Archive for June, 2009

Kilchomen Distillery on Islay to Release Very First Single Malt

On September 9th, 2009 Kilchoman Distillery on Islay will release their very first single malt scotch whisky. A limited run of 3 year old will be bottled for general release from 9th September 2009.

For further information please visit the smallest distillery on Islay at

Isle of Arran 4yo 2004/2008 (59.8%, OB, Peated, Bourbon, C#103, 225 Bts.) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note


Released in late 2008 this new variant of Arran is made with peated malt; the original owners of the distillery simply did not believe in peated whiskies and never made a peated whisky. The current owners feel differently. At 4 years old this single malt follows two recent trends; a move towards selling whiskies at a youngish age and of describing them as a work in progress although the later descriptor is my own observation. As a bonus to a rare variant this bottling is also from a single ex American bourbon cask. “The Peated Arran”. The nose is fragrant with heather, sweet wine, mild juniper, sea breeze, malt and peat smoke (also bandages and green cereals). With water there is increased peat smoke characteristics and a dramatic jump in the green notes; sweet cut grass, muesli and fresh hay and tea/leather however neatly integrated is vanilla and honey. The taste is strong revealing peated malt in spades with a hint of varnish followed by crisp dry clean malt with a cut grass ending. With water warm oily sweet notes are in the foreground to start followed by a gentle peat smoke delivery and then good malt. This is very nice with loads of character; no a boring dram and no signs of any problems (no off notes). The finish is quite long and is of light peat smoke, vibrant crisp clean malt and at the very end more peat smoke and bitter tea/wood/oak.

It speaks well of Isle of Arran Distillery that such a young whisky has so much character and a lack of off notes.

Score 85 Points

£42 at Loch Fyne Whiskies



Glenfiddich Distillery Releases 15yo “Distillery Edition’


Whisky explorers offered exceptional 51% ABV expression of world’s favourite

The world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky, Glenfiddich, has, for the first time, released its 15 Year Old ‘Distillery Edition’ single malt in a handful of selected domestic markets around the world.

The non chill-filtered, Glenfiddich ‘Distillery Edition’ 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is bottled at 51% ABV and will appeal to whisky explorers and enthusiasts looking for a characteristically elegant Glenfiddich with a slightly higher strength.  

Commented Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, David Stewart:  “Glenfiddich Distillery Edition is a classic expression of Glenfiddich with a higher strength which adds complexity.  Characteristically, we have married the matured single malts for Distillery Edition in Glenfiddich’s unique oak marrying tuns to ensure a consistently, well-balanced and elegant signature malt.  We have married Glenfiddich single malts in this way for almost 40 years and remain the only single malt distillery to do so.” 

Matured in American and European oak casks, including Oloroso sherry casks, which add to its truly exceptional and distinct character, Glenfiddich ‘Distillery Edition’ boasts a deep, golden barley colour. Its delicate floral aroma is punctuated with hints of freshly ground black pepper and vanilla. Creamily smooth on the palate, these floral and spicy black pepper notes gently mingle with luscious fruit and a hint of sherry wood, lazily lingering to a sweet and warm, velvety finish.  

Glenfiddich Distillery Edition is part of the award-winning range of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whiskies which also includes Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, 18 Year Old, 21 Year Old, 30 Year Old, 40 Year Old, selected Vintage Reserves and the world’s rarest and oldest single malt Scotch, Glenfiddich 1937 Vintage, which was bottled as a 64 year old in 2001.  Only 61 bottles were available and very few remain.


Notes to editors

·         Reigning ISC Distiller of the Year William Grant & Sons Ltd has been awarded seven gold medals at both the 2008 International Spirits Challenge (ISC) and the 2008 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) and for its highly regarded portfolio of premium spirits brands. 

·         William Grant & Sons is an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today still controlled by the fifth generation of his family.  The Company distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s favourite single malt Glenfiddich®, the handcrafted range of The Balvenie® single malts and one of the world’s leading blended Scotches, Grant’s®, as well as selected other spirits, including Hendrick’s® Gin and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

·         Click on more information on the Company and its brands.




A New Bottling From Tullibardine Distillery


The John Black Selection No 4

Tullibardine Vintage 1988 Cask no:540 Sherry Hogshead

As part of the Homecoming Celebrations Tullibardine Distillery have bottled the 4th John Black Selection which is a single cask from a sherry hogshead Vintage 1988. John was arranging for a selection of casks from the 1988 Vintage to go to bottling for the normal Tullibardine range. One cask stood out as a truly exceptional one that deserved to be treated as a single cask bottling in its own right.

This single malt has a lovely autumnal and russet brown colour. There are varying levels of aromas from Demerara sugar, a hint of maple syrup with a touch of orange blossom. To taste the alcohol is there but is integrated with balanced acidity and a viscosity that fills the mouth. Orange and chocolate flavours abound with a lovely crème brulée character that runs through to the finish with hints of barley at the end. Remarkably subtle yet very complex, this is a cask that has provided a Single Malt of real character, charm and finesse. Bottled at cask strength – 56% there are 306 bottles available.

For more information on Tullibardine please visit


Profile on a Massive Collection of BenRiach Single Malt

A Swede has the biggest collection of BenRiach malt whisky in the world. Magnus Fagerstrom (44) from Helsingborg in the south of the country started collecting BenRiach two years ago and now has 201 different bottles plus miniatures and toy trucks with the BenRiach logo on the side! Here, Magnus explains how his interest in BenRiach has grown over the years, how he has painstakingly put his collection together, the generosity of other fans, the detective work required to make the collection complete and, in Magnus’s opinion, the best BenRiach ever.
“Back in May 2004, I started to keep a record of which whiskies I tasted and over the next five years I evaluated almost 2800 different types. I then started to think about collecting full bottles but first I had to establish three important criteria.
“Number one is, of course, that it has to be a very good whisky. A friend of mine, Anders Melin, had given me some BenRiach, so that was the first criterion met. BenRiach it would be!
“Secondly, it had to be possible to get a complete collection. Before Billy Walker and his colleagues took over BenRiach, there was only one distillery bottling made, so that criterion was also met.
“In addition, I had to track down all the expressions and as I started collecting three years after the first new releases came, I had to investigate which ones had been issued and how to get hold of them. Two people gave me excellent help – Belgian collector Bert Bruyneel and Alistair Walker at BenRiach. The two most important criteria were therefore met.
“Thirdly, it had to be affordable and I thought it was.
“The final thing that convinced me I should collect BenRiach is that it was re-started in 1965 after 65 years of silence. I was born in 1965 so I thought that coincidence was an extra fun thing! Unfortunately, there were no casks from 1965 still in stock when Billy took over and I doubt whether there ever were any 1965 bottled as I haven’t heard of any.
“In collecting BenRiach, I’ve had excellent help from many friends around the world. I’ve been in contact with wonderful people in Taiwan, Japan, South Africa and all over Europe to get hold of different bottles for my collection. After a lot of research, there were just four bottles missing from the collection.
“I tried to buy them from Bert but initially he declined my offer. But then all of a sudden he said I could buy his whole collection of 80 bottles. His price was reasonable so I got a loan from my bank to fund the purchase. So now I have all the official bottlings ever made in my collection…as far as I know anyway!
“You might ask: why does a Swede get so excited about BenRiach? The answer is I like the fact that BenRiach has both peated and unpeated whisky. I also like the packaging and all the stuff that BenRiach does. And after I visited the distillery a few weeks ago I am even more excited. I had a great time with Stewart Buchanan that day.
“I’m often asked what is the oldest BenRiach I have. Age-wise, the oldest one is the BenRiach 40 year old but if we are talking about when it was bottled I have a BenRiach 1969 that was bottled in 1981.
“And the most I have ever paid for a bottle of BenRiach is £740 which I paid for the 40-year-old.
“Taste-wise, my favourite BenRiach bottling is the 1976, cask 3557, bottled for La Maison du Whisky in France. It is a fantastic dram. Very close behind is the 1976, cask 8079, bottled exclusively for the famous Craigellachie Hotel in Speyside. 1968 and 1976 seem to have been fantastic years for BenRiach.
“Another favourite is the 1980, cask 2535, Virgin Oak at 55%. It’s a very special whisky that has spent 26 years in a virgin cask. Actually, that is something that shouldn’t work but with BenRiach these virgin casks are excellent. There are some 1994 virgin casks released that are very good too.
“Collection-wise, my favourite bottlings are some of the special ones, like the “Cape Of Storms” bottles bottled for South Africa. A very special bottle is the 1994, cask 3244. It was bottled for Whisk-e in Japan and I have two different ones. One is made for Isetan (168 bottles) with the text “Exclusively for Isetan” on the label and the other doesn’t have that wording. Bottling dates are one month apart and there are only 60 bottles made without the Isetan text on the label.
“The fact is I have not tasted all of the BenRiachs in my collection, as some are just too valuable to open. I have not been able to afford to buy doubles of all of them, but I try to buy an extra bottle so I can taste them. I still have quite a few doubles that I haven’t opened yet, but there are a few bottles for which I don’t have doubles. I hope the distillery will provide me with samples of new bottlings so I can try them without having to buy double bottles. For independent bottlings, I only buy one of each as it is the distillery bottlings that are number one in my collection.
“I currently have 201different bottles of BenRiach: 45 are non-vintage distillery bottlings, 84 are single cask distillery bottlings and 72 are independent bottlings. I have ordered another 1 distillery bottling and 1 independent bottle but they haven’t arrived yet. I also have 9 miniatures and 12 toy trucks with BenRiach advertisements on the sides!
“I have some great stories about my collection. For example, I knew there was a 12-year-old called “Cape of Storms” exclusively bottled for South Africa. I had no idea how to get hold of one but a friend put me in touch with someone who had one. Unfortunately, after a lot of negotiations the guy backed out. I started to search the Internet and found a 16-year-old on WhiskyLive’s website in Cape Town. They forwarded my email to the importer in South Africa and he wrote back to say he had a special gift pack with both the 12 and 16-year-old! I emailed back, sent him a link to my webpage with my BenRiach collection, and the next day I got a very nice email. He had shown my collection to the two South African partners in BenRiach, Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter, and they also liked what they saw. As it was close to my birthday, they sent me the two bottles as a gift! When the bottles arrived I had to pay Swedish tax, but I did that happily. And when I opened the box, inside was a “Happy Birthday” card signed by both Wayne and Geoff! I treasure that card almost as much as the “Cape of Storms” bottles!
“Another wonderful story relates to the time I picked up the bottles I bought from Bert Bruyneel. He kindly arranged a tasting which we finished with a 1976 bottled for the Craigellachie Hotel and then another 1976 for La Maison du Whisky. He told me to buy as many 1976 LMdWs as possible but at 195 euros I had only bought one; after tasting it I cursed myself for not having bought more. There was of course one in the collection I bought so I do have one extra for drinking. I tried to convince Bert to sell me another one as he had some unopened, but he refused. He said I was more than welcome to come and visit him and help him drink it but, as he put it: “This is the best BenRiach ever and I want it to last for the rest of my life”, so I totally understand that he holds on tightly to the ones he has!
“Everyone is different when it comes to how they drink BenRiach but personally I first taste everything neat. When evaluating, I always add a few drops of water to see what it does for the whisky. When I drink for pure pleasure I prefer it neat or sometimes with some water. Some whiskies are best neat even when they are very high in alcohol and others need some water to open them up a bit. But ice is an absolute no-no when it comes to my BenRiach!
“I’m often asked to sum up the unique appeal of BenRiach. I would say: “classic fruity Speyside with a peaty twist.
“I’m not a great fan of food with whisky as I prefer to have my whisky by itself. At tastings I use dark chocolate and crackers to cleanse the palate and sometimes coffee when it’s a big tasting, but I haven’t yet found any food with which I would like to drink whisky. A cigar once in a while with a nice whisky is good too.
“I have tasted BenRiach in many places but the best place was in Warehouse 13 at the distillery in the splendid company of BenRiach’s Distillery Manager Stewart Buchanan. Tasting BenRiach directly from the cask is unbeatable and I can’t wait for that 1970 sherry cask to be bottled!
“Probably the most memorable place I’ve tasted it was when I held my big BenRiach tasting with 32 guests, including Alan McConnochie from BenRiach / GlenDronach, and 21 different BenRiach single casks here in Helsingborg. Along one of the walls we set up shelves and on them was my whole BenRiach collection plus miniatures and toy trucks with the BenRiach logos. No-one else can set up a surrounding like that!
Here’s a full list of all the whiskies we tasted and the tasting order.
Benriach Cask 4043, hogshead, 261 btls 33 1972 2005 49% OB
Benriach Cask 4005, hogshead, 254 btls 34 1970 2004 51,2% OB
Benriach Cask 2382, hogshead, 158 btls 38 1966 2004 50% OB
Benriach Cask 1589, hogshead, 209 btls 26 1978 2004 54,3% OB
Benriach Cask 7007, Gomez Sherry Butt, 542 btls 30 1975 2006 55% OB
Benriach Cask 10985, hogshead, 228 btls 25 1979 2005 57,5% OB
Benriach Cask 4469, Peated, Port Pipe, 649 bts 30 1976 2007 55,5% OB
Benriach Cask 316, Barrel, 240 btls 18 1986 2004 46% OB for Van Wees, Netherlands
Benriach Cask 627, hogshead, 253 btls 20 1984 2004 55% OB
Benriach Cask 2535, new wood, 238 btls 26 1980 2006 55% OB
Benriach Cask 594, hogshead, 240 btls 20 1984 2005 60% OB for Potstill, Austria
Benriach Cask 9632, Peated, butt, 663 btls 19 1986 2006 55% OB
Benriach Cask 285, Peated, barrel, 201 bottles 19 1986 2005 58,6% OB
Benriach Cask 4049, Peated, Port hhd, 294 btls 22 1984 2007 54,2% OB
Benriach Cask 76257, bourbon barrel, 251 btls 15 1993 2008 53,0% OB for Potstill, Austria
Benriach Cask 6888, Dark Rum barrel, 268 btls 15 1991 2006 54,3% OB for Sun Favourite, Taiwan
Benriach Cask 4023, virgin oak, 311 btls 14 1994 2008 53,5% OB for Germany
Benriach Cask 828, hogshead, 357 btls 11 1994 2005 46% OB for Van Wees, Netherlands
Benriach Cask 303, heavily peated 13 1994 2007 58,3% OB for Whisk-e, Japan
Benriach Cask 807, oloroso sherry butt, 700 btls 12 1994 2006 56,0% OB for MacY, Denmark
Benriach Cask 4017, Peated, Port hhd, 240 btls 13 1994 2007 56,1% OB for ALKO, Finland

We started with the oldest ones when our palates were still fresh. We had 6 from the 70s and 1 from the 60s. I chose to have the only 1966 released as it is the oldest vintage available. The tasting was divided into sections of 2 hours tasting, 1 hour food break, 2 hour tasting, 1 hour food break and another 2 hour tasting. After the first food break we had the 1980s and we finished the day off with the 1990s.
My personal favourites at the tasting were the 1970, cask 4005; the 1978, cask 1589; the 1975, cask 7007 and the 1980, cask 2535. We didn’t vote for the best one of the evening but they were all excellent.
If you’d like to know more about my love of BenRiach, go to or email me at
Best wishes,

Picture of Magnus with some of his collection attached.

ends                                                   26 June 2009

Issued on behalf of Magnus and BenRiach by Alan Clark Communications, 01324 875454


Old Pulteney 12yo (40%, OB, +/-2008)

From the north east of Scotland facing the Moray Firth is Pulteney Distillery in the town of Wick. The nose is a pleasant mixture of honey, dry dusty malt,varnish, oats, cut grass and pizza dough. In the later stages mild juniper and heather. The taste is immediately sweet and much like toast or twice baked cake (like the dry cake you use to make English triffle) followed by loads of malt and dessert wine. The finish is at first quite sweet and then changes to become much drier with oak tinges and a mild over steeped black tea flavour and then a final crash of malt. After five minutes a wee hint of the green notes; cut grass again.

A good solid single malt from a distillery that deserves to been seen a lot more.

A great value at C$80

Score 87 Points

For further details on Pulteney Distillery visit them at


Malt whisky ‘taste quest’ begins

Scientists in Glasgow are aiming to discover what gives malt whiskies their distinctive flavour.

Researchers at Strathclyde University will focus on the role which oak casks play in determining the flavour.

They will examine the effect of different types of cask by comparing untreated oak to wood which has been heat treated.

The team hopes its findings will allow distillers to more easily control and maintain product quality.

The team, from the university’s department of pure and applied chemistry, is conducting the research with the drinks firm Diageo.

‘Sustaining quality’

Dr Jim Lewicki, who is leading the research, said: “A lot of the taste from whisky comes from the oak barrels themselves – very little of the taste comes from the distillation of spirit.

“Newly distilled whisky is essentially colourless when it goes into the cask, but when it comes out after several years, it has become golden brown and has collected a number of different flavours.

“We’re looking to characterise and replicate, under controlled conditions, aspects of the cask flavouring processes that go on in traditional manufacture of casks and so develop further our knowledge about them.

“This is about sustaining good quality and making it better. If you have a famous brand, connoisseurs expect this.”

Visit for further details

Whisky Boosted by New Distillery Plan

Published Date: 25 June 2009

THE Scottish whisky industry is set for a boost with the announcement that proposals are being drawn up for the development of a new distillery on a country estate a few miles from St Andrews.
Fife has a long association with Scotch whisky – the earliest surviving record relating to scotch, dating from 1494, makes reference to Lindores Abbey, near Newburgh, while it is also synonymous with great whisky names, such as John Haig.

Behind the new venture is the Kingsbarns Company of Distillers Ltd – Abertay University graduate Doug Clement, 32, and Tasmanian entrepreneur and tourism consultant Greg Ramsay, 32, who first met while caddying at the Kingsbarns golf links.

They have engaged conservation architectural firm Simpson and Brown to convert a disused farm steading on the Cambo Estate, at Kingbarns, into a working distillery and visitor centre.

The full article contains 143 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
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Last Updated: 25 June 2009 12:16 AM

Welsh whisky Penderyn is outselling Scottish malts in Wetherspoons

A WHISKY distilled in Wales has been named the number one malt whisky on sale in Wetherspoon pubs – outselling three Scottish malts.

Penderyn Single Malt Whisky has been available in all Wetherspoon pubs across the UK since April 2009 and has now become the number one malt whisky, ahead of Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie.

John Hutson, Wetherspoon chief executive, said: “All four of the malt whiskies available in our pubs are first-class and are popular.

“Initially Penderyn was only served in our pubs in Wales, but since April, it has been served [across Britain] and has proved such a hit with customers it is the number one selling malt whisky in Wetherspoon pubs.”

Stephen Davies, Penderyn Distillery managing director, said: “Penderyn is outselling its three Scotch malt whisky counterparts in Wetherspoon, and considering that these are all well-established, quality whiskies, it is a massive compliment to the Penderyn brand.”

Visit for further Penderyn details.

A New Book-Whisky Legends of Islay by Robin Laing

A Book Launch and Whisky Tasting for “Whisky Legends of Islay” by Robin Laing will be held at Edinburgh Central Reference Library from  7:30pm to 9:30pm on Friday June 26th, 2009. The event is free however you must reserve a ticket via    The book is  available from Amazon.


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