Press Releases




Sebastopol, CA, March 14, 2018 – California grain-to-glass craft spirits leader Spirit Works Distillery announced today that it has released its first ever Bottled in Bond – Straight Rye Whiskey. As an effort towards regulating spirits industry at the time, the US Government passed the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, dictating a very strict set of quality standards and control of production practices for a spirit to be labeled as such.

Still in place today, but difficult to achieve and even harder to come by, a spirit can only be labelled Bottled in Bond – by U.S. Government Supervision if it is:

1 – Produced from the same class of spirits and same class of materials (Rye berries and Rye Whiskey)

2 – Distilled in the same distilling season (Dec 2013) by the same distiller (Ashby Marshall) at the same distillery (Spirit Works Distillery)

3 – Stored for at least four (4) years  in direct, full contact with wood (53 gal New Charred American Oak Barrels)

4 – Void of any addition, subtraction or modification

5 – Proofed to 100 proof with only pure water

6 – Bottled at 100 proof

In addition to the above, the label on the bottle must also state the location of the distillery and if bottled elsewhere, where it was bottled.

“I am thrilled for Spirit Works Distillery to have reached this milestone as our Bottled in Bond – Straight Rye Whiskey is a beautiful, welcome declaration of a true small batch, high rye whiskey and the very distinction represents genuine quality, consistency, and age.” – Ashby Marshall, Former Head Distiller and Co-owner.

Bottled at 4 years 2 months old and 100 proof, the Rye Whiskey has a nose towards both bright and baked apple followed with coffee and leather. On the palate it brings peppery hints of clove, and nutmeg that mellow into a blend of caramel and toasted coconut. The finish of golden honeycomb rolls down to a long smooth spice.  Bottles can be purchased for $60, as of today, out of the distillery tasting room in Sebastopol and are planned to be in market in due course.

About Spirit Works

Founded in the heart of Sonoma County, California in 2012 by husband and wife team Timo and Ashby Marshall, Spirit Works Distillery is craft spirits producer which handcrafts artisan Vodka, Gin, Sloe Gin, Barrel Gin, Navy Strength Gin, Straight Wheat and Straight Rye Whiskey onsite using the grain-to-glass method of milling, mashing, fermenting and then distilling onsite, allowing the Distillery to create a truly hands on premium product. Spirit Works is also one of the few all-female distilling teams in the US with Lauren Patz as Head Distiller. For more information, click here

Balblair New Vintages at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

Balblair Vintage scotch whisky feature

Balblair Distillery is one you must visit both physically if you get the chance, and on your palate if you have not yet done so. One of the most visually pleasing distilleries in a wonderful Highland setting. And whisky that is sure to suit the palates of many. But that’s not because its designed to suit the masses. No, it’s simply fantastic whisky. There is a strong sense of tradition at Balblair. Red brick chimney, pagoda roof and dunnage warehouses. And this care, attention and respect for the distillery is reflected in the quality of the whisky. Now, Balblair have released some brand new vintages and we have been lucky enough to sample.

Vintage Whisky

One of the most notable aspect of Balblair whisky is their focus on whisky vintage and not age statement. You still get the indication of age by the vintage year and bottling year but it is about the casks being ready, when they are ready each year. It’s a nice little USP and one which is very well received among the vast swathes of whisky releases. 2018 sees the the release of two brand new expressions:- Balblair 1991 Vintage and Balblair 2000 Vintage. Here at these added to the already available 2005 Vintage Balblair, making a fantastic trio of whiskies to compare.

Balblair Vintage scotch whisky

Balblair 2005 Vintage 46%

The 2005 vintage Balblair is a lovely whisky. This 1st release was bottled in 2017 making it at least 11 years old. Classic Balblair notes of green apples and a hint of citrus. Definite youth but gives up a nice rawness to the Balblair character here. A touch of water brings out the fruits a touch more too over the notes of bitter tobacco/leather. This is certainly a dram that lets you explore the clear character of this distillery. Quite sharp and to the point. But it is these two older vintages which really let you delve further into the depths of Balblair Whisky, and the warehouse.

Balblair 2000 Vintage 46%

The Balblair 2000 vintage 2nd release bottled 2017Aged at least 16 years old, this  takes a clear step up. The nose is lovely. Freshly baked warm spiced apple crumble. On the palate it goes a little more tropical with pineapple but with the additional of runny sweet honey and hints of dried coconut. The finish is nice and long, running. Pleasant spices and hints of malted barley. Our recommendation – a definite buy. With a bit of time as well it all opens a little more with all the flavours mellowing in lovely harmony. Sherry and bourbon cask maturation working perfectly.

But there is no ignoring, that the brand new Balblair 1991 vintage is what we are keen to get stuck into.

Balblair 1991 vintage

Balblair 1991 Vintage 3rd Release Bottled 2018 46%

The now gone but not forgotten Balblair 1990 vintage was a firm favourite. This 1991 vintage Balblair whisky aged at least 26 years follows suit.   It has a luxurious mouthfeel. Fantastically balanced influence of each cask type both on the nose and palate. A lovely level of complexity. Time opens it right up and lets it relax even more. Not just a few minutes, but let is sit for 5 or 10 minutes and you will notice the change. Citrus fruits soften into ripe soft fruit with a little kick of liquorice and spice. But it’s so very smooth and creamy on the palate -milk chocolate and a smooth fruit compote. The finish pops up with more spices and a lovely sherried fruit cake dipped in warm luxury milk chocolate. This is fine whisky.

Balblair whisky is one of those distilleries you should not be afraid to recommend to a novice. They are highly likely to enjoy it. But also, if you are a whisky lover, you need to give Balblair whisky a go. In particular, this older 1991 vintage will surely float your whisky boat.

All three are available to buy online now at


Blood Oath Series Continues With Release of Pact No. 4 – American Whiskey News


Blood Oath Series Continues With Release of Pact No. 4

Fourth expression in ultra-premium series debuts with commemorative packaging

(St. Louis) March 12, 2018 – The fourth installment of the acclaimed Blood Oath ultra-premium bourbon series – Pact No. 4 – has launched this month. Blood Oath combines rare, top-notch bourbons, blended and bottled by hand for a distinctively exclusive and unimagined Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.

Pact No. 4 continues the tradition with a masterful union of three well-bred Kentucky straight bourbons that come together for a unique and complex flavor profile. The first is an extra-aged 12-year bourbon that provides a mellow finish with deep oak undertones, and the second is a rich 10-year bourbon that adds caramel and honey flavors. The third, a nine-year bourbon, rounds out the flavors as it is finished in toasted bourbon barrels – adding deep chocolate, vanilla and spice flavors.

“We finished the nine-year bourbon in a toasted barrel to add an extra layer of flavor. The gentle heating adds more caramel and chocolate accents, as well as a spicier flavor. The toasted barrels, combined with the aging in traditional charred barrels, create a uniquely complex bourbon like no other,” says John Rempe, creator of Blood Oath and head distiller and master blender at Lux Row Distillers. “This bourbon starts off with a strong oak nose and finishes with a robust spice, followed by an ultra-smooth lasting caramel, vanilla and oak.”

This year’s release will also be sold in a commemorative stained wooden box, reminiscent of the toasted barrels used during the finishing process. Like its predecessors, the bottle is topped with a custom, eco-friendly natural cork, sealed and labeled with certificate-style paper stock signed by John Rempe and bottled at 98.6 proof. Pact No. 4 is available nationally in 750ml bottles, with a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Pact No. 4 is limited release, with only 12,000 cases (3-packs) created; this bourbon will never be made again. The Blood Oath series launched in 2015 with Pact No. 1, and will highlight a different variant, or Pact, each year.

Blood Oath Pact No. 4 launches just as Lux Row Distillers – the future home of the Blood Oath series among other bourbon brands – begins production and prepares to open its doors for visitors this spring as a new distillery experience coming to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

For more information about the distillery, visit You can also like Lux Row Distillers on Facebook or follow the distillery on Instagram @luxrowdistillers. For more information on Blood Oath, visit 

BOP4 Beauty Shot

About Luxco
A leading producer, supplier, importer and bottler of beverage alcohol products, Luxco’s mission is to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of consumers, associates and business partners. Founded in St. Louis in 1958, Luxco remains locally owned and operated by the Lux family. Lux Row Distillers is bringing the family’s legacy to the heart of Bourbon Country in Bardstown, Kentucky and is now the home of Luxco’s bourbon portfolio, including Rebel Yell, Blood Oath, David Nicholson, and Ezra Brooks. Luxco has also built a new distillery in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico – Destiladora González Luxco – where the company’s 100 percent agave tequilas, El Mayor and Exotico, will be produced. Luxco’s innovative and high-quality brand portfolio also includes Everclear Grain Alcohol, Pearl Vodka, Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream, and other well-recognized brands. For more information about the company and its brands, visit

Gordon & MacPhail Unveils Rare 1950s Single Malt Whisky from Linkwood Distillery – Scotch Whisky News

G&M PC Linkwood 1956 - Decanter (4)

Gordon & MacPhail Unveils Rare 1950s Single Malt Whisky from Linkwood Distillery 

An exceptionally rare single cask from the 1950s has been unveiled as one of the oldest Linkwood single malt whiskies ever bottled.

Leading single malt whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail today announced the release of Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail. This is the last 1950s cask from Linkwood Distillery in Gordon & MacPhail’s unrivalled inventory; it is believed to be the final remaining 1950s cask globally.

Just 53 decanters of the 60-Year-Old single malt whisky have been released for sale worldwide with a UK RRP of £22,000.

Mahogany and chestnut brown in colour, Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail is an intricately layered whisky. Rich, warm aromas lend to a sweet full-bodied experience with highlights of blueberry, fruitcake, and dark chocolate. This ultra-aged single malt, a testament to the knowledge and expertise curated over four generations, culminates in a resoundingly rich finish.

Filled at the Linkwood Distillery on the 3rd January 1956, Cask 20 is from a defining period in the company’s history. It was one of the last casks laid down by John Urquhart, first generation member of the family that owns Gordon & MacPhail, before he retired the following month. Cask 20 matured for six decades under the watchful eyes of John’s son, George, and subsequent generations until the decision to bottle was made by the fourth generation of the Urquhart family.

Founded in 1895 in Elgin, Scotland, Gordon & MacPhail is the curator of many of the oldest and rarest single malt whiskies in the world with an unrivalled stock inventory. For over 120 years, generations of the Urquhart family have matched new-make spirit from distilleries across Scotland with carefully selected oak casks, patiently maturing these to achieve the perfect harmony between the spirit and oak.

Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige and fourth generation member of the Urquhart family, said: “Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail encapsulates the company’s dedication to the art of single malt whisky maturation and tireless pursuit of perfection. This incredible whisky is the culmination of the unrivalled knowledge and skills passed down and strengthened, over the decades, through four generations of my family.

“It is the deep understanding of the relationship between the oak and the spirit that has allowed Gordon & MacPhail to nurture this cask for six decades while retaining the unique distillery character.”

Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail is the second of four exclusive single casks unveiled as part of the ‘Private Collection’ range. The first, Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail, a rare wartime cask, was released in October 2017.

Beautifully packaged using an award-winning design, the landscape surrounding the Linkwood Distillery inspires the unique contours etched into the gold base and stopper of each bespoke decanter. All 53 decanters are hand-blown and individually numbered with a certificate of authenticity signed by Stephen Rankin.

Whisky writer and rare whisky specialist Jonny McCormick, author of the commemorative book that accompanies each bespoke decanter, said: “Amidst an exalted world of luxury and prestige, Gordon & MacPhail commands the one inherent quality that every whisky connoisseur desires: rarity.

“As this remarkable cask completes its journey, this alluring Linkwood whisky is exquisitely presented in a manner that does justice to the craftsmanship of the whisky makers and the custodianship of the Urquhart family. In the years to come, opportunities to experience world-class whisky exhibiting this maturity and complexity from the Fifties will be very scarce indeed.”

Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail was matured in a first fill Sherry hogshead for sixty years. Only 53 decanters, bottled at cask strength (49.4% ABV), have been released for sale worldwide. A number of decanters are available for purchase directly from the company’s ‘spiritual home’, the South Street retail shop in Elgin at an RRP of £22,000. Prices may differ in international markets due to local taxes and duty.

For more information, please visit


G&M PC Linkwood 1956 Decanter and Box


Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail is a family-owned Scotch whisky specialist based in Elgin, Moray, since 1895. Four generations of the Urquhart family have continued the tradition of maturing the finest and rarest Scotch whiskies.

Since its foundation, Gordon & MacPhail has carefully nurtured relationships with Scottish distillers. These included The Glenlivet, Linkwood, and Mortlach distilleries in Speyside as well as a number of others across Scotland. From the beginning, Gordon & MacPhail has carefully matched spirit to  highest quality oak casks. These casks are sent to distilleries throughout Scotland, filled with new-make spirit, and matured either at the distillery of origin or in the firm’s own bonded warehouses in Elgin.

Now one of the world’s leading malt whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail exports to more than 60 countries. It offers more than 300 presentations of own-bottled single malts. In 2009, Gordon & MacPhail was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade; an honour that was bestowed on the business again in 2013 with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal.

The Linkwood Distillery 

Established by Peter Brown in 1821, the Linkwood Distillery began distilling in 1825. Located on the outskirts of Elgin in the Speyside region, the distillery remained in the Brown family until the end of the nineteenth century. In 1933, the distillery was sold to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD), now a subsidiary of Diageo.

During the years Roderick MacKenzie worked as Distillery Manager (1945-1963), Linkwood Distillery saw very little change – from the in-house floor maltings to the cobwebs in the warehouses. Although MacKenzie oversaw the rebuilding of the distillery in 1962, it was SMD that managed the build of a second four still Linkwood Distillery in 1971. The original distillery was renamed Linkwood A and the new adjacent site, Linkwood B. The older Linkwood A site ceased regular production in 1985. Aside from some experimental distillation runs in the 1990s, the stills remained silent until the old buildings were demolished in 2012.

Gordon & MacPhail and the Linkwood Distillery have been close for more than a century both geographically and in terms of the strength of relationship between the Urquhart family and the owners of the distillery.

G&M PC Linkwood 1956 Decanter in open Box


Waterford Distillery_Biodynamic-Distillation-Mark-Reynier


March 2018 saw Waterford Distillery become the first distillery to create Irish whisky from biodynamic barley.

The innovative Irish distillery set an industry milestone in 2016 when it distilled Ireland’s first organic whisky. The new biodynamic distillation takes it to a whole new level, creating a significant first for the Irish drinks industry.

Biodynamic agriculture, ultimate organics, is the controversial agricultural principal outlined in 1924 by Austrian philosopher Dr Rudolf Steiner, the codified manual, the culmination of 10,000 years of farming know-how. To others it’s just folklore.

The concept involves a farm becoming self-sufficient for all its needs, relying on home-made organic fertilisers and naturally occurring plant insecticides.

As our forefathers knew, the astrological calendar not only predicts tides but guides planting, growing and harvesting. Preparations, unusual to us, such as “horn manure”, made from buried, manure-packed, cow horns, is super efficacious stimulating microbial activity in the soil, seed germination and root development, say adherents; barking mad, say critics.

Working closely with Minch Maltsters, the pioneering farmers that answered the call to grow the biodynamic barley were John McDonnell, Co. Meath; Alan Mooney, Kilcock, Co. Kildare; and Trevor Harris from Naas, Co. Kildare.

The distillery received the prestigious Demeter certification from the Biodynamic Association, which it holds alongside its existing certification from the Organic Trust.

Waterford Distillery CEO, Mark Reynier, said: “Biodynamics is a farming philosophy, a way of life. It’s fascinating to see the world’s greatest wine makers attracted to this time-consuming way of running their farms.

“It started with the fear of losing the accumulated knowledge of millennia to the march of the agrochemical industry last century. It’s about minimal treatments, ancient homeopathic remedies, natural fertilisers focused on enhancing the biodiversity of a naturally healthy soil.

“It all sounds pretty crazy, it’s easy to dismiss as cranky tree-hugging bunkum, but yet it’s funny how the greatest wines in the world are made under this unusual regime. Only natural we should give it a go for our whisky. As part of our extensive research we travelled Alsace, to see bioydynamics in action. So I wanted to extend my thanks to Olivier Humbrrecht and Jean Paul Zusslin – as well as to Trevor Harris, John McDonnell and Alan Mooney for rising to the challenge when I first raised the idea in 2015.”

Though biodynamic farming methods may appear eccentric, many of the greatest wine producers, including the legendary Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Romanee Conti, and Chateau Margaux, maintain biodynamic vineyards.

Head Brewer Neil Conway, added, “When Mark first mentioned the idea, we thought he was mad. We had to educate ourselves on what exactly biodynamic farming is and how biodynamically grown grain may effect the production process in the distillery. I’ve found biodynamics fascinating, particularly the preparations involved and understanding how they activate and mobilize different nutrients that the barley crop needs.

“The most satisfying part has been the openness of all the people involved in this project. It’s been a real team effort from the biodynamic growers, our maltsters and everyone at Waterford Distillery. We’re all learning from each other during this new chapter of malting, brewing and distilling.”

A new generation of consumers is taking ever-more interest in the provenance of their drinks – how and where the ingredients are grown – which is key to the Waterford philosophy. The distillery’s unparalleled production methods involve distilling barley from 61 individual Irish farms, one a week, in isolation from eld to barrel – with complete traceability.

Like no other distillery, by celebrating and exploring the differences in soil, location and microclimate, or terroir as it is known, and extolling the virtue of super-premium wood, both French and American oak, Waterford Distillery aims to create the world’s most profound – and natural – single malt whisky.

The special spirit distilled from biodynamic barley won’t be bottled for several years, but the distillery’s first whiskies are on the horizon.

Waterford Distillery does not source spirit from other producers to be used in its products.


Waterford Distillery is a major whisky project by Mark Reynier, the man behind the renaissance of Islay’s Bruichladdich single malt whisky.

We’re embarking on a long journey, a voyage as ambitious as it’s pioneering. The destination is to create not just the most compelling Irish whisky, but the world’s most profound single malt.


We chose Waterford, for here on the banks of the river Suir, on Ireland’s sunny south-eastern coast, we have an exceptional state-of-the-art facility originally built by Diageo in 2004 and converted to distilling in 2015. And we have the nest quality raw materials: the purest of spring water from renowned ancient wells; a team of passionate distillers that share the vision; and the very best barley in the world.


The provenance of our barley, where and how it is cultivated, is therefore key. Taking proven principles from Islay a giant step further, we have sourced an unprecedented 61 Irish farms, some organically- run, growing barley on 19 distinct soil types. With a pioneering digital logistical system keeping track, each farmer’s crop is harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately. Thus we can capture in spirit each farm’s terroir, that subtle character shaped by micro-climate and soil. Individuality and integrity from eld to barrel.


The goal of this precision, provenance with total traceability, is to provide us with an unparalleled library of maturing, nascent single malt whisky as each farm’s barley is distilled, one per week throughout the year.


The first whisky ran in January 2016. After maturing for several years in the best of French and American oak, we believe these component “single”, single malts, each one exhibiting its own nuances, will come together making the most rofound single malt whisky ever created.


Email: Phone: +353 (0)51 303 508 Twitter: @WaterfordWhisky Facebook: @WaterfordDistillery Instagram: @WaterfordDistillery


CEO: Mark Reynier
Head Distiller: Ned Gahan
Head Brewer: Neil Conway Distillery Manager: Paul McCusker Chief Engineer: Anthony Brazil


A special thank you to Minch Malt. It was Minch Malt’s agronomists and the Biodynamic farmers that delivered this unique product to Waterford Distillery.

Wemyss Malts introduces Nectar Grove – Scotch Whisky News

Nectar Grove Limited Edition MID RES

Wemyss Malts introduces Nectar Grove

Family run, independent bottler Wemyss Malts is releasing a new blended Scotch malt whisky called Nectar Grove.  Wemyss has selected Highland Scotch whiskies and finished them for a further period in casks which had previously held Madeira wine.

In keeping with other releases from Wemyss Malts, such as The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney; this new whisky has been given a flavour led name by the Wemyss tasting panel which reflects its succulent and luscious fruit character.

In Wemyss’ first foray into finishing, the Highland blended malt has been imbued with the fruity and complex sweet flavours of Madeira wine and reminiscent of a ripe fruit grove of peaches, nectarines and citrus.  The finish is of gentle oak spice, sweet pastries and juicy stone fruits. This fruity and fragrant malt whisky is ideally suited for enjoying during warm summertime’s and can be used to make a refreshing whisky cobbler cocktail.

Nectar Grove is bottled at its natural colour which has a beautiful peachy golden hue and at 46% non-chill filtered to retain the intensity of flavours and aromas in this whisky.

The eye-catching packaging design was inspired by Portuguese ceramics and fretwork, reflecting the vibrancy and variation within the whisky.

William Wemyss, Founder and Managing Director at Wemyss Malts, commented: “We are delighted with the results of our first “finished” blended malt.  Nectar Grove continues our line of limited edition blended malts which has previously included World Whisky Award winners Velvet Fig and Kiln Embers. ”

9000 bottles of Nectar Grove will be available from selected retailers in the UK, EU and Asian markets with suggested retail price of £43.95.

Nectar Grove Limited Edition Pack Shot MID RED


  • Edinburgh based Wemyss Malts is owned by the Wemyss family and their family seat in the brand logo is Wemyss Castle in Fife where they’ve lived since the 1300s.
  • Nectar Grove Limited Edition joins 3 other blended malts in the 46% core range series that include The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney. Wemyss Malts has 2 other blended malt series that include the Batch Strength range and the Wemyss Family Collection.
  • Wemyss blended malts have won prestigious World Whisky Awards five times: The Hive 12yo in 2012, Spice King 12yo in 2013, Velvet Fig in 2015, Kiln Embers in 2016 and Peat Chimney Batch Strength in 2017.
  • The Wemyss family premium wines and spirits brands also include Lord Elcho blended Scotch whisky and Darnley’s Gin, together with the premium wine estate of Rimauresq Cru Classé in Cotes de Provence.
  • The family has opened a single malt distillery at Kingsbarns, near St. Andrews in Fife and in July 2017 also opened Darnley’s Gin distillery on site.






Buffalo Trace Visitor Center Manager Named American Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year 

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (March 13, 2018) – Whisky Magazine has named Buffalo Trace Distillery its 2018 Icons of Whisky America Distiller of the Year, and named its visitor center manager, Matt Higgins Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year. The Distillery received these awards Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 at the Whisky Magazine Awards America presentation in New York City. The Distillery was also highly commended for Brand Innovator of the Year, and for Visitor Attraction of the Year.

“We strive every day to make all around quality spirits, so this is a huge honor for us,” Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley said. “From every step of the distilling and aging processes all the way to bottling, distribution, and even the hospitality in our Visitor Center, it truly is a team effort, so this is a great testament to the hard work our team puts in. We could not be more grateful for these recognitions.”

Over the years Buffalo Trace Distillery has received more than 500 awards for its whiskies, distinguishing Buffalo Trace as the World’s Most Award Winning Distillery, which remains a testament to the Distillery’s strong focus on producing quality spirits over volume.

With quality in mind, the Distillery believes that the perfect bourbon has yet to be created, and continues forth with the goal of producing a bourbon that hits that mark.

As such, Buffalo Trace continues to forge new innovative paths through its commitment to experimentation, with more than 17,500 barrels of experimental whiskey currently aging at the Distillery, and is even growing its own corn on its farm to one day create its own Single Estate bourbons.

            Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Visitor Center, under the leadership of Matt Higgins, holds a strong hospitality focus and is continuously working to accommodate its growing visitation. The Distillery offers six different complimentary tours and tastings, and welcomed a record-breaking 201,491 visitors last year alone, an increase of 18 percent over the last calendar year.

Buffalo Trace Distillery will now go on to compete for these two titles on a global level. The global Icons of Whisky awards will be announced March 22 at the Whisky Magazine Awards Dinner in London.

American Icons are determined following nominations from producers, retailers, distributors and importers, which are then voted on by those in the industry before Whisky Magazine’s editorial panel reviews and draws up a shortlist from which the winners are selected.

For more information about the World Whisky Awards and the Icons of Whiskey, visit and 

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 21 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year by Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2018.  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 500 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit


Fife Whisky Festival for web


Fife Whisky Festival is set to become an annual fixture following the success of the inaugural event.

Organisers Justine Hazlehurst and Karen Somerville announced the move after the festival – opened by Scottish cycling legend Mark Beaumont – was praised for boosting the local economy.

More than 500 whisky-lovers from across Scotland, and as far afield as Argentina and Germany, attended tasting sessions held at the Corn Exchange in Cupar at the weekend.

They enjoyed drams from a wide range of distilleries and independent bottlers, music from Fife-based duo The Coaltown Daisies and the chance to chat with guest of honour Mr Beaumont.

Mrs Somerville said: “It was a brilliant day and given all the positive feedback we’ve decided to make it an annual event.

“We had visitors from Argentina, France and Germany who were in Scotland on holiday and made the trip to Fife specially to visit the Festival.

“And it was great to have Mark there – he really enjoyed the festival and ended up meeting some of his old school friends.

“We’re delighted with how the day went and looking forward to doing it all again next year.”

Cupar councillor Karen Marjoram praised the event for boosting the local economy.

She said: “I very much enjoyed the day – it was such a friendly event with people who’d never met before chatting away to each other and it certainly put Cupar on the map.

“It was a real boost to the economy and wonderful to see the town so busy with the shops and restaurants full of people who stayed to see more of Cupar after their whisky session.

“I met people who had travelled a long way to come to Cupar and bringing the tourist pound to Fife in this way was a great bonus.

“With all the new distilleries in Fife, having the festival helps put the region on the whisky map so I’m pleased it’s becoming an annual event.”

Endurance cyclist Mr Beaumont also welcomed the news.

He said: “This is a fantastic event for Fife and having partly grown up in the Kingdom I am proud of all it has to offer.

“This festival and events like it are so important in putting Fife firms on the map for travel and business.”

The inaugural festival was launched by businesswomen Justine Hazlehurst, founder of Kask Whisky, and Karen Somerville, managing director of Angels’ Share Glass.

They joined forces to organise the festival in a bid to bring whisky back to the Kingdom of Fife.

Ms Hazlehurst said: “After years of attending whisky festivals around the world, we wanted the chance to bring an exciting new event to Scotland and are over the moon with how it went.

“People loved it and were asking when the next one will be held so we are pleased to announce it will be an annual event.”

The Festival, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, showcased the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife with exhibitors including the Kingdom’s well-known Kingsbarns Distillery, Creative Whisky Company, Glen Moray and Isle of Arran Distillers.

Nearly 300 whisky-lovers attended the first session with 250 at the second taster while drinks specialists Luvians, who have bottleshops in Cupar and St Andrews, were on hand as on-site retailer.

Graeme Dempster, from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “We were delighted to support the inaugural Fife Whisky Festival and having our Corporate Ambassador Mark Beaumont there to open the event was particularly special.

“As well as great entertainment, it was a chance for us to meet our existing Distillery clients and talk to owners of private whisky collections who were there to support this exciting new event.”

Plans for the second Fife Whisky Festival will get underway later this month with dates for the next event announced soon.

For more details about the Festival visit

FWF - Shilton Almeida




  • The Isle of Lewis native spent the last two years as The Balvenie Ambassador for East Coast USA
  • Gemma will take over the reins from previous Global Ambassador Sam Simmons

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, today announces an important decision for the custodianship of the brand, as it appoints Gemma Paterson to be its next Global Ambassador.

Born in the Scottish Highlands, Gemma Paterson grew up in the Hebridean Isle of Lewis, Scotland. After graduating from the University of Glasgow in 2011 with a degree in Russian Language and Slavonic Studies, Gemma spent time at The Balvenie distillery, where she gained first-hand experience studying the art and science behind scotch malt whisky production. During her time at the distillery, Gemma also obtained a General Certificate in Distillation from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, where she is currently working towards her three-year Diploma.

Gemma’s tenure at the distillery earned her a place on the William Grant & Sons’ Nosing Panel, where she had first-hand experience working with David C. Stewart MBE at his tasting room in Glasgow.  Eventually Gemma’s love of single malt scotch and her passion for sharing this love led her to New York in May 2016, where she took up the post of The Balvenie Ambassador, United States East.

Commenting on her appointment, Gemma says: “Words can’t express how excited I am to start this next chapter in my career with The Balvenie. I feel so privileged to take up such a prestigious role and be given the opportunity to play a part in the history of this great distillery.”

Gemma will be taking over from current Global Ambassador Sam Simmons. Sam, a respected whisky expert and Keeper of the Quaich who often goes by the moniker of ‘Dr Whisky’, has been with the Speyside distillery since 2008, initially as The Balvenie Ambassador USA, and subsequently as Global Ambassador, which he was appointed to in 2010.

“Sam has provided a wealth of support and guidance to me throughout my time with The Balvenie and I’ve thoroughly enjoy our recent handover period,” Gemma continued. “We’ve followed a similar path from USA Ambassador to Global Ambassador, so he’s been the perfect mentor for me as I transition into my new role.”

Commenting on his successor, Sam Simmons says: “Having known Gemma for a number of years now, it’s abundantly clear that she has all of the credentials needed to succeed within the role of Global Ambassador. Gemma’s dedication to the distillery and passion for sharing the wonderful world of scotch whisky will set in her good stead for the future. I hope she invites me to a tasting soon!”

About The Balvenie: 

  • The Balvenie is a unique range of single malts created by David Stewart MBE, The Balvenie Malt Master was awarded an MBE for services to the Scotch whisky industry by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016. Each expression has a very individual taste, but is rich, luxuriously smooth and underpinned by the distinctively honeyed character of The Balvenie.
  • The Balvenie is dedicated to the five rare crafts that are used to create The Balvenie’s distinctive taste. It is the only distillery that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both coppersmiths and coopers on site – making The Balvenie the most handcrafted of single malts.
  • The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced by William Grant & Sons Ltd, an award-winning independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today run by his direct descendants.

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Looking up – landscape’s starring role at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News

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Looking up – landscape’s starring role at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

It’s an environment that has sheltered illicit whisky makers of the past, and it’s one of the best places in Britain from which to study the night skies – little wonder the natural landscape has a starring role in the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

The festival programme boasts its greatest ever mix of events exploring the natural environment that has spawned some of the world’s best loved whisky brands.

From rugged hills to fertile plains, trickling burns to fast flowing rivers, the unspoilt nature of Speyside’s landscape can be explored on foot, by canoe or on board an eight wheeled Argocat during the five-day dram-fest.

Whisky author Blair Bowman and #LoveScotch’s Stephen Martin will deliver a Speyside by night experience – and what better time to enjoy the amber nectar than after the sun has set and darkness has fallen?

It will be a case of digging out a cosy sweater and pulling on stout boots for this guided night exploration, featuring whisky tasting and chat. Different drams will be encountered along the route, and a few surprises too, before returning to the warming fireside of the Copper Dog Pub at the Craigellachie Hotel.

The Glenlivet Off Road Smugglers’ Trails will head off into the hills on board an unstoppable eight-wheel drive vehicle to retrace the steps of Robbie McPherson, one of the area’s most successful smugglers, who hid his whisky through the winter in camouflaged pits dug in the hillside, then sold his smooth, matured spirit in the spring.

Off-road Argocat adventurers will travel to the Peat Reek Bothy to view a reproduction Pot Still and see a copy of McPherson’s last will and testament before being driven to the summit Carn Ghrantaich for a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic view of an area where scores of illicit stills were hidden throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Speyside’s soft, pure water has made the region a world leader in whisky production, but remote parts of the region would have undoubtedly have been a difficult place to live in the past, given the bleak and sometimes hostile environment and its remoteness.

An award-winning young adventurer will lift the lid on the plants and trees on which Speysiders of the past used to survive within this landscape. Passionate about outdoor education, conserving wild places, and retaining traditional wilderness living skills, 18-year-old Zeki Başan won the John Muir Conserver Award in 2016 and the Young Scot Award 2017 for the Environment.

He will lead a foraging walk around The Glenlivet Distillery, talking about the many ways that plants, fungi and tree bark were used. This will include natural fire lighting and explaining how people used to carry embers.

Botanicals aren’t just for gin – they will help give whisky lovers a sense of the place where Aberlour malt is made during a walk exploring the historic, medicinal, culinary and beverage uses of plants. Expert historical ecologist Dr Kathy Ader will lead the group along the Lour Burn to the Linn Falls exploring the aroma and flavours that make Aberlour single malt whisky unique with a rewarding dram at the end.

Every ticket has been snapped up for the canoe and whisky journey which is a hugely popular annual event with Spey specialist David Craig leading the canoeists from Knockando to the landmark Telford Bridge at Craigellachie, with a picnic lunch and dram en-route.

John Blyth, manager of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, says the region recognised as being the spiritual home of Scotland’s national drink, with over 50 malt whisky distilleries, is also a place of great environmental beauty too.

John adds: “Whisky, heritage and landscape go hand in hand. The remote hills and glens of Glenlivet offered places to hide illicit whisky making while today, the rich fertile landscape provides the water and barley that create some of the finest whiskies in the world.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer unique experiences to give Festival-goers the chance to discover this distinctive environment and to develop an appreciation of the intrinsic links between whisky and the landscape in which it is made.

“As well as the opportunity to explore and learn more about the region, many of these events include a welcome dram along the way. There could be no more appropriate way to toast Speyside than enjoying its most famous liquid export in the natural environment where it is created.”

The Festival takes place from May 3 to 7, with over 500 events taking place over the five days across Speyside.

The programme for the Festival, which attracts both connoisseurs and the curious, also features behind-the-scenes tours at internationally renowned distilleries not usually open to the public, whisky tasting masterclasses, whisky and food pairing. It has traditional music, outdoors activities and heritage events, meaning the festival offers something for die-hard whisky fans and those who have never tried it before.

For further information and tickets visit The Festival is also active on social media: and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram18

Photograph: Let it flow – Speyside’s natural environment is the toast of the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

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