Archive for April, 2010

Ben Nevis 25yo (56%, OB, C#98/51/1, 628 Bottles, Distilled 12/1984 Bottled 01/2010) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note


Ben Nevis 25yo (56%, OB, C#98/51/1, 628 Bottles, Distilled 12/1984 Bottled 01/2010)

Ben Nevis Distillery established in 1825, is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. The distillery is nestled at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, which has a summit elevation of 4’406 feet above sea level. This imposing mountain provides an impressive background to a traditional Scottish craft. (From the website )

This sample was filled into freshly dumped bourbon barrels on the 20th of December 1984 and continued to mature in these casks for 14 years until on the 14th October 1998 the whisky was vatted and transferred into freshly dumped sherry butts. Maturation continued in these casks until this a particular cask was bottled in early January 2010 as a 25 year old. (From the wee neck booklet on the bottle).

The nose is closed at first but quickly opens up with rich tinned fruit, Christmas cake, warmed raisins and fruit cake backed by light varnish, hints of clove, oak notes and Demerara sugar. As you may surmise from the descriptors the nose is very rich, after a few minutes there is a hint of fennel lurking in the back ground along with an equally vague hint of burlap along with more of the oak. The more time it spends in the glass the more it evolves so it’s best to nip this in the bud and have a taste other wise we’ll be at this all day. There is strong (which is good)  bursts of sherry richness and huge dry oak and lashing of Fry’s cocoa and then a creaminess followed by light Marzipan, cold black unsweetened tea, more sherry and dryness. Oh my, what a complex wonderful dram. The finish is warming, long and sweet at first followed by the really excellent cocoa and the dryness. Think of old musical instruments and antique furniture shops and quality. After a number of minutes some malt makes a late appearance.

Impressive. Indeed, Ben Nevis is special. (Beware of palate failure; your palate must be tip top, no heavy meals, garlic, blue cheee or sheep’s brains, this is a delicate whisky with a big public persona that really isn’t if you take the meaning).

Score 89 points










 for further information and it’s priced at £78.99

Whisky Visitor Numbers Up Again in 2009 – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Visitor Numbers Up Again in 2009

New figures announced today by ScotlandWhisky – the national Whisky Tourism Organisation – reinforce the importance of Scotch Whisky to Scotland’s tourism sector. 

Visitor numbers grew by 2.6% in 2009, with 1,268,553 tourists visiting a distillery in Scotland. 

Consumer spending at distilleries increased by nearly 13%, contributing £28.4* million  to the local economy. 

Chris Conway from ScotlandWhisky said:

“These latest figures clearly show the continued attraction of Scotland’s national drink to tourists.   Visitors have a real desire to find out more about Scotch Whisky, and visiting a distillery remains a ‘must-do’ activity.  In fact, approximately 8% of visitors to Scotland tour a distillery**.” 

The increase in distillery visitors was in line with provisional figures for the wider Scottish tourism sector, with the growing average spend at distilleries outperforming the market.  

Conway continued:

“The on-going growth of visitor numbers to distilleries is a testament to the investment and innovation distillers continue to make.  More distilleries are investing in improved visitor facilities with a real emphasis on education and entertainment.  Many distilleries now offer additional connoisseur tours, masterclasses and opportunities to bottle or even blend your own Whisky – as well as participating in Whisky Festivals.” 

“Moreover, with many of Scotland’s best known distilleries situated in the Highlands and Islands the increase in spend gives a particular boost to rural economies.” 

Today’s figures come ahead of an important month in the whisky tourism calendar.  This year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival runs 29th April to 3rd of May with events at distilleries throughout the region (more details can be found at

It will be followed later in the month by the Islay Malt and Music festival: 22nd to 30th May.


* This figure includes sales of tour tickets, retail sales from distillery shops and café sales.
 **Based on the latest full year figures from VisitScotland (2008).  Tourist that spend an overnight stay in Scotland


• ScotlandWhisky is supported by The Scotch Whisky Association, The Scotch Whisky Experience, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland and its membership.

• 90 hotels, golf courses, bars and restaurants are now officially recognised as Scotch Whisky ‘Embassies’, having met specific quality criteria, including staff trained in Scotch Whisky appreciation.   Further information about ScotlandWhisky and its Embassy network is available at

147th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival Whisky School – Scotch Whisky News




147th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival

Held on May 22 and 23 at Victoria Topaz Park, this year’s event will be the biggest ever as the Games will be hosting the 2010 World Heavy Events Championship!  Twelve of the top highland games athletes from around the world will compete for the title of World Champion over the weekend.  Haggis hurling, tug of war and the kilted mile race are other athletic activities being held. 

The traditional competitions in solo piping/drumming, pipebands, and highland dancing will be held with world class participants.  There will also be a full sheepdog herding trial along with sheepshearing, falconry and swordfighting demonstrations.  The large festival tent will feature local music bands and entertainers all weekend long. 


Beam Global Whisky  School featuring the whiskies of Highland Park, Macallan and Famous Grouse led by Ambassador J. Wheelock. There are two classes on Saturday and two classes on Sunday.

Full details and a ticket order form can be found via

The two beer gardens (the Highland Championship Scottish Ale has been brewed specifically for the Games) are expected to be fully subscribed.  There are Celtic and Scottish vendors along with traditional food concessions.  The free kid’s entertainment area will have bouncy castles, mini-heavy events, balloon twisting, face painting and “soccer” practice with the Highlanders Football Club. 

More info at


Details of the Laphroaig 2010 CÀIRDEAS Feis Ile Bottling – Scotch Whisky News


“This MASTER edition of CÀIRDEAS, which means ‘friendship’ in Gaelic, is a masterful harmony of spirit ranging from 11 to 19 YEARS OF AGE.  It was specifically selected by Laphroaig Master Blender Robert Hicks in celebration of the 2010 Feis Ile and our Friends of Laphroaig worldwide.”

And the back label:

“The spirit from hogshead, combined with the ex-bourbon barrels, have created a truly distinctive Laphroaig with a complex, fruity nose which then gives way to a surprising peat explosion in the mouth, tempered by softer, sweeter, notes.”

Going online to friends.  Beginning of June   £45  3 bottles max per person

1000 – Distillery-sold in the Visitor Centre

4000 – online

Visit Laphroaig Distillery at

Loch Fyne Whiskies Stocks 2 New Signatory Vintage Bottlings – Scotch Whisky News


Loch Fyne Whiskies has stocked two Signatory Vintage Bottlings

Springbank 1969 40yo Signatory
54.4% abv
£585.00 inc vat
£497.87 ex vat

Magnificently presented 40yo.

Distilled 12 February 1969

Bottled 14 September 2009

Matured in a Refill Sherry Butt no. 263

Limited to 356 bottles.

‘Deep amber in colour, the whisky is rich and powerful, with marmalade – Seville oranges to the fore, with dried fruit peel followed by a delicate almond nuttiness. The finish is long and rewarding.’



Glenugie 1977 32yo Signatory
58.6% abv
£136.50 inc vat
£116.17 ex vat

Distilled: 15 October 1977

Bottled: 19 March 2010

Cask no: 1

Matured in hogsheads and finished in Oloroso butts for 90 months.

Limited to 670 bottles.

Here’s a real room-filling whisky. The sherry-style aroma fills all nooks and crannies like cigar smoke in a snooker room, clinging to your clothes and hair in the way you don’t want chip-fat to.

A big rich whisky; some minty, lavender notes and plenty of dry wood (tea-caddy) and slight smoke, a cigar malt if you must and an ace for me. (LFW Comments)


Best regards,
Loch Fyne Whiskies

Visit Loch Fyne Whiskies at

Suntory Japanese Whisky Tasting at Arkwrights – Japanese Whisky News


In our quest to bring you new and interesting whiskies to try we are hosting our first ever Japanese whisky tasting.  On Wednesday 9th June Zoran Peric, Brand Ambassador for Cellar Trends, will be coming along to present whiskies from the Suntory range, and if you’ve never tasted Japanese whisky before then this is your ideal opportunity to see why whisky from Japan has grown so much in popularity in recent years.

Suntory have two distilleries – Yamazaki (founded in 1923) and Hakushu – from which they produce a range of single and blended malt whiskies.  Whilst the basic method of whisky production is similar in Japan to Scotland, in that they double distil in pot stills, the Suntory distilleries have some fascinating variations in production.  For example, at the Yamazaki distillery they have 6 different types of pot still and use many variations of barrels – including one made from the Japanese Mizunara tree.

These type of variations, along with a mild climate, result in a distinctive style of sweet and elegant whisky that we think you will enjoy sampling – so come along and give them a try!

*How to book*

The tasting will be at Stanton House Hotel, Stanton Fitzwarren (, and will commence at 7.00 for 7.30pm. Tickets for the event are priced at just £10.00, and this includes a discount of £3 against a bottle of one of the featured whiskies if bought or ordered on the night of the tasting.

Most, if not all, of the whiskies tasted will be available to purchase on the night. We accept cash, credit/debit card or cheques.

Tickets are limited, and allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. To buy them just log on to and place an order for the number you require, or telephone us on (01793) 765071, or call in and see us at Arkwrights, The Dormers, Highworth, Wiltshire. Admission to the tasting is by ticket only, and Arkwrights reserve the right to restrict the number of tickets per person.

Tasting tickets always sell very quickly (usually within 48 hours) so it is best to book ASAP.

We look forward to seeing you for another great evening of whisky tasting.

Fran and Ken
Arkwrights Whisky and Wines


Longrow 10yo (46%, OB, +/-2009) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note


Longrow 10yo (46%, OB, +/-2009)

Springbank Distillery produces three styles of malt whisky; Springbank, mildly peated and 2.5 times distilled; Hazelburn, unpeated and 3 times distilled and Longrow, 2 times distilled and heavily peated. All variations are unadulterated by colouring or chill filtration. The nose reveals toffeed peat smoke, malt, some fragrant heathery notes and light bees wax (warm), a distant lumber yard along with some warm bread. The peat smoke is not over powering and the over all is impression is pleasant and inviting. The taste is strong, malty, leathery (lightly), peated and fragrant and is much like the nose. There is also some really nice dark chocolate and a lovely toffeed sweetness and more malt. It’s very nice. The finish is malty, oaky (oak spice), with some fruit (not too big) and peaty but once again it’s not out of balance with the other descriptors and does not dominate. The finish is very long and warming. Malt trumps at the very end.

Another good dram from Springbank

Score 84 points

Visit Springbank at


Buffalo Trace Saloon Trifecta Challenge Announcement – American Whiskey News


The handicapping challenge with a bourbon twist.

The field for Kentucky Derby 136 has been selected. Login to the Buffalo Trace Saloon and pick the 3 horses you think will finish in the Kentucky Derby. If you guess all 3 in the correct order, you win! It’s that simple.

In the event there is a tie, shots from your regular Saloon activities will be added and used as the tie-breaker (so it could really pay to play around in the Saloon!)

The winner receives The Ultimate Buffalo Trace Distillery Experience: airfare, hotel and a private tour of the distillery.

Go to the contest page for complete details.

Not a saloon member yet? Sign up now and take your best shot.

Share this contest with your friends on Twitter.
Good luck,

Buffalo Trace
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


Highland Park Newsletter – New Global Travel Retail Range – Scotch Whisky News


You will recall I teased you about the imminent release of four new expressions of Highland Park exclusively for global travel retail. Well, here goes…

The Vintage Editions range will replace the current expressions in duty free and consists of four whiskies which were distilled in 1998, 1994, 1990 and 1973. We looked into our maturing stocks to find sherry-seasoned casks which would showcase different dimensions of the classic Highland Park profile of honey sweetness and aromatic peat. Whisky Maker Max McFarlane identified specific vintage years with exceptional casks.

The differences between the expressions lie in the extent to which first-fill or refill European and American oak casks have been used; as always, maturation influences the colour and complexity of each whisky. So the 1998 and the 1990 Vintages emphasise the smokier notes whilst the 1994 and the 1973 highlight the sweeter characteristics.

We asked some whisky luminaries for their opinions. For example, Charlie MacLean found the 1998 “a flawless malt for its age”. Dave Broom reckoned the 1994 tasted of “ripe fruits and melting dark chocolate”. Dominic Roskrow thought the range as a whole was “amazing to see… totally unexpected characteristics”.

The whiskies are not available anywhere other than duty free – not even at the distillery – and will be priced as follows; 1998 Vintage €46 (1l), 1994 Vintage €65 (70cl), 1990 Vintage €99 (70cl) and 1973 Vintage €750 (70cl).
The Highland Park Vintages range is available with immediate effect. Full tasting notes can be found on our website.

For more information on the Best Spirit in the World visit


Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year, 2010


Binny’s Whisky Road Show Continues – Scotch Whisky News



Saturday, May 1, 1:00-4:00pm

If you have a passion for scotch, bourbon, cognac, tequila and other specialty spirits, Binny’s “Whiskey Hotline” should be on your speed dial. It’s headed up by Brett Pontoni — our resident expert and Duke of Distilled Spirits. Brett’s job is to talk whiskey, sample whiskey, buy whiskey, write about whiskey, and hand select exclusive barrels of whiskey. Winner of countless industry awards, Brett and his world famous Whiskey Hotline are hitting the road. Meet Brett Pontoni during one of his upcoming store appearances. He’ll be pouring his personal favorites during a special series of open house tastings.

Call 630-654-0988 or email for reservations.

6920 S. Route 83 | Willowbrook | 630-654-0988


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