Archive for 2010

Maltstock Update Only 7 Weeks To Go! – Scotch Whisky News



Compass Box Breakfast Whisky & Stuart Thomson at Maltstock   
Fellow whisky enthusiast,

Only 7 weeks until Maltstock! And it promises to be a great weekend again. Already we have people coming over form seven different countries. We are also very proud at the program we are able to offer this year. No less than three distillery managers will be present, as well as some other representatives and independent bottlers. There are a couple of very unique tastings. But most importantly it will be a very relaxed weekend.

Compass Box Breakfast Whisky
The terrific, innovating team of Compass Box is creating a breakfast whisky especially for Maltstock. This will accompany the Highlander Inn Scottish breakfast. It will be the world’s first ever specially created breakfast whisky. The breakfast whisky will be produced in a very limited quantity and will only be available at Maltstock 2010. Will this be a serious cereal whisky? A bowl of fruit? Will it be as black at the pudding? The “Ben Bacon & Beans”? We will find out in September.

Stuart Thomson at Maltstock
I think most of you remember Stuart Thomson, former Ardbeg distillery manager. He has been out of the whisky scene for a while, but he is back! We are very happy and proud to announce he will be present at Maltstock!

Tickets need to bought in advance
Please note it is necessary to buy your Maltstock tickets online. There will be no tickets sales at the Maltstock gates. We need to know in advance how many people will be present. This because we have limited number of beds and diner and breakfast is included. Many of you have already bought their ticket. If you haven’t done so yet, please visit our online shop and get your Maltstock tickets. After you have ordered your tickets you can also book the free tastings.  Maltstock costs just 150,- euro’s for the whole weekend. Including two nights accommodation, Scottish breakfast, diner, BBQ, quiz, campfire, lot’s of whisky to taste with no extra charge. Full program and extra information can be found at our website Or click here to go straight to the online shop.

See you in September, see you at Maltstock!


Arthur, Bob, Eline, Rogier & Teun

Win a bottle of Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Scottish Classic – Scotch Whisky News


Win a bottle of Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Scottish Classic

To mark the 125th Annual Show of the Dufftown Horticultural Society, in conjunction with the society, we are offering a bottled of Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Scottish Classic, as a raffle prize.

The Dufftown Horticultural Society was originally established as the Dufftown Horticultural, Dairy and Industrial Society in 1872, and the Show has become one of the main events in Dufftown each summer. This year the extended show will run over the 11th and 12th of September in the Memorial Hall Dufftown, and will showcase members produce across more than 300 different categories, including the Rotary Shield prize for the Best Hanging Basket in the burgh of Dufftown.

Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Scottish Classic, is a limited edition of 600 bottles, with 30 different label designs inspired by works of Scottish Literature. The prize, bottle number 179, features a label inspired by Robert Burns’ work ‘The Jolly Beggars’. The whisky has been described by whisky journalist Jim Murray as ‘Quite outstanding for its age’.

When George Grant, Director of Sales for Glenfarclas, gave the prize to Arthur Rugg, Show Manager, an extra twist came to light. Arthur Rugg installed the wooden panelling from the Empress of Australia in the Glenfarclas visitor centre in 1973, which continues to be admired by the distillery’s many visitors today.

Commenting on the donation, George Grant, said, ‘Like the Dufftown Horticultural Society, we to have a long history, and we hope this prize will help the show prosper long into the future’. As John Fleming, Hon. Secretary & Treasurer explained, ‘It’s a great prize, spend £1 on a raffle ticket and you could win a bottle worth £1500.’

Raffle tickets will be available during the show, with the draw on the 12th of September. In advance, tickets are available from Costcutter in Dufftown, The Whisky Shop Dufftown, and the Glenfarclas distillery visitor centre, as well as from Society members during the Dufftown Games.


Loch Fyne Whiskies Arran OB Bourbon Cask 41 1999 10yo 57.1% – Scotch Whisky News


Arran OB Bourbon Cask 41 1999 10yo 57.1%alc. [LFW]

Distilled: 19.7.99

Bottled: 6.7.10

Cask # 41 limited to 219 bottles and so only 2 bottles per person…

Since we started in 1993 we have never entertained the idea of an ‘exclusive’ bottling – what’s the point? Here is the exception, our first exclusive – and we are very happy with it.

During the selection process for the “Oran Mor” (below) I reckoned this bourbon cask was exceptional; however all (bar one) of the other numpties present did not agree. So the nice Arran people said I should take the sample back to base and consider having it done for us.

Once in Inveraray we all tried it and, unusually for our diverse palettes, we all rated this as exceptional and agreed this would be our exclusive… Only 219 bottles this time.

A big bourbon-wood aroma, there is so much going on but here’s a start; lemon flower honey, brown sugar, geraniums, white toast and the Arran digestives. In the mouth it’s round and plump, liquid crème caramel, sumptuous.

Water releases floral characters and dried fruit and scent and pine and esters notes… The list goes on. Both complex and satisfying and an absolute ace, and so say all of us…

On the Flavour Map it’s about square D4
Complex, Light & Delicate

Arran Cask 41
Barcode: 5060044481161

Price excluding VAT: £41.62
£48.90 Including VAT at 17.5%

Order yours today from loch Fyne Whiskies at

WhiskyCast Publishes Episode #270 – Scotch Whisky News


Laphroaig’s stillhouse is a popular part of tours at the distillery, and the stillman you’re most likely to meet is Alan Hyslop. Alan’s been a fixture at Laphroaig for 30 years, and celebrated his anniversary during Feis Ile this year. He’ll share some of his stories with us in this episode. In the news, the defending champion in the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship has been dethroned, Heaven Hill expands its line of Evan Williams bourbon-based liqueurs, and an amazing find at the bottom of the sea between Sweden and Finland.

Visit WhiskyCast at

Profile of Ian Gray – Whisky Artist

Port Ellen Sunset Islay

Port Ellen Sunset Islay

By Tim Cornwell

IAN Gray has carved out a unique artistic career painting more than 70 whisky distilleries, from Islay to Kentucky.

• Ian Gray’s artworks are created using digitally manipulated photographs, which are printed then painted over in oil and pastel.

Born and raised in Edinburgh and trained as a graphic artist, the 43-year-old does not claim his work is high art; he takes a succession of photographs, merges them digitally, and paints over the prints to heighten colour and atmosphere, with louring Scottish skies. Fine-art critics might blench, but the results are impressive. The paintings – full canvases sell at
around £4,500 – have won legions of fans, including 20 distilling companies worldwide who have commissioned his paintings, from Scotland’s Glenmorangie and Japan’s Suntory, to America’s Maker’s Mark.

Now he’s working on a project for the National Trust for Scotland to paint St Kilda, while a new Scottish tourism website, Bagging Scotland, has also hired him.

At home in Düsseldorf, Germany – he says he “did a runner” from the poll tax – he drinks gallons of his favourite tipple, Irn-Bru, which he stocks up during his frequent trips back to Scotland.

If there’s one lesson in his career worth picking up on, it might be to find your niche and conquer it.

In the past 20 years, his business has thrived on the back of Scotland’s most famous export industry, as well as the world market for whisky.

Bruichladdich Gate

Bruichladdich Gate

In addition to his distillery images, and pictures of the interiors of whisky barrels or pot stills, Gray also produces Scottish landscapes. “I do this full-time, nothing else, just creating artwork,” he says.

When we spoke, Gray was working hard producing pictures for three shows: at the Ghent Whisky Festival in Belgium on 6-7 February, then the next week at the importer for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Düsseldorf and, later, at an exhibition for spirits connoisseurs at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

About 20 years ago, Gray was on a camping trip on Islay. He started doing sketches and paintings of the Ardbeg distillery and its surroundings. “When they went on show, people from other distilleries caught on, and it just took off from there,” he say.

“All I’ve been doing for the past few years has been hanging around the distilleries, getting invited into the next one.”

Gray was born in Hamilton to a family with a tradition of creating and working with the arts. His  father was an electrical engineer and inventor of a microwave rotary switch, while his mother was a kiltmaker. His grandfather was a sculptor and potter in his spare time, while his grandmother created pottery designs. He describes his work as “hyperrealism”, in the style of photorealism, but using photographs directly, rather than reproducing them on canvas. He starts with a series of photographs, merges and manipulates them digitally together, prints them on paper and canvas, and then reworks them with inks and pastels. “It adds atmosphere to the pictures, giving it depth,” he says. In one of his his Ardbeg paintings, called Storm is Coming, he has emphasised the louring skies “to sum up the weather on Islay, and the whisky, how robust it is, trying to put that into the painting”.

Gray has faced scepticism from fellow painters over “embellishing” photographs: “I’ve been questioned before by traditional artists. Art at the end of the day is to do something creatively, it’s just creation. That’s all I do, take an idea, take an image, and reproduce it into an artwork.

“It’s taken me about 15 years to perfect it. It goes from taking a photograph, digitialising that image. It is sometimes reproduced on to paper, reworked again with inks and oils, sometimes rescanned back into the computer to be corrected, then printed out again on to canvas or paper, and then reworked again. It’s not just one image printed on to canvas, there are several images and processes involved.

Ardbeg Cloud Spirit

Ardbeg Cloud Spirit

“Islay is a very, very special place, the people on Islay, I’ve had some fantastic experiences there. Every distillery is spectacular, each one has a special romantic location, a special atmosphere. Storm is Coming sums up the roughness of the island, but also the beauty. It was actually a series of
ten photographs I took, getting completely soaked in the process. It was Sunday, the place was closed, it was quiet and peaceful until the storm came up.”

To capture Bowmore Sunset, he got a view of the setting sun reflecting on to the distillery off Loch Indaal. “I was eaten alive by midges, but I managed to have a wee dram with me, which also distracted me from all the bites.”

You’re unlikely to see Gray’s paintings turning up at Sotheby’s. But as he has assiduously plied his trade as an “optimistic Scotsman” selling his wares, they’ve been bought by whisky connoisseurs and collectors, bars, restaurants, whisky workers and distillery bosses worldwide.

Gray says the BBC’s political correspondent, Glen Campbell, from Islay, also bought one, picking it up from his parents’ house in Bathgate. When Gray staged his first small show of work at Ardbeg nearly a decade ago, “every member of staff bought one of his prints of the distillery”, according to their visitor centre manager, Jackie Thomson.

Gray had tackled corporate commissions before he found his way to Islay. The German parliament hired him to paint the opening of the German Centre for Trade and Commerce in Singapore, as an official gift. He created 33 paintings for the headquarters of BYK Additives and Instruments in Germany. But his growing ties with Islay saw him hold his 40th birthday party at Ardbeg. His large paintings now adorn the visitor centre walls. Gray is a regular visitor, arriving with his children in his green camper-van, settling in on Kintra beach. “He captures the mood and feel of a distillery so well, and also the way he paints light is breathtaking,” says Thomson. “This was a springboard for him to paint other distilleries and get absorbed in Islay life.”

4 Glasses

4 Glasses

Gray says he’s fascinated with production. “If you look at the whisky industry, it’s an industrial process, but a traditional old distillery is hands-on from malting the barley to producing the wash and hand-rolling the casks.” One day, he says, he’d love to get into the Irn-Bru factory and find out how they do it.

Among his biggest supporters has been George Grant from the Glenfarclas distillery, the company’s “brand ambassador” and son of the owner John Grant. He’s also worked closely with Glenmorangie.

But critical to Gray’s international success was meeting Frank Coleman, senior vice-president for public affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, the distillers’ trade association. “Discus” is based in Washington. Coleman first saw Gray’s work stacked in a bin at the Ardbeg gift shop, while he was on a trip with US journalists to Scotland,. He says: “I noticed they had these lovely watercolour prints of distilleries, and things related to Scotch whisky. I had only been in the industry about a year, and I was trying to revitalise the look of our offices. I just took them all and said, ‘Can you ship them to Washington?'”

The two men met a year or two later, when Coleman found Gray’s stand at a whisky festival in New York. It led to a commission for paintings of the new American Whiskey Trail, modelled on those in Scotland. Gray’s works now hang in the reception and boardrooms at Discus’s Washington headquarters, hosting top US political leaders.

One is a “semi-abstract” picture of a tray with glasses and whisky bottles; Coleman has the original at home. “He has an amazing eye for light, he draws the eye even to mundane subjects from distilleries, the light hits everything he does,” Coleman raves. “It takes a subject that’s popular in a certain universe, a subject that has never really been the subject of artwork, and he’s made it wildly popular. He’s spread it across the globe.”

The American Whiskey Trail starts at the rebuilt distillery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home; the first president was convinced by his Scottish plantation manager to go into the distilling business when he left office. The place gets a million visitors a year, and sells postcards of Gray’s work. The deal with his American paintings, says Coleman, was that Discus kept the originals, and Gray the reprint rights.

It’s hard not to see him as the whisky business’s answer to Jack Vettriano, who is often scorned by critics as a lightweight or copyist, but makes a fortune from fans of prints and pricey originals. “Ian Gray is great,” says Coleman, with American exuberance. “We love his art, and it’s a remarkable ability to capture our industry in it’s finest essence.”

Ardbeg Storm

Ardbeg Storm

Auchentoshan Whisky Festival Saturday August 28th – Scotch Whisky News


Saturday 28th August

Launching its inaugural festival in August 2009, Auchentoshan opened its doors to the connoisseurs and novices of the Single Malt Whisky world! Returning in 2010, the festival promises to build on last year’s success proudly presenting an array of entertainment including fantastic live music, comedy, cookery demonstrations and mixology shows plus much much more…

Whats On? Hosting a jam-packed programme this year, Auchentoshan is proud to welcome you to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, locally produced food and most importantly single malt whisky.

Master Classes Don’t miss this rare chance to learn from the experts. Auchentoshan will be hosting a variety of master classes in the distillery.

Last Year The first ever Auchentoshan Whisky Festival took place last year on Saturday 29th August 2009 and the team were thrilled to welcome 2,600 visitors to the day.

The Auchentoshan Introduction to Whisky
with Tom Jones in the Kilpatrick Suite
Participants will have the chance to taste the Auchentoshan core range as well as being given a demonstration of the effect various casks selected have on the new make Auchentoshan spirit. Hosted by Auchentoshan’s European Brand Ambassador Tom Jones.

From 11.30am – 12.30pm and 4pm – 5pm
£20 per person

A Match Made in Heaven
Auchentoshan and Chocolate
with Martine Nouet in the Kilpatrick Suite
Hosted by Martine Nouet, the editor of the French edition of “Whisky Magazine”. Martine’s area of expertise lies in both food and whisky, making her the ideal tutor to take you through this Chocolate and Whisky pairing class. Participants will sample a selection of the Auchentoshan range, all matched individually with handmade Scottish chocolates from the Islay Chocolate Company.

From 1pm – 2pm
£35 per person


Vintage Master Class
with Iain McCallum in the Blenders Room
A unique opportunity to sample some of the finest limited editions from Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch under the guidance of Morrison Bowmore’s highly acclaimed Senior Blender Iain McCallum. Such archive whiskies will include Gold Bowmore, Auchentoshan 1957 and the most recent edition to Auchentoshan’s limited edition collection, a Sherry Matured 1977 a rare release of only 240 bottles.

From 3pm – 4pm
£100 per personbuy tickets

2010 Festival Bottlings
1998 Limited Edition
Auchentoshan’s Head Distiller Jeremy Stephens has hand selected the first two hundred bottles of this year’s limited edition release. A 1998 cask strength, Sherry Matured expression, bottled specially for the 2010 festival. Each bottle is hand numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Jeremy.


Bottle Your Own
A visit to this year’s festival will offer you chance to bottle your own Auchentoshan straight from the cask. Your bottle will be filled from a cask which has been specifically selected due to its excellent quality, exceptional flavours and to commemorate this years festival. The ultimate souvenir.


 Visit the Auchentoshan Festival at 

Loch Fyne Whiskies Stocks Stronachie 18yo – Scotch Whisky News


Loch Fyne Whiskies News has stocked a new item, ‘Stronachie 18yo’

Stronachie 18yo
46% abv
£36.50 inc vat
£31.06 ex vat


…’About the nose there are bubbling sherry notes, soft and honeyed (and a little brackish), certainly very inviting. On the palate the soft, pleasing character is reinforced, with floral, slight European oak and no sulphur…’

Best regards,
Loch Fyne Whiskies

Visit Loch Fyne Whiskies at

Buchanan’s 12yo (40%, OB, Finest Blended Deluxe Scotch Whisky, +/- 2010) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Buchanan's 1930's Illustrated London News Advert

Buchanan's 1930's Illustrated London News Advert


Buchanan’s 12yo (40%, OB, Finest Blended Deluxe Scotch Whisky, +/- 2010)

A very popular blended Scotch whisky and particularly so in the United States. The nose is immediately smokey and the distinctive aromas one associates with grain whisky (from a continuous still); it is also honeyed and after a while in the glass the smoke changes (or becomes more defined) and takes on the aromas of a smoke house. There is also some malt and warm apricots (although this is very faint). The taste is honeyed with a really nice interplay the smoke and the grain whisky. There are also some dark chocolate notes and some dry oak notes. The taste is very appealing and will be a welcome surprise to those who like blended Scotch whiskies. After a while there is a another appearance of the malt whish gives it a strong back bone. The finish is malty, slightly dusty and not over whelming large but still full of loads of character, the malt builds and is backed by the honey. It is long and consistent. Malty smoke again.

A very good Scottish blended whisky that is of good value with loads of character. Even a malt lover can appreciate the quality in this whisky.


Score 84 points


Ralfy Publishes Episide #141 – Scotch Whisky News

ralfy41-173x3002….Ralfy has published episode #141 which is a review of Talisker Distillers Edition…

See  for yourself at

Reminder – The Dalmore Masterclass With Richard Paterson, Master Blender At Federal W&S Boston – Scotch Whisky News


Dalmore Tasting
Tuesday July 20
Pourings at 5:00 and 6:00
Demand has been so strong for the Dalmore That Richard Paterson has agreed to do a small instore tasting berfore the Masterclass. We’ll taste

Reg. Sale Tasting or Pre Arrival

12 Y.O. Deep golden mahogany in color with orange, marmalade and aromatic spice on the nose. Elegant and rich on the palate with intense citrus and hints of sweet vanilla pod to finish enhanced by increased sherry wood for an aftertaste of great complexity. $57.99 $51.99 $44.99

Gran Reserva Elegant and refined with hints of citrus and autumn fruits on the nose. marmalade and Christmas cake tantalize the palate with subtle hints of roasted coffee and chocolate. This is followed with ripe oranges and lemon peel, giving delicate, zesty top notes.
$74.99 $67.99 $60.99

15 Y.O. A rich and aromatic heart full of dried spices, cloves, cinnamon and ginger with a concentrated citrus mouth-feel to tantalize your tongue and an abundant aftertaste of spice to reward the palate.
$89.99 $84.99 $84.99

18 Y.O. Aged aromatic Oloroso butts and Madeira drums provide citrus orange, spice and nuts, whilst redolent Bourbon barrels deliver warm, vanilla notes. Rich port and Marsala woods add hints of wild berries and fleshy plums, enhanced with red fruitsfrom vintage Cabernet Sauvignon barriques.
$164.99 $154.99 $149.99
Joe Howell
Federal Wine & Spirits

Phone: 617-367-8605

Richard Paterson - The Master Blender

Richard Paterson - The Master Blender

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