – $386
  2. Springbank 25 Year – 46% – Batch 16/513 – My Tasting Note: “Nose: l ots of dried fruits: apricot, apples and pineapple chunks; caramel chews, salt water taffy and candied fruits; jujubes and touches of moist, light Christmas cake; a touch of clean smoke and salt. Palate: sweet, silky, fruity and honeyed; vanilla bean with jujubes and lots of fruit: both fresh and dried, leaning towards stone and orchard varietals; there is a touch of sherry-influenced Christmas cake; the smoke and salty maritime tones are subtle and elegant; bergamot earl grey tea, caramel chews and Panda brand licorice. Finish: long with loads of fruits, cream and spices; more gentle elegant smoke and maritime tones. Comment: brilliant, I have a slight preference for this over the 21 year Batch 15/52; I also compared it to an older 2014 edition of the 25 year: while the older bottling  is lovely, this current release is more tropical, fruity and elegant.” - $688

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


New Bourbon Releases including K&L Exclusive Bottlings – American Whiskey News


Russell’s Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #089 Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($64.99)

The Wild Turkey does things a bit different than most of the other industrial distillers in Kentucky. They’ve committed to certain quality standards that other distillers have deemed inefficient to continue in the modern whiskey era. Even with the newly constructed distillery, where the Russell’s (Jimmy, Eddie, and Bruce) produce the most efficient and consistent whiskey they possible can, they refuse to give up certain practices that they believe to be crucial to the character and quality of the special Wild Turkey legacy. That’s why they put their name right on the bottle – this is the very best whiskey that nearly 100 combined years of whiskey making experience can deliver. But how exactly? First, they insist on a proper souring step, where lactobacillus bacteria is harnessed to adjust the pH of the original mash. Next, they insist on drawing the spirit of the still at lower proof to retain the inherent flavor of the grain, providing texture and depth to the spirit. Finally, they fill there casks at lower proof than the rest, usually 110 proof, to provide for the perfect environment for their whiskey to mature. That’s why we ALWAYS find exceptional casks at Wild Turkey, they simply make some of finest whiskey available. No excuses, no gimmicks, just old fashion sour mash Bourbon at it’s very best. This spectacular cask is the driest and most herbal of our current single barrel offerings. It was aged in warehouse B on the fifth floor and drawn from the cask at 110.7

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2017

Barrel 89 is easily the funkiest and most herbaceous of this new batch of wonderful Russell’s Reserve single barrels. While it doesn’t enter the full on barnyard funk that sometimes exists in these barrels, it definitely has a bigger spice than the others. Big notes of varnish and antique wood, savory herbs, subtle notes of hay, and fresh roasted coffee. A Melted brown sugar tone rounds out those drier flavors on the nose. The palate continues the orchestra of herbaceous dark flavors. A bit of sweet maple notes on the mid palate keep it from being totally overpowering, but the pepper and spice build again on the finish. For those who like the big, bold, dry-rye driven style WT this is definitely the move.


Russell’s Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #550 Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($64.99)

The Wild Turkey Distillery is on the short list of my absolute favorite places to visit in Kentucky. It’s not only the picturesque rolling hills and beautiful views over the Kentucky River, but also the familiar faces of the Russell family who have been in charge of the plant near Tyrone for decades. Now that the 3rd generation of Russell is coming into the fold we can see a clear continuity for this special brand long into the future. Bruce Russell, son of Eddie, is at the distillery learning the ropes from Grandpa Jimmy. Bruce is as passionate, entertaining and kindhearted as any Russell and will be fine steward for the brand. In 2011, they opened the new distillery, gleaming and efficient, but never sacrificing key quality elements that set the Kickin’ Chicken apart from the bourbon flock. That’s what the Russell’s really bring to the table, a stubborn refusal to compromise quality. This special whiskey was distilled at the original facility on the banks of the Kentucky down by the river. The first distillery was erected by Thomas Ripy in 1891. Old, wooden and warn down it was one of the most interesting stops on the bourbon trail, but has since been demolished. Jimmy’s not sentimental. His only concern is to make the best whiskey possible and not dwell on the past. Luckily, we’re still getting great old bourbon distilled at that original site. This single cask, selected from the D warehouse and aged at least 10 years was reduced from an original strength of 111.6.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2017

Barrel #550 is easily the crowd pleaser in this recent batch of excellent Wild Turkey barrels. The nose is 100% baked Red Delicious, sweet wild honey, woodsy spice. Unctuous and mouth coating with a strong sense of brown sugar and none of the pepper we usually get on these Russell’s Casks. Full-bodied and full-steam it sticks with you for quite a while after the glass is empty. A true treat and easily what some might term a honey barrel.


Russell’s Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #545 Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($64.99)

We know that Wild Turkey is producing some of the best stuff out there because we’ve tasted it. The brand itself has a long history of producing super high quality bourbon. The origins of the brand starts with an executive at the prominent spirits company Austin Nichols. He had pulled samples from the Old Hickory distillery, built originally in 1891, for a Turkey hunting trip and when his f starting requesting “that Wild Turkey” whiskey – he knew he’d got something special. They bottled bourbons from multiple Kentucky distillers, but most of the stocks came out of that original distillery and Austin Nichols eventually purchase the facility and renamed it the Wild Turkey Distillery. The brand garnered a reputation for quality and was one of the highest end offerings until the bourbon crash and sale to Pernod Ricard. While they moved away from the high-end offerings over the next two decades, the continued to offer some exceptional quality and old bottles from this period remain some of the best stuff out there. With the sale of the brand to Campari in 2009, a renewed commitment to the old history of bottling stupendously special bourbon is clear. They’ve built the Russell’s brand in that image and continue to offer us some of the finest single cask bourbon on the market. This whiskey was aged right next to barrel #550 in warehouse D and highlights the incredible differences two whiskies with very similar aging environments can exhibit. It was drawn from the barrel 114.9 proof.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2017

This barrel #545 fits perfectly in between the other two barrels in terms of style. Not as austere and intense as #89, but not as sweet and soft as #550. The nose has wonderful pop of evergreen, roasted herbs, flambéed orange peel, and sweet oak. On the palate we’ve got tons of fruit up front, braised orchard fruits and dark cherry build into a strong pepper and spice finish. The mid-palate is textured and bursting with roasted woods and exotic vanilla. This whisky isn’t restrained by any means, but does need some teasing to really open up, maybe 15-20 min in the glass to really unleash the full potential.

Old Forester K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #3511 (5th Floor, Warehouse G) Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whisky (750ml) ($39.99)

This wild little cask was the most controversial during the distillery tasting after walking through the historic distillery. In the dark corridors of the warehouse with the magnanimous Jackie Zykan, Brown-Forman’s Master Taster, we thiefed samples direct from the cask. This barrel was an extreme outlier in terms of character and I could tell it bothered Jackie. When I dove into this special whiskey I immediately tagged it as being a winner. I was in love! The nose alone was enough to win me over. We’d stumbled on something special and I wasn’t going to let it go. After seeing the incredible consistency that the Old Forester warehouses were producing, the dry concrete aging and steam heat tended to produce I was excited to have something a bit different. Typically we expect big spicy nose and sweet soft finish on the OFs. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why the flavors at Old Forester layer that way, but it’s seems to be ubiquitous across their offerings. As it turns out this cask was a leaker, which accounts for much of the unique profile. These low yielding barrels see significantly more oxidation and as long as they don’t go bitter, we tend to love what happens to the bourbon. Here you’ve got a nose of dense black cherry, lacquer, sweet oak, sweet tarts, roasted coffee beans and maple. The sweet cherry fruit is upfront with a vanilla cola note taking hold in the middle. The oak spice builds on the finish, taking hold from overt sweetness up front. An outlier for sure.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 01, 2017

When I was tasting this cask with Brown-Forman’s Master Taster and Bourbon Specialist Jackie Zykan, this barrel stood out like a sore thumb… dipped in cherry cola! I was enamored, but she seemed concerned that it fell distinctly outside of the standard OF profile. Turns out this cask had been leaking, likely the reason for the out-of-the-norm aromatics. Despite her concern, I was totally taken by this one. It had this wonderful nose of wood varnish and vanilla that reminded me of some of the old bourbons I’ve been lucky enough to taste. It’s perhaps the old bottle effect being replicated in barrel as the massive loss means massive oxidation. But this stuff drinks like sweet tea and cherry cola and only reminds you it’s bourbon on the way down where it grabs hold of you for a bit before softening up a few moments later. Only 108 bottles in this miniature, bizarre little cask of Old Forester.

Woodford Master’s Collection “Cherry Wood Smoked Barley” Kentucky Staight Bourbon (750ml) ($99.99)

The experimental Master’s Collection is one of the most interesting special releases of the year. Most people don’t realize that Woodford Reserve is actually a blend of the pot-stilled bourbon from Labrot & Graham distillery near Frankfort and the Early Times distillery in Louisville. The great thing about the small batch nature of their pot-stills is that they can experiment. Now in its 12th year, Master’s Collection is one of the most exciting and controvesial releases of the year. Previous bottling have been met with a great praise although the unorthodox nature of many of their releases has garnered champions and critics alike. What’s certain is that these won’t be around for long and once they’re gone they’ll never be recreated. The 2017 they’ve turned to messing with part of the mash bill to create a bourbon influenced by cherry wood smoking. The malt content hear is around 30% and that malt was dried with Cherry Wood smoke in a proprietary kilning process. It’s likely the highest malt bourbon ever created in Kentucky. Big rich complex and it’s perfectly balance between sweet toasty oak and smoldering cherry smoke.

Maker’s Mark 46 “K&L Exclusive – #2″ Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)

When Maker’s Mark invited me out to do a custom K&L barrel of Maker’s 46 (their enhanced Bourbon that sees additional aging with seasoned oak staves), I was practically itching to go; especially because I knew they were going to let us bottle the whiskey at full proof. If there’s one thing we can’t get enough of at K&L these days, it’s high octane wheated Bourbon, especially since the Van Winkle craze of the past decade has gutted most of the available supply. Because wheated Bourbons substitute wheat for rye as the flavor grain in the mash bill, the result is a creamier and sweeter whiskey that really pops on the palate at cask strength. The really cool part about the Maker’s 46 custom barrel program is that they allow you to choose between a number of different staves, three of which are exotic french oak flavors. Barrel #2 used 8 Maker’s 46 staves with 2 French oak staves to create a sweet and baking spice-laden Bourbon that accentuates everything we love about high proof wheaters! It’s bursting with cinnamon, clove, sweet vanilla, and it coats the palate with a creamy texture. Barrel #1 is the drier, cocoa-packed, rich and robust creation, but Barrel #2 is classic wheated Kentucky Bourbon turned up to 11 on the volume. You’ll have to control your impulses with this bottle; it’s almost too delicious.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 08, 2017

If you’re a fan of wheated whiskies, not because you just happen to think Pappy Van Winkle tastes better, but because you honestly enjoy the sweeter and creamier Bourbon profile, then this is a bottle you won’t want to miss. This new 55% ABV cuvee we put together is a mouthful of creamy vanilla goodness and baking spices galore with tons of power on the finish. There’s only about 200 bottles of it and once it’s gone, that’s it. By the time you realize how much you like it, you’ll be crying about not having enough. I wish we could have made ten of these barrels, but allocations are tight in Kentucky. Just enjoy it while we have it!


Midlands Whisky Festival 2018 Early Bird Tickets now on sale! – Whisky News


MARCH 16-17
– Stourbridge Town Hall -

After a successful series of festivals in 2017 with Stourbridge followed by our second visit to Birmingham city centre in the autumn, Midlands Whisky Festival is back in 2018 for an even bigger tasting experience.




Since 2010, Midlands Whisky Festival has been one of the most fun and exciting whisky events to attend in the UK, offering a selection of whiskies to taste from old and rare bottlings to brand new releases.



Friday Ticket
Receive your branded nosing glass and brochure and explore the opportunity to take part in intimate whisky talks plus you’ll have access to the 300+ whiskies on taste.

Early Bird Saturday Ticket
Save £5 now by getting in with the Early Birds. You’ll receive the usual package whilst having the opportunity to take advantage of Saturday’s exclusive array of events.

Premium Saturday Ticket
Includes Standard package plus access to a Premium Masterclass and two Dream Dram tokens, exchangeable for the rare finds.

Two-Day Devotee Ticket
Experience the show in full with access to both days including Saturday early entry at 10:45am, a seat in the Devotee Masterclass, three Dream Dram tokens, a selection box of luxury drams, a crystal cut nosing glass and a whole lot more!




Friday: 6.00pm – 9.30pm
(9.15pm last pour)

Saturday: 10.45am – 5pm
(4.30pm last pour)

Saturday entrance opens at 12pm midday for Standard and Premium ticket holders


Stourbridge Town Hall
Crown Centre
Crown Lane

Click HERE for directions

Cadenhead’s London Kilkerran 12yo ~ 2017 – Scotch Whisky News


Kilkerran 12 46% Vol

The New 2017 Vintage has been available for a few weeks now in the shops. With an ever growing number of fans around the world it’s not hard to see why given it’s amazing taste.

Kilkerran 12yo wins Gold

Kilkerran 12yo is the gold winner in the under £40 category at the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Awards.

Ranald & Findlay collected the award back in October. It’s in our tasting room at the moment with a lot of customers snapping it up after the tasting events. Available online now and still at £36.50


Nose: Starts off with some rich oak notes that are dominant but balanced, followed by toasted marshmallows and dried fruit pudding, as well as cherries, marzipan and a hint of peat

Palate: Begins initially fruity with citrus notes and orange peel, after this: vanilla, butterscotch, honeycomb and digestive biscuits can all be tasted and enjoyed

Finish: Here we are at the finish with a velvet and smoothness that coats the finish with lemon meringue, to conclude, there’s an oiliness and a saltiness that you’d expect from a Campbeltown dram.


AA Cadenheads




The gift of membership of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society can now be tailored with optional extras such as bottles, a taster pack of drams and tasting tickets to suit the whisky fan in your life 

If you’re looking for a Christmas present with a difference for the adventurous whisky fan, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society ( has launched a new range of membership packages (, which can be tailored with optional extras.

The Society is the world’s leading whisky club with a community of more than 26,000 malt-loving members around the world. The club, which was started by a group of friends in Edinburgh in 1983, specialises in single cask whisky and takes a unique approach to whisky by celebrating the flavours in the bottle through 12 unique flavour profiles.

New range of membership packages

The core annual membership of the Society costs £65 and provides whisky lovers with an array of benefits including: exclusive access to Society whiskies and other spirits; entry to the Society’s Members’ Rooms in Edinburgh and London; members’ rates for SMWS tasting events; discounted dram prices at SMWS partner bars; free subscription to Unfiltered, its award-winning members’ magazine; and savings on postage and packaging.

In time for Christmas, the Society has introduced a range of new membership packages (, which allow buyers to build on the core annual membership (£65) with tailored optional extras to suit the preferences of the whisky lover in their life.

The new membership packages are:

  • Pioneer (£130): the most popular option – core annual membership PLUS a beautiful welcome pack containing three 10cl sample bottles, a £15 e-voucher, SMWS journal and club lapel badge
  • Champion (£110): core annual membership PLUS a specially selected bottle of the moment
  • Explorer (£90): core annual membership PLUS a Taster Pack containing five 25ml samples of Society whiskies from its 12 flavour profiles
  • High Flyer (£80) core annual membership PLUS a three-dram tasting flight for one person at the Society’s Kaleidoscope bars in London or Edinburgh
  • Sharer (£125): core annual membership PLUS two tasting vouchers (each worth £35) redeemable at any of the Society’s partner bars and events around the UK, and its Kaleidoscope bars in London and Edinburgh

The gift that keeps on giving 

The Society releases around 20 new whiskies each month. Christmas is the perfect time to become a member as the Society releases one of its biggest-ever selections of bottles, with around 100 new bottles being released during November and December. This includes bottles with festive flavours and names such as ‘Curl up by the fire’ and ‘Hot apple and cinnamon sponge’.

Each whisky released by the Society is drawn from a single cask, which may only produce as few as 100 bottles, making each bottle a limited edition. Rather than reveal the name of the distillery where the whisky is from, The Society describes its bottles through the lens of flavour.

It releases its bottles through 12 unique flavour profiles with names such as Spicy & Dry and Old & Dignified; each bottle comes with a fun and evocative name, such as ‘Killer bee rum punch’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel at the Savoy’, and colourful Tasting Notes (‘gentle, sweet with a hint of spice like sticky rhubarb and ginger crumble or gooey vanilla cherry pie’) which detail the flavours.

In addition to its award-winning single malts, the Society now bottles an expanded range of other spirits such as gin, rum, cognac and bourbon through its new Single Cask Spirits range ( In December, this includes an Armagnac called ‘Amareng Amaretti’ and a bourbon called ‘A powerful concoction’.

Try before you buy

There are Scotch Malt Whisky Society Kaleidoscope bars situated in both Edinburgh and London, where guests can experience the range of whiskies and other spirits as well as a selection of fantastic food.

Visiting the bars is a great way to experience the Society for the first time and will provide the opportunity to learn about its history and its whiskies from the knowledgeable staff.

Kai Ivalo, Spirits Director at the Society, said: “It’s been an incredibly exciting year for the Society, with some of the most amazingly diverse whiskies and other spirits we’ve ever released. From our core single malts and our grain whiskies to our new selection of gin, rum, cognac and bourbon in our Single Cask Spirits range, there’s never been a better time to join the Society.”

To buy a membership of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society as a gift this Christmas, visit @smwsuk #smws

Notes to editors:

About The Scotch Malt Whisky Society 

  • The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is an international whisky club that bottles rare single cask, single malt whisky, and a range of other spirits
  • The Society was established in Edinburgh in 1983 and now has more than 26,000 members and branches around the world
  • The Society only ever bottles single casks – each cask is unique, making every Society bottling a limited edition
  • The Society has bottled whisky from more than 134 distilleries in its history
  • The Society releases a new batch of around 20 single cask, single malt whiskies every month
  • The Society offers a range of membership packages – visit
  • For more information about the Society, visit

The Whisky Ecxhange “Lost whisky distilleries of Scotland: our picks” – Scotch Whisky News

Lost whisky distilleries of Scotland: our picks

While there are hundreds of lost distilleries dotting the countryside north of the border, it’s rare to find whisky from any that closed before the 1980s. And if you do, it’s often more a collector’s item than something you’d open and drink. Here are some of the most popular closed distilleries whose whiskies you can still get your hands on:

Port Ellen


The Port Ellen warehouses: pretty much all that remains of the distillery today

The biggest name in the world of lost distillers. It closed in 1983 without much fanfare, its buildings demolished or repurposed as part of the large maltings that now fills the site. However, it has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years. Much of Port Ellen’s spirit from the last few years of its life seems to have been filled into inactive casks, allowing it to mature slowly over decades, revealing sides to its character that were only hinted at while the distillery was still in production. Plans are in place to rebuild the distillery, with new buildings joining the few that remain from before its closure. It should be up and running by 2020.

Find whiskies from Port Ellen >



Brora distillery a few years ago. It was fairly intact then, and Diageo have been sprucing it up in the intervening years

More of a cult distillery than Port Ellen, Brora closed at the same time as part of the mass closures of 1983. It was the original Clynelish, closed when the current distillery opened in the late 1960s. A few years later it was renamed Brora – after the town it sits on the edge of – and reopened to make smoky whisky. The levels of smoke dropped over the years until it closed for good. As with Port Ellen, long maturation in less active casks has created excellent whiskies, combining Clynelish’s classic waxy character with smoky farmyard notes. It is also being rebuilt, although as most of the distillery is still in place, the project looks to be less challenging than Port Ellen. We will hopefully be able to try new Brora by the early 2030s.

Find whiskies from Port Ellen >



Rosebank back in 1980. While these two buildings remain (and are visible on Google Streetview), most of the rest of the distillery was converted to flats and offices

The third distillery which will shortly be reopened. Closed in 1993 as part of a later market downturn than Brora or Port Ellen, Rosebank’s loss was more mourned at the time, thanks to a reputation for producing incredible Lowland whisky. Unfortunately, lack of room to expand and lack of easy transport links for tourists combined with mounting maintenance costs meant it was selected for closure ahead of fellow Lowlander Glenkinchie. While there hasn’t been as much of a frenzy for its whiskies as there has for Port Ellen and Brora, the increasingly rare releases from both previous owner Diageo and independents are increasingly getting attention. Ian Macleod, owner of Glengoyne and Tamdhu, has now acquired the name and the original site, and will be rebuilding the distillery, with an opening date of 2019 planned. Much of the original distillery was turned into offices and flats, so we’re intrigued to see what happens.

Find whiskies from Rosebank >



First partially demolished and then burnt to the ground, nothing remains of Littlemill today. All that remains is apartments on a newly laid road: Littlemill Place

A history-laden site, with alleged roots going back to the 1750s, making it maybe Scotland’s oldest distillery. Unfortunately, the 1990s’ downturn led to its closure in 1992 and by 2004 it had not only been deliberately demolished but also ravaged by fire, leaving very little of it left. For years after there were unremarkable (and occasionally awful) releases of whisky from the distillery, but since 2010 that has changed. Stocks of great, well-aged whisky has appeared and the distillery’s reputation has been revived. Owner Loch Lomond Group releases occasional official bottlings, and independents still have some stock – it’s definitely a whisky to seek out, but stick to more recent releases.

Find whiskies from Littlemill >



Imperial as it once was and Dalmunach, which now occupies the site

A distillery which opened and closed several times during its life, Imperial finally shut its doors for good in 1998. Known for producing a light and floral style of whisky in the heart of Speyside, surrounded by more heavyweight distilleries, it didn’t pick up the same sort of following as Brora, Port Ellen and Rosebank, despite the whiskies having some similarities to the latter. In 2013, despite a booming whisky market and rumours that it might be reopened, owner Chivas Brothers demolished Imperial and built ultra-modern Dalmunach distillery on the site. Bottles of Imperial are still being released and are incredibly reasonably priced for whisky from a closed distillery – a great place to start your exploration of lost distillers.

Find whiskies from Imperial >

Glenlivet 11 Year Old Cask #900552 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Glenlivet 11 Year Old Cask #900552

For the latest instalment of The Whisky Barrel 10th Anniversary series, earlier this year we selected a first fill sherry hogshead from Signatory warehouses in the Scottish Highlands. Bottled August 2017 yielding 316 bottles at a whopping 63.5% This is a specially selected release to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of The Whisky Barrel. 316 bottles at natural cask strength. MAXIMUM 3 BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER. Having out-grown his distillery at Upper Drumin George Smith built a new distillery in 1858 at Minore just short distance upstream of the River Livet and which he opened the following year and named Glenlivet Distillery. During the 1850s the Edinburgh firm of Andrew Usher produced the first vatting of malt whiskey from a single distillery using a number of different vintages of Glenlivet whiskey. Following expansion in 2010 this distillery is now equipped with fourteen stills making it one of the largest malt whiskey distilleries in Scotland. The range includes Glenlivet Founders Reserve and Nadurra.

Shop – £79.99

TWB 10 Yrs

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