Archive for June, 2013

Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #372 – Scotch Whisky News

Following  viewers tip-offs, Ralfy buys a bottle of malt, previously overlooked, but now featured in Whisky Review 372Tomintoul 14yo @ 46% vol.

TWE Whisky Show 2012: Johnnie Walker Directors’ Blend Tasting – Scotch Whisky News

TWE Whisky Show 2012: Johnnie Walker Directors’ Blend Tasting

[The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2013 is rapidly approaching, with Saturday tickets now sold out and the remaining Sunday tickets selling scarily well, so we thought we’d have a look back at our last masterclass last year. It also ties … Continue reading >>

The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship 2013 Winners Announced – Scotch Whisky News

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society  

The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship 2013 

Winners Announced

On Friday 21st June, whisky enthusiasts from all over Australia flew in to compete in the annual Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship.  A major event on the Australian whisky calendar ever since 1989, this year 60 competitors and a large number of spectators gathered in the Dinosaur Gallery at The Australian Museum in Sydney to put their tastebuds to the test and find out who would be the newly-crowned Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Champion.

With everyone seated, competitors had 30 minutes to assess the eight whiskies poured before them in a blind-tasting format.  Each competitor was provided with a list of nine possible whiskies – the eight on the table, plus one red herring.  The task was to correctly identify which whisky was which.

This year’s line up of whiskies featured a large number of Islay/peated malts that were similar in style, and it took some pretty experienced and knowledgeable palates to discern them apart.

With the competition part of the night out of the way, the party began – whisky cocktails made with Monkey Shoulder, cask-strength drams from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and The Balvenie & cheese matches were amongst the offerings to be enjoyed.  And halfway through the party, it was time to announce the winner!

Craig Daniels from Adelaide, and previous winner in 2008, took out the title with a near perfect score. Craig’s reward, apart from significant bragging rights, is a trip for two to Tasmania including airfares and accommodation, with a two-day personally guided whisky tour of Tassie’s distilleries in the Hobart area.  1st prize is valued at over $2,500.

Second place went to James Tait from Sydney, along with a very impressive $1,000 worth of cask strength, single cask, single malt whiskies from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Third place went to Ian Titman from Sydney, who won himself $500 to spend at The Oak Barrel (a bottle shop in Sydney renowned for its whisky range) plus two tickets to their upcoming Whisky Fair later in the year.

The whisky and food flowed for the rest of the evening, and whilst the event revolved around a competition, it was clear that camaraderie, fun, and the spirit of whisky enjoyment was the clear winner on the night!  And those that didn’t get on the podium this year will no doubt wake up tomorrow and get themselves in training for a further attempt next year!

The Winner - Craig Daniels


The Scotch Malt Whisky Society began in the late 1970’s when a group of discerning friends in Edinburgh bought a single cask of malt whisky and shared it amongst themselves.  The group of friends grew and grew, with subsequent cask purchases, and in 1983, the group syndicated as a Society.

Today, the Society has over 26,000 members around the world with branches in 17 countries. It bottles over 350 single casks a year for its members from a range of more than 129 distilleries.

Members can choose from the world’s widest selection of single cask, single malt whiskies with only the very best selected and approved by the Society’s respected Tasting Panel.

The Society has been active in Australia since 2002, holding extremely popular and well-attended frequent whisky tasting nights in each of the capital cities around Australia all through the year for both its members and the general public.

The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship is a blind tasting competition that has been run in Australia since 1989.  It was held annually in Adelaide from 1989 until 2002, then was in recess for six years until The Scotch Malt Whisky Society resurrected the competition in 2008.  It is open to national and international competitors, and is now an annual event held in Sydney and hosted by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Early July 2013 Outturn – Scotch Whisky News

Early July 2013 Outturn Offerings 

Elegant ladies taking tea 

Cask No. 7.77                                    $155

Speyside, Lossie

The nose was attractive and evocative – lady’s perfume (talc, Yardley) soft leather, raincoats, mint, nettle, Plasticine and soap. In reduction, fruits emerged (banana loaf, apple pie, pear, berry compote, lollipops) with tea cakes, chocolate and perfumed cigarettes – imagine elegant ladies smoking after drinking tea. The palate was absolutely fabulous! Big fruit flavours (apple, raspberry, pomegranate) swirled around with perfume, leather, oak, coconut meringue and mint leaf to gain our resounding approval. With water – elegant and delightful – fruity perfumes, cookie jars, butterscotch, shoe shops and Woodbine fags on an oak mantel-shelf. The founder of Nikka had work experience here in 1919.

Drinking tip: A reflective dram – or one for the Calendar Girls to share

Colour: Runny honey                                                      Date distilled: February 1990

Cask: Refill barrel                                                               Alcohol: 54.8%

Age: 22 years                                               USA allocation: 120 bottles 


Cask No. 9.66                                    $115

Speyside, Spey

The fragrant nose wafted Murray Mints, Blackpool rock, leather, apple, dark chocolate, gingerbread people with currant eyes and a man’s shaving cupboard. With water it became a fruity dessert served in an actor’s dressing room (sweat, hot light, dust, grease paint remover). The palate, however, was sweet and perfumed – with woody, spicy, men’s cologne (the actor now freshly shaven); finishing slightly nippy and drying with cold black tea tannins. The reduced palate had cherry lips and Juicy Fruit chewing gum; sweet, spicy, playful warmth (was that actor Kevin Spicy?) mingled with serious pleasure. Distillery founded by the Grants (not Cary).

Drinking tip: Pre-theatre, interval or back-stage

Colour: Light amber                                             Date distilled: April 1997

Cask: Refill hogshead                                                       Alcohol: 56.5%

Age: 14 years                                               USA allocation: 114 bottles 

Pregnancy Tea Mix 

Cask No. 29.124                               $145


To start honey glazed smoke ham with cloves, sugar butties, salted peanuts but also ‘Pregnancy Tea’ – a mix of dry raspberry, nettle and spearmint leaves. The taste is mineralic, pebbles on a beach or indeed licking a cockle shell; turning sweeter aromas of Orgeat Almond Syrup and Golden Grahams breakfast cereals appear. Adding water, first impressions are an astringency like lemon zest, herbal tarragon tea and then sweet like a Bakewell tart and dark red fruit pastilles. To taste, its again the balance of the mineralic, chalky flavours and the sweetness of a Cherry Jolly Ranger. This very unusual make, from this famous distillery “by the beautiful hollow by the broad bay”, is clean, sweet, fresh and salty.

Drinking tip: To wash the sand out of your mouth after a cold windy walk on the beach

Colour: Chlorine Blonde                         Date distilled: October 1991

Cask: Refill Sherry butt                                                      Alcohol: 56.9%

Age: 20 years                                               USA allocation: 120 bottles 

Takes the biscuit 

Cask No. 41.54                                  $85

Speyside, Spey

The initially reluctant aromas start as clean and fresh with apple boiled sweets, an artificial raisin and coconut then, muesli, old cut flowers, macaroons and milk chocolate. The taste was surprisingly sweet and long. A mix of rich tea biscuits, jammy Wagon Wheels, sweet tea and tropical fruits. With water the aromas remained rich. A selection box of biscuits, tropical fruit yoghurt and fruit salad syrup. The taste had a satisfying texture – biscuits, coconut and mixed fruit in Greek yoghurt with aromatic honey. In 1889 this was the first distillery to have a Charles Doig pagoda fitted.

Drinking tip: A dram for an indulgent afternoon

Colour: Sunlit gold                                                             Date distilled: May 2004

Cask: First-fill barrel                                                           Alcohol: 58.7%

Age: 8 years                                                USA allocation: 120 bottles 

Attractive spirit in a cloak of oak 

Cask No. G4.2                                   $190


The oak has a make or break impact on grain whisky – and we found abundant wood on the nose – dunnage warehouses and a French polisher’s workshop – plus corn cobs, tobacco leaf, Manuka honey, candy floss, vanilla, chocolate-coated marshmallows, pineapple and rum truffles. It became more buttery with water (marmalade on toast, buttered crumpets) with spun sugar, shoe polish and charcoal embers. The palate held our interest – bourbon-like sweetness (butterscotch, chocolate, peanut brittle, caramel, honey-glazed ham) with slightly bitter hints of cocoa powder, tobacco and leather and a pleasant oaky dryness insinuating resin and wood-sap. From the biggest distillery in Scotland.

Drinking tip: A good mood dram – perhaps to enjoy along with your favorite music CDs

Colour: Pirates’ gold in a cave                                       Date distilled: April 1984

Cask: Refill hogshead                                                       Alcohol: 55.4%

Age: 28 years                                               USA allocation: 54 bottles

 Please visit the Scotch Malt Whisky Society at

Single Malts Direct “Grab 15% off Black Bull 12” – Scotch Whisky News

15% OFF

Black Bull 12yo Blended Scotch Whisky

Grab this offer by the horns!

Black Bull is an award winning, unique blended scotch whisky with 50% malt, 50% grain ratio and bottled at 50% abv.

Expires at midnight 02-07-2013
Enter coupon at checkout
Discount Code: BLACKBULL12

Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #371 – Scotch Whisky News shows off his spagnum moss collection in Whisky Review 371 – The Ileach Peated Cask Strength Whisky

The Drambusters – Limited Release – Balvenie Tun 1401– Scotch Whisky News

Due in next week, this award winning whisky is extremely limited. Click on the link for more information on this fantastic dram. £200



One of the world’s most expensive and exclusive whiskies is now available from The Whisky Shop’s flagship Piccadilly store for the first time.

Priced at £150,000*, Tribute to Honour has been crafted by Royal Salute using the most exquisite, precious and scarce whiskies to pay homage to the oldest crown jewels of the British Isles: The Honours of Scotland.

Only 21 bottles have been released globally and each flagon of Royal Salute Tribute to Honour is individually numbered.  One of these bottles will be kept in the Royal Salute Vault and bottle number 17 is currently displayed in the window of The Whisky Shop’s Piccadilly store.

Located across from The Ritz, the award winning flagship store is widely regarded by the industry as the leading specialist whisky retailer in the world and Managing Director, Andrew Torrance, is delighted they have been selected to stock the exclusive whisky from Royal Salute.

Andrew said: “The Whisky Shop is the first retail store in the UK to provide a dedicated platform for some of the world’s most exclusive whiskies and we are proud to be able to offer Tribute to Honour.

“Our premium flagship Piccadilly store was designed to be luxurious, accessible and educational to both whisky novices and connoisseurs alike and we have already had considerable interest in Tribute to Honour and the heritage and craftsmanship of this prestigious product.”

The master distiller and the creator of Tribute to Honour, Colin Scott, said: “Chivas Brothers has a phenomenal archive of high-aged whiskies, some of which, after decades of careful maturation, have acquired a rich intensity and deep concentration of sumptuous characters. It is these very few whiskies which I have personally selected to compose Tribute To Honour – this opulent and rarest of blends.”

The narrative of the Honours comprises glorious legends and intrigue and remains a powerful and inscrutable ode to Scottish history.  Fittingly, only the finest aged whiskies – at least 45 years old – are presented in the spectacular Tribute To Honour bejewelled bottle, dressed by Garrard in flawless diamonds and shimmering gold.

As the world’s oldest jeweller to royalty, Garrard has embellished the Royal Salute Tribute to Honour black porcelain flagon with 413 flawless white and black diamonds. These exquisite jewels form the shape of the Sword of State: one of the trilogy of treasures that are The Honours of Scotland.  Set in gold and silver, 22 carats of gemstone adorn the decorative collar and stunning flagon’s visage.  Golden lions sit either side of the diamond encrusted sword, a symbol of valiancy and patriotism, of battles fought and won.

341 craftsmen hours were dedicated to the manufacture of all silver and silver gilt elements, the cutting and setting of all gems, and the polishing of each individual bottle. The prestigious jeweller has served six successive British monarchs and pays tribute to the ancient Scottish Sword of State as its landmark.

The Royal Salute Tribute to Honour is available from The Whisky Shop at 70 Piccadilly or by calling 020 7499 6649.

*Price includes VAT


The Whisky Shop: 

The Whisky Shop is the largest specialist whisky retailer in the UK with 21 stores nationwide and an online store at

The premium London Piccadilly flagship opened in 2012 and recently won the 2013 National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) Design Partnership Award for Retail. 

Royal Salute: 

The pinnacle of Scotch whisky, award-winning Royal Salute was first created as a tribute by Chivas Brothers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II upon her coronation in 1953. This defining luxury whisky has a very powerful and sophisticated style, and has become the world’s leading luxury Scotch whisky brand.

Royal Salute has a long legacy of paying tribute to nobility and leadership, it is part of the brand’s DNA.

• 1953: Royal Salute created to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen’s coronation

• 2003: Royal Salute 50 Year Old launched for the 50th anniversary of the coronation, also paid tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary’s and Sir Tensing Norgay’s on the anniversary of their successful ascent of Everest

• 2005: Royal Salute 38 Year Old launched – a tribute from Scotland, inspired by the Stone of Destiny

• 2010: Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute launched paying tribute to the craftsmanship of four master blenders who have safeguarded the Royal Salute legacy

• 2011: Royal Salute Tribute to Honour launched, the most notable and compelling symbols of Scottish Royalty

Chivas Brothers: 

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.

For further information: 


Garrard, the international jeweller with a cultural heritage of unparalleled richness was founded by master goldsmith George Wickes, who received his first royal commission in 1735. By the time the firm had passed into the hands of Robert Garrard in 1802, whose name it still bears, creating designs of matchless magnificence for the social and royal sects had become a matter of course.

Garrard’s seductive collections can be found today at its flagship store on London’s Albemarle Street or on display in the permanent exhibition in the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels reside. Celebrating a 275 year anniversary this year, Garrard’s legacy of devotion to the highest degree of workmanship has been the company’s trademark since the first designs drew the attention of the world. Garrard continues to passionately embrace the past by creating tomorrow’s heirlooms today.

The Whisky Exchange “John Walker & Sons Voyager – The Competition” – Scotch Whisky News

John Walker & Sons Voyager – The Competition

I like boats. From dinghies up to ferries I, for some reason, feel more at ease when surrounded by water. Having grown up inland it’s a bit of a mystery how this obsession developed, and now living in one of  the highest areas of London (on the 6th floor, no less) I don’t get a chance to play on the water very often. However we’re running a competition at the moment to let a lucky pair of winners attend a rather exclusive boat-borne party. The boat in question is the John Walker Voyager, a three masted 1920s style racing yacht that has been making its way around the world in the wake of the release of a new whisky from Johnnie Walker – the John Walker & Sons Odyssey. The Voyager has been docking in various ports, throwing parties for a variety of different whiskies from Johnnie Walker and is currently making its way across Europe. The John Walker & Sons Odyssey is a rather shinily presented blended malt, put together by master blender Jim Beveridge using whisky from only three distilleries, undisclosed of course. For a bottle geek like me it’s equally impressive due to the presentation – the decanter (styled after the shape of a sail) comes clipped into a geared metal frame that should, thanks to the combined powers of gravity and momentum, keep the bottle upright. It’s shiny……. – See more at: … Continue reading >>

Join The Next Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn Tasting in Vancouver, British Columbia! – Scotch Whisky News

Join the next Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn Tasting!

When: Monday July 8, 2013 from 6:45 PM to 8:15 PM PDT

Note: Registration is required in advance, by the Friday morning prior to the tasting please! Please arrive 5-10mins early to check-in, tasting starts promptly at 6:45pm

Where:  Edgemont Fine Wines, Spirits & Ales, 3020 Edgemont Blvd., North Vancouver, BC V7R 2N4 (We time the event as best as we can to be transit friendly. Please ensure you have a safe way to get home.)

Event Fee

SMWS Members = $40 +GST and Non-Members = $50 +GST

Please join us for a tasting of another fabulous line-up of single cask, cask strength whiskies from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society(SMWS) by registering below!!! The SMWS releases up to seven new bottlings every month and our Outturn tastings are your opportunity to try before you buy, get to know other members and enjoy a few tasty nibbles to pair with the whiskies! Open to both Society members and non-members alike; invite your whisky-loving friends & join the fun to explore SMWS’s rare and wonderful single malt whiskies. Click on the Register Now link below or stop by our shop to register today! PLEASE REGISTER AT THE LATEST BY THE FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE TASTING. Space is limited, so please register early! Memberships are now available in-store! For more info on SMWS visit If you have any questions about the event, SMWS generally or how to register, please get in touch.


Get more information on SMWS July Tasting

Register for SMWS July Tasting Now!

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