Malt Messenger No. 110 by Andrew Ferguson – Loads of Exciting New Whiskies Including an Exclusive Glenfarclas! – Whisky News

Malt Messenger No. 110 – Loads of Exciting New Whiskies…

Including a New KWM Exclusive Glenfarclas Cask Strength!

I hope this email finds you all well as we head into the May Long Weekend. Having worked in retail for most of my life, my concept of a weekend is a little different than what the Monday-Friday folk are used to, and Long Weekends… what are those?!

Over the last couple of months, with people in isolation, quarantine and working from home, the lines between weekday and weekend have been seriously blurred, and that is true in the Essential Service of Wine, Whisky, Beer & Spirits retail too. I’ve been joking that the last 8 weeks have felt a little like living through the movie Groundhog Day, with each day only slightly different from the last… But we are working, and we have been busy, and we here at Kensington Wine Market are all very, very grateful for that!

I wanted to start by addressing the elephant in the room/World, that of Covid-19 amid the spectre of Alberta beginning to open up. Unusually for the May Long Weekend in Alberta, the weather is going to be fine and many of you will understandably be drawn outside and maybe even in to Kensington for a stroll through the neighbourhood and pop in to the shop.

We love seeing all of you and reconnecting, and we are humbled that our business has fostered a sense of community around it. But, regardless of the fact that precautions are being eased, we are not returning to life or business as usual for a long time. I would to encourage you to continue taking advantage of Curb Side Pickup and our offer of Free City-Wide Delivery in Calgary for Orders Over $50. Order online or by phone.

Please help me keep my staff, other customers and our community safe and healthy. If you need to come in to the store, please keep your visit short. We will continue to allow just 5 customers in-store at a time for the foreseeable future, and as much as possible we would like to keep from having to form a line outside. Please take advantage of our hand sanitation dispensers at the front door and throughout the store, and refrain from touching items unless you intend to purchase them. Please respect a 2 metre social distance with my team and other customers while in-store. And please consider coming earlier in the day, ideally before 3PM. Our store tends to be busiest between 3 & 6, but is slower in the morning and early afternoon.

I know everyone wants to go back to the way things were, and in time we may be able to do that. But for now, please help us do our part to serve customers safely.

A lot of you were asking after the last Malt Messenger, if there was to be a memorial for Jay Wheelock, and or if there was a cause you could contribute to in his memory. There will be a celebration of life for Jay in the future, when circumstances permit. Until then, J’s partner Kate has asked anyone wanting to make a donation in his memory, to consider donating to Paw Prints in the Sand, a California based animal rescue and rehabilitation organization dedicated to “rehoming abused, abandoned, neglected and stray companion animals.”

This organization was very close to J’s heart. Kate wrote me that “J was immensely proud to donate to them. This animal rescue group is where we rescued J’s beloved dog Neo from.” A few of J’s family, friends and colleagues took part in a small online memorial for him last Friday. It provided a modicum of closure for the many of us who were so fond of him. I will be sure to share details of a future celebration of life for Jay Wheelock, when there is information to share.

We have lots of exciting news in this Malt Messenger, including the arrival of our latest Glenfarclas Cask Strength bottlings, the Glenfarclas 15 Year Cask Strength KWM #2, AKA “Ferg in Front of the Store.” We have a decent outturn on this one, partially by accident, somehow a request for 450 bottles accidentally became 600… but no matter, the whisky is excellent, they arrived yesterday and are already 1/4 sold! More details including my tasting note below.

That is not the only exciting new arrival, we are also thrilled to announce the arrival of the Compass Box Rogues Banquet, the first of a few 20th Anniversary bottlings from our favourite whisky blender. The latest limited release of peated whisky from Knockdhu Distillery, the anCnoc Stack is arriving on Saturday. We also have a boat load of new products from WM Cadenhead including 5 single cask, cask strength Rums and 13 Whiskies from Small Batch Release #28. There are also new whiskies from Tullibardine, Hunter Laing’s Kinship Collection, Morrison Mackay, Two Brewers, and more!

We also have a couple of deals to share including 15% off the final stock of Arran The Bothy Quarter Cask: Batch 4. The next batch is here, in the new Arran livery. We also have a special offer on the American Rockies Bourbon… not only is it 25% off, but we will also donate $5 from every bottle sold to the Calgary Food Bank! More details below.

There is also whisky news on Signatory’s 30th Anniversary Releases, Blackadder’s Shizuoka Spirit from Japan, and a Don Julio tequila finished in Lagavulin casks.

Last, but not least, and tying in to my opening remarks about staying safe as we all navigate our way towards the new normal, we are going to dip our toes into the world of Virtual at Home Whisky Tastings. More details on that below too!

We are open for business in-store, with restrictions, but, our preference is to continue serving you online or by phone. Please strongly consider taking advantage of our Curb Side Pickup, and Free City-Wide Delivery for Orders over $50 offers. As with everyone else, we’d like things to get back to normal as soon as possible, but until then, please help us do our part to serve you while helping to flatten the curb. I updated our most recent Coivd-19 Policy changes in the last KWM Wine Line Newsletter, you can read more about them there.

As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.

Wishing good health to you and yours in these trying times.


Andrew Ferguson

In This Edition:

  1. Introducing: The Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2
  2. KWM Virtual Whisky Tastings
  3. SAVE 25% on American Rockies Bourbon & Support the Calgary Food Bank
  4. Introducing: Compass Box Rogues Banquet
  5. Introducing: anCnoc Stack
  6. New WM Cadenheads Rums
  7. New WM Cadenheads Whiskies: Small Batch #28
  8. Introducing: Blackadder Shizuoka Single Malt Spirit
  9. Signatory 30th Anniversary Bottles – New & Returned
  10. Kinship Collection Singles – Only 1 Bottle Each!
  11. New Tullibardines – A 15 Year & 1964 Custodians Collection Release
  12. Two New Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Whiskies
  13. New Whiskies from Morrison Mackay
  14. Save 15% on Arran The Bothy Batch 4
  15. Don Julio Reposado Lagavulin Cask Matured
  16. Evan’s SMWS Corner
  17. Free City-Wide Delivery in Calgary Over $50 & Curb Side Pickup

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

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

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:

Introducing: the Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2 

Our 4th Glenfarclas Cask Strength, AKA “Ferg in Front of the Store!”

This is our 4th KWM exclusive Glenfarclas Cask Strength bottling (not including a Family Cask 1997 from way back, which makes 5). It is not a single cask, but rather a batch of their 15 Year bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market at Cask Strength. We don’t get to pick or approve the bottling, we just have to trust them that it will be good. Of course this is Glenfarclas we are talking about, and so far they have a perfect batting average, 4 for 4!

We bottled another Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength in 2019. We didn’t understand at the time that we could get creative with the label, and so only our logo featured on it. The whisky didn’t last long, selling out in about 7-8 weeks in the late Winter and early Spring… great whisky at a great price rarely lasts long! While finalizing the details for that whisky we saw the label for a bottling of Glenfarclas commemorating a visit to Glenfarclas, which ended up with a Ford Rental Car in the Spey River. I’m still nor sure how that happened, but the “Ferd [Ford] in the Spey” partially inspired the label for our next Glenfarclas.

The  Glenfarclas KWM Cask Strength, the 21 Year “Ferg in the Spey”  arrived in November and had sold out by early February this year. The label was drawn by one of our team members here at KWM, Jean Paul, and it paid homage to the “Ferd in the Spey” and also an inside joke regarding my usual Scotland travel uniform: shorts and a dress shirt.

With this new Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength (#2), we were inspired by another label, a bottling done for Robbie’s Drams in Ayr, Scotland, which featured a sketch of the front of their shop. Their store front is cool, but ours is iconic… It has become apparent in recent years that the front of our store has achieved a lever of legendary status in the whisky world. The playful and colourful mural was painted by local Calgary artist Dean Stanton many years ago. A photo under it has become an expectation with brand ambassadors, recording their visit for posterity. One brand ambassador told me you haven’t been to KWM, until you get a photo with our team in front of the store!

But we also wanted to tie this label in with the previous bottling, the 21 Year Ferg in the Spey. So it features your’s truly, in shorts, a dress shirt and flipflops, the other part of my Scotland travel uniform, not visible whilst wading in the Spey River! Also, the above image was a draft, the bottles are not numbered and there are 600 of them!

Well the whisky has arrived, it is priced the same as year’s batch… and we think the second one is even better than the first. We have a few more bottles this time, 600 as opposed to 450, but we still don’t expect them to last long… they arrived in-store yesterday, and already 160 of them have sold!

Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2 -56.6% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big, rich and spicy; chocolate covered espresso beans; licorice Fisherman’s Friends, cinnamon sticks, candied ginger and firm new leather; candied nuts, mincemeat and earthy Oloroso sherry. Palate: big, rich and spicy; loads of soft, coating toasty oak; more candied nuts and loads of spices: cinnamon sticks, candied ginger, candied fennel seeds and salty licorice chews; orange peel and mincemeat, moving in the direction of Christmas cake; underneath the weight of the drying, spicy sherry more exotic fruits linger; more chocolate covered espresso beans and Cuban cigar tobacco. Finish: long, drying, coating and toasty; this is full throttle sherry from start to finish. Comment: unlike our single casks, we don’t have the opportunity to pre-screen our Glenfarclas Cask Strength bottlings; but they are now 4 for 4, and have yet to disappoint; they keep offering us generous alley-oops just begging to be slam dunked!” – $110

KWM Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings 

A First Stab at the Temporary New Normal!

For months we’ve been receiving requests about hosting virtual tastings while we live through social distancing. While we liked the idea, frankly the last 8 weeks were just too crazy for us to even wrap our heads around the idea. We are finally settling in to a new groove, and able to start looking at ways to connect with our customers and friends. We are still not sure of any regulations around pouring samples from full bottles for at home tasting, and until we have guidance from the AGLC we can’t look at that, but…

We have a great selection of 50ml bottled whiskies at KWM, and a gift pack ripe for conversion into Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings. To start we have put together 4 tasting lineups, 3 of which are now open for registration. If there is demand and interest in these, we will roll out the 4th tasting and maybe some others in the weeks ahead.

These tastings will be sold, much like our traditional tastings, at a set price. You can register in-store, online or by phone. Each tasting includes 5 whiskies. Participants can pick up their whiskies in-store, or request delivery (please don’t wait until the last minute). A few days before the tasting participants will be contacted with details on how to attend the tasting virtually. All are limited to between 20 and 24 people, and available on a first serve basis.

Here are our first, KWM Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings:

  1. Elements of Islay Sherry Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 4, 8PM – 5x 30ml – The Elements of Islay tasting kits are perfect for a Socially Distanced at Home Tasting… The Sherry Edition contains five 30ml bottles of Elements of Islay whisky, four of them at cask strength. The tasting will include Elements of Islay Peat, Bn7 (Bunnahabhain), Cl11 (Caol Ila), Lp9 (Laphroaig) and Pl5 (Port Charlotte). – $55
  2. Mature, Rare & Interesting Malts  Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 18, 8PM – 5x50ml – You don’t often see older whiskies in 50ml format, but we have put together a range of whiskies 18 to 22 years of age. There is also a curious wild card in the range, a mature NAS whisky at cask strength. Our range: Glenfarclas 21 Year, Glen Scotia Victoriana, Loch Lomond 18 Year, SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM Cask and the Tomatin 18 Year. – $75
  3. Peat Freaks Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 25, 8PM. – 5x50ml – A celebration of all things peated, just before we head into the hottest months of the year. We will sample 5 whiskies, all from 50ml bottles including: Ardbeg An Oa, Ballechin 10 Year, Black Mountain Fumees, Kilchoman 2011 KWM Cask 770 and the Shelter Point Smoke Point. – $50

SAVE 25% on American Rockies & Feed YYC! 

$5 from Each Bottle to go to the Calgary Food Bank!

Looking for your next Bourbon, for sipping neat, on the rocks or for an Old Fashioned?

American Rockies Bourbon has been discontinued by the producer,  and they  are blowing it out. As always, we are passing the Savings on. Not only is this Bourbon 25% off, but we will also donate $5 from every bottled sold to the Calgary Food Bank!

From the people who brought you Canadian Rockies, American Rockies is a Small Batch Bourbon bottled at 44%. We believe the Bourbon is sourced from a Wyoming Whiskey distillery that we happen to be quite fond of.

 American Rockies – 44% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: dough, dill-y and woody; smells like a High School woodshop; shelled peanuts, butter tarts and aromatic bitters; peppery with some doughy oatmeal-raisin notes. Palate: sweet, fruity and spicy, with loads of wood-shop tones; fresh, fruity and toasty; more oatmeal-raisin cookie dough, peppery spices and oaky tannins; Demerara sugar and aromatic bitters before warm butter tarts. Finish: fresh, doughy, fruity, sweet and spicy; can’t get over the oatmeal-raisin cookie dough and Demerara mixed with bitters combo… Comment:  very fresh for an American whiskey, lots of layers, with the oak restrained nicely.” – Was $70 – SAVE 25% – Now: $52.49 & we’ll donate $5 of that to the Calgary Food Bank!

Introducing: Rogue’s Banquet 

The First of a Few Compass Box 20th Anniversary Bottlings!

This 20th Anniversary Compass Box Blend is composed of single malt whiskies from Miltonduff, Clynelish and Glen Elgin as well as grain whisky from North British Distillery. 46%, not Chill-Filtered, and 75% Malt… Now two decades in, Compass Box continues to kill it in the Blends department! Limit 2/Customer!

Compass Box Rogue’s Banquet – 46% – Details on the Composition are on our website! – Producer Tasting Note: “Rogues’ Banquet boasts flavours of softened tropical fruits, stem ginger and pastry cream. Fragrant yet full-bodied, it has a long and satisfying finish.” – Producer Description: “When we conceived the idea for Rogues’ Banquet last year, we felt that a collection of our favourite Compass Box personalities and an opulent liquid would be the ideal means by which to begin our 20th anniversary celebrations. We could not have known that, by the time our whisky arrived in the parts of the world that had placed orders for it, all get-togethers would have to be put on hold. For a while – we trust not forever. Rogues’ Banquet is made for the gourmands and the hedonists who have accompanied us for the last 20 years. The label shows a fantastical depiction of the kind of gatherings we hope to have in the future when we have all overcome these present circumstances.” – $295

Introducing: anCnoc Stack 

The Latest Limited Release of Peated Whisky from Knockdhu Distillery!

Launched late in 2019, Stack follows in the footsteps of other limited-release peated anCnocs, all named for aspects of peat cutting. Matured in ex-Bourbon Barrels and bottled at 46%.

Arriving in-store Saturday May 16

anCnoc Stack – 46% – Matured in ex-Bourbon Barrels – Producer Description: “Stack joins sister expressions Peatlands, Tushkar, Rutter, Flaughter, Cutter and Rascan in the award winning range carrying the names of traditional peat cutting tools, referencing the heritage within whisky making and bringing it into the modern day. The term ‘stack’ refers to the last step in the gathering process, where the peat blocks are stored together to dry ahead of being burnt.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: An initial smoky aroma is gently pierced by accents of lemons and oranges. This citrus sharpness, so typical of anCnoc, slowly gives way to the softer sweetness of honey and vanilla. Taste: Earthy peat smoke is overlaid with dark chocolate while green apples complement this with a fruity tang. The finish is smoky, full-bodied and long lasting.” – $94

New WM Cadenhead Whiskies: Small Batch Release #28

8-30 Years and Lots in Between!

The 28th Release of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies is here. When Evan and I were in Campbeltown last fall Cameron McGeachy was talking to us about the plans they had for the Cadenhead releases, which included a considerable amount of re-racking of casks in to sherry. Much of this work took place 2-3 years ago, and is finally baring fruit now. All the of the Small Batch releases below, including the 30 Year Strathclyde, the Miltonduff 11 Year and Glentauchers 9 Year all started their life in Bourbon before finishing in Fresh Sherry. They all have Whisky Base scores in the high 80s, which tells me they used good finishing casks… arriving in-store starting on Friday!

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Strathclyde 30 Year – 54.5% – 1989 – Sherry & Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Demerara rum, cherry cola, raisin butter, crispy bacon and a hint of hot sauce. Flavour: Treacle toffee, pine needles, lemongrass, honeycomb, dry spices, poppy seeds and Oloroso Sherry. Finish: Drying sherry notes mixed with custard creams. Christmas cake with pouring cream.” – $215
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Burnside 27 Year – 43.6% – 1991 – ex-Bourbon Barrel – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Sweet popcorn, mangos, freshly cut wood. Palate: Toffee apples, crème brûlée, hazelnuts and chocolate. Finish: Coconut, vanilla custard, peach skins.” – $300 – Only 6 bottles! – 89pts Whisky Base
  3.  Cadenhead Small Batch Tullibardine 26 Year – 43.9% – 1993 – 2 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Tropical fruits followed, mint leaves. Very fresh. Palate: Mangos, golden syrup, freshly whipped cream. Finish: Caramelised bananas, honey, hint of wood shavings.” – $250
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Glenrothes 17 Year – 55.5% – 2002 – ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Salted butter, homemade shortbread, toffee sauce. Flavour: Honeycomb, green olives, melon. Finish: pastrami, buttered gingerbread, light treacle notes.” – $168 – Only 6 bottles!
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Benrinnes 12 Year – 57.2% – 2007 – ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Lots of syrupy fruits, spearmint, banana bread and almonds. Flavour: Kiwis, whipped cream, nutmeg, pine needles and lychee. Finish: Cardamom, brown sugar, juicy fruits, mango, kiwi and cashew nuts.” – $115
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Fettercairn 12 Year – 51.1% – 2007 – ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Peaches, agave syrup, honeycomb, cinnamon and golden syrup. Flavour: Lemon infused olive oil, apricots, strawberry yoghurt with a trace of white pepper. Finish: Roasted red peppers, toffee shortbread, hazelnuts and lemon meringue pie.” – $130 – Only 6 bottles!
  7. Cadenhead Small Batch Ledaig 11 Year – 54.0% – 2008 – 3 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Soft smoke, sea salt, orange marmalade on toast. Palate: The smoke builds with white chocolate and plums. Finish: Dry smoke, cinnamon, chilli flakes.” – $165 – 1 Left!
  8.  Cadenhead Small Batch Mackmyra 11 Year – 48.9% –  2007 – ex-Bourbon Barrel – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Cedar wood, custard powder, green apples. Palate: Creamy! Nutmeg, apple pie. Finish: Fruit syrup, ground ginger and pineapple.” – $152 – Only 12 bottles!
  9. Cadenhead Small Batch Miltonduff 11 Year – 55.0% – 2008 – Sherry & Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Mixture of gingerbread, spiced apples, lemon drizzle cake and pistachio nuts. Flavour: Chewy and creamy with growing fruitiness. Hint of wood spice, caramel and orange peel. Finish: Clotted cream, honey, black cherries, pineapple and green apple skins.” – $100
  10.  Cadenhead Small Batch Ord 11 Year – 56.4% – 2008 – ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Mint, white chocolate, soft flint notes, whole lemons, cappuccino froth and gooseberries. Flavour: Lemon infused olive oil, apricots, strawberry yoghurt with a trace of white pepper. Finish: Melted milk chocolate, dried orange peel, crystallised ginger and lemon sorbet.” – $108
  11. Cadenhead Small Batch Teaninich 10 Year – 55.1% – 2009 – 3 Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Walnuts, green apples, freshly cut wood. Palate: Nuttiness continues with caramelised banana and pinecones. Finish: Brown sugar, cinnamon and a slight lemon zest.” – $102
  12. Cadenhead Small Batch Glentauchers 9 Year – 55.1% – 2010 – Sherry & Bourbon – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Bread and butter pudding, dark cherries, butterscotch, dry sherry and custard creams. Flavour: Mingling creaminess, dark chocolate, raspberry coulis, peach melba and subtle dry spices. Finish: More sherry notes on the finish, cloves, all spice, white chocolate covered raisins and coconut flakes.” – $100
  13. Cadenhead Small Batch Glentauchers 8 Year – 57.7% – 2011 – 2 Sherry Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Strawberry sauce, stewed fruits and demerara sugar. Palate: Orange marmalade, figs, hints of coffee. Finish: Black Forest gateau, cherry and toffee.” – $100

Introducing: the Blackadder Shizuoka Single Malt Spirit 

A Tri-Pack of Different Spirit From One of Japan’s Most Exciting New Distilleries!

Japan has seen a boom in new distillery openings over the last few years, and among them, Shizuoka is creating a lot of buzz. The distillery was founded by the Japanese importer for Blackadder, Gaia Flow in 2016, incorporating the used stills of the famous closed Karuizawa Distillery. This particular set has been bottled exclusively for the Fountana Group, Canada.

Blackadder Shizuoka 3x200ml Spirit – 3x200ml – $136+gst

  1. Unpeated New Make from the Karuizawa Still @63.5%.
  2. Unpeated New Make from the Wood Fired Still @63.3%.
  3. 25 Month Peated Spirit Matured in Manzanilla Sherry @61.4%.

Signatory 30th Anniversary Bottlings Have Returned! 

Only a Couple of Bottles Each of Some Exceptional Whiskies!

We have had a few shipments from Signatory of their 30th Anniversary whiskies from last year. We re-ordered two of them in January, and they have just arrived. The Bunnahabhain 40 Year is superb, it starred in a set of Signatory 30th Anniversary tastings we held last year. It also scored 90pts with Whisky Fun. The Blair Athol 30 Year was not tasted, but has scored an impressive 91pts from Whisky Fun. All of the whiskies come in the Signatory Decanter with a special 30th Anniversary label presentation. Inside the box are a pair of Signatory 30th Anniversary Glencairn Glasses.

  1. Signatory 30th Anniversary Bunnahabhain 1978 – 47.8% –  40 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: rich, sherried and nutty; classic sherry cask; Christmas cake, leather, tobacco and chocolate; candied orange, before mango, papaya and other more delicate tropical fruits emerge; waxy and antique-y with cedar shavings; maple syrup and sweet licorice. Palate: big, rich and sherried; nutty, leathery and earthy with loads of tobacco; on the palate classic Christmas cake, dark chocolate and dried dark fruits: figs, dates and prunes; clove, fennel and anise; a touch of orange and more tropical fruits beneath; still waxy and antique-y. Finish: long, nutty, drying and sherried; leather, tobacco, dark chocolate and spices continue long in to the finish; the fruits mature later as the sherry notes tone down. Comment: this is a classic old sherry bomb, and a balanced one at that; layered complex and elegant without even a trace of the dreaded “S” word.” – $1850 – 4 More Bottles available! – 90pts Whisky Fun
  2. Signatory 30th Anniversary Blair Athol 1988 – 54.7%  – 30 Year – Sherry Butt – 91pts Whisky Fun: “This one came out in December last year. Signatory have bottled quite a few stunners in their 30th Anniversary series, some completely crazy if you ask me. Let’s check this little Blair Athol (isn’t Blair Athol Edradour/Signatory’s nearest neighbour?) Colour: deep gold. Nose: of course. Mangos, honeysuckle, lime blossom, Timut pepper, pink pineapples, lightly smoked tea, whiffs of natural rubber, some umami, one small cigar and we’re done. Forgot to mention rose petals and perhaps a wee glass of Fleurie. A dazzling nose. With water: exceptionally full of the most precious tobaccos. There. Mouth (neat): superb. Quite bizarrely, it would make you think of old Bushmills at some point (those mangos that we already found on the nose), then of fresh Sauternes, with some lush apricot jam, maracuja, liquorice, dried apricots, tangerines… What a whirlwind! I’d even dare mention sémillon, but you would say I’m pushing the envelope, and perhaps you would be right. Perhaps the most extravagant Blair Athol I could try. With water: rosehip tea, Corsican citron, pink pepper, grapefruit, passion fruits… Finish: long, fresh, floral and fruity. Very solid structure. Comments: well, in fact, this one reminds me of some of those wonderful old official ‘black labels’. They share the same DNA. Just totally impeccable. SGP:651 – 91 points.” – $780

We also have the following Signatory 30th Anniversary bottlings, two of which were featured in the above mentioned tasting. The Cragganmore was a surprise favourite of the tasting, while the Port Ellen stole the show. The Port Ellen is superb, and has had rave reviews. It is also almost certainly the last Port Ellen we will ever have at KWM, under $3000!

The Craigduff 1973 was not in the tasting, but did score 91pts from Whisky Fun. It is also one of the most unusual, controversial and hard to find Scotch whiskies. Independent bottler Signatory, the only company to have ever bottled Craigduff as a single, claims it is a curious double peated Glen Keith. But Chivas Brothers, who own both Glen Keith and Strathisla, have always insisted it is actually from the latter. Regardless of its origin, Craigduff was said to be double peated on account that both lightly peated malt was used, as well as “concentrated peated water” which was added to the charge in the wash still. Curious and controversial stuff it would seem!

  1. Signatory 30th Anniversary Cragganmore 1985 – 53.4% – 33 Year – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, waxy, honeyed and floral with clotted cream and a basket of mixed orchard fruits; bursting with vanilla, beeswax and dewy summer gardens; sage and lavender; apples, peaches and melons; soft, decadent toasted oak; trending toward tropical fruits. Palate: still waxy, bursting with honey, vanilla and settling in to toasted oak and clotted cream; bursting with sweet caramel and more orchard fruits: candy apple, peaches n cream, midori melon and even brighter tropical fruits: kiwis and pineapple; decadent spices start to build along with savoury floral tones. Finish: long, coating, warming, decadent and elegant; layers of cream, oak, fruit and spices; starts to show its age at the end, but still within balance. Comment: this malt showed well during both nights of our Signatory 30th Anniversary Tasting, and it doesn’t disappoint here; remarkable how rich, fruity and decadent it is after 33 year with just the faintest trace of bitter oak on the finish; surprising for a presumably fresh, ex-Bourbon Hogshead of this age; possibly the best Cragganmore I’ve ever had.” – $1160 – 88pts Whisky Fun
  2. Signatory 30th Anniversary Craigduff 1973 – 45.4% –  45 Year – Peated Glen Keith – Refill Sherry Butt – 91pts Whisky Fun: “What a coup once again! Colour: full gold. Nose: nada peat, niente, nichts, rien, nothing. On the contrary, we’re facing an exceptional fruity combination, shock full of mango jam, banana compote, overripe apples of all kinds, and various honeys. Then custard and maple syrup, Jaffa cakes (very obvious, and growing), Danish pastries, and a wee glass of Yquem 1988 (pushing things a bit, I must confess). Sultanas in homemade vanilla custard. Very lovely nose, very elegant. And I’m afraid it reminds me a bit of some old Strathislas, which does not mean anything at this point. No smoke. Mouth: I could convince myself that I’m finding a little peat, although that would be a ‘transmuted’ smokiness, rather towards herbal teas than the usual passion fruits. Notes of Turkish delights, light chutneys, mirabelles, then really a lot of acacia honey. What’s really amazing is how fresh it remained, after forty-five years in wood.  Never listen to those false noses who claim that malt always goes into a decline after 30 (or 35, or 40, or 45) years in wood! There’s also a touch of camphor, or eucalyptus pastilles, which may well come from the wood. From the peat? Doubt it. Finish: medium, and rather superb, very honeyed again, with notes of lime-blossom tea. Indeed, Yquem 1988 (cut that, please). Comments: and yet another 30th anniversary bottling by SigV that’s nothing short of impressive. Could we now have a 31st Anniversary series? SGP:651 – 91 points.” – $2750 – Only 2 bottles!
  3. Signatory 30th Anniversary Port Ellen 1982 – 55.1% – 35 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: savoury with a fine balance of elegant smoke, juicy fruits and salty maritime tones; Alaskan King Crabs and Nova Scotia Lobster dipped in butter; soft oily peats, dried kelp and ripe fruits: honey dew melon, lemon, pineapple and candy apple; salted caramel and white chocolate. Palate: creamy, fruity and savoury with more clean elegant smoke; the seafood-y-maritime notes continue with scallops poached in butter with a balsamic reduction; more lobster and crab; the soft fruits are still there, as is the vanilla and salted caramel; still oily and tarry with a touch of Dutch licorice; the tropical fruits pop up again, ripe, expressive and a touch waxy; more bright lemon; silky and seductive. Finish: big, coating and very elegant; tarry oils, clean smoke, savoury seafood, salted caramel and long lingering lemon and tropical fruits cloaked in waxy vanilla. Comment: this is one of the oldest Port Ellens I have ever tasted, and it does not disappoint; there is an almost perfect balance between the oak and original spirit character; time has imbued tropical fruits and silky-waxy character; superb!” – $3000 – 93pts Serge

Kinship Islay Collection Single Bottles 

Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and Caol Ila – Only One Bottle of Each!

We had a customer pick up a couple of bottles in the Hunter Laing Kinship Collection, leaving the other three available for purchase. Only 1 bottle of each available, no packaging!

  1. Kinship Ardbeg 1992 26 Year – 47.2% – Refill Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Beautiful notes of sea breezes, drying freshly cut peat, and sun-bleached seaweed. At this age it’s in its absolute prime. Stunning notes of oak smoked toffee and marzipan introduce themselves onto the senses. Heather moor fires, salt encrusted sails, bracken with a rare dash of pepper and lemon. It’s elegant and succulent without a hint of harshness.” – $2500 – Only 1 bottle!
  2.  Kinship Bruichladdich 27 Year – 50% – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “A moderate maritime saline drift clearly reveals its identity in this irresistible spirit. Soft fruits and Heather honey encapsulate in a cradle of mellow bourbon oak, and throughout the crisp toasted malted barley never fades bringing structure and balance to the oak. A gentle, sophisticated spirit.” – $1250 – Only 1 bottle!
  3. Kinship Caol Ila 40 Year – 44.9% – Refill Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Amazingly fresh and vibrant, the mellow American oak adds character & personality whilst floral notes flirt round the edges and it’s all encapsulated in a surge of the Marine overtures from the Sound of Islay. A seductive nuttiness takes hold on the surface and creates an opening for the summer fresh aromas.” – $3730 – Only 1 bottle!

New Whiskies from Tullibardine 

A 15 Year Core Edition & the 1964 Custodians Collection!

I have fond memories of the good old days when you could buy 30 year old Tullibardines for $180, and 1960s vintages for $300-400… those days are gone. There were some spectacular casks from 1964 and 1966 in particular! We have two new Tullibardines on offer, the 15 Year, a new core release, distilled the year of the distillery’s reopening. The second is the latest release in the Custodians Collection, a 1964. Only one bottle available!

  1. Tullibardine 15 Year – 43% – 2003 Vintage – Matured in ex-Bourbon – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, fresh, fruity and honeyed; tart pineapple and Swiss pear eau de vie; a touch perfumed and Cognac-y; grapes and baked apples. Palate: soft, smooth and malty; identifiably single malt, but with a Cognac-y edge; still decadent, creamy and fruity with loads of honey and building oak spices; a nice mouthfeel with juicy malt and summer flowers; more white fruits and grapes. Finish: long, coating and creamy with juicy malt, white fruits and spices; my mouth is watering in anticipation of more. Comment: a very drinkable malt, especially for the age and price; good, but would have loved to have seen this at 46%.” – $105
  2. Tullibardine Custodians Collection 1964 – 40.4% – 51 Year – Producer Description: “The Tullibardine 1964 really is a work of art and its delicate yet distinctive flavours are certainly going to be something that people remember. It really captures the extraordinary work that goes into creating Tullibardine’s exclusive and limited-edition whiskies, particularly our Custodian Collection and we’re looking forward to celebrating this historic release with our customers.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Delicate aromas of polished leather armchairs, floral meadows mingle with summer fruit pudding drizzled with fresh cream. Subtle milk chocolate coated almonds and freshly cut pineapple to finish. Taste: Light and delicate flavours of freshly washed strawberries, hints of espresso and ground nutmeg with milk creamy chocolate orange. Finish:  Chocolate orange and a subtle oakiness lingers gently on the tongue to finish.” – $4400 – Only 1 bottle!

Two New Two Brewers Yukon Sinlge Malt Whiskies 

Release 19 – Peated & Release 20 – ex-Maple Syrup Cask!

The lads in the Yukon released two new single malts just after I hit send on the last Malt Messenger. Release 19 is a “Peated” single malt, produced with peated malt from Scotland. Release 20 is a curiosity, under the “Innovative” stream, finished in barrels which had previously matured maple syrup!

  1. Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 19 – 46% – Made from Peated  Malt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: firm but yielding earthy peat-smoke and beds of soft fruits: white fruits and citrus; French vanilla and toasted coconut; juicy malt and decadent barley sugars; peanut butter and almond brittle. Palate: firm but yielding like the nose; at first ashy and a touch muddy the smoke builds in intensity developing a clean edge; more juicy malt and toasted oak tones: vanilla extract and toasted coconut; underneath peaches, dried apple slices and under-ripe pears; late Montreal steak spice and slightly medicinal tones. Finish: long, coating, creamy and juicy with firm elegant smoke; floral, elegant all-encompassing smoke. Comment: the smoke is intense, dominant and lasting; while easily the most dominant characteristic it is distinctly not an Islay-style peated whisky; there is something about adding peat in to the mix which adds a depth not always found in young single malt; lovely stuff!” – $100
  2. Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 20 – 40% – “Innovative” Release of single malt matured in ex-Maple Syrup Barrels – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, doughy and fruity; maple cream cookies, brandy soaked cherries and candy apple; juicy citrus tones and chewy malt; a touch of Rye spice… almost Sazerac-y. Palate: round, rich fruity and smooth; a big hit of maple, maple syrup, maple cream cookies and nuts candied in maple syrup; cola cubes and A&W Root Beer; loads of fruit, more candied apple and juicy citrus; more Rye/Sazerac notes; Black Licorice Twizzlers and loads of oak spices: warming cinnamon, fennel and allspice. Finish: drying and toasty with fading spices and traces of maple syrup. Comment: this is decadent and spicy stuff; whisky for those with a sweet tooth, or just looking for something to drizzle over their waffles and pancakes.” – $102

NEW Whiskies from Morrison Mackay 

A Quartet of Strictly Limited & a Celebration of the Cask!

We also have 5 new whiskies due next week from Morrison Mackay’s Carn Mor “Strictly Limited” and “Celebration of the Cask” ranges. Only 6 bottles of each!

  1. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Dufftown 2009 – 47.5% – 10 Year – 2 Bourbon Barrels – Producer Tasting Notes: “Juicy pineapple, mango and elderflower at first with a backbone of confectionery candies.” – $95
  2. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ruadh Maor 2011 – 47.5% – 8 Year – 2 Bourbon Hogsheads – Heavily Peated Glenturret – Producer Tasting Notes: “Fresh hay bales wrapped in tobacco leaves with a long smoky finish.” – $91
  3. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ben Nevis 2015 -47.5% – 4 Year – 2 Sherry Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Notes: “Raisins, stewed prunes and leather at the forefront with a rich earthiness in the background.” – $80 – SOLD OUT!
  4. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Glen Garioch 2008 – 47.5% – 11 Year – 2 Bourbon Hogsheads – Heavily Peated Glenturret – Producer Tasting Notes: “Floral and perfumed with a hint of violet. Fresh citrus and grapefruit notes leave the palate tingling for more.” – $94
  5. Celebration of the Cask Auchentoshan 1992 – 48.4% – 27 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Notes: “Peaches and cream on the nose. Barley sugar comes to the fore with a background of pencil shavings on the palate.” – $300

SAVE 15% on Arran The Bothy: Batch 4 

Quarter Cask, Cask Strength and in the Old Packaging For Just a Few Remaining Bottles!

We were given the opportunity to help clear out the remaining stock of the Arran The Bothy: Quarter Cask: Batch 4 at a discount, so we are passing on the savings. Arran has recently revamped their range, and there is a new edition of the Quarter Cask on the way.

Batch 4 of this limited edition Arran (13,800 bottles world-wide), was created and released to pay homage to the Isle of Arran’s past as a center for illicit whisky production. Producers would have employed smaller casks for ease of transport and hiding. The Arran Quarter Cask – The Bothy release was made of unpeated Arran malt, matured in first fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels and then finished in smaller American oak Quarter Casks. The whisky has been bottled at a natural cask strength of 53.8%.

Arran The Bothy: Quarter Cask: Batch 4 – 53.8% – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: The citrus hallmarks of Arran welcome you, and the sweet spice of cinnamon and vanilla promises a memorable dram. Palate: Sweetness, Honey, Pineapple.” – Regular $80 – SAVE 15% – Now $68 – Until Batch 4 is gone!

Evan’s SMWS Corner 

My Tasting Notes On The First Part Of The May 2020 Outturn

For May, The SMWS Canada has broken the Outturn into two parts. I have written up first four bottles that were released May 1st. I will be tasting the last three and adding them to the blog post on our website soon.

§  58.33 – The nose and palate both give off nice fruit and pastry notes – I get a lovely combination of lemon tarts, earl grey macaroons, blanched almonds and a touch of ginger ale. There is a light spice and dryness on the finish which makes sense given the name.

§  16.39 – Wow. SEVENTEEN YEARS in a Port Pipe before being finished in a puncheon? That sounds like a recipe for an over the top chewy beast of a dram. Yet somehow, it isn’t. The chewiness is evident, but the cinnamon stick and licorice notes are a treat. This is like a high ABV version of mulled apple cider. It is big, yet somehow understated for all of the pomp and circumstance that the two casks used should evoke. This is a mindbogglingly good dram.

§  OLD FASHIONED – Speaking of cask weirdness, here is the blended malt. Old Fashioned is bottled at what seems to be the SMWS standard for blends: 50% ABV. The nose is tangy apricot jam, brown sugar, cinnamon, Orange Crush soda, and well-worn in leather. For me that palate transitions soda-wise into slightly flat ginger ale, fuzzy peach candies, and orange wedge stabbed with cloves and garnished in a snifter of Benedictine plus a slight spicy-yet-cooling minty-ness. Or is that cucumber. Wait… Pimms?!?. I can’t tell anymore. These notes are getting too weird even for me. Like the 16.39, the wacky cask choice has left us with something wildly unique and very drinkable.

§  4.248 – Give me a moment here before I write up my quick tasting note. Firstly, I have to google ‘Petrichor’. Okay, got it. I guess they already did use ‘AFTER THE RAIN’ a few years ago, so they were forced to break out the thesaurus. Thus I was forced to break out the dictionary. Back to the dram at hand. Woodsy with honey and heather on the nose along with warm pear pie and the faint hint of burning embers. On the palate I get an explosion of sweet barley malt and peat, baked apples with cinnamon, graham crackers, and a dash of salt. So that is what petrichor smells and tastes like. Good to know! This is a delicious Orkney dram.

There you have it! Those are my thoughts, for whatever they are worth. Read the rest of my blog post for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s notes on each of the bottles.

All of this information, plus the information on previous releases that are still available can be found on our website here.

If you fell in love with a past release and can’t get it anymore, please email me and I will see if I can recommend something similar.



Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool

Instagram: one part of @kwmwhisky

Free City-Wide Delivery in Calgary & Other Deals! 

Free Delivery in Calgary for Orders Over $50, and Loads of Deals To Be Had!

As with many other small and independent businesses in the city, we are getting creative to continue serving our customers and keeping the business going. We have taken precautions in-store to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and customers. Details on that below! We are also offering options to continue serving those of you in quarantine or who are taking extra precautions with regards to social isolation.


– We are offering free delivery for orders over $50 placed online or over the phone, and will do our best to deliver within 72 hours.


– Place an order, we’ll let you know when it is ready. Call us when you are out front or parked in the back lot and we’ll bring it out. Simple as that!


– Want to send someone a care package? All gifting options are still available. Quarantined parents and closed schools qualify as a “wine emergency”. Gift cards are also available and can be used over the phone.

If you are able, please submit your order online. We will answer any questions you might have before finalizing and processing your order. You are not automatically billed when you submit your order.

We will do our best to answer and process as many phone orders as we can. Call us at 403-283-8000. We are offering some great deals too. More on that below, see the bottom of the Malt Messenger!

Customers are still welcome to come in to the store to pick up orders as well as browse and purchase in-store. We are routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and have hand sanitation stations around the store.

Let us know how we can continue to help and serve you in these challenging times!

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact & Disclaimers 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson
Owner & Scotchguy
Kensington Wine Market
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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