Malt Messenger No. 83 by Andrew Ferguson – Whisky, Whisky & More Whisky – Whisky News

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Malt Messenger of 2018. I hope you are all well rested and relaxed, because we are starting the year with a massive whisky newsletter. A lot of new whiskies have trickled into the shop over the last few weeks, adding to others that arrived in the week between Christmas & New Year’s. You could say Christmas has been extended.

There are a handful of tickets left for Tuesday’s Tomatin Takedown with Scott Frazier. We will be highlighting our new Tomatin 1999 KWM Single Cask, and a range of other whiskies from the distillery, all for just $30. Scott is a knowledgeable and very entertaining presenter. You won’t want to miss this tasting with him. Call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!

For over a decade, Kensington Wine Market marked Robbie Burns Day with our legendary Burns Supper. That was until the powers that be told us we were not allowed to hold such events… So, for the past two years we’ve put on the Burns Bash, a mini-Whisky Festival in honour of the Bard. The third annual Burns Bash, Thursday January 25th, will also serve as the opening salvo of our Year End Inventory Sale (January 26-28). Participants will receive a KWM 25th Anniversary Glencairn Glass and will be able to sample between 80 and 100 whiskies. All for just $30!

Our 2nd exclusive single barrel of Wyoming Whiskey Distillery found its way in to the store just before New Year’s. And we feel the Wyoming KMW Single Barrel #2 is even better than our first single barrel Bourbon from the Kirby, Wyoming distillery. This Bourbon is open at our shop for sampling – further details can be found below.

Some exciting new Adelphi whiskies arrived in-store this morning. The second ever spirit release of Ardnamurchan (Spirit 2017 AD) is here. The first not quite whisky from the newish (2014) Ardnamurchan Distillery was a hit, and we expect the second release will be too. I have had the opportunity to write up my own tasting note, and it does not disappoint. We also have stunning Adelphi bottlings of Aultmore 1982, Bowmore 1989, Miltonduff 1983 and Breath of Speyside 2006.

We have good news, bad news and then more good news when it comes to Cadenhead. The good news is the 2nd batch of Cadenhead 175th Anniversary releases is here. The bad news is that we only received 6 bottles each of Burnside 1989, Caol Ila 1982, Cooley 1992, Laphroaig 1990, Macallan 1990 and Mortlach 1987, and all but 2 bottles each of the Burnside and Caol Ila are sold! The “more good news”, is that we saved a bottle of each for a tasting in the Spring, and we have another release of Cadenhead whiskies to tell you about, Batch 18.

Two stunning new Compass Box whiskies hit the market between Christmas and New Year’s too. The long awaited Compass Box No Name (75.5% Ardbeg) and Compass Box Phenomenology are in-store and available for tasting while supplies last. These whiskies are further testament the Compass Box’s John Glaser is almost singlehandedly making Blended Whisky cool again! Kensington Wine Market has a new exclusive Japanese whisky. The first shipment of 90 bottles of White Oak Akashi Blended Japanese Whisky arrived in-store in the days before Christmas. It was sold out by New Year’s. We’ve just had another shipment arrive of this tasty-amazing-value-whisky, a further 90 bottles, which we don’t expect to last long…

Late last week we had the opportunity to sample the Benromach Triple Distilled, we were gobsmacked! Far from a gimmick, this young tripled distilled Benromach blew us away with its flavour and complexity. At $93 it is a must-buy whisky… so we bought the last 48 bottles remaining in Alberta! We have some new whiskies from London-based independent bottler Valinch & Mallet. Whiskies from Caol Ila, Springbank, Heaven Hill, Cooley and others. We will be trying them as opportunity presents over the next few months.

Two big guns from Diageo are in-store. The Brora 34 Year arrived just before Christmas. A departure from the last 3 official releases, all of which were distilled in the 1970s. This one is from 1982, the year before the distillery closed. We are expecting another closed distillery whisky from Diageo next week, the Convalmore 32 Year. This is only the second official bottling of Convalmore we’ve ever seen at KWM

In Bourbon news we have a new Michter’s to tell you about, the Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye. This is the follow up to last year’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon – and Evan believes the Rye is the better of the two. We are also getting a few bottles of the Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon, limit 1 per customer.

Finally there is a new no age statement Highland Park, Magnus. We had low expectations for it as it is young and in a black bottle, presumably to mask its pale colour. But for a sub $50 malt, it is very drinkable. We have a bottle in-store for sampling. The introductory price is $42 while supplies last. I hope you and yours had a good holiday season. I wish you and yours all the best for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2018. I also hope you enjoy Malt Messenger No. 83. Slàinte! Andrew In This Edition

  • Calgary MS Whisky Festival Update
  • Burns Bash & Year End Inventory Sale
  • Introducing the Wyoming KWM Single Barrel #2
  • New Adelphi Whiskies
  • New Cadenhead 175th Anniversary Releases
  • New Cadenhead Batch 18 Releases
  • Introducing Two New Compass Box Whiskies
  • Introducing White Oak Akashi Japanese Whisky
  • Introducing: Benromach Triple Distilled
  • Introducing: Valinch & Mallet Whiskies
  • Introducing: Brora 34 Year
  • Coming Soon: Convalmore 32 Year
  • Introducing Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye
  • Introducing Highland Park Magnus

Andrew FergusonKensington Wine MarketPS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:


The January 25th KWM Burns Bash & Year End Inventory Sale!

Lots of fun and savings to be had, January 25-28! 

To knock off our Year End Inventory Sale celebrations, we are having a mini-festival in-store from 7-9PM on Thursday January 25th, Burns Day. There will be loads of whisky, 80-100 different types open for sampling, food and some great deals. Participants will get a sneak peak at the Year End Inventory Sale’s best deals. The cost to attend also includes a 25th Anniversary KWM Logo Glencairn Glass. All this for just $30… we are pretty confident the Bard would approve!


Call 403-283-8000 or register online!


Introducing the Wyoming KWM Single Barrel Bourbon #2 

Even Better Than Our First… 

Our 2nd exclusive barrel of Wyoming Whiskey  Bourbon is here, and another cracker! Bottled at 53.3% from a single barrel, #3483, that gave us but 192 bottles. Pop into the store for a taste! Wyoming is a wheated Bourbon, and always rich but delicate in character.

Andrew’s Tasting Note

Nose:  creamy, decadent and doughy; like walking into a warm, French bakery, early on a cold morning; the air is filled with the aromas of fresh bread, buttery croissants, pain au chocolate, pastries and glazed fruit flan; some lovely dark sugars, bright orange and dark fruits.

Palate: doughy, creamy and fruity; still soft, more fruits than the nose lets on: orange, melons and spicy mango salsa; the dried dark fruits appear at the back of the palate; some perfumed-floral tones with crisp decadent spice: candied ginger and cinnamon sticks dry out into cloves and black pepper.

Finish: coating, warm and spicy; stays decadent with fading creamy oak, gentle fruits and sugars.

Comment: most of the time I feel Bourbon is best suited in an Old Fashioned; but who needs bitters, sugar and orange peels when you have all of that and more right in the bottle; this is another stellar barrel of Kirby Wyoming’s finest!

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Buttermilk Pancakes drizzled with syrup. Raspberry jam, blueberries, blackberries, freshly peeled peaches, light toffee and caramel notes, light mint, oak shavings and vanilla.

Palate: Rich and spicy. Peaches and cream, marmalade, blackberry jam, baked apples, cinnamon buns, kettle corn, roasted almonds and black licorice candies.

Finish: Smooth and warm. Wonderfully palate coating with spice notes to keep it from being cloying.

Comment: This is the second Wyoming Bourbon single cask we have selected for KWM and we couldn’t be happier. It is a different beast compared to our first cask: more subtle and integrated and not as brash and in your face. It is incredibly well-rounded in style.

Pop into the shop for a free sample, or order a bottle from our website. $98


New Adelphi Whiskies 

They are only just arriving today, and they are already going fast!  

These very limited new whiskies will be trickling into the store beginning today. I was given some advanced samples, and took the time to write them up. They did not disappoint, but then again Alex Bruce rarely-if-ever does!

  1.  Adelphi Aultmore 1982 - 54.8% – 35 Year – American Oak Sherry Butt – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: first impression is walking into a fancy woodshop with a brandy snifter full of old Armagnac in one hand, a cigar in the other while walking up to a fountain of dark chocolate fondue; lots going on here, this is classic big, old, robust sherry; a monster of a dram; a bit of oak dust in the air and mahogany in the process of being polished. Palate: big, rich, leathery, nutty and sherried; big spicy, loads of balanced oak; more old Armagnac, tobacco and chocolate; rich-drying spices and smooth worn leather; this is your classic old sherry bomb style of whiskies with some delicate fruits and cream lazily lounging beneath and blanket of sherry notes. Finish: big and rich, but elegant and rounded; chocolatey with loads of sherry tones and a finale of crisp spice. Comment: this is the sort of malt that fans of old sherried whiskies dream of; sure its not Macallan or Glendronach, but this old Aultmore more than holds its own!” – $575 – Only 4 bottles – Only 1 LEFT!!!
  2. Adelphi Ardnamurchan Spirits 2017 A- 53.6% – Content: 22 American oak ex-Oloroso and PX octaves, peated Ardnamurchan (55 litre original fill); 8 American oak ex-Oloroso and PX octaves, unpeated Ardnamurchan (55 litre original fill). Warehouse location: Ardnamurchan upper floor. Finish: all 30 octaves married in Spanish oak ex PX butts for 4 months. – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: bright berry fruits, cranachan, blueberry yogurt, honey and barley sugars; Morrocan marmalade on corse bread; soft leather and gentle earthy tones. bbig, leathery and nutty with loads of berry fruits; more cranachan, blueberry scones with coarse Demerara sugars; cold tea, Russian chocolate and Spanish coffee. Finish: light, fresh and warming; berry fruits, malt, sugars and chocolate. Comment:  lots of layers for something that is still a long way from becoming whisky… can’t wait to taste Ardnamurchan as it continues to mature.” - $96
  3. Adelphi Breath of Speyside 2006 – 57.7% – 10 Year – 1st Fill Spanish Sherry Butt – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: big, rich, nutty, syruppy and sherried; treacle sauce on sticky toffee pudding; cloves and Dutch licorice; a touch musty old oak in dunnage warehouses. Palate: big, syruppy and very sherried; a firm muscular backbone of leather and dark spices before the chocolate and fruits have a chance to emerge; more treacle sauce, burnt Christmas cake and firm Dominican tobacco. Finish: long, drying, coating and bold. Comment: this will warm you up on a cold night and or tame the boldest of cigars!” – $120 – Only 6 bottles!
  4. Adelphi Bowmore 1989 - 52.0% – 27 Year – Ex-Boubon Hogshead – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: soft, delicate and enticing; eating a tub of Old English Butterscotch ice cream by the fire in a tub with a lavender bath bomb; underneath there appears to be a load of shy fruits. Palate: wowsa–it is dancing in my mouth–it is bigger, fruitier and even more creamy than expected; so creamy, more Old English Butterscotch ice cream, there is a sprig of fresh lavender, but the gentle maritime smoke and subtle peat oils shove it to the side; it steadily becomes increasingly bright: honeycomb and waves of ripe tropical fruits; it seems light but it is thick and coating. Finish: the floral nature emerges again on the finish with ethereal lavender and delicate maritime smoke weaving together while the honey, cream and tropical fruits slowly fade. Comment:  love it or hate it this is classic mid-1980s Bowmore; beautiful…” – $460 – Only 8 bottles – 1/4 SOLD!
  5. Adelphi Miltonduff 1983 - 52.6% – 33 Year – Refill American Oak Sherry Butt – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: very pretty, delicate sherry; waxed tropical fruits, soft leather and tobacco; decadent, Earl Grey Tea ice cream, chocolate-orange marzipan and almond paste; Manuka honey. Palate: still very floral, more potent Manuka honey; massively tropical: fruit flan, fruit salad, waxed mango and papaya, peeled kiwi and more; creamy and more Earl Grey Tea ice cream; the soft leather and tropical fruits are still there. Finish: the palate is big, bright and fruity; the finish softens; it is light and medium in length, but still beautiful. Comment: I will not be able to resist buying one for myself; lovely.” – $475 – Only 8 bottles – 1/2 SOLD!


New Cadenhead 175th Anniversary Releases 

Round 2 – Iconic Distilleries 

The second batch of 175th Anniversary Cadenhead bottlings is here. The first, which sold out quickly, focused on closed distillery, the second release focuses on iconic distilleries: Caol Ila, Mortlach, Burnside (Balvenie), Macallan, Cooley and Laphroaig. We are getting just 6 bottles of each, and are holding back 1 of each for a tasting… so there were just 5 of each available! In the time it took to pull this newsletter together, all but 2 each of the Cooley and Burnside have sold. The whiskies were and are limited to 1 per customer.

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Burnside 1989 – 47% – 28 Year – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Juicy fruits, melon, vanilla, kiwi and honeycomb. Palate: Caramel, orange peel, peaches and melted white chocolate buttons. Finish: Lingering syrupy fruits with hints of green apples and peaches. – $350 – Only 2 Left!
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Caol Ila 1982 - 55% – 35 Year – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Dried Apple chips, gooseberries, pancakes and honeycomb. Palate: Dry smoke, pears with soft medicinal notes. Agave syrup and juicy kiwis. Finish: Initial fruity notes replaced by lingering dry ash and vanilla icecream.” – $530 – SOLD OUT
  3. Cadenhead Small Batch Cooley 1992 – 51% – 25 Year – Peated Malt – Barrel – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet vanilla, soft smoke, mandarins, very oily with grassy notes. Palate: Golden syrup, toffee shortbread, lime pickle and kiwi with soft earthy notes. Finish: Growing dry ash mingles with lemon, lime, papaya and hazelnuts. ” – $325 – Only 2 Left!
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Laphroaig 1991 – 48% – 25 Year – Sherry Hogshead Finish Since 2013 – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rum and Raisin icecream.  Palate: Oily rags, polished wood and cherry yoghurt. Sloe berries, cinnamon and nutmeg with hared oak and apple brandy. Finish: Burnt toffee, soft smoke with honeycomb, whole  ginger and growing wet peat notes.” – $525 – SOLD OUT
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Macallan 1990 – 41% – 27 Year – Sherry Hogshead Finish Since 2013 – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Soft spiced oak, plums and strewed fruits. Palate: Rice pudding and juicy raisins. Thick and mouth coating mix of sherry, spice and vanilla.  Brambles, custard and orange bitters. Finish: Initially spicy, then rhubarb with vanilla custard and dried apricots.” – $725 – SOLD OUT
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Mortlach 1987 – 54% – 30 Year – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Apple crumble, soft cinnamon, almonds. Quite grassy and then getting richer. Palate: Thick chocolatey notes, praline, vanilla pods, crystallised ginger and hints of mango. Finish: Long and slightly drying with grassy notes along with latte and pineapple sweets.” – $475 – SOLD OUT


NEW Cadenhead Batch 18 Releases 

9 New Single Cask & Small Batch Whiskies 

We have 9 whiskies available from Cadenhead’s 18th release, just 6-18 bottles of each are coming to Canada, exclusively to KWM!

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Aultmore 1997 - 53.1% – 20 Year – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Very floral, syrup with shortbread, jammy dodgers. Fruit flavours – peach yoghurt and figs. Palate: Toffee, soft milk chocolate notes with spearmint and faint rhubarb crumble. Finish: A sugary lemon drizzle cake, nougat and coffee beans.” – $185 – Only 6 bottles!
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Balmenach 2005 - 55.4% – 12 Year – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Creamy, lots of vanilla and strawberry yoghurt. Hints of Meringues and custard. Palate: Custard creams, soft grassy notes with hints of lime, kiwi and eucalyptus. Finish: Soft raisin notes with orange zest, clotted cream and candied ginger.” – $122 – Only 12 bottles!
  3. Cadenhead Small Batch Glenlossie 1993 - 56.8% – 23 Year – 1 Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Engine oil and roasted vegetables. Maple syrup and bananas. Palate: An old school whisky, robust, woody with some ginger notes along with almonds and peaches. Finish: Parma violets, strawberry cream, chilli powder and a little dry on the finish.” – $240 – Only 6 bottles!
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Moray 1992 - 50.9% – 24 Year – 3 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Peaches and slightly earthy. Golden syrup and quite floral. Palate: Green apple skins, touches of cocoa powder, mango and passion fruit. Finish: Growing syrupy fruit notes with a soft earthy note.” – $222
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Glenrothes 1996 – 51.3% – 20 Year – 4 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Gingerbread, strawberries and lemon bon bons. Grassy and herbal. Palate: Big and oily, faint white pepper, custard tarts and peaches in syrup. Finish: Slightly drying with lingering syrupy fruit cocktail.” – $177
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Spey 2001 – 46% – 15 Year – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Mint humbugs, treacles toffee and raisin butter. Palate: Brown sugar, red fruits, toffee and bruised bananas. Finish: Lemon drizzle cake, fennel and touches of rosemary and orange zest.” ­- $120 – Only 6 bottles!
  7. Cadenhead Small Batch Invergordon 1973 – 51.3% – 43 Year – 1 Ex-Bourbon Barrel – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Warming, dried spices with honey, toffee sauce and dried apricots. Palate: Creamy with faint rye spicy notes. Faint nutmeg, white chocolate and praline. Finish: Melted white chocolate, soft caramel, star anise and growing toffee.”  – $425 – Only 6 bottles!
  8. Cadenhead Small Batch Ord 2005 – 55.8% – 12 Year – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Vanilla yoghurt, custard creams and agave syrup. Palate: Shortbread, blueberries and growing bananas, pear skins and fruit cake. Finish: Honeycomb, poached pears and lemon meringue pie.” – $127 – Only 6 bottles!
  9. Cadenhead Small Batch Speyside 1996 – 51% – 25 Year – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Initially meaty, cured ham with melon and a faint medicinal note. Palate: Polished oak, red cherries, touches of granite and then toffee apples. Finish: Gingerbread and lashings of melted butter.” – $245

 Check out the full list of Cadenhead Whiskies available from KWM!

Introducing Two New Compass Box Whiskies 

No Name & Phenomenology 

I first mentioned these whiskies in May, taunting people back home with my tasting notes after visiting Compass Box’s offices in London. The whiskies were bottled later in the year and only just arrived in Alberta in the days between Christmas & New Year’s. In the last week they have released additional info on both whiskies, including very detailed notes on the composition of each blend. The whiskies are beautiful. Details below and even more on the KWM Website.

Compass Box No Name 


What does John Glaser do when he puts his hands on a parcel of tasty 2003 Ardbeg casks? He asks himself what should I blend it with… Ultimately the peatiest ever release of Compass Box was produced from more than 70% Ardbeg with Caol Ila, Clynelish and a small parcel of French oak matured whiskies to round things out. Bottled at 48.9%. The recipe:

75.5% Ardbeg 2003 – 13 Year – Rechar barrel

10.6% Caol Ila 2001 – 16 Year – Refill barrel

13.4% Clynelish 2002 – 15 Year – Rechar Hogshead

0.5% French Oak BR  – 9 Year – ASB

Compass Box No Name- 48.9% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: a big surge of malt, caramel and tarry ropes; an ocean pier at low tide; big orangey tones and chocolate; burnt smores, seaweed and kelp drying in the sun on the beach. Palate: big, bold, malty and smoky; still tarry and mildly-medicinal; orange, more burnt smores with sweet-waxy-honey tones and floral notes; some licorice, demerara sugars and briny-seaweed. Finish: rich, long, elegant and malty; the orange, honey and floral vanilla still shine through, with a touch of the medicinal tones. Comment: big but round, bold but tamed; the Ardbeg adds a dimension to Compass Box I’ve never seen before. Having tried the Ardbeg on its own, as well as the blend it is interesting to see what they have added to it. Curiously the Caol Ila and Clynelsih, even is small doses is very apparent.” – $140

Compass Box Phenomenology


The firm was keeping pretty tight-lipped on this one until December. This limited edition blended malt has been bottled at 46%, and judging by the profile, it isn’t young… I had a chance to sample it in September in London! “Phenomenolog y is a way of thinking about ourselves and the very personal, subjective nature of experience. It’s a school of thought in psychology that focuses on phenomena, or, the experiences that we get from our senses – what we see, taste, smell, etc. Somehow we saw a link between phenomenology and whisky.” The Recipe:

24.5% Tamdhu 2001 – 15 year –  1st fill Bourbon barrel

72.0% Glenlossie 1996 – 21 year – Rechar Hogshead

2.0% Highland Park 1997 – 20 – Rechar Hogshead

1.0% Talisker 1996 – 21 year – Refill Butt

0.5% Caol Ila 2006 – 11 year – Hogshead

Compass Box Phenomenology - 46% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: big white fruits, honey, freshly picked cherries and banana chips; a touch woody with a musty edge; floral and malty; hints of smoke, some soft coffee tones, raisin danishes and dried apricots . Palate: big, round, coating and juicy; more white fruits, creamed honey and toasted oak, and then the smoke sneaks up on you; the smoke is elegant and delicate and leads to a soft but firm peat. Finish: big, chewy and coating; dries out late with smooth smoke. Comment: the smoke creeps up on you; this is lovely; very drinkable.” – $230


Introducing White Oak Akashi Blended Japanese Whisky  

A Very Good Quality v. Value Proposition, & it is Very Tasty! 

We jumped at the opportunity to introduce the Akashi White Oak Blended Japanese whisky to the Alberta market. Bottled at 40% the whisky is composed of single malts from the Eigashima distillery in Akashi City, Hyogo. The whisky was matured in Shochu (American Oak), ex-Bourbon barrels and ex-Sherry casks. Bottled at 40%.

White Oak Akashi Japanese Blended Whisky – 40% – Ex-Bourbon, Shochu & Sherry Casks – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: nutty and fruity with a silky air; caramel apples with a crisp citrus backbone; floral and toasty. Palate:  medium bodied, nutty chocolate fudge, dried apricots and citrus; more caramel apple and tea dregs with Demerra sugar; sweet, honeyed and toasty; polished fruits and a savoury umami element. Finish: medium-short, clean, fruity and sweet; very elegant. Comment: this is a big cup whisky, as my staff would say; elegant and tasty; crushable; you will want a big cup!” – $65


Introducing Benromach Triple Distiled 

A Limited Edition Sub $100 Single Malt that You Must Try! 

This came in as a bit of a surprise. We sampled it without expectations and we were blown away. It is not that we don’t have high regard and confidence in Benromach bottlings, we just thought it seemed a little gimmicky. Triple distilled whiskies, by nature of their further rectification (purification in the still), especially young ones, are a little blander and can be a bit boring. Even for just an 8 year old, this one is anything but! This is the first bottling of triple distilled Benromach. Distilled in 2009 and bottled at 50% after maturing in first fill Ex-Bourbon barrels.

 Benromach Triple Distilled - 50% – First Fill Ex-Bourbon – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose:  very fresh, floral, honeyed and waxy; creamy with white fruits, citrus and a touch of young mezcal. Palate:  wow, this is lovely, I am a bit dumbfounded; very pretty, fruity and waxy; this has the palate of oxidized, delicate older malts; loads of soft floral honey, with the classic orange, chocolate and just a touch of smoke; layers of fruit and a touch savoury… like the finest mescal. Finish: fresh, creamy, floral and toasty; savoury with clean smoke. Comment: Benromach has stumbled onto something here… this is what I look for in the best, delicate older whiskies, but this is just 8-ish years old; wow!” – $93

Distiller’s Description & Tasting Note: “Pour yourself a dram and regard the luminous pale golden colour, created by passing this gorgeous Single Malt Whisky through our copper pot stills no less than three times during distillation. Enjoy the mellow AROMA WITHOUT WATER… after a few inhalations you may detect strawberry, elderflower and sweet vanilla mingling with orange citrus. Enjoy the TASTE WITHOUT WATER… roll it around your mouth and savour the creamy malt, touch of white pepper and hints of zingy lime zest, sweet vanilla and toasted oak beautifully balanced with rich dark chocolate and smoky bonfire embers. Add a wee trickle of water and appreciate the AROMA WITH WATER… sweet and fruity with subtle floral notes. You may discern delicious undertones of orange citrus and vanilla. Now for the TASTE WITH WATER… the smooth and sweet body has an elegant, delicate flavour, with a touch of cracked black pepper, fresh grapefruit and lime citrus and a hint of oak and bonfire embers, leading to a luscious long and fruity finish with a lingering edge of smoke. Tell us what you think.”


Introducing: Valinch & Mallet Whiskies 

A New to Canada Independent Bottler of Scotch & Other Whiskies

 We don’t have much in the way of info on these new independent bottlings, except the word of the importer that he’s tried them and they are excellent. We will be cracking bottles here and there as opportunity presents. Some of them are very limited and not likely to last long. Curious about the producer: .

  1. Valinch & Mallet Caol Ila 2002 - 52.8% – 15 Year – Sherry Hogshead Cask 17-002 – Only 12 Bottles – Just 2 left! – $260
  2. Valinch & Mallet Craigellachie 2007 - No Information at Present – $152
  3. Valinch & Mallet Heaven Hill – 48.8% – 8 Year – New American Oak – Only 30 bottles – ½ Sold – $185 – KWM Exclusive
  4. Valinch & Mallet Irish Malt – 51% – 14 Year – Sherry Hogshead Cask 17-3001 – $215
  5. Valinch & Mallet Longmorn 1989 – 45.4% – 28 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – $365
  6. Valinch & Mallet Macduff 1997 – 51.3% – 20 Year – Bourbon Hogshead Cask 17-0120 – $315
  7. Valinch & Mallet Tobermory 1995 – 51.5% – 22 Year – Sherry Hogshead Cask 17-2022 – $290
  8. Valinch & Mallet Springbank 1996 – 52.6% – 21 Year – Fino Sherry Cask – $675 – Only 1 left! 


Introducing Brora 34 Year 2017 

Just think it will be 36 years, at least, until the soon to be reopened Brora Distillery has whisky this old! 

That Diageo would put out yet another annual release of Brora  was not a surprise, but the announcement a few weeks back that they would reopen the distillery certainly was. Along with Port Ellen and Rosebank, the long closed distillery is set to reopen. But of the three it has the greatest chance of someday reliving its past glory, as much of its equipment is still in place. Having said that, I will be in my mid-late 70’s by the time its whisky reaches this age. 92pts Serge @ Whisky Fun! Bottled at 51.9% from Re-fill American Oak.

Brora 34 Year – 51.9% – Refill American Oak – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: At first maritime and mineral, with dried seaweed. Then a wave of flavours suggest a cider farm’s workshop in springtime. Finally, sweet flavours roll in with green leaves, all on a faintly waxy base. Palate: The waxy texture for which Brora is renowned starts sharper than you expect, with fruit, chili and fresh-ground black pepper. As the heat subsides, fruity dark chocolate and soft barrel-char smoke appear. Finish: Some spice in the finish as aniseed slowly fade to leave sweet-spicy oak. With a final quick burst of black pepper and sweet fruit.” – $2250

Tasting Note by Serge “Indeed, perhaps not Brora’s best vintage, but let’s see what gives… Colour: straw. Nose: it frankly is a Clynelishy Brora. Virtually, this is Clynelish, with this waxy style, the ripe fruits, the faint smokiness, this orange peel, and all the beeswax. And lamp oil, hay, a little clay… All very fine, all quite subtle, and yet rather fat and assertive. Class. Mouth: wonderful. This time, it’s more Brora than Clynelish, with more mineral notes, more chalk, a small mustardy side, more sea elements, and rather more lemons than tangerines. Also green bananas, ripe white currants, and some slightly smoky lemons. Some wulong tea as well, this is very complex. Finish: only medium, but beautifully waxy and citrusy. Totally love the saltier signature. Oysters? Comments: not a peat master, but in a higher league than that of several previous 1982s by G&M (CCs and such). It’s good that they had decided to keep this puncheon until the year 2015. Smart decision! SGP:553″ – 92 points.


Coming Soon: Convalmore 34 Year 

The First Official Release in Years! 

This 32 year old distillery bottling of Convalmore was distilled in 1984 and filled into Re-fill American oak Hogsheads. It was bottled earlier this year at 48.2%. Bottlings from the closed Convalmore distillery are very rare, even from independent bottlers. This is only the 4th official bottling ever done of this whisky. 93pts Serge

Convalmore 32 Year- 48.2% – 1984 – Refill American Oak – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A mellow base aroma, soft and sweet, like a buttery pastry case, lightly dusted with nutmeg ready for a custard filling, or perhaps almond oil and oak shavings. Above this, there’s a fruity filling of gently sour apples, spiced pears and ripe melon, orange peel too, before an intense brown sugar sweetness builds. The spicy notes continue to develop, with clove and cinnamon-laced biscuits balanced by candied lemon, more sharp apple and an underlying green herbiness. A drop of water introduces a waxy note and suppresses the fruity elements. Palate: Smooth, sweet and fruity, with a trace of crisp acidity and oak spice to balance the sweetness before it can cloy. The apples and pastry on the nose persist, now caramelized and bitter-sweet, as part of the fruity centre palate. With a splash of water the taste becomes lightly sweeter, while light acidity again steps in to reveal more complexity. The fruit is savoury; light floral notes appear; the oak picks up char; the spice is toasted and fragrant. Finish: Warming, spicy and lingering, with liquorice that fades to stewed, baked and fresh-sliced apples and warming oak that persists in closing, bitter-sweet flavours.” – $1650

93pts Serge “Convalmore 32 yo 1984/2017 (48.2%, OB, Special Release, refill American oak hogsheads, 3,972 bottles) Five stars Loved the previous ones, especially the 1977/2013 (WF 94!) The 1978/2003 Rare Malts was great too (WF 90). Colour: pale gold. Nose: the wonderful self-restraint and beauty of these old-school Speysiders that never saw any sherry or any newish oak. Superb beeswax, olive and sunflower oils, verbena tea, menthol cigarettes (mum’s Kools), then assorted slightly overripe garden fruits, certainly apples and timid pears, an old bottle of linseed oil, rubbed grapefruit skins, a spoonful of honeydew, some gum arabic, and just a touch of natural rubber. I find this splendid, and so beautifully elegant and complex at the same time! And so un-modern… Mouth: awe… The most superb combination of herbal teas and soft fruit juices, on a waxy base. Some fresh mint for sure, verbena again, a touch of wormwood, honeysuckle tea, some pink grapefruits bringing the fruity contribution, and finally, a little bit of paraffin, going towards beeswax but not totally so. After three minutes, a few drops of cough syrup are starting to drip over it (eucalyptus, with hints of camphor). Finish: Comments: could this baby be the best within the bunch this year? I haven’t tried the Port Ellen yet at time of writing, but what’s sure is that this superb Convalmore is a strong contender. To think that Diageo managed to come up with four thousand bottles just like that… This is highly impressive! SGP:562 – 93 points.”


Introducing Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye 

A New Limited Edition Release & We Have More 10 Year Bourbon 

The latest limited edition Michter’s whiskey arrived just before Christmas. This rye is a follow up to last year’s Toast Barrel Finish Bourbon. Both whiskies were finished in new American oak barrels which were toasted rather than charred.

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye – 55.1% – Producer Description: “While our Michter’s team distills according to tried and true Kentucky practices, it continually experiments as it pursues Michter’s goal of making the greatest American whiskeys. Following years of research on different barrel finishes for Rye whiskey, we are proud to offer this release of our Michter’s US 1 Toasted Barrel Rye. To make it we take our US 1 Kentucky Straight Rye at barrel strength and then age it for an additional period in a second custom barrel. This second barrel is assembled from 24 month air dried wood and then toasted but not charred. The result is a unique Rye whiskey that we take pride in offering to you. The strength of the majority of barrels selected for this whiskey’s first ever release taking place this September 2017 ranges in proof from 107 to 111.8 proof.” – $150

We also have the Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon back in-stock this week, just 6 bottles!

Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon – 47.2% – From the Distillery: “Mature in age and truly exceptional in quality, Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon has earned its place as an enduring favorite of the most discerning whiskey connoisseurs. The “Best American Whiskey” according to Food & Wine magazine, our 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon represents the culmination of over a decade of patient aging in our specially chosen, new charred American white oak barrels.” Tasting Note: “Big and bold dark toffee and caramel, charred oak, maple syrup, vanilla.” – $240


Introducing Highland Park Magnus  

Great Bang for Your Buck 

I had low expectations for the new Highland Park Magnus, a no age statement Highland Park matured in sherry seasoned American oak casks and bottled at 40%. For a sub $50 whisky it is very good, I only wish we’d seen it at a higher proof!

Highland Park Magnus – 40% – American Oak Sherry – Andrew’s Tasting Note: Nose: fresh, honeyed and malty; soft citrus tones; white cupcakes with vanilla icing and sprinkles; burning heather on a muddy beach. Palate: still fresh, thick, creamy and coating; honeyed and malty; more cupcakes with sprinkles; the smoke is still delicate, smouldering heather on a muddy beach; a touch waxy with citrus and subtle sherry. Finish: drying and spicy; clean smoke, leather and earth. Comment: miles from mind-blowing, but very drinkable for a sub $50 single malt; just wish it had been bottled at 46%!” – $43

Producer Tasting Note: Lemon | Vanilla sponge cake | Caramelised pineapple | Aromatic peat smoke | Sweet violets.

Producer Story: “Magnus Eunson was a direct descendant of the Vikings who settled on Orkney hundreds of years ago. He set up his illicit still in a bothy (a small stone hut) at High Park, Kirkwall that’s still the site of our distillery today. And, while we say Highland Park was founded in 1798, in truth that’s just the year that the authorities caught up with Magnus – he was certainly making whisky before that!

“We stay true to our founder’s bold and uncompromising approach to whisky making – very little has changed here in the last 220 years. In MAGNUS, we celebrate this unbroken tradition with a single malt whisky, matured in Sherry seasoned American oak casks, that delivers notes of sweet vanilla, overlaid with our distinctive aromatic smokiness.”

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 Market403-283-8000<

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