Archive for November, 2009

Bruichladdich Tasting with Andrew Gray December 8th Queensferry – Scotch Whisky News


A Bruichladdich tasting with Andrew Gray will be held at the Dakota Hotel in early December in conjunction with WoodWinters Wines and Whiskies.

8th December (Tuesday), 7:30pm (will last approx 90 mins)
Dakota Hotel Forth Bridge
EH30 9QZ
Tickets: £10 (includes £5 money off voucher for use with Bruichladdich purchase at Woodwinters)

Line up is 7 whiskies including 17yo Rum finish and 1989 Black Art.

Contact Shane at WoodWinters on 01786 834894 or email if you’re interested in going.

Many thanks to David for this notice.

Two New Ralfy Scotch Whisky Video Reviews #92 & #93 Available on line – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky reviews # 92 – Lagavulin 12 year old and # 93 – Lagavulin 16 year old are now up and running at Ralfy Whisky Reviews



Ralfy Hard at Work

Visit Ralfy at Click on “Whiskyreviews”

WhiskyCast EPISODE 228 Now Available on Line – Scotch Whisky News


EPISODE 228: The Scotch Whisky industry is operating under new rules for the first time in 20 years. A complete re-write of the Scotch Whisky Law went into effect this week, and David Williamson of the Scotch Whisky Association explains the new law in this episode. In the news, if someone offers you a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer, sip it…don’t chug it…along with Bonham’s auction results from Hong Kong…Power’s sends a new Irish whiskey to the US, and tasting notes for something spicy, something blue and something bluegrass……..

Listen to episode #228 at

Companions of the Quaich Christmas Heels Party Calgary Alberta – Scotch Whisky News


7PM Tuesday December 8th South Calgary Community Association

This year’s distillery is  Ardbeg,  and the theme is giving; giving away heels that is!  Everyone attending is required to bring at least one ¼ full bottle of single malt (a heel), festively wrapped.  These will be collected at the door, numbered and then raffled off after the blind tasting; everyone is guaranteed to win one, and if you bring 2 you’ll end up with 2!  You may not receive exactly what you want, in fact we’re hoping you won’t; that will encourage you to trade with others until you do!

There will also be a silent auction to raise funds for the chapter!  Donations don’t have to be large, expensive, or extravagant; anything will help us on our way…  Jane Cameron is on point, with respect to the silent auction; she can be contacted at !  I suggest that you alert her in advance with what you are planning to donate.

I look forward to seeing all of you there, and Merry Christmas.


Date/Time:   Tuesday December 8th / 7-9PM (Formal) 9-10 (Optional)
Location:  South Calgary Community Association  3130 16th St SW (Off 14th St. SW behind the Calhoun Library)

Price (members): $50.00 + At Least one ¼ Full—Wrapped Heel of Scotch Whisky

Price (guests):  $60.00 + At Least one ¼ Full—Wrapped Heel of Scotch Whisky

Registration Payment: Please pay in advance by cheque made out to Dan Allan.  These can be dropped off at the Kensington Wine Market to my attention! *

Registration Deadline: Friday December 4th @ 5PM

Please confirm your attendance and drop off your registration form and cheque by this date and time.  Registration will be limited to 40!
Food:   There will be some appetizers, sandwiches and dessert.

You are encouraged to have a light meal before coming.

Transportation: The event is close to downtown, which should make taxis a good option.

Theme:  Tasting and slides from Ardbeg distillery
1) We will begin by sampling our assembled range of Ardbegs.
2) We will be conducting a silent auction to raise chapter funds.
3) We will raffle off both heels brought by guests and those from chapter events.  Everyone is guaranteed to win at least the same number of heels they bring with them!

Order of events: 6:45 – Welcome/Mingling/Bidding Opens on Silent Auction Items
7:00 Sharp – Tasting & Slides
7:45 – 8:15 Mingling/Food/Bidding on Silent Auction Items
8:15 – Raffle Off Heels
8:30 – Silent Auction Update/Trading Begins On Heels
9:00 – Silent Auction Closes/Winners Announced
9:15 – Open Social Time
10:00 – Event Ends Cleanup Begins
Last Minute Contact:  Please call Andrew Ferguson on his cell 968-1056

If you have any questions or require more information please call Andrew Ferguson @ 283-8000, or e-mail .

A Greek Makes a Statement – Scotch Whisky News

Something amusing for Malt Maniac Konstantin Grigoriadis;



Apparently this t -shirt was made by a Greek whisky enthusiast…….

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter No.22 April 2007 – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky Intelligence has reproduced (with permission) The Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter for April 2007; a look back in time. The author, Chris Goodrum, has some excellent insights into the whiskies being commented on which makes for excellent reading on a Sunday.  Enjoy!

Dear Whisky Customers

Bottling it young ? Is this the future for the Industry?

So the future of whisky in general is looking pretty peachy. The far east insatiable appetite for a wee dram seems to be on an explanation upward curve. Diageo has announced a £80 billion investment in boosting it malt and grain production along with plans for a new distillery, with the preferred location being Roseisle on Speyside, while the Cameronbridge grain distillery in Fife will be expanded. Planning consents for the Roseisle site are being sought, with construction expected to begin this year. It is hoped the distillery will open in 2009 with the first mature spirit available from 2012.

Even Bruichladdich has announced plans for expansion. Now the company is to apply for planning permission to recreate Port Charlotte Distillery, at a cost of £3-4million, inside the shell of the original warehouse buildings, which are still intact. The new full-sized distillery, which will benefit from a separate visitor centre, will have a maximum capacity of 1.2million litres and will be producing Port Charlotte brand whisky. The distilling equipment for the Port Charlotte project has already been acquired from the now closed Inverleven Distillery, Dumbarton. The entire single malt plant was dismantled by a team from Bruichladdich and the machinery was then shipped to the island on barges where it has been in storage, with some parts used for spares. So as Port Charlotte has been distilled at the Bruichladdich since 2001, the new distillery will be in an unenviable position of having an eight-year-old stock on its first day of production.

So why isn’t everyone happy? Well it’s like this. Speaking to a few of the Independents in the industry I asked the usual ‘What’s new?’ question, and the answer was less than enthusiastic. It would appear that the industry as a whole is a bit jittery and worried about not having enough stock of aged spirits to supply a rising demand, thus for the Independents there is very little whisky of age available on the market. This leaves them with a bit of a problem. Do they: a) Bottle whatever they can get their hands on, irrespective of the quality, b) Bottle good quality younger malt that is available but nowhere near ready for bottling – and we all know that both of those things happen. So as Gordon Wright said? We’ll all be drinking wood finished Vodka before long!?

But being serious for a moment, this is bad news for the Independent bottling companies that do not have extensive warehousing facilities like say Gordon & MacPhail or for younger companies that do not have the contacts within the industry. Will we soon start to see and end of the reasonably priced, esoteric bottlings that these companies release, and will be held to ransom by the big boys like Diageo and LVMH who will be content to ‘whoops happen find’ another few casks of ancient whatever and slap a ludicrous price tag on it, putting it way out of the reach of us ordinary mortals. Mentioning no names but do you ever get the feeling you’ve being fleeced??, surely I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I may not be the only one in the industry to feel this way, but how many others are saying it? I wonder why?

So while I’m on my soap box, time to have a dig at the whisky magazine, why you ask. Well it awards time once again and who took the prize for single retailer of the year, Berry Bro’s with Gordon & MacPhail, Loch Fine Whiskies and The Wine shop at Leek getting a nomination. Now I’ve absolutely no problem with Berry’s winning at all, it’s not a case of sour grapes, but this is what they wrote about them ? Personal service is paramount when you walk through the doors and the helpful and knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through the dazzling array of whiskies?  No, no problem with that, but what makes them better than us? Is it because they all bottle their own range of single malts, or is it because I’m just a tad too outspoken?

Well Rob Allanson (Mr Editor) if you are reading this then maybe you can enlighten me. I mean it’s not like I haven’t invited them to take a look at what we are doing. Now I can hear what you are thinking ?You just want a gong, or to get your face in the magazine, can’t you just be satisfied with knowing that you are doing a good job and just sell me some whisky!?. Well yes I can take a certain amount of satisfaction that I believe that I’m doing a good job and that my views and opinions are regard within the industry, but let’s be honest, we all like to stand on the podium clutching a gong, blubbing conspicuously and thanking all and sundry for their support!

But being serious for a minute, if I don’t make a noise about what we are doing here then who will? Anyway enough of this and onto the reviews.


Gordon Wright has been raiding his pension fund. If the truth be told he would have preferred to hang on to the Port Charlotte for a few more years, but like many independents the commercial concerns out weighed this desire. In saying that the Port Charlotte is an exceptionally good spirit, and the reason that it is approachable so young is because he believes that distillers are now concentrating more on the quality of the spirit rather than in terms of quantity of pure alcohol distilled. I think this is very evident from the rash of young bottlings like this, the Ardbeg very young and the Laphraoig quarter cask. I asked him if he had managed to stash some Octomore in his fund, but he replied that the distillery have sold no casks to private individuals, so not even he could get hold of one!

Gordon only bottled two casks of the Port Charlotte, so there isn’t very many bottles of it available, so if you missed out on the PC5 I would grab one whilst you can. In saying that he has a further two casks which may or may not be bottled later this year.

Port Charlotte 5 year old 46% £37.95

Clean, smoky aromas. Very fruity with loads of iodine and Laphroaig-esque peat. Lovely sweet fruit and a touch of cereal. Very much the equal of the Ardbeg still young ? possibly better. Lovely sweet entry, with soft apricot and honeysuckle, a touch of ‘off the still’ cereal with surprisingly gentle Laphroaig-esque peat building to a tangy finish. This is incredibly sweet, not cloying sweet, just fruit sweet with a late salt and coal dust note drifting in. Unlike the distillery bottling this is 100% Bourbon cask and is far closer to the almost new make sample I tried awhile ago.
Springbank 10 year old 46% £37.95

This is a vatting of one third Bourbon cask and two thirds Port cask aged malt. A deep, rich and extremely fruity nose. Candied orange fruit, port notes, spice, sweet bourbon oak and costal notes. Lovely balance with a slight perfumed note, A lot less girly than the Murray McDavid bottling, it develops an earthy/ bog myrtle/ medicinal peat note over time. On the palate it is quiet sweet with creamy red winey fruit (berries), bourbon oak and buckets of salt on the middle. Youthful and intense with coal dust and earthy peat coating the palate. Perfectly integrated, one of the best wine cask matured malts I’ve tasted in a long time.


I received three new samples from John, two of which were Macallans. Now John has bottled some very good Macallans over the years, mainly bourbon matured, and these were no exception. The 1991 (15 year old) 57% had all the classic John McDougall signature vanilla oak, but there was just too much of it, it swamped any distillery character and really lacked the finesse of some of his earlier bottlings. The second sample of the same age, but bottled at 50% had a better balance, with lovely sooty, coal dust notes but was incredibly short. I know John will hate me for saying this but these were not his best selection. However all was redeemed by the Linkwood which was a classic, but in my opinion only if drunk neat. Tasting notes follow.

Linkwood 1990 (16 year old) 52.6% £TBC

Clean, crisp grass, citrus lemon, lime and apricot fruit with a touch of menthol. Very rounded, big and fruity with lashings of balanced oak, plus a delicious floral top note. On the palate it is very creamy, a lovely mouth feel with the oak and fruit in perfect harmony. With delicious creamy apricot and white fruits and gentle sweet spices. Yum, this is damn good. Finishes with a slight juniper/ botanical note. A drop of water brings about a dramatic change bringing out lanolin/ wool fat flavours and emphasizing the spices, hence my suggestion to drink neat.


Kilchoman 63.5%

According to the label this has spent 3 months in sherry cask, not that you would know it. Basically it is new make spirit and it is always interesting to taste new make spirit. If you are interested it is available via their website priced at £4.99 each. It has a strongly peated nose with lots of manure and ‘off the still’ cereal, yet there is a pleasant sweetness to the spirit. On the palate, not surprisingly the ‘off the still’ cereal dominates, and it is not as peaty as the nose would suggest, sweet-ish, slightly oily, at the moment, not surprisingly it is a bit one-dimensional, but it will be interesting to see what a bit of cask influence will do as on first tasting it is quiet unlike any of the other Islay distilleries malts.

Amrut Indian Single Malt 40%

The sales rep was trying to convince me that their 3 year old malt tasted a lot older. ‘A lot of people think it is an aged Spey when tasted blind’ he told me. Now the main reason for bottling it at this young age is a necessity due to the hot weather, which accelerates the maturation time but also robs it of a huge ‘angels share’, so if they left in the cask for longer there would be practically a teaspoon left. So does it taste like an aged Spey? Well on the nose I can see why many would think so, it is very sweet with an almost Bourbon-esque aroma of oily vanillins, old honey, banana custard, toffee and loads of wood. On the palate it is sweet, sweet, sweet! A bit straightforward with soft fruit, vanilla, butter and toffee, along with a late pepper and spice note, yet there is no escaping its sweetness.

Mackmyra Preludium:03 Swedish Single Malt 52%

Another 3 year old. Big, rich and fruity. Banana fritters coated in honey and toffee. Lots of sherry cask evident with manure, marzipan, old lanolin, demerara sugar and banoffi pie! Dry, soft yet intense on the palate, lightly honied, demerara sugar coated sherry fruit. A bit simple, oily with malt, cereal and a slight butter note on the middle. The nose displays a great deal more complexity than the palate, although on this evidence it should be amazing in a few years time.

And finally something with a bit of age!

Ardbeg Arigh Nam Beist 1990 (16 year old) 43% £52.95

Initially slightly soapy aromas of vanilla, linseed oil and mature, crisp smoky citrus fruit, light vegetation and a floral note, followed by a touch of kippers and charred wood. Oily on the palate with soft, gentle peat, seaweed and blood oranges. Lovely depth with an intense, tangy middle of coastal bomfires, roasted meat and a touch of coal tar and soft peat. A long, mellow finale with a touch of liquorice, coffee and a dry, salty finish. A lovely old Ardbeg with a peppery bite!

Dewar Rattray Miltonduff 1980 (26 year old) 48% £67.95

A lovely nose, full of rich orange fruit, tea, vanilla, old honey, floor polish, herbs and sweet oak. Very herbal with leafy fauna and a good maturity. Very dry on the palate, obviously mature with herbal infused fruit, heather, wood and tea, light oil, old honey and floor polish. Surprisingly salty on the finish. It reminds me a of a Guyana rum. A drop of water emphasizes the coffee, orange fruit and floor polish bringing out a floral top note. On the palate it lengthens and softens the dry/ stalky wood tannins and brings out the old honey and maturity. Bottled just at the right time.
Right that’s it for now, apart from wishing you all a Happy Easter.

Orders and comments to the usual place.


Chris Goodrum

The 2010 Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – Whisky News


Not known for his subtlety, Jim has asked us to send a gentle nudge to remind loyal readers that the 2010 Whisky Bible is now out and available. Crammed full of nearly 4000 tasting notes including 946 brand new entries, the Whisky Bible remains the most up to date annual whisky guide on the market.

Written in Jim’s honest, straight and humorous style, The 2010 Whisky Bible makes for a perfect gift either for you personally, a friend or a loved one… and if you’ve already bought one, why not buy another?

Seriously folks, order on-line and Jim will, as you know, dedicate the book to the person of your choice.

Merry Christmas from the Whisky Bible Team

To order your signed 2010 Whisky Bible

Cooley Named European Distiller of the Year – Again – Whiskey News

Friday 27th November, 2009

Cooley Named European Distiller of the Year – Again

Cooley Distillery named European Distiller of the Year for 2nd Consecutive Year

Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent Whiskey distiller, has been named European Distiller of the Year for the second year running at the 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards banquet in London last night.

In 2008, Cooley Distillery won the World and European Distillery of the Year awards becoming the first Irish distiller to do so.  This year, Cooley Distillery eclipsed its 2008 IWSC medal haul with a record 10 gold medals and nine Best in Class awards securing the European Distiller of the Year award in the process.  

To top the night off for the Louth based distillery, its Kilbeggan 15-year-old collected the prestigious Brown Forman Trophy for Worldwide Whiskey of the Year.   The Brown Forman Trophy is awarded to the best Whiskey in the world produced outside of Scotland.

The Kilbeggan 15-year-old, which was launched in March 2007, has now won back to back IWSC gold medals and has been recognised as the best in its class for two years running.  The Brown-Forman Award cements Kilbeggan as one of the world’s best Whiskeys.

The awards were accepted on the night by Noel Sweeney, Master Blender and Jack Teeling, Sales & Marketing Director of Cooley Distillery, at the 40th IWSC Awards ceremony at the Guildhall in London.

Jack Teeling, commented,

“To win European Distiller of the Year award in back to back years is a unique achievement.  This award is testament to the innovation and dedication of the entire Cooley staff. Their continued hard work and our focus on quality has allowed us to produce an extensive portfolio of world class Whiskeys as evidenced by winning Worldwide Whiskey of the Year for our Kilbeggan 15-year-old.   

Irish whiskey is traditionally renowned for its quality. We are playing a key role in the renaissance of the category.”

For Additional Information:

Jack Teeling, Sales & Marketing Director, Cooley Distillery        

The Glenlivet and the Woodvale Atlantic Challenge – Scotch Whisky News


It took imagination, courage and a large helping of physical strength for our founder, George Smith, to set up The Glenlivet Distillery. We recognise these qualities in other people so when Alex Macdonald and Luke Grose told us their plan, we were delighted to help them.

They are taking part in the world’s toughest rowing race – the Woodvale Atlantic Challenge: a 3000 mile-long race from the Canary Islands, across the Atlantic Ocean to Antigua trying to set a new world record.

The race starts on Sunday 6th December 2009. The average time to complete the course is 55 days but Alex and Luke will try to make it in less than 40 days, the current record. When they’re not battling against 30-foot waves, dodging vast ocean-going tankers and trying to avoid sharks and inquisitive whales, they’ll be keeping us up to date with their progress which you can follow on our website. We wish them the very best of luck on their voyage of endeavour.


Issued 27 November 2009 – for immediate use

News Release


The world renowned International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) has voted Whyte & Mackay Global Distiller of the Year 2009.

The Glasgow-based spirits company won the prestigious accolade because of the record breaking year it’s had, winning more international product awards than ever before.

Whyte & Mackay has won 70 international medals and awards this year, including:
 Whyte & Mackay 30 year old voted “best blended whisky in the world” by the IWSC
 The Beverage Institute in the US describing The Dalmore  as a “world class experience”, and winning two double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards
 The limited edition Jura Paps range and Jura 30 year old receiving gold “best in class” awards from IWSC
 The International Spirits Challenge giving gold status for Jura Superstition, and Whyte & Mackay 30 and 40 year olds
 Glayva is now trademarked as the “best liqueur in the world” after winning the IWSC trophy a record breaking five times

Commenting on the achievement, Whyte & Mackay’s chief executive John Beard said: “This is a great accolade and really proves beyond doubt that we have a portfolio of products which can compete with the best in the world, both here and overseas. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for a job very well done, and to thank our distillery personnel in particular for their commitment to producing some of the best liquid in the business.”

Whyte & Mackay was presented with the Global Distiller of the Year Award at a glamorous IWSC event held in London last night (26 November 2009) where a range of awards were made.

The company’s renowned master blender Richard Paterson collected the trophy stating: “What a fantastic night. I would like to thank the IWSC for this fantastic accolade which recognises our commitment to quality and innovation in the world of whisky. I would also like to say congratulations to all the other winners last night.”

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