Kensington Calgary Malt Messenger No. 55 – The Fall Preview Edition by Andrew Ferguson – Whisky News

Malt Messenger No.55 

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers, 

What a summer we’ve had here in Calgary. We’ve had some of the finest weather I can recall in years and the forecast looks great clear through the middle of next week. The forecast for Scotchland, where I’m headed on Friday, is looking a fair bit grimmer with considerably cooler temperatures and rain. Don’t feel too bad for me though, as always the whisky will keep me warm, and rest assured there will be plenty of whisky. I’m off on my own this fall on a good old fashioned scouting trip. Though I’ve been to more than 50 of Scotland’s distilleries, there are a number of lesser known ones I am hoping to cross of my list on this visit. 

My whiskies tours, though enjoyable, tread a fairly well beaten path, and with good measure. They call on Scotland’s most iconic distilleries, most of which have visitor centers, tasting rooms and other attractions. This trip is all about indulging my curiosity and increasing my knowledge of some of the lesser known distilleries like Glencadam, Tomintoul, Tomatin and Abhainn Dearg. I’ll be traipsing up the east coast near Dundee, cutting through the deepest reaches of the Speyside and venturing out to the Outer Hebrides all in the name of whisky. You’ll be able to follow me via Twitter: and through both the Kensington Wine Market and Ferguson’s Whisky Tours Blogs . I’ll post as often as I’m able with photos, commentary and tasting notes. 

Fall is in the air, and that means whisky season is on our heels. Every year I try to put together a Malt Messenger previewing some of the most exciting new whisky releases and events of the fall. This year I feel I’ve cobbled together the most comprehensive fall preview to date highlighting the private casks we’ve had bottled, exclusive whiskies we’ve secured and all the great events coming your way. Many of these new whiskies like the Ardbeg Galileo, Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength 20 Year and some others could sell out even before they arrive. We are already taking special orders for both, and more besides. I’m offering some special pre-commitment pricing on the various casks we are bringing in this year too. Details on all of this can be found in the extensive fall preview below. 

For those of you who can’t wait until fall, we have a lot of exciting new whiskies to tell you about now! Kensington Wine Market is thrilled to be the first and only store in Canada retailing whisky from the now closed Karuizawa distillery in Japan. Whisky from this distillery is exceptionally rare, we received just three bottles each of two single casks (both already sold out) and only 30 of a stunning heavily sherried 27 year old. Through Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth almost half of these 27 year olds are already sold. For those of you who are tempted we have an open bottle of the Karuizawa 27 year at the store for you to sample. We also have some new whiskies from Nikka: Pure Malt White and Pure Malt Black. The former we’ve had for a couple of month, and our 2nd order should be here any day. The latter has just landed and a couple dozen bottles have already disappeared from the shelf. 

Japanese whiskies aren’t the only exciting new things we have, we also have the only bottle I’m aware of in Alberta of the Highland Park 50 Year and the 21 Year old recently landed in the Province too. There are new versions of the Adelphi Fascadale and Liddesdale, as well as a handful of remaining bottles of Octomore 5.2 Comus. Every month there are new Society whiskies too, and this month is no exception. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada has released 6 incredible single malts, including our oldest bottling to date a 35 year old (35.44) and another whisky called Femme Fatale (39.86) which was my favourite of the new releases. The Society also released a Jamaican rum, R5.1, which will literally knock your socks off, seriously, it is the Chuck Norris of rums, and 81.3%! 

I hope this Fall Preview edition of the Malt Messenger tides you over until I’m back from Scotchland. Scotchtober is not that far away, I hope to see you at some of our great fall tastings. 


Andrew Ferguson 

In This Edition

  1. Fall Preview – New KWM Casks
  2. Fall Preview – Exciting Exclusives
  3. Fall Preview – Great Events
  4. Fall Preview – Other Interesting Whiskies
  5. New Whiskies From Highland Park Including a 50 Year Old
  6. New Exclusive Japanese Whiskies from Karuizawa Distillery
  7. New Exclusive Japanese Whiskies from Nikka
  8. Special Promotion on MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt (Shackleton Replica)
  9. Special Promotion Glendronach Grandeur 31 Year
  10. Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2 Comus
  11. Latest Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada Releases
  12. A Couple New Whiskies From Adelphi 


One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is selecting a cask to be bottled for our store. Very rarely do I do this on my own: usually it is done with the assistance of staff and a panel of others with excellent palates. We’ve bottled more than 20 exclusive casks for the store over the years, and every one of them has been a sellout and a hit. We have exceptionally high standards when it comes to selecting casks, and that attention to detail makes all the difference. This year we have a really exciting new range, with whiskies from Arran, Evan Williams (Bourbon), 3 different BenRiachs, a ’72 Glenglassaugh and a Glen Garioch. Over the next few weeks and months we should have some advance samples of these whiskies in store for you to try.

–          If you preorder a bottle of any of our casks before their arrival this fall we will give you a 5% discount.

–          Two or more of any one bottling and will give you 7% off those 2 bottles.

–          If you preorder 3 bottles of any of our casks prior to arrival, or one bottle of each (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 – Only 6 bottles as whisky #4 listed below is exclusive to the Companions of the Quaich) we will give you a 10% discount!

Our exclusive bottlings for 2012:

  1. Arran KWM 2001 Bourbon Cask – We’ve previously bottled two single casks from the Isle of Arran distillery, a single sherry and a single bourbon cask. The bourbon was excellent, so we approached the distillery about bottling a second, a Bourbon cask filled in 2001. Estimated Price – $87.49 + GST
  2. Evan Williams KWM Bourbon Barrel – It’s been a couple of years since we last bottled a cask of our own Bourbon, we’ve selected an amazing single cask distilled in 2002 and bottled at 43.3%, a standard for all Evan Williams bottlings; it is a 10 year old. – Estimated Price – $54.99 + GST
  3. BenRiach 1994 KWM Peated Virgin Oak 18 Year – Cask 3806 – 56.8% – Virgin Oak Hogshead – Two years ago we selected and bottled a Madeira finished cask of BenRiach which was a huge hit. We’ve done a lot of casks, so when I approached BenRiach about doing another cask, they came back with some interesting samples. Two of the samples really stood out, both of them peated samples of BenRiach, both of them finished in Virgin Oak casks. One of these casks, the more subtle of them, has been selected by and bottled for Kensington Wine Market. The second has been bottled for the Companions of the Quaich whisky club, see below. – Estimated Price – $117.49 + GST
  4. BenRiach 1994 Companions Peated Virgin Oak 18 Year – Cask 3805 – 56.7% – Finished in a Virgin Oak Hogshead – This is the sister cask to the KWM cask, and exclusively available to member of the club. This was the more heavily peated of the two casks, and the favourite of the club members who selected it. Both casks were fantastic and will make an interesting pair. This bottling will be exclusive to members of the Companions of the Quaich whisky club… but the club is always open to members. More on the club below. – Pricing is Reserved for Members
  5. BenRiach 1983 KWM Cask 298 29 Year – Cask 298 – 44.2% – Matured in a Hogshead – This is a soft, subtle and beautiful older bottling of BenRiach that we are proudly able to offer at a very reasonable price. This is not our Glendronach 1972 reborn, but anyone and everyone who samples this will agree that it is a stunning and beautiful whisky. This BenRiach as well as the two others will be available for sampling at the BenRiach Cask Release w/ Alistair Walker (more info on the tasting below). – Estimated Price – $205.99 + GST
  6. Glen Garioch 1997 MS Society Cask – 15 Year – Ex Bourbon – In partnership with Vines Wine Merchants in Edmonton we will be selling this specially selected single cask with $10 per bottle going to the MS Society of Southern Alberta. This whisky will be launched in late December and will feature prominently in the 2nd Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival January 17th 2013. – $89.99 + GST
  7. Glenglassaugh 1972 KWM Cask 2939 40 Year – Cask 2939 43.8% – Sherry Cask – We’re bringing this one in to replace our Glendronach 1972 which is no longer. The fact they were both distilled the same year is a coincidence, we looked at nearly a dozen samples of Glenglassaugh, going back as far as 1967, and this was by far the most compelling. It has some tropical fruit notes, loads of spice, chocolate and dried fruits. Just a shade under 40 years of age this whisky is still very vibrant and no-where near over the hill! – Estimated Price – $699.99 + GST 


Kensington Wine Market has the largest and most comprehensive range of exclusive whiskies of any retailer in Canada. Some of our exclusives are only exclusive to us in Calgary, while others are exclusive to us either in Alberta or Nationwide. We spend a lot of time researching and sourcing new and interesting products to serve you our customers. Here’s a taste of some of the whiskies we have coming this fall. Many of them are very limited: 


  1. Ardbeg Double Barrel – This isn’t called the double barrel because it hits you with the power of a side by side, but rather because you get two Ardbeg 1974’s side by side in a custom gun case. The case is bespoke, made from the finest leather and hand stitched. In the case there are two different 1974 vintage single cask whiskies, both extremely rare and highly sought after. To complement the whiskies and fill out the case there are 8 numbered solid silver drinking glasses from Hamilton & Inches. There are also two leather bound and stitched books – the Ardbeg Double Barrel Story and the Ardbeg Sampling Register and an OMAS pen, specially made from mature oak in the Italian workshop and engraved with the Ardbeg knot work. This is an especially rare item, only 250 were ever made, and one I have been begging for, for years! We are expecting 2 and at the time of writing one is provisionally sold. – $15,389.99 + GST
  2. G&M Glen Grant 60 Year Diamond Jubilee – 42.3% – Cask 465 – Distilled: 1952 – Bottled: 2012 – Only 85 bottles have been released world-wide. I had the privilege of sampling it at a tasting last year, and you will have just such an opportunity this fall the Ancient Malts Tastings w/ Michael Urquhart on October 30th at 6PM and 8PM. The whisky is produced from a First Fill sherry cask laid down four days before the Queen’s Coronation and decanted on its 60th birthday the 2nd of February 2012 (I sampled it no more than a month later!). Whisky Advocate magazine scored it 92pts and I was suitably impressed by it, tasting note to come in a future Malt Messenger. The decanter was specially created by Glencairn Crystal, specially etched and then inlaid with silver. The bottle carries a crown with a Swarovski crystal and has a diamond shaped stopper. The bottle also features a Sterling silver collar and stopper. The bespoke boxes have been made by hand from Scottish elm hewed near the Queens residence at Holyrood House. – Estimated Price $13, 999 + GST
  3. Dalmore Cromartie – 45% – Matured in Bourbon and Finished in Gonzalez Byass Sherry – This is the third and final bottling in the MacKenzie series, highlighting the Firth of Cromartie and its role in the distillery and Clan MacKenzie’s histories. – $TBA
  4. Dalmore 1995 – 45% – Matured in American Oak – Finished 3 Years in Madeira and 1 Year further in Matusalem Sherry casks. – $TBA
  5. Hammerhead 23 Year – 40.7% – Czech Single Malt -A whisky produced and bottled to celebrate the collapse of the Soviet block and freedom for the countries behind the Iron Curtain. 88.5pts Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible: “this is one of Europe’s maltiest drams… if not the maltiest…” – $TBA
  6. Nikka Miyagikyo 15 Year – 45% – Bottlings of this single malt from a distillery sometimes referred to as Sendai have score 91.5 and 92pts in the Whisky Bible! – $TBA
  7. Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year – 43% – Japanese Blended Malt – 89pts Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible: “This is big stuff – about as big as it gets without peat or rye. No bar shelf whisky club should be without one.” – $TBA
  8. Nikka Tsuru 17 Year Ceramic Decanter – 43% – Blended Japanese Whisky – 94pts in the Whisky Bible: “the marriage between fruit, grain and oak is about as well integrated as you could hope for.” – This beautiful whisky has been a huge success with our customers, so we brought it in in a special decanter. – $TBA
  9. Nikka Yoichi 20 Year – 52% -This is the oldest regularly available Japanese single malt from either of Nikka single malt distilleries, scoring at 95pts in the Whisky Bible. – $TBA
  10. Duthies – We are looking at 7-8 new expressions which will be here late in December, including: Caol Ila, Royal Lochnagar, Glen Scotia, Glen Ord, Bruichladdich and others!
  11. Wilson & Morgan – We are expecting a range of whiskies including: Bunnahabhain, Glen Scotia, Glenrothes and Ben Nevis
  12. Signatory Vintage – I am expecting a number of exclusive whiskies including: Inverleven, Inchmurin, Imperial, Royal Lochnagar and More…
  13. Glendronach Single Cask Batch 9 – Only 6 bottles of each for Canada!
    1. 1976 Cask # 5317 – 54.1% – 35 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish – $TBA
    2. 1976 Cask # 6967 – 59.0% – 35 Year – Classic Speyside – $TBA
    3. 1976 Cask # 8804 – 54.9% – 35 Year – Peated – $TBA
    4. 1977 Cask # 2593 – 44.2% – 34 Year – Sauternes Finish – $TBA
    5. 1977 Cask # 2588 – 44.1% – 34 Year – Rioja Finish – $TBA
    6. 1983 Cask # 291 – 43.1% – 29 Year – Classic Speyside – $TBA
    7. 1984 Cask # 1052 – 50.7% – 27 Year – Peated / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish – $TBA
    8. 1984 Cask # 4050 – 52.2% – 27 Year – Peated / Tawny Port Finish – $TBA
    9. 1985 Cask # 7190 – 48.7% – 26 Year – Peated / Pedro Ximenez Finish- $TBA
    10. 1990 Cask # 2596 – 53.4% – 22 Year – Tawny Port Finish- $TBA
    11. Glendronach Single Casks Batch 6 – Only 6 bottles of each for Canada!
      1. 1971 Cask # 1247 – 47.9% – 41 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – $TBA
      2. 1978 Cask # 1068 – 52.9% – 33 Year – Oloroso Sherry Puncheon – $TBA
      3. 1989 Cask # 4885 – 53.9% – 23 Year – Moscatel Barrel – $TBA
      4. 1990 Cask # 2966 – 55.1% – 22 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – $TBA
      5. 1993 Cask # 536 – 59.4% – 19 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – $TBA


These events and all of Kensington Wine Market’s other exciting tastings are open for registration now at . Tastings are sold on a first come first serve basis. Some of these great events are already sold out, and many more are filling up quickly.

  1. Jura Distillery with Willie Tait – We’ll be sampling whiskies from Dalmore and Fettercairn with a special focus on Jura including the 1976, 1995 Boutique Bourbon, 10, Superstition, Prophecy and another bottling not available in Canada. – Tuesday October 2nd – $40 – !!SOLD OUT!!
  2. Raucous Rums – Join us for another invigorating rum tasting which will feature a rum distilled in 1941 (aged 58 year), some new releases from Renegade, the Panamonte XXV , a rum at nearly 163 proof and more! Thursday October 4th – 7PM – $60
  3. Canadian Whisky w/ Davin de Kergommeaux – Davin is a writer, blogger, whisky critic and Malt Maniac (one of only 3 in Canada) and probably Canada’s foremost expert on Canadian whisky. You can check out his blog at . Davin has just published a book, Canadian Whisky, and will be leading a special tasting of Canadian whiskies including many new releases: Forty Creek Port Matured, Alberta Premium Dark Horse, Highwood Calgary Stampede 25 Year, Lot 40, Pike Creek, Pendleton 1910 and Crown Royal XR. It is a tasting not to miss and a steal at $25! – Monday October 15th$25 – THIS IS A BARGAIN…
  4. Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada 1st Anniversary – It is hard to believe it has been a full year since we launched the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Canada, and it has been an incredible success. To date more than 300 Canadians have joined the world’s largest whisky club’s Canadian arm, and many existing members of the Society in the UK and US have found a new home. The Kensington Wine Market is flinging open its doors for a 1st Anniversary celebration that will feature 12 new Society releases! – Friday October 19th$35 Members / $45 Guests – ONLY 27/100 Spots Left!
  5. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 1st Edmonton Tasting – We’re spreading our wings and heading north to give the rest of Alberta a chance to sample some of the finest Scotch whiskies found anywhere. We’ve booked the Govenors Room at the Prince of Wales Armouries, 10440 108 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta. We’ll be sampling the same 12 new releases we try in Calgary the night before and introducing Edmontonians to the charms and pleasures of membership in “the Society”! – Saturday October 20th – 7PM – $35 Members / $45 Guests
  6. BenRiach Cask Release Party with Alistair Walker – Kensington Wine Market has three casks on the water from BenRiach, two for the store and one for the Companions of the Quaich, a Canadian whisky club with a very active Calgary chapter (for more info on the club send me an email). While the Companions cask is exclusive to members when it comes to purchasing, all three will be open for sampling with Alistair along with some of BenRiach and Glendronachs other amazing whiskies. It will be a memorable evening, and one not to miss! – Monday October 29th$40
  7. Ancient Malts w/ Michael Urquhart – Last summer Kensington Wine Market introduced the Generations Glenlivet 70 Year to the Canadian market with the assistance and generosity of Michael Urquhart and Gordon & MacPhail. We’re up to something exciting this year too… Michael’s bringing a sample of the 1952, 60 year old Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant Diamond Jubilee bottling they’ve launched to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne. This beautifully crafted whisky will be retailing for close to $14,000.00/bottle. A half ounce pour of this whisky would set you back $350 ($700 for a full ounce) if you could find an open bottle. Thanks to the generosity of Michael and Gordon & MacPhail, we’re pleased to be offering 2 seatings of 20 persons each a tasting of the Glen Grant 60 Year and five other whiskies, for the very reasonable price of $175. Participants will get a special glass and will also sample from a range of other old and rare bottlings from Benromach and G&M. KWM, G&M and Gold Medal Marketing have put together another once in a lifetime tasting for you, an event not to be missed! – 1st Seating: 6 to 7PM / 2nd Seating: 8-9PM – Tuesday October 30th$175
  8. Fall Single Malt Festival – Our 6th Annual Fall Single Malt Festival will feature 100 of the finest single malts and whiskies from Scotland and around the world, and is limited to just 100 participants. Come find out why this is Alberta’s best little whisky festival. It sells out every year! – Thursday November 8th – 7PM – $60 – ALREADY MORE THAN HALF SOLD OUT!
  9. Closed Distilleries Dinner – We always like to throw in a special whisky dinner at Buchanan’s on the evening following our whisky festival as an extra treat for our customers, especially those who’ve travelled from afar to be here. This year’s dinner is operating on a “Closed Distilleries” them and will feature 6 whiskies from distilleries lost to the sands of time. Includes a three course meal, taxes and gratuities. Limited to 26 participants. – Friday November 9th – 7PM – $150 – ALREADY HALF SOLD!
  10. Glenfarclas Family Casks w/ George Grant – This is the 5th year we will be hosting a Family Casks tasting here in Calgary (and the 4th with George), and we’ve got another great lineup planned. George Grant (the distillery’s 6th generation) will be on hand to playfully guide us through a range of family cask bottlings while telling the sorts of stories few other brand ambassadors can match. This year as a special treat we will be launching the Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength 20 Year, in addition to a range of Family Casks including: 1962, 1972, 1982 and 1992. If you’ve never made it to one of George’s Family Cask tastings, you owe it to treat yourself! – Hosted at the Glencoe Club: 636 29 Avenue SW – 7PM – $175 


Here is a list of just a few of the interesting new whiskies we’ll be seeing this fall. We are already taking pre-orders for many of them, like the Ardbeg Galileo and Glenfarclas 105 20 Year, and some of these could sell out before they even hit the floor. Send me a note if you are interested in any of them.

  1. Ardbeg Galileo – 49% – 1999 Vintage – Matured in a mix of Ex-Bourbon and Madeira casks – Kensington Wine Market, as Canada’s first and only Ardbeg Embassy is getting at least 120 bottles in November/December, and we’ve already got commitments for close to 60 of those bottles. – Preliminary Tasting Note: Nose: surprisingly mellow for Ardbeg (but not Blasda mellow), lots of barley sugar, biscuitty peat, chocolate orange and candied coated fennel; very fruity with raisins and figs, ripe oranges and grape fruits, and mixed berries; Palate: creamy, earthy, peaty, sweet and spicy all at once; the citrus fruits, creamy vanilla and chocolate are all there but loosely buried under the surging peat and barley; more candied fennel along with oily-heathery-peat; Finish: drying, peaty and still sweet showing more chocolate, fennel and orange and lime peels; Comments: this whisky will take off like a rocket! – Estimate Price $119.99 + GST
  2. Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength 20 Year – 60% – Only 120 bottles are coming to Alberta and we’re expecting to receive 60 of them. Once the word gets out this will be one of the most anticipated whiskies of the fall. I’m desperate to get a sample of it, and will put my thoughts in the next Malt Messenger as soon as I have them. The whisky will be launched at our Glenfarlcas Family Casks Tasting with George Grant on November 20th 2012. – Estimated Price: $314.99 + GST
  3. Bowmore 1985 – 52.3% – 26 Year – Marriage of a selection of Sherry & Bourbon Casks747 bottles released Worldwide – We are expecting just 15 bottles and already have requests for some of them. I am expecting to taste it next week in Scotland. – Estimated Price $535.99
  4. Arran Devil’s Punchbowl – 52.3%- 6,660 bottles – Marriage of 24 casks -Just in time for Halloween, this whisky is inspired by a glacial hollow on the Island of Arran Coire na Ciche. Heavy on sherry-the whisky’s core is from 1996 sherry butts-it also has some 1996 Bourbon and 2006 peated Arran. This whisky has created quite a buzz. We’ll be getting around 60 bottles, and I don’t expect them to last long! – $TBA
  5. Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Edition – 48.9% – Matured in a selection of Bourbon and French oak casks – “Created from single malt whiskies from distilleries located in the Northern Highlands, Islay, Speyside and Islands. Primarily from the south shore of Islay and the village of Brora (Highlands).” – Already scored 91pts by Serge at Whisky Fun. – $TBA
  6. Bruichladdich PC 10 – 59.8% – 10 Year – Moderately Peated Bruichladdich (Moderate compared to Octomore) – No present word on ETA or price. – $TBA
  7. Bruichladdich Octomore 5.1 – 59.5% – Matured in American Oak – No present word on ETA or price. – $TBA
  8. The Tomatin Range and Antiquary Blends – The whole range is coming… more information to come! – $TBA
  9. Auchentoshan 1979 – Estimated Price $508.99
  10. Bowmore Tempest 4 – $TBA
  11. Kilkerran Work in Progress 3 – $TBA
  12. The Glengoyne Range Returns – 12, 17 and 28 as a start, hopefully 21 in the short term too! – $TBA
  13. New Canadian Whiskies
    1. Alberta Premium Dark Horse – 45% – Blend of 12 Year Rye and 6 Year Small Pot Rye Will be featured at our Canadian Whisky tasting with Davin de Kergommeaux – My Tasting Note: Nose: very soft mellow and sweet with brown sugar, maple and sweet vanilla oak; as it warms spices start to emerge with some dark fruit; Palate: spicy, rich and very smooth with more brown sugar, maple, fennel and some browning apple and banana; smooth mellow oak, spicy oily rye and more dark fruit; Finish: the browning apple returns with brown sugar, fennel and more dried fruit; Comment: neither the 25 or 30,this is still very pleasant stuff, and like other Alberta distillers bottlings, shockingly cheap! – $26.99 + GST – AVAILABLE NOW!
    2. Gibson’s 12 Year Grey Cup Edition – Will be featured at our Canadian Whisky tasting with Davin de Kergommeaux – $TBA
    3. Lot 40 – Will be featured at our Canadian Whisky tasting with Davin de Kergommeaux – $TBA
    4. Pike Creek – Will be featured at our Canadian Whisky tasting with Davin de Kergommeaux – $TBA
    5. Forty Creek Port Wood – Will be featured at our Canadian Whisky tasting with Davin de Kergommeaux – $TBA
    6. And much more, this is just a taste! 


Highland Park is one of Scotland’s most respected single malts, hailing from Kirkwall on the mainland of the Orkney Islands. The distillery is one of Scotland’s oldest, founded in 1798, and one of but a handful of Scottish distillers that continue to malt some of their own barley. I’ve been to the distillery a number of times and it is one of my favourites, and the Orkney’s are a joy too. It’s a place apart from the rest of Scotland, partly Highland Scottish, partly Orcadian. The whisky too are unique, Highland Park along with Laphroaig and a handful of other distilleries has a style so unique unto itself, that it is easy to sniff it out in a crowd. 

I have good news and bad for fans of The Orcadian malt (there is another distillery on Orkney, but it is nowhere near the pedigree and reputation of HP). First to the good news: Kensington Wine Market managed to snap up one of only 3 bottles of Highland Park 50 Year old we believe to have come to Canada. The other two have found their way to Ontario… This is an exceptionally rare whisky, only 275 bottles have been released worldwide! The bad news: Highland Park Thor has come and gone. As with the Early Haakon, Alberta had a woefully small allocation, and we had far more requests for the whisky than bottles available to us. If we weren’t able to get you a bottle, please accept our apologies. We did the best we could to advocate for a large allocation. The silver lining, if you wish to see one, is that the Highland Park 21 Year is now available in the province. We’ve had it on the shelf for a couple of months now, and this is my first opportunity to write about it.

  1. Highland Park 21 Year – 47.5% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose: “Butterscotch, dark chocolate and orange; Palate: Full flavour, candied orange peel with spicy dark chocolate leading to a rich smoky sensation; Finish: Rich, complex, sweet smoky sensation then soft medium dry.” – $270.99 + GST
  2. Highland Park Thor 16 Year – % – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose: “Concentrated and forceful, with an explosion of aromatic smoke, pungent fresh ginger, antique copper, stewed plums, and golden syrup. With water, earthy notes emerge, like a garden after a heavy rain shower. Palate: Thor’s high strength grabs the palate and refuses to let go. Initially dry, with fiery gingerbread then vanilla, blackberries, fresh mango, peach and hints of cinnamon. As its big flavours swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor and unexpected layer of complexity and depth. Finish: The finish thunders on, leaving behind lingering notes of sweet vanilla and an intense spiciness. – $262.49 + GST – !!SOLD OUT!!
  3. Highland Park 50 Year – 44.8% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose: “Complex and multi-layered; dusty wood and old tobacco pouch at first. Slowly the emphasis moves to fruit and spices; cooked damsons, raisins and nutmeg are all prevalent; Palate: At full strength, it is rich and spicy with excellent tannins and notes of muscovado sugar to the fore with a hint of wax. When reduced, orange peel, camphor and cloves emerge; Finish: Long and very spicy, slightly smoky remnants.” – $15,529.99 + GST – Only 1 bottle in Alberta – More Information Below:

Highland Park 50 Year

An hour after the distillery announced its release last year I first asked the Canadian importer for a bottle of the Highland Park 50 Year Old. Rare bottles like this aren’t always easy to get however, and persistence isn’t always enough to ensure success. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but even that is not enough to guarantee success. This time it paid off, even if all the squeaking in the world had little effect. A few bottles of the Highland Park 50 Year landed in Alberta a couple of months back, apparently in transit to another larger province for sale in their government monopoly liquor stores. Unprotected the whisky was only accessible for sale for just a few hours when it popped up as available to order. There are moments in life where you have to leap without looking, and place an order without a firm buyer for a $15,500 bottle! The opportunity was too rare to pass up, so we pulled the trigger and are now to the best of my knowledge the possessors of the only such bottle in Alberta, and possibly Western Canada. And oh is it beautiful!


Each bespoke bottle is hand crafted and wrapped in sterling silver. The design was created by Maeve Gillies, a New York based jeweler specializing in rings and bridal jewelry, who took her inspiration from the forces of nature in the Orkneys: “This is my tribute to the incredible natural beauty of Orkney and Highland Park, the island’s wild elemental powers – nature, water, light and age – which difines both the landscape and Highland Park single malt.” The bottle has been made to reflect the more than six millennia of history in the Orkneys, an ancient artifact much as the whisky which it contains.


Each bottle contains a piece of sandstone, carved with Highland Park’s logo. The sandstone is emblematic of St. Magnus Cathedral, the great sandstone church which is one of Orkney’s most famous monuments. Behind the sandstone, hidden by the liquid until the whisky is partially drunk is a sterling silver representation of St. Magnus Cathedral’s Rose Window. This feature is an enticement to open and enjoy the bottle. The sterling silver cage which wraps the bottle is made by hand and unique, with no two bottles perfectly identical. The bottle is presented in a hand carved Scottish oak box with a sterling silver porthole giving just a glimpse inside. A small drawer inside the box contains a leather bound book about the bottling, hand signed by Maeve Gillies, Russell Anderson (Distillery Manager) and Max MacFarlane (Whisky Maker).


The whisky is a vatting of 5 casks filled into barrel in 1960, blended together and left to marry (or harmonize) for a brief period of time. There was only enough liquid to fill 275 bottles at 44.8%, presumably its natural cask strength. The angels had taken more than their share, but what had they left in return? I am still hopeful I’ll have a chance to sample it but in the meantime, I’ve provided a couple of tasting notes.


The official distillery tasting notes:Appearance: Clear and bright with burnished mahogany hues. Nose: Complex and multi-layered; dusty wood and old tobacco pouch at first. Slowly the emphasis moves to fruit and spices; cooked damsons, raisins and nutmeg are all prevalent. Palate: At full strength, it is rich and spicy with excellent tannins and notes of muscovado sugar to the fore with a hint of wax. When reduced, orange peel, camphor and cloves emerge. Finish: Long and very spicy, slightly smoky remnants.”


Jim Murray’s Tasting Note; Whisky Bible 2012: Nose: mint, cloves and a thin coat of creosote usurp the usual deft heather and smoke to loudy announce this whisky’s enormous age. Don’t bother looking for honey, either. Well, not at first… However there is a growing sweetness from the start: deep and giving up its parts molten Demerara -part treacle…to molasses…to manuka honey…: Taste: certain sugars present on the delivery, though at first hard to quite make out which. Some surprising oil ensures suppleness to the oak; there is also a wonderful marriage, or perhaps it is a threesome, between old nutty fruitcake, tangy orange-enriched high quality North European marzipan, and ancient bourbon… Finish: silky with some wonderful caramels and toasted fudge forming a really chewy finale. As well as ensuring any possible old age-holes are plugged; Balance: old whiskies tend to react to unchartered territory as far as time in the oak is concerned in quite different ways. This grey beard has certainly given us a new slant. Nothing unique about the nose, what follows on the palate moves towards a reasonably predictable path. Not here. Truly unique – as it should be after all this time. 96.5ptsWINNER: Best 41 Year & Over Multiple Casks! 


Founded in 1955, Karuizawa is considered by many to be Japan’s “Port Ellen”, in that the closed distillery is rapidly developing a cult status. Originally the site of a vineyard, it started drilling in 1956 and was converted into a whisky distillery in 1962. The distillery is situated in the resort mountain town of the same name, situated on the flank of a dormant volcano, Mt. Asama. For most of its history the distillery only used European Oak Ex-Sherry Casks. Barley was shipped from Berwick on Tweed in the North of England across the border from Scotland, as it is for many distilleries in Scotland. The distillery like most Japanese distilleries focused on blends until 1987 when it released its first single malt which rapidly earned a strong reputation. The distillery was mothballed in 2001 and in 2007 Karuizawa was purchased by Kirin, a Japanese brewing giant and owner of the Fuji Gotemba distillery. It was hoped that the two distilleries would be run as a partnership, but the distillery was closed by Kirin in 2011. The final nail in the coffin was the announcement that all the remaining stocks of whisky had been sold to “Number One Drinks”, a UK company, and that it had been moved to the new Chichibu distillery, owned by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the closed Hakushu distillery’s founder. It is not known how many casks Number One Drinks has to be bottle over the next few years, but there are rumours that some of them are from the 1960’s. 

Kensington Wine Market Acquired the following 3 Karuizawa whiskies as exclusives:

  1. Karuizawa 27 Year Noh Whisky – 59.1% – Marriage of 4 casks: 1981 #6405, 1982 #4973, 1983 #8184 and 1984 #6437, both Sherry and Bourbon – Bottled October 2011 – My Tasting Note: Nose: dark and enticing with Christmas spices, leather, tobacco, dried dark fruits and chocolate shavings; big coffee notes of fresh brewed espresso, sticky toffee pudding in treacle sauce, pulled pork and bbq beef jerky; Palate: wow… sweet, spicy, vaguely smoky and layers of fruit with leather and tobacco; raisins, dried cherries and figs morph into black liquorice and dark chocolate before fading into cigar smoke and leather sofas; then the spices come out and wow, they have depth…; more dark chocolate, candied ginger and burnt marmalade; Finish: drying and leathery with tobacco pouch and dried dark fruits; a creaminess starts to emerge with a sweet and sour flourish; Comments: this is a lovely dram, worthy of the hype and four hundred bucks. – $403.49
  2. Karuizawa 39 Year 1972 Cask 7038 – Regrettably we were only able to get 3 bottles. $731.49 + GST !!SOLD OUT!!
  3. Karuizawa 1981 Cask 7924 – Regrettably we were only able to get 3 bottles. $418.99 + GST !!SOLD OUT!!
Karuizawa 27 Year


Japanese whisky from Nikka has been a huge hit with our customers over the last few years. We were very fortunate to put our hands on some of them as exclusives, like the four listed below. They have been selling so quickly in fact that I don’t have a bottle of three of them listed below at the time of writing, but don’t fret, we’ll have more of each in next Wednesday. Nikka was founded by Masataka Taketsuru, considered to be one of the forefathers of the Japanese whisky industry. He founded two single malt distilleries, Yoichi on Hokaido (the Northernmost in Scotland) and Miyagikyo (also known as Sendai). Between these malt distilleries and some grain stills the company bottles a range of single malts, single grains, blended malts and blends that are as good as any of their Scottish counterparts. When the Japanese set their mind to doing something, they generally do it well, and for the last 90 years or so they have been making excellent whiskies. We have two new and two newly returned Japanese whiskies:

  1. Nikka Pure Malt White – 500ml – 45% – My Tasting Note: Nose: soft, sugary, fruity, floral, smoky and smooth; there is a lot going on with this very layered nose; brown sugar, apple crumble, and spices galore with fleshy fruits; fig bars, salted raisins and clean dark chocolate; Palate: sweet and peaty, but very soft with a silky follow through; the peat is down to embers and burning very clean, there is a sense of chewy malt, barley sugar and sweet oak; layers of fruit notes, more fleshy fruits as well as some dried dark ones roll into darker spices, dark chocolate and soft earthy peat; layer after layer comes forward including tropical fruits and smoked salty fish; Finish: the floral element reemerge here along with more chewy malt, salty smoke and traces of the fleshy fruits; Comments: this is a strange but intriguing beast. – $61.99 + GST
  2. Nikka Pure Malt Black – 500ml – % – My Tasting Note: Nose: very fruity with both soft tropical notes and darker Christmas cake/candied fruit; earthy spices, black licorice and soft peat; fresher, creamier, more citrusy layers emerge with patience and a dollop of fresh cream; Palate: creamy, peaty and spicy with old fashioned black licorice; wow the peat caught me off guard, its soft but firm, dark spices, more cream and burnt fruits; soft vanilla cream with orange peel and a zest of lemon and lime; Finish: the tropical fruits are back with more cream and clean fading smoke; Comments: this whisky is a chameleon, seemingly able to slip into any skin and shift its style; lots of layers for $60! – $59.99 + GST



Just Back In Stock, and Also From Nikka:

  1. Nikka Tsuru 17 Year – 43% – Blended Japanese Whisky – Combines single malts from Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries with grain whisky all aged at least 10 years. – My Tasting Notes: Nose: dusty at first with dried grains: wheat and barley; the nose quickly opens up becoming fruity and lush; plums, apricots and pears with peaches in cream; there is a soft floral character too which caresses the nose; Palate: delicate, decadent, soft and refined; the palate is so multi-layered it is hard to know where to start; lots of fruit, dried and fresh with more peaches and cream, apricots and even some darker fruits like figs; the floral tones are still there but it is the silky creamy delivery which impresses most; for a blend there is little trace of the grain! Finish: long, creamy, coating and sweet with fading floral and dried fruit notes. – $140.99
    1. 94pts Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible:”…this could challenge as a World Whisky of the Year.”
  2. Nikka Yoichi 15 Year – 45% – Batch 12A04C – Produced in very small batche. – My Tasting Note: Nose: massively fruity and soft with thick floral notes and a base of crème brule; like the 17, the nose is very multilayered and deep, but it is fuller and heavier; vanilla custard, molten brown sugar, Scottish tablet and whipped cream; Palate: lush, creamy, sweet and spicy; the wood makes an appearance on the nose but it is soft, sweet and a deft touch (do I detect a trace of Mizuno oak?); many Japanese whiskies offer a savoury component, and this one is no different, if not more so; candied fruits and sweet spices intermingle with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream; the layers keep coming offering different shades; Finish: drying, sweet and savoury the palate continues to be caressed by soft oak oils, velvety malt and more candied fruits in whipped topping! – $143.99 + GST
    1. 95ptsWhisky Advocate – “Rather than the palate showing a slow procession of flavors along the tongue, this is a layered whisky; coal-like, oily, and richly fruited with a distinct saltiness on the sides, ably demonstrating that Japan has almost as much variety on offer as scotch.” – Dave Broom
    2. 91.5pts Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – Batch 06108B – “…one of the world’s top 5 distilleries…” 


The MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, a replica of a whisky found under Shackleton’s 1907 expeditionary hut has been very warmly received by the customers of the Kensington Wine Market. Whisky lovers, history buffs and everyone in between has been captivated by the story of this lost and found whisky and the wonderful replica created by Whyte and MacKay. The whisky’s Alberta launch event made the cover of the Calgary Herald, and was featured in a full page story within. The article can still be read here: . We recently receive our final shipment of the MacKinlays. As demand grew last year we scoured other markets for unsold bottles, scooping up all that we could get our hands on. The last of them have finally made their way to Alberta. 

Recently while dusting off some shelves I happed upon some boxes of special Glencairn glasses we had made up for the release of this whisky. The glasses show his ship The Endurance trapped in the ice from his ill-fated 1912-14 expedition Trans Antarctic Expedition. These glasses were discovered hidden under some dust in the back storage room where they have lain untouched for the better part of 5-6 months. Their discovery seemed like an opportunity for a special promotion. From now through the 15th of October the MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt is 10% off, and we’re throwing in an added bonus while supplies last…

–          Buy 1 bottle of Mackinlays Rare Old Highland Malt at 10% off and get a complimentary Shackleton Glencairn glass.

–          Buy 2 bottles of Mackinlays Rare Old Highland Malt and you will save 12% and get 2 complimentary Shackleton Glencairn glasses.

–          Buy 3 or more bottles of the MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt and you will save 15% and receive 3 complimentary Shackleton Glencarin glasses.

–          This promotion will only continue through October 15th, and the complimentary glasses will only be available while supplies last. 

MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt

Some interesting facts on the MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt which came to light at a tasting I attended with Richard Patterson at the Nth Whisky Show in Las Vegas.

  • Shackleton ordered the MacKinlay’s in 1907 for his expedition.
  • Whyte & MacKay used some 1980 Glen Mhor (the original now closed distillery) in the blend, from cask #1907…
  • 35 different malts were used to recreate the flavour profile including: Glen Mhor, Jura, Tamnavulin, Glenfarclas and peated Dalmore.
  • The original MacKinlay’s was matured in both American and European oak casks.

MacKinlay’s Reviews and Tasting Notes: 

“Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland whisky, 47.3% “Rarely has a blend caused as much excitement as this one, but with good reason. This is also known as the Shackleton whisky, and is a recreation of the whisky abandoned in the Antarctic by explorer Ernest Shackleton more than 100 years ago. It has lemon, spring blossom, and wafts of smoke on the nose. The taste is full and citrusy, with peat and pepper in attendance. Beautifully balanced and outstanding, but there are just 50,000 bottles, so snap it up. (Dominic Roskrow) 92 Points!” – Malt Advocate Magazine 

“I think the replication is absolutely bang on. Richard has done a great job as it’s a very tricky whisky to replicate. I’m blown away!” – Dave Broom (The only independent whisky expert who tasted the original and the replica!) 

MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt – Shackleton Replica – 47.3% – My Tasting Note (written by a lakeside fire): Nose: very soft and light with cold apple crumble, brown sugar, cinnamon toast and white chocolates; poached apricot and pears with fresh strawberries; if there’s smoke here I can’t tell thanks to the fire; Palate: rich, toasty and spicy, with honey, vanilla extract and more orchard fruits; more cold cooked apples, soft pear, cinnamon and some darker spices; the delicate smoke is discernible here with hints of salt and more sweet toasted oak; Finish: the whisky has good mouth feel and this presence lasts well into the finish with loads of toasted oak, wood smoke, cooked apple and honey vanilla tones; Comments: I will have to taste is again in a more controlled setting, but am again very pleased with it. I thought this one would be pure gimmick, but it is more than that! – $209.99 + GST





The Glendronach Grandeur has been one of our best-selling whiskies over $500 in the last several years. This limited edition bottling, priced at about the same point as Macallan 25 Year, has blown it out of the water sales wise. The whisky scored a 94pt score in Whisky Advocate: “I like that it’s sherried, and the sherry is kept in balance. Those of you who liked the 33 year old will also enjoy this one.” and 94.5pts in the Whisky Bible: “just one hell of an alpha sherry butt.” Kensington Wine Market has acquired the last 14 bottles in Alberta on sale and is blowing them out at a $66+ discount from the original price. Listed just last week at $576.99 the whisky is now on for $510.49. Of those 14 bottles 5 have already sold thanks to the power of Twitter, leaving just 9 available! 



Glendronach Grandeur 31 Year – 45.8% – 1013 Total Bottles – Distillers Tasting Note: “Nose: fruits, nuts and berries enveloped in a coffee and mocha glaze. Subtle sweet sherry notes sticky date pudding. Palate: Very big and gusty, yet with perfect balance. Initial spiced orange flavours and rich old Oloroso sherry are met mid-palate with roasted almonds, coffee and treacle. Dry almond and the oloroso sherry notes are balanced with sultanas, chocolate and honey..” – $510.49 + GST – ONLY 9 LEFT! 


Considered by some to be the best of the Octomore releases to date, and accused by some others of not being Octomory enough… the Comus is certain to stir conversation. We’ve already sold through most of our allocation of this whisky, as well as that of a number of other stores. The whisky was matured in Chateau D’Yquem (considered the finest Sauternes, which is a style of sweet French wine) the whisky is called Comus referencing a 1634 work by Milton. From Bruichladdich: “It’s a philosophical discourse about the tension between sensual pleasure and physical abandon, extravagance and moderation, chastity and virtue.” Those laddies sure are some crazy chaps, here are my thoughts on the Comus: 

  1. Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2 Comus – 61% – Distilled at 167PPM – Matured in Chateau D’Yquem – 5 Year – 18,000 Bottles World Wide – My Tasting Note: Nose: the nose is decadent with baklava, vanilla custard crème brule and some barely restrained peaty malt (like a bull pawing the earth); lemon drops and other candied citrus lay in wait with green grassy malt; there is very little sense on the nose of the surge of peat the palate will experience; Palate: sweet, chewy, malty and creamy; where’s the shovel full of peat that should have been dropped on my head?; very approachable for its age, peating level and strength, there is loads of sweet honeyed oak, more baklava, black licorice Nibbs, and then some developing dark spice, earthy peat and espresso grounds; Finish: drying, lightly smoke and finally a touch of salt with more candied citrus, licorice and mouthfuls of malt; Comment: to paraphrase Seinfeld, an Octomore for the rest of us! – $159.99 + GST – ONLY 10 LEFT!
  2. Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 9 Year (PC9) – 59.2% – 9 Year – Only 5,000 bottles produced – Matured in Ex-Bourbon – No present reviews, I sampled it some months ago, but don’t presently have a tasting note. – $118.99 – We have 9 left at the time of writing.





The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is the world’s largest whisky club and also the most prolific bottler of single cask, cask strength, single malt Scotch whiskies in the world. You have to be a member to buy SMWS whiskies, but membership has its perks. For more information on the Society, visit . The following are the most recent Society whiskies still in stock at Kensington Wine Market:

  1. 35.44: Entrancing & Delightful – 35 Year – 55% – Speyside (Lossie) – Refill Hogshead Ex-Bourbon – Outturn: 167 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose was entrancing and delightful! Honeycomb, marmalade and cherry liqueur; exotic fruits and flowers; polished mahogany and leather. The palate was lively but never frivolous – brown sugar in espresso coffee dregs and Grand Marnier flavours mingling and tingling in the mouth, “everlasting joy” exclaimed one panellist. On the reduced nose, the orange theme developed even further -candied orange dipped in luxurious chocolate, Jaffa cakes, orange jelly – also a slight whisper of cardamom or something medicinal. The reduced palate had a special, urbane, adult sweetness; toffee and spice and all things nice. The distillery is sometimes flooded by the Lossie.” Drinking Tip: “After dinner – preferably wearing a dinner jacket.” – $253.99
  2. 39.86: Femme Fatale – 21 Year – 45.5% – Speyside (Lossie) – Refill Hogshead Ex-Bourbon – Outturn: 217 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “With the initial smell, she came out of her shell, and still she promised more. Peaches, coffee and spice were there to entice, and yet she promised more. The flavour neat, had woodiness and heat, all the while she’s promising more. Sweet cherry lips, plum brandy on ships, again she’s promising more. Water brought milkshake, vanilla ice cream (no flake), and still she promised more. Toffee, nougat, nuts and soap, on our tongues gave us hope. Surely, there’s some more? Dear drinker take heed, of her last victim’s greed, the fellow begged for more. He took her to task, and fell in his glass, Drink her if you dare!” Drinking Tip: “Drink at your peril, as a gift to yourself!” – $159.99
  3. 26.86: Massage in a Bottle – 21 Year – 50.5% – Northern Highland – Refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel – Outturn: 182 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Initial essences of beeswax and guitar polish led the panel down an extremely aromatic path. Potpourri, scented candles and orange oil tickled our olfactory senses, fresh laundry (maybe towels) caused us to sink into our seats. Lavender and orange blossom emerged on the palate, coating the mouth with a waxy chocolaty finish. Water heightened our spiritual experience as the room filled with incense, hand cream, jasmine, pear drops and ripe peaches. The flavour expanded to encapsulate vanilla, white chocolate and waves of oranges and watermelons. We emerged from this dram relaxed and sweetly sedate. Drinking Tip: “A dram to unwind with.” – $160.99
  4. 125.62 – Crepes Suzzettes & Coffee Dregs – 10 Year – 61.2% – Northern Highland – Refill Hogshead Ex-Bourbon (Or is it?) – Outturn: 271 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Reminiscent of Calvados and Grand Marnier, the nose delivered toffee apples, pineapple, Crêpes Suzettes, Werthers originals, Edinburgh rock, custard slices and Moffat toffees. The unreduced palate exploded with warm ginger and orange flavours (if ever a whisky lived up to its colour!) then superior tequila and Madeira wine in the finish. The reduced nose offered dried fruits, ginger wine, lots of citrus (lemon meringue pie, oranges in syrup, pineapple) and caramel gradually emerging. The reduced palate, still big, chewy and beautifully sweet, had sugary dregs of coffee, chocolate gingers, then a dry sherry aftertaste rounding off this fine Tain dram.” Drinking Tip: “With crêpes, or any other dessert.” – $112.99
  5. 53.157 – Paint Your Own Picture – 10 Year – 58% – Islay – Refill Hogshead Ex-Bourbon – Outturn: 272 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Peat smoke drifts from a nearby island across calm waters – the sun is going down after a hot day on the beach – a driftwood fire is now lit on shingle between rock-pools – barbecued pork ribs, langoustines, lobster, then lemon meringue pie for dessert – nose the dram – ginger, Germolene, tobacco, boxing gloves – paint your own picture – Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction? – taste it now – root beer, icecream, bananas, Old Holborn tobacco, liquorice cigarette papers, burnt heather, barley sugars rolled in ash – this whisky evoked all of these for us – now test your own imagination – it’s from the Sound of Islay.” Drinking Tip: “Sunset beach dram.” – $133.99 – !! SOLD OUT !!
  6. 29.114 – After Dinner Dram – 10 Year – 56.1% – Refill Hogshead Ex-Bourbon – Outturn: 264 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “First impressions are meaty and herbal, roasted lamb with thyme and rosemary, followed by a maritime freshness of a salty sea breeze and the sweetness of mint toffee. Undiluted on the palate surprisingly sweet, slightly bitter, like a good Turkish coffee whilst grilling succulent pork fillets. With water, more sweetness on the nose is added, vanilla pods and black currants as well as a flinty, chalky aroma reminding us of Edinburgh rock. The taste develops into a sweet hot chocolate with a freshness of eucalyptus leaves and the lingering ashy aftertaste from the bbq last night at ‘the beautiful hollow by the broad bay’.” Drinking Tip: “Instead of a coffee after a bbq on the beach.” – $115.99
  7. R5.1 – Mint Humbugs – 9 Year – 81.3% – Jamaican Rum- Refill Hogshead Ex- Bourbon – Outturn: 525 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Surprisingly deep and complex for its age, we were transported to a tropical swimming pool at first: plastic flip-flops, wicker sun-loungers, with a dusty note (‘chest of drawers’), then a rush of pumpkin-seed oil, damson vinegar and Cola-cubes… The taste blows your socks off! Sweet and peppery, after a start of ‘water-wings’. Water softens the aroma and taste considerably: vanilla fudge, cherry pie and Canadian cedar (with cherries) on the nose, and a clean, mint humbug, mentholated (even clove-like) taste. One panellist produced a bottle of Coke and a lime… Delicious!” Drinking Tip: “Looking out over azure water.” – $131.99

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada Special Promotion

Pair 4.162 and 31.23 and Save 15% on Each!

  1. 4.162 – Smoker’s Tooth Powder – 16 Year – Ex-Bourbon – 55.1% – Outturn: 244 bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Fresh and lightly maritime – salt crystals, seaweed, mineralic – with some fragrant dried-floral or mixed dried herbal notes, becoming faintly medicinal and peaty. Eucryl Tooth Powder – check it out! Sweet and citric to taste, with a smoky finish: ‘minty chewing tobacco’, commented one panel member. With water, solvent notes emerge, but also dried fruits – ‘sultanas in alcohol’, Madeira cake – then bath salts, Refreshers (sherbet sweets) and burnt eucalyptus leaves. Sweet, fresh and slightly salty to taste, with a whiff of smoke in the finish; maritime overall, with minty notes. An appealing example of Michael Jackson’s ‘Great All-Rounder’.” Drinking Tip: “A reward after a long, wet walk.” – $139.99 + GST – ONLY 3 LEFT! Pair with 31.23 and Save 15%
  2. 31.23 – Sugared Almonds in a Mattress Factory – 23 Year – Ex-Bourbon – 53.1% – Outturn: 235 bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The intriguing nose delivered dried fruits and mixed nuts, toffee, green malt, mouse-trap cheese with a black, sooty fireplace grate somewhere in the background. The palate was pleasantly sweet yet robust – with moist iced gingerbread, liquorice, salt, smoke and chalky, limestone, earthy elements. The reduced nose turned somewhat fatty and savoury, like leg of lamb or the wrapping of a haggis supper – also cigarette papers and a mineral beach, with salt marshes nearby. The palate now floral and sweet suggested sugared almonds and iced gems in a coil-sprung mattress factory. The distillery, designed by architect William Delmé-Evans, was built around 1960.” Drinking Tip: “To take in a hip flask up the Paps of Jura – or any other hill.” – $169.99 + GST – ONLY 5 LEFT! Pair with 4.162 and Save 15% 


Fascadale and Liddesdale are the names of a couple of batch release single malts from independent bottler Adelphi. Adelphi is named for a long lost distillery, but is in the process of building a new one the Ardnamurchan peninsula. It will appropriately be called Ardnamurchan Distillery. Liddesdale is named for the Liddesdale Brae, famous for its Devil’s Acre where nothing is said to grow and some legends involving fairies. Both the first and this second batch of the Liddesdale have been bottlings of Bunnahabhain. Fascadale is named for a hidden pebble beach found only a few miles from the distillery where it was said smugglers operated. This batch of Fascadale is from Highland Park distillery.

  1. Adelphi Fascasdale Batch 3 – 12 Year – 46% – Distilled at Highland Park – 1471 Bottles – Combination of 5 American Oak Matured Casks – My Tasting Note: Nose: creamy toasted oak, minty-floral tones, medium-dark chocolate and heather honey; soft citrus notes develop, with barley sugar, smooth lavender and gentle-salty-peat; Palate: very soft, oily, waxy and honeyed (this is Clynelish-esque); second sip is more round and robust with more floral-heathe-honey, rose petals, clean building salty-smoke and white fruits; Finish: drying, sweet, smoky and salty with more coating oils; ends with a floral-lavender flourish; Comments: this is a Highland Park with a distinct character, completely unashamed of itself, and with measure! – $69.99
  2. Adelphi Liddesdale Batch 2 – 18 Year – 46% – Distilled at Bunnahabhain – 1473 Bottles – Marriage of 3 Ex- Sherry Casks – My Tasting Note: Nose: dark Christmas cake, cloves in a honey-baked ham, dark chocolate, treacle sauce and leather tobacco pouch; nutty sherry notes slowly emerge adding more depth to it understated aroma; Palate: this whisky has sherry bomb written all over it, but at 46% it is far from overpowering; candied fruit, Christmas cask and sweet spices leap onto the tongue with dark dried fruits, candied ginger and beer nuts; as the palate develops flavours darken to anise, close and leather with hints of tobacco; Finish: the finish is drying with leathery tannins, fruit leather and the finish of a fine cigar; traces of nuts and liquorice round it out; Comments: finish is a little shorter than I’d like but the palate more than makes up for it! – $91.99 


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, don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our point of sale will be taken as correct. 

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger. 


Andrew Ferguson

Manager & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market


Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

Owner & Opperator

Ferguson’s Whisky Tours

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