Archive for December, 2014

Whisky Industry Stalwart Douglas Cruickshank Retires After Career Spanning 47 Years – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Industry Stalwart Douglas Cruickshank Retires After Career Spanning 47 Years

Chivas Brothers employees bade a fond farewell to their colleague Douglas Cruickshank recently, as he retired following a distinguished 47-year career in the Scotch Whisky industry.

Douglas stepped down from his role as Production Director last year to oversee the development of the company’s new Dalmunach Distillery in Speyside. Fittingly, the new distillery was built on the site of the company’s since-demolished Imperial distillery – where Douglas began his career as a 15-year-old labourer in 1967.

Following his beginnings at Imperial, Douglas progressed through various roles with then-owner Distillers Company Ltd, as well as a spell working for J&G Grant at Glenfarclas, before joining Campbell Distillers in 1992 as Distilleries Director.

In 2002 following the acquisition of Chivas Brothers by Pernod Ricard, Douglas was appointed Production Director responsible for all distillation as well as warehousing and inventory, a role that was significantly enhanced with the acquisition of Allied Distillers in 2005. In 2007 he was promoted to Operations Director, which included responsibility for bottling and procurement.

In 2012 Douglas’s role changed to again focus solely on Production, with responsibility for Chivas Brothers’ distillery expansion programme. On completion of this Douglas relinquished his role as Director, whilst agreeing to stay on to oversee the design and build of Dalmunach, which commenced production in October this year.

Under Douglas’ stewardship the company won ‘Distiller of the Year’ at the International Wine & Spirits Competition on several occasions between 2002 and 2010. In 2004 he was named ‘Master of the Quaich’ – a title held by fewer than 200 people worldwide, and a mark of recognition by the whisky industry of ‘an exceptional personal contribution.’

During his career with Chivas Brothers, Douglas made a significant contribution to the business, as its distilleries reached record production levels and ever-higher efficiencies. A major warehouse rebuilding programme was successfully completed, and on the Manufacturing side he oversaw record volumes at each of the company’s bottling sites.

Speaking about his career, Douglas said: “Managing two major acquisitions – Chivas Brothers in 2002 and Allied Distillers in 2005 – was a significant highlight for me and Pernod Ricard. During my time in the industry there have been huge improvements in technology, driving improvements in Production, particularly in relation to energy efficiencies.

“Within Manufacturing we made significant steps forward in line efficiencies, and in the integration of our two major bottling halls in Paisley and Dumbarton. I attribute both my success, and that of Chivas Brothers, to the quality of the various teams I have built during my time as a Director.”

Paying tribute to Douglas’ remarkable and diverse career, Chivas Brothers Chairman and CEO Laurent Lacassagne said: “I have greatly enjoyed working with Douglas for nearly 20 years, and would like to thank him very warmly for his pivotal role in developing our Scotch whisky business during a dynamic period of growth and change in the industry.

“Most recently, I’d like to commend him for his excellent work bringing Dalmunach Distillery into production – a fitting end to such a distinguished career, in the place where it all began. On a personal level, I have greatly enjoyed working with Douglas and I know I speak for everyone at Chivas Brothers when wishing him a long and happy retirement.”

Douglas lives close to Aberlour distillery and has two adult children – one an artist and the other who has followed in the family footsteps to work in distilling at Chivas Brothers.  Douglas is a keen golfer and golf follower, and counts Spain, Portugal and the USA among his favourite holiday destinations.

Notes to editors:
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.



Back in Stock at K&L California – Whisky News


Scotland – Single Malt Scotch

  • Edradour 10-year-old Highland Single Malt Whisky 750ml ($54.99)
  • 1994 Springbank 19 Year Old Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml – 9 available ($219.99)
  • Springbank 21 Year Old Fresh Rum Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml – 3 available ($449.99)

United States – Bourbon and Rye

  • Ascendant Spirits Breaker Limited Edition Bourbon Whisky 750ml – 11 available ($44.99)
  • Old Weller Antique 107 proof Straight Bourbon Whiskey 750ml (1 bottle limit) – 12 available ($24.99)
  • Rowan’s Creek Bourbon 750ml – 3 available ($39.99)
  • Tuthilltown Hudson Maple Cask Rye (375ml) – 12 available ($49.99)
  • W. L. Weller Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey 750ml – 12 available ($17.99)

K&L Wine Merchants
Phone: 877-KLWines (toll free 877-559-4637)
San Francisco, Redwood City, Hollywood CA


Whisky Wednesday & His Whisky of The Year 2014 – Whisky News


This week Joe Ellis reveals his Whisky of the Year for 2014

Heaven Hill Brands Elevates Lynn House to National Brand Educator – American Whiskey News


Heaven Hill Brands Elevates Lynn House to National Brand Educator

BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Heaven Hill Brands has promoted Lynn House to the role of National Brand Educator. In her new role, Ms. House will be responsible for on-premise support, training and mentoring with a primary emphasis on Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur and PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. For two years, Lynn has served as the PAMA Liqueur Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill Brands. In that role, she worked nationally to support the on-premise brand objectives through marketing and sales support.

Prior to joining Heaven Hill, Lynn served as Chief Mixologist and Beverage Director at Blackbird Restaurant in Chicago. At Blackbird, she organically developed the first mixology program for the James Beard Award culinary nominee. Previous experience in her 25 years in hospitality includes Chief Mixologist/Beverage Director at Michelin two star restaurant Graham Elliot. She is, also, the original Master Bartender at The Drawing Room and was named one of the 2011’s Top 20 Most Fabulous Bartenders in the World by Gary Regan.

“Lynn is a talented bartender whose experience and credibility have benefited PAMA Liqueur and Heaven Hill Brands tremendously,” said Kate S. Latts, Vice President of Marketing. “Based on her success with PAMA, she was a natural fit to support the newly-acquired Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur. We are excited to have her passion and creativity guiding these important on-premise efforts.”

The National Brand Educator is a newly established position for Heaven Hill supporting all forms of on-premise efforts including National Accounts, distributor efforts and national events.

About Heaven Hill Brands: Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. ( is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Larceny, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna Bourbons, Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila; Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Late December 2014 Outturn – Scotch Whisky News


Late December Outturn Offerings 

Cask No. 53.200                             $155

A day at the beach


We found ourselves on the beach next to a fishing harbour and the boats are coming in landing their catch of scallops, crabs and langoustines. Aromas of fresh seaweed growing on the rocky shore and old overgrown wooden groynes are mingling with the harbour smells. The taste neat is like a ‘pick-me-up’, a sweet, salty and clean fresh sea breeze, oysters with Tobasco sauce and honey butter roasted scallops. With water warm like the engine room of a fish trawler or starting a barbeque at the end of a hot day.  The taste is now of slightly ashy toasted marshmallows, lightly salted macadamia chocolate and in the finish freshly cooked rhubarb with an agave syrup.

Drinking tip: In your beach duffle bag for a day at the seaside

Colour: Light olive oil

Cask: Refill butt

Age: 18 years

Date distilled: August 1995

Alcohol: 59.8%

USA allocation: 180 bottles

 SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. 9.84                         $200

Playing ‘Sea Battle’ in the garden

Speyside, Spey

One Panel member found himself on the gun deck of an old wood-hulled warship with smells of ash, gun powder and spent cartridge, whilst others, more peacefully, are turning earth in their herb garden. The taste is hot and fiery – the battleship is in action – or we take a break from gardening on a sunny afternoon and enjoy rye bread dipped in olive oil. With water we take a rest sitting in a wicker chair on a warm cedar decking surrounded by pots of sage and heather. The taste now juicy, warm and pleasant like waffles with runny vanilla custard.

Drinking tip: Somehow obvious; whilst playing ‘Sea Battle’

Colour: Pirate’s golden earring

Cask: Refill butt

Age: 25 years

Date distilled: April 1988

Alcohol: 55.6%

USA allocation: 180 bottles

SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. 36.67                       $100

Intensely tasty

Speyside, Spey

A good example of whisky transformed by water – we didn’t know what to make of the nose – quite fruity (baked apple, fruit salad, watermelon, lemon curd, pear-drops) with an odd assortment of other aromas – Hawaiian pizza (pineapple, ham, pizza dough) pine forests and model kits. With water, suddenly the sweetness was released – caramel wafers, honeycomb crunch ice-cream and vanilla fudge. The unreduced palate seemed sweet and sour – pineapple dusted with chilli and salt, peppery Cream Soda and a slightly metallic finish – but water settled it down to zesty key lime pie and biscuity flavours – intensely tasty. Named after Speyside’s biggest mountain.

Drinking tip: As an aperitif or to awaken the senses

Colour: Fake gold

Cask: First-fill barrel

Age: 9 years

Date distilled: June 2004

Alcohol: 59.9%

USA allocation: 90 bottles

 SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. 121.73                     $135

A layered sponge fruit cake

Highland, Island

Rounded and fruity: apple skin, orange zest and mandarin, with vanilla sponge and later apricot jam tarts, treacle scone, Garibaldi biscuits, toffee-flavoured bagels and  ‘toast with blackcurrant jam’. Smooth, rich  and sweet, the taste replicates the nose well, adding orange syrup, the orange and almond sponge. Water brings waxy pastry and scones, then Jaffa orange (without chocolate) and orange marmalade; slightly tart, but with a trace of butterscotch and ‘sweet black tea in a tool shed’. Smooth texture and fruity taste; Turkish Delight, Elizabeth Shaw orange chocolate, maple syrup and a hint of lavender  and chocolate-dipped strawberry in the finish.

Drinking tip: Tea-time treat

Colour: Peach gold

Cask: Refill hogshead

Age: 14 years

Date Distilled: December 1999

Alcohol: 55.6%

USA allocation: 150 bottles

 SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. G3.8                        $185

Eccentric and Exotic


The panel found eucalyptus, earth, perfumed tobacco and hessian. Aromas of ripe nectarine and peach soaked in orange liqueur mingled with coriander. The flavours found were of figs rolls, dates and honey on a toasted crumpet with more damp sackcloth and a curious hint of celery. Water yielded more curiosities of hot dogs with tomato sauce, Benedictine liqueur and sauerkraut. The aromas of linen sheets fresh from the tumble drier had the panel raising collective eyebrows. The mouthfeel was rich with coffee and Fishermans Friends with a lick of balsa wood to disarm you completely. Very unusual and spectacularly different.

Drinking tip: For discussion and debate   Colour: Tarnished gold Cask: Refill hogshead Age: 35 years Date distilled: May 1979 Alcohol: 53.9% USA allocation: 84 bottles

Please visit the Scotch Malt Whisky Society at

Cowichan Valley Whisky Festival 18th April, 2015 – Scotch Whisky News

AA Cowichan

Jolly Toper Tasting January 8th at The Kilderkin, Edinburgh – Scotch Whisky News


Thursday 8th January The Kilderkin, Royal Mile 7:30pm £25 or £28 for non-members:-

Macallan-Glenlivet 25yo Cadenheads 1989 – 10/14 Bourbon barrel 156 bottles 51.4%
– for a while it was quite unusual to find a non-sherry cask Macallan but not no more, still, as the No.1 branded malt a dram at this age is not usually affordable so taking the chance to see what the fuss is about might not be a bad idea even if there isn’t any of the the Spanish accent.

Arran bottled for The Glasgow Whisky Club Sherry hogshead 2001/098 13yo 28/05/01 – 06/11/14 336 bottles 54.7%
– for me Arran punches above its weight and is a good example of how important it is in business to have a clearly defined destination and a solid and realistic plan of how to get there. The fact that GWC were able to choose this type of quality doesn’t surprise.

Littlemill 21yo Batch 2 47.2% (I think that’s roughly the strength anyway)
– maybe not quite as good as some of the recent IB bottlings but still very nice and way better than the low points of the distillery’s past reputation. Now is a good time to try closed distilleries – the prices are only going up and as fewer casks exist surely the chances of good bottlings will become less likely.

Big Peat Christmas Special Islay blended malt 55.7%
– a customer let me taste this and I was impressed plus there doesn’t seem to be so many good and affordable peaty drams at the moment, just like sherry monsters seemed to have been all but hunted into extinction.

A mystery dram
– the usual fun will be had trying to guess whisky type/age/strength/price. Cruel I know but whatyagonnado?

The Jolly Toper Himself




A 29 year-old BenRiach single malt has been voted “Best Peated Whisky” in the Ultra Premium category of the 2014 Malt Maniacs Awards. 

In addition, the BenRiach Distillery Company won a further two silver and eight bronze medals at the annual awards which over the years have evolved into one of the most influential and independent whisky competitions in the annual whisky calendar.

Distilled in Elgin in 1984 and bottled in July 2014 at 50.3% vol, the 29 years old BenRiach Peated Tawny Port Finish from cask no. 4051 was released in August as part of the award-winning distillery’s eleventh batch of single cask bottlings, with just 269 bottles produced.

And the effects of the second period of maturation in a Tawny Port Hogshead are sensational, as Master Distiller Billy Walker’s tasting notes show.

COLOUR: Deep crimson velvet.

NOSE: Sweet wild strawberries and dark blackcurrants infused with gentle charcoal smoke, delicate garden herbs and distant hints of mint.

PALATE: A mouth-watering explosion of burning hillside heather smoke merges with sharp cranberry and wild meadow honey. Earthy and grassy peat lingers satisfyingly on the long palate.

The annual Malt Maniacs competition has three categories – Daily Drams, Premium Whiskies and Ultra Premium Whiskies – and within each category it offers five awards, including Best Peated Whisky. The judges also acknowledge quality whiskies by awarding gold, silver and bronze medals.

The silver medals are:

BenRiach 1984, cask # 4051, 29 Years Old, Peated, Tawny Port Finish, Batch 11

GlenDronach 1993, cask # 475, 21 Years Old, Customer Exclusive

GlenDronach 1995, cask # 1563, 19 Years Old, Customer Exclusive

It also scooped eight bronze medals for all three of its brands – BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh:

GlenDronach 18 Years Old Allardice

GlenDronach 1991, cask # 1346, 22 Years Old, Batch 10

BenRiach 15 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Finish

Glenglassaugh Torfa

BenRiach Solstice, 17 Years Old, Peated, Tawny Port Finish

GlenDronach 18 Years Old Tawny Port Finish

Glenglassaugh 1968, cask # 1601, 45 Years Old, Batch 1

Glenglassaugh Evolution

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “We are delighted to win these terrific awards because they are given by true whisky lovers who are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about whisky. They devote a massive amount of time and effort to nosing, tasting, sampling and re-sampling all the entries, so to win one of their awards and a total of eleven medals is a huge compliment.“

The Malt Maniacs Awards cap a very successful year for the company. Earlier this month Whisky Magazine voted the BenRiach Distillery Company “Whisky Distiller of the Year” and it celebrated its tenth anniversary as an independent company.


Rare Bottling from Maker’s Mark – Cask Strength 375ml = American Whiskey News


Kentucky’s most popular wheated Bourbon that isn’t called “Pappy”

Maker’s Mark has long been famous for using winter wheat as the flavor grain (along with the majority of corn) instead of the ubiquitous rye. The only thing that ever kept Maker’s Mark from capturing the hearts of serious Bourbon aficionados everywhere was the low proof. In 2014, however, they released a tiny amount of cask strength whisky (in tiny bottles) to Kentucky residents and people went bananas. Seeing that landing a bottle of Pappy today is like winning the lottery, the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is easily the next best thing (and, depending on who you talk to, it might even be better!).

Big richness, bold spice, and that classic, creamy wheated profile combine into one epic ride. Although these are here a little too late to end up in your stocking, you should load up while we have them because we don’t expect a shipment of this magnitude again.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon 375ml ($39.99)

Whisky Advocate: “This is what I wish the standard Maker’s Mark would be: more mature, spicier, more complex, and with a richer finish. This was initially released in Kentucky only, but rumors are that it will get a wider distribution in the future. The best Maker’s Mark since the now extinct Maker’s Mark Black, which was released for export only. If you can track down a bottle, you won’t be disappointed. -John Hansell”

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K&L Wine Merchants
Phone: 877-KLWines (toll free 877-559-4637)
San Francisco,
Redwood City, Hollywood CA


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