Archive for February, 2017

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Offers Special, Limited Edition Kentucky Derby Festival Bourbon Bottle – American Whiskey News


Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Offers Special, Limited Edition Kentucky Derby Festival Bourbon Bottle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As an official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby Festival, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience will release a special edition bottle of 2009 Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon to commemorate the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience will also be the sole location providing Pegasus Pins through March 6.

Dipped in a unique gold wax with a commemorative pin sealed atop the cap, the bottle features a special face label with the Kentucky Derby Festival logo, and includes a 2017 Pegasus Pin in an envelope attached to each bottle. Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs and Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Brown unveiled the official 2017 pin and limited edition bottle at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Thursday, Feb. 16, by personally hand-dipping two of the limited edition bottles.

This bottle will be available for purchase at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and other area retailers for $74.99 while supplies last.

The limited edition 2009 vintage is bottled at 107 proof, commemorating both the 62nd Kentucky Derby Festival and 45th Pegasus Pin anniversary. Like a fine wine, each bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon contains the exact day it was put in an oak barrel to age.

The Bourbon is matured in natural open-rick warehouses under the careful supervision of Heaven Hill’s Master Distillers, who monitor the progress of each year’s vintage to ensure it maintains its intended flavor profile and superb quality.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage has won five “Whiskey of the Year” awards and is one of the most critically-acclaimed specialty Bourbons produced by Heaven Hill Distillery, the world’s second largest holder of aging Bourbon.

“The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is proud to partner with the Kentucky Derby Festival to share the unique Kentucky spirit that is unmatched elsewhere,” said Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs. “We’re honored to raise a toast to Kentucky’s heritage and welcome Festival Fans across the globe to join in celebrating the 2017 Kentucky Derby.”

Bringing the community together since 1956, the Kentucky Derby Festival has grown to become a whirlwind of more than 70 special events leading up to the big race in May. The Kentucky Derby Festival runs this year from April 20 – May 5. Pegasus Pins, which allow entry to Derby Festival events, may be purchased at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience as well.

“We couldn’t think of a better a pairing of two entities. Both the Derby Festival and Evan Williams Bourbon are part of Kentucky’s history and tradition,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “We know this special edition bottle will be very popular with pin collectors and Festival Fans alike.”

About Kentucky Derby Festival: Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

About the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience: The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience® ( celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first commercial distiller, through an immersive visitor’s center experience which brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit. An official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, the facility offers guests a historical glimpse back in time to see Evan Williams’ original distillery through high definition video recreations of the Louisville wharf and Main Street in the late 18th Century, plus recreations of Whiskey Row building facades along Main Street from the 1890’s through the present. Meanwhile, visitors learn the essential differences between distilling during Evan Williams’ era and Heaven Hill’s modern Bernheim Distillery operations.

The Whisky Exchange “Whisky – The Alternative Investment – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky – The Alternative Investment

We often get asked which whisky is a good investment – and it is always a difficult question to answer. There are many ways to look at what has proven to be a good investment, but I have always believed the most important element is that the whisky is superb: a whisky you enjoy so much that you could drink it every day, and a whisky that you would choose as a desert-island dram. These amazing drams do not have to be the most expensive, the most beautifully packaged or the most limited of releases, just great drinking whiskies that with every sip make you say ‘Wow!’

An example: Springbank

Let’s look at an example and see if we can find any sensible reasoning. Springbank is one of the great whiskies of Scotland and has always had a loyal following. Springbank 15 Year Old bottled in the 1980s sold for around £10 a bottle at the time; the same bottle today sells for between £600 and £700 – an increase of more than 6,000% in 30 years. Incredible, but why? It is a working distillery and has been for well over 50 years, so stock has always been regularly available but not so much to make it too commercial.


Floor maltings at Springbank – doing things the old-fashioned way

Springbank still produces what we call ‘old-style’ whisky. Much of the malt is locally sourced, one of the stills is direct-fired and it also part-uses worm tubs. The distillery has always sold a range of products: a 10 or 12 Year Old, a 15 Year Old and then aged expressions when stocks allow. But when the distillery still produces a 15-year-old expression today retailing at around £60, and the production style has not really changed much, then why are the old bottles selling for so much more?

The argument is that even though the old style of whisky is similar to today, the taste is in fact quite different. Not necessarily better, just different. The whisky in these older bottles has a purity and complexity that is difficult to find in whiskies today. The spirit distilled at the time was more characterful and the process in some ways more artisanal, with no pressure on producing big volumes. The barley was probably more truly organic than what we know as organic today. The casks were also different to what is being used today. They may have been used for maturation two or three times provided they were still in good usable condition. Nowadays, technology to rejuvenate casks is much better, so even tired casks can be used again.


The evolution of Springbank

So, even though the current bottlings are extremely good, there are some of us who just love the old style that was available in the 1980s and before. In fact, we like them so much that we are prepared to pay anything to get ours hands on a bottle and yes, we will drink it. One less bottle will be on the market of something that is already scarce and guess what? The next bottle will probably cost more than the last one, especially if we enjoyed it so much that we are prepared to pay anything to get another.

One thing for sure is that collectors do not buy Springbank for the packaging. Indeed, some claim it has the worst packaging in the industry! The older bottles might have been simply packaged but they have become some of the most iconic bottles of the time.


Springbank’s latest packaging update

This principle does not only work with old bottles from the 1980s and prior; the amazing whiskies of today will become collectors’ items of the future. This includes both independent bottlings as well as distillers’ releases, however today we are more likely to find a superstar from the independent bottlers purely due to the number of casks released. Recent releases from distilleries like Littlemill, Imperial, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore, Glendronach, Arran, Ledaig and, of course, Springbank have been very good indeed. Also, not forgetting some of the unbelievable late-1980s and early-1990s vintages of Irish whiskeys released by some of the smaller indie bottlers.

Companions of the Quaich Vanvouver Compass Box Tasting March 15th, 2017 – Scotch Whisky News

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Companions of the Quaich Whisky Tasting

Compass Box Whisky

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Wednesday, March 15, 7pm


Legacy Liquor Store

Join us for 7 delicious drams, all from Compass Box, for what promises to be an entertaining and educational night around the harvest tasting table at Legacy Liquor Store.

  • Great King Street Artist’s Blend                       
  • Great King Street Glasgow Blend
  • Hedonism
  • Enlightenment
  • Spice Tree Extravaganza
  • Flaming Heart
  • 3 Year-Old Deluxe 

Presenter: James Bornn, Brand Ambassador

The Companions of the Quaich is a non-profit group dedicated to promoting and sharing knowledge and enjoyment of Whisky. We share a common interest in, and a passion for, the whiskies of Scotland and the world. Open to members and non-members alike, this is also a great way to try before you buy.

Cost:                                        $55

Venue:                                    Legacy Liquor Store

Presenter:                               Compass Box Brand Ambassador 

RSVP: March 10

John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News


John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition

Blended Scotch, The Collector’s Loft

46.8% vol. / 70cl

Ex VAT £458.33

Orders will be dispatched week beginning 27th February

The 4th release in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection, this 2017 limited edition showcases Master Blender Dr Jim Beveridge’s mastery of oak. Combining malt and grain whiskies from first fill ex-bourbon American oak, refill American and European oak and highly active American oak experimental casks, only 5,588 individually numbered decanters of this blended Scotch have been produced.

Nose: toffee and vanilla sweetness with ripe orchard fruits.

Palate: rich toffee and a creamy gentle spice, with blackcurrants and berries, soft peaches and stewed fruits.

Finish: a hint of leather develops in a long silky smooth finish with rich vanilla.

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While stocks last: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990 at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News


Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990

The first release in the Bond House No.1 Collection from Glenmorangie, this Highland Single Malt has been nurtured for a quarter of a century in ex-bourbon and a small parcel of ex-sherry casks to produce a floral, fruity expression with an extraordinary level of finesse and vibrancy.

£500 Buy Now

Only available while stocks last!

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Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Old Bourbon to be Released – American Whiskey News

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Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Old Bourbon to be Released 

Oldest Van Winkle Bourbon ever bottled is coming this Spring  

            FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Feb. 21, 2017) – An extra special, one-time bottling of Van Winkle bourbon will soon be released. Only 11 barrels comprise this very small batch bourbon, making the 710 bottles especially rare and even harder to find than the usual Van Winkle whiskeys.

            The barrels were distilled in the spring and fall of 1989 and stored on the lower levels of a metal clad warehouse built in 1935 at the Van Winkle family distillery in Shively, Ky.

In 2002 the barrels were moved to Buffalo Trace Distillery, where they continued to age for another 12 years on the lower floors in Buffalo Trace’s brick warehouses. The lower floor placement helped preserve the sweet, mellow notes of the world-famous wheated bourbon recipe. In 2014 the Buffalo Trace team moved the barrels into stainless steel tanks to halt the aging process and preserve the rich flavor profile fans have come to expect from the Van Winkle line.

These extra special bottles deserve an extra special vessel, so each bottle is a handmade glass decanter from Glencarin Crystal Studio. The bottle information is engraved on each decanter, individually numbered, and hand finished with a silver stopper. A glass top for the decanter is also included.

Each decanter is packaged in a handmade wooden box crafted in North Carolina by James Broyhill II of Heritage Handcrafted. The lid is constructed using the oak staves from the 11 barrels that held this bourbon. The outside of the box bears a metal plaque with the Old Rip Van Winkle logo and states “asleep 25 years in the wood.”   Inside each box, along with the decanter and glass top, is a bourbon certificate of authenticity, numbered and signed by Julian Van Winkle, grandson of original founder Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr.

            “We are excited to be able to offer something so unique and rare for our most devoted fans,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “This is a once in a lifetime offering and the beautiful decanter and wooden box just take it to the next level and make it something in which I’m very proud to be associated.”

            The 25 year Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon is bottled at 100 proof and will start shipping in April. It is packaged one bottle per case. Suggested retail pricing is $1,800 for a 750 ml bottle.  

About Van Winkle Bourbon

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle

family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Sitzel’s distillery.  The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.  Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999.  After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-Prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.  In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit

Littlemill 25 Year Old 2015 Release at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News


Littlemill 25 Year Old 2015 Release

The Collector’s Loft, Littlemill

50.4% vol. / 70clcl

Ex VAT £1,875.00

This 25 year old Lowlands Single Malt comes from the now lost Littlemill distillery on the banks of the River Clyde in Bowling near Glasgow. Born from a selection of 10 casks from 1989 and 1990, hand-picked by Master Blenders John Peterson and Michael Henry to best represent the quality and style of whisky from the distillery which closed in 1994 and burned down in 2004. The liquid has been drawn from American and European oak casks and married together and finished in first fill European Oloroso sherry casks. Unusually for a Lowland malt, the Littlemill distillery used a highland water source as well as peat from Stornoway and Perthshire. Known for its subtle floral, vanilla-rich sweetness, this incredibly rare liquid comes in a beautiful presentation case with a miniature taster and a piece of the cask used for maturation!

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K&L Whiskey News! – American Whiskey News


Spring is less than a month away and what better way to greet the vernal equinox than with spirits! Our never ending search for the for the finest imbibables has recently revealed some real gems including a Prohibition Era style blend from the folks at Old Forester, an extremely limited single barrel expression of Elijah Craig, and a pair of inventive tipplers from the indefatigable Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits.


The iconic label from the Heaven Hill Distillery has long been considered one of the greats. This lovely cask of Elijah Craig is the second we’ve received from their newly rebranded Small Batch 9 year old single barrel program. This exceptional whiskey, which we’ve known for decades in its older 12 year expression, is now being bottled as a no age statement small batch. We’re lucky to get one of the few single barrels available this year. While these bottles don’t care the age designate on the package, each of their single barrels is aged at least 9 years and the whiskey remains one of the best values in the store. It’s a welcome addition to our extremely limited single barrel selection and one of the only single barrels we’ll get from Heaven Hill for quite some time.

Elijah Craig K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) $29.99



Being one of only a handful of distilleries permitted to remain open during Prohibition (a dark era in American history), Old Forester decided to craft a bottling based on a formula that harkens to this bygone period. The result is among the best Bourbons we had in 2016 and our previous parcel sold out very quickly. While the mash mill remains shrouded in mystery, a pronounced rye element is evident as there’s plenty of body and spice which carries from beginning to end. This spice element holds center stage while being perfectly complimented by flavors of honey, caramel, apricots, rosemary, graham cracker, and more. At 115 proof it packs a punch, but never comes across as too hot or out of balance. Bourbon fans are going to want to flock to this beauty.

Old Forester “1920 Prohibition Style” Kentucky Bourbon Whisky (750ml) $59.99



You absolutely cannot stop Bryan Davis. After his original Lost Spirits Distillery in Salinas went down, Bryan took his reactor out to the East Coast and began distilling. When that didn’t go as planned he came back to California, built a new still, and started making navy strength rum in Salinas again. Now he’s opened up a huge warehouse space in downtown Los Angeles where he’ll be continuing to move the brand forward. These two new Abomination releases should help accomplish that task. This time around, rather than using his own whisky distillates, Bryan contracted a bunch of peated new-make spirit from Islay and ran it through his reactor. The result is classic Bryan Davis, albeit without any of the funkiness or earthiness his earlier whiskies carried. Fans of the genre will be pleased. We also think Islay lovers will want to give these a whirl.

Lost Spirits “Abomination – The Sayers of the Law” Peated Malt Whiskey $49.99 Lost Spirits “Abomination – The Crying of the Puma” Peated Malt $49.99



This past November we visited Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky to engage as one of the first participants in their new Maker’s 46 custom barrel program. Utilizing different types of oak staves with various levels of char, we were able to follow the example set from the standard Maker’s 46 expression, yet customize it with our own personal selection of oak types and preference for their placement within the cask. Bottled at cask strength, the resulting whiskey has recently been shipped to CA and we’re planning to premier the official K&L edition at Hard Water on Thursday night, March 2nd. Guests will not only get to try the new release, but also the standard Maker’s Mark 46 side by side, as well as munch on the fine cuisine provided by Hard Water’s kitchen, and sip on Bourbon cocktails mixed by their crack team of bartenders. A night out in the city with delicious food, fine Bourbon, and high-end drinks for only $25 per person? Yes, please! Only forty spots are available. Tickets are non-refundable after purchase. There are no paper tickets for this event; your name will be placed on a guest list.

K&L Exclusive Maker’s 46 Launch Party @ Hard Water, March 2nd @ 7 PM $25.00


Glen Grant 25 year old Platinum Old and Rare at The Whisky Shop – Scotch Whisky News


Glen Grant  25 year old Platinum Old and Rare

£370.00 Ex VAT £308.33

ABV: 49.7%

Bottle size: 70cl

TASTE; Caramel Dried Fruit Fruity Honey Sweet Rich Herbal DESCRIPTION; This Old & Rare Glen Grant 25 year old from the Speyside distillery of the same name, was bottled from casks handpicked by independent bottlers Hunter Laing. It was distilled in October 1985 and bottled in June 2011 from a Refill Hogshead cask. It is one of 206 bottles.

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Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 156: Rachel Barrie Interview – Scotch Whisky News


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 156: Rachel Barrie Interview 2014 

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky blogger, shares with us his interview with Rachel Barrie, former Master Blender at Auchentoshan. On 1st of March 2017 Rachel Barrie – the First Lady of Whisky – will leave Morrison-Bowmore Distillers to join the BenRiach company as Whisky Maker. As most of you are aware, Mark is the Toshan Man, avid collector of Auchentoshan Lowland Single Malt Whisky – which was created by Mrs Barrie and her team for the past five years. During research for his book, Mark was able to interview Mrs Barrie in February 2014. This interview was printed in the book, of course, but the video was never before released. As a tribute to Mrs Barrie’s work at Auchentoshan (and Bowmore and Glen Garioch), he gladly shares this great interview with us. The interview is 26 minutes, so go ahead and pour yourself a dram first!


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