Kensington Wine Market Malt Messenger No. 104 by Andrew Ferguson “Winter is Coming Pt. I” – A Wide Variety of Whisky News

Malt Messenger No. 104 – Winter is Coming Pt. I

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

Happy Halloween!

I imagine you’re sitting there, exhausted from walking your kids around the neighbourhood, and having struggled to put them to bed through their sugar high. Or perhaps you are worn out from pretending to be excited, surprised and scared about someone else’s kids costumes. Either way, can we tempt you with a little light whisky reading? Pull your chair up to the fire, grab a handful of the kids candy, pour yourself a glass of something peaty and tuck in!

So much has happened since the last Malt Messenger. We are nearly through our “Whisky Week Tastings” at KWM, a series of back to back Scotch whisky Master Classes. Tonight is Kilchoman, and tomorrow is Elixir Distillers, both of which have loads of new whiskies on our shelves(see below). It was just a little over a week ago that I was at the tail end of some European travels, but it feels like an eternity.

After attending Whisky Live Paris (the only good Whisky Live show I have ever attended–and it is very good), and a quick stop in London, I met Evan in Scotland for his first ever tour of the whisky motherland. Over the next 10 days we hit 30 distilleries and independent bottlers, on what was an exhausting and punishing schedule. Cue tiny violins…

The trip was a grand adventure, and one of the most memorable moments occurred on the first day. Evan’s flight was late, but we still made our scheduled stop at Glengoyne for what ended up having to be a speed-tour. Our guide Arthur was very accommodating. It is around that point we got notice that our ferry to Arran was cancelled due to a perfect storm of coincidence. The car ramp for both the main berth, as well as the backup, had both failed. Further, an Atlantic storm had closed their 2nd backup berth in Troon. Determined to get to Arran, where we had lodging, we made a mad dash 3 hour detour up to and part way down the Kintyre peninsula, in the hopes of catching the last ferry to the island. We made record time, Evan’s first experience driving with me in Scotland, notwithstanding the tight winding roads, intermittent bursts of rain too great for our wipers to manage and puddles conspiring to drag the car off the road. Despite our efforts we still missed the boat by two minutes, at which point something remarkable happened… the ferry turned around and came back to get us. A good omen for our trip ahead, the whisky Gods were smiling on us!

If you follow either Evan or I on Social Media, you may have gotten a taste of our grand adventure. If you are feeling a little green with envy… sorry-ish. The cool exclusives and single casks we receive  don’t occur by chance, but through hard work, discovery and relationship building. It is a tough job as the over-used saying goes, but… it is a labour of love, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Before we get in to new whisky news, a couple of events to tell you about. Firstly, tickets are now on sale for the MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020. The 9th Annual event is moving to a new venue, The Glenbow Museum on Thursday January 16. We will have more Master Classes this year, including 4, count em, 4, VIP Master Classes. Details on the events and ticket options are below. Early bird pricing ends on November 30th.

A lot was happening behind the scenes while we were away. Some of our staff are busy building inserts for the Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar, which as of now is now over 80% sold out. Speaking of the 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar, we are finally ready to reveal our design (see below). For the 6th straight year, Jean-Paul Berube, who at one time was our store manager, has designed our calendar. It is a bit darker and more brooding. Not a comment on the Federal election, Brexit nonsense, or the general state of the world we live in… We are also anticipating the first calendars will be available for pickup and or purchase in-store as of Friday November 8.

We have 4 new KWM exclusive single casks to tell you about. First up is the new Kilchoman 2011 KWM Cask 770, our 8th from the distillery. This cask quietly arrived in store last Wednesday. Our 8th exclusive single cask from the Islay distillery, it is our 3rd oldest at just under 8 years, but a tad younger than the last two we bottled, both of which were ten. That is nothing to be disappointed about though, as it is a little more true to Kilchoman’s bold peaty house style, and it is also a lot better priced.

Last Friday we received two further KWM exclusive casks, from Single Malts of Scotland. Single Malts of Scotland is from the same parent company as Elements of Islay and Port Askaig. We were offered a pair of mid-1990s single casks under the SMOS label, which we just couldn’t pass up. There is a sherried 1996 Ben Nevis, and a soft, tropical 1995 Imperial. Ben Nevis is becoming harder and harder to source, especially from the mid-90s. Which is sad because it is a staff and customer favourite. The Imperial blew me away, I never thought we’d get to bottle one… Best of all both of these casks are extremely well priced at $180+gst. The Imperial may be sold out by Saturday!!!

The 4th “exclusive single cask isn’t exactly a single cask, but it is cask strength. It is the follow up to our Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength, which sold out quickly earlier in the year. This time it is a Glenfarclas Cask Strength 21 year old, and there is a story behind it. Don’t want to reveal too much though, so I’ll let you read about it below. We hope to have it in-stock later in the month, at which time a tasting note will quickly follow.

There are loads of other new whiskies to tell you about from, Kilchoman, Elements of Islay, Gordon Macphail, Single Malts of Scotland, Glenmorangie and more. We also have two new 100% Rye whiskies from Alberta Distillers. They are both great, but we were especially impressed by the cask strength. There are also some new spirits, not quite whiskies, from Milk & Honey Distillery in Israel, and an amazing deal on the Ardbeg An Oa.

Last but not least there is Evan’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society corner. This time around Evan is talking about a Highly a-musing, Day at the beach, with Whatever floats your boat, including: Salt n’vinegar kelp, Speigermiester and Royal fruit cake. Confused? Curious? (Hint they are all recent Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada releases) Read below!

I hope this 104th full Malt Messenger finds you well. Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or requests. As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.


Andrew Ferguson

In This Edition

  1. KWM 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar Update
  2. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020 is Here
  3. New Berry Bros. Tasting with Johnny & Hannah November 13
  4. MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Tickets Now On Sale
  5. SAVE 20% on Ardbeg An Oa
  6. Our 8th Exclusive Kilchoman KWM Cask Is Here
  7. NEW KWM Exclusive Single Casks of Imperial 1995 & Ben Nevis 1996
  8. COMING SOON: Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength
  9. New Kilchoman Whiskies
  10. New Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail
  11. New Port Askaig Whiskies
  12. New Elements of Islay Whiskies
  13. New Single Malts of Scotland Bottlings
  14. New Alberta Premium Whiskies
  15. Introducing: Glenmorangie Private Edition Allta
  16. Introducing: Milk & Honey
  17. Evan’s SMWS Corner

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

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

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:

The KWM 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar Update 

25 Days of Dram Fine Whisky is Almost Here & Nearly Sold Out! 

We are a little behind on things here at the shop. No surprise there, we are after all a little shop with huge ambitions. A little later than we intended, last week we revealed our Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar design. For the 6th straight year, the artwork, was done by Jean Paul Berube, a KWM alumnus, who at one time was our store manager. We asked for a dark and more brooding theme this year, and he delivered. Please note, this should not be taken as a comment on our recent Federal Election!

We are all about value at KWM, and we have managed to drop the price on this year’s Calendar $15 over the 2018 edition. Our Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar makes a great gift and is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit. The 2019 edition consists of 25 premium whiskies, including 24 50ml (One is actually 40ml) bottles and a special 100ml Scotch Malt Whisky Society single cask bottling. This year’s Society whisky is a true one-off, it will only be available in the KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, never to be see again. The KWM Whisky Advent Calendar also includes a custom logo Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass and a Discount Card.

You can follow along each day of Advent (or at your own pace), as we introduce you to each whisky on our blog and through our social media channels. We are really excited about this year’s edition, and we hope you are too. As in past years, we are taking a $150 deposit for each Calendar ordered, at the time it is ordered. The balance of payment will be due a few days before the Calendars are ready for pickup, which we estimate to be around the beginning of November. If you would like to order one or more Calendars, please be prepared to provide a credit card for payment of the deposit. The same card will be used to bill the remainder of the balance closer to the date it is ready for pickup.

At the time of writing, nearly 80% of this year’s calendars are pre-sold!

Pre-Order a Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar!

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020 is Here! 

Our Favourite Annual Whisky Book…

The 2020 Edition of our favrourite whisky book is out. This is the definitive guide to Single Malt Whisky from not just Scotland, but around the World. There is detailed info for more than 150 Scottish distilleries (both in production and closed). There is also info on malt distilleries from around the world including: Japan, Canada, Australia, the US, Europe and the rest of the world. There are articles by many of the industry’s most respected writers, and even a well deserved feature on Canadian Grant Stevely, of the Dubh Glass Distillery in the Okanagan.

This is the definitive point of reference for all things single malt whisky, and we look forward to reading it every year!

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020– 294 Packed Pages – Publisher’s Description: “The latest edition – revised and fully updated with new exciting articles including: Foreign Ownership of Scotch Whisky; The Feast From the Yeast: The Role of Alcohol; Whisky Regions – are they still relevant: And more…; In addition, meet the Pioneers of Whisky – what triggered them to take a leap of faith and build their own distillery?; And as always fully revised and packed with new and up-to-date information on whisky distilleries from all over the world, hundreds of whisky shops, whisky sites and new bottlings. A comprehensive summary of the whisky year that was and all the latest statistics is also included.” – $34

New Berry Bros. Tasting with Johnny & Hannah! 

Another Whisky Wednesday Fix…& More!

We are thrilled to welcome Hannah Dickie and Johnny Robert to Kensington Wine Market for a Berry Bros Whisky tasting on Wednesday November 13, at 6PM. Johnny and Hannah will guide us through a range of Berrys whiskies, including the our 1995 KWM Cask, and the Berry’s Perspectives Series 21, 25 & 30 Year Olds. The tasting is only $25 for 8 whiskies, you won’t want to miss it.

Call 4034-283-8000 or register online!

MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Tickets Now on Sale! 

Calgary Best Whisky Festival Just Got Bigger… and Better!

The 9th Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival, Thursday January 16, 2020, will be here before you know it. We are excited to be moving to a new venue this year, one block west of the old one on Stephen Avenue. Moving to the Glenbow Museum not only affords us more space for exhibitors, while retaining the “cool venue” aesthetic of the Jack Singer, but it also gives us loads more space for Master Classes.

As part of the event we will have 4 different VIP Master Classes: Bunnahabhain with Mike Brisebois, Compass Box with Phil Keene, The Dalmore with Louis-Jérôme Doise and The Glenrothes with Jeff Meyers. There will also be six other Master Classes running during the show, which we will be announcing in the next few weeks.

Roam the room while sampling from over 300 whiskies from more than 40 different vendors! There are nibbles to snack on and a diverse silent auction to peruse between vendor booths and the spectacular exhibits at the museum. As part of our ‘Master Class Series’, ticket holders can also take advantage of these classes to learn more about whisky from those who make it. The classes are designed to dive further into the whisky making process, from mashing to fermentation to distilling and of course drinking. Stay tuned for this year’s classes. You won’t want to miss out on these experiences!

There are two types of ticket, General Admission and VIP, both of which include a Glencairn Glass. VIP ticket holders will receive a special cut crystal glass. General Admission is from 7-10PM. VIP ticket holders get to take advantage of the VIP hour, from 6-7PM, which will have a few special bottlings, and the opportunity to have more one on one interaction with the presenters and brand ambassadors. VIP ticket holders can also take part in, for an additional fee, one of the 4 VIP Master Classes mentioned above, all of which will feature special bottles.

Early Bird ticket pricing is in effect until November 30th. Ticket packages:

  1. Early Bird- General Admission – $100
  2. Early Bird- VIP Admission – $155
  3. Early Bird- VIP with Master Class – $180
    1. Bunnahabhain – 40 Tickets Available
    2. Compass Box – 36 Tickets Available
    3. Dalmore – 30 Tickets Available
    4. Glenrothes – 24 Tickets Available

You can purchase tickets now by following the links at !

SAVE 20% on Ardbeg An Oa

A Massive Deal From The Importer Allows Us to Pass the Savings Onto You! 

We were offered an amazing deal on the Ardbeg An Oa, and we are passing on the savings. While stocks last you can SAVE 20% on the regular retail of $100+gst. This works out to $80+gst, and it is the first time we’ve ever seen a deal on an Ardbeg whisky, other than the 10 year.

“An Oa” is named for Islay’s wild Mull of Oa on the south-west coast. The prominent headland offers the Kildalton coast a bit of shelter from the tempestuous North Atlantic. The area was in centuries past the scene of much illicit distilling. The whisky is the first new core release in the Ardbeg range for close to a decade. Crafted to offer a more approachable take on Ardbeg whisky, the spirit was matured in a mix of PX Sherry, Virgin Oak and Ex-Bourbon casks. The mix was then rested in the distillery’s new Gathering Vat’.

Ardbeg An Oa – 46.6% – Matured in PX Sherry, Virgin Oak & ex-Bourbon  – My Tasting Note: “Nose: Old English Butterscotch ice cream, dark milk chocolate, fresh picked oranges, briny maritime tones and a firm base of earthy smoke; coffee liqueur, brandy soaked cherries and melon liqueur. Palate: round, malty and smoky; the Old English Butterscotch ice cream hits first with cream soda and honeycomb; the chewy malt slowly rolls in with more dark milk chocolate and some soft tarry peat; more coffee liqueur and brandy soaked cherries; there is some bright orange and melon here, but they are thoroughly buried. Finish: maritime, malty and creamy; cream, fruit, butterscotch and tarry peat; medium in length and light but layered in weight. Comment: this malt slides nicely in between the 10 year and Uigeadail; a touch of sherry but not too much; an excellent complement to the rest of the range.” – Regular $100 – SAVE 20% ($80) While Stocks Last!

Our 8th Exclusive Kilchoman KWM Cask Is Here!

 It Doesn’t Feel Like KWM if We Don’t Have a Single Cask Kilchoman of Our Own! 

Our 8th exclusive single cask of Kilchoman is a 7 year old matured in a single Ex-Bourbon Cask, No. 770, bottled at 56.8%. Distilled in December of 2011, it was bottled in September of this year. Kilchoman is a stalwart favourite of not just our staff, but also our customers, and there are some very good reason why. Their whiskies are well crafted, consistently excellent, and they rarely disappoint. Kilchoman is a boutique distillery, with a newly expanded floor maltings.

Kilchoman 2011 KWM Cask 770 – 56.8% – Ex-Bourbon – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honey, candied lemon, butter cream icing and chocolate marzipan; gentle ashy peat, scallops pan seared in butter and delicate fruits: honeydew melon, dried apricots and nectarines. Palate: starts light but quickly builds with the decadent oak, crisp peat and spices holding centre stage; more honey, butter cream icing and chocolate marzipan; firm maritime smoke, a touch of tar and silky peat oils; more soft fruits, lots of lemon-citrus, more honeydew melons, apricots and nectarines; on the spices front: fennel seeds and licorice root. Finish: soft, elegant and decadent with fading spices, peat and most prominently, soft delicate fruits. Comment: Kilchoman is -after Arran- our second most bottled single malt, when it comes to KWM single Casks; here is another fine example of why that is the case; the whisky, even at a young age is complex, elegant and bursting with fruit; we decided to go a little younger this time, compared to our last two casks, both of which were ten years of age; peat heads will be happy about that!” – $160

NEW KWM Exclusive Single Casks of Imperial & Ben Nevis 

Wait, TWO MORE New KWM Single Casks? It Must Almost Be November! 

Our first exclusive casks from Single Malts of Scotland are here, and boy are they exciting.

Single Malts of Scotland is owned by Elixir Distillers, the same firm behind the Elements of Islay and Port Askaig lines. We were very excited to have been offered both of these casks, especially after trying them. But we were especially blown away with the pricing. Imperial is a closed distillery, it hasn’t made whisky since 1996. The last bottling of Imperial we had was 19 years of age, 43%, and is sold for nearly $300. Thankfully, Elixir Distillers bought some casks, a lot of them apparently, and they gave us one hell of a deal. There were only 210 bottles from that cask, we’ve sold 157 of them since Friday. We don’t expect the remaining 53 bottles to last very long. This cask just my surpass our Bruichladdich last summer, as the fastest cask to ever sell out.

The other whisky is from Ben Nevis, which has long been on my single cask wish list, so we can scratch that one off. The whisky team here are all huge fans of the 1990s Ben Nevis bottlings we’ve been seeing of late, and our new sherried cask lives up to that reputation. We are seeing fewer and fewer bottlings of Ben Nevis, the bulk of which seem to have been from the early 1990s. This is probably because Ben Nevis was intermittently operating in the 1980s, and since 1989 it has been owned by Nikka of Japan. Up to 70% of the production is sent to Japan for blending as Japanese whisky. Our cask is from a Sherry Butt, so there are a few more bottles than the Imperial. Still, don’t expect it to last forever, Ben Nevis is in high demand these days, and prices are rising. You won’t see a 22 year old Ben Nevis of this quality at this price ever again. It is also a style of old school sherried whisky which is increasingly hard to come by these days!

  1. SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM Cask – 53.4% – 22 Year – Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: Eatmore and polished new leather shoes; dark fruits; nutty with caramel, leather and tobacco; dried apple chunks sprinkled with cinnamon; woody: freshly sawed cedar and a dry-mossy pine forest floor; fig jam and pineapple. Palate: round, rich and fruity; there is a soft silky body full of dried dark fruits: raisins, sultanas, date squares and figs in honey; dark milk chocolate and Caramilk; not quite molasses-y enough to be in Eatmore territory, but it is close; pineapple in sweet & sour sauce; honeyed and decadent with burnt caramel and maple syrup; the leather and tobacco move in with soft spices; sherried and woody but balanced in both cases.  Finish: big, drying, fruity and spicy; the fruits and caramels fade leaving traces of their past glories; not as complex as the palate but elegant none the less. Comment: this is a big rich and sherried Ben Nevis with a soft coating body; there is a touch of more tropical fruits, but it is the sherry tones driving the bus on this one; the nose is good, the palate is great; Ben Nevis has built a cult following among whisky geeks, and this is another fine example as to why…” – $180
  2. SMOS Imperial 1995 KWM Cask – 47.7% – 23 Year – ex- Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: soft, floral and elegant; honeyed with clotted cream and French butter; melons and citrus fruits; over ripe bananas, mango and papaya; French pastries and fruit flan right from the oven; powdered sugar and botanical gardens. Palate: soft, creamy and floral; waxy with vanilla, and more honey, clotted cream and French butter; fatty; massively fruity: more citrus, melons, mango, papaya and bananas, though the latter are a touch greener than the nose let on; delicate toasted oak and elegant spices. Finish: drying, coating and creamy; long and elegant with the same decadent fruity notes of the palate. Comment: we are grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to bottle this cask; not only is Imperial increasingly rare, but easily one of the most underappreciated closed distilleries; this is as fine an example of it as we could have hoped to offer, and we are thrilled to be able to offer it at such a reasonable price.” – $180 – Only 30 bottles left, of 210… in 1 week!

COMING SOON: Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength

A Proud and Iconic Distillery Reluctantly Stands Next to a Scotch Guy In Shorts and a Dress Shirt, Gets its Picture Taken 

This 21 year old cask strength Glenfarclas is a follow up to our hugely successful Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask, which sold out very quickly earlier in the year. But this exciting new whisky also requires a bit of explaining… When we did the label for our first Glenfarclas 15 Year Cask Strength, it became apparent to me that we could have some fun with the label, when I was made aware about the following Glenfarclas bottling.

Long story short, a gentleman was visiting Glenfarclas, and somehow ended up driving his Ford rental car in to the Spey. I am not entirely sure how or where that is possible, but he had a special label commissioned to commemorate the incident. They had to say Ferd, and not Ford, for fear of the latter getting a little litigious. This gave me an idea…

I like to strike a balance between relaxed and professional when I’m touring around Scotland visiting distilleries. I usually wear a dress shirt and shorts, often with flip flops. A couple of year back during Feis Isle, I decided to make an impromptu visit to Bowmore, while everyone else was elsewhere on the island. It was my first in a few years. As I entered the door, I was greeted: “Hello Mr. Ferguson. Welcome back to Bowmore!” I was completely taken aback, how did the woman know my name? So I asked and she answered: “Oh, you’re the nice gentleman from Canada who’s always walking around in shorts and a dress shirt.” Seems I have a bit of a reputation!

And so, knowing that we could be a little more creative with our second cask strength bottling of Glenfarclas, I decided to have a little fun with the label, inspired by the Ferd in the Spey label, I’d like to introduce you to “Ferg in the Spey”! The whisky is not a single cask, but a cask strength bottling of Glenfarclas, exclusive to our store. This is a much more cost effective bottling, than a Family Cask, which would have retailed for 2-3 times as much.

We were expecting it sooner, but the whisky should be arriving in-store in the second half of November. It is great value at $180+gst, and I have a tasting note written up as soon as is possible!

Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength Ferg in the Spey – 53.5% – Tasting Note Coming Soon – $180+GST

NEW Kilchoman Whiskies 

The Hits Just Keep On Coming from Kilchoman, And Just in Time For Anthony Watt’s Tasting With Us On Halloween! 

Ours isn’t the only new Kilchoman cask, there are two others, but for now I can only tell you about one. That would be Gold Medal Marketing’s Kilchoman 2011 Madeira Cask Finish, an almost 8 year old, bottled exclusively for Alberta. There is also a new edition of the Kilchoman 100% Islay. I love the new look for the 9th edition of the 100% Islay, which is a vatting at 50% of Ex-Bourbon barrels from 2007 & 2009, matured more than 9 years. I like the juice even more… The 100% Islay line is from estate grown and malted barley, bottled on site. It is a more lightly peated expression of Kilchoman, produced from barley at 20ppm. It is Islays only farm to bottle whisky. There is also the new 2010 vintage, which is also a new year. My tasting note on it should follow soon!

  1. Kilchoman 100% Islay 9th Edition – 50% – 9 Year – 20PPM – Estate Barley – My Tasting Note: “Nose: thick, creamy and malty; chewy barley with a flinty minerality; goat cheese and lemon juice; herbal and fruity with a touch of smoke and briny sea salt. Palate: thick, oily, creamy and fruity; there is still a fresh flinty minerality; apple crumble, heather honey and chewy malt; brown sugar, Panda brand licorice; loads of lemon: lemon oils, rinds and lemon drops; a touch of clean elegant smoke, wasabi and seaweed wafers. Finish: long, malty and oily; fresh fruits, loads of lemon, creamy vanilla and clean smoke; a touch of seaweed and wasabi. Comment: elegant stuff; Kilchoman is continuing to evolve nicely; 100% Islay is quickly becoming one of my favourite styles; the more lightly peated, floor malted barley, combined with the distillery’s long fermentation slow distillation is a recipe for complex young whiskies.” –  $125
  2.  Kilchoman Vintage 2010 – 48% – The 2010 vintage of Kilchoman has been bottled at 9 years of age after maturing in 42 Bourbon Barrels (85%) and 3 Sherry Butts (15%), before bottling at 48% without colouring or chill-filtering. – Producer Description: “Until the previous vintage release, 2009 Vintage, the range had been matured exclusively in bourbon barrels however this year’s edition, as with the 2009 Vintage, is a vatting of both bourbon and sherry casks, this time roughly 85/15 bourbon/sherry casks. The balance of bourbon and sherry maturation is a tried and tested combination for us, it allows for both the vanilla and citrus flavours from the bourbon barrels and the rich, spicy influence of the oloroso sherry casks to balance and complement one another. – $130
  3.  Kilchoman 2011 Madeira FInish Alberta Cask – 5 6.2% – Finished 11 Months in Madeira, after maturing in ex-Bourbon. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: tarry and ashy; rare Elk with a blueberry jus, a side of sautéed carrots and grilled broccoli; too specific? maybe I’m just hangry! some gun smoke, but I am struggling to get at it and past the meaty-peppery wine tones. Palate: sweet, malty and smoky; tarry with Dutch licorice and a touch of gun smoke; I still get some rare Elk in there, blueberry jus and sautéed carrots; burnt green veg too? yes; loads of berry fruits, a touch of jam with clotted cream and a salted caramel. Finish: long, sweet, fruity, spicy and malty with gun smoke. Comment: bias declared, I struggle with wine finished/matured Kilchomans, but I know there are many who like this style; if that’s you, you’ll love it; this is a unique and interesting take on Kilchoman, and diverges greatly from our own cask selections and the distillery’s core range.” – $152 

New Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail 

For This Section: The Youngest Whisky We Talk About was Distilled in 1988. The Oldest Was Distilled in 1956!

We have some cool new whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail that are either here, about to arrive or on the way late this year/early next. In the “on the way” category there is the Mr. George Centenary Glen Grant 1956. Evan and I had the privilege of trying this lovely new, very sherried 62 year old when we visited Gordon & MacPhail last week. It is lovely, and I have a tasting note, but it needs polishing. This whisky is available only by request. We have one on order, and might be able to get another couple bottles more, but you would need to let me know soon.

In the “here” category, are the Bladnoch 1988 and returning Scapa 1988. We had three bottles of the Scapa earlier in the year. I’ve had a chance since to write up my own tasting note on it, and it is a lovely bottle. The Bladnoch I’m hoping to taste soon.

One of the whiskies, the Dallas Dhu 1969 is only available by request. I was lucky to have a chance to taste it and write up my own tasting notes. It only scored 85pts with Whisky Fun, which I think is rather slightly on the low side. It is quite sherried and complex, and I quite liked it. I may have been a little in awe though, it is by far the oldest Dallas Dhu I’ve ever had.

There are also two new Private Collection bottles from closed distilleries, the Inverleven 1985 and St. Magdalene 1982. We passed on the Inverleven the first time around, but the price dropped $200 this time around. It also since scored 88pts with Whisky Fun and far more importantly, I’ve had a chance to taste in myself. I’ve aslo had the opportunity to sample the St. Magdalene 1982. At 36 years of age, this is also one of the oldest St. Magdalenes I’ve ever had. It too is lovely, and scored 90pts.

  1. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Bladnoch 1988 – 55.8% – 30 Year – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet, crisp red apples entwined with fragrant jasmine and rose. Fruit and nut chocolate begins to sweeten to vanilla fondant and zesty lime curd. Taste: Prominent toasted malt notes transform into fragrant orange blossom with dashes of rosewater. Fruity stewed rhubarb with mouth-warming dried ginger undertones. A gentle chilli heat remains throughout. Finish: Medium bodied with lingering charred oak and sweet chilli spice.” – $725
  2. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Scapa 1988 – 53.8% – 30 Year – My Tasting Note: “Nose: waxy, honeyed and toasty with clotted cream and rhubarb crumble; baked apples and poached pear; very floral and fragrant, dried cranberries and quince paste; subtle nutty tones with cherry Nibbs and cranachan. Palate: thick, honeyed and creamy; bold but not over the top; good balance with the oak; sweet and fruity with more floral tones, toasted oak and dried fruits; quince paste, more cherry Nibbs and rhubarb crumble; white fruits: poached pear & baked apples. Finish: long, coating, creamy and toasty; honeyed with lots of sugars and fruits: white fruits, artificial cherry, rhubarb and quince paste. Comment: big, fresh and fruity; lots of layers and some great depth; classic matured Bourbon, well balanced and complex.” – $900
  3. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Glenturret 2005 – 53.5% – 14 Year – First-Fill Sherry Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich chocolate aromas followed by mixed spice – clove and nutmeg. Demerara sugar leads to toasted almond and stewed sticky fruits. Taste: Sweet; fig, prune, date, and raisin flavours are followed by smooth chocolate. Spice develops with highlights of orange and lime peel, leading into charred oak with dashes of pepper.Finish: Long; wood spice with vibrant citrus undertones.” – $170
  4. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla 1995 – 50.4% – 24 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Freshly brewed caramel mocha topped with freshly grated nutmeg. Aromas reminiscent of a confectioner’s shop – chocolate orange, liquorice sticks, and lingering treacle toffee. Taste: Delicate sherry flavours accompany touches of cigar box and warming bursts of black pepper. A viscous oiliness coats the palate. Finish: Medium bodied with a light cardamom spice. Touches of slightly drying oak remain.” – $310
  5. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Scapa 1991 – 54.1% – 28 Year – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aromas of ripened autumnal apples with notes of honey followed by freshcut grass and salted lemon. Taste: Underlying hints of toffee combine with mouth-warming cracked black pepper and ripe peach flavours. Nutmeg spices complement crushed coffee bean and charred oak. Finish: lingering charred oak notes soften into a fresh menthol edge.” – $450
  6. G&M Mr George Centenary Glen Grant 1956 – 51.7% – 62 Year – First Fill Sherry Butt – Producer Description: “To commemorate what would have been his centenary year in 2019, Gordon & MacPhail is proud to release this superb example of Mr George Urquhart’s legacy. The spirit, from one of his favourite distilleries, Glen Grant, was personally matched by Mr George to an oak cask made to his specific requirements. It was laid down in 1956, the year he became the company’s senior partner. With rich fruitcake aromas and dark chocolate notes, this 62-Year-Old single malt embodies the qualities that made Mr George a master of his craft; patience, depth of character and exquisite taste.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich fruitcake aromas complement notes of raisin and dried fig. Dark molasses entwines with Seville orange peel leading to beeswax polish. Fresh roasted walnut and burnt toffee notes come to the fore. Taste: Sweet initially with bursts of vibrant citrus. A slight humidor edge transforms into juicy sultanas and dark chocolate coated coffee beans. Liquorice toffee flavours develop alongside mature charred oak and mouth-warming spice. Finish: Long and complex; subtle hints of smoke with lingering dark liquorice.” – $8500+gst
  7. Private Collection Dallas Dhu 1969 – 43.1% – 50 Year – Refill Sherry Hogshead – Producer Description: “Laid down in a Refill Sherry hogshead cask no. 1656 on the 10th June 1969, our Private Collection 1969 from Dallas Dhu Distillery 1969 is a fitting tribute to a site with a colourful history that finally closed its doors in 1983. Elegantly sweet aromas of candied ginger and treacle toffee complement the lingering finish of roasted coffee beans.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aromas of rich fruitcake laden with plump raisins, sultanas, and orange peel. An elegant sweetness of candied ginger, almond marzipan, and treacle toffee. Wisps of wood smoke and tobacco linger upon a back drop of subtle oak. Taste: Toffee apples with fruit and nut dark chocolate flavours accompany mouth-warming cracked peppercorns. Spice sits in the background while wood tannins begin to take hold. Finish: Lingering and warming; roasted coffee beans evolve into a subtle herbal edge. Full of character with a crisp clean edge.” – $11,800
  8. G&M Private Collection Inverleven 1985 – 57.4% – 33 Year – Refill Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: soft, creamy and floral with double vanilla cupcakes; marzipan and almond paste; lemon oil furniture polish, waxy with pork broth udon; minty with Demerara and spruce tips; citrus Jujubes and delicate spice. Palate: sweet, spicy and creamy; brandy soaked cherries, more citrus Jujubes, marzipan and almond paste; bright lemon with under-ripe tropical fruits; powdered sugar on rose Christmas cookies; beeswax, Turkish delight, strawberry Twizzlers; toasted oak, cedar and more spruce tips; still a touch of pork broth udon. Finish: floral, waxy and fruity; delicate with more soft oak, beeswax and subtle spices; medium long in length ending with floral spruce tips. Comment: elegant, floral and fruit; one of the best Inverlevens I’ve had, though those have been few in number; agree with Whisky Fun, this is a little on the Littlemill side of things.” – $2050+gst (price dropped $200)
  9. G&M Private Collection St. Magdalene 1982 –  53% – 36 Year – Refill American Oak Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, honeyed and tropical; floral, powdered sugar on French crepes with lemon juice; herbal with gin botanicals and old felt hats; parchment paper, lemon tarts and lemon meringue. Palate: creamed heather honey, maple butter, soft new leather, more parchment paper and musty old oak; fresh shortbread dusted in powdered sugar; still herbal and floral with sautéed carrots and other root vegetables; a touch of fennel and angelica root; bright tropical fruits; still quite lemon-y; creamy, floral and gently spiced. Finish: light but long, coating and creamy with toasted oak and gentle spices; more tropical fruit, shortbread and loads of vanilla. Comment: a very pretty and elegant whisky; tropical and a touch on the antique-y side of things; this is a whisky we sadly see only rarely these days, and the whiskies are getting older, rarer and more expensive with every passing year!” – $2050 – 90pts Serge

New Port Askaig Whiskies 

A New Batch of Islay Mystery Malts from the Elixer Distillers Brand Named After A Ferry Landing 

Usually Caol Ila, but also Bunnahabhain (both peated and not) and occasionally Laphroaig, Port Askaig has very quickly become one of our bestselling Islay brands at KWM. The quality never disappoints, and that is true of this batch too. Now the 45 Year is not technically new, we had a half dozen bottles in the Spring, but it is still new-ish, and it is spectacular. The 10 Year Anniversary bottling is lovely, very complex but retaining the classic young crisp Caol Ila profile. The twenty-somethings are also very interesting, the 25 Year is believed to be Caol Ila, and the 28 Year Laphroaig. The latter is exclusive, and also superb. Having grilled the folks at Elixir Distillers, they honestly have no idea what it is! I’ve tried the 25 Year, but haven’t had a chance to write up my own tasting notes yet. All 4 whiskies scored between 88.7546535 91pts on

  1. Port Askaig 10 Year 10th Anniversary – 55.85% – Refill Hogsheads, 1st Fill ex-Bourbon & Sherry Casks – My Tasting Note: “Nose: classic young Caol Ila, with loads of citrus and crisp smoke and seafood notes: butter poached scallops and steamed mussels; soft, creamy and floral with honey and vanilla icing; tarry with some jammy berry fruits. Palate: round, thick, juicy, malty and really oily; wow, so velvety; olive oil with sea salt, vanilla icing sugar on chocolate cupcakes; still seafood-y, crisp smoke, with more butter poached scallops, langoustines and steamed mussels; fresh lemons and apple sauce. Finish: long, coating, smoky, sweet and toasty; loads more vanilla, honey and juicy malt; crisp maritime smoke and olive oil. Comment: this is absolutely phenomenal… an Islay dram for foodies; for a 10 year old it is just simply wow!” – $95 – 88.7546535 pts @WhiskyFun
  2. Port Askaig 25 Year – 45.8% – 90pts Serge @WhiskyFun: “It’s not exactly this label, which used to mention ‘Port Askaig Harbour’, the new one for America rather has ‘Port Askaig Islay’. Let’s try the latter… Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s not huge, and rather on charcoal and graphite, with some delicate coastal notes, beach herbs, wool, old jacket, sea breeze, a nice wee oyster, and whiffs of freshly shredded celeriac and cabbage. Delicate, elegant, subtle, it’s like looking in a mirror (a little tired, S.?) Mouth (neat): naturally. Sauvignon, lemon juice, charcoal ash, oysters, tincture of iodine, then more shredded celeriac as well as a little angelica, and perhaps one drop of yellow chartreuse (per glass). Finish: medium, with this trademark feeling of peated lemons, green apples, then tobacco ashes. Comments: just extremely good, with this faint lightness that’s so engaging in this famous – and supposedly lighter – make. SGP:456 – 90 points.” – $375 – 90 pts @WhiskyFun
  3. Port Askaig 28 Year – 45.8% – Refill American Oak Hogsheads – Is it Caol Ila or Possibly Laphroaig – Producer Description: ” Port Askaig 28 Year Old was bottled by Elixir Distillers, from a small, specially selected batch of refill American oak hogsheads. Complex, coastal and peaty, this Islay single malt has herbal aromas of mint, smoked tea leaves and pine, alongside almonds, tropical fruits and vanilla. The palate offers notes of orange peel, custard and cinnamon, alongside salty, savoury notes.” – My Tasting Note: “Nose: dried apricots, candied lemon and melons; crème brule, creamed honey and Earl Grey tea ice cream; candied salmon and seared scallops with a balsamic reduction; surprisingly malty with clean smoke. Palate: thick, coating and creamy; loads of vanilla, more creamed honey and velvety oak; tarry with soft earthy peat and clean peat smoke; rather spicy, fennel and clove; still fruit, more apricots, lemon and melon but also a touch of tropical fruits; still seafood-y. Finish: long, coating, creamy and very fruity; tarry with more soft peat smoke and briny seafood-y tones. Comment: lovely old stuff; I absolutely love the way that brash young peated whiskies mellow over time in the cask, developing in soft, round, fruity and elegant whiskies.” – $440 – 90 pts @WhiskyFun
  4. Port Askaig 45 Year – 40.8% – Matured in 5 Sherry Butts – Distilled at Bunnahabhain –  Producer Description: “Matured in five sherry butts, this expression was distilled in 1968 and bottled at a cask strength of 40.8%. Port Askaig 45 Year Old is an old Islay style that is almost completely lost today. Fruit driven, with next to no smoke and with an abundance of tropical fruits such as mangoes and papayas, this is a very rare whisky and one to be savoured. ” – My Tasting Note: “Nose: old school antique-y sherry notes, barrel aged maple syrup, treacle sauce and bags of tropical fruits; waxy with over-ripe bananas, mangoes and papaya and agave nectar; candy apple with soft old leather and tobacco; assorted Jelly Bellies and Starburst fruit candies. Palate: still old-school; very rich, sherried and fruity but balanced and elegant; more maple syrup, cola cubes and treacle sauce; the Starburst fruit candies and assorted Jelly Bellies are still there as are the waxy over-ripe tropical fruits: mango and papaya, grilled pineapple, and flambeed banana;  dark milk chocolate, delicate spices and light roast coffee beans; cold tea dregs with Demerara sugars it becomes increasingly spicy, but still balanced. Finish: long and fruity, the whisky stays decadent and gently spiced as it slowly fades; coating with more cold tea dregs; a touch of minty mojitos too. Comment: this is a beautiful old malt, very much in the antique-y style; old school and very fruity sherry without suffering any of the ravages of time; is there a faint trace of smoke, I’d need an even more generous serving to be sure!” – $1860 – Originally scored 90pts by Whisky Fun, Serge recently upped the score to 91pts! – Only 9 Bottles… 1/2 sold!

New Elements of Islay Whiskies 

The Latest Periodic Release from the Periodic Table Inspired Line 

No other independent bottler seems to have more Islay whiskies than Elixir Distillers these days. Elements of Islay is a unique range of small batch whiskies, bottled in 500ml bottles at cask strength. The whiskies are marketed with a unique elemental theme. All are very limited in quantity.

  1. Elements of Islay Cl12 – 57.5% – 7 Year – 2011 Vintage – Caol Ila – 2 Refill Sherry Butts – Producer Description: “This whisky from Caol Ila was distilled in 2011  and aged for seven years in two refill sherry butts which yielded a total of 1,901 bottles. A solid coastal malt, it balances briny freshness with minerals, young grassy flavours, herbs and peat.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Classically maritime. Slate tiles, saltwater, warm tarmac on a sunny day. Sour apple sweets, Pouilly-Fumé wine, aguardiente, rhubarb and custard. Palate: Astringent smoke with salt and liquorice. More orchard fruits, alongside green grass and citrus zest. Lots of cigarette notes, cold smoked meats, chervil and tarragon. Finish: Peaty finish with cloudy lemonade, coal dust, fresh herbs and grapefruit peel.” – $88
  2. Elements of Islay Lp10 – 53.9% – 20 Year – 1998 Vintage – 2 ex-Bourbon Barrels – Producer Description: “This whisky from Laphroaig was distilled in 1998 and aged in two ex-bourbon barrels. Bottled at cask strength, this is a classically punchy, medicinal Islay dram that also offers up bags of juicy tropical fruit. Only 442 bottles produced.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Peat, antiseptic, a little iodine. Fruit and florals as well; pineapple, under-ripe banana, violets and cracked black pepper. With water, there’s vanilla, applesauce and some dried lemon peel. Palate: Full-bodied with well-integrated peat. Heaps of aromatic grapefruit, honeydew melon, ginger, hoppy bitterness, plumes of firewood smoke, dark chocolate and oak chips. Finish: More exotic flavours await; the ashes from a bonfire is accompanied by coconut and banana yoghurt.” – $305 – Only 12 Bottles – Exclusive to KWM – 1 Per Customer!
  3. Elements of Islay Ma3 – 55.2% – 15 Year – 2004 – Peated Bunnahabhain – 2 ex-Bourbon Barrels – Producer Description: “Two ex-bourbon barrels of peated malt from Bunnahabhain were used for this whisky, distilled in 2004 and aged for over 15 years. This is a straightforward, but not simplistic, dram – full of bucolic peat and citrus fruit. Only 734 bottles produced.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Marmalade on burnt toast, buttered crumpets, grilled banana and pineapple. The smoke is earthy, mellow and inviting like a summer barbeque. Palate: Creamy with burnt orange peel and macadamia nuts. A rollercoaster of robust peat that builds and then descends, accompanied by sumptuous fruit flavours: gooseberry, honeydew melon and a salt-rimmed margarita. Finish: Fresher and slightly green; pine, vanilla, concentrated apple juice.” – $105 – Only 24 Bottles
  4. Elements of Islay Pl6 – 55.3% – 7 Year – 2011 – Port Charlotte – 3 ex-Bourbon Barrels – Producer Description: “This Port Charlotte single malt was distilled at Bruichladdich distillery in 2011 and aged for over seven years in three bourbon barrels. It’s got a meaty character studded through with smoke, dirt and warm spices. Only 1,163 bottles have been produced.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Farmyards, burnt grass, camphor, young Jamaican rum and petrol. Underneath the more powerful notes, there’s sweet potato pie, malt loaf and just a hint of peaches. Palate: Oily and briny. Smoked ham, barley husks, Manzanilla sherry, almond oil, green olives. There’s a warmth of Christmas spice towards the end: clove and cinnamon. Finish: Oak chips, sweet white wine, pancetta, rye bread and hot ashes.” – $185

New Single Malts of Scotland Whiskies 

Evidence That Marriages Indeed Can Be Greater than the Sum of individual Parts! 

The Single Malts of Scotland is the main independent bottling arm of Elixir Distillers, which is owned by Sukhinder Sign, along with the Whisky Exchange. Other than our two new casks, these are the first SMOS releases we’ve seen in Canada. Both are marriages of select casks from single distillerys, rather than single casks.

  1. SMOS Marriage Bunnahabhain 27 Year – 48.4% – Marriage of 4 ex-Bourbon Hogsheads – Tasting Notes by Billy Abbot (The Whisky Exchange): “Nose: Vanilla pods, gummi sweets, salted caramel, pineapple cubes, hay and straw. Fruit follows, along with candy necklaces, meadow flowers, green apple skins and freshly-cut pears. Anise and menthol notes hide at the back. Palate: Oatcakes and digestive biscuits to start, with sultana-studded shortbread biscuits following on behind. Pineapple, and apple and pear pie notes develop, topped with a pinch of white pepper spice. Citrus notes wash over the pie: lemon zest and fleshy oranges. There’s a late appearance icing sugar sweetness over the top and a touch of cocoa and raisin underneath. Finish: Hay, butter, caramel and gentle spice. Comment: A perfect balance between Bunnahabhain’s weighty, buttery spirit and long-aged fruity notes. The spice provides a contrast, but doesn’t get too much.” – $310
  2. SMOS Marriage Mortlach 22 Year – 54.2% – 3 ex-Bourbon Hogsheads & 1 ex-Sherry Butt, from multiple vintages – Tasting Notes by Billy Abbot (The Whisky Exchange): “Nose: Brown sugar, cherries and new leather. Candied lemon and orange segments follow, with a little bit of minty freshness. Dark fruitcake and bittersweet dark chocolate peek in around the edges. Lighter notes float on top: rose petals and freshly cut stems, with a touch of candy necklace sweetness. Palate: Lots of dried fruit and grown-up, not-to-sweet fruitcake to start. Sticky raisins and malt loaf add more weight and sweetness. Spiced, stewed apples with anise, cinnamon and nutmeg develop, with buttered spiced bread, black liquorice and treacle toffee. Finish: The treacle toffee fades to leave freshly-cut apples dusted with cinnamon. Comment: A big and sherried Mortlach with balanced fresh fruit and herbal notes that stops it becoming overpowering. Excellent cask selection.” – $260

Photo courtesy of Canadian Whisky News

New Alberta Premium Whiskies

Is Parent Company Beam Suntory Finally Realizing That 100% Rye from Alberta Distillers Deserves Recognition? 

It has been quite a while since we’ve had something cool from Alberta Distillers. Most of the best casks from this Calgary Distillery seem to be bottled up by other brands under other names. The likes of Pendleton, Whistle Pig, Mastersons, and more have all been doing more to showcase how good Alberta Distiller’s 100% Rye Whisky can be by sourcing casks and selling them under their own name.

Don’t believe me? Here is our very own case in point:

Our first ever KWM exclusive single cask of 100% rye whisky was selected by our team at Shelter Point Distillery on Vancouver Island, but it was distilled in Calgary at Alb

erta Distillers… Distilled in 2009 the whisky has been bottled after 9 years at 59.6%. Less than 60 bottles remain!

Shelter Point Rye KWM Cask 59.6% – Made from 100% Rye – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: maple syrup, peanut brittle, cloves just plucked from a honey baked ham and treacle tarts; oily with loads of spice; there was a hint of dill at first but it quickly vanished; dark fruits, licorice root and fig jam; oh and glazed pork belly (seriously). Palate: big, oily, syrupy and spicy; decadent Demerara and brown sugars before bacon infused dark chocolate and crisp spices: fennel, cloves and licorice root; more cloves plucked from a honey baked ham and sweet and sour pork; silky vanilla with dates and figs are late to the party. Finish: insanely long, oily, coating and decadent with more dark fruits and soft spices; a touch of glazed pork belly. Comment: wow… this was a serendipitous discovery on visiting Shelter point with Evan and Curt in September.” $120 +gst

Sorry for the digression. Back to the point at hand: Allowing Alberta Distillers to showcase what they are capable of with a pair of new releases under their own label and not somebody else’s? It is about damn time… The Cask Strength is brilliant, and if you miss the 25 year old and 30 year old from ages past, the 20 year is worth a look see too!

  1. Alberta Premium Cask Strength – 65.1% – Made from 100% Rye – Evan’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Toasty oak, brown sugar, toffee, pecan pie, fresh dill, apples and cinnamon, black tea and polished furniture. Palate: Big and bold with heat, but not as hot as it could be for 65.1% ABV. Nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, dark chocolate, cloves, woody tannin and tang, pecan pie again, pralines, and very soft raisin notes. Finish: Warm and long with the lingering tang and bitterness balanced by ongoing sweet notes. Comment: This is going to wine some awards, and rightly so. It has been a long time coming, but it is great to see Alberta Distillers showcase what their 100% Rye is capable of.” – $62 +gst
  2. Alberta Premium 20 Year – 42% – Matured “Over 20 Years” – Made from 100% Rye – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: buttery caramel, rich vanilla, a hint of spice and wood; slightly sweet and complex. Taste: ultra smooth with the sweetness from the caramel and toffee notes combining with the spiciness of rye and underlying wood befitting a liquid aged for 20 years. Finish: warm and lingering finish that retains hints of caramel, toffee and spice.” – $87 +gst

Introducing Glenmorangie Private Edition Allta 

The latest Glenmo Special Edition Highlights The Use of Wild Yeast

The 10th Private Edition release from Glenmorangie is the Allta, Scots Gaelic for “Wild”. Potentially the most unique Glenmorangie ever released, the whisky was fermented with a strain of yeast isolated from a strain of barley on the Cadbol estate near the distillery. The whisky was matured in 1st and 2nd Fill ex-Bourbon barrels, before bottling at 51.2%.

Producer Description: “Marking the tenth anniversary of our acclaimed Private Edition series, Glenmorangie Allta is the first Glenmorangie created from the yeast which grows wild on our own Cadboll barley. This rich, fruity single malt was inspired as Dr Bill Lumsden walked the fields near the Distillery, gathering precious samples of grain. Discovering that the barley nurtured a species of wild yeast unidentified before then, he set out to bring the two together in the making of a creamy and aromatic whisky. Aged in bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks to showcase the spirit’s fruity character, Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’ and pronounced ‘al-ta’) reveals the importance of yeast to the myriad flavours found in Scotch whisky and opens up compelling possibilities for the future.”

Glenmorangie Private Collection Allta – 51.2% – Matured in ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rounded, with biscuit tones, light, floral notes and scents of baking bread emerging alongside vanilla, raisins and mandarin orange. Palate: A crisp, citrus texture brings tastes of butter candy, more creamy vanilla and orange syrup with a little yeast in the background. Then gentle mint and a suggestion of sweet chilli. Finish: Long and earthy, with hints of bitter-sweet orange and peppermint.” – $125

Introducing: Milk & Honey 

Offerings From Israel’s First Whisky Distillery Have Landed!

Milk & Honey is Israel’s first whisky distillery, and they just crossed the 3 year mark, releasing their first ever actual whisky. We are a few months away from seeing that, but we do have a pair of gins, the new make spirit and the final release of Young Single Malt. The distillery is among the diaspora of the late Dr. Jim Swann influenced distilleries around the world, including: Kilchoman, Kavalan, Cotswolds and others.

About Milk & Honey

“The Milk & Honey Distillery is Israel’s first whisky distillery, dedicated to genuine artisanal manufacture and committed to maintaining the highest standards. The ingredients, equipment, barrels and production process are all carefully managed to ensure a true top-shelf, world-class product. We make an honest product. We will not compromise or take shortcuts in the creation of our single malt whisky; we only use high quality barley, real whisky stills and expertly selected barrels. Whether it’s our Single Malt Whisky or other premium distillations, we take pride in what we do and in what we make. Our goal is to make Israel’s best Single Malt whisky.”

“The first decade of the new millennium saw the first wave of Israeli craft beer. What was initially treated as passing trend has established itself as a high quality and creative local craft brewing industry. We are excited to be pioneers of quality distillation in Israel. The Milk & Honey Distillery is the result of a group of whisky-loving entrepreneurs’ dream of an Israeli Single Malt coming true. Some of us home-brewed as a hobby, some of us have worked in the spirit business and all of us love and drink whisky. The company was established in 2012. Construction of the distillery began in 2014 and actual distillation started in 2015. It is going to take a few more years until our first batch of Israeli Single Malt Whisky leaves the barrel but good things take time. We are here for the long run. Our manufacturing abilities can cater for more than just Israel; expect to meet us in North America, Europe and other markets with a demand for top-quality and kosher spirits.”

  1. Milk & Honey New Make Spirit – 46% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Malty sweetness, red fruit and marshmallow, with hints of clean air after the rain. Palate: Medium body, malty sweetness and grassy green followed by delicate bitterness. Finish: Medium length. Delicate bitter mouthfeel on the tongue, followed by malty sweetness that is expressed after swallowing, with hints of chocolate.” – $62

Evan’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society Corner 

A Few of My Favourites From The Most Recent Outturns Can Be Found Below 

i am freshly back from my trip to Scotland. First time for me, and it was go go go as soon as the plane hit the ground in Edinburgh. It started with a visit to Glengoyne Distillery and ended with Dinner at the SMWS Vaults in Leigh, with barely a moment to spare except for sleep in between. It was a whirlwind tour, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am not sure if my wife would let me leave again so soon though…

Back to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. October’s Outturn tastings sold out faster than any had in the previous 8 years we have been doing them here at KWM. I would like to take credit it for that, but I think it has more to do with the awesome green bottles that the Canada chapter of the SMWS manages to bring in.

Many bottles from the past few Outturns are sold out, never to return, but here are a few of the highlights from recent months that are still available.

  1. 88.11 – A DAY AT THE BEACH – 54.8% – We have been seeing a decent amount of younger single malts from the SMWS in recent years, and to me that is not a bad thing. Many whiskies are capable of showing very well at a young age, and this SMWS Canada first release from Speyburn Distillery fits into that camp nicely. Speyburn might not be a name that comes to mind for many when you think of your favourite distilleries, but damn this is a wonderfully easy drinking whisky, showing toffee coated peanuts and a nice hint of salt. Delicious stuff. $142 +GST
  2. 76.139 – SPEYGERMEISTER – 56.5% – The SMWS always picks fun names for their releases, but this might be one of the best I have seen. You just know that the tasting panellist that named it had Speygermeister chambered for years, just waiting for the right bottle to pop up. Whomever did name it hit the nail on the head, because this PX Cask finished Mortlach definitely has those Jagermeister elements to the dram, with all of the herbal, licorice and sherry notes to boot. $206 +GST
  3. 12.18 – WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT – 54.8% – This 8 year-old Benriach perfectly encapsulates what former owner and Master Distiller Alistair Walker did for BenRiach in his time there. It is rich, fruity, creamy and balanced with the perfect amount of oak. It may be young, but it is so well put-together that the age does not matter one bit. $149 +GST
  4. 53.266 – SALT ‘N’ VINEGAR KELP – 60.8% – My cohort Curt is a big fan of this Caol Ila, and I agree that is very good stuff. 10 years old, with that slight lime/mezcal/tequila note that single cask Caol Ila at this age seems to exhibit (at least for me), it is a very cool coastal, salty and peaty dram. $200 +GST
  5. 37.117 – ROYAL FRUITCAKE – 55.6% – I enjoy getting Cragganmore bottlings from the SMWS, and then trying to find peat on the nose or palate. The distillery apparently has a light peat spec to the malt it uses, which can be easily forgotten. It typically makes for a wonderful nuance to the whisky itself, and for me this bottling shows that hint of peat wrapped in a fine robe of sherry from the PX cask finish. $186 +GST
  6. 122.23 – HIGHLY A-MUSING – 57.7% – If you ask me which distillery has shown the most interesting SMWS bottlings over 2018, my answer would easily be Loch Lomond. This is a young, peated version from what is possibly the weirdest distillery in Scotland that tries to do everything itself from grain to unpeated to peated and beyond. Yes, it is young, but it is full of flavour and sophistication well beyond your typical 7 year old. $144 +GST

I could go on from there, but it is probably best to save some content for future Malt Messengers. If you enjoy my skewed ideas and delirious ramblings, you can check out my monthly Outturn Reviews on the Kensington Wine Market Web Page.

You can also check out our entire stock of available Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlers here.

Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool

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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


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