Archive for June, 2015

The ebay Laphroaig 30 Fraud and K***********a – Scotch Whisky Fraud

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The ebay Laphroaig 30 Fraud and K***********a 

An adventure in whisky by an anonymous whisky buyer 

In 2004 year during two separate transactions (in March and July) I purchased three bottles of Laphroaig 30 year old from a seller on ebay named K***********a (Mt. K***********a is a fairly large mountain in B******)* for £160 &  £120 and duly sent off the payments to him in the Edinburgh area. I directed that the first two bottles be shipped to my friend in Swindon as I live in North America and would not be in the UK until August. For the second transaction in July I asked that the bottle be shipped directly to my hotel in Edinburgh as I would be there in early August. As you may be aware it is illegal to mail alcohol to North America and I did not want to risk having the bottles confiscated and destroyed. All very complicated, but worth it for such fine malt and at such a reasonable price. Yes, I should have known that perhaps the price was a little too good for what I was receiving however there have been some genuine malts sold on ebay lately at very good prices, so this sale fit the trend. When the first two arrived in Swindon I asked my friend if they were in wooden display boxes and she replied no, however I knew that early Laphroaig 30 came without boxes, so all seemed to be on the level. However for the my second transaction K***********a had included a picture of a current Laphroaig 30 including the box but all three bottles were identical without boxes and white instead of green capsules.

During the subsequent months I watched with growing suspicion as the K***********a sold more and more Laphroaig 30’s, Royal Warrant’s and Laphroaig Highgrove’s. He seemed to have a never ending supply so I emailed him and asked if he worked for “Allied” (Allied-Domecq, who own Laphroaig). I know that distillery workers sometimes receive gifts from the employer to mark special occasions and they have been known to sell them to collectors. However he just seemed to have too many bottles. IfK***********a had simply changed his ebay name every two or three sales he might have gotten way scot free, no pun intended. He duly replied to my email and asked who “Allied” was and I replied that “Allied” was the owner of Laphroaig. He then replied “Ah yes, Allied” and that he worked for Chivas as a blender and he was receiving the bottles in trade from his buddies who were blenders at other firms. Now if I know that Allied-Domecq own Laphroaig then I’m almost 100% sure that a blender at Chivas based in Scotland working in the whisky industry should know full well who owns what in the industry.

By now I was really suspicious but there was nothing I could do until I went to Edinburgh in August and collected the bottles. Subsequently I arrived in Edinburgh and the bottles of Laphroaig were waiting for me in my hotel room, my friend in Swindon having timed the shipping perfectly to coincide with my arrival. As I eagerly unpacked the bottles I noticed that the bottle from the second purchase was in a Laphroaig 10 tube with the label stripped off. By this time all alarm bells were ringing at full pitch however a visual inspection of the bottles yielded no clues, the bottles looked 100% genuine. There was only one thing I could do at that point and that was to open a bottle and try some Laphroaig “30”. Now I’ve been fortunate to sample Laphroaig 30 on several occasions and this Laphroaig 30 was simply not right, it actually tasted like the 10 year old, it was not as refined and it did not have the sweet notes that I remembered. Undaunted I forged ahead and drank the rest of the bottle during my visit to Edinburgh, after all it was Laphroaig but not the 30. However with every dram I knew I was not drinking Laphroaig 30 and I’d been defrauded somehow.  However I was simply too busy in Edinburgh to do anything about it , that would have to wait.

On my return to North America I further examined the remaining bottles for any flaws that would give me a clue to the fraud and I came up with the idea of emailing the stenciled lot number,  LU19855,  to Laphroaig via their website and Allied Distillers Limited subsequently confirmed that the lot had been bottled February 2, 2004 for the German market and that it was a bottle of ….10 year old.

Consequently I was in contact with Pete Harvey, Anti Counterfeit Manager for Allied Domecq who instructed me to contact Philip Scatchard, Director of the International Federation of Spirit Producers, the IFSP is an industry body and deals with matters of this nature. I made it clear from the start that I was not looking for compensation from Allied-Domecq and that I simply wanted this person stopped.  Philip Scatchard advised me of the following;

“At this stage of the enquiry it is a “Civil Issue” and to elevate it we need you to report the case to Edinburgh Trading Standards/Consumer Services as they are the local enforcement authority to where you received the offending bottle. Would it be possible, on your return to Edinburgh, to take the bottle to the following address and raise an official complaint. This will effectively raise it to “Criminal Status”. It will also help with the chain of evidence and is better than returning the bottle to Allied Domecq.”

This was excellent as I was returning to Scotland in mid September (I know, lucky bast*rd, two trips to Scotland in two months). Pete Harvey drove up from Bristol to meet with me in Edinburgh at the SAS Radisson Hotel to examine the offending bottle. He duly pronounced both the bottle and the labels to genuine however mis-matched as a 30 label should not be on a 10 bottle. We both speculated on how the counterfeiters had acquired the genuine labels which was of great concern to Allied-Domecq. We then drove down to Edinburgh City Council Trading Standards/Consumer Services where we met with two investigators and I swore out an official complaint and turned over the remaining bottle as evidence. In conversation Pete told me a number of interesting things; that Allied-Domecq were bidding on K***********a’s current auction and that K***********a was going to be visited by several branches of enforcement in due course. It was also noted that K***********a had sold more than maximum allowable of 6 bottles in a year without a license. His life was about to become complicated.

I returned to North America the next day and kept an eye on K***********a ebay sales and one day suddenly they all stopped! I took this as good news and that he’d had a visit from the authorities. Pete Harvey later telephoned me to let me know events were progressing nicely but he could not divulge details at the moment but would let me know all the details as soon as he could.

By  researching K***********a’s ebay feed back left by him (he seemed to be quite diligent in leaving feedback) for his victims I found 23 transactions involving 27 bottles of various high value Laphroaig’s for a total of £2840 however there were a further 18 transactions that have been closed off and I could not access the details. The potential profit for all 41 can only be speculated on.

They say there is risk in life and there are certainly risks associated with buying over the internet however I have subsequently bought several bottles from different sellers that were all genuine and I will not let one bad seller ruin ebay for me. I also informed ebay as to what the seller had been doing in my case but they could care less, ebay simply wants its commission and could care less than buyers are being defrauded.

Sent to ebay 26/10/2004;

The seller has sold approx 27 bottles of Laphroaig Single Malt Whisky labeled as 30 year old. On inspection these bottles have proved to be 10 year old bootless with 30 year old labels. This has been confirmed with the distillery by the lot numbers laser etched on the bottles. The value the seller has received for these fake bottles is approx. US$5000 and possibly more. I have sworn out a complaint with Edinburgh Trading Standards/Consumer Services against the seller who lives in the Edinburgh area. This complaint effectively raises the issue to criminal status.

Why this seller is still allowed to sell on ebay eludes me as he has defrauded so many buyers, violated Laphroaig’s trademark and spoilt eBay’s name.

I have complained to ebay in the past about this seller (K***********a) without a word. Further more because the fraud was discovered after 90 days I am not covered by ebays buyer protection.

*The ebay name has been edited due to the fact that the current user of the same name on ebay has only been a member of ebay since 2007 and is unrelated to the events described in this article. Subsequently ebay stopped the selling of alcohol in many jurisdictions. This article was originally published closer to the dates listed above and appears here merely for educational purposes.

The Whisky Exchange Michter’s *1 Unblended American Whiskey – American Whiskey News

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Spirit of the Month – Michter’s *1 Unblended American Whiskey

A slight change for June’s Spirit of the Month. Previous months have seen gin and vodka take centre stage, but this time round, we’ve gone for an American whiskey from Michter’s.

Michter’s US*1 Unblended American Whiskey doesn’t have any grain whiskey in it, but can’t call itself a bourbon as the spirit is not aged in new oak – a stipulation for all US bourbon. Instead, the liquid is aged in ‘bourbon-soaked’ barrels, and the result is a very sweet and fruity whiskey, with plenty of toffee and butterscotch flavours.

MICHTER’S US*1 UNBLENDED AMERICAN WHISKEY, 41.7%

Nose: Pronounced candied sweetness, like Fruit Salad sweets, along with subtle peachiness, barrel-char notes and a faint buttery note. There’s plenty of sweet cinnamon and nutmeg and also a hint of fresh menthol and candied orange peel.
Palate: Soft mouthfeel, with a good balance between sweet spice and gentle fruitiness. The spiciness takes charge, accompanied by notes of barrel char and a pleasant note of leather and tobacco, but there’s more than enough toffee and butterscotch notes to sweeten things up. Very easy drinking.

Finish: Well balanced, with the sweet spices gently fading.

Michter’s US*1 Unblended American Whiskey is currently £4 off, priced at £47.45. If you like it, it’s well worth trying the rest of the range; they really are good. Head to The Whisky Exchange website for more info.

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WhistlePig Releases New and Highly Anticipated “Old World” Rye – American Whiskey News

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WhistlePig Releases New and Highly Anticipated “Old World” Rye

Launch Marks the First American Rye Whiskey Aged and Artfully Married from Three Separate European Wine Casks

Shoreham, VT – June 23, 2015 – WhistlePig is proud to announce that its newest permanent expression, the Old World, will soon be available across the United States. The Old World combines the boldness of American rye with an elegance imparted from the finest European Sauternes, Madeira and Port oak wine casks.

“WhistlePig’s Old World delivers an exquisite balance of flavors through its unprecedented aging process and careful finishing in the highest quality wine casks,” said WhistlePig Founder and CEO Raj Peter Bhakta. “This new release is the culmination of years of innovation at WhistlePig.”

After studying the best techniques of the Old World – particularly Scotch whiskies – Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and the WhistlePig team finished 12-year-old rye in premium European Sauternes, Madeira, and Port wine casks, releasing these single wine barrel finishes individually as the Old World Series in limited quantities this spring.

The series debuted with the Sauternes finish, making WhistlePig the first company to age American rye in casks from this highly rare, sweet white wine. The Madeira finish was inspired by America’s first President, George Washington, who was a passionate drinker of Madeira wine and also a distiller of rye whiskey himself. The port finish combines the bold taste of rye with the sweetness of the Portuguese wine, perfectly combining the old world with the new world.

WhistlePig then carefully married the three whiskeys into the Old World, highlighting their distinct flavors to create an exceptionally balanced spirit. This ultra-premium straight rye is distinctly American, yet harkens back to its stately Old World roots.

“The result is a new form of America’s first and boldest spirit, rye whiskey, with the essences of Madeira, Sauternes, and Port, adding a level of complexity and refinement that is rare in a whiskey,” said Dave Pickerell.

The Old World comes from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley and has a suggested retail price of $117.99. Barrel-finished and bottled by hand at 86 proof on the WhistlePig Farm, the Old World Series won the 2015 Double Gold Award for best rye at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Tasting notes for the Old World

  • Composition: 30% Sauternes, 63% Madeira, 7% Port
  • Nose: Caramel, vanilla and winter fruit
  • Palette: Rye spice, apricots, plums, raisins, dates, and honey
  • Finish: Dark chocolate, winter fruit, caramel, and vanilla

About WhistlePig

WhistlePig is the premier aged rye whiskey, featuring the bold and often untapped flavor of rye. Founded by Raj Peter Bhakta with the help of legendary master distiller Dave Pickerell, WhistlePig is leading a surge of innovation in the emerging field of North American whiskey. As the most decorated rye whiskey – having received a record 96 points from Wine Enthusiast – WhistlePig is widely viewed as the world’s finest rye. With the opening of its distillery on its 1,300-acre Vermont farm this summer, WhistlePig will become the leading grain-to-glass rye whiskies in the world.

Milroy’s “A Gathering of Octomore” – Scotch Whisky News

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A GATHERING OF OCTOMORE

FOR PEAT’S SAKE! (apologies…)

As the fug of smoke clears, a bottle stands tall and proud on the horizon, resplendent in matt black – Octomore – the super peated single malt.

Fans of the peat will be well aware of this smoky monster, and those who shy away from Islay malt will cower from it in fear. Where George T Stagg is as big as Bourbon gets, Octomore takes the mantle for Scotch whisky; cask strength and supercharged with peat smoke, big is as accurate a description as you can give it.

We always get requests for this smoldering megadon and usually we only have availability close to release dates. However, for once the stars have aligned and we have an unprecedented four expressions for sale. From recent releases through to an exceptional independent bottling, your peat cravings can finally be satisfied!

SMOKE ON THE WATER

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Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1 Scottish Barley, 57%

On its release this single malt held the record for the peatiest whisky produced, that is until Bruichladdich went and broke their own record! As you might expect this malt has notes of coal, rich peat and even a hint of parmesan. Despite its extraordinary peating level there is a sense of poise and balance. With a little time in the glass and a splash of water, gentler notes of kiwi fruit and barley join the symphony of flavour.  £94.25

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Bruichladdich Octomore 6.3 Islay Barley, 64.5%

With a volcanic peat leavel of 258ppm this Octomore is BIG (record breakingly so!) but again with more balance than you would expect. In the words of our shop manager this Octomore “Floats like a butterfly, stings like a brick in a brioche bun!” (he doesn’t get out much…). Weighing in at 64.5%abv it takes water like there’s no tomorrow if you are so inclined.£150 

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Bruichladdich Octomore 7.1 Scottish Barley, 59.5%

A recent release of the Bruichladdich behemoth that is Octomore. Like all that have come before it this Octomore offers masses of smoky peat with a sweeter undercurrent. This bad boy rocks in with a hearty ppm of 208, with earthy peat on the nose (surprise surprise) followed by touches of apple, caramel and grist. Well structured, rolling peat smoke and cask strength, there isn’t much not to like! £107.95

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 Bruichladdich Octomore 6 Year Old, Sauternes Cask, Rest & Be Thankful, 64%

We haven’t seen much independently bottled Octomore around so we were pretty chuffed to find this little number from the Rest And Be Thankful Whisky Company. Excitingly this has been matured in ex-Sauternes casks which lend this monster a wonderful honeyed character! The sweet wine cask maturation seems to tame the peat without swallowing it, and nicely demonstrates the wider potential of this infamous Islay malt! £184.95

The Whisky Exchange “Glenlivet 12 Year Old – time to say goodbye” – Scotch Whisky News

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Glenlivet 12 Year Old – time to say goodbye

The Glenlivet has decided to discontinue its 12 Year Old in the UK and Germany

After much hesitation and the odd denial here and there, it’s official: The Glenlivet 12 Year Old will soon no longer be sold in the UK. Instead, Glenlivet will be focusing attention on its no-age-statement Founder’s Reserve bottling, but here and in Germany, the 12 Year Old will be discontinued.

Here at TWE, we think that the 12 Year Old will be much missed, particularly given that for many drinkers, the expression would have been their first foray into the world of single malt whisky. The 12 Year Old is still a huge seller in the US, so unsurprisingly, it will still be available there.

Why is Glenlivet 12 Year Old so popular? Let’s stop and think. Firstly, the name – it’s easy to pronounce. Here in the UK, we may mock virtues like that, but across the world, having a brand that people can pronounce and ask for with the minimum of fuss counts for a lot. Secondly, the taste – it’s a gentle Speyside whisky with plenty of soft fruit, grassy floral notes and just a hint of spice, so if you’re not used to strong, challenging flavours, it’s ideal.

This is what we think:

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THE GLENLIVET 12 YEAR OLD, 40%

Nose: Very fresh and inviting. Soft fruity notes of apples and pears at first, joined by subtle citrus aromas and a mildly herbaceous, grassy, floral note.

Palate: The rich sweetness of fresh pineapple is balanced by faint toffee and caramel, then refreshing green-apple notes. There’s a subtle toasty, buttery note, as well as a hint of nutmeg.

Finish: Everything in balance, with the generous fruitiness slowly fading.

Comment: An ideal introduction to Speyside single malt, this is a gentle dram with elegant fruit and floral notes.

We are still selling Glenlivet 12 Year Old, and will continue to do so until we can’t get any more! It’s available to buy from The Whisky Exchange website, and at the time of writing, we have a special gift pack with two glasses for just £1 more.

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society “SPIRIT OF THE VAULTS TASTING” – Scotch Whisky News

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SPIRIT OF THE VAULTS TASTING

Join Olaf Meier for a 7 dram (15mls) tasting as we explore the history of our beloved Vaults. We’ll begin in the Underground Vaults, enjoying drams by candle light, before continuing our journey upstairs in the Members’ Rooms. A bar supper is also served. Part of a weekend-long celebration of ‑e Vaults & Giles Street.

From 7pm, Friday 10 July    

Details & Tickets >

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: sales@smws.com or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information

This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

Introducing Two New Expressions to The Glenlivet Family – Scotch Whisky News

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Presenting The Complete Master Distiller’s Reserve Range

The Glenlivet Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, proudly presents two new expressions to his Master Distiller’s Reserve Range, following the enthusiastic global reception to the skilled cask selection of the Master Distiller’s Reserve. The luxurious single malts have been matured in a combination of 3 types of oak casks for a uniquely complex depth of taste and flavour. The range continues to maintain the classic The Glenlivet style and benchmark quality.

The Master Distiller’s Reserve Solera Vatted is a coming together of triple wood matured whiskies in a Solera Vat. Skilful selection combined with the Solera process makes for an intricate and luxurious expression.

The Master Distiller’s Reserve Small Batch is a hand-picked collection of small batches from individually selected casks. It’s a chance for fans to sample the very best and rare whiskies The Glenlivet distillery has to offer.

The new Master Distiller’s Reserve Range is an insight into the craft of the cask, exploring the full flavour spectrum of The Glenlivet. Available exclusively in travel retail outlets, Guardians should seek out these remarkable expressions on their next journey.

Find out how maturation creates the complex character of the Master Distiller’s Reserve Range.

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4th Edition of SCOTCH MISSED by Brian Townsend Soon To Be Published – Scotch Whisky News

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SCOTCH MISSED

The Original Guide to the Lost Distilleries of Scotland

The only guide in print to the lost distilleries of Scotland.

This is the 4th edition and contains more distilleries and images than ever before.

About the author Brian Townsend is a multi-lingual retired journalist with an abiding interest in architecture and industrial archaeology. His is author of The Glory That Was Home (1990) and The Lost Distilleries of Ireland (1997). He lives near Dundee.

This is a revised fourth edition of the hardback first published in 1993 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first documentary records of the making of Scotch whisky in 1494. The second edition followed in 1997 and the third in2000 (reprinted almost annually).

Brian Townsend has now detailed the remnants and ruins of almost every Victorian working distillery in Scotland. In this new edition he has fully updated the most recent closures and has sourced over 35 new archive photographs of many of Scotland’s lost distilleries. The distilleries featured vary from the remnants of once great industrial concerns such as Port Dundas in Glasgow, Saucel Distillery in Paisley to a mere tumble of bricks and mortar lying in a remote location like Glen Tarras at Langholm.

Over the length and breadth of Scotland, its greatest export has left its mark and this book is a tribute not only to those who struggled against great odds and were finally beaten, but also to those who survived and have prospered. Townsend’s detailed research brings to life a large portion of Scottish industrial heritage which would otherwise have been ignored and he has enlivened this with interviews of the last people to work those long gone stills. He has also tracked down the whisky which in some cases still exists and the book is fully illustrated with records past and present of this remarkable trade.

Includes full OS map reference index to all distilleries listed and a full index.

Description

New revised fourth edition with new archive photographs, two revised maps and OS map reference index along with Victorian location maps.

Selling points

Classic, cult whisky book for geeks and historians alike. Essential to have this book in your collection if you are into whisky heritage. Good regional historical reference work for whisky enthusiasts and educators. Purchasers of last three editions will buy this one.

Neil Wilson Publishing Ltd

226 King Street, CASTLE DOUGLAS DG7 1DS

Tel: 01556 504119 Fax: 01556 504065 E-mail: info@nwp.co.uk Website: www.nwp.co.uk

Distributor: BookSource, 50 Cambuslang Road, Cambuslang, GLASGOW, G32 5NB Tel: 0845 370 0067. Fax: 0845 370 0068

The BIG Whisky Dabate From Lucy Whitehall at The Famous Grouse – Scotch Whisky News

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Having been around for a few hundred years (who’s counting?), Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery has some wisdom that’s well worth sharing. So join our Drammolier™ Lucy Whitehall, each month as she takes on some of the biggest debates in whisky.

THE BIG WHISKY DEBATE

The Whisky Exchange “Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th Edition – staying local” – Scotch Whisky News

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Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th Edition – staying local

Kilchoman has launched the fifth edition of its 100% Islay bottling, with all barley grown on its own farm

It’s the youngest distillery on Islay, but Kilchoman’s history has now reached double figures. Established in 2005, the distillery has made its mark on the island by keeping things local – and with Rémy Cointreau snapping up Bruichladdich in 2012, Kilchoman is now the only independently owned distillery on Islay.

Kilchoman’s latest release is the fifth edition of its 100% Islay bottlings, made with barley grown at the distillery and peated to about 25ppm, half the level of other Kilchoman expressions. The whisky is matured solely in ex-bourbon barrels that were filled in 2009 and 2010.

Founder and MD Anthony Wills says that the lighter peating gives the range ‘beautiful fragrance and balance’ – so, what did we think?

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KILCHOMAN 100% ISLAY 5TH EDITION, 50% ABV

Nose: Clean, with lemon peel and soft, fragrant pear notes at first, followed by a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, ground almonds, subtle smoke and a pleasant candle-wax aroma. Water brings down the pepper but ramps up the fruitiness.

Palate: The freshness remains, and there’s a lovely balance to this whisky – the soft fruit is bolstered by the peat and smoke, not swamped by them. Everything is in its place: the refreshing lemon, the seductive fruitiness and the snap of pepper and peat.

Finish: Lively and long, with the peat and pepper lingering.

Comment: Elegant and understated, this is a beautifully balanced and clean-tasting dram that doesn’t feel the need to shout.

Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th Edition is available to buy from The Whisky Exchange website, priced at £68.95.

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