Archive for September, 2010

Amrut Single Malt Whisky Tasting At New Delhi Restaurant San Francisco – Indian Whisky News


Amrut Single Malt Whisky Tasting

Saturday, October 9th
3-5 pm
$25 per person
$5 of each admission will be donated to Compassionate Chefs Cafe

New Delhi Restaurant
160 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Meet Rick Jagdale, executive Director of Amrut Distilleries, who will take you through a structured tasting of Amrut Single Malts.  

Amrut Single Malt
Amrut Peated Single Malt
Amrut Fusion – 3rd Finest Whisky in the world
Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength
Amrut Peated Cask Strength
And a New Limited Edition

Enjoy tastings, snacks, great conversation and the opportunity to purchase Amrut Single Malts at a special price.

Call 415 397 8470 reserve – space is limited

Sponsor of the event “The Whisky Shop” 415-989-1030 


Aberlour 17 Year Old From Duncan Taylor Available At The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Aberlour 17 Year Old, Duncan Taylor (54.7%)

£59.99 (£51.06 ex VAT)
Single cask #2840 bottled September 2010 yielding 292 bottles. A rare example of an independent bottling of the Speyside favourite from the award winning Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld series.

Available to order from 


Compass Box Tasting With Whisky Maker John Glaser October 8th at Federal Boston – Scotch Whisky News

Compass Box Tasting with Whisky Maker John Glaser

Thursday, October 7th. 2010 5:00 P.M. & 6:00 P.M.

John Glaser, the founder and whisky-maker for Compass Box will be here to taste us through his line including some highly sought-after, and some highly anticipated bottlings . The tasting will also celebrate the 10th Anniversary of this boutique Whisky House.

In that time John has come a long way, has shown us some spectacular bottlings and will continue to do so for many years to come.

We have secured the last of two very very limited bottlings for the tasting including The Peat Monster Reserve , a 1.75 liter bottling (more than two regular size bottles, so it will last longer). You can order them in advance and rerquest that John sign them for you.

The Hedonism Maximus: Single Grain, very limited, comprised of 42 year old Invergordon and 26 year old Cameronbridge. Reg $299.99 Sale: $269.99

The Peat Monster Reserve: 1.75 L bottle, 48.9% ABV comprised of some Caol Ila and Ardmore, and rounded out with 2% Clynelish aged in French oak. Reg $154.99 Sale: $134.99

These are great for gifts and the last in the state. – Don’t Miss Out !!!!!!

Please pass this on to any friends who are scotch enthusiasts (that’s you!).

Joe Howell
Federal Wine & Spirits


Phone: 617-367-8605





Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard, has appointed Jennie Norrish as Head of Public Relations.

Norrish, who has 10 years’ experience in the communications industry, joined Chivas Brothers in June 2008 as International PR Manager, working on a freelance contract. She will lead a team of two International PR Managers and one Communications Executive.

In the newly created role of Head of Public Relations, reporting to Communications Director, Vanessa Wright, Norrish will direct global strategic communications plans and budgets for Chivas Brothers and its brands. She will develop long-term corporate media relations and reputation management plans, as well as initiating global consumer, trade and travel retail PR campaigns across all the company’s brands.

Norrish said: “I am really looking forward to developing this new position at Chivas Brothers. It is a great opportunity to make a difference within a leading international company, working with professionals who are truly passionate about their brands and their industry.”

Before working at Chivas Brothers, Norrish managed a team at Impact Porter Novelli (IPN) in Dubai, the Middle East regional office of Porter Novelli. Her focus at IPN was on luxury and corporate PR, working across Gulf Co-operation Countries, the Levant region and Egypt. Previously, Norrish was Communications Manager at energy company e.on.


Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits.  Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth Gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport.

In July 2010 Chivas Brothers launched The Age Matters campaign to help consumers understand the importance of Scotch whisky age statements.


Loch Fyne Whiskies Stocks Balvenie Peated Cask OB 17yo – Scotch Whisky News


Balvenie Peated Cask OB 17yo 43%alc.

‘Aged Balvenie introduced to heavily peated casks for a final period of maturation and then married with The Balvenie finished in new American oak.’

Official Tasting Notes:

‘Prominent smoke softens to reveal oaky honey and vanilla. Cinnamon and nutmeg develop with time.

The finish is sweet and spicy with a hint of smoke.’

Balvenie Peated Cask 17 year old
Barcode: 5010327524559

Price excluding VAT: £55.23
£64.90 Including VAT at 17.5%


Kensington Calgary Malt Messenger Number 41 – Scotch Whisky News


Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

Fall is officially here, even if it feels like we’ve been in it for 3 weeks already. Fall is a busy time around the Kensington Wine Market. Most of our new whiskies come in at this time including our new casks: Glendronach and Kilchoman. Fall is also a time for tastings and events, and we’ve a lot of exciting events coming up this fall. There is our Glendronach Cask Release Party, The Glenfarclas 40 Year Olds Tasting with Geroge Grant, The Compass Box Dinner with John Glasser and the Glenglassaugh Dinner. More pressing is the Calgary Opera Whisky Fest which is being put on by the Kensington Wine Market and a number of Alberta liquor agencies in support of the Calgary Opera. It is going to be an exceptional event with up to 60 single malts available for sampling. There are more details on the Calgary Opera Whisky Fest and our full fall tasting schedule below.

That’s not all you’ll find in this Malt Messenger. I’ve done up some tasting notes on the Amrut Double Cask, The Dalmore MacKenzie and the G&M Longpond 1941 58 Year Rum which are my collector’s picks for July, August and September. I am planning my whiskies tours for 2011, and there is news on that too. I’ve also written an introduction to Japanese whisky which is timely given that there are now 4 different expressions available in the province (next month I’ll be featuring Sweedish whisky). As always you’ll find a list of New, Returned and Future whiskies, but I’ve added a couple of new features too. The first is a column I like to call “Voytek’s Thoughts On…”.  Occasionally I will be asking my friend Voytek to write a tasting note on something heavily peated, sherried or both for a perspective that only he can offer. I hope you enjoy it.

Lots to read in this month’s Malt Messenger, I hope you enjoy it!


Andrew Ferguson

PS-You can follow me on Twitter at !


1.       CALGARY OPERA SCOTCH WHISKY FEST – Friday October 1st 2010

2.       FALL TASTING SCHEDULE – The Rest of It!


4.       COLLECTOR’S PICK FOR JULY – Amrut Double Cask

5.       COLLECTOR’S PICK FOR AUGUST – The Dalmore MacKenzie

6.       GLENGOYNE 40 YEAR

7.       FERGUSONS’S WHISKY TOURS – May 2010



10.   VOYTEK’S THOUGHTS ON: The Octomore Orpheus




14.   PRE-ORDER: Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

CALGARY OPERA SCOTCH WHISKY FEST – Friday October 1st @ the Arata Opera Center – $70

Kensington Wine Market is the 2010 Liquor Wine Sponsor for the Calgary Opera, and an idea was hatched this winter to put on a Whisky Festival to help support their efforts. On Friday October 1st the Kensington Wine Market along with a number of co-sponsors including: Big Rock Brewery, Gold Medal Marketing, Purple Valley Imports, Diageo and Beam Global will be putting on a whisky festival for up to 300 guests. The event will run from 7 to 10 PM at the Arate Opera Center 1315 7th Street SW.  In addition to being able to sample from up to 60 whiskies (and several beers) you will be entertained by Highland Dancers, Pipe Music and snippets from some Calgary Opera’s upcoming performances. Special Glencairn glasses have been produced with the logos of Kensington Wine Market and Calgary Opera for the event which will be yours to keep.

 Tickets are available through the Kensington Wine Market: or through the Calgary Opera at:  The Calgary Opera page also features an impromptu 10 minute how-to video on tasting whisky with yours truly. It remains to be seen whether I have a future in television, but if the video is slow on the Calgary Opera site you can also view it at


1) Peaty Verticles, Tuesday September 21st 7:00pm $55.00

We’ll sample 2 different expressions each of Kilchoman, Port Charlotte and Port Ellen to examine their similarities and subtle differences. For more information see above.

2)  Calgary Opera Scotch Whisky Festival Friday October 1st 7:00pm $66.67

Kensington Wine Market is partnering with the Calgary Opera to showcase a special whisky festival at the Arata Opera Center 1315 – 7 Street SW. You will have the opportunity to sample from up to 60 whiskies. As a participant you also receive your own keepsake Glencairn glass with the logos of Calgary Opera and Kensington Wine Market. $70 including GST.      For more information see above.    

3)  Whisky Traveller-Northern Highlands Friday October 8 7:00pm $45.00

We’ll sample whiskies from Glen Elgin to Old Pulteney, and much in between, while enjoying the rugged beauty of Caithness.

4) Whisky Traveller-South/Eastern Highlands Thursday October 14th 7:00pm $45.00

The rolling hills of the Southern Highlands and coastal plains of the Eastern Highlands will be our backdrop for whiskies like Edradour and Glendronach.

5) Glendronach Cask Release Party Tuesday October 26th  7:00 $45.00

Special guest Alistair Walker will be on hand to celebrate the release of our 1995 Glendronach casks. Includes a special glass and the opportunity to sample from more than 15 whiskies from Glendronach and BenRiach.

6)  Glenfarclas 40 Year Olds Thursday October 28th 7:00pm $165

George Grant will be with us at the Calgary Petroleum Club, 319 5 Ave SW, for a sampling of Glenfarclas whiskies including the new standard 40 year old and the Treasure Island Edition. Tickets only available at KWM.

7)  Compass Box Dinner with John Glaser Tuesday November 2nd 7PM $65.00

John Glaser the Master Blender of Compass Box whisky will be joining us at Farm, 1017 16th Ave SW, for a special whisky dinner. Tickets only available through KWM.

8)  Whisky, Women and Chocolate Friday November 5th 7:00pm $45.00

Gather your girlfriends for one of our most popular evenings. A “ladies only” tasting of single malts scotch paired with everyone’s favorite food group: chocolate.

9)  Fall Single Malt Festival Thursday November 18th 7:00pm $60.00

Calgary’s most interesting whisky festival is back with over 80 rare and interesting whiskies to be sampled, including many unavailable in Canada! Includes your own glass.

10)   Glenglassaugh Dinner  Friday November 19th 7:00pm $170.00

The staff at Buchanan’s Chop House, 738 3 Avenue Southwest, will be preparing a sumptuous 3 course meal to be sampled with 6 whiskies from Glenglassaugh including the 21, 30 and 40 year olds. Tickets only available through KWM.

11)   Rare Malts  Tuesday November 30th 7:00pm $80.00

Only exceptionally rare whiskies, ones from closed distilleries or those more than 20 years of age need apply. Rolls Royce not required.


After about 6 months of absence the 15 year old BenRiach cask finishes are back in stock. Exclusive to Kensington Wine Market we have Madeira, Rum and Port Finished whiskies. BenRiach is one of Scotland’s few independent distilleries. Their whiskies are bottled at 46% without chillfiltering or colouring. Each has matured in ex-Bourbon barrels for 14 years before finishing in Madeira, Rum and Port casks. They are all exceptional whiskies with very different characters:

–          BenRiach 15 Year Madeira Finish – 46% / BourbonHenriques Madeira – 94pts Jim Murray – This is an essay in subtlety… we have one of the truly great Speysiders on our hands!” Nose: Vanilla and spices with watermelon and peaches, with a rich backdrop of Madeira and oak wood. Palate: An avalanche of butterscotch, hazelnuts, peaches and spices, with and rich Madeira. Finish: dry with concentrated barley and grape. – $82.49

–          BenRiach 15 Year Jamaican Dark Rum Finish– 46% / BourbonJamaican Dark Rum Finish – Nose: toffee, spices, cinnamon & sultana w/ a backbone of rum. Palate: toffee, cinnamon, apricots & chocolate. Finish: rum & sultanas dominate the finish. – $82.49

–          BenRiach 15 Year Tawny Port Finish – 46% / BourbonTawny Port Finish – 92pts Jim Murray – Nose: crème brulée, honey, cinnamon and coconut in harmony with rich port notes and oak wood. Palate: Butterscotch, herbs, cinnamon, peaches and sultanas, infused with rich port and oak wood notes. – $82.49

COLLECTOR’S PICK FOR JULY: Amrut Double Cask – $124.99

This new Amrut is the product of two cask and the oldest bottling the distillery has every released, at a staggering 7 years. Amrut whiskies mature quickly in the hot high altitude Indian climate. The angels share (evaporation loss) in this short span of time was close to 60%, nearly 10 times the rate in Scotland. And even more curiously, the parched air sucked out more water than alcohol ratcheting up the strength from 62.5 to 69.8%. I had in a previous Malt Messenger Bulleting incorrectly indicated that the whisky was bottled at cask strength. It is actually bottled at 46%, without colouring or chillfiltering. Only 20 of the original 42 bottles of these rare whiskies available for sale in Canada are still available. The Double Cask is only available from the Kensington Wine Market.

My Tasting Note:

Appearance: Deep –straw-gold with some hues of brown and burlap. Nose: marzipan, almond paste filled croissants with a honey glaze, baklava and apple crumble with loads of malt and faint floral notes; Palate: very soft, rich and smooth, thick vanilla oils which caress my palate and wrap it in warmth, the baklava is there as is some light sweet spice, ginger and nutmeg; the palate is very sweet with notes of cream and sweet-white orchard fruits; Finish: the finish is sweet, medium in length and very soft with more honey and vanilla notes, baklava and gram wafers; Thoughts: I have been a slow convert to Amrut whisky, I’ve found many of the bottling very complex, but lacking a little refinement and a little rough. The Double Cask as with the Fusion before it are a testament to both the quality of Amrut’s whiskies now and an indicator of what they want them to become. Score: 89pts.

COLLECTOR’S PICK FOR AUGUST: The Dalmore MacKenzie 1992 – $189.99

This exciting new bottling of Dalmore is a Kensington Wine Market exclusive. This 1992 vintage Dalmore port finish is from a limited release of 3000 bottles worldwide. Only 60 of these bottles are coming to Canada, and Kensington Wine Market has them all.  Dalmore was at one time in the hands of members of the Clan MacKenzie, the clan’s emblem, and Dalmore’s today is a stag’s head. The clan was granted this privilege in 1263 when an ancestor of the Clan MacKenzie saved King Alexander III of Scotland from being gored by a stag with a single arrow. The moment has been immortalized in the Benjamin West painting The Fury of the Stag which is reproduced on the whisky’s box.

Whyte & MacKay’s—Larger  Than Life—Master Blender Richard Patterson’s Tasting Note:

“Colour – Deep mahogany gold with shimmering highlights of ruby amber.

Nose – Warm and seductive. Enticing aromas of ripe plums, citrus fruits and marzipan flaunt themselves in an intoxicating infusion of unashamed luxury. Silky smooth and flawless, the hand of time has nurtured this noble spirit to perfection. Gentle whispers of ginger spice, mangos and fleshy grape pulp complete this complex tapestry of delight.

Taste – Take a generous mouthful.  Hold it long in the mouth and allow the warmth of your tongue to tease out every exquisite flavour. You will not be disappointed, but you must give it all the reverence it richly deserves.  Feel the spirit glide gracefully over your palate.  Immediately these hidden treasures are unlocked – sweet pear, thick chunky marmalade, bitter chocolate and crushed almonds reward your senses.  The six long years in port wine butts from the very heart of Oporto, matured at our Dalmore Distillery in Warehouse 4, has transformed this single malt into an unforgettable masterpiece for you to enjoy.”

My Tasting Note:

Appearance: Deep amber with purple-black hues. Nose: silky soft with some dark richness, very plumy, dark chocolate and crisp malt, candied orange peel and graham wafer; Palate: silky soft with chewy malt alongside more candied and dried orange; medium-dark chocolate, grapey fruits and ripe plums; the vanilla notes which emerge late after taming the port are what gives the palate its silky mouth-feel; Finish: lightly drying, with earthy dark chocolate and silky vanilla oils which cling to entire surface of your mouth; Thoughts: It is great to see another big distillery like Dalmore bottling their whiskies at 46%, hopefully this is a sign of things to come. This is one of the finest Dalmore’s I’ve ever had! Score: 90pts.

Glengoyne 40 Year Old – 45.9% – $5779.99

The 40 Year old is the oldest whisky released in the 175 year history of Glengoyne distillery. It is the rarest, most precious and most expensive bottle of Glengoyne ever released. Only 250 bottles of the 40 Year have been produced from a single sherry butt filled in November of 1968 and bottled in 2009. The whisky was filled at its natural cask strength of 45.9% into unique hand blown crystal decanters produced by Glencairn Crystal of Scotland. The bottle comes encased in a piano finished, lacquered solid oak box with gold plates on the front. The interior is made of hand stitched cream leather and there are two outer cases to protect the interior, a cloth bag and leather carry case. So far only one bottle has made it to Canada. It was ordered by Kensington Wine Market and has already sold. It is uncertain whether there are any further bottles available!

Distiller’s Tasting Note: With a nose of red apples, crème brulee and strawberries and cream, the Glengoyne 40 Years Old offers a complex and oily mouth feel of ripe bananas, spiced plums, honey and cereal, before drying into grapefruit and soft oak, with a long and lingering dry finish. Colour Dark, old copper. Nose Oily, red apples, créme brulee, ripe strawberries and cream. World class! Palate Layers of ripe bananas, spiced plums, honey and cereal, dries into grapefruit, then soft oak. Complex. Oily mouth feel. It’s a joy to open casks after four decades and find such great balance between cask and still. Finish Long, dry and lingering.

I haven’t had the opportunity to taste it, but it looks very enticing!

FERGUSON’S WHISKY TOURS 2011 – Islay, Speyside and Beyond!

I didn’t venture to the Motherland of Scotch whisky this year in part because most people were more interested in a 2011 tour, but more importantly because I burned myself out in the 4 tours I conducted the year before. I am looking forward to 2011 with renewed interest and vigour. I’ve had many people ask me about what tours I would be conduction in 2011 and I haven’t firmly settled on anything yet, but I expect to be visiting the fair isle of Islay on Scotland’s West Coast as well as the Speyside.  The first two tours will be conducted in May. Here are the dates I am leaning towards:

Islay and the West Coast – May 8th – 14th
Speyside & Southern Highlands – May 15th – 21st
All of my tours are 7 days long start in Glasgow and end in Edinburgh. You have to arrange your before and after accommodation, as well as flights, but I look after everything else. The tours include 6 nights of accommodation, most breakfasts, all distillery tour, tasting and other attraction costs as well as a last night dinner and tasting at one of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society locations in Edinburgh. My tours are nothing like the standard coach tours which just scratch the surface and end in a tasting of the distillery’s 10 year old. We’ll venture into warehouses where we’ll sample from the cask, turn malt by hand the old fashioned way with a shiel, do comprehensive tastings of the distillery’s range and in general see a side of Scottish distilleries not generally exposed to the public. The tours are purposely limited to a maximum of 7 participants and your guide. This is to forge camaraderie and take advantage of opportunities which aren’t possible in larger groups. Pricing ranges from $2300-3000.

I will be launching a website for my whisky tours in the next 30 days which will have photos of past trips, itineraries of upcoming ones, testimonials from past participants and more.

Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have any questions or if would like to reserve a spot on one of the tours.


The Japanese love affair with whisky is over 100 years old. It began with the opening of Japan to the west in the 1850’s after Commodore Perry’s historic visit. Whisky was among the gifts left by Perry after the conclusion of a treaty with Japan. As early as 1870 foreign liquors of “yoshu” were being produced in Japan and by 1912 there were several companies in Japan producing spirits directly.

The birth of the Japanese whisky industry is due to two early pioneers; Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru. Shinjiro got his start working for his uncle Gisuke Konishi in Osaka in the 1880’s at. His uncle was producing “yoshu” at the Konishi Foreign Drinks maker. The company is believed to have produced whisky and beer. Shinjiro whisky brand “Tory’s”, supposedly “produced at the Tory’s Distillery” was first introduced in 1919 even though there were no known legitimate distilleries in Japan at the time. It is possible the whisky was relabelled foreign whisky. By 1923 Scotch was being regularily imported into Japan from Leith in Scotland. Later that same year, after the devastating Kanto earthquake, Shinjiro purchased some land between Osaka and Kyoto for construction of the Suntory distillery (Yamazaki).

Masataka Taketsuru came from a prominent Sake producing family so it was not surprising that shortly after arriving in Glasgow to study chemistry his attention was drawn to distilling. He arrived in Glasgow in 1918 where he was to study at the University of Glasgow. In April of 1919 he boarded a train to Elgin where he hoped to learn the secrets of the whisky industry. At this time Elgin was the unofficial capital of the whisky industry surrounded by distilleries. Masataka went door to door looking for a distillery to teach him their craft but was turned down by one after another. Their motives were almost certainly influenced by racial prejudice as much as protecting their interest but Masatka persistence paid off. Longmorn distillery, fully aware of what he was seeking cheerfully agreed to give him a 5 day crash course in distilling. The young pupil took copious notes on everything from how leftover draff could be sold to farmers to the wage paid to coopers. This may experience may well have been the moment of conception in the birth of the Japanese whisky industry.

In the summer of 1919 Masataka, who’s family had owned a sake brewery since 1723, briefly held a job at the Bo’ness distillery where he learned the art of grain distillation and how to use a Coffey or Continuous still. A university professor with whom he developed a strong bond helped him attain a 5 month apprenticeship at the Hazelburn distillery in Campbeltown. He was well received by the staff and converted his experiences into more than a hundred pages of detailed notes.

Masataka met a medical student, Ella Cowan, shortly after his arrival in Glasgow in 1919. A short while later he was boarding with the family where he met and fell in love with Ella’s sister Rita. Rita had previously been engaged but her fiancé was killed in the Great War (WWI). The two were married in 1920 without the approval of either family. A family legend has it that Masataka told Rita “If you would like to get married I could stay in Scotland” to which Rita is reputed to have replied that she understood his dream to make genuine whisky in Japan and that she would go with him. They returned to Japan in 1921.

And it is at this point where the lives of Masataka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torii cross. When Shinjiro built Japan’s first malt distillery in the Vale of Yamazaki in 1923 he did so with Masataka’s help. Masataka’s knowledge and skill was an integral part of the distillery’s early direction and success. Located on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, the site offered pure waters, a seasonal climate with high humidity, the ideal environment for making and maturing malt whisky. Yamazaki became the country’s most successful distillery and was the driving force behind the creation of Suntory, Japan’s largest beverage company. Today Suntory owns two single malt distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu, and controls 70% of Japans domestic whisky market. It also owns Morrison Bowmore Distillers of Scotland and its three distilleries: Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch.

In 1934 Masataka set off on his own again, not to Scotland this time, but the northern island of Hokaido where he founded his first distillery, Yoichi. Yoichi is Japan’s northern-most distillery. It developed its own technique of using first and second fill new American oak barrels. Unlike other distilleries in Japan and those in Scotland, its casks aren’t seasoned with wine (Sherry casks) or Bourbon. Yoichi gave birth to Japan’s second largest beverage company, Nikka. In 1989 Masataka’s story came full circle when his descendents purchase Ben Nevis a Scottish distillery. Sadly Masataka didn’t live to see this symbolic acquisition. He died in 1979 at the age of 85 years. He almost certainly would have approved of the purchase!

The Kensington Wine Market currently stocks 4 Japanese whiskies:

Yamazaki 12Yr – I actually prefer this younger more reasonably priced whisky to the 18 Year old. It is very sweet and floral with notes of plum wine and a trace of distinctive Japanese oak. This whisky is excellent value, and I am long overdue to re-taste it! – $55.49

Nikka From the Barrel – Probably my favourite of the four, partly because it is cask strength 51.4%. My tasting note: Nose: soft toasted oak, plumy fruits, floral tones, candied ginger and a touch of milk chocolate; Palate: soft, light and very fruity with more plumy fruits, melted brown sugar and burnt orange; Finish: drying and long with lots of toasted spicy oak. – $53.49

Miyagikyo 12 Year Single Malt – 89 pts Jim Murray:  “Nose: that familiar gooseberry nose with barley and custard; Palate: juicy and sweetens superbly mainly with gristy barley, though that oaky vanilla lurks nearby; Finish: drier, a hint of bitterness, but that persistent sweet barley compensates.” – $119.49

Taketsuru 21 Year Blended Malt – This whisky was named Blended Malt Whisky of the Year recently by Whisky Magazine. Peppery and salty with prunes, dried orange, walnut and ginger. Available in very limited quantities. – $139.49


This past Wednesday I spent my afternoon sampling golfers on whisky at the Bears Paw Country Club. Between waves of participants in the annual Children’s Hospital Aid Society tournament I found a little time to revisit some old friends that I just happened to be pouring. An hour or so in, I poured myself a little sample of the Duthies Glen Scotia 17Yr—as fine a Glen Scotia as I have ever tasted—and I thought to myself, here’s an opportunity to revisit these whiskies and write a couple of tasting notes. Here are my thoughts on the six whiskies I just happened to be pouring…

1.       Jack Daniels KWM Single Barrel – 47% / Barrel 9-4442 / Bottled October 23rd 2009 – After two years of bottling exclusive Bourbons for the store, we thought we try out hand at a Tennessee Whiskey. Tennessee Whiskey—of which there are only two producers (Jack Daniel’s & George Dickell)—is similar to Bourbon in that it is produced mainly from corn and matured solely in First Fill American Oak barrels. But there is one major difference, Tennessee Whiskey is filtered through Sugar Maple charcoal before bottling. This mellows the spirit before it even goes into the barrel. Nose: soft and nutty, fresh almonds, maple butter, pie crust and candied walnuts; Palate: rich, nutty and spicy, lots of soft rich oils that coat the palate, crisp herbs with green grass and gently toasted oak; Finish: sweet vanilla, roasted almonds, fennel and cilantro. – $49.99

2.       Duthies Cragganmore 15 Year – 46% – Duthies is a relatively new line of independently bottled whiskies. The whiskies are matured and bottled by William Cadenhead—established 1842—which is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler. Cadenhead is in turn owned by J. & A. Mitchell & Co., the parent company of Springbank Distillery; which is Scotland’s oldest distiller. What sets this Cragganmore apart from the official distillery bottling is that it has been bottled at a strength of 46% without colouring or chillfiltering. Nose: very leafy, forest floor on a damp fall morning, hints of calvados, orange and lime citrus, with lightly toasted oak; Palate: applely, poached pears, more wet leaves with a backbone of earthy moss and faint heather, there is a vanilla extract, some spiciness to this whisky as well as late arriving caramel apple; Finish: clean with toasty oak and more vanilla extract. – $94.99

3.       Duthies Glen Scotia 17 Year – 46% – Glen Scotia could win awards for “Most Neglected”, “Most Derilict”, “Most Unassuming” and “Least Well Known” as far as Scottish distilleries go. The distillery plays the pauper to its famous Campbeltown neighbour Springbank. The first couple of times I visited Glen Scotia rust was flaking off the cask iron (yes, that’s right, cask iron) washbacks into the fermenting wash. On my most recent visit there were busily painting and refurbishing the distillery, if only superficially. This whisky one a Silver Medal in Whisky Magazine’s 2010 Independent Bottler’s Challenge. Nose: big citrus notes, candied orange, grape fruit, liquorice root, some hints of malt and kale; Palate: seaweed, juicy malt, some white chocolate with burnt orange and notes of agave, oak shows later with sweet toasted notes and raisins; Finish: initially dry the finish becomes more mouth-watering as it lengthens with more juicy barley and grapefruit. – $101.99

4.       Bowmore Tempest – 55.3% / First Fill American Oak / 10 Year – There is a reason this has been our best selling whisky for five of the last seven months it is a steal for around $80 a bottle. Bowmore gave the whisky to Kensington Wine Market as an exclusive because we sold more of the Black Bowmore 1964 ($4099.99) than any other retailer in North America. The whisky is unlike any other Bowmore expression, matured in a single – $81.99

5.       Springbank 1996 KWM Oloroso Cask – 55.8% / Single First Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask / 12 Year – Next to the Strathisla 1960 this is quite possible the best cask the Kensington Wine Market has ever bottled. It is hard to believe that we could top our previous Manzanilla cask, but this one certainly does! Nose: sweet, Christmas spices, brown sugar, milk chocolate; palate; really spicy and sweet, candied fruits, drying oak and some salty smoke; finish: rich, long and smooth with more spicy-sweet notes. – $109.99

6.       G&M KWM Glen Grant 1966 – 49.4% / Single Refill Sherry Cask / 41 Year – After the incredible success of our 1960 46 Year Strathisla cask we were looking for something a little softer.  The said Strathisla was so dark you can’t see through. This Glen Grant is soft, elegant and delicate with a youthful character that has not been overrun by the oak. After the cask was ordered and before it arrived the world economy changed dramatically. Most of the 134 bottles have sold, but there are still a few left and as an enticement we’ve dropped the price by $50 to $450. Nose: ripe orchard fruits, citrus, poached apple, sauternes, chocolate orange and gentle spices and moderate hints of sherry. Palate: sweet and gentle with rich spices, and buttery sherry notes; becomes drier, darker and more chocolaty with each sip; traces of raw cocoa and coffee bean. Finish: long and soft with warming sherry notes; drying with soft but firm oak and more hints of citrus. – $450

VOYTEK’S THOUGHTS ON: The Octomore Orpheus -$139.49

Sadly the Octomore Orpheus is no-more, but the review was too good not to include. Octomore 3 is due shortly!

Voytek Manko is a long time customer of the Kensington Wine Market and lover of the malt. Peaty Islay malts and sherry bombs are Voytek’s passion but as far as whisky goes he a renaissance man with an appreciation for many different styles.  I often turn to him for help at tastings when my palate is a little under the weather, and also for advice on some drams I’ve yet to sample. It is in this light that I asked Voytek if he would be willing to write me a tasting note for the new Octomore Orpheus. Here, with only minor editing are his thoughts:

“The colour of Octomore Orpheus has a distinctly reddish hue showing clearly the influence of wine cask finish. It is not on the pink side though, contrary to what could be expected from a five year old whisky. It is in fact quite saturated orange, indicating lots of interaction between wood and whisky.”

“On the nose at first there is a huge punch of peat so typical to Octomore family, then different kinds of sweetness start coming through. There is something definitely winy and fruity, and the peat does not fight back, it doesn’t need to. It sits in the background satisfied with its boldness, knowing that nothing can diminish its influence. It provides perfect background for other complex aromas that play with peat in extremely enjoyable harmony. It is like being right inside the distillery. There are scents of creamy-malty cereals from a mashtun,  fully fermented wash, invigorating hints of fresh spirit and above all, the kilned malt. Some delicate signs of creosote create very positive illusion of antiquity. My favourite part though is that Orpheus does not stop with displaying aromas from the production side of a distillery. The nose brings you all the way into the warehouse.  The winy notes on the nose bring to mind the sensation of being in a dunnage warehouse and inhaling what does rightfully belong to the angels.”

“First sip confirms that the nose does not lie. At first the sweet peat moves fearlessly to the front, but it quickly makes room for more fruit and candy like notes. Rhubarb and cherry candies pleasantly play with the peat. Later the maritime saltiness tries to break through the layers of peat and the dance of sweet and salty begins. Ruby port makes its way to the front eventually but it does not affect the balance; it augments the complexity instead. There is nothing overwhelming in this dram and at the same time it is mouth filling, bold and incredibly balanced for its age. It is a fine example of what can be achieved with highly peated malt, the oak having turned it into liquid candy.”

“The finish consists of waves of alternating peat and sweet notes which last a long while. Eventually some creosote causes the finish to dry a bit.”

“I think this is the best 5 year old whisky since PC5 and definitely the best Octomore to date.”


The following are some of the new whiskies which have come in over the last 2 months.

1.       The Dalmore MacKenzie – See above for more details. Silky smooth, exclusive to KWM! – $189.99

2.       Amrut Double Cask – See above for more details. The oldest Amrut bottled to date at 7 years. Lush with loads of complexity. Exclusive to KWM! – $124.99

3.       Mackmyra First Edition – This first “big” release has been bottled at 46%. 90pts John Hansel, Malt Advocate: “I particularly enjoy the complex interplay between the fruit and sweetness. A fun whisky with a playful personality.” – $66.49

4.       Mackmyra Special ’03 – Mackmyra distillery was founded in 1999 and produces two different styles of whisky; the first is light and fruity, the second, of which this is an example, is more smoky and very limited. 48.2% – $91.49

5.       Arran Moscatel Finish – Moscatel is a sweet Portugese wine produced on the Setúbal peninsula south of Lisbon. This Arran whisky was matured in American oak before finishing for 8 months in 225L barriques. Limited to 5,730 bottles. – $77.49

6.       Provenance Port Ellen 25 Year – This Port Ellen bottling is from a single sherry butt distilled and put into cask in the winter of 1983 just before the distillery’s closure. 46%, non-chilfiltered and no added colouring. 90pts Jim Murray – $218.49

7.       High West Rendezvous Rye – This American Straight Rye Whiskey is located curiously in Utah, it was opperating out of Salt Lake City but plans were afoot as of 2009 to move it to Park City where it could be the world’s only ski up distillery. Reviews of its whiskies have been favourable, 93pts Jim Murray: Nose:….bluebells, cinnamon, muscuvado… pot pouri; Palate: shrieking, fresh and juicy rye; Finish:….natural caramel and fruity spices. – $69.49

8.       Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon – This small batch, handcrafted bourbon is aged metal clad warehouses to accentuate the extreme temperatures of Kentucky. This enhances the spirit with flavors of vanilla, caramel and assorted fruits. – $53.49

9.       Highland Park 15 Year – The 15 year old is the only wild card in the Highland Park lineup. While all other bottlings are matured in European oak sherry casks, the 15 is matured exclusively in American oak sherry casks. – $67.49

10.   Ballechin 3rd Release Port Matured – Only 6000 bottles produced. Full tasting note in the next Malt Messenger. Here are my initial thoughts: Its softer on the nose than the last batch, pine smoke, some chocolate and concentrated grape juice. The palate is big and growing bigger as I type; grapey with lots of dried pine smoke and heathery peat. Finishes juicy with more smoke.  This is a smoke bomb! – $85.99


The following whiskies and many more will be on store shelves over the next few months!

1.       Finlaggan Old Islay Reserve

2.       Finlaggan Old Islay Reserve Cask Strength

3.       Kilchoman KWM Cask – One of the first private bottling in the world!

4.       Glendronach 1995 KWM PX Sherry Puncheon

5.       Duthies Hazelburn 9 Year – Gold Medal Whisky Mag

6.       Duthies Ledaig 13 Year – Bronze Medal Whisky Mag

7.       Ardbeg Corryvreckan

8.       Ardbeg Supernova

9.       PC8 (Port Charlotte 8 Year)

10.   Octomore 3


1.       OMC Probably Speyside’s Finest Distillery 41 Year – Hard to beat a bargain like this. 41 year old Glenfarclas(?), exclusive to Kensington Wine Market. Exceptional, rich sherry notes, delicate spices and some sweet fruits. – $275.49

2.       BenRiach 15 Year Madeira Finish – Sweet and spicy, 94pts Jim Murray. For more details see above. – $82.49

3.       BenRiach 15 Year Tawny Port Finish – Chewy and chocolaty, 92pts Jim Murray. For more details see above. – $82.49

4.       BenRiach 15 Year Jamaican Dark Rum Finish – Sugar cane, grassy and sweet. For more details see above. – $82.49

PRE-ORDER: Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

Another fall another Whisky Bible, but this year with a new look! Updated for 2011 with more than 1,000 new entries Jim’s latest tome of polemic whisky reviews will be in soon. Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible has become the annual buyers guide for the world’s whiskies. Whether you  love him or hate him, take his reviews at face value or with a grain of salt the man has something to say and rarely pulls any punches! What will be the Whisky of the Year for 2011? You’ll have to pick up a copy to find out.

The whisky bible will be in within the next month. Pre-order your copy today!

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!


Andrew Ferguson
KWM Scotchguy

1257 Kensington Rd. NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2N 3P8

Bowmore & Glen Garioch At Nickolls & Perks – Scotch Whisky News


Hi Folkes,
A great tasting has been arranged in October;
Bowmore Isay & Glen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting
Friday 29th October
Bowmore Isay & Glen Garioch
Smoky peat intense Islay meets fruit n spice speyside in a tasting that will be an early sell out.

Start : 7.30pm
Tickets : £25
All tickets available from the Stourbridge shop
01384 394518
David Gardener.
Nickolls and Perks.


A Scotch Whisky Tasting Dinner With A Difference – Scotch Whisky News


A whisky tasting dinner with a difference – October 5, Musa
by Craig 

Well, we’ve had the successful beer and wine tasting nights in Aberdeen, so now it’s time for something else – whisky! Five whiskies to be precise, along with a four-course meal…

The experts from Ian Macleod Distillers will be along with whiskies from the following ranges:

Isle of Skye
Six Isles

for a night which will be as much educational as taste sensational. The blenders will be talking us through the differences in whiskies from the four regions of Scotland as well as the differences between blends and malts as well as what makes a blend whisky and what makes a grain whisky.

But it won’t just be the whisky that hits your taste buds as the kitchen team have thought out a specially-prepared meal of four courses that complements the drams. We’ll tease more about the meal later in the week.

It looks to be a great night for whisky fans and those wanting to learn more about whisky or try some new expressions.

If you fall into the latter, here’s what others have said about the drams, including a couple of videos from well-kent whisky reviewer Ralfy (visit the link below to see the videos).

Malt Advocate magazine editor & publisher John Hansell on Smokehead: “Youthful, fiery, oozing with testosterone…this is a young, in your face Islay single malt.”

To book tickets, costing £40, drop in to Musa or call us on 01224 571 771.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society October Previews – Scotch Whisky News


October Previews: 125.40, 123.5 & 35.42 (save £18.30)
Whisky Twitchers at the ready…we’ve released three casks from October’s Outturn early (October Outturn goes live Fri 1 Oct). 
GO fly my pretties….

125.40 A quaich tart
Highland Northern
£67.40 inc. Free P&P
The neat nose was elegant and enigmatic – butterscotch, lime cordial and sushi ginger with vetiver and jasmine; cherry flan and apple crumble in a pewter Quaich.

123.5 Feisty but fun
Highland Southern
£43.70 inc. Free P&P
Lovely, sweet, spicy things came to the nose – sticky marmalade, cinnamon toast, plum jam, burnt edge of rice pudding and liquorice allsorts in a waxy bag.

35.42 Cleopatra in a sweet shop
Speyside Lossie
£46.70 inc. Free P&P
The nose was sweetness and spice with old medicine cabinets; gingerbread and clove against honey nut cornflakes, golden syrup, cola cubes and chocolate orange.

Buy individually or as a trio for only £136
125.40, 35.42 & 123.5 (save £18.40)

SMWS Whisky Tasting & Events

New Outturn Open Tasting – London, Sat 2 Oct
New Outturn & Sunday Roast Tasting – The Vaults, Sun 3 Oct
New Outturn Open Tasting – London, Mon 4 Oct
Steak & Chips Tasting – The Vaults, Mon 11 Oct

Visit to join the Society today.


THE WORLD ATLAS OF WHISKY by Dave Broom – World Whisky News


Whiskey lovers and aficionados are in for a big dram of a treat this season when Dave Broom’s highly anticipated THE WORLD ATLAS OF WHISKY (without an“e”), releases stateside late-October (Mitchell Beazley/Octopus Books USA,  $34.99, Hardcover/illustrated).

Dave Broom, world-renowned whisky authority and award-winning spirits journalist, has penned the definitive guide to everything the connoisseur or novice will ever need to know about the life, love, history, and sancta of whisky. With all of its myriad variations, interpretations, and its global production – from Scotland and Ireland to the USA, Canada, India, and Japan – this spirit remains one of the most beloved and versatile of all drinks.

Big, beautiful, and richly illustrated, THE WORLD ATLAS OF WHISKY offers
a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of whisky’s many expressions: delicate and bold, blends and single malts, bourbons and rye. Featuring distillery profiles, extensive discussion of production methods, the impact of terroir, and an examination of tastes and aromas, the book also includes:

• 24 detailed maps of the key whisky-producing regions
• Tasting notes on 350 selections
• 150 label reproductions
• 200 full color-photographs
• “Flavor Camps” – a five part matrix grouping whiskies by palate preference, flavor, and aroma

This book will be the ultimate volume for every lover of this liquid gold. 

About the Author

Award- winning author and whisky expert Dave Broom has been writing about whisky for 20 years as a journalist and author.  He has written eight books, two of which – Drink! and Rum – won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book of the Year.  He has also won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Writer of the Year twice.

Dave is editor of the Scotch Whisky review, editor-in-chief of Whisky Magazine: Japan, consultant editor to Whisky Magazine (UK, USA, France, Spain), and a regular contributor to a host of national and international titles including, The Spectator, Daily Telegraph, Mixology, and Imbibe (Europe).  He is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio.

Over his two decades in the field, Dave has built a considerable international following, with regular training/educational visits to the USA, France, Holland, Germany, and Japan.  He is also involved in whisky education, acting as a consultant to major distillers on tasting techniques as well as teaching professionals and the public.

The World Atlas of Whisky
by Dave Broom
Mitchell Beazley/an imprint of Octopus Books
Late-October 2010
US $34.99/CAN $41.99
320 pages
200 full-color photographs, 150 labels, 22 maps
ISBN 978 1 84533 577 9

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