Malt Messenger Bulletin by Andrew Ferguson – New Tastings & Whiskies – Whisky News

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Malt Messenger Bulletin – New Tastings & Whiskies 

We are heading in to a busy 5-6 weeks of whisky tastings and events at Kensington Wine Market, and it is going to be an exciting, and tasty time. We have added around 5 new whisky tastings to our already full tasting schedule since the last Malt Messenger, so it is high time we get some of that info out to the Malt Messenger Nation…

We are thrilled to welcome Ian Chang, Kavalan’s Master Distiller to KWM on Monday May 27 for a series of back to back tastings (5PM & 7:30PM). We posted these tasting through our Social Media channels last week, and the 7:30 tasting promptly sold out. The 5PM tasting is half sold. Ian’s visit is just ahead of Kavalan’s return to Alberta later in the Spring.

We have also set up the Cadenhead Small Batch Blowout tasting on Wednesday May 15, to show some love to 7 Cadenhead whiskies that slipped between the cracks. The whiskies are all 20-25 years of age, and the tasting just $30 per person. The whiskies will also be 30% off that night in-store, just ahead of our 27th Birthday Whisky Festival the following night and our upcoming Birthday Sale (May17-19).

The Ardbeg Day Master Classes at KWM on Saturday June 1 (1PM & 3PM) both sold out, so by popular demand we have added a 3rd Master Class, to take place at 11AM. $25 to sample the Ardbeg range, the new release Drum, and a past Ardbeg Day release.

If you just can’t wait for one of these above opportunities to sample whisky, you might consider joining me on this upcoming Thursday night (May 9th) at KWM for Rare Malts. I have an awesome range of 7 whiskies selected for the tasting, $2500 worth of whisky in all. Details on this tasting, and all of the others mentioned above can be found below.

In new whisky news, we have two to tell you about from Compass Box. Firstly, the long awaited Compass Box Stranger & Stranger is here! The whisky is a tribute to 10 years of collaboration between the Compass Box Whisky Co., and their marketing partners Stranger & Stranger. It is a lovely spirit drink, which we can’t call whisky, owing to the inclusion of a tiny amount of rather immature spirit! Details below. Secondly, and most excitingly, there is our second KWM exclusive Compass Box Whisky Blend. The Compass Box Great King Street (GKS) KWM Marrying Cask is an exciting Blended Scotch whisky we were offered the opportunity to bottle early last year. The whisky is from a single French Oak marrying cask, where the whisky was extra matured for 2 days shy of 2 years post blending. It is big, fruity and spicy with loads of personality, and well worth a visit to KWM for a taste.

On the note of KWM casks, it is worth noting that 4 of our recent single cask bottlings are on the verge of selling out. The Elijah Craig KWM Single Barrel Bourbon is down to just 12 bottles. The Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength is down to less than 20. Our Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask is down to just 15 bottles, and there are less than 50 (of nearly 350) bottles of Highland Park, aka Berry’s Orkney Islands 1999 19 Year KWM Cask, left. If you were holding out for our sale to get a better deal, especially with respect to the Elijah Craig and Glenfarclas, you might want to rethink that one… both will be gone before the sale even starts!

As always, thanks for reading the Malt Messenger. All of the products in the Malt Messenger can be purchased in-store, online or by phone. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or requests.

Slàinte!

Andrew

In This Edition

  1. Another Batch of Rare Malts (and a blend)
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Blowout Tasting
  3. 27th Birthday Whisky Festival
  4. Ian Chang from Kavalan is Coming
  5. 3rd Ardbeg Day Master Class Added at KWM
  6. Introducing: Compass Box Stranger & Stranger
  7. Introducing: Compass Box Great King Street KWM Marrying Cask
  8. Less Than 20 Bottles Left of Our Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength
  9. Less Than 50 Bottles Left of Our Berry’s Orkney Islands 1999 18 Year KWM Cask
  10. Only a Dozen Bottles Left of Our Elijah Craig KWM Single Barrel Bourbon
  11. Only 15 Bottles Left of Our Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask
  12. Spring Tasting Schedule

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

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

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook: facebook.com/scotch.guy.1

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Another Batch of Rare Malts 

Where Will You Be This Thursday 

Rare Malts is one of my favourite recurring tastings. It is built around whiskies in the 20 years of age and up realm, with an occasional closed distillery or two thrown in for good measure. We see fewer and fewer closed distillery bottlings at prices that work for these tastings anymore, but occasionally some curiosities become available. Although not strictly a malt, due to the addition of grain whisky, we will be tossing the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen in to the mix for this tasting. Port Ellens are now largely priced out of even our most high end tastings, but this lovely new Blend squeaks in. I was really impressed by the Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Edition when we cracked it open last month. We’ve also have an increasing rare Lowland single malt, the Alexander Murray Bladnoch 1990. Bladnoch was closed on and off through much of the 1990s and 2000s, and while it is now again in full production under new owners, bottlings of its single malt are increasingly rare. I would have liked to have seen the abv higher on this bottling, but regardless it is a lovely, soft, elegant and tropical single malt. Add to this 5 other old whiskies including a 29 year old Glenturret, 26 year old Auchentoshan, Glen Keith 1995, Speyside 1993 and a very intriguing mystery Blended Malt, and you have a recipe for a great tasting!

Tickets are $80, which is a bargain for a tasting with nearly $2500 worth of whisky!

Register online, in-store or call 403-283-8000

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Cadenhead Small Batch Blow Out Tasting 

SAVE 30% on 7 Cadenhead Whiskies – We Will Taste Them for $30 

We get so many good releases of Cadenhead, that it is inevitable that some of these will slip between the cracks. We are blowing out a selection of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies ahead of our 27th Birthday Sale, that didn’t get as much love as maybe they should have when they first came in. We have selected 7 of them, all single malts, all aged at least 20 years of age for a special one off tasting. The cost for the tasting is $30, and all of the whiskies sampled will be 30% off too, just for those attending the tasting. We have selected whiskies from Aultmore, Glen Moray, Glen Spey, Linkwood, Speyside, Strathmill & Tullibardine, all aged between 20 & 25 years of age. This tasting would be a steal at twice the price!

 Register online, in-store or by phone at 403-283-8000.

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27th Birthday Whisky Festival 

There is Nothing Mini About This One 

I’m not sure why we used to call our Birthday Whisky Festival mini, it wasn’t, there was still close to, if not more than 100 whiskies open for tasting. Reflecting back it was probably just how we chose to differentiate it from the Spring Single Malt Festival a month later. This year’s festival will be no different than the last couple, other than the fact that we’ve put paid to the whole “mini” nonsense. The 27th Birthday Whisky Festival is the kick off to our Birthday Sale Weekend, and a chance for a head start at some of the weekends best deals. A number of these will sell out that night, so don’t miss out. Tickets are just $50, for a glass, a chance to sample from 100 odd whiskies at fantastic prices, sausage rolls, cheese, charcuterie, Evan and more! The SALE is store-wide and runs May 17-19.

Register online, in-store and by phone 403-283-8000

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Ian Chang from Kavalan is Coming 

Kavalan’s Master Blender is Coming to Canada for the First Time

We were very happy when we heard Kavalan Whisky was set to return to Alberta this Spring. We were even more excited when offered the opportunity to host Ian Chang, Kavalan’s Master Blender, for a series of back to back in-store Master Classes at KWM. This is Ian’s first visit to Canada, and we are working him hard. We have schedule Kavalan Master Classes with Ian from 5-6:30PM and 7:30-9:00PM on Monday May 27. There are just a dozen spots left for the 5PM tasting with the 7:30 sold out. The cost is just $25.

Register online, in-store and by phone 403-283-8000.

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3rd Ardbeg Day Master Class Added at KWM 

By Popular Demand We Have Added a 3rd Master Class at 11AM 

By popular demand, we have added a 3rd Ardbeg Day Master Class seating… The 2019 Ardbeg Day bottling is Drum, which we will be sampling in a pair of Ardbeg Day Master Classes at KWM. We’ll sample the core range, Drum and a special treat from down memory lane! The cost of the tasting includes a pass to Ardbeg Day celebrations at Oak Tree Tavern beginning at 4:30PM!

Register online, in-store and by phone 403-283-8000

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Introducing: Compass Box Stranger & Stranger 

Compass Box’s Tribute to 10 Years of Work with Stranger & Stranger 

Stranger & Stranger has been a big part of Compass Box’s marketing success over the last decade. To mark the 10th anniversary of their collaboration as well as Stranger & Stranger’s 30th Anniversary, John has put together this special blend. It is a Scotch Malt Whisky blended with wheat and barley spirit… ahem, is it Scotch or a whisky? 46%. 4802 Bottles Worldwide!

Compass Box Stranger & Stranger – 46% – For more details on the recipe, check out our website. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: sinful caramel sauce and Manuka honey leads in to big juicy citrus: Starburst fruit candies, fresh squeezed orange juice and grapefruit bitters; doughy with more exotic fruits emerging: apricots, quince paste and ripe tropical fruits; very decadent and slightly floral with soft leather, vanilla bean and caramel chews. Palate: rich, creamy, coating and silky; still sinfully indulgent with a big, roaund oily and coating body; so juicy… ; more exotic and tropical fruits with birght citrus to boot; the dried apricot tones are still there with mango, papaya and waxy Starburst fruit candies; loads of floral vanilla, some soft leather and decadent crisp spices with a faint whisp of smoke. Finish: long, coating, creamy and elegant; fruity, layered and decadent; the finale is just as interesting and complex as the nose and palate. Comment: this is a brilliant spirit drink… crucially this can be called a whisky or a Scotch as 1% of the recipe is 18 month of grain spirit from the Girvan distillery matured in virgin oak; but who cares? this is yet another fine example of how innovation can come crashing up against well intentioned but misguided rules of the road; if you are someone who takes comfort in clear definitions and labels this drink is not for you; if however you are someone who puts the liquid ahead of all other concerns, look no further; this stuff is brilliant and as an added bonus, the label is another triumph!” – $295

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Introducing: Compass Box Great King Street KWM Marrying Cask #8 

Our Second Exclusive Compass Box Blend is Big, Fruity and Very Spicy! 

This is our second KWM exclusive Compass Box bottling, and there are just 210 bottles. The blend was composed of Cameronbridge, Linkwood, Highland Malt Blend and Clynelish between 7 and 13 years of age.  It was put in to a French oak cask for marrying, where it continued to mature for two days shy of two additional years.

Recipe:

  1. 46% Cameronbridge from a Rechar Bourbon Barrel
  2. 8% Linkwood from a First Fill Sherry Butt
  3. 16% Highland Malt Blend from a Custom French Oak Heavily Toasted Barrel
  4. 30% Clynelish from a Rechar Bourbon Barrel

Compass Box Great King Street – 49% – Finished 2 Years in French Oak – My Tasting Note: “Nose: bright and fruity; soft, honeyed and decadent with some crisp spice; caramelized onions, Seville oranges, English marmalade, poached pear and tarte tatin; hot candied ginger, nutmeg and candied fennel. Palate: rich, fruity, decadent and very spicy; more candied ginger, cinnamon hearts, fennel and anise; the orange-citrus, baked white fruits and caramelized onion notes are still still there, complimented by sauteed strawberry and stewed rhubarb; underneath the spice and fruits a base of waxy honey and floral vanilla. Finish: warm, coating and spicy; the spice tries to dominate, but the fruits and decadent oak gives as good as it gets. Comment: this is a massively spicy blend, big, bold and very fruity; the elegance of the classic Great King Street blend amped upped by 2 years marrying in French oak; delish!” – $94

Producer Description: “This unique bottling has been created especially from a single marrying cask used to mature the whisky after initial blending has taken place. Secu secondary maturation–a process used for every Great King Street whisky–used to be commonplace within the world of Scotch, but has become a lost art over the past 100 years.Full details of the specific marrying cask used to mature this whisky can be found on the front of this bottle (it was finished two days shy of 2 years in a French Oak Barrel/210 total botles).We hope you find this informationenlightening! Drink this Single Marrying Cask bottling any way you like, and above all share & enjoy.”

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Less Than 20 Bottles Left of Our Glenfarclas 15 Year Cask Strength 

And Is it Any Wonder? It Is Amazing Value! 

Our latest exclusive Glenfarclas is nearly gone, and that is a real shame because it is such a lovely dram. It is a cask strength version of Glenfarclas 15 Year, bottled at 58.2%, exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. Approximately 360 bottles.

Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength - 58.2% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent and nutty; beer nuts, candied almonds and dry oloroso sherry tones meet treacle sauce, maple butter and bright citrus tones: candied orange and freshly peeled grapefruit; lots going on here, damp leather, dark chocolate and firm spices. Palate: sweet, creamy and fruity to start before the drier, nutty and leathery sherry tones take over; licorice and fennel, milk chocolate almonds and dark chocolate espresso beans; more bright citrus, candied cherries, dried dates as well as cooked raisins and prunes; the maple butter and treacle sauce notes emerge after the spices balance out. Finish: long, drying, spicy and smooth with bold oloroso sherry tones balanced by creamy and decadent notes. Comment: this is a big, nutty and drying almost sherry bomb, balanced with bright fruits and a decadent creamy base.” - $110

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Less Than 50 Bottles Left of Our Berry’s Orkney Islands 1999 KWM Cask 18 Year 

Don’t Miss Out on This Mysterious Highland Park 

This might be the most exciting single cask we’ve brought in, in a wee while. Although it is not specifically stated so on the label, this is a cask of Highland Park Single Malt Whisky. Selected by and bottled exclusively for KWM from a single Refill Hogshead at 53.5%. So wrap your head around that fact, 18 year old cask strength Highland Park for less than $130! Unfortunately it has been a victim of its own success with less than 50 of the 342 total bottles left for sale!

Berry’s Orkney Islands 1999 18 Year KWM Cask – 53.5% – Refill Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honey pots and marmalade; candied fruits and nuts; beeswax candles and honeycomb; hints of clean smoke in maritime air; oak shavings and smooth old leather; Jelly bellies and orange peels in Old Fashioneds. Palate: honeyed and creamy with ethereal elegant smoke and a silky-coating-waxy mouthfeel; more beeswax and honeycomb; bright Moroccan marmalade, orange peels and Old Fashioned cocktails; clean earthy peat smoke and soft leather with melons and papaya; becomes increasingly savoury with leather and spices; late tobacco and chocolate. Finish: long, waxy, honeyed and smooth with more gentle peat smoke, fruits and a touch of maritime air. Comment: this is not the distillery bottled Highland Park 18 year, but frankly that one hasn’t been itself either for some time now; this is a soft, no silky, middle-aged single malt with clean elegant smoke and bags of honey and fruits; this is Highland Park!” - $128

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Only a Dozen Bottles Left of Our Elijah Craig KWM Single Barrel Bourbon 

Mysterious Blended Malt 

Our first exclusive single barrel of Elijah Craig, and our first exclusive Bourbon cask in over a year is nearly gone! This took quite some time to reach us, probably due to the fact the distillery changed agents midway through the process. It actually arrived in-store 2 weeks shy of the one year anniversary of our selection of the barrel. Barrel 5214622 was matured in Warehouse F / Floor 3 / 17F. It has been bottled at 47%, as is typical for the brand.

Elijah Craig KWM Single Barrel Bourbon – 47% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: nutty with musty old oak, fresh cut cedar, maple butter and beeswax; orange rinds and candied cherries; a touch of chocolate, leather and tobacco. Palate: sweet, toasty and very nutty; pecan pie and butter tarts, roasted almond and salted peanuts; more cedar shavings and smouldering oak; becomes leathery with some tobacco, aromatic bitters and dark unsweetened bakers chocolate; late spices, maraschino cherries and orange peel. Finish: long, smooth and elegant; the darker notes burn off first leaving the decadent oak, spices and fruit tones to follow later. Comment: it goes without saying that this is a brilliant single barrel, would KWM put its name on anything less? true to our style we have sought out complexity over intensity with respect to the oak influence.” – $70

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Only 15 Bottles Left of Our Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask 

A Rare Example of a Good Octaves Finish, and a Great Macallan! 

From the people who brought you “The Infamous”, we were offered the opportunity to bottle a bespoke 23 year old Macallan, and who were we to say no! Matured in Bourbon and finished in a Sherry Octave, bottled at 46.4%. Only 66 bottles!

Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask – 46.4% – Matured in Bourbon – Finished in a Sherry Octave – My Tasting Note: “Nose: Caramilk bars, rum-raisin, butter tarts and damp Jujubes; dark milk chocolate with pink peppercorns; assorted wood shavings from a High School shop class, carrot cake doughnuts with cream cheese icing and a touch of black licorice Nibbs. Palate: soft and fruity to start it quickly builds into thick caramel, chocolate and spices; more rum-raisin, butter tarts and carrot cake doughnuts with creme cheese icing; the black licorice Nibbs are still there with chocolate and spices: pink peppercorn, hot candied ginger and cinnamon hearts; a touch earthy with soft leather, there is underlying honey and sweet-floral vanilla. Finish: fresh and lively with fruits, spices, leather chocolate and lots of caramel; the mouth is left drying and tingling while it salivates for the next sip. Comment: a lovely whisky with lots of layers; I was initially a little concerned about it finishing in a sherry Octave (60L cask); I have experienced many such whiskies which were way overcooked; this is not the case here, the sherry Octave has made its impact but not overwhelmed the spirit; this is not mind-blowing, but it is good, and excellent value for a Macallan of its age!” – $420

Spring Tasting Schedule 

Loads of Exciting New Whisky and Other Spirits Tastings 

We have some great tastings as part of our Spring 2019 Tasting Schedule. We have two great whisky festivals as well as Master Classes for Compass Box, Ardbeg Day and Glenfarclas. There are also a pair of Signatory 30th Anniversary tastings.

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Blowout Edition - Wednesday May 15 – We are blowing out a selection of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies ahead of our 27th Birthday Sale. We will be sampling at least 7 of them, all single malts, all aged at least 20 years of age. The tasting is $30, and all of the whiskies sampled will be 30% off, just for those attending the tasting. – $30
  2. 27th Birthday Whisky Festival – Thursday May 16 – We’re not going to understate this night by calling it mini again. It is going to be full on with our best deals of the year. 100+ Whiskies, a glass & Sausage rolls! – $50
  3. Ardbeg Day Master Class 3 - Saturday June 1 11AM – By popular demand, we have added a 3rd Ardbeg Day Master Class seating… The 2019 Ardbeg Day bottling is Drum, which we will be sampling in a pair of Ardbeg Day Master Classes at KWM. We’ll sample the core range, Drum and a special treat from down memory lane! – $25
  4. Igor Whisky - We are thrilled to welcome our friend and whisky expert Igor Kossov for a Master Class featuring unusual independent bottlings from Archives, Jack Wiebers, Maltbarn, Whisky Fassle, Valinch & Mallet and The Whisky Agency. – $50
  5. Spring Single Malt Festival - Thursday June 13 – Our 8th annual spring festival of all things malt whisky will feature at least 100 single malts from Scotland & around the world. It sells out quickly, so don’t hesitate. KWM logo tasting glass included. – $65
  6. Signatory 30th Anniversary Tasting Night 1 – Friday June 14 – One of our favourite independent bottlers has turned 30, and they’ve released special bottlings to celebrate. The least we could do was order in a few of these whiskies, like Ben Nevis, Bunnahabhain, Cragganmore, Glenlossie, Mortlach & Port Ellen, for a pair of special tastings! – $175
  7. Signatory 30th Anniversary Tasting Night 2 – Thursday June 14 – Same Range as June 14: One of our favourite independent bottlers has turned 30, and they’ve released special bottlings to celebrate. The least we could do was order in a few of these whiskies, like Ben Nevis, Bunnahabhain, Cragganmore, Glenlossie, Mortlach & Port Ellen, for a pair of special tastings! – $175
  8. Canadian Whisky Rising – Thursday June 27 – With the explosion in micro distilling in Canada, it’s time to have another look at Canadian whisky, craft to corporate, from coast to coast! – $35
  9. Making Bourbon Great Again – Wednesday July 3 – 3 tastings later Trump is still an a–hole, but we won’t stop loving Bourbon despite a less than great US President with no taste! Join us on a trip down the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and to other parts of America, all in search of Great American Whiskey! – $35

We also have a wide range of Wine and Beer tastings available too. Check out the tasting page on our website for more details! 

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000, or on our website!

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 www.kensingtonwinemarket.com. 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.

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson

Owner & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market

403-283-8000

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

www.kensingtonwinemarket.com

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