Press Releases


Barton 1792


BARDSTOWN, kENTUCKY (March 15, 2017) – Whisky Magazine awarded 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with a Gold at the 2017 American World Whiskies Awards. 1792 Full Proof was first released last summer by Barton 1792 Distillery as one of its limited edition expressions, and will continue to be released once a year. The next release will be this summer in early June. Full Proof is bottled at its original 125 barrel entry proof and has a strong, full flavor that is balanced with sweet vanilla and notes of caramel. The American World Whiskies Awards were announced at the Whisky Magazine Awards America presentation held in New York on Feb. 28.Whiskies in each category were subject to rigorous blind taste testing to determine the very best.  For more information about the World Whiskies Awards visit 

About Barton 1792 Distillery

Barton 1792 Distillery is part of Barton Brands.  Barton Brands has facilities in Bardstown, Ky., Carson, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. Barton Brands is owned by the Sazerac Company, an American family-owned company based in New Orleans, La. Barton 1792 Distillery was established in 1879 and continues today as the oldest fully-operating Distillery in the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” The Distillery is located on 196 acres and includes 28 warehouses, 22 other buildings, the Morton Spring and the Tom Moore Spring.  Distilling, aging and bottling fine Bourbon whiskey are hallmarks of the historic Barton 1792 Distillery. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey is produced at Barton 1792 Distillery. This whiskey is named for the year Kentucky became a state and is the recent gold medal winner at the 2015 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. To learn more visit


Box and Bottle


Ardbeg is set to bring Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt to a close on Ardbeg Day, the global celebration of the single malt’s untamed spirit.

Ardbeg Day falls on Saturday, 3rd June 2017.  This year, in homage to the sea that surrounds the Distillery’s remote Scottish island home, Ardbeg will again release a celebratory Limited Edition expression. Ardbeg Kelpie is the first Ardbeg to be matured in Virgin Black Sea oak casks.  Renowned for the deep flavours that they impart and rarely used in whisky making – these casks bring a distinct intensity to the world’s smokiest, peatiest Islay malt whisky.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation and Whisky Stocks, in his continuing search for intriguing casks, was inspired by the depth of flavour imparted by the Black Sea casks. Grown and seasoned in the Adyghe Republic, which leads down to the Black Sea coast, these casks impart incredibly deep flavours.

The whisky was then married with hallmark Ardbeg, matured in ex-bourbon barrels, to amplify Ardbeg’s characteristic style and create a whisky of incredible depth.

As the festivities begin on Islay, Ardbeg’s loyal following – the Ardbeg Committee – and their friends across the world will be invited to join underwater-themed events which pay tribute to the whisky’s namesake – the kelpie, this legendary water demon is said to lurk in the Atlantic Ocean off Islay’s shores.

Distillery Manager Michael (Mickey) Heads said: “Ardbeggians and their smoky malt friends will have the chance to celebrate with a dram or two of Ardbeg Kelpie.  With a heart matured in Black Sea casks, this whisky’s extraordinary depth and its waves of salty seaweed and tarry rope, hint at what might be hiding under the sea…”

“For now, the finer details of our plans for will remain a closely guarded secret, but rest assured Ardbeg Day 2017 will be another legendary worldwide celebration of all things Ardbeg.” 

Ardbeg’s general release of Kelpie at 46% ABV, launches on Ardbeg Day (3rd June), the expression will be available to purchase from Ardbeg Embassies* for a two week exclusive period. Kelpie will then be available at Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists and department stores with a RRP of £98.00.

The Committee only release of Kelpie at 51.7% ABV will be made available on 16th March 2017 at 9.00AM, exclusively from

Ardbeg Day will be celebrated at the distillery on Saturday 3rd June 2017 and at participating Ardbeg Embassies around the world. 

Ardbeg Kelpie is non-chill filtered for extra texture and mouthfeel.

#ardbeg #untamed #islay


Ardbeg Kelpie tasting notes at 46% ABV: 

Colour:                 Burnished gold

Aroma:                 A wonderful, intense, ‘dancing’ nose, with lots of different, intertwined aromas – powerful, oily peat, dark chocolate, smoked fish, hints of seaweed, and a curious, sharp herbal note. Waves of spicy black pepper.

A splash of water brings forth some classic Ardbeg notes, such as creamy coffee, smoked fudge and pine resin.  Even some hints of smoked coconut.

Taste:                    A peppery mouthfeel is followed by a crescendo of rich flavours.  Treacle toffee, Turkish coffee, smoky bacon and lots of dark, dark chocolate.  A curious burst of peachy, estery fruit, hickory wood, clove oil and a suggestion of black olives.

Finish:                  Seemingly lasting forever, with deep, deep, almost subterranean flavours of clove, tar, and rich toffee.

Ardbeg Day:

Every year, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music takes place in May or June on Ardbeg’s island home.  On the Festival’s final Saturday, Ardbeg Day, the Distillery traditionally throws open its doors to welcome fans from all over the world.  In 2012 Ardbeg Day became a global event, enabling the whisky’s passionate international following to take part in a worldwide celebration of all things Ardbeg in their own country.  Recent Ardbeg Day themes have included the Islay-limpics and the Peat Football World Cup, while in 2015, Ardbeg Day celebrated the single malt’s 200th anniversary by looking forward 200 years to a retro-futuristic version of Islay in 2215.  For 2016, Ardbeg Day became Ardbeg Night, as fans at 215 events across the globe recalled Islay’s dark past as a smugglers’ haunt.

Ardbeg Kelpie:

Ardbeg Kelpie is a limited-edition bottling created to celebrate Ardbeg Day 2017.  It is the Distillery’s first whisky with a heart matured in virgin oak from the Black Sea coast.  Renowned for imparting incredibly deep flavour notes, only a handful of whiskies have ever been matured in these Black Sea casks.  Married with hallmark ex-bourbon Ardbeg, it results in a whisky of incredible depth, which tells of its ties to the Black Sea and the waves of flavour its casks have created. 

The kelpie:

Situated on the shore of Islay’s southernmost coast, the Ardbeg Distillery has always held a deep connection to the sea – and those who live nearby have passed down through generations the stories of mysterious beasts said to live beneath the waves.  Among the most terrifying of these is the kelpie – a Scottish shape-shifting water spirit, rumoured to take the form of a horse or a bull and prey on unwitting travellers.  Legend has it that long ago, a farmer walking near Ardbeg’s shoreline was almost dragged to sea by a water bull.  Managing to overcome and rope the creature, he locked it in a barn where it cried for mercy.  At dusk, the farmer’s daughter was chased by a water horse seeking revenge for its kin.  The terrified girl ran to the barn and released the water bull, whereupon the malevolent beasts took flight back to the sea.


Ardbeg is The Ultimate Islay Single Malt Whisky.  Established in 1815, Ardbeg is revered by connoisseurs around the world as the peatiest, smokiest and most complex of all the Islay malts.  Despite its smokiness, Ardbeg is renowned for its delicious sweetness, a phenomenon that has affectionately become known as ‘the peaty paradox’.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ardbeg suffered from an uncertain future and it was not until the brand was purchased by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997 that the Distillery was saved from extinction.  Since then, the Distillery has risen like a phoenix and today Ardbeg is well established as a niche, cult malt, with a passionate following.  

Ardbeg Committee:

The legacy of the whisky was safeguarded in 2000 by the formation of the Ardbeg Committee.  The Committee is made up of thousands of Ardbeg followers worldwide who are keen to ensure that “the doors of Ardbeg never close again”.  Today there are more than 100,000 members of the Ardbeg Committee in more than 130 countries.  Committee members are regularly consulted on new bottlings and expressions and are offered exclusive Committee bottlings.  Members also receive invitations to special gatherings, tastings and events.  The Committee, chaired by Mickey Heads, is free to join at


Ardbeg is the world’s most highly awarded smoky single malt whisky.  Since 2008, Ardbeg has won more than 50 gold and double gold medals in key whisky competitions.  Ardbeg was voted ‘Scotch Whisky of the Year’ twice by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible (2008, 2009) and has twice been awarded ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards (2010, 2013).  At the 2014 Global Icons of Whisky Awards, Mickey Heads was voted ‘Distillery Manager of the Year’.  The following year, Ardbeg’s expressions took the top three spots in Whisky Advocate magazine’s review of the best single malt Scotch whiskies under US$100.  Meanwhile, both Ardbeg Corryvreckan and Ardbeg Uigeadail have been awarded gold medals at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The Glenmorangie Company:

The Company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers and marketers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Company produces Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt whisky and Ardbeg Single Islay Malt.

Responsible Drinking:

Ardbeg and The Glenmorangie Company advocate responsible drinking and suggest that drinkers savour Ardbeg whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Independent, Family-owned Distillers support Traditional Skills as Apprentice Coopers Graduate – Scotch Whisky News


Top of the Cask 

Independent, Family-owned Distillers support Traditional Skills as Apprentice Coopers Graduate 

Independent, family-owned distillers William Grant & Sons has pledged its commitment to continuing traditional skills with plans to recruit two new apprentice coopers for its Girvan Distillery this year.

The promise comes after the first two apprentice coopers in 24 years passed their Trade Test at the Girvan Distillery. Coopering is an ancient trade dating back to Roman times and is a physical job that requires great precision.

Stewart Millarvie (19) and Fraser Henderson (21) had completed three years and two months of their four-year apprenticeship when they passed their Trade Test in February 2017.

Two experts from the National Cooperage Federation did the final assessment. Fraser and Stewart will now complete their final ten months adjusting to their future work environment.

Girvan site leader Stuart Watts said: “Traditional skills are at the heart of the continuing success of our business. Our company has two cooperages, one in Girvan for our Grant’s whisky and another in Dufftown, home of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie single malts.

“The quality of the wood and casks used in whisky maturation is critical to the final characteristics of the spirit and we’re committed to retaining our own coopers to ensure our exacting standards are consistently met.”

The company’s latest graduate coopers are both from Girvan and joined the Distillery four years ago.

Fraser Henderson said: “We learned all our skills from our mentor, Paul Ross, who has worked for the company for 29 years.  As well as learning how to repair casks and make them, we work with different cask types from miniatures to 2,000 litre tuns.”

Stewart Millarvie (19) added: “We feel honoured to be able to carry on this traditional skill. To pass this stage of our training we had to sit a practical test for the National Cooperage Federation.

“It was bit nerve racking, but after four years of training we were ready for the challenge and we’re both delighted that we passed!”

John Gaffney is the Secretary and Treasurer of the National Cooperage Federation, which monitors the progress of apprentices through their four years and offers help and advice when it’s required.

John – who’s known Fraser and Stewart since they started their apprenticeship – is delighted at the news:

“I understand that they passed with flying colours, which is a fine testimonial to their tutor. It also offers up encouragement to the other apprentices who may be following along after them.”

There are currently 182 coopers and 49 apprentices in training in the UK – the highest number in 14 years.

John added: “We’re pleased to work with William Grant & Sons, both at Girvan and Glenfiddich, who are playing an active part in the work and duties of The National Cooperage Federation. This is all good news for the trade and will help it to prosper for the foreseeable future.”

William Grant & Sons will begin the search for its two new apprentices later this year. The vacancies will appear on the company’s website.

Stuart Watts explained: “Most young people have no idea what a cooper does, let alone consider becoming one. It can offer a very rewarding career and the fact that one of our Girvan coopers, Brian McKenzie, has been with us for 47 years shows it really can be a job for life. At William Grant & Sons we believe that combining traditional age-old whisky making skills with the latest technological advances will enable us to build upon our reputation for producing world-class spirits for generations to come.”

Coopering facts and figures 

  • The Distiller’s Girvan cooperage was established in 1963 to provide casks primarily for maturing Grant’s whisky.
  • The company currently employs eight coopers and four apprentices at its Girvan cooperage and a further eight at its Dufftown cooperage.
  • On average a cooper can check and rebuild a cask in under thirty minutes and works on between 20 and 22 casks a day.
  • A barrel contains, on average, 24 to 30 staves, two ends and six steel hoops. It is held together by pressure alone. There are no nails, screws or glue – just the skill of the cooper to get every joint exactly right to contain the spirit within.
  • Nowadays casks are mainly used for maturing whisky, beer and rum. But in the past they were also used to transport all manner of goods around the world, for example fish, butter and salt.


ASmithBowmanDistillery Logo


John J. Bowman Single Barrel Takes Honors


            Fredericksburg, VIRGINIA (March 8, 2017) For the second year in a row A. Smith Bowman Distillery was awarded the honor of “World’s Best Bourbon” by Whisky Magazine. However, this year’s award was given to a different A. Smith Bowman bourbon, and was presented to John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The Distillery’s Abraham Bowman Port Finished Bourbon was awarded “World’s Best Bourbon” in 2016.

           The Distillery received this award Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 at the Whisky Magazine Awards America presentation in New York City where Master Distiller Brian Prewitt accepted the award.

            “We could not be more excited to receive this honor for the second year in a row,” Prewitt said. “For our small distillery in Virginia, receiving the title of “World’s Best Bourbon” two years in a row for two different bourbons is something truly special for us. We’re very thankful for this recognition.”

            Whiskies in each category were subject to rigorous blind taste testing to determine the very best.

            For more information about the World Whiskies Awards visit

About A. Smith Bowman

  1. Smith Bowman’s distilling roots date back to the years before Prohibition when the Bowman family had a granary and dairy farm in Sunset Hills, Virginia. They used excess grain from the family estate to distill spirits. In 1934, after the Repeal of Prohibition, Abram Smith Bowman and his sons continued the family tradition and built a more modern distillery in Fairfax County, Virginia called Sunset Hills Farm.  In response to the rapid rise of taxes in Northern Virginia, the Distillery was moved in 1988 and is now nestled in Spotsylvania County near the city of Fredericksburg, 60 miles away from the original location.

           As a small and privately owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery continues the time-honored traditions on which it was founded. Considered a micro-distillery by today’s standards, A. Smith Bowman produces an assortment of hand-crafted spirits distilled from only the finest natural ingredients and using the latest technology. This micro-distillery focuses on the production of premium spirits honoring the legacy of Virginia’s first settlers. For more information on A. Smith Bowman, please visit

Glen Scotia offers dinner and a dram with Charles MacLean – Scotch Whisky News

SML Glen Scotia (02)

Glen Scotia offers dinner and a dram with Charles MacLean  

Dinner and a dram with world famous whisky writer Charles MacLean is on the menu for a handful of lucky Scotch enthusiasts at this year’s Campbeltown Whisky Festival.

Campbeltown, once regarded as the “Victorian Whisky Capital of the World”, is one of Scotland’s five malt producing regions. The independent Glen Scotia distillery, founded in 1832, is one of three surviving distilleries located in the town.

The exclusive event, organised by Glen Scotia, kicks off this year’s Campbeltown Whisky Festival and will also introduce the Limited Edition Glen Scotia 2017 Campbeltown Festival Bottling.

The cask was hand-picked by a panel including Iain McAlistair, distillery manager at Glen Scotia, and Charles MacLean, regarded as one of the industry’s foremost experts, from casks matured in the distillery’s refurbished dunnage warehouse, which dates from the 1830s. Just over 200 bottles of the Limited Edition malt are available.

The Glen Scotia Whisky Dinner takes place at Ardshiel Hotel on Tuesday 23rd May. The hotel’s award-winning whisky bar is acknowledged as one of the best in the industry and is thought to have the world’s largest selection of single malts, with over 700 varieties stocked.

The ticketed event, for 55 guests, will feature the finest local foods, including seafood from local producers and locally sourced venison. Each course of the dinner will be accompanied by a specially selected Glen Scotia dram and attendees will receive their bottle of the 2017 Campbeltown Festival whisky a day before general release.

Following the meal guests will have the opportunity to question author Charles MacLean, who has been researching and writing about whisky for over 35 years, conducting talks and tastings internationally.

Iain McAllister, Glen Scotia distillery manager, said: “It is a real honour to have Charles MacLean leading our first Glen Scotia Whisky Dinner, which also kicks off this year’s Campbeltown Whisky Festival.

“His participation is testament to how iconic the Campbeltown region is to the whisky world. One of the original five Scotch regions, Campbeltown was the epicentre of whisky making in the Victorian era and was known for its distinctive character and maritime influences.

“Our Whisky Dinner offers a chance to get to know Glen Scotia better and savour the wonderful whisky experience that is available here in Campbeltown.”

Charles MacLean said: “Campbeltown and Glen Scotia are undergoing a renaissance. Its people have a real passion for the place and its distilleries, and the fantastic work being done by Iain and the wider team at Glen Scotia is part of the spark that is reigniting the town.

“Whisky fans who attend the Whisky Dinner will have a chance to discover for themselves the fine malts that are being produced at Glen Scotia and gain a unique insight into why Campbeltown is such an important part of Scotland’s whisky map.”

Tickets are available from at a cost £150 including a bottle of the Limited Edition Glen Scotia 2017 Campbeltown Festival Whisky.

Save the date: Jura Tastival 2017 – Scotch Whisky News


Jura Tastival celebrates flavour with inspiring new ways to enjoy single malt whisky. Each year, we invite whisky fans from across the world to join us for a full schedule of exciting events.

Kicking off on Thursday 1st June on the Isle of Jura, we will also be bringing Tastival to cities across Europe – keep an eye on our social channels for updates.

Nestled just off the west coast of Scotland, accommodation fills up fast on the Isle of Jura during the celebrations. However, neighbouring Islay offers a range of alternatives, with our complimentary ferry and shuttle bus service from Port Askaig making it easy to combine a trip to Tastival with a visit to Feis Ile. See here for more information to help start planning your journey now.

We look forward to raising a dram with you soon.

The Team at the Jura Distillery




Named in honor of an Irish racehorse victorious against all odds, The Tyrconnell® whiskey places a bet on its newest offering 

Chicago, IL (March 7, 2017) – In 1876, people gathered at The Curragh, considered Ireland’s most important thoroughbred racecourse, to watch the 10th running of the National Produce Stakes Horse Race. A beautiful, chestnut brown two year old colt took his place at the starting gate. Nose flaring, jockey set to go, the colt was ready to run.

The name of this chestnut colt was Tyrconnell and, as he ran down the home stretch to incredulous cheering, history was made. Tyrconnell crossed the finish line in first place, victorious against all odds. The surprise win captured the imagination of the assembled crowd, which included the Watts, a local family who had built a thriving whiskey distillery. They choose to commemorate the occasion by creating a limited edition, small batch whiskey that bore the name of the champion. Now, more than 140 years later, The Tyrconnell brand continues to push the boundaries with the special release of The Tyrconnell® 16 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

The Watts intended to make The Tyrconnell just once, but it ended up becoming their most popular whiskey, even claimed to have been the best-selling Irish whiskey in America before Prohibition. Today, The Tyrconnell is still running strong and this release marks a new chapter of innovation and imagination for the brand. Due to its age and rarity, only a limited quantity has been produced.

“Just as Tyrconnell, the racehorse, galloped to victory with unwavering concentration, the same focus and attention is given to creating every bottle of this unique Irish single malt whiskey,” says John Cashman, Global Brand Ambassador. “When looking for a new single malt expression to raise the bar for Irish whiskey, we knew right away that The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old would showcase the magic of the brand’s signature double distillation and expertise in aging, providing fans with a rich, complex spirit.”

The Tyrconnell is made of just two ingredients – the finest Irish barley and pure Irish spring water. These two simple materials are transformed by experienced hands into an Irish whiskey like no other. Produced in traditional pot stills, The Tyrconnell is one of a rare few Irish whiskeys that utilizes double distillation, allowing more of the rich and natural flavors of The Tyrconnell to remain. This creates a whiskey that carries a delicate flavor atop a creamier, more viscous presence.

The Tyrconnell matures in American Oak ex-bourbon barrels in the mild Irish climate. The agreeable environment allows for a consistent maturation which results in an approachable rich, malty whiskey with a round and lingering finish. The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old showcases the benefit of extra aging which exaggerates its trademark notes of green fruit and pear and emphasizes the aroma of stewed pear, coupled with light citrus and green apple skin. The best way to enjoy this sipping whiskey is on the rocks or neat to showcase the fruit on the nose, its rich flavor and spicy finish.


NOSE | Plenty of fruit, melon, green fruit, candied pear, vanilla custard and coconut

TASTE | Initially oily and viscous followed by the inevitable fruit explosion, finishing with a dry almond coating

FINISH | A very long, herbal spice-rich finish

The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old joins The Tyrconnell family which also includes award winning expressions created to elevate the Irish whiskey sipping experience. The portfolio includes The Tyrconnell and a collection of three 10 Year Old Cask Finishes (Madeira, Port and Sherry). This limited release expression is now available in select U.S. markets with a suggested retail price of $100.00 (750ml).

About The Tyrconnell® Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Tyrconnell is produced at the Cooley Distillery, nestled in the foothills of the Cooley Mountains in County Louth. The Cooley Distillery, part of the Kilbeggan Distilling Company, has been the driving force behind the Irish Single Malt evolution. Most Irish malt whiskey has traditionally found its way into blended whiskeys, thus it is rare to find Irish malt whiskey bottled in its single malt form. The award-winning Tyrconnell portfolio includes The Tyrconnell, The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Limited Edition and a trio of 10 Year Old cask finished expressions: Madeira Cask, Sherry Cask and Port Cask. The Cooley Distillery also produces the award-winning Kilbeggan Blended Irish whiskey and Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish whiskey.

About Beam Suntory Inc.

As the world’s third largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is Crafting the Spirits Brands that Stir the World.  Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands and Suntory whisky Kakubin, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek bourbon, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki Japanese whiskies, Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Hornitos and Sauza tequila, EFFEN and Pinnacle vodka, Sipsmith gin and Midori liqueur.

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and commitment to Growing for Good.  Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan.  For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and


 CWWSC competative set


The board and management of Amber Glen Scotch Whisky are delighted to announce that Amber Glen 3 y.o Blended Scotch Whisky was awarded a Gold Medal at the “Catavinum World Wine & Spirits Competition 2017″ held in Spain on the 28th of February.

Commenting on the award, CEO Sam Minionis said: “This accolade is a testament to the smooth, mellow and rounded flavour of our provenance Blended Scotch whisky and compliments our Gold Medals for Best Value Scotch Whisky awarded at the China Wine and Spirits Awards in 2016 & 2017.

This is a great boost to Amber Glen’s momentum as we prepare to enter the all-important export markets, where our provenance is synonymous with our superb quality blended Scotch and best value will stand us in good stead amongst our worldly peers.”



Coming Soon From The W Club: Members-Only Auctions! – Whisky News



Members-Only Auctions

As if there wasn’t enough excitement with free tastings and Whisky Wednesday deals, we’re now giving W Club members access to exclusive members-only auctions!

Our inaugural auction will begin on Monday 27th March and will run for 7 days, ending on Monday 3rd April. We’ll have a small selection of exciting lots on offer including Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 edition, which was limited to just 5,000 bottles worldwide with a UK allocation of only 198 bottles.

This fantastic Japanese whisky will be on offer with no reserve. In addition, to celebrate the launch of W Club auctions, there will be no buyer or seller fees for this first auction!

All you have to do to take part is join The W Club!

Membership costs just £20/year and includes 10% off selected items at The Whisky Shop, massive discounts in our Whisky Wednesday deals, free tasting events, a copy of Whiskeria delivered quarterly and much more!


Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards goes global with judging sessions in five international destinations – Scotch Whisky News


Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards goes global with judging sessions in five international destinations

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is preparing to go global in a bid to whet the appetite of international whisky enthusiasts for this year’s record breaking event. Organisers plan to tickle the taste buds of whisky drinkers in three major cities by giving them the opportunity to play a crucial role in judging its hotly-contested whisky awards.

Roving judging sessions for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards – voted for entirely by the public – are being held over the coming weeks in Amsterdam, Cologne and New Brunswick in Canada. It is hoped that judging sessions will also be staged in venues in New York and Stockholm.

It is hoped that the new initiative will help to introduce even more international visitors to the five-day annual Festival – which comprises almost 500 different events from distillery tours to tastings – and encourage them to plan a visit in future years.

Overseas markets are a key area of growth for the Festival, which takes place this year from April 27 until May 1. The USA, Germany and Scandinavia have traditionally been very strong for visitor numbers, and organisers are keen to expand knowledge of the event in these regions.

The event set new records in the first 24 hours of the box office opening last month: tickets were bought from a total of 24 different countries on the first day, and more event tickets than ever before were sold.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival chairman James Campbell says the international arm of the whisky awards has the potential to grow to even more destinations in future.

He says, “We trialled this on a very small scale last year when we held a tasting and judging event at Scotia Spirit in Cologne – a Scottish speciality shop run by long-standing friend of the Festival, Peter Klas.

“It was very warmly received and it made us realise there was potential to take the awards judging to even more international destinations. It provides us with an excellent platform to promote the Festival to the whisky enthusiasts who are most likely to want to travel significant distances to be a part of it.

“It may be too late for them to make travel plans for this year’s event, but we hope that it will encourage them to put a visit to the Festival on their holiday plans in future years. The popularity of Scotch whisky is growing globally, and so too is the reputation of the Speyside area which is home to more than half of all Scotland’s distilleries.

“What we are finding is that people outwith Scotland are very passionate about whisky and they want to increase their knowledge about Scotch. To the real aficionados, making a visit to Speyside is making a pilgrimage and they feel there is no better time to do this than during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.”

During the overseas judging sessions, whisky fans will be invited to take part in a blind taste test of eight different malts in four different age categories. The finalists – drawn from across the Speyside region – were selected by a panel of industry experts following a blind taste test earlier this year.

In the non-age statement category Aberlour a’bunadh is up against Tamdhu Batch Strength 002; while in the category for malt 12-year-old and under, the Aberlour 12-year-old will battle it out with Cragganmore 2004 Distiller’s Edition.

In the 13-20-year-old section it is a head to head between The Glenlivet 18-year-old and Glenfiddich 15-year-old. The two shortlisted whiskies in the 20 years and over category are Mannochmore 25-year-old Special Release and The Macallan 30-year-old Sherry Cask.

Each of the international venues will be tasked with organising the event and encouraging people to attend, and a representative from the Festival will be on hand to oversee the voting process. They will also be able to talk to those in attendance about the event and what there is to see and do over the five days.

The event in New Brunswick takes place at the end of March and will be hosted by Frank and Jackie Scott – previous winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival International Ambassador Award. The whisky enthusiasts are long-time attendees of the event and make the journey to Scotland every year to take part.

Frank says, “Jackie and I are delighted, excited and truly humbled to be asked to host an awards judging session. To be given the opportunity to represent Canada for the first time is a great honour, and we look forward to working together to make the event a great success.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best whisky festival in the world, and we hope that by experiencing the warmth and hospitality of the Festival on their own doorstep, many more Canadians will consider visiting and seeing for themselves just what it is that makes the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival so special.”

The international awards sessions have been supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Stuart Turner, head of EventScotland, says, “The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a fantastic event and we are delighted to be supporting to take the Festival to the world. It is constantly finding innovative ways to engage with whisky enthusiasts. The global judging sessions are a great addition to the Festival and are the perfect stage for people to connect with this unique event while enjoying a wee dram of Scotland’s national drink.”

Based in the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky country, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place over five fun-filled days from April 27 to May 1, 2017. It comprises almost 500 events, taking place from Kingussie in the south to Forres in the west and Buckie in the east.

More information about the event is available at and tickets are also available to buy on the website. The Festival is active on social media – and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram17

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