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3RD ANNUAL BOURBON SUPPLY UPDATE FROM BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY – American Whiskey News

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3RD ANNUAL BOURBON SUPPLY

UPDATE FROM BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (May 13, 2015) There’s good news and there’s bad news coming from Buffalo Trace Distillery in its third annual bourbon inventory update.  The good news is that supplies of fully-aged whiskey at the 225-plus-year-old Distillery continue to increase and Buffalo Trace is making more whiskey than ever. The bad news is that demand continues to outstrip its available supply, which means all of the Distillery’s whiskey brands remain on allocation.

“This annual update relates to Buffalo Trace Distillery specifically, and is not intended to speak for the bourbon industry as a whole, or other distillers,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director.  “Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from fans asking why they can’t find their favorite whiskey at the local liquor store, so we are offering an annual update to inform people where we stand, and ensure fans we are distilling more whiskey and planning for the future.”

Since demand continues to outstrip supply, brands such as Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Van Winkle, and the Antique Collection (George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18, Thomas H. Handy, and Eagle Rare 17) will continue to be on strict allocation and hard to find for the foreseeable future. 

Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Weller, Sazerac Rye, Stagg Jr., and E. H. Taylor, Jr. will continue to be in short supply, but will benefit slightly from increased production more than a decade ago. “Although we can’t guarantee that every fan will find Buffalo Trace or Blanton’s every time they visit the liquor store, things are starting to look up, and overall our inventory is in a better place than it was a year ago. We are very appreciative that fans like our whiskey and thankful for all of their continued patience,” added Comstock.

A few things that Buffalo Trace Distillery will NOT do:

  • Buffalo Trace Distillery won’t lower their quality standards or alcohol by volume (ABV) just to sell more whiskey.
  • The suggested retail pricing will not be raised, just to take advantage of the high demand. (Note, although some stores may charge a premium for Buffalo Trace’s limited brands, the Distillery is not asking them to do so.)
  • Brands won’t be discontinued. All bourbon brands will continue to be produced and allocated each year, with a focus on quality and making more.

 In addition to the previous improvements announced in 2014 such as distilling more whiskey, adding more bottling lines, and hiring more people, Buffalo Trace is taking additional steps to prepare for a growing future.  The Distillery recently purchased an additional 300 acres of farmland adjacent to its current land where it intends to grow its own grains for a farm-to-table bourbon, plus potentially build more barrel warehouses. Additionally, former barrel warehouse buildings repurchased a few years ago on the main campus of Buffalo Trace are being re-ricked and used again as barrel storage warehouses, and plans are in the works to re-rick additional buildings on site in the next few years.

The innovation Buffalo Trace is so well known for is being enhanced as the Distillery expands – its experimental warehouse, Warehouse X, has had nearly one year of barrels aging in it, yielding data with very interesting results; more than 3,000 barrels of experimental whiskies are currently aging on the Distillery’s grounds; and research on DNA fingerprinting is taking place as well.

 The whiskies from Buffalo Trace are benefiting from resurgence in the category as a whole.  According to Nielsen, bourbon and whiskey grew at 6% for the 52 weeks ending 3/28/15, with premium volumes up 6.2% and ultra volumes up 19%.  

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 1786 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 seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/.

Campbeltown Malts Festival Latest News – Scotch Whisky News

Springbank Society

I hope you are all well. The excitement is building up here in Campbeltown, ready for all our visitors arriving next week for the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2015! We’re just getting everything into place for the events which will take place and we’re looking forward to meeting many of you very soon! Our Whisky Shop has recently undergone a major extension with walls being knocked down which lead to the shop next door and we can’t wait for you all to see it!

I’m just sending out the break down of events once again with a few details added, including information on the special bottlings which will be available at the Springbank Open Day.

Wednesday 20th May 2015

From 10am – Glen Scotia Open Day

At 1pm – Springbank Society Tasting in the Malt Barns at Springbank Distillery – FULLY BOOKED. For any members who will be attending this event, please arrive at the Malt Barns for 12.45pm, ready for the tasting starting at 1pm.

At 7pm – The Warehouse Dinner at Springbank Distillery – FULLY BOOKED. For members who are attending this, you should have already received an email with details about the evening. Please arrive at the Springbank Distillery gates for 7pm.

At 9.30pm – Whisky Quiz at Whisky Mac’s Bar & Grill. This will be free to enter and teams of up to 6 will be accepted. There is no need to pre-book your team for this.

As previously mentioned, the Ardshiel, Craigard House Hotel and Harbourview Grille at the Royal Hotel will also be hosting whisky related dinners for visitors who will not be attending our Warehouse Dinner on the Wednesday night. The menus are attached to this email so if you would like to book a table at any of the hotels, please contact them directly using the numbers at the foot of the menus. Please note that the Craigard House Hotel will be offering their whisky related menu from 19th-23rd May and not only on the Wednesday evening.

Thursday 21st May

As you are aware, Thursday will be the annual Springbank Open Day with events kicking off in the distillery yard at 11am. The following activities will be taking place throughout the day and evening:

From 11am-5pm:

  • A range of masterclasses and warehouse tastings as follows:

            * 12pm // Kilkerran Masterclass with Jenny Karlsson

            * 12.30pm // The Distillery Manager’s Springbank Warehouse Tasting (FULLY BOOKED)

            * 1.30pm // Springbank Masterclass with Ranald and guests

            * 2.30pm // The Distillery Manager’s Springbank Warehouse Tasting (FULLY BOOKED)

            * 3pm // Cadenhead Masterclass with Mark Watt and Cameron McGeachy

            * 4.30pm // The Distillery Manager’s Springbank Warehouse Tasting (FULLY BOOKED)

  • Free distillery tours
  • A selection of over 25 stalls from local businesses
  • The popular Warehouse Whisky Bar
  • Fyne Ales
  • Music from local musicians
  • Hot Food and Cakes

From 6pm-9.30pm:

  • Live Music in the yard from Kintyre Schools Pipe Band and popular local band THE WEE TOON TELLERS
  • The Pizza ‘Volcano’ selling hand-made pizzas
  • Drinks tent selling a selection of whisky, spirits and Fyne Ales
  • The return of the popular ‘Spooks Tour’ around the distillery warehouses

A new addition to the day will be our ‘Blind Tasting Challenge’. This stall will be located in the yard and it will be £5 per go. There will be 4 different whiskies to taste and you will have to guess the type of whisky (they will all have been made at Springbank), type of cask and the age. Fiona and Janet from our distillery office will be in charge of this so remember to drop by and see how well you really know our whiskies!

You may notice that Cameron McGeachy will now be helping Mark Watt during the Cadenhead Masterclass. Cameron started work in our Campbeltown Cadenhead Shop at the end of March and will be doing various tasks such as conducting tours and tastings for visitors, working on the shop floor and also taking care of all our Cadenhead Club members. He will assist Mark in the Cadenhead Masterclass and is very much looking forward to the experience.

A reminder for anyone who has already booked tickets for the Masterclasses or Warehouse Tastings, there will be no ticket collection area at the Open Day this year. For the Masterclasses, names will simply be ticked off as you enter the Malt Barns so please arrive at the Malt Barns 15 minutes before your booked Masterclass begins. For the Warehouse Tastings with Gavin on Thursday and Mark on Friday, please arrive at the Distillery Office 15 minutes before the tasting is due to take place and the person in charge of the tasting will meet you there before heading round to the Warehouse.

During the course of the day, some of our staff members will be circulating with short surveys for visitors to complete. It would be great if you could help us out by answering a few questions to get feedback on certain issues. The survey should only take a couple of minutes and everyone who takes part will be given a Springbank Pin Badge so it’s definitely worth your time! :-)

Friday 22nd May

In the last update, I told you we were looking into another activity to take place on the Friday as the boat trips could no longer take place because of the new marina not being ready in time. Unfortunately we were unable to secure another activity for this year so the final plan for Friday is:

At 11am: Architecture Tour of Campbeltown with David McEwan  (Free of Charge)

At 12pm:   Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting with Mark Watt  (£25 per person)

At 2pm: Heritage Tour of Campbeltown with Alex McKinven  (Free of Charge)

At 3pm:   Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting with Mark Watt  (£25 per person)

Booking is essential for the above tours and tastings and there are only a handful of spaces still available on each so if you would like to book a place on any then please email me to mairi@springbankwhisky.com asap.

Springbank Open Day Bottlings 

We have three exciting bottlings which will be bottled especially for Springbank Open Day 2015.

The first will be a Springbank 7yo which has been matured in a Fresh Sauternes Hogshead, bottled at 56.9% ABV with only 309 bottles available. This will retail at £50.00 on the day.

The second will be a special Springbank 21 year old Claret-matured whisky with only 264 bottles available. This will retail at £250.00 on the day and if there are any leftover after Thursday, the bottles will be taken to our Campbeltown Cadenhead’s shop where others will be able to purchase it. The price for buying this after the day will be £280.00.

The third bottling is an Open Day special Kilkerran 9yo Rum Wood, bottled at 58.3% which is being sold in 35cl bottles and costs £30.00.

Upcoming Kilkerran Releases

2015 marks the final year of the Work In Progress series for Kilkerran Single Malt as next year for the twelve anniversary, we will bottle the first official 12 year old bottling. To mark the final year of the WIP series, we have two cracking new releases of Work In Progress 7. The first is the WIP7 Sherry Wood which has been bottled at 46% ABV with 12,000 bottles available worldwide. This will retail at £35.00 per bottle. The second is the WIP7 Bourbon Wood which has been bottled at a cask strength of 54.1% ABV with a more limited 6,000 bottles available worldwide. This bottling will retail at £44.00 per bottle. As always with the WIP series, Society Members will receive their 10% discount on both bottles which will make them £31.50 and £39.60 for our members.

The bottles will be available from Thursday 21st May onwards but here is a sneak peak at the tasting notes for each to get your taste buds tingling…..

Kilkerran Work In Progress 7 Sherry Wood 

Nose:  Toasted pink marshmallows spinning around fresh rhubarb and green apples. Toffee and treacle adds to the sweetness but an earthy note keeps this whisky well balanced and not overpoweringly sweet.

Palate:  Heather honey and digestive biscuits. Creamy milk chocolate, black cherries mix with oak and wood spice. A truly complex and interesting dram.

Finish:  Dry nutty finish with some gentle peat lingering along with some further oak notes….delicious!

Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Bourbon Wood

Nose:  Immediate hit of lush green apples mixed with marzipan and hot baked vanilla buns. A gentle smoke hugs the fruit notes throughout. Let it breathe in the glass for a quarter of an hour and you are greeted by immense madagascan vanilla pod seeds in a warm full fat milk.

Palate:  Puff of smoke mixed with tangy apple, yet elegant and mature – fantastically well rounded dram.

Finish:  Long, smooth and luxurious.

I’m going to be out of the office quite a bit over the next week getting everything organised for the festival but I will try to reply to all festival enquiries as quickly as I can. If you have an enquiry about the festival then please email my personal account (mairi@springbankwhisky.com). I will begin replying to all other enquiries and orders week commencing 25th May.

Sláinte,

Mairi

Mairi Paterson

For the Springbank Society

To join the Springbank Society please contact them at

society@springbankwhisky.com

 

Nickolls & Perks “Glengoyne & Tamdhu Whisky Tasting 26th June 2015″ – Scotch Whisky News

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Glengoyne & Tamdhu Whisky Tasting 26th June 2015

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Price: £20.00 Date: Friday 26 June 2015 Time: 7:00PM Location: N&P Cellars

Book Tickets Online

An evening full of tasty drams and whisky chat in the cellars of Nickolls and Perks’ shop with single malts from the Glengoyne and Tamdhu distillery. The tasting will be warmly presented by Alan Wardrop, UK Ambassador. You’re guaranteed to enjoy fabulous whiskies together with the stories that go with them

For further info, email David Gardener or phone him on 01384 394518.

Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #536 – Scotch Whisky News

ralfylarge

www.ralfy.com goes over slow-tasting of standard blended scotches with Whisky Review 536 – Scottish Leader blended scotch.

Beam Suntory Simplifies Regional Structure – Whisky News

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Beam Suntory Simplifies Regional Structure

Deerfield, Illinois, April 27, 2015 – Beam Suntory Inc. today announced that it will simplify its regional structure by merging its four operating regions into three.  The company will combine management of its Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific businesses to create a larger International Region.  Furthermore, the company’s South America business will become part of an expanded Americas region.  This organizational simplification will result in three regions – Americas, Japan and International – with more comparable scale and sales in the range of $1 billion or more each.

The new International Region will be led by Albert Baladi, president of Beam Suntory’s current EMEA region.  Baladi will be supported by managing directors of five geographic clusters: Oceania, Emerging Asia, Developed Europe, Emerging Europe & Middle East/Africa, and Global Travel Retail.  Tim Hassett, president of Beam Suntory’s current North America region, will lead the expanded Americas region.

“With the Beam Suntory integration largely behind us, we can now benefit from simplifying our regional structure,” said Matt Shattock, chairman and CEO of Beam Suntory.  “Merging our EMEA and Asia Pacific businesses helps ensure our business is set up to win by being close to our customers and consumers, aligning with our long-term growth strategy, and creating opportunities for some of our best and brightest talent.  We also see benefits from uniting all of our Latin America markets in the same region.  We look forward to driving continued momentum in the marketplace with our three strong regions.”

Separately, Nick Fink, president of the current Asia Pacific/South America (APSA) region, has accepted a US-based senior executive position at a public company outside of the spirits industry.  As a result, Fink will depart Beam Suntory effective May 8th. “We are happy for Nick and grateful for his numerous contributions to our success,” said Shattock. “He leaves a business in Asia Pacific/South America that is gaining momentum, and he has built an outstanding leadership team that will play an invaluable role in the new International region.”

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, Sauza tequila, Pinnacle vodka, 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 Deerfield, 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 www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.

 

The Glenturret 1986 Cask – Now Available Internationally – Scotch Whisky News

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Now available around the globe …..

Limited Release Glenturret – The Brock Malloy Edition #Cask328 

Glenturret Distillery’s release of a rare 28 year old single cask malt whisky, described as the best cask that has ever been produced by Scotland’s oldest working distillery, has garnered attention from whisky lovers around the globe. So much so that a planned launch of an international delivery service has been brought forward by the distillery, several weeks before it was set to be introduced, to meet international demand.

Tradition reigns supreme at Glenturret where whisky is genuinely handmade and a small batch product. By hand and by heart is the only way to produce Glenturret’s unique whisky and that is the exact way it was created when two local stillmen, Hugh Malloy and Chick Brock, laid down #Cask328, 28 years ago.

From cask to packaging, everything in The Brock Malloy Edition has been done in a traditional way and by true craftsmen. There will only ever be 240 bottles of this exquisite whisky in the world, so make sure you get your hands on one before they are all gone!

At only £200 per bottle (inc UK VAT), you can buy it TODAY.

The English Whisky Company – The Spring Newsletter – English Whisky News

AA EWC Long

As an ex-farmer, this time of year is always full of promise. Most of the crops are sown and starting to grow nicely now, the weather is dry and warm enough for garden furniture to start being used again and of course the lawn mower is serviced and back in gainful employment.

Our barley is growing nicely on a family farm near Lincoln, each year this provides a good portion of our barley needs, it is a real treat to be able to have barley grown by Nelstrop’s, harvested by Nelstrop’s, milled, distilled, matured and finally bottled by Nelstrop’s. This really is field to glass production; I have an inkling we may be the only whisky distillery that can and does do this.

We have lots of news from the distillery – so in no particular order…

The distillery has been privileged to have been used as a polling station for the General Election. What was billed as the most exciting election campaign for a generation had in my humble opinion become a little stale but I am sure you all still had a favourite to put a tick against – no one saw that result in their crystal ball – well done the blues and to our northern cousins, commiserations to the others. My sincere apologies to all of you who didn’t have free whisky at your own polling stations to assist in the voting procedure.

I would like to welcome two new members of staff. Peggy & Joyce have joined the team as new tour guides, hopefully you will enjoy their company for an hour when you come and do a tour. We are also thinking of taking on a boy/girl Friday to help with the telephones, web orders and in the shop generally, so if anyone knows of someone locally who is incredibly cheerful, willing to work hard and willing to learn – tell them to send a short resume in to us.

Some of you now have a Founders Private Cellar – The Last Signature in your possession. You also have to make a decision whether to open one of the bottles or keep it intact. We may have a solution for you. One of our lovely customers would like to buy a case and open it for a tasting session and would like to invite 18-20 of you to join him at the distillery to sample your wares. A charge of £35 would be all that was needed. We will also find some other yummy whiskies to make it a great event. Do ring Sarah and let her know if you are interested.

Our distillers are of course busy making new whisky to be laid down for their big sleep and busy choosing whisky to be bottled. This spring we have bottled a new Chapter 13 (the one with the big red letter box on the label) which has been very popular. By demand from you all a new batch of Chapter 7 (matured in a rum cask) is being bottled as we speak, this will be a tiny bottling as only one cask was available, so if you are a fan of 7 be quick. For the single cask fanatics amongst you, we very quietly released a new Founders last week; this is a single malt matured in a Sassicaia cask – pretty special and very rare.

It will be father’s day in a couple of weeks and this has always been lively time for whisky sales. A very firm favourite has been the Personalised Label, which for only an extra £5 makes for a great gift. Can I ask those of you who intend to go down this route to do it now rather than on the 5th June! Our lovely Sarah does all the labels and whilst we all know she is superhuman, she does need to sleep just occasionally. We will also give free postage on any order containing a 70cl bottle of English Whisky between 1st June and 21st June.

Hopefully you will be aware that our membership is now up and running. The Fellowship has proved to be a great hit, so if you have someone you are struggling to by a pressie for – this maybe the answer.

Some minor changes to the coffee shop… all of us smile and look far more cheerful in shop area, apparently someone was spotted being less than cheerful (this may have been me, which is why they tend to keep me locked in an office!) our cakes, which are made by Judy’s daughter in the neighbouring village, have had their time on display halved – so are incredibly fresh and I have re-introduced some local wines (by the bottle) from our great friends up the road at Humbleyard Winery. A bottle of wine and a slice of cake on the lawn is a lovely way to spend half an hour.

Coming up soon:

May 27th-28th:

Suffolk Show

We will be at the Suffolk Show, come and find us in the Food Hall – this year the stall will have Sarah, Paul & Tina pouring you drinks making sure you are suitably refreshed to carry on around the show.

June 13th:

Whisky Lounge Bristol

A bit further from home, English Whisky is going to Bristol for the first time, we will have a stand as the Whisky Lounge event. Click to find out more.

June 24-25th:

Lincoln County Show

A firm favourite and as usual we will be in the food court. A lovely show and worth a visit if you haven’t been before.

July 1st-2nd:

Royal Norfolk Show

We will be in the main food hall and as we never seem to have the same stand at this show you will have to walk the aisles exploring all the wonderful offerings and feasting on freebies in order to find us – such a hard life!

Kind Regards,

ANDREW NELSTROP

Managing Director
English Whisky Co. Ltd
St George’s Distillery
Harling Road
Roudham
Norfolk
NR16 2QW

Scotch Malt Whisky Society “MAY TASTINGS & EVENTS” – Scotch Whisky News

AA SMWS Summer

MAY TASTINGS & EVENTS

Feis Ille 2015: Islay Dinner

28 Queen Street – Thu 21 May

Enjoy our maritime themed, three-course dinner with three BIG peaty drams

More >

Harrogate Preview Tasting

Hotel du Vin – Thu 21 May

Enjoy our preview selection of drams from June’s Outturn along with supper

More >

Peat Lover Islay Tasting

The Vaults – Tue 26 May

Feis Ile is underway, celebrate in our spiritual home with 5 BIG peaty drams & supper

More >

New Members’ Tasting

19 Greville Street – Wed 27 May

Designed to welcome new members and share our passion for single cask whisky

More >

UK-wide Preview Tastings

Fri 29 May

Enjoy our preview selection of drams from June’s Outturn along with supper

More NEWCASTLE >

More WOKINGHAM >

More DUNFERMLINE >

More GLASGOW >

FREE ENTERTAINMENT AT THE VAULTS

Monday Night drop-in: Society Share >  Mon 18 May

Free Live Music with R.J. Feathers >  Wed 27 May

Browse All Tastings >

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: sales@smws.com or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information 

This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

 

SINGLE POT STILL IRISH WHISKEYS OF MIDLETON PRESENT THEIR FIRST EVER GOOGLE HANGOUT ON AIR LIVE FROM THE GOOGLE FOUNDRY, DUBLIN – Irish Whiskey News

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SINGLE POT STILL IRISH WHISKEYS OF MIDLETON PRESENT THEIR FIRST EVER GOOGLE HANGOUT ON AIR LIVE FROM THE GOOGLE FOUNDRY, DUBLIN

Tonight, in honour of World Whisky Day, the Masters of The Midleton Distillery will come together for their first ever special live Google Hangout ON AIR. Broadcast live from the Foundry in Dublin’s Google HQ, the show will be streamed from 6pm GMT. The event aims to raise awareness and educate whisk(e)y lovers about Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

The event will be hosted by International Brand Ambassador, Dave McCabe, who will discuss all things Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey with Master Distiller Brian Nation, Master Blender Billy Leighton, Master of Maturation Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Whiskey Science David Quinn and Master Cooper Ger Buckley.

The seminar will cover everything from the history of Single Pot Still Irish whiskey, the Midleton Distillery’s unique maturation and wood programme as well as a tasting of some of the most revered Single Pot Still Irish whiskeys, Redbreast 12 Year Old, Green Spot, Powers John’s Lane and Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy.

To participate and invite your followers to join the session, use this link to watch the live Google Hangout ON AIR

https://plus.google.com/u/2/+SinglePotStillIrishWhiskey/posts

#SinglePotStill

#WorldWhiskyDay

Liz & Paul of MCLEANSCOTLAND attend the 2015 Spirit of Speyside – Scotch Whisky News

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Liz and Paul of MCLEANSCOTLAND attend the 2015 Speyside whisky festival (Spirit of Speyside).

As guests of The Glenlivet, we did enjoy our wee outing. It made a nice change from taking our guests to Glenlivet (Strathisla and Aberlour) to being taken there ourselves!  We had our very own guide/hosts in Rachel MacDonald and James Collins, Ambassadors. FRIDAY 1 MAY  We took the early (and I mean early! 6am) morning train to Aberdeen and then Elgin, where we met up with Rachel and James – our driver/hosts. We four set out from Elgin to The Glenlivet Distillery to partake and enjoy the Dram Room Specials – a tasting from the Glenlivet range; a handpicked selection of some of the best limited edition whiskies, mostly single casks. The whiskies where sampled in the Malt Loft. They included 3 cask strength, a single cask expressions of The Glenlivet – Valiant, Uisge Beatha and Auchbreck bottled exclusively for the Festival. In addition we tasted the 1983 Cellar Collection, vatted from a limited selection of casks and finished for its last couple of years of maturation in French Limousin oak casks before bottled in 2003 – this is one of very few remaining bottles of this outstanding dram and we both scooped it doon, beautiful. The final cask strength dram was the exclusive 18 year old Glenlivet.  We sat down and chilled for a wee time and enjoyed some lunch.

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Lunch was followed by a session with an old friend, Charlie Maclean (Patron of our whisky club don’t you know), who gave an entertaining account of the visit to Edinburgh in 1822 by King George IV and how this led to the single malt that started it all. This visit by King George IV, orchestrated by Sir Walter Scott, was the first visit to Scotland by any monarch for over 180 years (even a German one sitting on a sassunach throne). When the said King asked for Glenlivet malt whisky by name this led to a change in the law which laid the foundations of today’s Scotch whisky industry. George Smith of Glen Livet was the enterprising illicit distiller who spotted the opportunity presented by the Excise Act 1823 and went on to establish his original Glenlivet Distillery at Upper Drumin. We also enjoyed a selection of special drams, some rare and drawn again from single casks. Charlie’s interest in Scotch whisky was originally stimulated by visits as a teenager to The Glenlivet Distillery and the surrounding area. The Glenlivet was the single malt that instigated his enthusiasm. At the end, Charlie gave us a personally signed copy of his book “Whiskypedia” which we had signed for a future guest of ours (we both have his book), so two of our guests – we know who they are – will find the books in their welcome packs.  We rounded off a superb day of whisky experiences with a whisky dinner at Strathisla distillery, did we have another dram? Does a horse have four legs???

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SATURDAY 2 MAY  Open day! Whisky, music, fun and entertainment in the Malt Barn at Glenlivet Distillery, an exhibition area focussing on local food and drink producers as well as artists and crafts businesses. The Sma’ Still ran both morning and afternoon (I had experienced this ages ago – Paul) when at the 3 day whisky school, there was barrel making demonstrations and a range of competitions to try, we were hopeless. Musical performances throughout the day.  OUR DAY started with an exclusive chat with Alan Winchester – The Glenlivet Master Distiller, answering questions and served more delicious drams of the single malt. This year Alan celebrate’s 40 years making whisky. Rare and special drams of The Glenlivet aged 25, 30 and 40 years old were served during this event, just in case we hadnee tried them previously. Slightly smiling and giggling in a glorious Glenlivet haze, we dropped down for some lunch, many thanks to The Glenlivet team for our lunches by the way.  Some music, aye – more drams and then a private chat with Ian Logan upstairs in the Library, Liz and myself are both Guardians. The Glenlivet Distillery, now one of the largest in Scotland. The Library at The Glenlivet Distillery is exclusively reserved for groups of up to five Guardians at a time – we were welcomed by Ian Logan, International Brand Ambassador and the ultimate Guardian of The Glenlivet to share special drams including some rare specials up to 40 years old.

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We were driven back to the hotel, tired oot, drammed out (maybe), but looking for some food to soak up all those drams.  We felt as if we had each drank at least 3 bottles worth over the two days!  Ooo it’s hard being a whisky tour operator. We just put it down to “research & development”, someone has to do it, we do this for the good of all our future whisky tour guests, so we have the knowledge (and the drams) to trust us with your whisky tour. Amen to that.

 AA MS rach sad wee

MCLEANSCOTLAND – your spiritual advisors.

I do have to say, we did also enjoy meeting friends old and new from Speyside whisky world, but as we were guests of The Glenlivet, it’s unfair to add other drams, names and celebrities into this story. Paul McLean.


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