Archive for October, 2018

Canadian Whisky News by Davin de Kergommeaux – Canadian distillers fight automatic tax increases: NOT On My Tab campaign – Canadian Whisky News


Canadian distillers fight automatic tax increases:

 NOT On My Tab campaign

Canada’s federal government introduced an automatic, annually escalating excise tax increase on alcohol in its 2017 budget. Then, on January 1st this year, the United States lowered theirs. Canadians already pay among the highest alcohol taxes in the world and now the increasing tax burden on Canadian spirits is seriously eroding Canada’s competitiveness with the US and other international competitors.


Canada’s large and small distillers along with brewers and winemakers are opposing the federal government’s automatic escalation of alcohol excise taxes, as introduced in the 2017 federal budget. Under the terms of the escalation clause, excise taxes increase automatically every April without consultation and without discussion in Parliament. The distillers have launched an information campaign called Not On My Tab (link) to advise Canadians of the taxes they pay, and encourage them to join efforts to have the automatic escalation clause repealed.

It is not that Canada’s beverage alcohol producers oppose taxes. Rather, they believe that by relieving Members of Parliament of their role to review and approve tax rates, the government has short-circuited normal democratic processes. This change makes tax increases automatic without reference to prevailing economic conditions. Currently, those conditions are making Canadian spirits uncompetitive at home and abroad.

Taxes make up a significant portion of the price of alcoholic beverages in Canada, with spirits being taxed the most. Consumers may know they pay high taxes, but often don’t realize that when they buy a bottle of whisky, about 80% of what they pay goes to the government. Canadians pay one of the highest tax rates in the world for the simple pleasure of enjoying a drink with family and friends.

For over two centuries Canadian distillers have proudly turned Canadian grain into world-class whisky and other spirits. Canada’s nearly 200 distillers are an important economic engine for rural communities across the country, and for large and small cities in every province. Yes, whisky is an agricultural product and in Canada, 100% of the grain it is made from comes from Canadian farms.

However, spirit sales are very much price sensitive. So, the federal automatic escalator tax on beer, wine and spirits introduced in the 2017 budget threatens the 8,500 full-time jobs and $5.8 billion contribution to Canada’s annual GDP that distilling provides. With the new escalator tax, prices will increase on April 1st every year – forever.

The government tried this approach once before. In the early 1980s they introduced a similar escalator tax only to repeal it 5 years later after 11 major distilleries had closed permanently.

Reasonable taxes help support our society. However, excessive taxes harm local business owners and workers particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Most bars and restaurants can’t simply pass along these tax increases to their customers. At the same time, Canadian farmers are facing difficult times. How will reducing demand from some of their best customers help Canadian barley, corn, wheat and rye farmers?

Coincident with the increase in excise duties on Canadian-made spirits, was a historic decrease of excise duties on American spirits. By this April, Canada’s excise rate for spirits will be an astonishing 85% higher than those in the United States, Canada’s largest international competitor. Canada’s tax and regulatory framework is making our distillers uncompetitive internationally, while the United States is busy creating a much more welcoming and efficient regulatory environment in which to do business.

Unfortunately, after years of growth, our international presence is declining and sales are down nearly 6% year-to-date, as companies are forced to throttle back on global promotions and new market development in the face of unreasonable tax burdens at home.

Canadians will always drink spirits, but unless we start to think longer-term, the 1980s will repeat themselves with spirits imported from abroad replacing those made here in Canada.

As a microdistiller in the throes of launching a new distillery told me this week, America is a much more welcoming environment for distillers today. He would like to launch his distillery in Canada, but right now it just makes more business sense to do so in the U.S. Pity.


Canadian Whisky Awards

A record number of entries promises to make this the most hard fought battle since the Canadian Whisky Awards were inaugurated 9 years ago. Watch here in January for results, or join us at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria on Thursday January 17, when the winners will be revealed.For your gift shopIt’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas, especially if you have a visitors’ centre at your distillery. If you would like to sell the book, Canadian Whisky, in your gift shop, drop me a line and I’ll connect you with my publisher’s wholesale department.

Yamazaki Single Cask 2018… Dekanta auction Starts Now – Japanese Whisky News




2-49-7 Minamiikebukuro Toshima-ku, Tokyo,

Sullivans Cove American Oak Ex-Bourbon Cask TD0138 – Tasmanian Whisky News



Cask TD0138

American Oak is finally available again!

Our current release of American Oak single cask was distilled in September of 2006 and decanted in April of this year. It was matured in a 200L American Oak ex-bourbon cask for eleven years and eight months in our distillery in Cambridge, Tasmania.

This whisky has all the hallmarks of a great Sullivans Cove American Oak; it’s well-rounded, fruity, viscous and has incredible length. There are only 242 bottles of this powerful and well-developed whisky, bottled at 47.7% ABV.

As a mailing list member, you have exclusive access to purchase this prior to general release.

“Surprisingly leathery and spicy for its age, this cask is my personal favourite from amongst our recent American Oak releases” Heather Tillott, Production Manager



Scotch Malt Whisky Society “It’s time for cosiness and conviviality” – Scotch Whisky News

It’s time for cosiness and conviviality

SMWS Oct18


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

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

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

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video


The Good Dram Show – Episode 289 ‘North Star Series 006 Pt2’ – Scotch Whisky News

Chris Goodrum

The Good Dram Show – Episode 289 ‘North Star Series 006 Pt2’ – This weeks episode of the show is the second part of my review of the North Star Series 006. This week it’s the turn of the regional bottlings or the Stars as Iain has called them.

Whisky tasting with a background noise by Paul Mclean of MCLEANSCOTLAND – Whisky News

FAH-7-SevenDeadlySins.jpg lawrence

Whisky tasting with a background noise

Just for a change, blending a dram with music. I was bored one night … From the classic Mortlach, Glendronach, Glenmorangie brigade, try this out;  Break on through to the other sideJameson Stout finish, a beautiful wee number, velvety, smooth, doesnee bite you all the way doon the toes, with underlying notes of stout (Murphys), chocolate noises in there also. You just cannee beat it for a sit back and enjoy dram. Aye, we’ve broken through! Many thanks Jim and the Doors.

Tamdhu Batch Strength matured exclusively in sherry casks and boasting a weighty ABV of 58.3%. What did I get?  Black Forest gateau, vanilla, marmalade, chocolate cake, un-chillfiltered. Each batch varies slightly in style and intensity, its deep colour and exquisite quality is a winner with me. A grand dram with a bit of fire, like a bolt of lightning.  Drammed in company of the Doors, (come on baby) Light my fire.

Talisker Storm  released in early 2013 as a no age statement whisky, matured in refill and toasted American oak casks. An intense dram like the song, character, smokier depth and complexity inside this island luvvy. Again thanks to Jim M. Riders on the Storm 

Poison – an American metal band that achieved great commercial success in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, sold over 30 million records. The band’s second album, Open Up and Say… Ahh!, which became the band’s most successful album,  Tamnavulin Double Cask was the first release from the distillery since the 1990s! Now they’ve got their very own expression! American oak before a finishing period in Sherry casks. The easiest of the drams tonight to linger with and open my mush and say ahhh. I can’t help singing one of my favourites to this dram; What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s left? What the hell is going on? Unskinny bop. Just blows me away, yeah, Unskinny bop, bop, All night and day, yeah, Unskinny bop, bop, bop, bop.

With a Little Help From My Friends This Lennon & McCartney song became a signature for Joe Cocker after he performed it at Woodstock in 1969. It’s grand to try and warble similar to Joe, you just can’t! But we try, so – with some help I go dramming log into The Friend at Hand. Irish Whiskey Shop. Hill Street Belfast. One of their drams, exclusive; SEVEN DEADLY SINS, 13 Years  SINGLE MALT Everyone makes mistakes. Some more so than others, some with certain whiskies I won’t name. If you haven’t made any, then you haven’t lived and that’s the real sin. Only Available To Buy In The Friend At Hand.

That’s all for tonight though I could go on, looking forward to my next delve into my music background for whisky friends, hell – it’s better than pairing with food!


Tomatin US Flag


Highland whisky distillery Tomatin, has today (Tuesday 16th October) announced that it is officially the fastest growing top ten single malt whisky in the US. Recent figures released by Impact Databank confirm that the brand has increased its foothold in the US by a massive 52% following significant international growth.

Tomatin sold more than 35,000 cases of branded product stateside in 2017, amounting to almost £2 million worth of sales. The brand proved particularly popular in states including New York, Texas and California.

Graham Nicolson, Sales Director of Tomatin, said, “There is growing demand for Tomatin stateside and, thanks to our fantastic partnership with Phillips  Distilling Co., we have been able to meet this demand and grow Tomatin’s US presence at a significant pace.”

He added, “2018 has been a year of intense acceleration for Tomatin, not just in the US, but in the UK too. We are delighted to celebrate this latest business milestone and look forward to further growing the brand in the US, and beyond, as we head into 2019.” 

Commenting on the US market, Sarah Dickson, International Director at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The US continues to be the largest export market for Scotch Whisky, accounting for over £921.7 million in exports last year.”

She continued:  “Single malts are extremely popular in the USA, with the country representing 26% of overall value of single malt exports – and the equivalent of 23.7 million bottles shipped to the country in 2017. On a global level, single malts continue to perform strongly, and since topping £1bn in exports in 2016 are now valued at £1.2 billion.”

Christopher Null, a California-based whisky blogger and Editor of Drink Hacker, commented: “This is huge news for a generally under sung brand that is known for both its impressive – and often unique – expressions and reasonable pricing.”

He added: “Tomatin hasn’t been well-known by most US consumers, so annual growth of 52% is a huge accomplishment that will seemingly be changing things in short order. I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of these whiskies on the US market.”

Back in June, Tomatin reported a double-digit increase in turnover and profit. Sales in 2017 were 25 per cent higher on the previous year at £18m, driven by growth in the UK, the US and Europe. In addition, turnover from the distillery’s visitor centre – an important income stream for  the business, surpassed £1 million for the very first time.

Tomatin’s portfolio of core whiskies spans four decades and the distillery also produces Cù Bòcan, a lightly peated single malt whisky, and range a range of blended whiskies.


Tomatin is located in the Scottish Highlands (near Inverness) and is famous for its portfolio of soft and mellow whiskies, including a core range, a limited-edition range and a premium archive range (prices range from £35 – £2,500). Tomatin is one of the fastest growing whisky brands in the UK and ranks within the Top 10 Single Malt brands in the USA. Tomatin recently reported its turnover increased by almost 25% during the company’s most recent financial year (Dec 2016 – Dec 2017). Tomatin won Distiller of the Year 2016 and Brand Innovator of the Year 2017 at the Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards.


Bonhams Whisky Sale


 American Hogshead Cask from Macallan Distillery. 1996-22 year old

The Whisky section of the sale is particularly strong with 530 lots and leading with an American Hogshead Cask from Macallan Distillery, 1996-22 year old, estimated at HK$2,200,000 to HK$2,800,000.

The sale also presents the largest selection of Japanese whisky with over 70 bottles from the closed distillery Karuizawa, a further 50 bottles of single cask Yamazaki and a selection from the highly sought after Hanyu Card series. Highlights include:

  • A bottle of Karuizawa-1960-52 year old-#5627 the oldest expression, which was sampled and kept by Mr. Osami Uchibori, the former malt master of Karuizawa Distillery (estimated at HK$1,000,000-1,400,000);
  • Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt-Joker “Monochrome” & “Colour” (2) estimated at HK$110,000-140,000
  • A third edition of Yamazaki-50 year old estimated at HK$1,000,000-1,400,000.

Other notable whisky lots include:

  • A selection of collectable Bowmore including the first and second edition of Black Bowmore-1964, estimated at HK$130,000 to 180,000 and various bottling from the same year;
  • The largest Macallan Fine & Rare offering, spanning seven decades over 20 bottles from vintages between 1937 and 1991, and with an estimate ranging from HK$55,000 to HK$260,000; and,
  • Old and rare whiskies from the most legendary Italian independent bottlers including Laphroaig-1970-14 year-#4367 from Samaroli (estimated at HK$20,000 to 26,000), and a selection from Moon, Sestante and Silver Seal.
Auction Previews
Taipei 2 and 3 November

Le Meridien
Pegasus & Virgo, Level 2
No. 38 Songren Road, Xinyi District
Taipei City, Taiwan 110

Singapore 10 and 11 November

The Regent Hotel
Cuscaden Room, Level 2
1 Cuscaden Road
Singapore 249715


Hong Kong 13–16 November 

Bonhams Gallery

Suite 2001

One Pacific Place

88 Queensway

Hong Kong

Auction Details Fine and Rare Whisky 

Bonhams Hong Kong Gallery Suite 2001, One Pacific Place, Admiralty Friday 16 November at 10:30am

Specialist: Daniel Lam, Director of Wine & Whisky, Asia

Tel: +852 2918 4321; E:

 About Bonhams 

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

Bonhams Cropped

The Macallan Triple Cask Matured – Scotch Whisky News


Matured in a uniquely complex combination of casks, The Macallan Triple Cask Matured range offers an extraordinarily smooth and delicate yet complex character drawn from European and American sherry seasoned oak casks and ex-bourbon American oak casks.

This triple cask combination gives a more complex style, from the prominent character of American oak in the younger ages to the more developed European oak character as you progress through the range.

Previously known as The Macallan Fine Oak, the range offers the same whisky with a new name and a new bottle; reflecting the quality of our whiskies and unveiling the skills and craft of the Macallan Masters.

The Macallan Triple Cask Matured 12 Years Old and 15 Years Old are now available to purchase from The Macallan Online Shop.


Scotch Whisky Auctions 91st Auction Now Live – Scotch Whisky News


Hi folks, that’s us live with the 91st auction! Happy bidding!

Happy Bidding!

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