Archive for August, 2010

Ralfy & Raymond Autographed Inchgower 28yo For Charity Auction Closes – Scotch Whisky News


The ebay auction Item Number 300456699703 featuring Bottle No1 of 222 bottles taken from cask No. 6966, a 28 yo hogshead of Inchgower distilled on the 30th of June 1982 and bottled on the 5th of August 2010 at cask strength 50.7% abv has ended. 

The bottle sold for £370

The bottling process has been recorded for posterity in one of Ralfy’s famous UTube videos and the proceeds will go to a local old folks charity in Wigtown (a very old Wigtown Charity called the Wigtown Players who provide Christmas dinner for old folk).

It was bottled by the lads at Bladnoch Distillery and to view the bottling process at Bladnoch visit;

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter #44 by Chris Goodrum Part One – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Intelligence has reproduced (with permission) The Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter for August 2010, the author, Chris Goodrum, has some excellent insights of whisky, which makes for excellent reading on a Sunday.  However W.I. has carefully excised any mention of r*m or V*dk*.  The full newsletter can be viewed on the Gauntleys website.

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter

Well it’s that time of the year again. The Independent Bottlers Challenge, and I have a box full of Islay samples sitting on my kitchen work top waiting for me to pass judgement upon. So a report on that should be in the next newsletter. This month’s news is that I’ve been writing an article, which I have submitted to the whisky Magazine for Publication. As Rob Allanson the editor is currently touring Scotland picking up samples for their next bottling it may be some time before I find out if they are going to publish it. So in the mean time I will kick off the newsletter with said article, which I think is pretty ground breaking, even if I do say so myself.

Tasting wise I have reviewed some of Dewar Rattray’s and Raymond Armstrong’s latest bottlings. It was interesting to see that Raymond has bottled a few casks from the more obscure distilleries, such as Balmenach, whose current owners Inver House Distillers don’t appear to have released an official bottling. This is probably down to the fact that when they purchased the distillery from United Distillers, no maturing whisky was included in the deal. He has also bottled an Inchgower and a Teaninich, which are only offered as part of the Diageo ‘Flora and Fauna’ series, although a ‘Managers Choice’ bottling of Teaninich was released recently.

I have also tasted both the 2010 and 2009 World Whiskies of the year, those being the Ardbeg Corryvreckan (Second Release) and the 20 year old Yoichi, with mixed results it has to be said. Also reviewed as promised in the last newsletter is the Glengyle ‘Kilkerran WIP 2’.

Also there is a review of an interesting Tobermory and Highland Park tasting. The aim of which was to see if Tobermory could do a ‘Tulli’. That is being promoted from the axis of evil – scroll down to see the answer! With regard to the Highland Park tasting the aim was to see if my theory that it really needs some sherry cask in order to impart some character as I have said many times in the past was true. So was Bourbon oaked Highland Park lacking? The results were rather interesting!

So without further ado I give you……………… fanfare please!!!!!!!!!


So where is the Speyside region? On the face of it, this may seem like a really silly question. We all know where it is right? Well no actually! It has come to my attention that there is no consensus of opinion as far as whisky books go as to which distilleries lay within this region. It all began when I received a consignment from a well known Independent bottling company. Amongst the bottles was a bottle of Tomatin. Nothing unusual about that, however on the label it stated that it was a Speyside malt. Hang on I thought surely the distillery is in the Highlands? Upon contacting said bottling company I was told that they had used a well known book as a reference guide. So upon checking that along with a number of other books and websites it appeared to me that each one had their own take on which distilleries were either from the Speyside or Highland region.

I wondered if they were roughly categorising them purely upon flavour. Broadly speaking Speyside malts fall into one of three styles, those of a light and floral style, for example Aultmore. Those of a medium bodied fruited up highland disposition, like Miltonduff and those of a more full bodied style, which usually means sherry ageing, for example Macallan. However as is the case with many distilleries, long gone are the days of one signature malt being produced. Nowadays it is all about diversity – different wood finishes, different peating levels, different strains of barley, etc, the list is almost endless.

But, let’s stick with the flavour category for awhile. I have taken as a reference book the excellent ‘Whisky Classified – Choosing Single Malts by Flavour’ by Dr David Wishart. So, if we take the most basic expression from these distilleries and group them together by flavour, then in the case of the light and fruity style, not only would you include Aultmore, but An Cnoc (Knockdhu), Isle of Arran, Auchentoshan, Cardhu, Glengoyne, Glen Grant, Glentauchers, Mannochmore, Speyside, Tamdhu and Tobermorey.

You could also quite rightly include Allt a Bhainne, Bladnoch, Braeval, Bunnahabhain, Caperdonich, Glenburgie, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Moray, Inchgower, Loch Lomand and Tomintoul. I don’t think it would take a genius to point out that this list of distilleries is from all over Scotland, not just Speyside, and if you look at including say older expressions from the distilleries core range, you will find that a number of them employ sherry casks, which would then put say Glengoyne and Glen Grant firmly in the full bodied, robust Macallan camp. Thus it would appear to be impossible to categorise an entire region purely on the basis of flavour alone.

This means that membership of the Speyside community must be down to geography, but that seems to raise yet more issues. For example some books and websites just consider those distilleries that are found on the A96 grouped around Elgin and Forres, those on the A95 between Craigellachie and Ballindalloch, and those found on the A941, between Elgin and Dufftown. Other publications believe that the distilleries clustered around Huntly – Glendronach and Knockdhu being two examples are included in the Speyside designation. I have also seen a map in a publication which claims that the region stretched all the way from Inverness to Fraserburgh on the east coast.

So, who is correct? Anecdotal evidence suggests that the term Speyside has been in use since the 1880s, however Alfred Barnard in his seminal book ‘The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom’, written in 1885 doesn’t use the term Speyside and refers to the whisky of many of the Speyside distilleries as ‘pure Highland malt’. Surely I thought by now there must be an official demarcation of this area, which would provide those distilleries within it some kind of legal protection, similar to the 1993 European Union ‘Protected Food Names’ legislation, whose framework was modelled on the appellation controlee system in France, which is rigorously policed by it’s governing body the ‘Institut National des Appellations d’Origine’ (INAO). This piece of legislation makes it illegal under European law to manufacture and sell a product under one of the controlled geographical indications if it does not comply with the criteria of it. For example the legislation not only provides protection for food names on a geographical basis but also on a ‘traditional recipe’ basis too. This means that Orkney beef for example can only be labeled as such if the produce is derived from cattle born, reared and slaughtered in Orkney and Kentish Ale can only be made in Kent using the local water and locally grown hops as it has been since 1698 at the Shepherd Neame Brewery.

So is there legislation in this country to govern product labeling of Scotch whisky?

The answer is of course yes, and for this we must turn to the Scotch Whisky Association, arbiter and upholders of all things whisky related. Back in 2004 they set in motion a series of consultations with their members and the whisky industry as a whole to create just that – A draft to present to the UK government setting out the exact boundaries of the whisky making areas of Scotland. This led to the ‘The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009’, which replaced the earlier Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and the Scotch Whisky Order 1990. Whereas the previous legislation had only governed the way in which Scotch Whisky must be produced, the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 now sets out rules on how Scotch Whiskies must be labelled, packaged and advertised, as well as requiring Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be bottled in Scotland from 2012.

But I digress. If you turn to Regulation 10 – Locality and region geographical indications, it states the following:

(5) The protected localities are –
(c) “Speyside”, comprising—
(i) the wards of Buckie, Elgin City North, Elgin City South, Fochabers Lhanbryde, Forres, Heldon and Laich, Keith and Cullen and Speyside Glenlivet of the Moray Council as those wards are constituted in the Moray (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2006(b); and
(ii) the Badenoch and Strathspey [including Grantown on Spey] ward of the Highland Council as that ward is constituted in the Highland (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2006(c).

So I believe that I can now create the definitive list of working and mothballed Speyside distilleries, which I have broken down by ward. I have also listed their postcodes so if you like you can look them up on multimap!

Inchgower. – Banffshire AB56 5AB
Benriach – Morayshire IV30 8SJ
Glenlossie – Morayshire IV30 8SS
Glen Moray – Morayshire IV30 1YE
Linkwood – Morayshire IV30 3RD
Mannochmore. – Morayshire IV30 8SS
Glen Elgin – Morayshire IV30 3SL
Longmorn – Morayshire IV30 8SJ
Benromach – Morayshire IV36 3EB
Dallas Dhu – Morayshire IV36 2RR
Glenburgie. – Morayshire IV36 2QY
Miltonduff – Morayshire IV30 8TQ
Aultmore – Banffshire AB55 6QY
Glentauchers. – Banffshire AB55 6YL
Glen Kieth – Banffshire AB55 3BU
Strathisla – Banffshire AB55 5BS
Strathmill. – Banffshire AB55 5DQ
Aberlour – Banffshire AB38 9PJ
Allt a Bhainne – Banffshire AB55 4DB
Auchroisk – Banffshire AB55 6XS
Balvenie – Banffshire AB55 4DH
Benrinnes – Banffshire AB38 9NN
Braeval – Banffshire AB37 9JS
Caperdonich – Banffshire AB38 7BN
Cardhu – Morayshire AB38 7RY
Craigellachie – Banffshire AB38 9ST
Dailuaine – Banffshire AB38 7RE
Dufftown – Banffshire AB55 4BR
Glenallachie – Banffshire AB38 9LR
Glendullan – Banffshire AB55 4DJ
Glenfarclas – Banffshire AB37 9BD
Glenfiddich – Banffshire AB55 4DH
Glen Grant – Banffshire AB38 7BS
Glenlivet – Banffshire AB37 9DB
Glenrothes – Morayshire AB38 7AA
Glen Spey – Morayshire AB38 7AU
Imperial – Morayshire AB38 7QP
Kininvie, – Banffshire AB55 4DH
Knockando – Morayshire AB38 7RT
Macallan – Morayshire AB38 9RX
Mortlach – Banffshire AB55 4AQ
Speyburn – Morayshire AB38 7AG
Tamdhu – Morayshire AB38 7RP
Tamnavulin– Banffshire AB37 9JA
Tomintoul – Banffshire AB37 9AQ
Dalwhinnie – Inverness-shire PH19 1AB
Speyside. – Inverness-shire PH21 1NS
No distilleries.
Balmenach – Morayshire PH26 3PF
Cragganmore – Morayshire AB37 9AB
Tormore. – Morayshire PH26 3LR

This list throws up a couple of interesting conundrums. If you study the labels on bottles of both the Macallan and Dalwhinnie you will see that they clearly state ‘Single Highland Malt’, which of course they are perfectly entitled to, yet as we have seen both are entitled to call themselves ‘Speyside Single Malts’. So why do

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter #44 by Chris Goodrum Part Two – Scotch Whisky News

they choose not to do so. If we look at Dalwhinnie for example, when it was first built in 1897 the distillery was then called ‘Strathspey’, which should give you a clue to its location, with it becoming known as Dalwhinnie in November 1898 when it was sold to the Dalwhinnie Distillery Company. However this doesn’t answer the original question as to why it is not labelled as a Speyside distillery and the answer to that is plain and simple – the don’t want to!

Nick Morgan, the head of whisky knowledge global (great job title!) at Diageo told me that “In terms of its physical location, Dalwhinnie is located in the central highlands at a considerable distance from the acknowledged geographic reality of Speyside. A 21st century re-drawing of boundaries for administrative purposes cannot undo the realities of geography and culture.”

“Dalwhinnie is a Highland distillery, located at an important centre of the old highland droving industry. Its history, its character and its culture – as well as its physical geography – are of the Scottish Highlands. It is not, has never been and will never be a Speyside distillery.”

The Macallan distillery was a bit less romantic and more forthright with regards to its reasons. “Macallan chooses to continue to use Highland [as its designation] as it has always done.” I was told. Both distilleries took pains to remind me that the Speyside region was just a subset of the Highland region, almost in self defence, if I was somehow criticising them for not using the Speyside ‘appellation’. Which I obviously wasn’t, maybe it’s because I ask awkward questions? Just ask a certain well known author! –

“But I am interested to know on what grounds you claim Tomatin not to be a Speysider, seeing that geographically (just) and style-wise (massively), it is…” – Well we now know that legally it definitely isn’t!

Right time for some tasting!

Glen Ord 1990 (20 year old) 54.4%
Puncheon 1160
A high toned and slightly spirity nose with some gentle honey and grass. Quite delicate and mature, maybe just a touch too old as the alcohol gives it a definite nose prickle. However it has a good depth with a mature edge to the honey notes and with time some creamy vanilla oak.

The palate is surprisingly mouth filling, yet still delicate with mature light honey coated fruit, grass, straw oak and plenty of spice. The alcohol is pretty intense and the finish is quite hot with a spirity/ botanical finish.

With water the nose is beautifully grassy, almost lowland-esque. The oak is pushed back and lets some white fruits and flowers come through. Overall it seems fresher now. However the palate has lost its shape and become sugar water. Pity.

Teaninich 1982 (27 year old) 49.2%
Bourbon Cask 7697
Deep aromas of mature honey, floor polish, lanolin and spices. Amazingly it is still a bit gristy with a core of granity hard cereal and hints of wheat flakes. Delicate and elegant, the oak supports well.

The palate is gentle and again surprisingly gristy with a distinct sawdust and pure barley husk dust character. Mellow and gentle with oodles of honey and just the right amount of alcohol to balance the dustiness! The finish is fresh and intense and leaves an oily coating to the mouth and a gentle dusting of dried spice.

With water the honey aromas become more pronounced, yet it has developed a touch of confectionary sweetness. The palate is a touch watery and a bit so-so, but then out of nowhere comes a burst of old rose petals, Turkish delight and spices. Even so I would prefer to drink this neat.

Inchgower 1982 (28 year old) 50.4% £54.95
Bourbon Hogshead 6965
A simply gorgeous nose! Superb depth of garden herb infused honey with a touch of lemon sherbert and old wood spices. Although given time the oak barrels in with lashings of caramel and toffee, the honey is always in charge! The oak is definitely of the sawn/ sawdusty type and the aromas move into a digestive biscuit direction. All this oak and honey is balanced well by the mint, juniper and garden herbs.

Soft, silky and liqueur like with a slight lactose quality. Again the honey shows first followed by the boisterous oak adding a pure vanilla ice cream note before moving into the caramel/ toffee arena. Oooh this is getting richer! We’ve not finished yet! The middle opens to display some brown sugar sprinkled wheaty biscuit before the alcohol cleanses the palate. However the toffee has coated the mouth and it easily sees off the alcohol intrusion. Yes there is a lot of oak but to me it is definitely not unbalanced. It won’t appeal to all palates, but if you love the purity and complexity of good Bourbon wood, then this is your dram!

A drop of water emphasises the light herbal character of the nose, brining out some Sauvignon blanc-esque fruit, grass and citrus. On the palate the oak is subdued somewhat and now kind of lurks at the edges, it allows the icing sugar coated grassy citrus fruit to shine along with the honey and dried flowers/ rose petals. The balance is probably a bit better with water, but either way it’s a superb bottling.

Highland Park 1997 (12 year old) 50% £44.95
Bourbon cask 6259
Quite a pungent and heavily peated nose for a Highland Park. Very fishy with hints of bog myrtle, menthol, heather-honey and slightly gristy barley notes. Youthful and slightly coastal with some late rubber and iodine.

Slightly oily, opening with cereal biscuits followed by heather-honey and herbs. The intense alcohol dies out the middle and the finish. Although it does seem quite full for a Bourbon oaked Highland Park. The peat is gentler on the palate, yet it is quite an oily/ tarry, sort of liquid peat – Pretty wild huh!

With water the nose becomes gentler and slightly candied with the barley taking on a sugar coating and the intense peat retreating into the background. The palate has opened quite delightfully. Like the nose it has become sweeter and a lot more expressive. Gristy and grippy, considerably
more floral and heathery with just a touch of honey and light fishy peat. Delicate (almost!) and complex, this is an amazingly good Bourbon cask (and I don’t say that very often!) The finish just keeps on going, finishing with a smidge of peat smoke and salt.

Craggenmore 1991 (19 year old) 53.8% £49.95
Bourbon Hogshead 1176
A superb nose of complex honey aromas – natural clear honey and macula. Balanced by a slight grassiness and gentle spices. Fresh and aromatic with a lovely poise. With time there is a touch of cereal and banana. The vanilla oak along with some maltiness sits beneath.

Soft and gentle on the palate. Quite grassy to begin with then the complexity of honey unfolds itself before being cut short by the piquant alcohol.

With water, the nose becomes extremely fresh with a veritable fruit basket of zingy citrus before moving into a slightly fleshy tropical fruit direction. There is still plenty of honey although that has taken a bit of a back seat. As expected the palate has opened up beautifully. The honey is cut through with a vein of citrus and the gentle spices come to life. Possibly not as complex as the nose, but still very enjoyable.

Balmenach 1983 (26 year old) 52.8% £54.95
Bourbon Hogshead 2410
An oily and slightly pungent nose of floral scented mature honey along with some old rose petal notes. Over time it becomes liberally sprinkled with pure icing sugar and the oak begins to express itself with a crème caramel note. Superb balance between the oak and spirit.

Lightly oily on the palate with a touch of treacle, light coffee, tar and manure along with the sugar coated mature honey (sounds odd but is quite pleasant!) Mouth watering alcohol clears the way for some old botanicals and a sharp, dry finish. Intriguing!

Water brings out some oily marzipan and the oak grips a little more now, although that is balanced by a fresh edge. The palate is softer and sweeter with some marzipan, rose water and crumbly spices. Definitely mature but still lively. Quite charming.

Glenburgie 1983 (26 year old) 53.7% £67.95
Sherry Cask 9801
A high toned leafy, sweet Oloroso nose. Quite malty and full with distinct green nuts and wood spice notes from the cask. A gentle/ elegant sherry monster! Lovely maturity and the sherrywood spices are divine. With time some liquorice, coffee, tar and a touch of menthol become apparent.

Soft and gentle nutty sherry fruit, a bit more Palo Cortado in style. As to be expected the combination of alcohol and tannins masks the finish although some leafy notes hang in there. The sweetness builds through out and becomes quite candied towards the end.

With water the nose becomes more candied and some orange conserve and sugar coated dried citrus rind appears. It’s definitely a sugar fest now! The palate is showing its age now – mature, poised and gentle with the flavours melding into serene morass. Like the nose it is pretty candied and one for those of you with a sweet tooth. Very long with hints of white flowers in the finish. A lovely mature sherry cask!


So could Tobermory do a Tulli? Well…… er……no! Although I will say that the 10 year old has improved a great deal since I last tasted it but overall it is still a very industrial and for me unpleasant malt. It still exhibits that wet cardboard character and occasional butyric note, plus when they add some peat to the mix, as in the Ledaig bottling, well, just read the tasting notes!

Tobermory 10 year old 40% – Distillery Bottling
Bourbon/ Sherry (?)
The nose, although still rather industrial in style has definitely improved. Yes there is still that wet cardboard note but there is some sweet barley, malt and a touch of grape. On the palate it tastes like an innocuous blend component. It’s softly sherried with a touch of malt and again wet cardboard. It’s short and a bit hot on the finish along with some pleasant spices which are unfortunately trounced by a slightly metallic/ tarry after taste.

Ledaig No Age Statement 42% – Distillery Bottling
Good grief this is rough. Industrial isn’t the word for it. Pretty young with plenty of ‘off the still’ marc, cardboard, peat and a butyric edge. Yep it’s that pleasant!

The palate mirrors the nose, some pleasant smoke tries to liven the proceedings but it’s all a bit flat and spirity. Oh and under no circumstances add any water………. It’s toe curlingly nasty!

Ledaig 8 year old 50% – Old Malt Cask Bottling
The nose is quite fishy and only faintly cardboardy. It has considerably more depth the previous bottling and in fact it’s quite refined. Lots of manurey peat mingle with cod liver oil and hints of crispy bacon bits!

A reasonably oily palate with an initial honest gentle peat but still acquiescing to the cardboard notes. The middle is pleasant as the oak arrives with a buttery wave and some pleasant spice. Like the above it’s a bit short, yet it has a agreeable, lingering smoky finish.

Adding water signals the retreat of the peatiness as the cardboard hordes rush in! Flat and a bit sickly sweet on the palate.

Ledaig 9 year old 40% – Glen Keir ‘Treasures’ Bottling
Serious baby sick and sherry! Pretty fishy with some wet cardboard/ wet dog aromas going on! Enough said! The palate is thankfully after that nose quite innocuous. There’s some sherry of the candied persuasion, some youthful marc, some oily/ sooty peat and the ubiquitous cardboard!

For some reason we added some water (probably to torture ourselves a bit more!) which emphasised the sherry cask adding a touch of chocolate, but the palate became, dull, flat and watery with a nasty, sugary finish.

Ledaig 1997 (12 year old) 46% – Ian MacLeod Dun Bheagan Bottling
Sherry Butt 800007
An unrefined and torturous nose of murky, earthy coffee and cardboard with added alcohol prickle for good measure! The palate is rough, industrial and totally lacking any cask interaction and features all of the above with some spice and late smoke. A great way to round of a pretty undignified tasting.

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter #44 by Chris Goodrum Part Three – Scotch Whisky News


Well we began with the independent bottlings, and as you are more than aware from reading my newsletters that I find this, along with Bowmore to be a most frustrating malt. They are just so hit and miss, and as you will see from the tasting of the distillery bottlings that they are as well, but for different reasons.

The first objective was to once and for all establish whether it really needs some Sherry in the mix to give it body and interest. So quality issues aside I believe that if the spirit is going to be filled into ex-Bourbon casks then to give some depth to what is essentially quite a honeyed and tropically flavoured spirit then first fill add the necessary bolstering to those flavours otherwise if the cask is too well used the spirit can seem a bit too limp, unless a modicum of peat is used.

With regard to the distillery bottlings I have often wondered whether the distillery keeps the best casks for itself, but the results of this tasting would indicate otherwise. Now this tasting was conducted by using 5cl minatures and well we all know that these can be often used to off load less than perfect spirit, but even so the 15 and 16 year old bottlings were serious poor quality. The 12 year old I’m still convinced is a great malt although this particular 5cl was not without a blemish, and as for the 21 the balance here was totally lacking and when water was added what little distillery character it had went south at a rapid rate of knots.

The same lack of balance is evident in the 25 year old as well, although to be honest it has been produced for those people that love big, leafy Oloroso drams and well I’m sorry but you could be drinking any old malt, in fact it to me had a resemblance to old Glengoyne. So that left the 18 year old, which to me is the pinnacle of Highland Park. The balance between cask and spirit is sublime and should appeal to those that like it sherried and those that like some elegance in their malts….. like me!


Highland Park 8 year old 40% – Gordon & Macphail’s Collection
Refill Sherry
Oh look some wet card and sweet malt, hang-on I thought we’d dispensed with Tobermory! It’s all a bit musty, dusty and alcoholic. At the centre of the aromas lies a touch of honey but it’s submerged under the layers of ick!
The palate is dry with a touch of honey and sweet barley sugar and that cardboardy edge. Very hot and alcoholic, which is surprising for its abv, but the spirit doesn’t have any depth to contain the alcohol.

As I suspected a drop of water tames the alcohol but shows up the brevity of the spirit – It definitely show’s its age.

Highland Park 1998 (11 year old) 46% – Dewar Rattray
(First reviewed in Newsletter No43 June 2010)
Bourbon Cask 5789
The nose is very sweet and it has become exceedingly tropical (which I don’t recall from my earlier tasting). A touch gristy with crystallised fruit, herbal-honey and plenty of caramel oak. The palate is pretty tropical like the nose – banana fritter springs to mind!. Again gristy with plenty of caramel/ butterscotch oak and honey. A touch short with some delightful spices and a hint of smoke on the finish.

Highland Park 1998 (12 year old) 57.8% – James MacArthur
(First revived in Newsletter No43 June 2010)
Bourbon Cask
Pungently fishy and briny with no shortage of alcohol. There is some pleasantly sweet fruit, which verges on the tropical, heather-honey, oak and dusty spices. Over time it gets a bit candied though.

The palate is oily and alcoholic. The wood is good but it is omnipresent and subdues the sweet honey. Not as fishy as the nose would suggest and finishes with a touch of smoke.

A drop of water makes the nose a bit winey, emphasising the sweet honey and tropical banana notes. The palate likewise is a tad sweeter and a touch sugary, still plenty of butterscotch oak and a hint of spices. A bit straightforward and over oaked.

Highland Park 1997 (12 year old) 50% – Raymond Armstrong
See previous tasting note

Highland Park 1995 (14 year old) 57.6% – Dewar Rattray
(First reviewed in Newsletter No39 Oct 2009)
Bourbon Cask 1479
According to my earlier notes I though it was quite peated but it seems more smoky than peaty now. It seems a bit young and vague with some tropical fruit. Quite sugary with a touch of vanilla oak and peppery notes.
Slightly oily with lots of wood, lots of alcohol and lots of candy. Later a touch of flambéed toffee banana. We didn’t add water because there wasn’t enough spirit left in the sample bottle!

Highland Park 1984 (23 year old) 50% – Old Malt Cask Bottling
Refill Sherry Butt 3805
A huge nose of mature honey and tropical fruit with the sherry cask sitting in the background. Gentle, even sensuous mango, guava and papuya mingle with the wood spices. Practically an unpeated nose and although showing the distillery tropical character it could be easily mistaken for a Spey.

Slightly oily, opening the a bucket load of honey and tropical fruit followed by sawdusty-barley and wood tannins towards the middle. The sherry influence is delicate and supporting. Lip smackingly good with an impression of gentle smoke in the finish. A very impressive dram.

A drop of water really opens up the nose a treat, showcasing the glorious depth of tropical fruit, drawing out a lovely citrus thread and a winey Sauvignon grassiness. On the palate it stirs the honey into life and it pretty much coats the mouth. Gently sweet now and still very long.

Highland Park 1968 (41 year old) 41.8% – Duncan Taylor Peerless
Bourbon Cask 3461
The nose is slightly high toned and cheesy to begin with, which was something I wasn’t expecting. Once poured it needs some time to settle down. First impressions now are that it is more like a heavily oaked Spey than a Highland Park. Yes there are some pleasant dried heather nuances but the oak is firmly in control. The cheesy note has now become more of a lanolin note and there is a touch of sugar coated herbal honey, which sort of offsets it. Nevertheless the dominant oak smells relatively fresh and not as mature as I would have expected, so I would assume that it has been re-racked at some stage.

The palate is gentle, oily with a light makula honey and sweet, fleshy citrus fruit. Not particularly coastal and initially the oak is not as intrusive as it is on the nose. The alcohol although relatively low still has a refreshing bite. It doesn’t take long for the oak to reassert itself with bitter tannins and hints of coffee, even though the gorgeous honey tries its best to wrap it up. It’s not particularly long, and one feels it’s pleasant enough for its age, but for £310 is pleasant good enough?


Highland Park 12 year old 40% – Distillery Bottling
It has to be said that the 12 year old has a pretty much complete nose, aside from the slightly butyric note! Slightly spicy and gristy, the delicate tropical fruit, melds wonderfully with the heather-honey and candied sweet sherry. There seems to be less of the tarry, fishy and coastal notes that I remember from a previous tasting many years ago, but I would still call this an absolutely banker!

The palate is soft and juicy, opening with the honey coated dried fruit and the sugary-sweet sherry. A myriad of tropical fruits arrive on the middle backed by a very pleasant Bourbon/ sherry wood combination and a hint of coastal smoke and brine. For a 40% bottling it packs quite an alcoholic punch, but it never becomes spirity. Lovely length.

Highland Park 15 year old 40% – Distillery Bottling
It has a very odd colour this one. A sort of murky olive oil colour.

It’s a bit of a brutish nose to be honest. Yes there is a huge amount of mature-ing honey…. And more….and more! With herbal nuances and a touch of coastal. However it lacks the complexity and dexterity of the 12 year old and the alcohol seems quite astringent and intrusive even though it’s only 40%.

Very dry on the palate. Again plenty of herbal honey and gristy spices, but like the nose it is rather straightforward and uncharming. It seems somewhat muted and the tropical fruit has an odd edge to it. Not quite cardboard but something not totally pleasant. Good length with again a very alcoholic finish.

Highland Park 16 year old 40% – Distillery Bottling
The aromas seem a lot more mature than the 15 year old. There’s no shortage of mature honey and big sweet sherry adding some coffee-spice. Rich, expansive and rounded with heathery notes and orange barley nuances.

The palate is lightly oiled and surprisingly a bit vague and watery. A bit over confected with some herbal-honey and toffee. To be honest the intensity gets off it’s butt and builds into an all to brief pleasant middle, which exhibits a slightly floral quality along with some chocolate malt before the alcohol kicks it all into touch. So there you have it – a vague start, an enjoyable middle and then looses the will to live at the end!

Highland Park 18 year old 43% – Distillery Bottling
An immense, expansive and hugely honeyed nose with citrus notes. This is a gorgeous vatting of Bourbon and Sherry casks. This seems to be the quintessential Highland Park; it has everything you want by the bucketful! Mature honey, heather, sugar dusted tropical fruit, banana, fig, chocolate and a soft smoky coastal embrace. Stunning!

The palate opens with chocolate and liquorice before moving off into the herbal honey stratosphere! Light smoke, citrus and mature tropical fruit combine brilliantly. Big and chewy on the middle with heather and gentle spices. The alcohol although higher than the other bottlings is so smooth and wonderfully integrated that there is definitely no need for water (in fact it’s a tad disappointing with water, which is why it was bottled at this strength). The interplay between the spirit and the various woods is stunning and the finish………..!!!

Highland Park 21 year old 47.5% – Distillery Bottling
From the nose I would guess that it is a 80/20% vatting of Sherry/ Bourbon casks, certainly the colour would suggest that, also there is a lot more wood on the nose, and that is the first thing that hits you. Not quite in the class of the 18yr, but there is still huge gobs of orange fruit, followed by uber sweet, thick honey, sherry spices and Oloroso leafiness.

The leafy sherry is in full swing on the palate with copious quantities of tannins and alcohol. Some mature tropical fruit and honey flavours tries there hardest to break through but ultimately it has to surrender to the constraining tannins and alcohol.

With water the nose really begins to loose all sense of character (the orange fruit and honey have well and truly headed south, sounding the retreat!) and ramps up the sherry. On the palate it is a lot simpler now and more confected. After the 18 year old this is a major disappointment.

Highland Park 25 year old 48.1% – Distillery Bottling
Apparently 50% of the spirit was matured in first fill Oloroso casks. Well it might as well have been 100% to be honest!! The nose is exceedingly woody and dry. What little wonderfully mature tropical fruit is pounded into submission. In fact this reminds me of old Glengoyne in its dried fruit and nuttiness. The wood is far too aggressive for the spirit. I know sherry cask lovers would kill for this but for me the balance and elegance of say the 18 year old is sadly lacking here.

Quite oily on the palate. Like the nose there is a mountain of sherry wood which accounts for all of the flavours – caramelised nuts and spices. Add to that the rampant, mouth watering alcohol and the bitterness from the oak and it’s a pretty dry old affair.

Water doesn’t really make any difference to the either the nose or the palate, maybe brining out a touch of lazy smoke and a faint cardboardy note. So with a price tag of 160 odd quid in my opinion it is a seriously disappointing dram!


Nikka Yoichi 20 year old 52%
Batch 16G14C
Quite a huge, high toned alcoholic nose of Oloroso sherry and ‘quelle horreur’ a stinky struck match heads sulphur note!!! What is this doing here?? And on the 2009 World Whisky of the Year??? Scandalous! Yes, there is a serious depth of cinnamon coated orange fruit, dark malt, demarara sugar, dried figs, and walnuts, but there’s no escaping the ruinous sulphur! I have to say that the nose on the 15 year old is considerably better.

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter #44 by Chris Goodrum Part Four – Scotch Whisky News

The palate opens with the sulphur note. Ignoring that there is a lovely depth of burnt toffee, walnuts, dates, prunes and cinnamon spices. The sherry sits in the background and is not as invasive as it is on the nose. The alcohol is piquant and in passing leaves hints of rich, plumy fruit followed by some marzipan and burnt butter. There is no ignoring the enormity and complexity, but still the sulphur lingers and grates at the senses – This could have been a stunning dram and worth of the World Whisky of the year tag. The finish is superb, meandering its way to a charred wood, dark chocolate-tannin finish.

With water the sherry aroma/ flavour is pushed back a bit and if anything emphasises the sulphur! Lighter and juicier now with more ‘spirit character’ than wood. A touch of salt/ chlorine freshness now appears as does a sugar coating to the fruit, and the cask dutiful adds a nutty nuance.

I can’t believe that this was just a rogue batch as Jim Murray mentions this sulphur note in two separate batches that he’s tasted. It would appear that he and the judges of the World Whisky panel are a lot more forgiving than I am – Sulphur is a fault, full stop and it really ruins my appreciation of an otherwise exceptional dram.


Ardbeg Corryvreckan (Second Release) 57.1%
Bourbon/ French Oak
A robust, butch and possibly more rounded nose than the first release. It’s also less fruity and I think it’s youthfulness has been tamed by a greater degree of oak influence. However there is still plenty of iodine, salt, parma violets, creosote, burnt toffee and not forgetting the full-on peat. Big and smoky with a bracing coastal astringency and given time the elusive citrus and orange fruit emerges.

The palate is full and quite oily with burnt wood ash, smoke and earthy-peat….. and more peat…. And more peat. In fact it has a monumental density of peat, veritable slabs of the stuff! However it’s definitely not a one trick pony, there is plenty of coastal citrus fruit, also the greater oak influence, like on the nose, rounds the palate and although it’s a bit of an alcoholic brute, the oak seems to round that off too, even to the point of being able to enjoy it neat. Extremely long with the peat taking on a definite sooty dénouement as it winds its way to the finish.

With water the youthful aromatic power through the oak and some gristy barley comes through. The peat is less intense now and some distinct ‘aged’ Ardbeg notes of treacle, menthol and fishermans friends become apparent. The palate is not quite so visceral now. Like on the nose, the gristy barley shines and both barley and malt has taken on a candied sheen. The spirit is dare I say it showing its gentle side. The oak hasn’t entire lost its influence and slightly bitters out the finale.

A fabulous malt and definitely deserving of World Whisky of the Year 2010.


Aberlour 1996 (14 year old) 46% £38.95
Bourbon cask 90081. Sample received at 56.4%%
Quite a high toned nose, yet robust and expressive. Exceedingly fruity with plenty of tropical pineapple and banana along with lots of lovely creamy vanilla oak and hints of soft spices. The palate is a touch oily with the oak flavours opening the proceedings followed by the tropical fruit, which is hanging on by it’s finger tips against the onslaught of the vanillins! A brief piquant alcohol burst is followed by a honeyed, grassy finish.

With water (which is closer to what it will taste like at 46%) The nose is lighter and showing more grassy typicity. The oak has been restrained now and it allows the gorgeous honeyed fruit and spices to shine. The palate is softer, with a slightly milky/ creamy consistency. Still grassy and tropical, but now a delightful malty core has been revealed. Lovely balance and a long grassy finish.

Glen Keith 1992 (17 year old) 59.7% £55.95
First fill (?) Bourbon cask 120548
Superb depth and weight to the nose. Oodles of sawdusty honey, dried fruits, violets and a serious degree of mature caramel/vanilla oak. You could almost be forgiven for thinking it’s a Bourbon or old grain but the lack of a grainy/ rye nip discounts that assertion. I like this!

The palate is soft and oaked (surprise!) full of pure vanilla’d dried fruits. Luscious, rich and honeyed with the alcohol masking but adding an almost botanical freshness. Again the comparisons with an old grain would be very apt.

Water doesn’t make much of an impact on the oak, maybe moving it in a more toffee/ coffee direction, it also lessens the honey and emphasises the botanicals. Whilst on the palate the gristy barley and honey comes to the fore and my that is a big peppery middle! Lovely length and a seriously robust mouthful.

Now yes you could argue that I bang on about the balance of wood to spirit, and certainly with regard to Sherry casks, and yes you could argue that the balance of this is tilted more to the wood side of things, but I would say that the interest here is how much it resembles an old grain whisky……and…….well I like it!

Strathmill 1991 (18 year old) 46%

Bourbon cask 4123 sample received at 55.9%

A very mature nose with a malty richness and a natural honey disposition along with hints of high toned/ floral citrus and botanicals. Over time it moves into hot weetabix territory. Not as overtly fruity as some Strathmills, but with a pleasant complexity. The palate is generous and malted, full of wheat biscuit flavours and a subservient orange note. The alcohol masks somewhat and finishes with plenty of botanicals.

With water (which is closer to what it will taste like at 46%) Now we get some semblance of the trademark juicy orange fruit, still very malted-wheat in character. However on the palate that malted-wheat character has developed a slight cardboardy edge to it and is nowhere near as interesting as the nose would suggest. The combination of wood and alcohol really dry out the finish. So for that reason I’ll have to pass on this.

Glen Garioch 1990 (20 year old) 56%
Bourbon cask 5878
A bit of a raw and untamed nose to be honest. Yes there is plenty of dense honey, assam tea, coffee and wood notes but the botanical spirit is a bit too intrusive. The palate is a touch vague and musty. Again there is a lot of oak and alcohol, which maybe subduing the honeyed flavours. For a malt of this age, mellow it certainly isn’t.

With water the nose has become somewhat gentler but it is now rather homogenous, the oak is muted now and its influence is reduced to a slight marzipan note. I’m afraid that the palate, in removing the alcohol and wood shows up a spirit that is a bit too old and watery with a smidge of cardboard too!

Longmorn 1990 (20 year old) 52.5% £56.95
Bourbon cask 30025
A beautiful nose of polished orange fruit. Surprisingly gristy with plenty of herbal malt and barley. Lovely succulent depth, slightly oily in character and delightfully impregnated with dusty spices. With time the charred vanilla oak adds to the complexity as does a floral top note.

Soft and juicy on the palate. Like the nose there is plenty of gristy barley and a soupcon of honey. It opens into a lovely softly spiced middle with a gentle alcohol nip and finished with a floral finale.

With water the nose is a shade oilier and the orange/ tangerine fruit takes on a lovely purity as does the honey, which now shows more maturity. The palate has become a lot sweeter. Less intense and slightly watery, but the gloriously soft fruit makes up for it. One can see that this was bottled in the nick of time as the botanical spirit rules at the death. My advice would be to take this neat.

Banff 1975 (34 year old) 44.1% £110.95
Sherry cask 3354
A lovely old sherried Spey. Yummy aromas of mature walnuts, floor polish, dried figs, raisins and prunes along with hints of violets. The aromas have a definite Cognac-esque rancio and with time some green nuts/ herbal notes, liquid liquorice, old coffee bean and walnut shell emerge.

The palate opens with tongue coating treacle toffee, liquorice, walnuts and spices. Wonderfully mature the flavours glide effortlessly with dried fruit and citrus rind, along with hints of menthol. Stunning mouth feel and presence. A truly glorious old sherry cask. There is still enough alcohol to stop it becoming too treacly and cloying and it ensures a tongue tingling finish. The finish lasts for ages with an after taste of old coffee, cigars and barky spice!

Caol Ila 1980 (30 year old) 58.8% £80.95
Bourbon cask 4679
A very herbal nose with hints of lettuce(?) and green garden vegetables all coated in a delightful slightly coastal honey. Gently phenolic with old rope, peat and fishy nuances. A lovely mature nose with honey to die for! Quite expansive for a Caol Ila. I could sniff this all day!

The palate opens with the herbal honey and a faint peat note, followed by the drying alcohol. I amazed that it’s this strength at 30, but seeing as this cask has only yielded 157 bottles it must have been stored in a fairly warm environment and with the resulting evaporation it has definitely concentrated the flavours. I seriously can’t believe that I’m going to have to add water to something this age. Lovely length with a coal dust and fishy finish.

Water ramps up the herbal aromas and the fruit is deep and sweet and gorgeous, however there is still a fresh edge to the fruit along with some manure and now detectable bourbon oak. I don’t think I have ever come across a Caol Ila that is so honeyed! The palate is sweeter and again extremely fruity with some gorgeous dusty spice, faint smoke and crystallised citrus fruit. Amazingly long with a long, crisp, grassy, spearmint fresh finish. This cask has aged majestically!

Laphroaig 1997 (13 year old) 58% £57.95
Bourbon cask 3329
A very beefy, almost Bovril-malty nose followed by lots of earthy, slightly medicinal peat, bog myrtle, seaweed and fish. Very rounded and full-on with slabs of phenolic coastal peat. However this is not one-dimensional, the oak adds to the feeling of fullness without adding any real noticeable vanillins.

Like the nose, the palate is full and rounded. Now there are plenty of wood notes and alcohol! Pure, phenolic and fishy with a lovely sooty-peated middle accented by an iodine twang. Lovely intensity and length with the quite a barley sweet peat finish and an almost honeyed after taste.

With water the aromas are more classically Laphroaig now. Very herbal and fishy with no shortage of peat. On the palate there is less oak and honey and like the nose more of the fishy, peaty spirit. Still very long with some tarry notes at the end.


Glengyle ‘Kilkerran WIP 2’ 46% £33.95

Now 6 years old, and although still youthful it is displaying a more rounded character. The nose opens with crisp citrus and white fruits followed by gristy cereal and a slight earthy-peat note, which increases in intensity over time. It is elegant and there is a definite impression of nascent honey along with a slight coastal nuance.

The palate is quite velvety, smooth and rounded with oily coated cereal grains. A short burst of alcohol clears the way for the coastal/ grassy fresh infused, youthful, gentle apricot and tangerine fruit along with the placid earthy-peat and background oak, leading to a lovely coastal finish.

It is still quite linear at the moment, yet it is more rounded than the first bottling, and it is surprising how much it has evolved in just a year.

Scapa 1993 (15 year old) 50% – Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask
Re-Fill Bourbon Hogshead.

A big, rich, modern day Scapa nose of vanilla oak and overkill malt along with some sweet honey, burnt wood and heather. There is also quite a bit of medicinal peat which is unusual and only vaguely coastal, which is par for the course.

The palate is immense and robust, full of herbal honey, vanillins and heather. It opens into a lovely melange of mandarin and pineapple, before the malt kicks in and the honey returns ‘en vigueur’. It has a good length with an almost peppery/grainy spirit note at the end and a suggestion of salt.

Heaven Hill Distillery
Georgia Moon Unaged Corn Whiskey 40%
‘Less than 30 days old’
The nose obviously reeks of new make spirit – rose petal marc along with popcorn and peanut butter. The palate is clean and as expected pretty straightforward. Corn meal, burnt butter and rose petals. It’s soft and slightly oily with a developing peppery note. The rawness is balanced by only being bottled at 40% and a light syrupy sweetness.

An interesting insight into their new make, but it would have been better in my opinion to bottle it at cask or still strength, that way it would be the real deal.

Evan Williams 2000 (9 year old) 43.3%
Cask 377
Elegant and delicate (in relative terms) aromas opening with the fat corn, violets and earthy notes followed by the creamy/ vanilla oak. The rye notes nibble and hints of patchouli, orange marmalade, cedar and sandalwood can be detected. Lovely maturity to the aromas and over time the oak turns slightly sawdusty.

The palate is soft, delicate and violety. The deep corn leads off with the rye spices lurking in the background along with the oak. The oak builds toward the middle and then suddenly the spices surge, literally vaporising the oak! This leaves the palate inundated with hints of treacle, black liquorice, toffee and a touch of charred wood. In combination with the alcohol the finish is exceedingly dry, yet departs with a slight herbal/ menthol/ rose petal/ Turkish delight-ish finish. Stunning stuff.

Greenore 15 year old 43% £62.95
An interesting nose of light Bourbon oak and caramelised vanilla. It puts one in mind of a Canadian with its soft grainy aromas. Pure and subtle yet over time it develops a serious violet note. Moving into herbal territory before some pleasant marzipan and sweet spices arrive.

Soft and light on the palate with hints of tropical banana, violets and herbal nuances. The oak is well integrated, restrained and supporting. The middle opens to display a lovely delicate depth of soft spices, light golden syrup and sugar coated fruits. Lovely length with a distinct Turkish delight finish and the oak bittering out at the death. A lovely gentle journey.

The Greenore 15 year old was voted 2010 grain whisky of the year and well you can’t argue with that, it is a superb bottling!

Garnheath 1969 (40 year old) 47.9% – Douglas Laing The Clan Denny bottling
Refill Bourbon Hogshead HH5538

A lovely mature, resiny, sawdusty nose. The oak is quite nimble and shot through with plenty of mature honey. It puts me in mind of a lighter version of Invergordon. Over time some herbal coffee and oily marzipan aromas come to the fore. The oak itself doesn’t smell as mature as you would expect, one can detect some toasty/ charred notes at work, so I would assume that this has been re-racked at some time in its storage.

The palate opens with the light, resiny oak and marzipan. The grain sits beneath and gives the tongue a light tingling lashing! This is seriously complex, the flavours break like waves upon the tongue – dried spicy fruit, slightly caramelised banana and mature nuts. Finally it moves into Guyanan territory with a tart, tangy, vegetal/ agricole rum note. Stunning length with a touch of dark chocolate on the finish.

The Garnheath single grain was produced at the Moffat grain distillery complex, east of Glasgow in the Lowlands. Built in 1965 by Inver House Distillers. As well as distilling grain whisky it also housed two sets of stills, each producing their own type of malt whisky, those being Glen Flagler and Killyloch. The Killylock still ceased production in the 1970’s, followed by the other two in 1986 when it was closed.

Right, that’s about it for now I hope you enjoyed the read
Chris Goodrum

Visit Gauntleys at

New Glenglassaugh Bottlings At Single Malts Direct – Scotch Whisky News


New Whiskies – Glenglassaugh “One of the great world whiskies for 2010” Jim Murray
The Manager’s Legacy
Release No.1 – Jim Cryle 1974 52.9%


The first in a series of four bottlings to celebrate the achievements and influences of Glenglassaugh distillery managers during the period 1964 – 1986. A single cask bottling at natural strength, without colouring or chill-filtration. The Jim Cryle release is limited to 200 individually numbered bottles from a refill sherry hogshead filled in 1974 during Jim’s time in charge.

Cask Type – Refill Hogshead…1 of 200..

Tasting Notes:

Colour – Orange gold
Nose – Fresh and fruity with barley sugar sweetness. Boiled sweets, stewed plums and a sprinkling of demerara sugar. Banana skins and orange essence giving way to clove oil and liquorice.
Palate – Juicy, syrupy and round with sweet stewed plum and orange flavours, balanced with gentle oak spice and nuances of clove and liquorice.

Excl. VAT:£212.76 Incl. VAT:£249.99

The Rare Cask Series


With cask stocks continuing to deplete, Glenglassaugh’s youngest whisky is a 26 years of age. It’s still the same tear-drop bottle but with the older age on the neck label.

Excl. VAT:£127.65 Incl. VAT:£149.99

The Spirit Drinks – 20cl Size

Excl. VAT:£11.05  Incl. VAT:£12.98


phone: 0845 6066145

Grant’s Whisky In the Sky – Be Quick! – Scotch Whisky News


From View London

Whisky in the Sky

Closing: 31/08/2010 Grant’s Whisky would like to take you to new heights.

Discover Grant’s from a different angle and enjoy the views of the breathtaking London skyline as you’re elevated in the air alongside the London Eye, whilst enjoying an exclusive whisky tasting hosted by a Grant’s ambassador.

We have eight tickets* to giveaway to View London readers. Lift off is Thursday 9th September on the South Bank, so if you would like chance to win this ‘money can’t buy’ experience be sure to enter this once in a lifetime competition. Winners will also receive a bottle of Grant’s award-winning Ale Cask Whisky.

Visit the Grant’s After Hours Club, which hosts the perfect blend of interests – music, gardening and whisky. Visit regularly for news, events and promotions, plus the chance to win other ‘money can’t buy’ richer, deeper experiences throughout the year.


Terms and Conditions:
1.Only open to UK residents aged 18yrs or over, excluding employees of First Drinks, their families, agents and anyone else professionally associated with this promotion. 2. Closing date for entries is 31-08-2010. 3. Prize includes 1* ticket per winner to attend Whisky in the Sky, 9 September 2010 on the South Bank in London at 2.15pm. Exact location details to be provided to winner. Winner may bring one guest to observe only on ground level if they wish. 4. The prize does not include travel or accommodation and there is no cash alternative. Winners not permitted to sell-on prize tickets. 5. Winner may be required to take part in promotional activities 6. The draw will be held on 31-08-2010 under the supervision of an independent person whose decision will be final. Winners will be notified via phone or email within one week of the draw date. 7. The name and county of residence of the major prize winner can be obtained from First Drinks by writing to us enclosing a stamped addressed envelope to- Imperial House, Imperial way, Southampton, SO15 0RB. 8. The promoter reserves the right to terminate, amend or extend this promotion due to wholly exceptional circumstances outside its control. 9. Promoter: First Drinks Brands Ltd, Imperial House, Imperial Way, Southampton, SO15 ORB.

Enter The Competition

Glenglassaugh Release The Spirit Drink Range – Almost Scotch Whisky News


Glenglassaugh Distillery, Portsoy.  August 2010.

·        New “Spirit Drink” range revealed

·        Unique products offer insight into evolution of whisky

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company today announces the release of a unique range of “Spirit Drink” products – an opportunity for malt whisky fans to sample the evolution of the spirit that will eventually become whisky.

The range – packaged in 200ml bottles and all at 50% abv – initially comprises four products under the Spirit Drink brand umbrella:

‘Clearac’ – brand new ‘new make’ spirit straight off the still
‘Blushes’ – the Glenglassaugh spirit aged for – 6 months in ex-wine casks, and
‘Fledgling XB’ – new spirit aged for – 12 months in Bourbon casks
‘Peated’ – brand new ‘new make’ spirit produced using peated malted barley

The distillery’s MD, Stuart Nickerson, said:

“The Spirit Drink range follows the successful one-off bottling of The Spirit Drink that Dare Not Speak Its Name, the world’s first release of a single mash and feedback from our consumers.”

“Malt drinkers told us that they wanted to try as many variants of our evolving spirit as possible; that they wanted affordable sampling packs and that different cask types were of great interest.  The Spirit Drink range is the result.”

“We have other variants in the pipeline including spirit aged in quality sherry wood and spirit aged for longer time periods.  The variation is interesting and the overall quality incredibly exciting.  The prospects for Glenglassaugh when fully matured are exceptional.”

The range was launched with a party and sampling at Edinburgh’s Bramble Bar, rated one of the world’s top cocktail spots.  Bramble Bar’s Mike Aikman said:

“At Bramble, we are always excited to use innovative new products in our cocktails, challenge people’s perceptions of what can be done with these spirits and praising the versatility of the different expressions.” 

The Spirit Drink range will be available from 26th August at good independent retailers; from the distillery shop and via Glenglassaugh’s international distributors. UK RRP is £13 per 200 ml bottle.

Plans are currently being made for a triple pack containing Clearac, Blushes and Fledgling XB to be available, within the next few weeks.


About Glenglassaugh

The Glenglassaugh Distillery is situated on the Banffshire coast in the North-East of Scotland, close to the small village of Portsoy. The distillery was built in 1875 by local businessmen to satisfy the growing global demand for Scotch Malt Whisky and the site was chosen due to its close proximity to a high quality water supply and easy access to the nearby barley fields.

After a visit in the late 1880s, the highly-regarded Victorian commentator Alfred Barnard described Glenglassaugh as “too well known to need any praise.”

More recently, spirit from Glenglassaugh was used primarily in blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. In 1986 the then owners mothballed Glenglassaugh as part of wider cutbacks in production and the distillery has remained silent thereafter. In 2008 The Scaent Group of Amsterdam purchased the distillery and have invested more than £1m to recommence operations and to reintroduce to discerning customers the distinctive and high quality attributes of The Glenglassaugh Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  For more information, please visit


The refurbishment and reopening of the Glenglassaugh Distillery have been managed by Stuart Nickerson, a renowned whisky expert, who was the sole consultant during the acquisition. Nickerson has worked in the Scotch Whisky industry since 1981 with a significant part of his career being with William Grants, where he was Distilleries Director.  Previously, he managed Highland Park Distillery, Glenrothes and Glenfiddich Distilleries in succession. He was appointed the new Managing Director of the Glenglassaugh Distillery Company in February 2008.

One of Stuart Nickerson’s first actions was the appointment of Graham Eunson as Distillery Manager, effective from 1st April 2008. Graham joined the Distillery from Glenmorangie where he was Manager of the world famous distillery for the last 12 years. Graham has also worked at Glendronach and Scapa distilleries.

Production at Glenglassaugh was restarted on 24th November 2008 by Rt Hon Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister and the distillery’s MP.  Distilling was thus commenced under the guidance of Stuart Nickerson and Graham Eunson, the new management team, who have now released a number of innovative new products.


Enbotellarte – A “Something Special” Scotch Whisky Campaign



Please note that all prompts of “click here to view” do not function; the content was supplied in a format that would not upload these functions. Interseting none the less.

Wigtown Book Festival (Whisky Related Events) – Scotch Whisky News


The sensible people at the Wigtown Book Festival have included a few whisky related events in the line up;

Ian Buxton:
101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die
Saturday 25 September 2010
18:00 pm
McNeillie Tent

Ian Buxton’s book is a whisky guide with a difference: it’s not an awards list. It does not detail the 101 “best” whiskies in the world. In this talk and tasting, expert Buxton avoids the deliberately obscure, ridiculously limited and absurdly expensive to recommend an eclectic selection of old favourites, stellar newcomers and mystifyingly unknown drams that simply demand to be drunk. To accompany them, we will serve a selection of nibbles from Galloway’s best food producers.

Venue Information
McNeillie Tent

Music: The Bladnoch Distillery Session
Wednesday 29 September 2010
19:30 pm
Bladnoch Distillery Main Hall

Bladnoch Distillery has been home to many memorable musical evenings over the years. Come and hear the best talent of 2010 – from folk and jazz to blues and more – a meeting of musical minds in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Licensed bar (Bladnoch whisky!) available. If you are interested in taking part in the Bladnoch Distillery session, get in touch. Contact the festival office on 01988 402036.

Venue Information
Bladnoch Distillery Main Hall

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