Archive for December, 2017

Diageo in 2017 – Iconic “lost” distilleries revived in major scotch investment – Scotch Whisky News

Port Ellen distillery by the coast

Diageo in 2017 – Iconic “lost” distilleries revived in major scotch investment

On 17 December 2017, Diageo turns 20 years old. To celebrate this milestone Diageo is looking back over 20 years of its history and highlighting memorable moments since it was formed back in December 1997. 2017 saw Diageo announce that Port Ellen and Brora, two of the most revered “lost” distilleries in the global spirits industry, are to be brought back to life in a powerful statement of confidence in the future of Scotch whisky.

In 2017 Diageo announced its investment to bring back two lost distilleries, Port Ellen and Brora.

The distilleries, which have been silent since they were closed in 1983, will be brought back into production through a £35 million investment by Diageo.

In the 34 years since Brora and Port Ellen were closed, the whiskies they produced have become some of the most highly prized and sought after liquids in Scotch whisky, renowned for exceptional quality and character; elevating the lost distilleries to cult status amongst whisky enthusiasts and collectors.

Port Ellen distillery on the famous whisky island of Islay, and Brora on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, will both be reinstated to distil in carefully controlled quantities, with a meticulous attention to detail, replicating where possible the distillation regimes and spirit character of the original distilleries. Cask filling and traditional warehousing will also be included on the sites of both distilleries.

1983 Port Ellen 32 Year Old “15th Edition Special Release” Cask Strength Scotch Whisky at K&L California – Scotch


1983Port Ellen 32 Year Old “15th Edition Special Release” Cask Strength Scotch Whisky (750ml)


Whisky Advocate

 Matured in refill European oak sherry butts, this year’s Special Release has more weight than many previous expressions and a fascinating smokiness that comes across like a just-lit fire: fire lighter, burning paper, fire grate, and wood smoke. The more active oak adds walnut skin notes and rich dried fruits before the smoke returns. All very sophisticated with enough sweetness to balance. Excellent, but, ouch, that price! (DB, Winter 2015)

K&L Notes

The exceptional Port Ellen distillery has recently been tapped to be reopened, but it’s unlikely that the new facility will replicate the incredible heights that were achieved there before the closure in the year that this special whisky was distilled. One of the most celebrated modern bottlings of Port Ellen, the 15th release is also the year Diageo really jumped the shark. Suggested retail for this bottle was well above $4000 when it was originally offered to us. It continues to trade world wide for around $3000. We are extremely lucky to get a small amount at this unthinkably low price. It’s still very expensive, but it’s easily the best price for any Diageo-bottled Port Ellen in the United States and perhaps even the world. This legendary whisky has garnered praise from critics and cognoscenti and represents some of the final stocks distilled before the tragic closure of this special distillery.



The Whisky Shop “Celebrate New Year’s Eve with us!” Scotch Whisky News


Saturday, December 30th 11AM-4PM:

Rare Drams: The Exclusive Malts, Chapter 7, and Tamdhu 

We’re ending 2017 with some of the best! For our final tasting of the year we’ll be pouring some truly rare whiskies and old favorites by The Exclusive Malts, Chapter 7, and Tamdhu. Our in-store whiskey experts and distillery representatives will be present to answer all your whiskey questions. Come by and celebrate with us! Pourlist to be revealed as event approaches – RSVP to find out soonest.

Click Here to RSVP


Raise a Toast this Festive Season – Scotch Whisky News


It’s that most wonderful time of the year. So what better way to celebrate over the festive season than with an easy to create (but sure to impress) aperitif such as The Macallan Fine Oak Copa. The lemon wheel fills your nose with citrus aroma followed by fresh and lively flavours of The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old. The dry Oloroso sherry complements the whisky, whilst the sparkling tonic water helps to cleanse your palate. From everyone at The Macallan, we wish you a fantastic end to 2017 and an inspiring start to 2018.

The Fine Oak Copa

35ml Fine Oak 12 Years Old

15ml Oloroso sherry

Top with tonic

Method: Add all ingredients to a Copa glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon wheel



The Whisky Exchange “Brendan McCarron – the Ardbeg apprentice” – Scotch Whisky News


Brendan McCarron is Head of Maturing Whisky Stocks for The Glenmorangie Company – makers of Ardbeg and Glenmorangie – and heir apparent to the company’s whisky creator, Dr Bill Lumsden. We spoke to him at the launch of Ardbeg An Oa, his first addition to the Ardbeg range.

How did you get involved with the whisky world? I did chemical engineering at university and I started out making drugs on the south coast of England but my girlfriend was homesick and wanted to move back to Scotland, so I went to Diageo to work on a project in kiln efficiency – real sexy stuff. Three months in, Diageo decided to build its first single malt whisky distillery in 30 years: Roseisle. The guy running the project asked me to come and work for him.

Roseisle was when the spark went off. I think I had two months’ experience, six weeks’ experience. I didn’t know what draff was; not a clue what wash was – I’d been working in a maltings. The next most inexperienced person on the project had 19 years. I was just like a sponge, soaking up all this information.

Then I went to Leven [Diageo’s experimental distillery and bottling plant], where I did blending. Physical blending: not like [Johnnie Walker master blender] Jim Beveridge, but actually getting the physical casks out of the warehouse and pouring them through filters into vats. Then I went to the USA where things were totally different.

I started applying for real jobs and was lucky because I went for a job that I had no chance to get, at Oban – I was distillery manager when I was 28. I was there for two years and then got promoted. Oban is on the west coast and my boss hilariously said ‘I’m moving you out west.’ I thought I was off to America again, but no. Islay. I was in charge of Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Port Ellen maltings. I was there for an amazing three years, then Dr Bill Lumsden tapped me on the shoulder.

When is Bill Lumsden retiring? There are no plans. I’m three-and-a-half-years in and the learning has been amazing. I’m cocky as hell, so I’m like ‘I’m ready now!’ And Bill’s like ‘You’re ready never!’ He’ll be here for at least five years, but probably way more than that – it’s too much fun! The longer he stays, the more chance me being a success is.

They called it the Son of Bill project. I thought that was amazing – ‘That’s cool, I’m the Son of Bill.’ But someone wrote it in an email, and when you write it as an acronym it’s SoB, and that’s not so good.

What do you day to day? I am Head of Maturing Whisky Stocks. Our business cards are A3 – it’s the only way to fit on our job titles. I do everything that Bill does, and he lets me work on certain projects: Ardbeg An Oa, Glenmorangie Astar, Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1990. He’ll just say ‘Go and put the casks together, put together the recipe, put this together, that together.’

I also work on less sexy parts of the business: working out how full our warehouses are; where should certain casks go, where should we build new warehouses, how much spirit we should distil next year…

How did Ardbeg An Oa come about?

It’s been just shy of three years I’ve worked on that. We’ve always wanted to add to Ardbeg’s range as it’s only had three [whiskies in the core range]. It starts with taking samples of everything we have in the warehouse – every type of cask we have.


Ardbeg An Oa: Brendan’s first addition to the Ardbeg core range

There’s this overly used marketing story of the distillery manager walking through the warehouse and stumbling over a cask of 40-year-old whisky. I’m cynical about that, but genuinely, I went to Ardbeg and there were casks coded as sherry casks, but Doug the warehouse manager said they were PX casks. Sherry is oloroso and PX is called oloroso on our coding system. Fully matured PX! It tasted unbelievable. It was like rum-and-raisin ice cream: sticky, balsamic vinegar, slightly burnt brown sugar. It was perfect, but the smoke was so discreet as the sherry was covering it, that it wasn’t really Ardbeg. You can’t launch a permanently available Ardbeg that isn’t smoky.

I also had some new charred oak casks there which were about the same age, a little older, actually. They give vanilla, but not the same way that vanilla goes into Glenmorangie Original. There’s a bit of vanilla, a bit of roundness, a bit of creaminess. But the main thing is that it doesn’t interfere with the smoke, so you get that massive smoky note. Then at the same time there’s a hibiscus note and herbal notes of rosemary and sage. I thought it was a beauty. In the end, it came down to using the PX casks and the new charred oak, but hanging in the middle is Ardbeg 10 – Ardbeg from ex-bourbon is the spine, and these two other things are draped on top of it.

The final flourish is all Bill – I’d love to take credit for it. He said it needed time to marry. It’s like it’s almost there but is frayed and needs time to knit together. That’s why we put it in a huge French oak vat in the Gathering Room, as we call it. It sits there for about three months and rounds off: lets the sherry come in, the smoke come back and the sweetness come in. Then finishes again with the smoke. That’s how An Oa came about: with great difficulty and lots of sampling over three years.

Why is the latest release called Ardbeg Twenty Something?

I work with a guy called Marcus: he’s an accountant, so he loves a spreadsheet. He looks at the stock in a black-and-white, litres-of-alcohol way, then I look at it from a quality point of view. Between us, we build up a list of how much stock we have and how much we need to distil.


Ardbeg Twenty Something (it’s 23, but doesn’t like to talk about it)

Ardbeg has been going for 20 years and we had some stock from before we bought it, so we were looking at older casks that we have and I was drawing samples of them. There was some that was 21 and some that was 23. He was going into a meeting and needed to mention it, so wrote down Ardbeg 10, Uigeadail, Corryvreckan, An Oa and Ardbeg 20 Something. Everyone went ‘That’s amazing. This is it.’ It was going to be called Ardbeg 23, but now it’s called Ardbeg Twenty Something.

What’s next for Ardbeg? A big focus for next year will be Ardbeg An Oa. Because that’s the first batch that’s out, and we’ll be making sure the second batch is as good as the first, and the third batch as good as the second.

But I’m going off message here, and someone will probably murder me for this, but I also want a permanently available, aged Ardbeg. Aged, older Ardbeg. Not because I think age is important or age is better; but the reason I want the age to be declared is that Ardbeg turns on its head when it’s older.

Ardbeg 10yo is big smoke, intensity, saltiness, rawness. And then underneath it, if you look hard, there are limes and pastilles and citrus. Over time, the smokiness drops. The smokiest Ardbeg you’ll get is the spirit running off the still. And from that day on it decreases; what increases is the fruitiness and citrus.

That’s why I want an aged Ardbeg, so people know when they pick it up it’s going to be less smoky. It’ll be like a blanket of smoke with wine gums, fruit pastilles and sweetness on top. It will be more expensive, because its older, and that’s rarer and there’s less of it, but I’d love to put something up there that’s aged, older and permanently available. It’s not guaranteed, but if I get my way it’ll be there, or I’ll be fired.

Brendan’s Ardbeg An Oa is now available, as is his first major project, the new release of Glenmorangie Astar.

It’s Not Too Late : WhiskyFest Tickets! – Whisky News


A New K&L Cask of a Limited Edition Rye for the Holidays – Some Kind of Whiskey News


A New Cask of a Limited Edition Rye for the Holidays

Whistle Pig 10 Year Old “K&L Exclusive” Single Barrel Cask Strength (116.2 proof) Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)


With cask number one already done and gone, it’s time to introduce you to our second Whistle Pig cask of the holiday season. This particular cask, our second in the series, yielded less than 140 total bottles and comes in at a whopping 58.1% ABV, accentuating the peppery potency of this whiskey. Whereas the last cask had loads of graham cracker sweetness and oak, this barrel has classic rye whiskey character in spades: hints of dill and herbaceous notes on the nose, more savory spice on the palate, and crushed black pepper on the finish. The oak and vanilla accents are abundent, but they play second fiddle here, allowing the true nature of the grain to shine. The richness from ten years in wood works like a background harmony, coating the palate with ample vanilla, but never moving too far into the spotlight. The finish lights up the palate like a packet of firecrackers, exploding with more savory spice, hints of sweet oak, and a resurgance of dill. Rye fans will rejoice.

We’ve got four new single barrels of Whistle Pig 10 year coming in this winter and each cask is very small, thus very limited. This particular cask, our second in the series, yielded less than 140 total bottles and comes in at a whopping 58.1% ABV, accentuating the peppery potency of this whiskey. Whereas the last cask had loads of graham cracker sweetness and oak, this barrel has classic rye whiskey character in spades: hints of dill and herbaceous notes on the nose, more savory spice on the palate, and crushed black pepper on the finish. The oak and vanilla accents are abundent, but they play second fiddle here, allowing the true nature of the grain to shine. The richness from ten years in wood works like a background harmony, coating the palate with ample vanilla, but never moving too far into the spotlight. The finish lights up the palate like a packet of firecrackers, exploding with more savory spice, hints of sweet oak, and a resurgance of dill. Rye fans will rejoice.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 21, 2017

The Holiday Hits just keep on coming! New cask of Whistle Pig is big, rich, full of great herbal complexity and sweetness to boot. The finish lasts for days. The complexity of baking spices and pepper notes are remarkable. I thought the first cask we brought in this fall was great. But this one is the perfect winter rye, coming in just in time for the solstice!

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 21, 2017

It’s amazing how many emails I received from customers about our first cask, asking whether there were any dill notes, that classic herbaceous character that exudes from a potent rye whiskey distillation. That initial barrel was a round and oak-driven rye whiskey, lots of sweet grains and vanilla, but this second cask release is loaded with dill, lots of pepper, and all of that lip-smacking herbacousness that makes rye whiskey so distinct in the eyes of whiskey aficionados. That’s not to say it’s lacking in oak, vanilla, or richness. There’s plenty of that, but the rye itself is the star here, not the wood. It’s all dialed up to 11 at 116.2 proof as well, so it practically explodes on your tongue.


Whisky Hammer December Auction Now Live – Whisky Auction News



(ends Sunday 7th January 2018)

…place your bids at

With an incredible selection of whiskies and other fine spirits there is certainly something for everyone – whether you are looking to collect, invest, enjoy!


Wyoming Whiskey Announces New Batches of Limited Release Whiskeys – American Whiskey News



Wyoming Whiskey Announces New Batches of Limited Release Whiskeys

KIRBY, WY (Dec. 18, 2017)— Wyoming Whiskey’s annual selection of Single Barrel Bourbon is now on shelves in Wyoming, Colorado, California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.  And, thanks to the success of Double Cask, a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask-finished bourbon, production has been increased and more consistent distribution can be expected in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado, in addition to the already established Wyoming and California markets. ​

Wyoming Whiskey Head Distiller, Sam Mead, is developing these creations with the tasting input of industry specialist and master blender, Nancy Fraley.

Single Barrel Bourbon represents the top 1% of all barrels sampled in a given year, with each barrel selected for its overall quality and flavor profile. Since its initial launch in Nov. 2015, Single Barrel has historically sold out soon after hitting the shelves. Single Barrel retails for $59.99.

This year’s stock for the Single Barrel program is over 5.5 years old. According to Fraley, given the unique maturation conditions at Wyoming Whiskey, this is when the bourbon starts to develop more “matured” aromas. This batch of Single Barrel has a has greater complexity, intensity, and finesse than it has in the past.

Wyoming Whiskey Single Barrel is deep copper to mahogany in color. On the nose, you’ll find browned butter, cola, black currant, black cherry and dried dates, orange citrus blossoms, bittersweet dark chocolate, almond butter and black tea. The palate is cola, dark chocolate, buttered pastry, dried date and Mission fig, raisin and candied orange peel. Its mouthfeel is full and rich, chewy, spicy, creamy with nuts. It has a long finish that’s dry, but with lingering impressions of butter crème, candied orange peel, and dark dried fruit.  But, each barrel offers its own unique variations from the general flavor profile.

Double Cask was first released in January 2017, at which time Larry Olmsted at Forbes Magazine reviewed it, stating “…it’s no surprise that this new release is delicious…every drop is 100% Wyoming, with the finest corn, wheat, barley and water from the Big Horn Basin.”

Double Cask is Wyoming Whiskey’s fully-matured bourbon that has a second round of maturation in Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels. Double Cask retails for $69.99.

Fraley gives Double Cask excellent marks. According to Fraley, the Sherry-Finished Bourbon features dark, autumnal notes of dried apricot and fig, stewed prune, black currant and toasted nuts. There are hints of candied orange peel, vanilla butter cream, and molasses underneath. The finish is comprised of dark, dried fruit followed by warm, brown baking spices.

Fraley added that this year’s Double Cask version overall has softer tannins, a lot more finesse, has more depth and length on the palate, and is overall ‘deeper and darker’ than last year’s version. The complexity has continued to increase as well.

Stay caught up on all things WW by becoming a Whiskey Baron. You’ll receive the latest news and special offers from Wyoming Whiskey direct to your inbox. For more frequent updates, follow Wyoming Whiskey on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About Wyoming Whiskey

Based in Kirby, Wyoming, Wyoming Whiskey has a simple goal: to create America’s next great bourbon. The company and product is a collaboration between its partners and 97,818 square miles of Wyoming. The Mead family first came to Wyoming as ranchers in 1890 and the state defines them, and their whiskey.  They use the finest corn, wheat, barley, and water from the Big Horn Basin and promote Wyoming’s natural and human resources.  Every drop of this bourbon is 100% Wyoming. To learn more, visit

Whiskey Obsession tickets make a great gift! – Whisky News


Whiskey Obsession Festival tickets make a great gift for someone special, or even yourself!

Visit for complete schedule and ticketing.

The Sixth Annual Whiskey Obsession Festival will be held April 11 to 14, 2018 in Sarasota, Florida. Whiskey Obsession is the largest world whiskey festival in the U.S., with four days of classes, tastings, lunch and dinner pairings, expanded bartender academy, interactive panel discussions, cigars, VIP pours, a fabulous grand tasting with hundreds of whiskies to sample, and live music street party in the heart of downtown. Dozens of distillers and professional brand ambassadors from around the world travel to Sarasota to share their knowledge and passion for these fine spirits.

Take your friends and take a cab – cheers!

Turner Moore and Nicholas Pollacchi
Whiskey Obsession Partners

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bartender Academy @ The Aloft Hotel, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

(bartenders/ industry only)

Whiskey Obsession Kickoff Dinner @ Sarasota Yacht Club, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Exclusive Focus Lunch Master Class @ Sarasota Yacht Club, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Panelist Small Group Dinner @ The Francis, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Panel of Whiskey Experts Interactive Tasting & Discussion @ The Francis, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Brand Showcase at the historic Gator Club, 10:00 pm until late.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lunch Master Classes, 12:00 p.m, to 2:00 p.m.

Pre-show Premium Master Class, @ Michael’s Wine Cellar, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Grand Tasting and Master Classes, Michael’s on East

  • 6:30 p.m. VIP Admission
  • 7:30 p.m. General Admission
  • 8:00 p.m. Class I, II, and III ($10 for VIP; $20 for GA guests)
  • 9:15 p.m. Class IV, V, VI ($10 for VIP; $20 for GA guests)
  • 10:30 p.m. Last Pour
  • 10:45 p.m. After Party at Made Restaurant (Free Event!)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Women of Whiskey Brunch @ Sarasota Yacht Club, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Whiskey Rocks Live Music Street Party, 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.




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