Ruby is the pinnacle of The Macallan Ruby ~ Secure this jewel of a Macallan now – Scotch Whisky News


Ruby is the pinnacle of The Macallan 1824 Series and we are pleased to tell you that we have a limited quantity available of this hard-to-find liquid.

Designed to showcase and celebrate The Macallan’s commitment to natural colour, Ruby is the most rich and deeply coloured single malt in the series, with glinting hues of red that speak to its intense flavours.

Secure this jewel of a Macallan now.



The Macallan Gold, Amber and Sienna are also now available to purchase from The Macallan Online Shop.


New Arrivals & Back in Stock at K&L California – Whisky News


Four Roses K&L Exclusive OESK (9 Years Old, 7 Months) Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) $64.99

Lagavulin “Distiller’s Edition” Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $125) $109.99 

Redbreast 21 Year Old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey (750ml) (1 bottle limit) 96 $219.99 


The Whisky Exchange “Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon” – Irish Whiskey News


Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon

Irish whiskey is booming. For a long time it has been seen as Scotch whisky’s less-popular sibling, but the past few years have seen it explode in popularity. The biggest driver is Jameson, a blended Irish whiskey, but also growing is a style of whiskey not found anywhere else: pot still whiskey.

Pot still: isn’t that what you use to make malt whiskey?

First off, the terminology is confusing. In Ireland, along with blended, grain and malt whiskey, you also have pot still whiskey. Distillers make malt whiskey in a pot still, but it’s not pot still whiskey. Confused yet?

A pot still used to make pot still whiskey. It’s deliberately confusing

The difference between pot still and malt whiskey is the ingredients: pot still uses both malted and unmalted barley.

On top of that, all pot still whiskey you can currently find is single pot still whiskey. The ‘single’ just means that it’s made at one distillery.


The history

In classic fashion, the development of pot still as a style of whiskey comes from taxation. Back in the 1700s, the government started taxing malt. Enterprising distillers, keen to save money, replaced some of the now-expensive malt with cheaper, unmalted grain. The result was pot still whiskey.

Barley, happily malting away with no interference from the tax man

Historically, distillers also threw in oats, rye and wheat as well as barley. The legal definition of pot still allows up to 5% other grains, but it’s rare to see them used these days.

How is it made?

It’s made in almost exactly the same way as malt whiskey. The main difference is that the grain used is a mixture of malted and unmalted barley.

As usual, the distillers mill the grain and steep it in hot water. They then strain off the sugary liquid, add yeast and leave the mixture to ferment.

The resulting boozy liquid – wash – is then distilled.


Triple distillation

As is traditional in Ireland, all the distilleries currently producing pot still whiskey triple-distil their spirit.

The three stills at Slane distillery – wash, intermediate and spirit

Triple distillation is talked about a lot in whisk(e)y circles, and there are a few myths to be busted:

  • there are several distilleries in Scotland that triple distil – it’s not only an Irish thing
  • triple distillation does not necessarily lead to a high-strength, low-flavour spirit.

The latter point is especially interesting. Each distillation typically increases the purity of the spirit – it removes flavour. However, pot stills are inefficient beasts, and that inefficiency gives the distiller options. They can emphasise and quieten flavours in the final distillate: the third distillation is a polishing of the spirit.

This is especially true of pot still whiskey, where the unmalted barley adds in large amounts of flavour. The spirit needs sculpting to create the fruit, grass, grain and spice character that the distiller and drinker expect.

How does it taste?

Only Irish Distillers’ Midleton distillery has pot still whiskey on the market, but expect to see more appearing soon. Ireland has loads of new distilleries and many of them are planning on making pot still whiskey, if they aren’t already.

For now, the two classics of pot still are Green Spot and Redbreast.

Green Spot focuses on bourbon-cask maturation, giving a very clean insight into pot-still character. Redbreast is all about the sherry casks, adding in layers of spice and dried fruit.


Redbreast 12 Year Old

Nose: Rich spiced fruit, hints of orgeat sweetness, toast with generic red jam and creamy porridge with brown sugar.

Palate: Softer and creamier than the nose suggests. Spiced sponge cake packed with dried fruit and smothered with soft, buttery icing.

Finish: More cream and fruit, fading into dark and spicy wood.

Comment: This is the ‘entry level’ whisky in the Irish Distillers Single Pot Still range? An excellent whiskey.


Green Spot

Nose: Big green apple notes, candle wax, olive oil and some raisiny sweetness with a bit of cereal hiding underneath.

Palate: Soft and creamy apple – baby-food apple purée? Fresh and piney edges with green rhubarb and tropical fruit squash.

Finish: A big hit of both real apple and apple chews, slowly fading to leave sweet grain.

Comment: A very different whiskey to the Redbreasts – very fresh and green, but with a heavy oiliness as well. My favourite of the range.

Redbreast was the whiskey that made me fall in love with Irish spirit, and Green Spot was the one that kept me hooked. With new distilleries now getting into the pot still game, we can expect lots more to try in the future. I look forward to trying them.

You can find a wide range of Irish whiskey, including lots of pot still, over on our website.

Originally published on The Whisky Exchange Blog – Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon

Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #717 – Scotch Whisky News


Ralfy finds a beefy-sherry bomb in Ralfy Review 717 - Ben Nevis 14yo Single Cask @ 46%vol (2007)

New & Exclusive: The Jura Signature Range from The Whisky Shop – Scotch Whisky News

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New & Exclusive

Last week the Isle of Jura Distillery launched their new signature range, and while they won’t be on wide release until April, you can be one of the first to taste three brand new expressions, exclusively available at The Whisky Shop now!

We’ve partenered with Jura to make sure our customers get the chance to experience the brand new 12 year old, 18 year old and Seven Wood, before anyone else. So for the month of March, you’ll only find these expressions at The Whisky Shop. Order online today for next day UK delivery and enjoy bold new flavours from a distillery that is a long way from ordinary!

Jura Seven Wood


The remarkable ingenuity that defines the people of Jura; an ability to reimagine and reinvent has brought to life this complex single malt, crafted with a combination of seven cask types: American white oak ex-bourbon, Vosges, Jupilles, Les Bertranges, Allier, Tronçais, and Limousin barrels.

The nose opens with light peach and a hint of smoke. The palate is balanced with a great depth of flavour; notes of liquorice and candied orange emerge before a subtle smoke descends in the finish.

£59 Buy Now

Jura 12 Year Old


Reassuringly rich with a smoky sherry sweetness, this whisky has been matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in aged Oloroso sherry casks to give a rich, rounded and perfectly balanced taste.

The nose has a refined combination of delicious tropical fruit aromas. The palate opens with chocolate, walnut and citrus fruit, followed by coffee, liquorice, salted bananas and brown sugar, with a whisper of smoke emerging on the finish.

£45 Buy Now

Jura 18 Year Old


The oldest expression in the new signature range from Jura. Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and enriched by Premier Grand Cru Classé red wine barriques, the 18 year old is bottled at 44% abv.

The nose has sweet toffee and cinnamon spice. The palate is rich and full-bodied with Black Forest fruits and some smoky notes, before a bitter chocolate aspect and fresh espresso in the finish.

£75 Buy Now


Whisky Wednesday – Method in Madness Single Grain – Irish Whiskey News


Whisky Wednesday – Method in Madness Single Grain

Making whisky fun and experimental is one of the true benefits of being in an industry with such creative people doing the rounds. This part of trilogy from Midleton has really caught my attention in every conceivably brilliant way. Method in Madness is a 46% Single Grain whisky, aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and then finished in Spanish Virgin Oak….what? Spanish VO is something I’ve never come across before and given the amount of whisky I’ve tried up until this point, i’m annoyed that nobody else has done it before, this is wonderful whisky! Innovative and classic at the same time with design and craftsmanship that can rival any big brand in any sector of whisky. Thrilled to own it! Cheers.

Glendronach 24 Year Old 1993 UK Exclusive #656 at The Whsiky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Glendronach 24 Year Old 1993 UK Exclusive #656


Glendronach 24 Year Old 1993 vintage Highland single malt Scotch whiskey. Single cask sherry butt #656 bottled for the United Kingdom market. 656 bottles. Glendronach Malt Whiskey Distillery was established north east of Huntley in the Highland whiskey region by James Allardice in 1826. The malting floors at Glendronach Distillery closed in 1996 and it was the last distillery in Scotland to heat its stills directly with flames from a coal-fired furnace, until it had to comply with new regulations in 2005. Glendronach Distillery is resplendent with a traditional cask iron mash tun, wooden washbacks, four stills. Famous for its well-aged and top quality sherried single malt, for example Glendronach 21 Year Old Parliament, and single cask releases. The distillery is now owned by Brown Forman of America.


BenRiach Distillery Profile by Mark Davidson (aka The Jolly Toper) – Scotch Whisky News

BenRiach Distillery

Benriach Distillery

Benriach-Glenlivet is situated a few miles south of Elgin in the Speyside region. It is named after Riach farm, ‘Riach’ meaning either “Hill of the red deer” or more likely “speckled Mountain”, although it was originally called ‘Longmorn No.2”.

Foundation and the Early Days


 The story begins with John Duff (b. Aberchirder, 1842). His family owned land around Miltonduff just west of Elgin. In the 1870s he managed Glendronach distillery but then went on to be the publican at The Fife Arms in Lhanbryde near Elgin. He built Glenlossie distillery in 1876 in partnership with two local businessmen : Alexander Grigor Allan (d. 1895) who was the Procurator Fiscal for Morayshire and Roderick Kemp an Aberdeen wine & spirit merchant. On the dissolution of the partnership in 1892 Grigor went on to become sole owner of Talisker and Kemp to own Macallan. From 1887 sales of Glenlossie were exclusively via John Hopkins the London based blender and from 1890 proprietor of Tobermory distillery as well as the Old Mull brand. Hopkins was originally a partner in Glenlossie but left in 1888. Another partner was H. M. S. MacKay who was both Elgin’s burgh surveyor and a land agent. Glenlossie was built under the supervision of Duff to his own plans. It is one of the first examples of the use of concrete in construction in the distilling industry with only the stone built stillhouse not using the then new material. In 1887 Duff was described as “a great moving spirit” by The Aberdeen Journal. Certainly he seems to have successfully climbed ladders but his next ‘move’ may not have been his best. In 1888 Duff emigrated to South Africa with his wife and 3 daughters. He tried to distil in Gauteng Province in the Transvaal, an area where gold had recently been discovered. He failed to find success perhaps mainly due to opposition to British influences and investment from President Kruger which led to the blocking of Duff’s plans. Duff then attempted a similar scheme in the USA. This plan likewise didn’t bear fruit, apparently a combination of the competition from illicit distilling and again anti-British sentiment. Returning to Scotland in 1892 he found work as the distillery manager at Aberdeen’s Bon Accord distillery having his registered address in the city at 5 Union Terrace. He also became a partner in an Aberdeen wine and spirit merchant. He was 52 when he went into partnership with George Thomson & Charles Shirres in 1894 under the trading name of John Duff & Co.. They built Longmorn distillery, spending £20k (equivalent to £2M today). In 4 years Duff had bought out the other two and built Benriach with the profits from Longmorn at a cost of £16,000. This time he entrusted the distillery design with Elgin architect Charles Doig. Building of Benriach on an adjacent site to Longmorn commenced in 1897 with production starting in 1898. At this point the company was changed from Longmorn-Glenlivet Distillery Company by being incorporated into Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Company Limited while Hill Thomson & Co.Ltd and Longmorn distillery manager James Grant and his son ran the distillery when Duff, the sole share owner, ran into financial difficulties and the distillery was repossessed by the bank. This was a disastrous period for many businesses in the whisky industry as boom turned to bust. To illustrate the intensity of the optimism around this time: an amazing total of 33 distilleries were built in the 1890s with 21 of these being in Speyside. However production stopped in 1900 due to the collapse of the market. In this year Duff was officially declared bankrupt although he had been insolvent before this. By 1901 the Board of Directors included J.A. Dewar of John Dewar & Sons, Arthur Sanderson of VAT 69 and James Anderson of J.G. Thomson, Leith. Despite the influence of such names the distillery had to shut come 1903.

The Distillery

The Distillery


Recent History


 When the dark days of the first half of the 20th century turned to the post WWII recovery rising demand prompted building and expansion of distilleries. After sitting dormant for over 60 years Benriach was rebuilt and reopened in 1965. The current stillroom was originally a warehouse, the mash house is original while the tun room dates from the refit. Up until 1980 a private rail link was used to move goods between Benriach and its sister Longmorn. The shunting engine, called a ‘puggie’, is now preserved at Aviemore. Since closing in 1900 and the subsequent mothballing in 1903 the floor maltings were however retained and used to contribute to Longmorn’s malt needs. This remained the case even after Benriach reopened. Only after the rail link closed did Benriach use its own malt. The output of the malting floors contributing 7/8% of grain requirements at the time. In 1970 an amalgamation between The Glenlivet and Glen-Grant Distilleries Ltd. and Hill, Thomson & Co. Ltd. formed The Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd. Shortly after this in 1972 batches of malt using significant peat levels started. This would have been due to the high demand put on Islay malts by blenders. On the subject of peating: previous to this increase in peat levels it was reported that in 1967 Longmorn stopped using Mannochhill peat and started using New Pitsligo while circa 1987 Benriach had peat cutting rights at Faemussach Moor near Tomintoul. Similar experiments with peated malt took place at Caperdonich and Glen Keith, the latter going under the name Glen Isla. Other trials included the use of virgin oak.


 In November 1977 Glenlivet Distilleries were taken over by the Seagram Company Ltd. of Canada and was operated under the control of Seagram’s Scottish subsidiary Chivas Brothers. Seagram liked a light spirit for their house style of blends for example Benriach was a major component of their Queen Anne brand (which was named after the last serving Stewart monarch) as well as 100 Pipers, Chivas Regal itself, St. Leger and Something Special. The latter brand dated from 1912 when it was created by Hill Thomson and is to this day big in South America. Steps to boost output at the distillery came when the number of stills were increased from 2 to 4 in 1985. From 1965 there was one large wash still and two small spirit stills. This was later adjusted when a second wash still with a 15KL charge was added and the two small spirit stills were replaced with a single larger one. Due to the ensuing imbalance the new large spirit still was retired and the original stills returned. Also at this time a 7 day working week was introduced. Perhaps these are surprising moves as at this time many distilleries were being mothballed or had production levels reduced. At this point capacity would have been about 1.8ML. From this date the distillery had a dedicated manager, since 1965 this role had also included the management of Longmorn. From 1978 Stuart Gillies was the manager having spent the previous 20 years at Glen Grant. Come 1994 the first bottling of a single malt from the distillery was featured in the Heritage Collection alongside Strathisla, Glenkeith and Longmorn- all Speysiders and not dramatically dissimilar in character so the offering was no where near as diverse as the Classic Malts. By 1998 the maltings were decommissioned. Then on 19.12.2001 Seagrams was bought by Pernod Ricard creating the 3rd largest spirits company. Subsequently due to the overall increase in company capacity four distilleries: Benriach, Allt A’Bhainne, Braeval and Caperdonich were each only operated for 3 months of the year. The following year all four distilleries were mothballed. 


 Unusually for the region triple distillation was experimented with in 1998 and was later reinstated by subsequent owners under the guidance of Billy Walker. Currently some three times distilled spirit has been produced every second year. From the original experiment the necessary 5th still is apparently now an ‘ornament’ in Ontario(!). 

The BenRiach Train

The BenRiach Train


A New Chapter


 On 26th April 2004 Billy Walker, Wayne Kieswetter and Geoff Bell operating under the name Intra Trading buy the distillery from Pernod – reportedly paying £5.4M. 40,000 casks are acquired the earliest from 1966 with only a few vintages missing. Billy Walker, an organic chemist, joined Ballantines in 1971 later moving to Inverhouse as a blender. After a subsequent move to Burn Stewart to become their master blender and then production manager he was part of the management buy out that took over the company in 1988. Under the new owners 96 first fill Bourbon barrels are warehoused on 20.9.2004 marking the first filling of new spirit production having recommenced shortly after acquisition. 7.8.2004 saw the first new releases of bottled products. In 2007 the owner’s stewardship is rewarded with the accolade Distillery of the Year from Malt Advocate magazine. A significant development comes in 2008 when the company acquires Glendronach also from Chivas. In 2009 the Whisky Distillery of the Year award comes again but this time from Whisky Magazine. 2011 marks the first year the new owners were able to fill 10,000 casks. Two years later floor malting is restarted although due to cost it is unlikely more than 10% of requirements will be hand malted. In the same year the next acquisition in the form of Glenglassaugh is added to the portfolio. From 2012 it was decided that 200k litres of peated spirit are to be made each January and February. By 2017 this had risen to 0.5ML. Currently the capacity of the distillery stands at 2.8ML. The latest change in ownership came in 2017 when American based Brown Forman took over for a sum of £286M. Most recently, in March 2017, industry personality Rachel Barrie takes over as master blender.


Equipment, Fermentation and Water.


 Cast iron rake and arm mash tun. 8 stainless steel washbacks of 30kl capacity. 48 & 66 hour ferments. Shell & tube condensers. Plain wash still: 15KL charge, plain spirit still: 9.6kl charge. Horizontal lyne arms.The Porteus mill with two de-stoners dates from 1965. 5 dunnage warehouses holding 30K casks. Water comes from 6 wells at Burnside Springs about half a mile from the distillery and is shared with Longmorn. Cooling water is from the same burn that was used by Coleburn, then Glen Elgin, Longmorn and eventually Linkwood.


Douglas Laing’s Scallywag 13 Year Old Limited Edition at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


Douglas Laing’s Scallywag 13 Year Old Limited Edition Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $80)

SKU #1333594 $59.99

The Scallywag blended malt has been well received by Scotch lovers and critics alike for its elegance and nuance. It’s a blended of the great Speyside distilleries, like Macallan, Mortlach, Glenrothes and many more. Typically a small amount of sherried whisky is included in the blend with the majority coming from refill hogsheads and bourbon barrels. The Limited Edition Scallywag, however, has spent 13 long years entirely in Sherry butts from Jerez. It is indeed what some might term as Sherry forward, yet it wouldn’t rank a true bomb thanks to it’s eminently balance. Expect a nose of dense dried fruit, Christmas cake, tobacco spice and an underlying nuttiness. The palate adds some herbal spice, sweet molasses, and texture for days. Absolutely absurd that we can sell this for less than the standard offering. A totally perfect way to spend a cool winter evening.



The Whisky Mafia’s Top 10 Distilleries – Whisky News


You like whisky, I like whisky, we all like whisky. Not all whisky distilleries are created equal however, and Pat Dunlop of certainly has his opinions about which are the best. A deep dive into Pat’s 10 Favourite Scotch Whisky Distilleries has been a long time coming, and it’s here at last! Will your favourite make the list? Will you be dismayed to find he doesn’t share your taste? There’s only one way to find out, dear readers, and that’s by clicking here

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