Archive for April, 2014

D&M California “You need Bourbon to make Mint Juleps’! – American Whiskey News

D&M Logo B&W

The state of Kentucky, known for their love of Bourbon and horses, are gearing up for their annual Kentucky Derby, Saturday May 3rd. Get your bottle and recipe today!

 Discounted Items

George Dickel 9 Year Old D&M Hand Selected Barrel Sour Mash Whisky $49.99

Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey $49.99

John B. Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey $21.99

Woodford Reserve Distillers Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey $26.99

West of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey No.1 Sonoma County Distilling Co. $59.99

KWM Calgary Malt Messenger #59 – Whisky News


The last couple of months have been a blur. So many great tastings in just the first four months alone: Ancient Malts with the Glendronach Recherche 1968, the Great Macallan Vertical Featuring ‘M’, the Compass Box Dinner at Buchanan’s and Irish Whiskey Renaissance, to name just a few. I’ve also been able to be a part of three World class whisky festivals: the MS Calgary Whisky Festival, the Victoria Whisky Festival and the Nth 2014 in Las Vegas. Time is flying, and it has been difficult to find enough to pull off a full Malt Messenger, but at long last it”s finally done, and I know you’re going to love it!

I’m going to keep the intro short and sweet this time around, in part, because there is so much to fill you in on: new exclusive whiskies, new exclusive casks, a preview of Spring whisky releases and tasting notes… lots of tasting notes. Speaking of tastings, our Spring Single Malt Festival has sold out, but don’t despair, there are lots of other great tastings scheduled now through to the end of June. You can check them all out here Spring Tasting Schedule.

On the whisky front our new Duncan Taylor Octaves are here! We have two superb casks of Deanston 1994 and Mortlach 1995 with which to tempt you. My tastings notes on both of these heavenly drams can be found below. Feel free to drop in to KWM to give them a tastes. We also have a new range of whiskies in from Hepburn’s Choice, a new label from Hunter Laing & Co., and the lastest release of Glendronach Vintages, Batch 9 is nearly here.

Get ready to drool, the 59th full edition of the Malt Messenger is a monster. As always I hope this whisky news finds you well!



In This Edition:
1. Our New Exclusive Octaves from Duncan Taylor
2. Glen Breton 1995 5L Personal Casks
3. New Whiskies from Hepburn’s Choice
4. Compass Box Whisky In Focus
5. Glendronach Vintages Batch 9
6. Tasting Note on Dalmore 18 Year
7. Spring 2014 Preview – Coming Soon!
1. New KWM Exclusive Casks
2. New Bargain Priced 50 & 60 Year Old Single Malts
3. New Exclusive Japanese Whiskies
4. New Exclusive Whiskies from Cadenhead
5. New Exclusive Whiskies from Silver Seal
6. New Exclusive Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail
7. Ardbeg Auriverdes & Ardbeg Day
8. First Editions Macallan 1993 20 Year
8. Ferguson Whisky Tours Update


Andrew Ferguson
Kensington Wine Market

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Our New Exclusive Octaves From Duncan Taylor

Our 1994 Deanston and 1995 Mortlach Casks Are Here!

 AA 1 Octave

This January the guest of honour at our 8th Annual Robbie Burns Supper was Peter Currie of Duncan Taylor. Duncan Taylor is one of Scotland’s most respected and prolific independent bottlers, with one of the largest private collections of rare and old whiskies in the world. Peter was here to showcase his brands, in particular two curiously small casks selected by and bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. Duncan Taylor has pioneered the use of bespoke 80L sherry casks for the finishing of their whiskies. The small casks offer much greater surface exposure for the whisky and therefore super charge the maturation of the spirit.

KWM selected two of these small “Octave” casks to be bottled exclusively for our store. A range of 10 barrel samples were tasted, and whittled down to three favourites. Two of these were from a Highland distillery just north of Stirling called Deanston. The third was from a well respected Speyside distillery, Mortlach, who’s whisky until recently, primarily was used for blending. In the end we decided to bottle one of the Deanstons, both of which were distilled in 1994, and the 1995 Mortlach. Both of the whiskies are stunning, though I must confess both Hunter and I have a slight preference for the Deanston. The Mortlach is very well priced, especially when you consider the new official releases being rolled out by the distillery. These have not yet found their way to Canada, but the 500ml offerings of 18 Year at CAD $340 and the 25 Year at over CAD$1100.00. Our 18 year doesn’t come in as fancy a decanter as the Diageo release, but at cask strength in a full bottle it is almost exactly half the price!

My Tasting Notes on our Two Exclusive New Octaves:

1. Duncan Taylor Deanston 1994 KWM Octave – 19 Year – 54.7% – Octave Sherry Cask Finish – 71 Bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fresh, creamy and fruity with malt and round oak; some nice weight with notes of melons, Creme Anglaise, candied fruits, orange rind and some growing hints of spice; Palate: rich, creamy and layered with lots of tingling spice; the fruits and creamy oak come rapidly to the fore with the malt and spices coming in the second wave; lots of different fruits from soft melons to orange rinds and candied cherries; candied ginger and Cinnamon hearts add a layer of decadent spice; Finish: long, lingering and coating with toasty oak spices and clean earthy oak lingering long while the fruits and cream fade.” – $179.99

2. Duncan Taylor Mortlach 1995 KWM Octave – 18 Year – 55.4% – Octave Sherry Cask Finish – 88 Bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: meaty like a good Mortlach should be right off the bat; dark fruits, earthy leather and tobacco over a backbone of honey and vanilla; notes of coffee bean and cinnamon stick and cardamom emerge later; Palate: round, fruity, spicy and syrupy; classic Christmas cake and candied fruit notes right off the bat with treacle sauce and maple syrup; layers of chocolate, tobacco and leather develop with dark spices like anise, clove and fennel; Finish: long, fruity and sweet with more Christmas cake and maple syrup and a final flourish of candied fennel.” – $174.99

 AA1 Cask

Your Own 5L Cask of 1995 Vintage Single Malt Whisky

Glen Breton Steps Their Game Up in these little Pony Casks

Think an 80L Octave sounds small? Its got nothing on Glenora Distillery of Cape Breton’s 5L 1995 vintage Glen Breton casks. A customer was kind enough to let Hunter and I sample one of these last week, and frankly, we were both blown away. Glen Breton single malt has been improving in quality over the years, with both the Battle of the Glens and the Glen Breton 14 year having shown well; considerably better than past releases of the 10 year old. For some reason the distillery decided to fill the contents of one of its older casks, a 1995 vintage, into 25 5L mini casks. Whaterver the reason we’re thrilled that they did. A customer offered Hunter and I taste of the whisky last week and we were blown away, it was far better than I expected. What’s next, is up to the cask! The whisky will continue to mature in this small barrel, and at a frenetic rate.

All 25 of these 5L casks have come to Alberta. A rare opportunity, as acquiring such a cask of Scotch whisky would be all but impossible given the legislation guarding it, and the Canadian rules regarding the importation of wood products. KWM spoke up for 5 of the casks, and we have just 2 still available to us. Here is my tasting note on the mini cask I sampled (I’m sure its evolved even more in the week since I tasted it):

Glen Breton 1995 Vintage 5L Cask – 64.3% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: very Bourbon-y, with softly toasted oak, lots of sugars both Demerara and Brown, caramel apple and Highland toffee; it is floral, and you get a sense of hay-like-malty notes and some juicy orange; Palate: surprisingly rich and smooth for its purported strength of over 65%, and very sweet; still floral and malty, the sugars are there again, toasted oak and decadent spices; malty and chewy with more juicy orange, caramel apple and even some melon; Finish: long, smooth, creamy and sweet with fading fruits, malts and sugars. Easily the finest Glen Breton I’ve ever tasted.” – $1,199.99
New Whiskies from Hepburn’s Choice

New Whiskies From Hepburn’s Choice

Auchentoshan, Benrinnes, Braeval and Tamdhu Oh My…

When I started selling whisky more than a decade ago, there were three prominent independent bottlers in the Alberta market, Gordon & MacPhail, Murray McDavid and Douglas Laing. Douglas Laing was owned by brothers Fred and Stewart Laing, and was named for the firms founder, their father. The firm split in two in 2013, with the two brothers going their separate ways. Fred kept the Douglas Laing trade name, and Stewart started Hunter Laing. Hunter Laing is still bottling three of the old firms signature brands, Old Malt Cask, Old & Rare and Douglas of Drumlanrig, but they have some new brands as well, First Editions, which I’ve previously introduced, and now Hepburn’s Choice. Hepburn’s Choice is a new line of whiskies named for Stewart’s maternal grandfather. William Hepburn was a globe trotting British diplomat who apparently had a fine appreciation for Scotch whisky. The whiskies are all un-chill filtered, bottled at 46% without added colouring.

The Auchentoshan was a revelation to me, a great expression of that Lowland distillery, and the Braeval really spoke to Hunter. The Tamdhu was good and Here are my tasting notes:
1. Hepburn’s Choice Auchentoshan 11Year- 46% – 396 Bottles – Ex-American Oak – Exclusive in Alberta to KWM – My Tasting Note: “Nose: soft and citric, it is very creamy, fresh and vibrant; sugary and floral as it settles down with some toasted almond; Palate: honeyed, floral and sweet with more fresh citric notes, lovely toasted oak and light but decadent spice; creamy and refreshing there are notes of mint, cream and some dried white fruits; Finish: long, creamy and still sweet, the floral notes dance with toasted oak in the finally with the final flourish of
spice.” – $84.99
2. Hepburn’s Choice Benrinnes 10 Year – 46% – 798 Bottles – Ex-European Oak – My Tasting Note: “Nose: right off the bat latex tubing, rubber tires on hot asphalt, and underneath some honey, leather and fruit; Palate: the palate is much better than the nose with lots of dark fruits, raisins and dates, even moving in to prunes; there is also some chocolate, leather and tobacco with a hint of tingling spice; Finish: fruit fades away quickly while the leather and chocolate linger.” – $84.99
3. Hepburn’s Choice Braeval 12 Year
46% – 807 Bottles – Ex-European Oak – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: dried and fleshy dark fruits, soft leather, Demerara sugars and baker’s chocolate; honey and floral malt with Scottish Tablet; Palate: rich, nutty and creamy with some tingling spices and more dark fruit; the baker’s chocolate is still there with some soft leather, more Demerara sugars, honey and a hint of coffee bean; Finish: good length, still fruity, with soft leather, spices and fresh maltiness.” – $87.99
4. Hepburn’s Choice Tamdhu 12 Year – 46% – 367 Bottles – Ex-American Oak – Exclusive in Alberta to KWM – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: grassy and malty with some earthy tones; heather honey, orange peel and crab apples; Palate: a surge of grassy-hay, chewy malt and more orange peel with some chocolate, licorice and some old earthy oak; the crab apple is still there with a bit of tartness and lemon drops; Finish: long with more crab apple and chewy grassy malt.” – $87.99

Compass Box Whisky In Focus

The World’s Foremost Boutique Blender Under the Lense

I’ve been meaning to write a few words on Compass Box since Chris Maybin paid us a visit in early February. Time has until now not really been on my side, and even then, there is less here than I’d like. The showpiece of my musings were to be Compass Box’s The General, one of the most memorable whiskies I’ve tasted this year. That in itself is saying something considering 2014 has included the Glendronach 1968 Recherche, the Macallan M, a 1951 Dalmore sample Richard Patterson poured into my glass and a slew of other whiskies enjoyed at the Victoria Whisky Festival and the Nth 2014 in Las Vegas. Only 60 bottles of the Compass Box General came in to Canada, and they did last long…


The General is far from the only interesting Compass Box whisky to come in to the market this year. We also had two very interesting experimental batches of Great King Street, one lightly sherried and the other lightly peated. They were released to give the public a chance to help Compass Box select a second blend to compliment the original Great King Street. Frankly, I think they should do both! There is also the Peat Monster 10th Anniversary, a KWM exclusive in Canada! It was ranked #9 in Whisky Advocate Top 10 Spring Releases. They scored it at 92pts. Compass Box has been on a bit of roll lately, and its time they stole some of the limelight in the Malt Messenger.

I could go on about the company’s founding in 2000, its visionary chief and Master Blender John Glaser. I could go on about the innovations they’ve brought to the Scotch whisky industry, and blending in particular. I could tell the tale of their David v. Goliath struggles with the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association), or about their original concepts with respect to oak and maturation. I could go into all of this and more, there are some fascinating tales to be told,.but there just isn’t the time. So I hope you’ll settle for 9 original tasting notes, writing at our Compass Box Dinner at Buchanan’s Chop House in February. There’s some very impressive whiskies on the list:

1. Compass Box Hedonism – 43% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: toasty with dusty grains, floral potpourri and green gasses; Palate: massively honeyed with more toasty oak and dusty grains; vanilla extract, toasted coconut and velvety icing sugar; Finish: very toasty with tendrils of honey and grainy oils. – $95.99
2. Compass Box Great King Street – 43% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: loads of vanilla, cream, marzipan and toasted oak; floral and honeyed with Dulce Leche, creme brule and a hint of malt; Palate: toasty with a hint of sugary malt, lemon drops, granular sugar and more floral and honeyed notes; faintly spicy there is some orange rind and fresh citrus fruits; Finish: long, honeyed and subtly malty with fading floral tones. – $49.49
3. Compass Box Great King Street Experimental Batch 2 Sherried – 43% – 3,439 500ml Bottles Released – My Tasting Note: “Nose: raisins and Fig Newtons, Highland Tablet and soft floral honeyed tones; Palate: meaty but soft with a honeyed-velvetty palate; hints of Eatmore, chocolate covered nuts and spices; multi-layered with loads of fruit, and some leathery/earthy notes; Finish: still incredible fruity, rich and soft; it is long with soft leather and gentle earthy notes. – $39.99
4. Compass Box Spice Tree – 46% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: chunky, fruit flan, Demerara sugars, candied apple, treacle and decadent spices; Palate: layers of malt, black licorice Nibbs, more Demerara and spices: candied ginger, cardamom and cloves; some candied fruit emerges from beneath the spices with chocolate espresso beans, burnt fruits and a base of waxy honey; Finish: spicy and fruity with sugars and soft toasty oak. – $63.99
5. Compass Box Orangerie – Compass Box doesn’t like thinking of this a liqueur, there is no added sugar, rather it’s a “Scotch Whisky Infusion”. Whisky is infused with the zest of Spanish Navalino oranges, and “subtle accents of Indonesia cassia bark and Sri Lankan cloves.” I didn’t write a tasting note for it, not my cup of tea, but it was very popular at the event. – $52.99
6. Compass Box The General – 53.4% – 1678 Bottles Released – A marriage of two whiskies blended and matured separately, one 33 years of age and the other 40. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: tropical fruits right off the bat, crisp spices, brown sugar and brandy soaked cherries with soft leather, damp tobacco and medium dark chocolate shavings; classic older sherried whisky notes with some candied fruits and Christmas cake; Palate: intensely spicy and fruity, once again exhibiting some of the classic characteristics of a fine, older, sherry cask whisky; more candied fruit as well as more delicate tropical fruit notes; spices emerge with clove, licorice, fennel and espresso beans; Finish: long, smooth and rich with fading tropical fruits, spices and chocolate. – $259.99 – !!SOLD OUT!!
7. Compass Box Great King Street Experimental Batch 1 Peated – 43% – 3805 Bottles Released – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy with fruity smoke and smoked fish notes; oranges, honey and some tropical fruits also make an appearance; Palate: soft peat smoke, honeyed and floral with creamy oak and more orangey citrus; very chewy and chunky with loads of vanilla; Finish: more clean smoke, malt and citric fruits. – $39.99
8. Compass Box The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary – 48.9% – Only 120 Bottles in Alberta – Exclusive to KWM – 92pts Whisky Advocate – #9/10 of the Top 10 Spring Releases – Apparently contains more Laphroaig than the standard release, and considerably older whiskies. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy with soft vanilla, honey and an emerging crisp smokiness; chunky malt, briny sea salt, caramel chews and candle wax; Palate: chewy and honeyed with growing earthy malt and big round vanillans; white chocolate and poached pear; becomes earthier and more peaty as you get into it: Finish: long, buttery and coating with more poached pear and salty peat. – $99.99
9. Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Edition – 48.9% – Almost Sold out in Alberta, we have just a dozen bottles available to us. – Think Spice Tree meets Peat Monster – My Tasting Note: “Nose: spicy with firm smoke, soft white and fleshier fruits; there is a growing salty brine and earthy tones; Palate: round, chewy and honeyed with toffee chews and fruity malt; more fleshy fruits, plus oranges and some salty fish; intensely spicy with ginger, fennel and clove, dark elements verging on Dutch licorice and burnt Demerara; Finish: smoky and fishy with more spices and black licorice. – $96.99

Also available:

1. Compass Box Asyla – 40% – From the Producer: “A blend of soft, fruity malt whiskies on a bed of rich, sweet grain whiskies.” – $47.99
2. Compass Box Oak Cross – 43% – From the Producer: “We call this whisky Oak Cross because it offers the best characteristics of both American and French oak aging. A rich, medium-bodied blended malt Scotch whisky,Oak Cross combines vanilla characters from American oak and spicy, clove-like characters from French oak.” – $57.49

The Glendronachs Are Coming

Batch 9 Vintages About to be Released

The Glendronach vintage releases are some of our hottest selling items, and it is no wonder why, the casks selected for bottle are almost always stunning! We generally just receive 6 bottles of each of these vintage releases, and when they come in there is seldom a bottle left to display on the floor.

1. Glendronach 1972 Cask 702 – 41 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – 51.7% – We are only getting 6btls – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Sumptuous depths of classic sour cherries dusted with gentle toasted almonds. Delicate orange blossom and warm oak spices freshen the rich sherry influence. Palate: A beautifully elegant vintage sherry style bursting with a combination of dark espresso, molasses, lively herbs and oak spices. Dried fruits and soft waves of walnut add a subtle balance to this classic expression.” – $1059.99 – 93pts from Serge at Whisky Fun
2. Glendronach 1985 Cask 1035 – 27 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 53.7% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Demerara and ground coffee beans flow over the stewed dark fruits. Hints of spicy cigar box, mixed peel and soft clove add a great complexity through the long rich finish.” – $259.99
3. Glendronach 1989 Cask 5470 – 23 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 49.2% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A fresh twist of lime over sweet golden sultanas, honeycomb and hints of soft vanilla. Palate: Vibrant oak spices and roasted chestnut infuse in the Demerara caramelised orchard fruits. The citrus bite of mixed peel combines with a distant clove to give a fantastic, clean full finish.” – $224.99
4. Glendronach 1990 Cask 1243 – 23 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 50.6% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: “Bursting with Muscovado, over-stewed prunes and plum sauce warmed with distant red chilli spice. Palate: Dark chocolate fondant and rich Seville orange marmalade are warmed by a gentle white pepper spice which leads to the gentle sweet finish of rum raisin fudge.” – $224.99
5. Glendronach 1991 Cask 5405 – 21 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 49.9% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose: “Sweet dates and figs balanced with crisp orange bitters roll gently to soft toffee. Palate: A perfect progression of sweet chocolate and toffee rounded with toasted oak spices. Dates and stewed pear appear then mellow to soft barley and vanilla.” – $201.99
6. Glendronach 1992 Cask 195 – 21 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – 59.8% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: ” Nose: Caramelised pear and fig with warm white pepper give an added depth to gentle clove. Palate: Floods of crisp orange peel and gentle clove fill the rich stewed prunes which are slightly sweetened by hints of dark chocolate” – $201.99
7. Glendronach 1993 Cask 5 – 20 Year – Oloroso Sherry Butt – 53.0% – Ditiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: “Delicate waves of cracked black pepper and distant cardamom pod spice the honey drizzled orchard fruits and toasted barley. Palate: A classic, fine sherry character. Sultanas, raisins and sweet plum syrup combine with complementing waves of freshly cut herbs and sweet oak spices.” – $191.99
8. Glendronach 1994 Cask 3385 – 19 Year – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon – 53.4% – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Cocoa beans and crisp candied ginger roll in rich dark fruits. A delicate floral note lightens the robust sherry depth. Palate: A fantastic combination of rich orange bitters with spiced, stewed damsons. All balanced by a drizzle of golden syrup, hints of ginger and vanilla pod in the full bodied finish.” – $185.99
9. Glendronach 1995 Cask 3302 – 18 Year – Pedro Ximenex Sherry Puncheon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Vibrant citrus zest combines with touches of wild mint and oak spice, warming waves of sweet fig syrup. Palate: An initial sweet chocolate and vanilla fullness moves to a delicate, lasting zest and herb note. All backed by a fantastically long rum-soaked raisin and sweet barley finish.” – 53.7% – $167.99
Please respond to this email if you’d like to request any of these vintage releases. They are expected this coming week, or the following!

We’ll be opening a bottle of each of these 9 releases and a new KWM 1993 cask at a Special Glendronach Vintages Dinner, Friday June 13, at Buchanan’s Chop House. $160 for 3 courses and 10 drams! Call 403-283-8000 to register or visit us online:

 AA1 Talisker

New Diageo Single Malts Coming Very Soon…

A New Unpeated Caol Ila and a Pair of Taliskers

I knew the Talisker Storm was set to be here shortly, but was taken a bit by surprise that we were also to be receiving the new Caol Ilal Stitchell Reserve and Talisker 25 Year (2011 Bottling). These whiskies should begin trickling in the door within the next few weeks:

1. Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve – 59.6% – This is the distilleries 2013 Unpeated Release, named in honour of Billy Stitchell the distillery manager who retired last year after 39 years. Tasting Note by Whisky Advocate: “Caol Ila in unpeated guise. There’s no age statement, but what you get is a mix of the fresh and the mature: a vibrant attack with fresh Victoria plum, grapes, and a hint of oiliness. Give it time and the sensation is like afternoon tea at your auntie’s, with thickly-buttered scones dripping with honey or pineapple jam. The palate is equally sweet and gentle, and only needs a little drop of water to reveal light spice. A wee beauty.” 89pts – $179.99
2. Talisker Storm – 45.8% – NAS Talisker, with a bit of a bolder style than the 10 Year. – $TBA
3. Talisker 25 Year 2011 – 45.8% – Tasting Note by Serge at “Nose: a completely different planet after the Dark Storm, this is smoother of course, but also more complex, with some lilac, tangerines, roses, almonds, this very ‘tropical’ smokiness that only old peaters can display, beauty cream, brine, oysters… It’s a lovely nose, delicate and subtle. Mouth: once again, a slightly smoother version of an old Talisker but power is there. It’s no straight brute as older versions could be but it’s not lacking oomph. Smoked overripe apples and lemon curd plus brine and kippers. There. Finish: long, maybe a notch woodier, with this feeling of strong green tea but also a perfect brine. Little pepper this time. Comments: I know some whisky lovers and Talisker aficionados were shocked by the drop in strength and in theory, I should be shocked too, but let’s be honest, this remains a mightily powerful dram.” – Estimated Retail $250

We are taking requests for all three!

 AA1 Dalmore

Dalmore 18 Year Tasting Note

Note quite just in, but close enough!

Dalmore 18 Year – 43% – 14 Years in American Oak – Finished 4 Years in Matusalem Oloroso Sherry Butts – My Tasting Note: “Nose: nutty with Glosset Raisins, dark chocolate caramel tarts and a base of candied orange, jammy dodgers and white chocolate Hershey’s Kisses; Palate: is fruity, spicy and chocolaty with a pronounced note of liquid caramel, smooth leather and more dark chocolate; there are more jammy dodgers, Peek Freans assorted cream cookies and a late flourish of orange and creamy vanilla; Finish: long, drying and just a little leathery with preserved strawberries and chocolate.” – $164.99
A Couple Other New Whiskies

Tasting Notes on a Couple of Older Whiskies

1. Balblair 1975 – 46% – Distilled: 1975 – Bottled: 2007 – Matured in European Oak Ex-Sherry Casks – My Tasting Note: “Nose: all spice, Licorice All Sorts, musty old oak and Dunnage warehouses; candied fruits and Christmas cake with some tropical elements like mango and papaya; Palate: big round sherry notes with lots of candied fruits, Christmas cake, leather, tobacco and soft leather; tropical fruits emerge along with assorted decadent spices and Licorice All Sorts; Finish: as the tropical fruits fade it becomes subtly leathery and earthy showing its age with firm spices and more licorice.” – $369.99
2. OMC Roseban 21 Year – 50% – Distilled: February 1990 – Bottled: August 2011 – Refill Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: doughy, confectioneries and French pastries; very sugary, reminiscent of French crepes with powdered sugar and lemon juice; floral and dusty with a hint of refined flower and potpourri; Palate: creamy, floral and fruity at first soft and citric, then tropical (melons) moving toward candied fruits; more French crepes and powdered sugar with lemon juice; fruit flan, pain au chocolate and some slowly developing dark fruits and spice with soft leather; Finish: light, soft, floral and fruity; more tropical fruits and toasty oak .” – $249.99

Spring 2014 Preview

Lots of new whiskies and some great tastings on the way!

The Spring is going to be a busy time at KWM. We have lots of great tastings coming up, so if you missed out on tickets to our Spring Single Malt Festival, which once again sold out some 2 months in advance, there are lots of other tastings with which to tantalize your taste buds!

Three exclusive KWM casks are on the way, first up an unusual American oak matured Aberlour from Berry’s Own Selection. We’re then expecting a 1993 Glendronach and a 1996 Arran. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for new whiskies, we have three very interesting older whiskies bottled under the Secret Distillery label: 40, 50 and 60 year old whiskies. The latter two of these are the best priced single malts of their age anywhere! There’s also some cool new exclusive Japanese whiskies on the way, some exciting new exclusive bottlings from Cadenheads, Silver Seal and Gordon & MacPhail as well as a Macallan 20 Year from Edition Spirits.

Lots to look forward to this spring. Let us know if anything whets your appetite:

1. New KWM Exclusive Casks
2. New Bargain Priced 50 & 60 Year Old Single Malts
3. New Exclusive Japanese Whiskies
4. New Exclusive Whiskies from Cadenhead
5. New Exclusive Whiskies from Silver Seal
6. New Exclusive Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail
7. Ardbeg Auriverdes & Ardbeg Day
8. First Editions Macallan 1993 20 Year

New KWM Exclusive Casks

1. Berry Aberlour 1994 KWM Cask – 54.1% – An unusual independently bottled single cask of American oak matured Aberlour. Tasting note to come soon. – ETA May – $139.99
2. Arran 1996 KWM Cask 522 – As the distillery only began operations in a limited capacity in 1995, this is one of the oldest casks of Arran available. – ETA June – $124.99
3. Glendronach 1993 KWM Cask – A really interesting 20 year old. More details to come. ETA – June/July – $199.99

New Bargain Priced 40, 50 & 60 Year Old Single Malts

Ok so the 40 isn’t the best priced 40 year old ever, but the 50 and 60 year old single malts are roughly a tenth of the price of what most major distilleries would charge for them. We are getting a very small amount each of the 40, 50 and 60 years old and demand has already been very high for the 50 and 60. The whiskies are all reputed to come from a family owned Speyside distillery that rhymes with Benfarclas…
1. Secret Bottling Series 40 Year – 43% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Palate: The palate is nutty with a sweet Horchata undercurrent building into bolder notes of Christmas cake and stewing passion fruit.” – $699.99
2. Secret Bottling Series 50 Year Single Malt – 43% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Palate: Pleasantly thick but not too much so. Wood spice, a hint of cumin and luxurious cigar box, coffee and caramel notes with just a touch of smoke. – $999.99 – Only 1/24 bottles coming still available!
3. Secret Bottling Series 60 Year Single Malt – 42.2% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Palate: Creamy, mouth-filling palate entry delivering a touch of chocolate and ground allspice. Quite tropical too – there’s a note of coconut, perhaps mango. An ethereal high-note akin to tomato stems. With time, it becomes quite herbal, with a potpourri-like character, sitting very nicely atop a solid core of rich, thick malt. – $2599.99 (11 of 18 are spoken for)

New Exclusive Japanese Whiskies

1. The Nikka Box – The art of Japanese Origami meets whisky in this unique package which includes 6 Japanese whiskies from Nikka and two tasting glasses. The box has 7 hidden compartments, 6 with whiskies emblematic of the Nikka range and another with two Glencairn Crystal copita tasting glasses. The box can be transformed into a multitude of shapes, and the base can be used as a serving tray. Exclusive to KWM in Alberta! – $1099.99
2. Yamazaki The Private Cask 1993 – A very dark, sherried single cask of Yamazaki bottled exclusively for Le Maison de Whisky in Paris. Matured in a Sherry Butt and bottled at 57.5%, we are expecting just 6 bottles, exclusively available from our shop in Alberta! Regardless of the price, these won’t last… – $1349.99
3. Nikka 1998 Coffey Malt 57% – A 1998 vintage edition of Nikka’s Coffey Malt whisky – made from a mash of malted barley but then distilled in one of the company’s continuous Coffey stills rather than the more usual pot still. This gives it a profile between grain and malt whisky, with lots of complexity. – $215.99
4. Nikka 1999 Coffey Grain 60% – A single cask bottling of Nikka’s excellent coffey grain whisky, a key component in their various blends that only very rarely sees the light of day as a single grain. This was distilled on 2nd December 1999 and bottled on 10th July 2013. – $193.99

New Exclusive Whiskies from Cadenhead – ETA June

Just a few details on some of the new Cadenhead exclusives we have on the way!

1. Auchroisk 1989 24 Yr – 57.5% – More Details to Come! – $181.99
2. Linkwood 1987 26Yr – 56.8% – More Details to Come! – $252.99
3. Dufftown 1979 34Yr – 48% – More Details to Come! – $357.99 – Only 12 bottles
4. Dalmore 1976 37 Yr – 56.4% – More Details to Come! – $431.99 – Only 6 bottles
5. Glenfiddich 1973 41 Yr – 43.5% – More Details to Come! – $899.99 – Only 6 bottles

New Exclusive Whiskies from Silver Seal – ETA May

Silver Seal is the best indepdent bottler you’ve never heard of before, and their whiskies are very well respected and highly rated. We are getting only 6 bottles of some of these!

1. Silver Seal Bowmore 21 Year – 46% – More Details to Come! – $299.99
2. Silver Seal Glendronach 22 Year – 52.1% – More Details to Come! – $314.99
3. Silver Seal Caol Ila 31 Year – 54.2% – More Details to Come! – $549.99
4. Silver Seal Glenfarclas 40 Year – 52% – Distilled: 1971 – Bottled: 2012 – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: sherry, cherries, small red fruits. Hints of wood, wax and sultana; Palate: full bodied and creamy. Sweet with sherry, red fruits, sultana, wood; Finish: Long, dry and spicy. Adding some fruit became more spicy and persistent.” – $799.99

New Exclusive Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail – ETA June

1. Benromach 1969 – More of one of our bestselling premium whiskies! – $TBA
2. G&M Dallas Dhu 1975 – A new offering from this long closed distillery. – $TBA
3. G&M Glentauchers 1993 – 96pts Whisky Bible – $119.99

Ardbeg Auriverdes & Ardbeg Day in Calgary – ETA June

Well the news leaked a few weeks ago via Ardbeg that their bottling, Auriverdes (Latin for Green and Gold) will be the Ardbeg Day bottling this year. It is expected to land in June, and orders for it from our Twitter post have already been strong. Expected retail price to be confirmed, but it will be between $125 & 130. We are taking pre-orders!

The whisky will be available for tasting at Ardbeg Day festivities in Calgary on May 31. There will be a soccer match, tasting, BBQ and lots of fun and whisky for all. Details should be out next week!

First Editions Macallan 20 Year – ETA May

Details on this 1993 vintage Macallan are still pending, but it is cask strength, dark in hue and looks very tempting at around $300. Exclusive to KWM!

Ferguson Whisky Tours

Islay September 7-13 2014
Kentucky October 5-10 2014

Interested in joining me on one of my fantastic whisky adventures? It’s too late to join me in Speyside this May, but not too late to take part in my Islay and Kentucky Tours, departing in September and October respectively. More details on these tours will be available on my website in the coming weeks.

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger!

Contact & Disclaimers

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.

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 in store 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

Kensington Wine Market


Jason Scott, Bramble bar & Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie ask whisky fans to chose location for Cask Masters crowd-managed whisky Taghta 


Final stage in Glenmorangie’s innovative “crowd-managed” whisky creation programme asks fans to pick a location for a launch event – anywhere in the world – and win the chance to attend 

— Last chance for people to sign up to be able to purchase the limited edition single malt — 

— First reveal of the iconic photography by Kevin Mackintosh that will showcase the whisky to the world — 

Glenmorangie, Scotland’s favourite malt whisky, is calling on people across the globe to make history by choosing where in the world it should launch the industry’s first “crowd-managed” single malt. 

From today (Thursday 27 March), members of the public can suggest any of the world’s most renowned locations to launch Taghta, which has been created through the company’s Cask Masters initiative. 

An expert panel will then whittle the proposed places down to three exclusive locations and everyone who has become a ‘Cask Master’ will have a chance to vote for the final destination. One fan and a companion will win the chance to attend the exclusive unveiling event, which will take place in September 2014. 

Launched in March 2013, the Cask Masters programme – the brainchild of Glenmorangie’s Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling & Whisky Creation – has invited members of the public to help influence every stage of bringing a new single malt to market: from the whisky itself, to its name, packaging design and photography.

Each step of the process has enlisted the guidance of experts, with Jason Scott, co-founder of Edinburgh’s Bramble Bar – ranked in the world’s top 50 bars for 5 years running – leading the panel on this final stage. He will use his extensive expertise of managing high profile brand launches to review all the ideas and decide on the final three launch locations to be put to a public vote. 

He said: “To hand responsibility and ownership, even partially, in the development and design of a whisky launch over to the public shows a great degree of forward thinking and innovation – innovation which I believe the whisky industry has never seen before. 

“It shows how much Glenmorangie trusts its consumers and will no doubt excite those who may have not encountered the whisky or the brand before. 

“The final stage of this program is a celebration of everybody’s input in to the end product and the process itself. To be on board to help guide the launch and unveiling of Glenmorangie Taghta is such a privilege.” 

The selection of the worldwide launch event is the last stage in the Cask Masters programme, with the final three locations open for voting on 5 May and the winning destination announced on 9 June. 

This final stage is also the last chance for whisky fans to sign up to Cask Masters, allowing them to purchase the limited edition bottling, expected to become a collector’s item, when it goes on sale later in the year. 

In the previous phase members of the public were asked to choose an image taken by world-renowned photographer Kevin Mackintosh which will be used extensively in the marketing of the whisky. 

Revealed for the first time today (Thursday 27 March) the image chosen captures the spirit of Glenmorangie Taghta and the Cask Masters programme. 

Kevin Mackintosh has worked on commissions for the New York Philharmonic, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and more recently the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet Companies in London. He has taken portraits of global icons such as Vivienne Westwood and Christian Louboutin and collaborated with ‘Christies’ in their first Worldwide Advertising Campaign. 

Kevin said: “I have really enjoyed being involved in Glenmorangie’s Cask Masters programme. The variety of ideas submitted by Glenmorangie fans around the world were truly inspiring. 

“The fans’ moodboards provided a creative springboard for me to develop the final three images, which although distinctive in theme, have one thing in common; they all capture the essence of Taghta.” 

Glenmorangie’s Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling & Whisky Creation commented: “Glenmorangie Cask Masters is a whisky programme like no other and we wanted to share our innovative approach to whisky creation by involving our fans on every step of the journey. 

“The response we have seen so far has been brilliant. And to show our appreciation, the limited edition range of the new whisky will be exclusively available from September 2014 to the fans that have been involved in its formation online. 

“Glenmorangie Taghta will be the single malt that has been influenced by whisky lovers, for whisky lovers and we’re very much looking forward to seeing how the public vote during the final phase.” 

For more information and to register for the limited edition single malt visit: or Twitter: #caskmasters @theglenmorangie


About Glenmorangie:

Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky originates in the Scottish Highlands where, at the Glenmorangie Distillery, it is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland, expertly matured in the finest oak casks, and perfected by the Men of Tain. The Distillery was founded in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in its field uniting tradition with innovation to create ‘unnecessarily well made whiskies’.

About Jason Scott:

Jason Scott  has an enviable talent for creating delicious drinks, channelling this passion professionally to create a successful business and admired reputation within an industry he loves.

Having worked in and run some of Edinburgh’s best bars he then moved to events, consultancy and brand development, building and seeding some of the industry’s most innovative spirits.

In 2006 Jason was able to realise his dream of opening his own cocktail bar, Bramble with his business partner Mike Aikman. Since then they have opened The Last Word Saloon and most recently Lucky Liquor Co – all in Edinburgh.

Bramble Bar – Accolades

World’s 50 Best Bars – Drinks International – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Top 25 Bars in Europe – Cocktails & Spirits Awards – June 2012

The 50 Greatest Bars on Earth – Sunday Times – May 2012

Best Bar in the UK – Observer Food Monthly – 2009

About Kevin Mackintosh:

Kevin Mackintosh was born in Africa, but left 15 years ago for the United Kingdom, (where he lives, dividing his time between New York, London and Paris).

While his work expresses a personal ‘universe’ that combines an interest in European cinema, theatre and art, there is something about the largesse of his native country’s landscape and its many cultures which has left indelible marks.

It is there, equally, in the broody sense of nostalgia for a glorious – real or imagined – mythology so evident in his many collaborations with The Bolshoi, Royal Opera and Royal Ballet Companies…shooting film and stills. The work was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London for its permanent collection.

He has also completed a series on the New York Philharmonic and a collaboration with ‘Christies’ in its first Worldwide Advertising Campaign. Kevin’s work has been exhibited across the world, both in solo and group exhibitions and published in many photographic journals, and books.

Responsible Drinking:

The Glenmorangie Company advocates responsible drinking and suggests that drinkers savour Glenmorangie whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Loch Fyne Whiskies – “Some Rare and Exclusive Whisky Only a Click Away” – Scotch Whisky News

Here at Loch Fyne Whiskies we have something for everyone – From the Sherry cask Kilchoman 2009 LFW exclusive bottling to the historic and award winning Bruichladdich Wee Ruari. We even have an unbeatable offer on a fantastic 50 year old single grain whisky which will knock your socks off!

Kilchoman 2009 LFW Exclusive bottling

Colour: Golden Amber
Nose: Strong vanilla with citrus fruits, caramelised brown sugar and sultanas.
Palate: Sweet toffee up front with a hint of marmalade, dryness and a long peaty finish.
Finish: Long and clean with rich smoke and dried fruit.
Bottled at 54.8% volume. One of only 273 individually numbered bottles.

Click here to buy – £74.00

Bruichladdich Cask 1 Wee Ruari

No Bruichladdich Collection can be complete without this inaugural 70cl single cask bottling, truly the original one-off. One of only 376 bottles ever produced. There are literally only a handful of bottles left of this rare gem so you will have to be quick if you want to snap this one up. The beginning of an era. The end of an era. Distilled 29th May 2001 and named after the son of Mark Reynier who “filled” this cask. Cask 1 “Wee Ruari” is the first cask filled at Bruichladdich by the new management that revolutionised the distillery and indeed the marketing of single malt Scotch Whiskies. A uniquely lightly peated Bruichladdich which has subtle hints of soft candy and vanilla with a slight suspicion of toasted almonds. A truly wonderful Bruichladdich.

Simply click here to buy – £250

The North British 50 year old 1962 Single Grain whisky

An incredible 50 year old single cask whisky for an incredible price. This one will not last long… SAVE £50 WAS £250 NOW £200. Cask number 9930. Bottled at 57.2% volume. A powerful initial nose of sultanas, raisin, sherry and rhubarb and custard. Palate: A smooth and creamy oaky taste with vanilla custard coming to the fore, in the background there is a slight leathery note of toasted nuts. Finish: A long dry finish with a sherry sweetness and oakiness.

Simpy click here to buy – £200

American Distilling Institute “Hands-On Whiskey Workshops” – American Whiskey News



Two Hands-On Classes presented by the American Distilling Institute

The American Distilling Institute has provided educational and networking support to its 900 + members since 2003. ADI encourages a new generation of distillers as well as provide ongoing educational opportunities to successful distillers. All workshops are hands-on and taught in various distilleries throughout the United States. Participants receive the benefit of one-on-one training from master distillers within a setting that provides the best equipment available. 

The following two workshops are being offered in June.

Practical Distillation + Distillery Start-up

A weeklong distillery immersion course is work-centric and includes a balance of practical demonstrations and informative lectures with one-on-one attention from our instructors.

Location:      Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, Colorado

Instructors:   Jordan Via, Master Distiller
                         Bryan Nolt, CEO/Owner
                         Maya Berthoud, Director of Operations 

Dates:             June 1-6, 2014

Cost:               $3,500 (includes transportation to and from Denver            

                         airport, hotel for 5 nights, lunches and instruction)

More >>


Hands-On Whiskey Distilling

This hands-on class covers the fundamentals of grain-to-bottle whiskey production and business concerns in starting a distilled spirits plant (DSP).

Location:      New Holland Brewing & Distilling, Holland, Michigan

Instructors:   Jordan Via, Master Distiller @ Breckenridge Distillery
                         Nancy Fraley, Sensory Analysis & Blending 

Dates:             June 8-13, 2014

Cost:               $3,500 (includes transportation, airport, hotel, lunches                              

                         and instruction)

More >>

Scotch Malt Whisky Society “MAY PREVIEWS: BUTTERFLIES, BATS AND SPIDERS” – Scotch Whisky News


In excited anticipation of May’s Whisky Month flavour extravaganza and extra-large Outturn, we’ve selected an unprecedented six preview bottles: an eclectic mix of aromas from all over the natural world – and beyond…

Sweet, fruity & mellow

39.98. Butterflies, bats and spiders. A shimmering butterfly host of fresh, floral, fruity pleasures…

23yo; Refill ex-bourbon hogshead BUY £87.20

Flower bouquet with a love note

44.61 Lots of fruity aromas – strawberry fondant, cherry brandy liqueur and a moist banana loaf…

14yo; Refill ex-sherry butt BUY £48.10

Grand Gardens in Goa

76.114 Undiluted, the Panel immersed itself into the smell of a copper bath filled with hot soapy water…

26yo; Refill ex-bourbon hogshead BUY £117.10

Deep, rich & dried fruits

132.4 Rich, brooding and suggestive

The nose was rich, brooding and suggestive – beeswax polish on aristocratic wooden furniture…

17yo; Refill ex-sherry butt BUY £132.40

Lightly Peated

31.27 Bold sailor’s dram

A complex nose – sweet, salty and medicinal, with light smoke…

25yo; Refill ex-bourbon hogshead BUY £95.00

Art class enchantment

There was something of the art class in the nose (poster paints, charcoal, paper…

11yo; Refill ex-bourbon barrel BUY £45.00

Browse all bottlings

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

Mora’s Fine Wine Whiskey Tasting Event for World Whisky Day, May 17 – Whisky News


Mora’s Fine Wine Whiskey Tasting Event for World Whisky Day, May 17 

Come taste 30 whiskies from around the globe and celebrate World Whisky Day with Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits at Country Corner from 6-9pm on Saturday, May 17! 

$30 per person


**only a few spots left, ticket purchase required** 

Ticket purchase includes sampling of 30 fine whiskies, Whisky friendly snacks, complementary Glencairn tasting glass, door prizes for lucky winners. 

Some of our Featured Distillers: (check for updates!)

Amrut, Balcones, Benriach, Benromach, Breckenridge, Brenne, Corsair, FEW Spirits, Garrison Brothers, Glendronach, Glenrothes, Highland Park, Isle of Arran, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Kilchoman, Koval, Laphroaig, New Holland, Nikka, Smooth Ambler, Tamdhu, Town Branch 

About World Whisky Day: Now you may be thinking ‘isn’t every day a whisky day?’. Well kind of, however, World Whisky Day is about celebrating whisky/whiskey and about giving whisky global stage and global media attention for not just a day but for a considerable amount of time around this date. The purpose of this is to introduce whisky to people who have never tried it before and for those that already enjoy whisky to have something special. 

Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits



Silent Distillery Profile; Lochside – Scotch Whisky History

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Photo Archive Compliments of Mark Davidson

Silent Distillery Profile; Lochside 

Operational: 1957[1]

Closed: In 1996. Silent in April 1992, dismantled in 1997 however the warehouses survived until 1999 when they were demolished.

Region: Eastern Highlands

Operational Owner: 1957 MacNab Distillers Ltd.

Current Owner: Muir Homes (as of 2005)

Address: Brechin Road, Montrose, Angus, DD10 9AD 

In 1957 Lochside Distillery was converted from an old Deuchars Brewery at Montrose by Joseph Hobbs (MacNab Distillers) and was initially fitted with one patent still and later four pots stills. The name of Joseph Hobbs is generally associated with Ben Nevis Distillery in FortWilliam but his name is also associated with many distilleries around Scotland. In 1931 Hobbs returned from Canada after losing a great deal of money in the depression of the time and commenced the buying up malt distilleries. In 1937 he bought Bruichladdich distillery on Islay from Harvey family, so ending that family’s long connection with the industry. In association with Train & McIntyre, a Glasgow firm of wine and spirit merchants owned by National Distillers of America, he purchased Glenury Royal Distillery in 1936, Glenkinchie Distillery in 1937 and North Esk Distillery (also known as Highland Esk, Montrose, Glenesk and Hillside Distillery) in 1938. The distilleries were transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary of Train & McIntyre, Associated Scottish Distillers Ltd. and Train & MacIntyre brought the Strathdee distillery, Aberdeen into the group, and added Fettercairn and Benromach in 1938. The conversion of North Esk into Montrose Grain Distillery made the group fully integrated.  Hobbs re-equipped North Esk distillery to produce grain whisky and renamed it Montrose Distillery (in 1954 they sold it to the Distillers Company Limited who then transferred it to Scottish Malt Distillers in 1964 who converted it back to a malt distillery).   

The convoluted world of the whisky business. 

James Deuchars were the producers of Newcastle Brown Ale and the Montrose brewery was originally built in the 1760’s and operated as a brewery until the 1950’s. James Deuchar purchased the brewery in 1833 and Charles Doig, the famous distillery architect, designed some of the newer brewery buildings in the style of breweries in Germany & Belgium. The tower, in the Bauhaus design style, housed equipment to start the brewing process and the finished beer was housed on the lowest floor. The finished beer was sold in pubs in the Tyneside markets in Newcastle. “Beeries”, the ships used to transport the beer to the Newcastle area, were loaded at the Montrose docks and this practice continued until 1956. That year Scottish & Newcastle Breweries bought Lochside and shut it down moving all operations to Edinburgh. In 1957, Joseph Hobbs through MacNab Distillers bought Lochside with an eye towards its potential to produce grain whisky and this it did until 1961. When the much larger Invergordon grain distillery was built Joseph Hobbs realized that Lochside could not effectively compete against such a large rival so he had some of the brewing equipment converted to four Pot Stills and thus Lochside produced both grain and malt whisky. Further, Hobbs had these two whiskies ‘blended at birth’ (a practice he also used at Ben Nevis Distillery) where both grain and malt whisky are married together and then put into the cask for maturation.[2]  The whisky produced at Lochside contributed to the blend, Sandy MacNab’s. The Coffey still was 67 feet tall and was mothballed in 1970 after the founder, Joseph Hobbs who died in 1964. However the mothballed Coffey still was not removed until later.[3] Unusually the distillery had a bottling plant on site. 

Hobbs named his company MacNab Distilleries Ltd after John MacNab, the owner of Glenmavis Distillery at Bathgate (to the west of Edinburgh) from whom Hobbs had purchased MacNab’s brand names. From 1855 until its closure in 1910 Glenmavis used a Coffey still to make malt whisky and this unusual set up piqued Hobbs’s interest. This seems to have been the impetuous for Hobbs to install Coffey stills at Lochside and Ben Nevis.[4] 

In 1971 the distillery was closed and remained so for two years until it was bought by a Spanish company, Destilerias Y Crianza Del Whisky, abbreviated to DYC pronounced DEEK. DYC bought Lochside in order to improve the quality of the Spanish blends by using Scottish malt whisky in their own blends. The vast majority of the whisky produced at Lochside was shipped to Spain in bulk until 1996 when the last of the mature whisky left the distillery warehouse. At the same time blended whisky was bottled on site and later the owners decided to bottle their own single malt in the form of a 10 year old Lochside malt which was described as having ‘a subtle and delicate nose with a hint of peat. The flavours included a vanilla sweetness with echoes of the peat, initially found in the nosing.’

Due to the success of the whisky (high sales) the company became part of Allied Distillers in 1992. Production of Lochside single malt ended in June of the same year, and the remaining cases of whisky were then sold until all stocks were depleted in 1996. At that time the distillery was closed and the remaining staff were made redundant. 

The distillery had one cast iron mash tun and nine stainless steel washbacks. Both the mash tun and wash-backs were without covers . The stills were very similarly designed with lyne arms that have a slight downward angle, and somewhat tall thin necks that form the traditional onion shape where it joins the shoulders of the stills. The spirit was then aged in bourbon casks.

The local area from early times was known as “Clayshades” which refers to the clay area to the south and west of the distillery. At some point before 1830 the  brewery was referred to as ‘Lochside’ on land title/deed documents. [5] 

The name Lochside derives from the distillery standing beside a small loch (Mary’s Loch) which was used to provide water for production but this later dried out. The subsequent water source was an artesian well beneath the distillery supplying hard water.[6]  The risk of drawing up saline water, due to the proximity to the sea, must have been high.[7]

‘The saddest part of the story is that Lochside was an outstanding whisky. Since much of the distillery production went into blends or was exported for sale in Spain, few lovers of whisky had an opportunity to sample Lochside and it never established a reputation as a single malt.’[8]

The last manager was named Charles Sharpe and Elizabeth Riley Bell interviewed him for her article which appears in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society archives. 

The site is now completely void of distillery buildings and warehouses.

[1] The Scotch Whisky Industry Record by H Charles Craig indicates a date of 1958. The Making of Scotch Whisky Moss & Hume indicates a date of 1957.

[2] Elizabeth Riley Bell-SMWS Archives

[3] Malt Whisky, A Taste of Scotland by Graham Moore

[4] Malt Whisky, A Taste of Scotland by Graham Moore

[5] Elizabeth Riley Bell-SMWS Archives

[6] Misako Udo-The Scottish Whisky Distilleries

[7] Whisky on the Rocks-Origins of the Water of Life, Stephen & Julie Cribb

[8] I cannot place this quote from my reference library, apologies to the author!

This article was originally published on the Malt Maniacs and is reprinted here with permission of the author.


Dewar's Line Up



Glasgow, Scotland, April 7, 2014 –DEWAR’S®, the world’s most awarded blended Scotch whisky, today announced the launch of its exciting new visual identity and bottle design. This major evolution in the storied Scotch founded by John Dewar in 1846 is being supported by a global multimedia campaign rooted in the brand’s authenticity and legendary heritage to take the iconic brand into the future. 

All brand activity moving forward will be under the banner of TRUE SCOTCH SINCE 1846™ – capturing DEWAR’S status as the definitive blended Scotch whisky, distinguished by its peerless provenance, quality and craft. 

To celebrate TRUE SCOTCH, the core brand range will be adorned in new packaging that brings to life DEWAR’S remarkable heritage, enabling consumers to hold a piece of the DEWAR’S story in their hands every time they pick up a bottle. 

“We are immensely proud of DEWAR’S heritage, and the quality and skill that it has embodied for the past 168 years. TRUE SCOTCH, coupled with the new design, is our way to connect with the past, while embarking on an exhilarating journey into the future,” says John Burke, Global Category Director for DEWAR’S. “Our new marketing campaign tells the story of the brand and the exquisite liquid in a real and tangible way, giving every consumer the opportunity to connect with DEWAR’S history.” 

The DEWAR’S new look and feel begins with a distinctive shape for each bottle in the range. Excellence is expressed in every aspect – from the bold colors, stoppers and seals, to presentation boxes, labeling, bespoke typefaces and product information – all inspired and sourced from the extensive brand archive in Scotland. The labels on the new DEWAR’S bottles incorporate a wealth of special features to help consumers discover the stories behind the Scotch whisky. In addition, all DEWAR’S premium and super-premium whiskies carry individual statements of aging and provenance. As a nod to its heritage and exceptional craft, each bottle of DEWAR’S Signature comes with the unique certificate of authenticity, signed by the Master Blender. 

The most distinctive feature of the new DEWAR’S look is the trefoil Celtic truth knot that has been embossed onto the glass of every bottle. A powerful visual representation of DEWAR’S strength and longevity shows three interlocking ‘D’s that represent the three men of substance who created the company that endures to this day – John Dewar and his sons, John Alexander Dewar and Tommy Dewar. The design is intended to embody Tommy Dewar’s famous and widely quoted maxim that “the quality of the article should be its greatest advertisement.” 

The new DEWAR’S visual identity will launch this month in the United Kingdom, Spain and Greece, followed by all other markets, including the United States, Global Travel Retail, Russia, India and Lebanon. It will be incorporated into all point-of-sale and merchandising assets, to strengthen the impact and differentiation of the brand range.  

Dewars 12 YO (with box)[2][1]

The TRUE SCOTCH platform is built on heavyweight foundations. After establishing his wines and spirits business in Perth, Scotland, John Dewar put his name on a bottle of blended Scotch, becoming reputedly the first person ever to do so and making DEWAR’S the world’s original brand of blended Scotch whisky. It was DEWAR’S first Master Blender, A J Cameron, who pioneered the process of “marrying” – maturing Scotch whisky in oak barrels for up to six months after blending – which gives DEWAR’S its unique smoothness and finish. In 1893, DEWAR’S was awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria, and it continues to supply the royal household to this day. 

Revered by discerning Scotch whisky drinkers around the globe, John Dewar & Sons has won more than 500 medals for quality and taste. DEWAR’S is, in fact,  the most-awarded blended Scotch whisky in history, and DEWAR’S White Label, with its distinctive heather and honey character, is currently the best-selling blended Scotch in the United States. 

“Under the banner of TRUE SCOTCH, the new DEWAR’S visual identity is designed to intrigue and engage consumers in the most direct way possible – bringing the values, aspirations and authenticity of this unique whisky to life, while showing how relevant these qualities remain,” adds John Burke. “Throughout its history, DEWAR’S has set the standard for Scotch whisky, paving the way for the title of TRUE SCOTCH SINCE 1846.” 

TRUE SCOTCH serves as the perfect springboard for LIVE TRUE™, the brand’s marketing campaign in select markets. LIVE TRUE focuses on extraordinary people around the world who live according to their own convictions and principles, people who value authenticity above everything – just like John Dewar himself. 

Backed by a large-scale media drive across print, broadcast, outdoor, digital and social channels, the campaign focuses on the stories and experiences of those who actively pursue their dreams and embody the founding ideals of John Dewar. Having launched with great success across key European and Asian markets, the LIVE TRUE campaign will roll out across select markets during the remainder of 2014. 

To mark this new era, DEWAR’S World of Whisky, the visitor center situated in the brand’s spiritual home of Aberfeldy in the Scottish Highlands, will reopen to the public later in April. Visitors will be able to experience the DEWAR’S story and view unique brand artifacts and memorabilia within the distillery built by John Alexander Dewar in 1896, just a few miles from his father’s birthplace. 

For more information on DEWAR’S, TRUE SCOTCH SINCE 1846, LIVE TRUE and DEWAR’S World of Whisky, visit

Dewars White Label (with box)  copy[2][1]


About DEWAR’S Blended Scotch Whisky

Founded in 1846 by John Dewar, DEWAR’S® has grown from a small wine and spirits merchant shop in the Highlands of Scotland, to one of the largest Scotch whisky brands in the world. Best known for its iconic DEWAR’S White Label, the best-selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States, the portfolio has expanded to comprise a portfolio of premium and super-premium whiskies, including DEWAR’S 12 Year-Old, DEWAR’S 18 Year-Old, and the exclusive DEWAR’S Signature. 

DEWAR’S 12 Year-Old, DEWAR’S 18 Year-Old, and DEWAR’S Signature are all crafted using the DEWAR’S double-ageing process. Pioneered by Dewar’s in 1899, it involves returning the hand-crafted blend to vintage oak casks for further maturation. The result is a smoother taste with a long, lingering finish; an extra step that is simply worth doing. A taste that wins medals and applause everywhere, making DEWAR’S the world’s most-awarded blended Scotch whisky. 

The DEWAR’S brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.  


Scotch Whisky Auctions “The 37th Auction” – Scotch Whisky News

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Hi folks. The 37th auction is now live. Enjoy! 

For those who are selling, you can now see your lots when you sign in. Go to View My Lots In This Auction. You will also notice reserve prices are now being published. This will end the frustrating message buyers get when their bid does not reach the reserve. We hope you enjoy this feature. 

To enable us to email your lot numbers and auction updates, you need to check the box entitled Newsletter? This does not mean we will send you newsletters, merely that your emails will get through to you. 

We are also delighted to announce we will be able to step up our deliveries to the United States, thanks to a new arrangement we have with an internationally-renowned shipper. You may wish to continue using our friends at Mailboxes etc but we will now be able to offer an alternative which may prove to be more competitive. 

We are also now offering the option to insure your bottles during shipment. The premium will be 3% of the hammer price and will be added to your totals at check out if you select that option. 

Kind regards from Glasgow 

The SWA Team

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