Archive for 2014

Paul’s Christmas Sojourn to Ireland – Irish Whiskey News

dawson i had a dram

Dublin trip, Christmas week 2014 

Paul’s Christmas sojourn to Ireland.  DIARY/BLOG

Taking the flight on the 21st December, I flew into Dublin. Flying always annoys me, seems to be time wasted, especially in the check in process! Then upon arrival at Dublin, something like a 9 mile hike just to get out of the airport! Thank goodness I can browse duty free on the way back, might see someone I know, or pick up a nice bottle.

Dublin, day 1; arrived knackered, it was a long day, checked into my hotel on the river and chilled a wee bit. Then took a stroll to the Confession Box pub, I always do this, so I can honestly tell my Priest back home in Perth, I went to Confession. The pub is small to say the least,. the staff are Dubs giving a local feel. The Guinness is great though I stayed with whiskey – doctors orders! The location is tougher than tourist streets and means there are more Guards (Gardí ) patrolling – so long as they leave me alone eh!

The following days can become a blur, talkin of pubs; I know I called in for a few drams at McDaids Pub on Harry Street – it was once the City Morgue, later converted into a chapel for the Moravian Brethren, hence the Gothic style windows. It was only just open when I arrived, so just the three of us in (or should I say the tree of us?), settled down with a Powers and took in the scenery. There is also a room and bar upstairs, but in my humble view, no as good as street level. Traditional wood panelling everywhere, lots of old whiskey images, to be sure, not a grand collection of whiskies behind the bar, but enough for a session and no get bored! Friendly staff too. The Hairy Lemon: the Craic is fine and the music is fine. An old type of bar with nooks and crannies, aye, tried most of em! Sorry, too touristy fer me.  Bowe’s: NOW WE ARE TALKIN. on the East side of Fleet Street. The staff are friendly, the Guinness is consistently the best in the city (yes, better than it is at the brewery), they have a range of craft beers on tap, lovely toasted sandwiches (tried one to be sure) and a selection of over 100 whiskeys from around the world—really, what more do you want? I partook! The Palace Bar: This place is grand —it tends to get really crowded, which makes it difficult to get a seat – so, let’s stand!. They have a wide range of Irish beers and a superb selection of whiskeys, including their own Palace Bar whiskey which you can purchase by the shot or, should you wish to, by the bottle. Still a Cooley dram, though now it arrives from Teelings. A long and narrow bar that opens out at the bottom (like my cousin) into a wider room to sit and enjoy life. It has an upstairs too. I lingered in here more than once. Just to do research you understand.  37 Dawson St.   A party time place, with a decent supply of Irish whiskey. Called in one night at 6pm as arranged, a seat booked for me. To be sure I was expecting a whiskey tasting or something. At 6.20 I was thinkin I was in the wrong place! No tasting, no nothing, all it was, a reserved seat (in a bar!!!). I chatted to Ron behind the bar, the only sense I got while in there, we chatted about our favourite whiskies and I sampled one or four (approx. 50 behind the bar). A wee bit strange, my whiskey came in a square tumbler glass, with water at the side, in a Glencairn glass!

Got a bit fed up of the loud music (not live by the way) and left.  I knew where I was, so trotted along Merion Row to O’Donoghue’s  MY FAMILY’S FAVOURITE DUBLIN HAUNT – as I found out later, not any more. It too is getting touristy, what a shame. The pub that launched the career of the “Dubliners”. Can get crowded especially when live music is on. ASK FOR A CHEESE BUTTY!  I moved on to Toners, by this time, everywhere was busy, drammed once and left.

I also know I dropped in more than once to  O’ Neill’s, traditional Victorian decor, complete with snugs and cosy corners. O’ Neills’ choice of whiskey is extensive and is available on two floors, downstairs in both the main bar and the smaller Victorian bar as well as the dedicated Whiskey corner upstairs. Great food, great staff who recognize you – nice that – and also do a great breakfast. The Church Café, Bar, Restaurant, St. Mary’s Church, Dublin is a former Church of Ireland building on the corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, Dublin. From the 17th century the church was a place of worship for parishioners on Dublin’s north-side, before it was closed in 1986.  Now it’s a trendy bar with whiskey tasting trays and a selection of Premium Irish Whiskeys. Jameson Premium Reserves Tasting. Jameson Select Reserve. Jameson 12 year old Special Reserve. Jameson Gold Reserve.€14.00.  O’Sullivan’s bar near O’Connel bridge, a tourist trap, but some good Irish drams in there. It never seems to get overly busy, so can always get served.  Some of the lowest priced drams I had!

I must say it is starting to look like a pub crawl, honestly it wasnee.   After years of planning and anticipation, the Irish Whiskey Museum is welcoming guests to Dublin’s newest tourist attraction! Near Trinity College, the museum is the only Irish whiskey museum in the world. Converting an idle building fallen into disrepair in the heart of the city centre, it’s an independent project conceived by director Keith McDonnell who showed me around. The hope is to not only educate the public on Irish whiskey’s history, but to promote an understanding and appreciation for something that is, unmistakably, Irish. Grand stuff.

Remembering the Easter Uprising Top of O’Connel St past Parnel Sq;  The Commemoration Garden is dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.” The Garden was opened in 1966 by President Eamon de Valera, on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. The Gardens feature the work of Irish sculptor Oisin Kelly (1915-1981). “The Children of Lir” appear in a well-known Irish saga about the offspring of a noble king who are transformed into swans by a sorceress. Only after 900 years are they “reborn” as children. They transfiguration here is taken to be a symbolic representation of the rebirth of Irish freedoms after centuries of subjugation. It was a tearful visit here.  I did wander all over Dublin on my trip, not just to pubs, but, mind, I was undertaking serious research and development issues.

I asked one old fella “can you tell me the way to the castle please?”, he replied “where are you comin from?” The whole time in Ireland I never had a Scotch! Amazing but true.  My hotel was good, the barman I chatted to was really friendly and helpful, Padraig (Patrick) – who else in Dublin has that name? Aye, far too many people called Patrick, Sean and Michael – my numerous cousins included.  Dublin has far too many taxis, sleep out people, beggars charity boxes. There are more taxis in Dublin than New York city, fact.

I also called into, and purchased from, the Celtic Whiskey Shop, best selection in town. To be assured of forgiveness I went to chapel every day, also many times to the Confessional box (pub), it was nose to nose in there, if you have 30 in the downstairs bar, you cannee move! Over my time in there I went through a bottle of Single malt Tullamore it seemed. Och at 5 euro a dram it was grand. Was in here one afternoon (a long visit) with the two Seans, sharing drams and black stuff.

MY COUSINS TURNED UP calling for me at 08.30 at my hotel, we jumped a taxi and a half hour later, somewhere(?) we arrived at a wee bar. Black Bush all round, by 10.30 4 drams later, we had caught up with family issues, had breakfast and wandered back into town, O’Donoghue’s where we had 3 more Bush, chatted to some of their pals (cousins, not the bush), headed down to Palace bar, it was heavin! We sort of arranged a table for ourselves (God knows how?) and drammed away chattin of Dundalk, where they live. By now I was relegated to juice, seeing double via my eyes. Some food around the corner and then Bowes again! Oh no. They left for home steamin at 6pm, I took a taxi to my hotel, crashed on the bed, watched terrible tv all night.

There was also a few other drams I tried;  KNAPPOGUE 1995 VINTAGE  The Knappogue Castle is indeed a real castle, which was built by the Irish clan MacNamara in the 15th century to stop the invading Normans. 1966, Mr. Andrews, an American with Irish blood, purchased it and began its restoration, , who stocked-up his cellars with all kinds of different pot-still Whiskeys. He waited for the Whiskey to reach the pinnacle of maturation and bottled it under the name of his hallowed Knappogue. The 1995 Vintage is a single malt distilled at Bushmills in 1995. Special Bourbon casks were used for this particular vintage. Don’t miss out on this Irish knock-out, it’s really good.  QUESTION; why not buy a Bushmills 1995?  Greenspot 12 Year Old a special single pot still whiskey released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mitchells wine merchants. It is now very hard to get hold of and is very scarce. I was given a dram…hellish expensive to buy, if you can find it, but if you have the dolly dosh – get it! I partook in a few Yellow Spot also.  Shanahans Single Malt  An Irish single malt fae Cooley distillery in County Louth. Shanahans in smooth, soft and light character with fresh fruity flavours. Created especially for Shanahans Restaurant, possibly the best steak house in Ireland! Sadly, never made it to dine.

xmas eire trip

D&M California “American Whiskey Club” – American Whiskey News


American Whiskey Club

Learning Whiskey the American Way

We seek out unique expressions of American whiskeys that we find to be particularly delectable and buy an allotment. The whiskey you receive in our club is meticulously taste-selected by our devoted staff. It is unique to D&M as well as your personal collection!

By joining our club, you will receive a bottle every 3 months of the best that American Whiskey has to offer – shipped right to your home or office along with background material on the producer and our staff’s tasting notes on the product.
The product cost tops out at $100 per shipment, but usually much lower. ( Does not include tax and or shipping)

In September 2014 our members received 2 Fabulous Bottles.

Colorado Gold Rye and Smooth Ambler 8 Year Old Bourbon

This past spring was a busy one for us here at D & M tasting and selecting whiskey for you, our club members.This being a charmed time for American Whiskey we couldn’t pass up the chance to send two bottles your way for the price of one bottle of Scotch. We are now reaping the benefits of our work and the whiskey is in house. From when we first began this American Whiskey Club until now, much has changed in the world of Craft American Whiskey. Both of these distilleries have operations that are defined as ‘Grain to Glass’, with all operations happening in house. However, the Old Scout is a product of the open secret of American Craft, not all barrels were born at the place listed on the final label. We here at D & M suspend judgement in saying that this is simply the way that the craft whiskey industrymcurrently operates. For more information you may want to check out Eric Felten’s article on rye.Your first bottle began and spent its formative years in the town of Cedaredge, Colorado, home to 3,000 people and some damn fine whiskey. We first introduced you to the joys of Colorado Gold last June with their (Wheated)Bourbon, and we are pleased to offer you one of the first ten barrels of their Grain to Glass Rye. A refresher on Colorado Gold: they are in far western Colorado with topography closer to what we associate with the American Southwest rather than Rocky Mountain High. We here at D & M like to think that with the literal minded nature of its founders they named this place for what it was, where the mountains meet the mesa some 6,ooo feet above sea level.

They do benefit from that wall of mountains to their East as it collects and filters some of the finest water in the United States. The community from which they come is heavy in Agriculture, which suits the makers of Colorado Gold just fine as it gives them access to local grain to turn into whiskey. The first smell of the Colorado Gold Rye Whiskey shows a light rye note with more present star anise with the littlest bit of butter pickle. Once you put this on your tongue more grain driven notes come through with fresh rye bread covered in raw honey predominating. The honey note hits on the mid palate and continues through to the grain focused end.

Next up for you is the Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 Year Old cask strength. Smooth Ambler is a grain to glass distillery located in West Virginia. Smooth Ambler was begun in 2010 and they were intimately aware that quality whiskey takes time to produce, so they worked the contacts they had in the industry to find whiskey that they would be willing to put under their label. John Little, the Master Distiller, has been making fantastic gin and young yearling whiskey in the meantime, while the ‘Old Scout’ label represents whiskey they purchase from others. Your bottle is stock from the former Seagram’s then LDI now MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.(This is the source for much of the ‘craft’ rye on the market from Angel’s Envy to Tempelton.) Your bottle is a high rye bourbon made of a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye and 4% malt, which is the highest rye content of any bourbon that John Little has come across. The barrel that we have chosen for you spent its first seven years in an Indiana rick house before being selected by Smooth Ambler and being transferred to West Virginia to age for an additional year. John Little has the following to say by email about how they prepared this whiskey for bottling: “We bottled this [D & M]private cask selection, as always, with no dilution water and minimal filtration – the bare minimum to remove the bits from the barrel. This leaves a product that is as close to tapping a barrel in the rick house as you can get. Enjoy!” The Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 Year Old hits you with an intense pepper spice kick that is backed up with rich caramel and vanilla. When given time in the glass the rye is mellowed out and gives way to more of molasses note with hints of candied apricots. The palate is engulfed with rich flavors of candied fruits and caramel, but has that nice spice from the rye to make this a very well balanced. The richness follows all the way to the finish, ending on somenice oak notes.

Announcing the Spring Midlands Whisky Festival March 27th & 28th 2015 – Scotch Whisky News

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Announcing the Spring Midlands Whisky Festival –  Friday & Saturday March 27th/28th 2015 England’s largest Whisky Festival outside London Held at Stourbridge Town Hall DY8 1YE

We’re holding the Festival on Saturday during the day as usual, PLUS adding a special Friday evening session.

You’ll have the choice of attending either or both the Friday evening and Saturday daytime event – the Friday session will have a slightly different feel to it with different and added attractions!

Your ticket options are:

Friday 27th March

Tickets are £30.00 (or £25.00 if you are also attending the Saturday event) Entrance at 6.00 pm

+ All drams on taste free inside venue (last pour 9.00 pm)  Festival

+ tasting glass Free Masterclasses (prior registration required)

Saturday 28th March

Standard tickets are £40.00 (£65.00 to include Friday’s session) Entrance at 12 o’clock

+ All drams on taste free inside venue (last pour 4.30 pm) Festival

+ tasting glass

Free Masterclasses (prior registration required) 

Premium Tickets are £75.00 (£100.00 to include Friday’s session) Entrance 10.45 am (1hr 15min VIP time)

+ Premium Masterclass

+ Dream Dram Tokens x 2 + Complimentary canapes All drams on taste free

+ inside venue (last pour 4.30 pm) Festival tasting glass

Devotee tickets are £150.00 (£175.00 to include Friday’s session) Entrance 10.45 am (1hr 15min VIP time)

+ Devotee Masterclass

+ Dream Dram Tokens x 2 + Complimentary canapes All drams on taste free

+ inside venue (last pour 4.30 pm)

+ £10 food voucher

+ Crystal Glencairn Festival glass

+ Selection of Dream Dram samples to take away.

Further details & tickets on

Ticket hotline 0333 666 3366

(A telephone service fee flat rate of £1.50 is charged if booking by phone.  No Additional booking fees will apply.)

Heaven Hill Unveils New Corporate Name, Logo Ahead of Company’s 80th Anniversary – American Whiskey News


Heaven Hill Unveils New Corporate Name, Logo Ahead of Company’s 80th Anniversary

BARDSTOWN, KY. – On the eve of its 80th year, the country’s largest family owned and operated distilled spirits company unveils a new corporate name, Heaven Hill Brands, and a new logo that capture the company’s evolution from a leader in American Whiskey production – a position it continues to hold today – to the nation’s sixth-largest distilled spirits supplier.

“Although some people may still think of us primarily as a Bourbon distiller, in reality, we are tremendously diverse, with brands in virtually every distilled spirits category,” said Heaven Hill Brands President Max L. Shapira. “Our new name and logo illustrate that broader identity and will properly position us for the next 80 years.”

Over the last three decades through internal product development and strategic brand acquisitions Heaven Hill has built on its foundation of American Whiskeys to become a broadly diversified supplier of whiskeys, liqueurs, vodkas, rums and other spirits. Heaven Hill’s portfolio includes the world’s second-largest selling Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, and category leaders Christian Brothers Brandy, Burnett’s Vodka and Admiral Nelson’s Rum. The portfolio also includes a growing line of leading imported brands from around the world, such as Hpnotiq and Domaine de Canton liqueurs.  Likewise, the company has a stable of innovative brands including PAMA Liqueur, Blackheart Spiced Rum and Evan Williams Flavors.

Brands are identified and developed to take advantage of the many, varied consumer tastes and are sold domestically and worldwide in more than 40 countries through innovative and aggressive marketing and sales initiatives.

While the new name reflects the company’s more diversified direction, it retains ‘Heaven Hill’ at its core, in reference to the company’s original American Whiskey distillery and longstanding history. The company is headquartered in Bardstown, Ky., on land once owned by William Heavenhill in the 18th century. The new logo features an elegant, timeless silhouette of a bottle and rocks glass rendered in the company’s signature blue palette.

The new name and logo announcement kick off what will be a year-long celebration of the company’s 80th anniversary. Founded in 1935 by the five Shapira brothers to produce and market Bourbon and premium American Whiskeys, the company expects to soon fill its seven millionth whiskey barrel and is run today by the second and third generations of the Shapira family. Together, they’re proudly leading the country’s largest family owned and operated distilled spirits company into a new era.

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.

Cambus 26 Year Old 1988 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Cambus 26 Year Old 1988

As the curtains close on 2014 we say goodbye for good to Imperial Distillery now demolished. Here are our favorite releases from lost Scottish distilleries…

Cambus 26 Year Old $111.56

AA Cambus

Scotch Whisky Auctions “The 45th Auction” – Scotch Whisky News

SWA B&W Logo

A quick note about the 45th Auction which runs until Sunday January 4th, 2015

Hi folks. We’re now live with the 45th auction. We hope you enjoy it.

Kind Regards from Glasgow

The SWA Team



Top Picks at K&L California – Whisky News


  • Low Gap 4 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Stitzel-Weller Barrel Wheat Whiskey 750ml ($69.99) Four years ago, when barrels of 18 year old Stitzel Weller Bourbon could be purchased on a whim, we began piling up more casks than we knew what to do with. When you buy a barrel of whiskey from a producer they usually send you the empty vessel with it. At that time we were working closely with Germain Robin on a number of new projects and when they mentioned they were experimenting with wheat whiskey, running it through their antique column still, I offered some of our ex-Bourbon casks for maturation. “Fill this old wheated Bourbon barrel with wheat whiskey,” I said, “and maybe we can buy it back from you in a few years.” Then I completely forgot about it. But a few weeks ago we got the call from the distillery; it had been four years. Did we want to see where the whiskey was at? You bet we did, and after tasting the sample we had Germain Robin bottle the whiskey immediately. It’s in an absolutely perfect spot. The nose is a mixture o f fresh cut grain and oak spices. The first sip is like a handful of Wheat Thins that turns into a rich, stone crackery explosion on the finish. There is no doubt as to which grain this whiskey was distilled from. It’s just wheat all the way through. The SW barrel is really just a coincidence; a matter of what we had on hand at the time. Gimmicks aside, this is one fun new bottle I will be drinking lots of and a new step forward for California’s whiskey movement. -David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer
  • Corbin Cash Merced Rye Whiskey 750ml ($46.99) Corbin is a farm located in Atwater, California (just south of Modesto) that grows sweet potatoes. A few years back, David Souza, whose family has farmed in the region for a hundred years, decided to add a still to preserve the unused harvest (just like farmers have been doing for hundreds of years) and Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka was born. It turns out that Corbin hasn’t only been distilling sweet potato vodka over the past few years; they’ve also been growing, harvesting, fermenting and distilling their own rye–purchasing custom-charred, 53 gallon white oak barrels from Missouri and filling them with their 100% farm-to-bottle distillate. The sandy soil of Atwater, however, leeches a lot of the nitrogen deep into the earth and a cover crop is needed to help remove some of the nitrogen before another round of sweet potatoes can be planted. It just so happens that rye is the perfect cover. Distilled on the same German Holstein still, the almost 4 year o ld rye (3.75 years) shows a perfectly-balanced nose of rich oak and rye grain aromas, and a leaner, more classically-styled mouthfeel with hints of baking spice from the barrel aging. It’s not a full throttle high proof experience, nor is it a softer, gentler spirit like the Bulleit or Templeton products. The Corbin is its own thing–a purely Californian whiskey, 100% from farm to bottle. The Souzas planted the seeds and handled every step along the way until the booze was bottled. It’s real deal whiskey from a local farm.

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



Ralfy & His “Malt of the Year” – Whisky News

Ralfy_zpsf0666f22 courts controversy with Whisky Review malt of the year 2014.

Merry Christmas from Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada

AA SMWS Canada

Robbie’s Whisky Merchants Christmas Wishes


All the staff at Robbie’s Whisky Merchants would like to take this opportunity to thank-you for your continued custom throughout the year and we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a Happy & prosperous New Year!

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