Archive for January, 2017


Scott Robertson at Kingsbarns Distillery



Kingsbarns Distillery is delighted to welcome Scott Robertson into the position of Visitor Centre Development Manager.

Scott joined his local Distillery at the end of last year and is enjoying the getting to know his new team and making plans for the coming months. Scott has previously worked at Blair Castle and Atholl Estates, VisitScotland and the Fairmont Hotel, so is well placed to take on this exciting role.

William Wemyss, Managing Director at Kingsbarns Distillery: “We are delighted to welcome Scott to the Visitor Centre team. We have been open for just over two years and I am sure that we will benefit from Scott’s hospitality and tourism experience for the new season and beyond.”

The first Single Malt from Kingsbarns Distillery will be exclusively available to members of its Founders’ Club in mid 2018, with a more widely available release expected to follow later in 2018.

Twitter: @KingsbarnsDist           Facebook: Kingsbarns Distillery & Visitor Centre

Notes to Editors:

  • Kingsbarns Distillery was officially opened on St Andrews Day 2014 and has been subsequently been awarded a 4 star visitor attraction award by VisitScotland.
  • While the Kingsbarns spirit is maturing, Kingsbarns has also launched the Founders’ Club. Membership benefits include a Welcome Pack and the first ever bottling of Kingsbarns Single Malt expected in mid 2018. A further 4 exclusive bottlings will follow.
  • Distillery Manager, Peter Holroyd, is a graduate of Heriot Watt University Brewing and Distilling, and was formerly head brewer at a craft brewery near Glasgow.
  • The Wemyss family owners are from Scotland and their historic family seat is Wemyss Castle in Fife where they’ve lived since the 1300s.
  • The Wemyss family also own Wemyss Malts which is an independent bottler with a whisky range including the blended malt whiskies comprising: The Spice King, The Peat Chimney and The Hive; single malt single cask bottlings and the blended Scotch named Lord Elcho after one of the Wemyss family’s ancestors; all of which are avilable for tasting and sale at The Kingsbarns Distillery.
  • The Wemyss family premium wines and spirits brands also include boutique gin Darnley’s View together with the premium wine estate of Rimauresq Cru Classé in Cotes de Provence.

Amazing Sub-$80 Whiskies, Aged 18Yrs And Up, : Post-Brexit Cask Selections From Old Particular at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


Serious Whiskies At Tremendous Prices

We’re hoping to make 2017 a value-oriented year in our Scotch whisky department; one that begins to put the fun back into the single malt drinking. With new pricing that reflects our direct dollar-to-pound business, we’re back with round two of our post-Brexit cask selections from Old Particular. Featuring a selection of Highland, Speyside, and grain whiskies, we’ve managed to locate serious whiskies between 18 and 26 years of age, at cask strength, and of a tremendous quality at or under $80 per bottle. If last week’s Dailuaine sherry butt edition whet your appetite for single malt value, we suggest moving on to our first main course: classically-styled selections from Glen Spey, Ben Nevis, Linkwood, and the now-closed Port Dundas that highlight the nuances and intricacies of single barrel whisky for prices that haven’t been seen in a decade.


Vintage Item Name Retail Link
1997 Glen Spey 18 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $64.99 View
1996 Ben Nevis 20 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View
1995 Linkwood 21 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View
1990 Port Dundas 26 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View

1997 Glen Spey 18 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($64.99)

Glen Spey is one the Speyside’s unknown gems, a distillery whose sole job is to make single malt for Johnnie Walker and J&B. If you’re a fan of the soft, vanilla-laden, easy-drinking whisky of Scotland’s epicenter, then this 18 year old single cask edition of Glen Spey is going to warm your heart while simultaneously warming your palate. When allowed to shine on its own, the nose emits a concentrated aroma of sweet grains, citrus, and malted barley. As it moves over the tongue those flavors become richer: dried orange, dark chocolate, and a wave of vanilla on the finish. At 55.9% cask strength, all of those flavors are dialed up a notch, which is why a few drops of water helps temper the storm and bring the whisky into a better harmony. Think of the Glen Spey as a single barrel, cask strength edition of something like Glenmorangie or unsherried Aberlour, but for a price that has to be seen to be believed. Glen Spey is good, old fashioned drinkin’ Scotch and for $65 you can afford pour a little more heavily than usual.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I have to almost ask the question here: can you afford NOT to buy the Glen Spey? When’s the last time you saw cask strength, single barrel, Highland single malt whisky for under seventy bucks? Much like we’ve become the kings of off-vintage Bordeaux value here at K&L, I feel like we’re beginning to become the kings of non-branded Scottish distilleries. Glen Spey is another Johnnie Walker distillery that provides the backbone to J&B, but here in this single cask edition it’s pure fruit flavor and lithe vanilla core are allowed a solo number. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here. It’s just classic Scotch flavor for a damn good price. At cask strength, no less.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I’m so excited the new casks of Old Particular have landed. I’ve been craving new, carefully selected whiskey that I can drink absolutely guilt free. The Glen Spey hits the spot! Loaded with apple and vanilla on the nose and palate, it also offers a faint nutty almond and floral note. With a little water the fruit really expands on the palate into orange marmalade and tempering back the 55.9% alcohol releases the softer side of the whiskey. Home run for a modest price tag.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Tropical notes dominate the nose on this single-cask Speyside: orange citrus and mango with a little dill spice underlined by a rich butterscotch and caramel layer and subtle notes of preserved apricots and cocoa. Complex and a pure pleasure to sip.

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Delightfully spicy, vanilla, and toffee laden nose, continuing through to a palate of soft spices, candied apricot, and grain highlight this 18 year old Glen Spey. This is delicious Speyside whiskey at a ridiculous price!

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

A delicate, almost floral nose with loads of honeycomb and spice on the palate. Deft and subtle in style but with genuine presence and weight, drinking this 18 year old Glen Spey is like stopping into your favorite pub and unexpectedly running into one of your oldest and dearest friends. No matter how long it has been since your last meeting there is just an immediate sense of ease and comfort in one another’s presence. It is as if no time has passed at all. A delight to drink and a terrific value.

1996 Ben Nevis 20 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

Ben Nevis is owned today by the Japanese whisky company Nikka, who purchased the Western Highland distillery back in 1989. Since that time we’ve tasted a variety of styles from the Fort Williams facility, both peated and unpeated, but this barrel might be the best expression of Ben Nevis we’ve ever carried. Supple, succulent, and round on the palate, the malt simply balloons over the palate with big, sweet flavors of dried apricot, honey, marmalade, and vanilla. In fact, the whisky is so creamy and sweet on the finish that we had to double back and ask about the cask type (perhaps Sauternes?), but it turns out this was just a cherry barrel; a perfectly aged hogshead that happened to over-achieve. Fans of our Imperial 20 year casks from Signatory will want to take note: the Ben Nevis 20 is a dead ringer for that fruit-forward Highland style, albeit for $20 cheaper per bottle. Naturally reduced to a very drinkable 51.7% cask strength, this is sure to be one of the friendliest and most popular Highland whiskies we sell this year.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This is one of the most luscious and ripe-fruited single malts I’ve ever tasted where the quality of that richness was 100% natural and inherent to the whisky itself. It’s so fat and bursting with nectarine, apricot, and creamy fruit syrup that I almost had to do a double take when selecting the barrel back in Glasgow last year. This is a glorious Highland whisky, and one that stands out from the pack in a big way. It’s still classically Highland with all the creamy barley and vanilla goodness, there’s just a thick mouthfeel and supple weight to it all. Absolutely gorgeous whisky.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Another whiskey that will move you. Bursting with sweet caramel, vanilla, and fresh ripe fruits I found myself whisked away to the county fair. This whiskey wins the blue ribbon for the peach pie. The crust, the syrup, the fresh picked then baked stone fruit is wonderful. Top it all off with a little water and the burnt sugar and extra vanilla kick of creme brulee shine through. This is one easy drinking dram. My favorite of the new guilt free Old Particular casks if I absolutely had to pick a winner.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I love this scotch from one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland! Find a spot where you can really concentrate as you taste it because the flavor profile is so complex: cashews, orange marmalade, pear, banana and brown sugar intermingle seamlessly. Its so rich and creamy on the palate, with the fruit really taking center stage, and unsurprisingly being what lingers the longest on the very long finish.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Complex stuff…this has a wild, untamed character like the mountain itself. Dark toasted spices, moss, damp earth, baked orchard fruit and molasses. Quite a textured, round, intense whisky; full of flavor and very crowd pleasing.

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the British Isles. Years ago in my youthful wanderings I traveled to Scotland and climbed to the summit, braving torrential downpours and errant sheep. It was quite an adventure though not as big a thrill as tasting this 20 year old Ben Nevis whisky. This is a tremendous effort, with a pleasantly grassy, malt driven nose that belies its age. Round and compact in style with a lightly spicy finish. The perfect companion to accompany you on the road or with which to toast past and future adventures from the comfort of your favorite chair.

1995 Linkwood 21 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

What could possibly be better than our 19 year old Linkwood cask from Signatory, the whisky made famous for its role in Johnnie Walker Blue? Well, we’ll tell you. A 21 year cask of the same whisky that improves upon that foundation in every way, yet sells for $10 less due to our new Brexit pricing! Linkwood has long been one of our favorites, but this 21 year hogshead from Old Particular is one of the more concentrated and expressive we’ve tasted recently. Known for its elegant vanilla and stonefruit flavors, this particular selection bursts with oak spices from the first sip, then oozes into a mouthful of butterscotch with green apples and toasted almonds on the finish. It’s just as elegant as any of our previous editions of Linkwood, it’s just that there’s more to chew on here. There’s a depth and complexity in this particular cask that we never knew was missing from the others. Bottled at 53.6%, the baking spices dance on the finish for minutes with the added proof. For the price, this is an absolute no-brainer.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Every now and again I’ll talk a customer out of Linkwood, rather than into a bottle. I do that when it’s clear the client is looking for big, bold, and concentrated Scotch flavors. Linkwood is and has never been the boldest malt. It’s a whisky that’s cemented its reputation on finesse. This 21 year old edition is the first Linkwood I’ve tried in years that offers a bit more heft behind that delicate whisky flavor. The fruit is rounder and riper, the vanilla is softer and thicker, and the finish has more oak spice that I typically find in the whisky. This is key example of where cask selection can make a huge difference in a single malt. If you’ve never had Linkwood before, this is the one to try. If you’ve had Linkwood before, you still need to buy this bottle if only because of the crazy price!

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I love the ability of whiskey to evoke past sense memories – sometimes this leads to very odd tasting notes, but great pleasure nonetheless. The 21 year old Linkwood immediately transported me to a cold, dew filled morning in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park with the overwhelming scent of Pan Del Indio – a small orange ball that grows on trees all over Patagonia and are reminiscent of a lychee in many ways. With a little water the whiskey opens up revealing a fresh wine character, like the scent of newly wet barrels in a winery cellar room and gobs of fresh stone fruits – like a farmers market in late August. It’s not often a whiskey will take you to so many distinct places and surely those places are based on a unique set of experiences. But I find when a wine or spirit transports me someplace special–it often brings others to a special place of their own too.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Beautiful spice notes of coriander, clove and cinnamon meld perfectly with pear fruit and almonds in this delicate and ultra-refined single-cask Speyside owned by Diageo. The heat is incredibly tame on the palate when enjoyed neat, and the flavors of caramel, tangerine, apricots and butterscotch are extremely pronounced as a result. This is definitely a favorite from our latest release of exclusive scotches.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Linkwood is always a favorite of mine…it’s a drinker’s scotch…soft, supple, beautifully golden and caramelized, brown butter, sugared almonds, baking spice, clove. Nothing too in your face or academic…just pure, mellow scotch that begs to be enjoyed with hearty pours.

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This Linkwood was a standout among the four new Old Particular casks, which is saying quite a bit as all four are truly exceptional! When I first took a sip, the whiskey showed very clean with a touch of cereal grain and oak spice. It kept building with stronger notes of apple, almond, oak, vanilla, and toffee, then absolutely took off with a huge mineral and stone fruit presence on the finish. Do not miss this!

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Imbibing this 21 year old Linkwood is pure pleasure, sensuous and seductive. Generous stone fruits on the profile here complemented by notes of vanilla cream and toffee, with just a hint of licorice on the finish. I fear that I can’t do proper justice to the true character of this remarkable whisky with my paltry prose. Words fail me. You’ll just have to trust me on this one and try it for yourself. Heaven forbid, but if I could buy only one single malt this year it would be this one.

1990 Port Dundas 26 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

If there’s one thing we can help take credit for here at K&L, it’s been helping to remove the undeserved stigma associated with grain whisky in the Scotch industry. Maligned and misunderstood for years, it wasn’t until we started launching a number of 25-50 year old releases at ridiculously reasonable prices that hearts and minds began to change. When Nikka brought their delicious Coffey Still editions to the market and people saw just how fruity and delicious these corn and unmalted barley whiskies could be, we think grain whisky finally got over the hump. Crazily enough, today our single casks of grain whisky are some of the most anticipated by our customers. The only thing that gets these finicky drinkers more excited than a new cask of mature grain deliciousness is a closed distillery! Port Dundas was officially closed in 2009 by Diageo who had used the whisky for Johnnie Walker and other blends. This single expression, distilled in 1990 before the closure, is absolutely chalk full of brown sugar, toasted vanilla, peaches in syrup, and sweet, sticky caramel on the finish. It lights up the palate from front to back and it pops on the back end with a 51.9% ABV. Drinking 26 year old whisky this good in this style shouldn’t be a luxury. Thanks to our new pricing, you can enjoy this whisky a bit more freely than you might otherwise. The North Glasgow distillery might be shut down, but its legacy will live on in this lovely single cask edition.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

If you haven’t jumped on board the grain whisky train yet, this might be your time to buy a ticket. Grain whisky is made much like Bourbon (from corn distilled on a giant column), but it’s usually distilled to a higher proof and then aged in used oak, rather than new oak. What it has in common with the Kentucky spirit is the fact that it works as a sponge to all the sweet woody flavor. When you drink blended whisky like Johnnie Walker or J&B, you’re drinking mostly grain whisky like this Port Dundas in conjunction with single malt. That’s what makes it a blend (the combo of grain and malt). This Port Dundas is exhibit A in our case for grain whisky to be consumed on its own. It’s so ridiculously inexpensive and jam packed with creamy vanilla, sweet oak, brown sugar, and honey that it practically coats your esophagus as it flows down into your belly. Fans of Scotch will love the twist. Fans of Bourbon will definitely dig this too.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

There are a lot of things to break down in this single grain expression from Port Dundas. It’s a textbook example of aged grain (not quite as ancient as our 51 year old Signatory casks, but a respectable 26 years…). It’s soft, shows the sweet grain and gentle vanilla you’d expect, but also offers so much more. The toasty nature of the oak really shines through and offers up marzipan and a little cream. With some water the darker and richer notes of conched chocolate and creamed butter come through as Grandma’s fresh baked cookies fill the glass. If you’re looking for the reason all whiskey was blended for as long as anyone can remember, this is it. Try the grain portion of your blend on its own and understand a critical component of the success of Scotch whiskey.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I didn’t know Port Dundas until I asked David our spirits buyer about it but now after tasting it makes perfect sense…this grain whisky was the backbone of Johnnie Walker! I love gain whisky’s voluptuous form and mouth filling texture. This is dense, honeyed, rich whisky that is sure to please. For what grain whisky generally lacks in complexity versus single malt, this bottle more than makes up for with time in cask. You get all the depth and nuance that only comes from this amount of maturation in wood for a miniscule cost because the masses haven’t cottoned on the joys of grain whisky yet. I don’t know how long we will be able to continue offering bottlings of this age and quality for this price point…but for now…enjoy!

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This crowd pleasing whiskey has a standout nose of oak, vanilla, and dried red fruits. It’s the most viscous of the four, with a palate full of baking spice, dried berry, and caramel.

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

One of the most purely hedonistic whiskies among our most recent arrivals from Scotland. This single grain 26 year old Port Dundas combines concentrated dried fruit character with rich caramel and toffee notes. No apologies necessary, here, just tip some into a glass and enjoy.

Phone: (877) KL-WINES (Toll Free 877.559.4637)

Email: K&L Wine Merchants 3005 El Camino Real Redwood City, CA 94061 USA

San Francisco, Redwood City, Hollywood CA

Early Bird Tickets Update From The Whisky Lounge – Whisky News


Good afternoon fellow Loungers!

We hope we find you looking forward to your first pay day weekend of 2017???

Just to let you know we now have both our Bristol and Edinburgh Festival early bird tickets available, should you have any spare hard earned cash and you fancy treating yourself! Go on you know you want too!



Don’t forget Newcastle is our first festival of 2017 on the 10th and 11th March sorry we now know its a home game on Saturday! But we only have Friday Early bird tickets left!


News from TWLHQ we have a newbie!!! 


Introducing our very own Whisky Guy no really his name is Guy. Anyway Guy has worked on and off with Eddie in the Whisky Lounge since its inception, when he was not buggering off to New Zealand that is! Guy our latest whisky geek is unique in many ways not least for his amazingly long red dreads!


To help us welcome him into the TWL family, we are setting you a challenge with anyone correctly guessing the length of his dreads to within 5cm getting a ticket to a tasting of their choice.

Get involved, don’t be shy!


Spot the landy!

Don’t Forget as well you still have a few days remaining on Spot the TWL Landy to!



For upcoming TWL dates head over to our Events Calendar! if you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch


Eddie & the whole family at TWL HQ.


Caol Ila 34 Year Old – 1981 Cask 5682 at Abbey Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

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Caol Ila 34 Year Old – 1981 | Cask 5682 

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This well aged Islay Scotch whisky was distilled 11th November 1981 and aged in cask #5682 for 34 years! Bottled by Càrn Mòr for their Celebration of the Cask range. A release of only 215 bottles, filled at cask strength, 53.6%.

Limited stock available at this reduced price. 



Whisky Auctioneer January Auction Now Live – Whisky News

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2016 was a busy but fantastic year for Whisky Auctioneer! It was all pretty exhausting to be honest but there’s no time to relax, our first auction of the new year has arrived and with it comes some simply stunning bottles! A superb way to kick off 2017, it has got us re-energised and raring to go!

We have some big things happening at Whisky Auctioneer in 2017 and we’re excited to share details of this with you soon! But no matter what else is going on we guarantee that our main priority is and always will be bringing you the best of the old and rare, collectable and drinkable bottles out there!



They don’t come much older, rarer or more collectable than the legendary Corti Brother bottlings! An exceptional range of whiskies, we are lucky enough to feature nine stunning examples in our January Auction, including an awe inspiring 1965 vintage Clynelish and a superb 1963 vintage Imperial.



So good it inspired the book, ‘The Best Bourbon You’ll Never Taste’. Well here is your chance to taste it! Distilled in 1974 and bottled from a single 400 barrel batch.



6 bottles, each representing one of the six generations of the Grant Family, owners of Glenfarclas Distillery since 1865. Released in limited numbers the collection includes a fantastic 58 year old 1956 vintage!



A stupendously rare bourbon, one of only 100 bottles released released by Buffalo Trace Distillery late last year. They offered a total of 200 bottles across 3 vintages exclusively to non-profit organisations in order for them to raise money for their causes. Beautifully presented and named in honour of the distillery’s original name, Old Fashioned Copper.

YOICHI SMWS 116.1 & 116.2


January features the exotic sounding 1986 vintage, ‘Coconut peapods and tropical hothouses’ and the aromatic 1990 vintage, ‘Spice box and orange oil’, 2 superb bottlings of Yoichi!



Alright, so we’re a month late with these. 8 extremely limited bottles that were only available to shareholders, directors and staff of Springbank and Kilkerran. A very rare opportunity!

Auction runs Friday 27th January to Monday 6th February.

There is no registration fee, our commission structure is very competitive and we offer worldwide shipping. For our terms and conditions please click here.

Happy bidding!



As ever we will be out and about in the coming months making collections, see dates below. Get in touch if you have bottles to be picked up and we will add you to the list!

Edinburgh – 10th February

Inverness & Speyside – 14th February

Aberdeen – 15th February

Glasgow – 18th/19th February

Orkney – 21st & 22nd February

London & M6 – 27th February – 2nd March

Not in the UK and have bottles you would like to send to us? We can arrange courier collections globally! Get in touch today to find out more.

Lagavulin 1991 200th Anniversary Charity Bottling Bottle Number 1 70cl / 52.7% at Whisky.Auction – Scotch Whisky News


The full proceeds received by Diageo from the auction of the Lagavulin 1991 bottle number 1/522 will be donated to Islay Heritage (OSCR No. SC046938) to fund projects on Islay which are designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the rich and diverse history of Islay.

This stunning single cask charity bottling from Lagavulin is the culmination of its 200th anniversary celebrations, and will benefit Islay and the people who live there. This is Bottle Number 1/522 of a one-off release limited to just 522 bottles.

The full proceeds received by Diageo from the auction of the Lagavulin 1991 Bottle Number 1/522 will be donated to Islay Heritage (OSCR No. SC046938) to fund projects on Islay which are designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the rich and diverse history of Islay.
The nose has charred oak timbers, sawdust and voluptuous fruit backed by subtle milk chocolate and vanilla. The palate is hot and sweet. Searing, woody dryness, then calmer with mentholic chocolate notes and comforting honey underscored by a subtle chilli-like heat. The finish is quietly persistent with tart red-berry notes, cedar and a spicy, smoky ginger warmth. Leaves the palate minty, with a fruity coffee note and a sprinkling of salt.

A 10cl tasting sample will be provided with Bottle Number 1/522. The winning bidder will be offered the opportunity to have the bottle or box signed by distillery manager Georgie Crawford and the distillery team.

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society “February Previews: Luscious Remedy” – Scotch Whisky News




We’ve just released five preview bottlings from next month’s Outturn, a luscious remedy to beating the January blues.  Only a small number of bottles are available ahead of February’s First Friday so be sure and order now online or at our Members’ Rooms.  The full February Outturn is available to buy from 9am on Friday 3 February.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ

Contact: or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information

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

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Tasting at Nickolls & Perks – Whisky News

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Tasting with James Goggin Friday 24 February 2017


James Goggin is joining us at the Nickolls & Perks shop to taste a range of independently bottled whiskies from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, down in the famous cellars at No. 37.


– English Whisky Co. 5 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) 49.5%

– Linkwood 26 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) 52.3%

– Secret Distillery #2 21 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) 49.7%

– Blended Whisky #1 35 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) 46.5%

– Millstone 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) 48.9%

The tasting will take place on
Friday 24 February 7.00pm

£25 per ticket



Nickolls & Perks
37 Lower High street


Ralfy Publishes Whisky Review #622 – Scotch Whisky News


Ralfy introduces the benefits of in Ralfy Review 622 – Ardmore 12yo Port Cask finish

Jim Murray – ‘the only criteria I look at is quality’ – Whisky News


Jim Murray chats to Stuart of The Whisky Exchange

In the second part of our exclusive interview, Jim Murray explains his strict rules for choosing his World Whisky of the Year, his response to critics of the Whisky Bible, and his retirement plans.

How do you go about tasting for your Whisky Bible?
It averages out at 1,200 [whiskies]. It’s a good day if I’ve done 20, I’m concentrating so hard. I’ve had a number of girlfriends from different countries, and come the evening, they go quiet, because they’ve spent all day translating in their head. I’m a translator – that’s what I do with whisky. I listen to the whisky and I translate it into English.

When it’s something like the World Whisky of the Year, I taste it at three different times of day, always at the same temperature. And before I start, I always test my taste buds with something I know. If I’m not getting the right response, I’ll leave it for 90 minutes or two hours and come back and taste it again. If I fail a third time, I won’t taste that day.

If any of my staff have anything remotely like a cold, they come nowhere near me. If I pop over to the pub, the landlord will tell me if someone has a cold and I’ll walk out. I don’t even have sex during this time because from kissing you can pick up something, so it’s really miserable. But I will not taste a whisky if I don’t trust my taste buds.

Also, no cooking in this place, none whatsoever. If I have hot food, it is brought in and I eat outside. Nothing with spices. I eat the most bland food – fish, boiled potatoes, nothing with lingering flavour. If I go to Kentucky to taste, I hire a suite and I have one bedroom and a separate room [for tasting]. The staff are not allowed to go in there and clean, so I have a controlled area. Here, cleaners can’t come in and polish while I’m working. It’s control, control, control.

Have your tastes changed over the years?
Not at all. I still don’t like whiskies which are too much of one thing, and that includes peaty. Or, if you can only taste the sherry and nothing else, even if it’s clean, then you might as well buy a bottle of sherry. The reason [Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013] won was because it was the most extraordinary ‘intertwangling’ between the oak – big oak – and the most gorgeous sherry. It was the closest thing to Macallan of the mid-1970s.

Scotch whiskies haven’t won your top award for a while – why not?
They’re not winning because there are whiskies out there that are better. It’s like joining the European Cup. You may be absolutely brilliant in your country but then you play against other teams and suddenly you melt. You just haven’t quite got what they’ve got to lift it, and Scotland’s been a bit like that.

Scotland has two problems: they’ve got the sherry-cask problem and they’ve got a problem with older bourbon casks, because older bourbon casks get worn out. In Kentucky, they were saying ‘Why are we spending massive amounts of money to get this wood in absolutely fantastic condition but we can only use the barrel once?’

And by the time it gets to Scotland, a lot of the good has been sucked out of it. Instead of it lasting three fills, by the time it’s getting to the end of the second, you start picking out a milky note where the chemicals that once upon a time would have been way back further into the wood are being leeched out far quicker, so the Scots are a bit unlucky from that point of view.

There’s a problem with [Scottish] blends, because the distillers have closed down so many grain distilleries that they are now much of a muchness. Absolute insanity. So, why aren’t they winning the prizes? Well, if they hadn’t closed down those grain distilleries and they hadn’t polluted so much of their whisky with sulphur, maybe they would be winning them, so they’ve got themselves to blame in some respects. But let’s get something absolutely straight: there is fantastic Scotch whisky; it’s just not winning the World Whisky of the Year.


Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – the first edition was published in 2004

Talk us through the Bible front cover…
It’s Doctor Who! The 2017 edition marks 25 years of me being in the industry, so there’s a picture from about 23 years ago and an up-to-date one. The yellow eyes? A bit of fun. At the end of the day, you want to sell books, and if people do a double take, you’ve grabbed their attention. And people who know me know I’m a massive practical joker.

What do you say to critics of the Bible?
I get a bit cheesed off when people say I give an award for this and that because I’m on the take. These people don’t have a clue what I’m about; I believe in total honesty. When I gave World Whisky of the Year to a Canadian whisky [Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye], people said I did it for publicity. Selling books in Canada is virtually impossible! If you sell 5,000 books in Canada, it’s a bestseller. If we gave the award to a Scotch whisky company, we’d make far more money. So you get these idiots coming out with no idea about the reason why you give the award. There’s only one reason: because it’s the most complete, the most beautiful whisky I’ve tasted that year, wherever it’s from. The only criteria I look at is quality.


Michael Jackson, described by Jim as a ‘dear friend’

You were good friends with the late whisky writer Michael Jackson…
Michael was a beer guy – and a dear friend. We were both ex-Fleet Street; we had certain things in common and lots of things we didn’t have in common, but he was a terrific writer. He had a meeting with his publishers about a new book, and his editor said to him ‘What do you know about whisky?’ and Michael said he knew virtually nothing. But he could see that the amount of work he was getting from beer was drying up so he said: ‘I can learn.’ He fell in love with it [whisky], but it was never his passion. If I put a pint of Chiswick Bitter in front of him, his eyes would absolutely sparkle. If I put a Lagavulin – which he loved – in front of him, he would smile. But his eyes never sparkled, and that was a huge difference.

And what about the new crop of whisky writers – or rather, the lack of them?
When I first became a full-time whisky writer in 1992, there was virtually no internet; you had to do all your research the hard way. When I did Jim Murray’s Complete Book of Whisky, I had to do old-fashioned journalistic legwork to find out where all these distilleries were, so I went out and found them.

But now you get people on the internet who have probably been to three distilleries and get a bunch of whiskies sent to them and claim they’re experts. I don’t get that. I can’t get my head around what they’re thinking. I couldn’t get anything around their egos because there’s probably nothing big enough. I don’t read anything [on the internet] now, because I don’t want anything to influence what I think about a whisky. I used to, but I got so frustrated with what I was reading.

I think probably the most honest is Dominic Roskrow. I don’t always agree with what he says, which is great, because we’ve all got our own views on things, but you know that his passion is absolutely there and I admire that. Who’s the next Jim Murray? I don’t know. I’ve been looking, though.

No plans to retire, then?
As a Fleet Street journalist, I’m used to getting my head down and working solidly until the job was done. I’ve got no plans to retire, none whatsoever.

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