Archive for February, 2015

Hot Rum Cow Takes the Helm at World Whisky Day – World Whisky News

AA Blair

Hot Rum Cow publisher, Fraser Allen (left) & World Whisky Day founder, Blair Bowman (right)

Hot Rum Cow magazine is delighted to announce that it has joined forces with World Whisky Day to take the event to the next stage of its rapid growth.

In formal terms, this means that Hot Rum Cow Publishing Ltd has acquired the assets of World Whisky Day Ltd and will be responsible for all aspects of the project with immediate effect.

Blair Bowman, the founder of World Whisky Day, is keen to explore other career opportunities but will continue to support World Whisky Day as a consultant. Furthermore, his name will remain firmly in place as the founding spirit of the event. Blair said: “I am delighted that the team at Hot Rum Cow are going to grow and develop World Whisky Day. I have no doubt that they will keep the flame alive and the legacy shall continue long into the future. Having created World Whisky Day from scratch on my own and built it up over three years this is the perfect next chapter. I am very excited about what the future holds.”

“We are thrilled by this opportunity,” said Fraser Allen, Publisher of Hot Rum Cow. “I first met Blair a couple of years ago when I interviewed him for the magazine. I was full of admiration for his thinking behind World Whisky Day and the enterprise he had shown in getting it up and running.

“To be able to take the event on and develop it in fresh directions whilst staying true to Blair’s founding principles is very exciting. Hot Rum Cow is all about celebrating and enjoying great drinks without pretension, which is very much the ethos behind World Whisky Day. Together we can take on the world and promote the wonders of good whisky and the stories behind an extraordinary drink.”

Cabinet Secretary for Food and Drink, Richard Lochhead, said: “World Whisky Day is a great way to celebrate Scotland’s iconic national drink and I am delighted it will continue in 2015, our Year of Food and Drink. It is sure to be one of the highlights of Whisky Month in May when we  will celebrate and promote the best of Scottish culture, music and our finest malts and blends to Scots and ‘Scots at heart’ at home and abroad.”

Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland Chairman, said: “World Whisky Day is a fantastic initiative and a chance for the world to raise a glass to Scotland’s national drink. It’s fitting that the event is embarking on an exciting new journey during the Year of Food and Drink 2015, a 12-month celebration of our natural larder and unique dining experiences. Sampling traditional food and drink is one of the top activities undertaken by visitors to Scotland, and with the return of Whisky Month in May, there is no better time to promote and showcase Scotland’s culinary delights.”

Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers commented: “World Whisky Day has quickly become an established international celebration of Scotland’s iconic drink and most successful export. Events all across Scotland throughout 2015 are celebrating the natural larder and skilled producers that make our country a Land of Food and Drink. Taking place during the Year of Food and Drink’s Whisky Month, World Whisky Day events will extend beyond our shores, encouraging people around the globe to discover, enjoy and celebrate Scotland’s national drink.”

Kevin Stewart MSP, Aberdeen Central SNP, who hosted the official launch event for World Whisky Day last year at the Scottish Parliament commented: “I am very pleased that World Whisky Day is set to continue as it has done a great deal to promote our national drink internationally and at home. It’s great that in this, Scotland’s Year of Food and  Drink, the efforts of the World Whisky Day organisers will continue to ensure that our most famous product will continue to get the added exposure that World Whisky Day brings.”

The next World Whisky Day takes place on 16 May 2015. “Given the short time scales, we have to be pragmatic about this year,” says Fraser. “Therefore, the emphasis for 2015 will be very much on keeping momentum alive by promoting celebrations of whisky across the globe via social media in the same way that Blair began the event in 2012. However, we are working on plans to extensively relaunch the event in 2016. It’s going to be fun.”


World Whisky Day ( was launched in 2012 by Blair Bowman when he was still a student at the University of Aberdeen. Whilst studying abroad in Barcelona, Blair noticed on Twitter that people were celebrating World Gin Day.

After searching online, he was surprised to see that there wasn’t an established annual World Whisky Day – so he bought the domain name and kickstarted the event by spreading the word via social media.

By last year, World Whisky Day was annually attracting around 250,000 attendees to whisky-themed events in over 40 countries, with 12,000 followers on Twitter, and 16,000 likes on Facebook.

The event has been warmly supported by the Scottish Government and received extensive media coverage and participation from the whisky industry.


Hot Rum Cow ( was also launched in 2012 by Fraser Allen, who believed there was a gap in the market for an intelligently written, beautifully designed drinks magazine aimed at enthusiastic and curious drinkers. Based in Edinburgh, the magazine is now on sale across the world in stores from Selfridges in London to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has a strong following in both its print and digital forms. Designed by Eric Campbell and edited by Simon Lyle, Hot Rum Cow has won several awards and is based in the offices of White Light Media, one of Scotland’s leading design and publishing agencies.

Scotland Food & Drink is an industry-led, commercially focused membership organisation which aims to grow the value of the country’s food and drink sector to £16.5bn by 2017 and build Scotland’s international reputation as a Land of Food and Drink


AA Cask Strength


This whisky is the first Cask Strength expression to be added to the Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky core range, allowing us to showcase the true Tomatin style in its most natural state – natural colour, no chill filtration, full strength. Batch 1 was released in February 2015 at 57.5%. A marriage of full maturation Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, it is spicy, sweet and smooth and an excellent addition to the range.

Cask Type: Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry casks

Strength: Cask Strength – 57.5% alc./vol.

Distribution: Worldwide except USA

Price: RRP £44.99 per 70cl Bottlecl bottle


Brand new addition to the range in 2015. Limited stocks available – batch release – 15,000 bottles per annum. Permanent addition to the Tomatin core range. Natural Colour. Non chill filtered. UK brand positioning comparable to Glendronach Cask Strength, Glengoyne Cask Strength, Glenfarclas 105 and Aberlour A’bunadh


AROMA Golden syrup. Orange and lemon. Pears. Walnuts.Ginger biscuits. Gets sweeter with time.
PALATE Marzipan, burnt sugar. Toasted malt loaf. Chestnuts.Polished leather. Vanilla flavoured tobacco.
FINISH Dry, with a developing spiciness.



Campbeltown Malts Festival Dinner Announcement – Scotch Whisky News

Springbank Society

I am pleased to announce the details of the first confirmed event of this year’s Campbeltown Malts Festival which will run from Wednesday 20th – Friday 22nd May 2015.

After the success of the Kiln Dinner in 2013 and the Still House Dinner in 2014, this year we will be holding another special dinner, this time in one of our traditional dunnage warehouses at Springbank Distillery. The dinner will take place on the first day of the Campbeltown Malts Festival (Wednesday 20th May) at 7pm.

Your unique journey through our warehouses will commence in number 6 with a tasting of a selection of whiskies, hand drawn from the cask. You will be asked to vote for your favourite sample and, at the end of the evening, you will receive your own 70cl bottle from the most popular cask.

This arduous task competed(!), you will continue through to warehouse number 9, where you will be be met with a cocktail and canapé reception featuring locally sourced produce and some classic drinks.

You will then be escorted through to our number 7 bond – no international super spies present we’re sorry to say – to enjoy a four course meal with complementary wine to accompany each course.

To end your unique evening, our Distillery Manager Gavin McLachlan will present each attendee with their own exclusive 70cl hand drawn bottle, chosen from the selection of casks sampled earlier in the evening.

Throughout the evening, staff from Springbank will be on hand to share their knowledge and a few drams with you.

The cost of the dinner is £250.00 per person and payment will be required upon booking to secure your place. We have limited numbers to 30 people so I would advise you to book soon to avoid disappointment. To book your place, please email or call me on +44 (0) 1586 55 2009.

We are in the final stages of confirming the Masterclass and Tasting timetable for the Springbank Open Day (Thursday 21st May) and hope to announce this information on Friday so keep an eye out for this information arriving in your inbox very soon!



Mairi Paterson

For the Springbank Society

To join the Springbank Society please contact them at

Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #523 – Whisky News

Ralfy_zpsf0666f22 give practical and realistic views with Whisky Review 523Advice on buying whisky privately.


The 1824 Masters Series


The Macallan, the world’s ultimate luxury single malt whisky, has unveiled The 1824 Masters Series featuring two stunning decanters. The range, including Reflexion and No.6, features the finest single malt, 100% sherry seasoned in oak casks.  The Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker expertly crafted the whiskies to showcase the signature style of The Macallan and honour the beautiful spectrum of natural colour unique to this exceptional single malt.

Sitting atop Ruby within the current 1824 Series, these striking new decanters, each one magnificent in status and appearance, will carry whisky connoisseurs through the range to the crescendo of M, the halo of the entire series and the world’s most valuable single malt whisky.

This collection of exceptional single malt whiskies becomes increasingly dark and alluring, increasing in complexity as the chosen casks themselves become scarcer and the range progresses from Reflexion to No. 6.  This is testament to The Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker’s, Bob Dalgarno, meticulous selection of the most exceptional sherry seasoned oak casks.

Taking inspiration from The Macallan’s iconic triangle and the desire to showcase the whiskies stunning natural colours, the exquisite style and design of each decanter beautifully showcases the peerless spirit which defines The Macallan.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts, Edrington, says:  “The new 1824 Masters Series represents an extremely exciting development for The Macallan.  The stunning designs and overall imprint of this new collection are not only worthy of some of our most complex and precious single malt whiskies, they celebrate the very foundations that make The Macallan so special – our glorious range of natural colour and the outstanding quality of our casks .”

The Macallan Reflexion (43% ABV, £900) is a reflection of the foremost influence of first fill sherry seasoned oak casks, drawing its colour and flavour from maturation in hogshead casks.  These are smaller casks which allow for greater surface area of wood to interact with the spirit to deliver an intricate character driven by the influence of both Spanish and American oak casks.

Sculpted through the inspiration of The Macallan’s iconic triangular shape, Reflexion is a masterpiece both in style and stature.  Its exquisite angular facets each reflect the light to showcase the deep red mahogany hue of the whisky within.

The depth of the colour and the complexity of flavour of Reflexion derive from the casks selected for this distinctive expression by the Master Whisky Maker. Bold and full-bodied, Reflexion is a celebration of floral and vanilla notes, punctuated with fresh apples and apricots.

The Macallan No.6 (43% ABV, £2,800) brings together the art of The Macallan Master Whisky Maker with the exquisite craftsmanship of Lalique resulting in a piece of timeless elegance.  Exclusively designed and crafted for The Macallan, this flawless crystal decanter pays homage to the single malt’s heritage through its use of triangular facets representing the Six Pillars, incorporating the iconic triangular feature as a key element of its creation.

Silvio Denz, Chairman and CEO of Lalique, says: “Lalique is very proud to have contributed to the exquisite Macallan 1824 Masters Series N°6 Decanter. The angular shape of N°6 with its six facets was the outcome of our head designer’s excellent creativity and the work of Lalique’s master craftsmen. This collaboration reinforces Lalique’s long standing commitment to The Macallan and it has been a pleasure to create No.6, a unique object d’art.”

The classically beautiful Lalique decanter encases complex single malt made using only first fill Spanish sherry oak casks from a single Jerez cooperage.  The beautiful design enhances the enticing, rich dark walnut colour of a classic Macallan character, a celebration of richness, spice and dried fruit with a layer of heady orange groves.

The Macallan’s Master of Wood, Stuart MacPherson, says: “Wood sits at the very heart of what we do at The Macallan and this range further demonstrates the vital role of our casks in the production of these superb whiskies.  Our commitment to sherry seasoned oak casks is unquestionable and the Masters Series showcases The Macallan at its very best. ”

The Macallan 1824 Masters Series is a stunning collection of whiskies created to showcase the beautiful range of The Macallan’s natural colour.  As you move through the collection, each expression becomes increasingly dark and more complex, reflecting the careful selection of exceptional casks. The interaction of spirit and wood alone delivers the beautiful range of rich, natural colours that distinguish The Macallan whiskies.

Tasting notes:

Reflexion – 43% ABV


Blood Orange


Orange and citrus fruits open up like fresh fruit on a sunny market day, their zest is fresh, the fruit is firm. A slight waxy note fades to fresh green apples. Then the sweet stall: chocolate, thick fudge, boiled sweets, aniseed; caramel toffees almost overwhelm whilst white chocolate truffles are hidden. Just as you are ready to taste, a delivery of bananas in fresh, sweet oak arrives.


Initial light citrus zest with new oak quickly gives way to a juicier sweetness, thick and succulent, of lemon and orange. Raisin, sultana and apple, with a hint of cinnamon and ginger, are subtle. Boiled sweets add balance to a glimpse of toasted oak to give a medium and soft finish.

No.6 – 43% abv


Spanish Sunset

Abv – 43%


Spanish oak casks deliver wonderful rich notes, elegant and polished. Raisin, dates and figs dominate like a mountain of fruit; sultana and toffee apples add texture and depth. The weight of flavour practically squeezes the juice from the raisins, dark and rich with great viscosity. Ginger and cinnamon gently dance around the edges – the ginger slightly dry, the cinnamon soft. Dark chocolate is majestic, whilst vanilla sweetness lingers in the background.


Heavy and sumptuous. Like a rich fruit cake with raisin, dates and figs, apples, sultanas, orange; then ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and hints of clove. Oak notes are like velvet, soft and chic, silky smooth, this is a cake to savour with a long and full.

M – 44.7% ABV




Dried fruits ripen, then soften showing off a velvet sateen. Vanilla accompanies green apple hand in hand neither taking the lead. Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon create an ensemble in the background, with polished oak offering to overstate yet never does but plays with depths of resinous, juicy oranges.


Opens rich in wood spices slowly showing all their viscosity. Wood smoke flits in and out. The heavier raisin and sultana flavours then take over, meandering to a long, full finish.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America “Late February 2015 Outturn Offerings” – Scotch Whisky News


Late February 2015 Outturn Offerings 


Cask No. 30.83                       $285 

A Tuscan landscape

Speyside, Spey

The nose wafted creamy exotic fruits (dragon fruit, rhubarb yoghurt, banana split, papaya) with maple syrup on waffles, honey on toast, citrus and perfumed wood; inviting and sophisticated. The palate combined a bittersweet fruitiness with light spices and buttery textures – we found lemon drizzle cake, spun sugar and buttery sultana cake. The reduced nose was a fabulous combination of citric and floral elements, opening up sunny, exotic landscapes – we imagined lavender fields and orange groves in Tuscany; plus sticky toffee pudding, fudge and pineapple humps. The reduced palate gave us melon, raisins, baked apple and hints of cigar – tasty and delicate.

Drinking tip: A summer holiday dram – or to indulge in dreams of Tuscany, any time. Easy on the water.

Colour: Distillation of primrose petals

Cask: Refill hogshead

Age: 34 years

Date distilled: July 1980

Alcohol: 45.8%

USA allocation: 120 bottles

SMWS Green Logo


Cask No. 48.41                       $200

Pink wafers in a lady’s hat shop

Speyside, Spey

On the nose, pencil shavings, linoleum and sawmills underlaid sweet pastry, Black Forest gateau and some more perfumed aromas (cigarette packets, geranium, purple Chewits, apples, make-up). To taste, light perfume, leather and pepper could not intimidate the sweetness of Terry’s chocolate orange, Turkish Delight, toffee, sultana cake, Newberry Fruits and raspberry sauce on ice-cream. Even better with water, the nose gave us Fry’s Chocolate Cream, pink wafers and marshmallows in a lady’s hat shop; the palate ran light leather tingles over sweet delicacies (chocolate cake, candy floss, heather honey) along with spice, fruit and flowers. Inver House owns this Cromdale distillery.

Drinking tip: Water and time improve it – so make sure you give it time and space to settle and breathe

Colour: Misty sunrise

Cask: Refill hogshead

Age: 25 years

Date distilled: March 1988

Alcohol: 48.3%

USA allocation: 90 bottles

 SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. 52.20                       $130

All day American breakfast in the garden

Highland, Northern

The first impression was of echeveria, aloe vera, warm bark, daisy petals and hedge cuttings. Naturally the panel felt as if they had stepped into the garden for breakfast of the all American kind, bacon and honey on waffles and all cooked outside on a grill. Breakfast was served with apple juice and creamy coconut and lime margarita in a plastic cup. They found it developed more herbal notes with water: sticky Thai rice with shozu, bamboo shoots, angelica and seagrass. It became sweet with banana chips, doughnuts, undercooked meringue and Morello cherry with an agave silky liqueur like finish.

Drinking tip: When days and nights merge

Colour: Vegas sunrise

Cask: Refill barrel

Age: 13 years

Date distilled: June 2001

Alcohol: 64.7%

USA allocation: 60 bottles 

 SMWS Green Logo

Cask No. 54.31                       $115

Skip along with Dorothy

Speyside, Spey

The panel found a cheeky prickle at first, then a basket of green fruits: gooseberries, grape and apple. Sweeter malty notes of brioche, gingerbread and strudel emerged. The first flavours were bright and juicy, black currant pastille and licorice, then more gentle fudge and cream soda. As Dorothy skipped along her yellow brick road floral and breezy aromas of fresh linen mingled with warm baked biscuits. Even reduced it retained a fresh tingling sensation like Space Dust, but balanced with clean citrus and soft sweetness of lemon curd in the finish. A delightful wee Munchkin!

Drinking tip: For a happy, singing moment

Colour: Young Moselle wine

Cask: Refill barrel

Age: 11 years

Date distilled: October 2002

Alcohol: 60.2%

USA allocation: 76 bottles

 SMWS Green Logo


Cask No. G14.1                      $150

‘East meets West’


Whilst pouring a sample we were all reminded of opening a bag of crispy fried and salted corn kernels, followed  by sweet, fruity aromas of foamy bananas, a jar of pear drops, candy sticks but at the same time crispy baked sweet potato fries. The taste neat started of very sweet; caramel glazed doughnuts and chocolate fudge ice cream but well balanced by a variety of Indian and Thai spices. With water it turned into an ‘Afghan Monkey’ (cocktail using Malibu, banana and melon liqueur, Blue Curacao, whipped cream and pineapple juice) and in the finish a dried fruit mix with sweet and spicy chilli flakes.

Drinking tip: Beware! – Dangerously moreish!

Colour: Polished copper

Cask: Refill barrel

Age: 28 years

Date distilled: October 1986

Alcohol: 47.8%

USA allocation: 60 bottles

Whisky Online Auctions Late February Auction – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Online Auctions is very pleased to announce that our next auction beginning Wednesday 25th February at 8pm GMT and running till 8pm Wednesday 4th March will feature one of the rarest and most sought after bottles of whisky ever produced: the Springbank 1919 50 year old. Bottled in 1970 at 46% with an outturn of just 24 bottles; this is a true piece of Scottish distilling history. A bottling that was both far ahead of its time upon release and greatly important in the development of malt whisky as a serious and popular product, it has not appeared at auction for nearly five years. The bottle comes in its original wooden presentation case with a signed letter from the distillery manager confirming its purchase by the vendor and authenticity. The level remains in the neck and the overall condition is excellent. A beautiful bottle that is one of the most desirable bottlings in the history of Scottish whisky. Its appearance here at Whisky Online Auctions marks an incredibly scarce opportunity to acquire this bottle for a fair market price outside the confines of its £50,000 retail price tag. If anyone interested in bidding would like to get in touch with further queries then please feel free to contact Whisky Online at or on 44 (0) 1253 620376.

Malt Messenger No. 63 – Exciting News for KWM & As Always Great New Whisky! – Whisky News

KWM Header

Malt Messenger No. 63 – Exciting News for KWM & as always some Great New Whisky!

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,  2015 started off well, and it just keeps getting better! We’ve already had some amazing tastings. We started with Darkness and followed it with the 4th Annual Calgary MS Whisky Festival which was a huge success going off off without a hitch. I attended the 10th Annual Victoria Whisky Festival which is always a superb event. I gave master classes on Kilchoman and Kavalan, and attended a brilliant one by John Glaser of Compass Box and Michael Urquhart of Benromach/Gordon & MacPhail. Our 9th Annual Burns Supper, Scots Wha Hae, was a lot of fun with J. Wheelock from Authentic Wine & Spirits are I presiding over the Glendronach themed event. Interesting whiskies were trickling into the store, and then we got some really exciting news… a big international whisky award!

Kensington Wine Market was awarded “Highly Commended” (second place) in Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky – Rest of the World (not including Scotland or the US) in the category of Retailer of the Year – Single Outlet! This is our 3rd year in the running for this award, the only store in Canada to be so recognized, and second place came as a complete surprise. Suffice to say we are thrilled!

We have our Islay Mini Whisky Festival on Thursday February 26, celebrating whiskies from the island of Islay, Jura, Mull and the town of Campbeltown. The price is only $40 for the chance to sample up to 60 whiskies! More info on these events can be found below, registration is by phone 403-283-8000 or online.

There are lots of new whiskies in the store, including the 4th Edition of the Peter Arkle Series by anCnoc, which is exclusive to KWM in Calgary. We also have a trio of very limited new exclusive Japanese whiskies by Ichiro’s Malt. There is also an amazing new vintage Old Pulteney matured in peated casks, an official single cask bottling of Glenlivet and the latest edition in Bruichladdichs Islay Barley series. We’ve also got four new whiskies from Hunter Laing, a pair of older Old Malt Cask Bottlings and a couple of cask strength First Edition release both distilled in 1998.

This is just a taste of what’s come in to Kensington Wine Market since Christmas. We’ve already sold through most of The Whisky Agency bottlings that just arrived including beautiful bottlings of Bowmore, Littlemill and a MacDuff. Just this week we received 3 new vintage single cask bottlings of whisky from the cult closed Japanese distillery Karuizawa. They were sold before they even arrived. There are also a pair of new 25 year olds from two iconic Speyside distilleries: Balvenie and Mortlach.

There’s much more to come in the months ahead, including a raft of new whiskies from Springbank, Kilkerran, Kilchoman, Benromach, Gordon & MacPhail, Cadenhead and others. Look for another Spring Preview edition of the Malt Messenger soon. Finally, even though the weather’s been pretty spectacular here this winter, most of us still dream of making trips to warmer climes. If you’re looking for a good reason to get away this March, you could do no worse than checking out the Nth 2015 whisky festival in Las Vegas March 13 & 14. More details on this super premium whisky show can be found below. I hope you enjoy this edition of the Malt Messenger! In This Edition

  • A Big International Whisky Award for Kensington Wine Market
  • KWM’s Islay Mini Festival Next Thursday
  • NEW EXCLUSIVE: anCnoc Peter Arkle 4
  • NEW EXCLUSIVE Japanese whiskies from Ichiro’s Malt & Karuizawa
  • Introducing the Old Pulteney 1990 Peated Cask
  • Introducing the Glenlivet Tomnabat Hill 14 Year Single Cask
  • Introducing Mortlach 25 Year
  • Introducing Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm
  • Introducing Balvenie 25 Year Single Barrel
  • Two NEW Old Malt Cask Bottlings
  • Two NEW First Edition Bottlings
  • The Nth 2015 Vegas Whisky Show

Slainté! Andrew FergusonKensington Wine Market PS- PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter: and Facebook:


A Big Award for Kensington Wine Market 

Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky 2015 – Retailer Single Outlet “Highly Commended”

We are absolutely thrilled to be recognized by Whisky Magazine’s “Icons of Whisky 2015: Rest of the World” as Highly Commended (or Runner Up) for”Whisky Retailer of the Year Single Outlet”. We finished second behind Berry Bros & Rudd, and offer them our sincere congratulations. Berry’s is Britain’s oldest wine merchant, founded 1688, also an independent bottler of whisky and owner of the Glenrothes single malt brand. Is it high praise to be considered in the same category as them as well as the rest of the esteemed field.

This is Kensington Wine Market’s 3rd straight year in the running for this award, having been shortlisted in both 2013 and 2014. We remain the only Canadian whisky retailer to be so honoured, and we would like to thank our customers, suppliers and partners for helping us to achieve this rare hounour!

Full results of the Icons of Whisky will be published in Whisky Magazine Issue 125 and can be visited at the Icons website .


KWM’s Islay Mini Festival Next Thursday 

Thursday February 26th – $40

Feis Isle, or the Islay Festival, takes place over 10 days at the end of May each year. All of Islay’s whisky distilleries have a day to highlight their brand and welcome guests from around the world. I’m heading over to Islay to experience the full Feis Isle experience this May, but that got me thinking, why not have our own little Islay Festival at KWM?

So we’re putting on a mini Islay Festival for a maximum of 80 guests featuring whiskies from all of Islay’s active distilleries, as well some from Campbeltown, Jura and Mull. There will also be some independently bottled whiskies from Signatory, Wilson & Morgan, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Cadenhead and more!

And remember, there’s much more to Islay than peat!

Register by phone (403)-283-8000 or online.


NEW EXCLUSIVE anCnoc Peter Arkle 4 Warehouse 

The latest release in anCnoc’s Peter Arkle Series – $84.99

From the Distillery

In 2012 anCnoc teamed up with Scots born illustrator Peter Arkle to launch a series of Limited Edition whiskies. Now living in New York Peter refers to anCnoc as ‘remarkable liquid’ and enjoys its ‘magic’ so it seemed fitting that he should work on producing the packaging for our Collection. Not only was each tube and label design inspired by Peter’s visit to our Knockdhu Distillery and depicts a unique aspect of our process, the liquid inside each bottle was equally as special.

The warehouses at Knockdhu have been guarding the secret magic that is happening inside them for many years. They don’t just protect the liquid while it matures but actually add to that maturation process. anCnoc would not be anCnoc without these buildings.

anCnoc Peter Arkle – 46% – Matured in Ex-Sherry & Bourbon Casks – Exclusive to KWM in Calgary – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: This dram has top notes of cut flowers and lemon meringue. It opens up to honey sweetness, creamy vanilla and a touch of sherry spice.Taste: Rich and firm-textured, sweet flavours of raisins and honey, followed by orange peel and fresh custard topped with hot toffee. The finish is long, sweet, spicy and full of dried fruit and caramel.” – $84.99


NEW KWM EXCLUSIVE Japanese Whiskies from Ichiro’s Malt 

Japan’s Boutique Whisky Producer

Ichiro’s Malt is the brand name given to whiskies bottled by Ichiro Akuto the founder of Chichibu distillery and grandson of the founder of the now closed Hanyu distillery. Ichiro Akuto has been bottling single malts from both Hanyu and Chichibu as well as blends and blended malts under this label. Only available in extremely limited quantities in Canada, they are currently exclusive to KWM.

We just got in very limited quantites of the following bottlings by Ichiro Akuto:

  1. Ichiro’s Malt & Grain – 46% – This Blended whisky is the product of Japanese malt and grain, and possibly the product of some more international distilleries. – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Graham Wafers and some perfumed floral notes with dusty grain and some chewier malt; something exotic like Kiwi, almond paste and Halls citrus lossenges; Palate: almost Bourbon like, quite toasty, floral and delicate, very prominent corn (presumably from the grain) and another curious assortment of fruit flavours: more kiwi, bright citrus, banana and some menthol (the Halls like notes from the nose); still floral with more light grains and heavier malt, could there be a trace of rye? Finish: long, drying, dusty and sweet with more fading grains and floral tones.

Comment: this is a light easy drinking dram with lots of layers, I think Ichiro used a pretty broad palate of flavours in the creation of this one.” – $134.99 – Only 12 bottles!

  1. Ichiro’s Mizunara Wood Reserve – 46% – A blended malt including Chichibu and Hanyu matured in Japanese oak. – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: the Japanese oak jumped out of the bottle the moment the cork was lifted; rich, earthy and spicy but balanced; the spices are dark but tamed: some fennel, candied ginger, cardamom and nutmeg; become more floral and creamy. Palate: big, rich and fruity, almost sherried (Pedro Ximenez) with syrup and decadent spice: candied ginger and cinnamon hearts; there is some youthful barley but also the feel of older more mature whiskies in the mix; a balance of subtle oils and floral notes with more intense leather and tobacco. Finish: long, rich, coating and spicy with fading sugars and fruits. Comment: this is a very enjoyable dram and the Mizunara wood certainly makes its presence felt.” – $184.99 – Only 18 bottles!
  2. Ichiro’s Double Distilleries – 46% – A vatted malt consisting of Chichibu and Hanyu. –

Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: my first instinct says aged gouda (the candy of the cheese world); Demerara sugars and spice, licorice root and some emerging honey notes; creamy with melons, soft leather and Starbust candies; Palate: more waxy Starburst candies, thick and coating, more melon, lots of vanilla and oh the spices… layered and rich with some juicier fruits and soft leather; some minty floral notes and lots of honey with dark Demerara sugars and Licorice Nibbs developing; Finish: long, layered and rich but still smooth and silky; Comment: light but layered, rich and refreshing; this one won’t last!” – $184.99 – Only 12 bottles!


Introducing Old Pulteney 1990 Peated Cask 

Only 24 bottles for Alberta, and we bought 18 of them! $274.99

This 23 year old bottling of Old Pulteney was matured in both ex-Sherry and Bourbon casks which previously held peated whisky. Bottled at 46% this limited edition is being released in very small quantities in Alberta. Being matured in peated casks this is a very unique expression of Old Pulteney which is typically unpeated.

Old Pulteney 1990 – 46% – 23 Year –  Matured in Refill Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Sherry casks which had previously held heavily peated whisky. – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: This is a curious dram, the fruits were pouring out of the glass as the whisky poured; creamy with candied pineapple, lots of honey, some ashy smoke and a bit of brine; some lovely layers, with the peated cask adding some complexity; Palate: very sweet, smooth and smoky with a creamy base, and lots of fruit; more diced candied pineapple, honey and vanilla with a big salty backbone; the peat never fades away with leather and some darker fruits emerging; Finish: long, coating, creamy and fruity with more ashy salty smoke; Comment: a winter night dram, but very drinkable, I could see a bottle of this disappearing quickly.” – $274.99 


Introducing Glenlivet Tomnabat Hill Single Cask 

A cracking 14 year single cask $244.99

Bottled at a strenght of 59.5% this whisky is bottled from a single sherry butt (cask 32171), with a total outturn of 492 bottles. About Tomnabat Hill: “Rising to 526m and overlooking the village of Tomintoul, Tomnabat hill is the venue for one of the most challenging races in Scotland. The hill also overlooks the Deinabo Estate which was leased by the Smith family and was the site of the distillery of the same name until 1859 when everything was moved to the current site of Minmore farm.”

Glenlivet Tomnabat Hill – 59.5% – Cask 32171 – Sherry Butt –  492 Bottles – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: the orange hits first, some toasty notes, malt and then melon with some papaya and floral notes; very honeyed with a lovely nosefeel for the strength and golden syrup; Palate: very honeyed, creamy, and floral with loads of vanilla, citrus, malt and smooth toasty oak; the fruits really come through on the second sip, more melon, papaya and candied orange; very chewy with barley sugars; Finish: long, toasty, floral, citric and sweet; Comment:  lots of character and fruit for a whisky of its age at nearly 60%!” – $245.99


Introducing Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm 

An impressive whisky for just 6 years! $74.99

This edition of the Islay barley was made from barley grown at Rockside Farm (the one surrounding Kilchoman distillery) about 4-5 miles north and west of Bruichladdich on the island’s west coast. The whisky has been bottled at 50% after 6 years.

Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm – 50% – 6 Year – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: youthful and zesty with loads of barley, toasty oak sugars and some brine; very grassy with some clean smoke, fresh sliced lemon and oat cakes with soft goat cheese; Palate: very well balanced for such a youthful whisky, loads of honey and big grassy malt; the citrus fruit is still there: fresh sliced lemon and orange on soft goat chese; more faint smoke with a prominent saltiness; the youth is there but there are no rough edges even at 50%; Finish: medium long and coating with fading honey, oak, malt and citrus; Comment: lots of character for a whisky of just 6 years of age.” – $74.99


Introducing the Mortlach 25 Year  

The exclamation point on Mortlach’s new core range. $1099.99

Mortlach was once only the preserve of independent bottlers, but no more. Diageo has creat a new range consisting of Rare Old, Special Strength (Duty Free Only), 18 Year (yet to be released in Canada) and this 25 Year. The bottles for this range, and in particular this 25 year old, are designed to reflect Victorian engineering designs in a tribute to one of the key figures in Mortlach’s history, George Cowie, a civil engineer. In the rest of the world, save the US and Canada, the whisky is being sold in 500ml, for £600 ($1115CDN, $1600 when you consider the size difference). The 25 year is the top end of a range of four whiskies representing Mortlach distillery’s core range. I had the chance to pre-sample the whiskies in September with brand ambassador Georgie Bell.

Mortlach 25 Year – 43.4% -Refill ExBourbon – My Tasting Note: Nose: classic older whisky notes, smooth leather, silky white chocolate and beeswax and subtle sweet perfumes; salted caramel vanilla ice-cream, mangoes and papaya, powdered spice; Palate: beautiful, very honeyed, more beeswax and tropical fruits with an overall antique character; even more elegant than the 18 but still very vibrant and fruity; layer upon layer; more fuzzy peaches, jujubes and some of the early browning apple; Finish: very elegant, extremely smooth and layered; the waves keep coming. – $1,099.99


Introducing the Balvenie Single Barrel 25 Year  

Balvenie takes its single barrel line up a notch! $949.99

Released for the first time late in 2014 each bottling is one of just a few hundred bottles from a given cask, never more than 300, matured in Refill Ex-American oak casks and bottled at 47.8%.

Balvenie 25 Year Single Barrel – 47.8% – From the Distillery: “The Balvenie Single Barrel Traditional Oak is characterised by subtle spices and rich honeyed sweetness and Malt Master David Stewart only selects casks of whisky for bottling that have the character he expects of Balvenie matured for 25 years exclusively in American oak. However, no two casks will ever produce an identical single malt. As such, the single malt from each cask of Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years is unique and no more than 300 bottles will be filled from any one cask. This is reflected on the bottle label – hand numbered and carrying the distillation date, bottling date and cask number in which the whisky was matured.” – $949.99 We have access to just 6 bottles!

Two New Old Malt Cask Bottlings 

Tullibardine 23 Year & Glenglassaugh 25 Year 

Old Malt Cask is a line of independently bottled whiskies from Hunter Laing.

    1. OMC Tullibardine 23 Year – 50% – Refill Hogshead Ref 10453 – Distilled in 1990 & Bottled 2014 – 319 Bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: mulled mint leaves, mincemeat and candied cherries; dried chunks of orange and pineapple, pure vanilla and floral perfumes; there is something very curious on the nose that I just can’t put my finger on, sandalwood perhaps; Palate: more mint on the palate: mint leaves freshly mulled for a mint julep or a mojito; honey and vanilla cream with more dried orange and pineapple; sandalwood and Old English Butterscotch with milk chocolate; still floral with soft toasty oak and building spice; Finish: long, drying and oaky with prominent spices and more sugary mint; Comment: lots of layers with some classic Tullibardine notes, and some real curiosities.” – $191.99
    2. OMC Glenglassaugh 25 Year – 50% – Sherry Butt Ref 5362 – Distilled in 1984 & Bottled 2009 – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big rich and nutty on the nose with a very prominent sherry character; dark fruits, spices, leather and tobacco; there is a buttery creamy undertone to it all; Palate: this is a big, rich and nutty sherry bomb; is it a finish, or a first fill sherry cask just on the right side of being overcooked? classic Christmas cake notes, dark chocolate, tobacco and dark spices like clove; Finish: long, dark rich and still nutty; this is a stunning finish; Comment: this is a beautiful big sherry matured whisky, a classic sherry bomb!” – $199.99


Two New First Edition Bottlings  

Auchentoshan and Ben Nevis

First Edition is a line of independently bottled single cask whiskies at cask strength from Hunter Laing.

      1. First Edition Auchentoshan 1998 – 53.4% – Refill Hogshead – 321 bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: waxy, creamed honey and dried orchard fruits; very malty and floral with toasty tones and barley sugars; Palate: green, very toasty, more creamed honey and malt; very floral with more dried fruits; Finish: long, coating, toasty, floral and smooth.” – $149.99
      2. First Edition Ben Nevis 1998 – 57.6% – Sherry Butt – Curiously only 256 bottles from this Butt after 15 years, typically there would be 500-600+. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: loads of dried fruits, nutty, a hint of rubber, some earthy tones and lots of licorice; very prominent orange, brandy soaked cherries, brown sugars and spice;Palate: leathery and nutty with dried fruits and loads of spice; this is a big sherry bomb, brown sugar and massive amounts of licorice with clove, fennel and anise; Finish: long, smooth and nutty with more spice and dried fruits.” – $131.99


The Nth 2015 by Universal Whisky Experience  

March 13 and 14 in Las Vegas Nevada

“Universal Whisky Experience is celebrating its Fifth Annual Show in 2015! Established in the summer of 2010 by the renowned whisky collector and connoisseur Mahesh Patel. His sole aim was to provide the World’s most exclusive and luxurious whisky tasting experiences.”

Three tickets levels are available for the festival Friday March 13: 

      1. The High Roller Ticket: This is THE ticket for exclusive access to all the show events, tastings, Master Classes and super pours. Experience the entire show, in style, with The High Roller. – $2495.00USD
      2. The Connoisseur Ticket: For those seeking a high-class experience that includes a few extra indulgences without going over the top, then this is your ticket to the show. – $525.00USD
      3. The Enthusiast Ticket: Introducing a new ticket level for Nth 2015.  Enjoy the event and get a little ‘sampling’ of the show.  Super Pours and  dinner reception not included. – $395.00USD

There are also some incredible Master Classes available on Saturday March 14. I’m heading down for the 5th straight year, and really looking forward to the Master Classes. The show is a great opportunity to sample very old, rare and collectible whiskies, many of which never find their way to Canada. For more information visit:

Kensington Wine Market


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


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Liz and myself (Paul) left Perth 8 am on FRIDAY morning, well Paul left Perth, drove to Broughty Ferry to pick up Liz, then headed to Aberdeen. Taking the route past the airport we headed north towards Huntly. Turning at the sign for Insch, following this country road for a few miles, until we found Ardmore distillery. In we toodled to meet up and chat on a tour we are bringing here in April. A nice start to the day. From there back to the main road north and headed to Elgin – we do feel lately as if we live there!  Having been/stayed there so often lately. Calling in at almost a family home now; Glen Moray, a wee bit of shopping and a chat. From here to the Highlander Inn for lunch, fish and chips, Irn Bru – great!

A wee break from driving and a good look around the place (as usual) – did you know it is for sale? Aye, still. Liz and myself just dinnae have that amount floating around our bank! Anyhow, off we toodled again, this time up to Archiestown, turning here for our next port of call.  We wanted to take a few photos of the brand new Dalmunach distillery. Builders/security fences around it just now, as they are still working on it.  As you do, we went in and started the photo session!  At the door/entrance a fella came out “can I help you?”, in trouble yet again we thought. We explained who we were and why we were there, we then got an invite inside, Liz flew back to the car to turn it off and returned, we all 3 went inside to this wonderful Whisky cave of Aladdin! The circular entrance wall is made from the old Imperial distillery washback – it still smells wonderful! So many features here we cannot really chat about … a distillery design like no other in Scotland, eco green, earth friendly and out of this world!  The still room is amazing, a Star Treck layout for the control desk, spirit safe built as a hexagonal, the stills, in a circle! As we left we thanked our (cannee be named) host and went back to the car with a smile as big as a hoose! That was really something we hadnee expected atall, it certainly made my day! We then stopped a while at Dailuaine distillery before heading into Aberlour, met up with Mark’s (coach driver Mark) sister Louise and bought wooden toys in one of the wee shops there (Liz for nephews or something along that line). One more stop now before hanging up the car keys, Glenfarclas distillery. Liz hadnee been here, so a must! Aye, she loved it, we came oot lighter in the wallet but with a bottle of the fantastic 105.

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So far so good. Arriving at the hotel, checked in and found the bar, as you do. Several very welcome drinks later, we headed for dinner, a very nice affair I must say. Delighted to be satisfied again in the belly region, we lingered in the bar waiting for the evening whisky tasting; An Cnoc 12yo, Glenrothes Select Reserve, Balvenie Doublewood 12yo, Spey Tenne, Glentauchers 17yo G&M exclusive and Tomintoul 10yo. There was also a Ballantines added!  A good day, we retired for a dram or three more, if only every day was like this, and not even a falling out! Doon at the bar, malt of my day Dalmore King Alec!

SATURDAY. Ohh, a 10.30 start (for Liz), Paul having been doon for breakfast at 8. On the menu today, drove to Glenlivet, surprisingly closed! Up to Tomintoul, dropped in at the whisky castle, passed the distillery and headed back into Speyside proper, Cardhu and Tamdhu visited. More driving today but fine, back to the hotel bar, ready for a relax and well deserved drink/s.  At 7.30 we were piped into dinner, a glorious 5 course affair with a dram per course.  5 course Taste of Scotland Gourmet Whisky Menu;  Spey Valley Smoked Salmon, Served with Capers Lemon & Brown Bread & Butter. Paired with: Lagavulin 16 Years Old.  Goats Cheese & Lemon Mousse, Micro Rocket & Crackers. Paired with:  Glenmorangie 10 Years Old.  Smoked Venison, Cranberry & Orange Compote with Scottish Salad Leaves. Paired with: Benromach.  Beef Fillet, Blue Cheese Marinade served with Crispy Leeks & Chive Butter. Paired with:  Auchentoshan 12 Years Old. Traditional Scottish Cranachan served with Homemade Oatmeal & Honey Biscuits. Paired with: BenRiach 12 Years Old.

Can I just say the meal was grand, but the highlight a goats cheese dish that was heaven!  Drinkies, followed by Match of the Day.

SUNDAY. Saturday all over again, Liz in the land of nod, checked out at 10am, where did we go? You guessed; Dufftown.  Called in to a friend and caught some liquid booty. Dropped by Balvenie and headed up to Keith. From here to another gem of a place; Knockdhu distillery, Many thanks to Iain (in the absence of Gordon) for the tour, Liz hadnee been here before either. I do like this place. Over an hour later and we were heading back to Huntly, time for lunch, Deans place. Back through Aberdeen and landing in Broughty Ferry, offload booty, a cuppa tea and a look what we found/bought/picked up!   A GREAT WEEKENDER.

Paul, writing as only he can, please forgive grammar and a shocking disregard for the language. As most of you know by now, we offer/arrange superb whisky tours, last weekend we were doing some research & development again, brushing up on skills, knowledge and samples, making and re visiting whisky friends and contacts.   www.mcleanscotland

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Kensington Wine Mart Calgary Icons of Whisky 2015 – Well Deserved Whisky News




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