THE FIRST OF THE LAST GREAT MALTS at Royal Mile Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News




AULTMORE 12 Year Old £43.95


 CRAIGELLACHIE  13 Year Old £42.95


 CRAIGELLACHIE 17 Year Old £81.95


ABERFELDY  21 year old £114.95


 CRAIGELLACHIE 23 year old £264.95


 AULTMORE 25 year old £294.95

It’s been a six year labour of love for Stephen Marshall, Bacardi Global Whisky Marketing Manager, developing these new whiskies. Having recently sampled some of them a staff tasting session we can whole heartedly say that his efforts have not been in vain. They are great drams and we highly recommend them.

In the past Bacardi have under-utilised the product from their whisky distilleries, preferring to focus primarily on maintaining the world wide success of their Dewars and Lawsons blended Scotch whiskies. Now, however, you will be able to enjoy some fine single malts from not only Aberfeldy, but also Craigellachie, Aulltmore and in due course The Deveron (Macduff) and Royal Brackla. This is great news for whisky lovers and, contrary to current trends, all these new and beautifully packaged malts will carry an age statement. We can’t help but admire the refreshingly old fashioned approach of letting the whiskies speak for themselves at a variety of different age statements. It’s also quite wonderful to have the chance to try brand new single malts from distilleries that have a history of being highly rated by blenders, but are relatively unknown to single malt drinkers.

Whisky Wednesday Visits “Hard to Find Whisky” – Scotch Whisky News


On Sunday the 9th November I was invited to Birmingham’s Hard To Find Whisky, the UK’s largest whisky specialist retailer, for a bloggers day. 

The new shop is located in the Jewellery Quarter, one of the city’s most historic areas. The frontage exudes style and luxury with a modern glass door and marble steps leading in. The entrance area alone displays some seriously rare Johnnie Walker bottlings and a huge variety of rare Jack Daniel’s bottles. 

Once inside, it’s hard not to be impressed. Over 22 units there are displayed 3,500 bottles, from entry level Grants’ blend to their jewel in the crown bottling, the Macallan 1928 50 Year Old, on sale at £35,000. It is clear from spending an afternoon in this shop that this really is a place for real whisky enthusiasts. 

During the afternoon we were treated to some lovely food, masterclasses, a tour of the most rare and collectable bottles, and a competition where we had to guess the whisky we were drinking! It turned out to be a rather fantastic 17 Year Old Clynelish bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. 

One thing that really sets Hard To Find Whisky apart from other whisky retailers is their huge range of masterclasses. So far they have 14 masterclasses on offer, but owner, Jason Kirby, is already planning to increase this number to offer more and more. During a masterclass in the afternoon I was poured five whiskies without them telling me what they were. The idea behind this is that the experts at the shop pick out flavours and build up your palate without any outside influence from the bottle design/label. I personally think this is a great way of tasting whisky as it challenges you to put aside any preconceptions of what you think you know about a certain bottle/distillery! It’s also perfect for beginners to whisky appreciation. The masterclasses range from £20 for the beginners class to £1000 for the ‘Whiskies Most Wanted’ class. Every single masterclass includes a rare bottle and the Japanese whisky masterclass includes the very much sought after Yamazaki Sherry Cask, which has recently been named the world’s best whisky by Jim Murray. Owner Jason Kirby clearly wants people to drink whisky as well as invest and collect. When he spoke about growing the number of masterclasses he said he wants to put on a masterclass where you get to taste all 14 Port Ellen official releases, the Black Bowmore and maybe even the Macallan 1928 50yo! There is nowhere in the UK where you can experience this level of tasting class at a whisky shop. 

Overall I was incredibly impressed with the shop, the vast array of whiskies on offer and the attention to detail given to making it a whisky-lovers paradise. It’s a great addition to the whisky scene of the UK and anyone who loves drinking, collecting, buying or just talking about whisky should pay them a visit. I will definitely be back!

 HTF 2


Remembrance Day: Lest we forget


Happy 4th of July!

Dave Broom Reviews Scotch Malt Whisky Society G7.3 “Fresh Toffee and Glossy Magazines” – Scotch Whisky News

SMWS Green Logo

THIS is how to review a whisky. Dave Broom reviews Scotch Malt Whisky Society G7.3 “Fresh Toffee and Glossy Magazines”

See for yourself


Apologies For The Service Interruption This Morning……..

…………blame the wretched servers.


Remembrance Day: Lest we forget

remembrance day

Whisky & Chocolate Tasting at Milroy’s of Soho November 19th, 2013 – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky and Chocolate

Tuesday 19th November 2013

Be taken through an extravaganza of chocolate and whisky with Paul A Young’s famous hand crafted chocolates. The evening will leave taste buds tantalised and chocolate lovers satisfied.



Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to our friends in the United States of America!

So You Want To Start A Whisky Appreciation Club? – Whisky Club Sunday on Whisky Intelligence

So you want to start a whisky appreciation club? Good for you, it can be very rewarding and you’ll meet a lot of very interesting people along the way. Here are some suggestions.

Recruiting Fellow Members & Where to Meet 

Sometimes it may seem that you’re the only person in your area that has a passion for whisky, this is unlikely. Most liquor store that sell premium whiskies will know their customer base and will put you in touch with like minded people. They’re out there and they can be found, use your local knowledge and imagination. Hold the first meeting in members’ home, the cost is very reasonable! 

The Number of Whiskies to Taste per Session 

Depending on the group and the length of the meeting you might want to start with two to three whiskies per meeting. Its general practice to start nosing & tasting the lighter whiskies at the beginning of the session and to finish with the heavier whiskies at the end of the evening.

For a great description of how to nose and taste whisky please visit  


There is a myriad of glass ware on the market but I suggest that in the beginning you look for a simple & inexpensive but functional glass and the best for small groups is a small brandy snifter, about 10 cm or 4 inches tall. They are quite suitable for nosing and tasting whisky and you can easily cup the glass for hand warming and the curved sides help concentrate aromas. On this side of theAtlanticthis style of glass can be found in many second hand & charity stores which have any kitchen related inventory. I presume there are such stores in most urban centers. These little brandy snifters usually sell for about .25 cents, saving valuable funds for whisky purchases. As your experience with whisky grows you can look towards purchasing blenders nosing & tasting glasses or Glencairn glasses.

When cleaning whatever glassware you choose remember to hand wash them with a gentle dish soap rinsing very well to eliminate any residual soap. Avoid cleaning your glassware in a dishwasher as dishwashers tend to leave a soap reside which will negatively impact the next whisky. 

Tasting Sheets 

If you want to use tasting sheets to write down your impressions and to score your whiskies you can make them up making note of nose, palate and finish with some space for comments. Some people add in legs and color and over all balance, it’s up to you. If you would like some sample score sheets please email me and I’ll be happy to send them to you in Word format, you can adjust them as you see fit.


To add water or to not add water? This can be quite contentious issue for some odd reason. However you might want to take a clue from distillers, they add water when assessing a whisky. With experience you will be able to determine which whiskies are suitable for the addition of water. As a general rule and in particular in the case of scotch whiskies, those whiskies that are matured in new oak or ex-bourbon casks  tend to be able to accept more water than those matured or ‘finished’ in ex wine casks such as sherry, port or table wines. It is also advisable to have a glass of still water per person to clean the palate in between drams. Still water is generally the best, avoid sparkling water, it just doesn’t work when making an assessment of a whisky. Ice? Don’t. It’s a disaster. 

Banking & Dues 

Don’t go over board, in the beginning a simple system is the best and you may find you don’t actually need a bank account, one trusted person can keep a small cash on hand fund with a simple list of dues paid and expenditures. In my Club we have a general prohibition on discussing Club finances at our meetings; we are focused on the whiskies being presented. Our finances are not secret however they are certainly boring and thus open to all; they can be discussed via email if required. We collect dues once a year but since you are just starting out you may opt for a shorter period, perhaps once every three months. As an aside, I had a friend who was very much consumed by bourbon and tried to start a club based on his passion, however he just couldn’t get past the feeling that he absolutely needed a bank account and was very much stuck on that point. I suggested an envelope to keep the money in, a suggestion that he rejected out of hand. He never did open that bank account or start a club. Kind of missed the point, didn’t he? Pity.

Newsletters & Communication of Meeting Dates 

Once again the key to success is to keep it simple and if possible communicate by email; this reduces the cost of communication as compared to letters and stamps and is very speedy. Again email communication is economical and leaves more money for whisky purchases. This is important.

Left over whisky 

Whatever you do with the remainders or ‘heels’ of the bottles be fair, either distribute them amongst the members or auction them off to the highest bidders, the resulting funds can be used for buying……you guessed it, more and better whisky. Another options is to save them and have a nosing party at the end of each year, we pair this event with a meal, and it works out very well.

Perfume, Hand Creams & Aftershave 

These and other such products should be eradicated at all costs, the attendees need to be educated about the negative effect these products have on the sense of smell. Whisky is generally a product that is quite delicate and since most people tend to marinate themselves with copious amounts of pollutants they will spoil the event for all. Hand creams are particularly odious and they can cling to the glass, there’s no proper nosing happening with such a polluted glass. Ugh! 


It is not a good idea to serve food when making an initial assessment of a whisky, if you feel it will add some benefit to the evening then wait until the nosing & tasting is complete. Pairing whisky and food in a social setting is another aspect altogether and can be quite enjoyable. I frequently enjoy whisky with my meals. 

Sharing the Work Load 

Don’t try and do everything yourself, try and share the work load among your fellow members, if you don’t you’ll burn out and leave. This would be a shame, no?


Yes, they live on this planet also and they really like whisky, so why not include them too? A roomful of grunting silent males is simply not that amusing and quite frankly the female of our species has a much better sense of smell and is much more adept at turning what she smells into words. Since most whisky appreciation groups are more than mere ‘drinking’ clubs the ability to turn what you smell and taste into words is of high value.

Friends & Family who Travel 

If you are having a difficult time sourcing whiskies locally then you can always turn to friends and family who travel, you’d be surprised how often they can help you acquire a hard to find bottle. Ideally these people should not have a taste for whisky otherwise they’ll be shopping for themselves, the selfish bas……. 

Drinking & Driving 

Don’t do it. Show some leadership and ensure that all participants have a safe way home, set a proper example. The down side of such irresponsible behavior is generally irreversible and ruins lives.

If there is a single theme that I’ve tried to communicate is to keep it simple in the beginning and stay focused on the whisky and the people, the rest will fall into place as your group gains experience. Have fun and…….Slainte!

This article was originally published on Whisky Fun and is written by Lawrence Graham

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