Archive for February, 2018




  • The Winter Queen whisky honours remarkable legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark
  • Latest release from innovative Fusion Whisky and Adelphi partnership that celebrates historical Scots and their influence on the world
  • First blend of Scotch and Dutch whisky from firm that pioneered ‘fusion’ concept of international blends using Scotch with Japanese and Indian whiskies


SHE was the Scottish princess with Queen Elizabeth I for godmother, destined for a lifetime of exile in The Hague, and is the forgotten link between the Stuart and Hanoverian thrones.

Now the legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I, is being honoured by a unique new whisky made from a pioneering blend of Scotch and Dutch single malt whisky.

Edinburgh-based Fusion Whisky said its new Winter Queen whisky “celebrated the story and honoured the memory” of Elizabeth Stuart, who was born in Fife in 1596, but spent most of life in The Hague.

Fusion Whisky Director Graham Langley said: “Elizabeth’s story is a superb one, and certainly deserving of a wider audience. Our Winter Queen whisky serves to honour this forgotten Scottish princess and to bring greater awareness to her remarkable life and influence.”


As eldest daughter to King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark, Elizabeth was always destined for a place in the history books. While still a child, she was caught up in the web of intrigue during the infamous Gunpowder Plot.  At 16 she was married to Elector Palatine Frederick V and the couple moved to Bohemia, where they reigned. But after a year the couple were besieged and forced to flee Prague, earning the couple the moniker, the Winter King and Queen.

Elizabeth spent the next 40 years living in The Hague, campaigning for her lost lands and establishing a royal court that became an artistic and diplomatic hub whose influence extended across Europe. She also became a figurehead for the thousands of Scottish mercenaries based in the Netherlands.

Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University is the leading authority on Elizabeth Stuart. She said: “More politically cunning than her grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and more belligerent than her godmother, Elizabeth I, she never relinquished the title Queen of Bohemia, even though she spent upwards of forty years in exile in The Hague after but a year in Prague.”

Dr Akkerman said that the thousands of letters Elizabeth wrote to statesmen and stateswomen, generals, lieutenants, ambassadors and other diplomats, showed the complex, witty and influential character of Elizabeth, whom history has largely overlooked.

She added: “During her years in exile, she changed court culture in the Netherlands and was matriarch to a family that included artists, warriors, natural philosophers and one queen mother: George I was her grandson.

The Winter Queen is the third character-led blend of international whisky launched by Fusion Whisky. Working in partnership with the acclaimed Adelphi, Fusion Whisky has established itself as a pioneer of premium blends made using Scotch and international whisky to honour remarkable Scots.

Its iconic Glover whisky was made by blending Scotch with rare Hanyu whisky from Japan in celebration of Thomas Blake Glover, the so-called “Scottish samurai”. Glover, who is better known in his adopted Japan than in his homeland, played a critical role in the country’s industrialisation, and had a part in the foundation of Mitsubishi and Kirin Group. He was the first non-Japanese person to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan’s highest civic honour.


Last year the firm released The E&K whisky, which was made using Scotch and Indian whisky from Amrut Distillery in honour of the “Walking Viceroy”, Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine. Bruce served as Viceroy of India under Queen Victoria in the late 19th century, and pushed for greater infrastructure and economic growth, including the construction of 4000 miles of railway during his term of office and linking all the major Indian cities for the first time, creating a railway network of more than 20,000 miles.

Fusion Whisky’s latest title, The Winter Queen, was made using Scotch from Longmorn and Glenrothes distilleries, blended with malt whisky from the renowned Dutch Distillery Zuidam. The recipe was created by Adelphi’s managing director and master blender Alex Bruce.

Mr Bruce said: “By taking whiskies matured in different climates, we have been able to create a very new and innovative style. Like the historical characters we honour, these whiskies are themselves pioneers, challenging expectations of what blended whisky is. Crucially, these whiskies are also products of international partnerships and friendships. We’re very proud of it!”


Tasting notes:

The Winter Queen (52.7%), 1 of 866 bottles

9 year old malt whisky

A blend of Scotch malt whisky from Longmorn and Glenrothes distilleries and malt whisky from Zuidam Distillery in the Netherlands. By Adelphi and Fusion Whisky.

Nose drying; polished floor boards; chocolate and desiccated coconut; Scotch pancakes topped with bacon and coated in maple syrup; manilla envelopes; crème caramel; maraschino cherry; rhubarb crumble, dark toffee and molasses; soft and creamy mouthfeel; Sunday lunch, with quince jelly and jus.

The Winter Queen will be available through select specialist retailers, priced around £125.


Image of The Winter Queen whisky from Fusion Whisky and Adelphi. Image: Tina Norris.

Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, as the Biblical Queen Esther, by Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy of Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder.

Painting of Prince Maurice in the company of Prince Frederick Henry, Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart, King and Queen of Bohemia, (on left hand side) at the Buitenhof in The Hague. By Pauwels van Hillegaert. Courtesy of Rijksmusuem.

Painting of Frederick V (1596-1632), Elector of the Palatinate, King of Bohemia, and

Elisabeth Stuart (1596-1662), Queen of Bohemia, out hunting, by Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne. Courtesy of Rijksmuseum.

 Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, by Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy of National Gallery, London.

The Whisky Exchange “Whisky Stories – Your Turn” – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Stories – Your Turn

Last month, I wrote a blog post about my most memorable whisky story – my first trip to Islay. It prompted several of you to share your own whisky stories, and here’s our favourite. Thank you to all of you who took the time to reply, and please keep sending your whisky stories to us – we’ll be publishing more of our favourites over the coming months.

by Edward
I was backpacking in Asia with a good mate of mine. One night while walking the streets of Saigon, Vietnam, we decided to make it our mission to find a fancy single malt. We dragged ourselves through 38°C heat at 80% humidity, in and out of bars in the hope we might discover a hidden gem.

After the seventh bar we were desperate and out of ideas – maybe our decision not to bring smartphones wasn’t so smart after all. While traipsing down a side street, an old Vietnamese guy lounging on his scooter yelled ‘What you want? I’ll get you anything.’

He followed us, asking the same question, calling to us in a well-pronounced, well-rehearsed fashion. Eventually I stopped and said, ‘OK! Whisky. Single malt.’

The man (Mikey) was convinced that he could help us if we bought him one Coke in a bar he swore sold whisky. Needless to say, the bar he took us to was not exactly street legal. It was too dark for me to accurately describe what was happening in there, but Coke was three dollars and everyone was very…friendly, shall we say?

So we joined Mikey in having Vietnam’s most expensive soft drink. He told us how he’d been a translator for the US during the Vietnam War, and after the Americans famously fled Saigon, Mikey was imprisoned for helping the enemy.

But the whisky. We still hadn’t found the whisky. So after making a polite excuse we left, and we were getting desperate as the night drew on.

Now lost, we found ourselves outside a door that seemed to be a bar. ‘Let’s just go in here, gather our thoughts and work out what we are going to do,’ I said. After a long flight of stairs we found ourselves in a terrace bar looking over the city. In the floor was a fish tank, and soft seating surrounded us.


There, to our amazement, on the menu was Laphroaig 10 Year Old. A double was £3, the same price as a Coke with Mikey. We ordered two doubles. A few minutes later the waiter appeared awkwardly holding the bottle. He looked at us and said, ‘I’m terribly sorry, I only have this. No one wants to drink it so I will charge you the same.’

He held up the bottle which read Laphroaig…18 Year Old!

‘Is that OK?’ he asked.

I replied: ‘I think we’ll manage.’

Thanks very much to Edward. If you have a whisky story you’d like to share, please send it to us.

Whisky Auctioneer February 2018 Auction Now Live – Auction Whisky News



Our February Auction is up and running and once again, we have a great selection be it young or well aged, brand new releases or those old familiar expressions, independent or official bottlings etc… Whisky from all over the globe has been gathered together by us in one convenient place, just for you.

Here are some of the highlights waiting for you this month…



Some of rarest Macallan’s around, the previous Exceptional Cask releases have been described as some of “the greatest Macallan of them all ” . Seven casks were bottled in 2017 and released across the United States and Asia.



Although not its official title at the time, this bottle of Old Highland Whisky was to become the Johnnie Walker White Label in 1909 after a re-branding exercise that saw all of their expressions renamed after their label colours and begin to feature the famous striding man, yet to appear here. While the re-branded White Label was a 6 year old blend, the original Old Highland Whisky was a 5 year old.



This month we are featuring a mouth-watering selection of the world renowned blend, White Horse. This blend was often exported and has over time earned a very distinguished history. In our February Auction we will showcase a lot that was bottled in 1941!



Hanyu’s legendary ‘Card Series’ continues to gather momentum amongst collectors and has solidified itself as one of the most sought after Japanese collections. This month we have a fantastic array with the ‘Clubs’ quarter shining through.



This month we are delighted to feature a great range of vintage single cask Glenfiddich that date as far back as the early sixties. These fantastic limited expressions are quickly becoming some of the most sought after releases from Glenfiddich for both drinking and collecting.



The Hunter is the first release from the Woolf Sung Collection. A 40 year old Glenglassaugh distilled in 1972 then matured in a single Sherry cask for 40 years before bottling by Woolf Sung on the 22nd January 2013. All proceeds go towards ‘The Benevolent; The Drinks Industry Charity’

Our February Auction is live until Monday 5th August, there is no fee to register on our site, our commission structure is very competitive and we offer worldwide shipping. For our terms and conditions please click here.

Lagavulin Single Cask – Whisky Barrel Exclusive – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Barrel Exclusive Islay single cask not to be missed!

Isle of Islay 10 Year Old 2007

Whisky Barrel Exclusive – single cask hogshead from a secret distillery which once contained the famed micro distillery Malt Mill, on the A846 between Laphroaig & Ardbeg. Bottled 2018 by Creative Whisky Co. for the Exclusive Malts series, just 285 bottles.

Buy – $116.33


Whisky Wednesday Reviews Macallan 12 Double Cask – Scotch Whisky News


Phil Dwyer

So, Macallan, somewhat of an elephant in the room these days. The Double Cask is a combination of European Oak & American Oak seasoned sherry casks, i’m not sure how long “seasoned” details in length of time in sherry but it’s a fairly common trait in whisky maturation these days.

I’m a fan of sherry cask whiskies and classic Macallans’ like the 12YO and the No. 2 Edition are key examples of how good Macallan can be and for me, personally, this whisky is a very two dimensional and really lacks depth, especially for the price tag of £70. If you like it, then you like it, everyone is different but this is a product that won’t grace my whisky shelf.



Whisky Reviews every Wednesday ~ ~ ~

Isle of Arran Distillery makes the very first casks to be filled at new Lagg site available – Scotch Whisky News

AA Lagg!

A dram for the decade

The award-winning whisky producer Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd have announced an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of Single Malt history on the Isle of Arran. With the construction of the whisky-makers second site on the south of the island at Lagg well underway, master distiller James MacTaggart is releasing for purchase 700 casks from the first production to be filled at the new distillery.

These bourbon casks will contain approximately 280* 70cl bottles-worth of a new, heavily-peated (50ppm) Single Malt that will be the style of whisky produced at the Lagg Distillery.

Each of casks, priced at £6,000, will remain at the distillery for a minimum of ten years of maturation under the careful eye of the Lagg Distillery team. The casks owners will then have the opportunity to bottle the spirit, complete with a limited-edition Lagg Cask society label, or pay an annual fee to continue the maturation process until the desired age is attained**. It is expected that the casks will be laid down in late 2018. No further casks will be made available for sale to the public during the first ten years of production at Lagg.

Every cask owner will also become a member of the exclusive Lagg Cask Society. Membership guarantees a bottle from the very first cask to be filled at Lagg which is reserved exclusively for the Society. In addition each member will have their name displayed on the Lagg ‘Wall of Fame’ and receive an invite to the Lagg Cask Society Members Day for a first-look of the distillery and visitor centre before its official opening in spring 2019.

Additional benefits include a free stay at the historic Lagg Hotel, a 12 month Arran golf pass, complimentary tours of Lagg and 10% off all purchases in the visitor centre for 10 years.

James MacTaggart said: “We have incredibly exciting plans for the Lagg Distillery and the Lagg Cask Society offers people the chance to be part of the journey from the very beginning.”

“To own one of the first casks from a Distillery is a rare opportunity indeed and with my years of experience in the industry I firmly believe the Lagg Single Malt will mature into something truly magical”.

Euan Mitchell, managing director of the Isle of Arran Distillery, added: “We are proud to be bringing whisky production back to the south end of Arran. The area was a hotbed of distilling, both legal and illicit, during the early nineteenth century and the Arran ‘waters’ were in great demand on the mainland”.

“The Lagg Cask Society is the next chapter of the story of malt whisky on Arran. Their casks will be the first to be filled on the south of the island in over 170 years – a continuation of a long and proud heritage of whisky making on Arran.

“In releasing these casks, we are inviting people to join the Arran family and lay down an exclusive Lagg dram that they can call their own for a fee in line with prices currently being paid for individual bottles of rare Single Malt. Bottles from the Lagg Cask Society barrels will provide unique opportunities for gifts and investment, the ideal present to lay down for future generations, as well as the simple enjoyment of sampling the finest of spirits”.

Casks will be available directly from the distillery and online from

The new distillery site and visitor centre at Lagg is expected to open in 2019. Total visitor numbers to both distillery sites are expected to exceed 200,000 by 2020 once the new visitor centre in Lagg has been opened with an estimated combined turnover of over £2million.

Arran Logo Brown


* On an approximate basis, you could assume that a barrel (200 bulk litres) bottled at 46% abv, in 70cl bottles, after 10 years would yield 280 bottles.

**Every year after the initial ten that the cask remains at the distillery, there will be a small annual storage and insurance fee (currently £40 per year) as the whisky continues to mature. The cost of fees and bottling after the standard ten year maturation period at present is in the region of £6,000 – though taxes, customs and the market could cause this to vary.

For more information visit

Accolades for Isle of Arran Distillery include Winner for: Best New Exporter (2004), Queen’s Award for International Trade (2005), Scottish Distiller of the Year (2007) and Scottish Drinks Producer of the Year (2007)

Scottish Field Visitor Experience of the Year 2014 & 2015

Drinks Business Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism (2017)

Best Brewery/Distillery Tour – Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards 2017

Product awards include: Best Whisky Liqueur (2007), ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Years & Under’ for The Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish (2008) ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 Years’ for The Arran Malt Sherry Single Cask 1998 (2010) and ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 Years’ for the Icons of Arran Peacock (2011.) ‘Double Gold Award’ for Arran’s 14 Year Old Single Malt and ‘Gold Award’ for Arran’s 10 Year Old Single Malt at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2012). Double Gold in awards (2012). Double Gold Medal for the 12 year-old Cask Strength in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2013). Double Gold for both the 10 year-old and 12 year-old Cask Strength at the China Wine & Spirits Best Value Awards 2014.

Springbank Society Quaterly Newsletter – Scotch Whisky News

Springbank Society

Welcome to the latest quarterly newsletter.  We hope you had a cheery holiday season, spending time with loved ones and catching up with friends and family and enjoyed a dram or two. Springbank Distillers was closed for two weeks so we are happy to report that our Production and Sales teams are well rested and ready to tackle what will be one of the busiest years in our company’s history.

Distillery News

As you will know from our previous Newsletter, scheduled renovations and improvements continue at the distillery and work has now begun to transform the old staff canteen into a distillery shop which we hope to have up and running for the summer season.

Our four new production staff have now completed their training giving us the required manpower to malt, mash and distill simultaneously throughout the year.  This clearly increases our production capacity but will also enhance our visitors’ experience as they will see all aspects of production working during a single visit.  We reiterate that we are not using mass production techniques and that Springbank will continue to be produced in its unique way, including 100% floor malting.

In other news, Assistant Manager Robert Scally (aka Pop) has taken on a new role as Bottling Hall Manager.  Pop spent a number of weeks in the Bottling Hall last year, assisting with the training and work instructions of all staff members and brings a wealth of experience to the role.

Staff Profiles

A new feature has been introduced to the Springbank Website. We are producing staff profiles, in the form of short interviews, on the website and our social media platforms. Staff members share their experiences of working for Springbank and give you all an insight into what it’s really like to be involved in making the whisky that we all know and love. We shall be starting with employees who have been with the company for a long time, focusing on how Springbank and Glengyle have evolved over time and how that has effected everyone at the distillery.

As Society members, you will get access to these profiles first as they will be posted on the Society section of the Springbank Website before they appear anywhere else – so keep an eye out!

And if you can think of any questions you really want answered, then let us know and we shall ask them.

February Releases

We recently launched our three February releases in the UK;

Springbank 12yo cask strength 56.3%

Springbank 25yo 46%

Longrow Red 11yo Cabernet Franc 55.9%

As Society Members you were given advanced warning that these were being made available so we hope this gave you every opportunity to secure the bottles you desired.  We again highlight that we do not control how shops sell their stock, or if they take pre-orders etc.  The Cadenhead shops are out-with our control so if you have any enquires or comments about what stock individual shops have please contact them directly.  Remember to look at the ‘Where to buy’ section of our website to find your local UK stockist.

Sales Team Events    


26th Feb    Australia Tasting Tour. Ranald will be representing Springbank down under in -2nd Mar    partnership with Cadenhead’s who will also be touring.   David will also be in the country on these dates for a Kilkerran tasting tour.

28th Feb    Jutland Whisky Fair and tastings, Denmark

4th March   (Ronan)


 2-4th         DramFest, Christchurch, New Zealand. (Ranald & David)

5-12th        New Zealand tasting tour. (Joint Springbank, Kilkerran & Cadenhead tour  with David, Ranald and Cameron McGeachy ) Tastings in Auckland and  Wellington.

10th        Fife Whisky Festival (Grant)

15th         Arkwrights Whisky Wines and Home Brew tasting event, Swindon (Grant)

16-17th    Midlands Whisky Festival (Grant)

16-23rd    Trondheim Whisky Fair and Norwegian tasting tour   (Ronan)

24th        Dundee Whisky Social – Kilkerran only (Grant)


6-14th        Gothenburg Whisky Fair and tasting tour of Sweden (Ronan)

14th        Warsaw Whisky & Friends, Poland (Melanie)

21-22nd    Limburg Whisky Fair, Germany (Ranald)

28th        Bristol Whisky Lounge, (Grant)


5-6th        Kieler Whiskymesse  (Ranald & Melanie)

Society Bottling 

We are pleased to announce that we will follow up the previous Society bottlings of Springbank and Longrow Sauternes with a Hazelburn edition which will complete the Sauternes series.  This will be released in April 2018 with further details following closer to the release date.  However, we can say now that given the estimated outturn, we will have to restrict bottles to one per member.

Campbeltown Malts Festival   20th-23rd May 2018

Finally, tickets for the Springbank and Cadenhead/Glengyle Open Days went on sale on Thursday 15th February.  Most tastings have now sold out but there are still tickets available for the Longrow & Hazelburn masterclass at 11.30am on Thursday 24th and the Kilkerran masterclass at 11.30am on Friday 25th. These can be purchased on Eventbrite

Don’t forget there are also tastings available to book on the day as well as well as the usual delights of the warehouse bar, Cadenhead lucky dip bar, free tours and local producers showcasing their products.

You will receive more information on the Malts Festival as the event draws closer but we will highlight at this early stage that we plan to supply a greater volume of Open Day bottles this year to ensure everyone has the opportunity to purchase one.  This should mean they are available throughout their respective days, not selling out in the first hour or so.  We will also make the bottles available to purchase from 10.30am.  The purpose of this is to encourage people to enjoy the atmosphere of the day and not worry about queuing  for bottles, and for those that want to queue, they can get this out the way before the Open Day begins at 11am!

That’s all from us for now but stay tuned for updates on the Malts Festival and the next Society release.


Springbank Society 

To join the Springbank Society please contact them at Springbank Society

Michter’s US*1- Barrel Strength Straight Rye at Abbey Whisky – American Whisky News


Michter’s US*1- Barrel Strength Straight Rye

A single barrel, cask strength release of the excellent Michter’s US*1 Straight Rye whiskey. For this limited edition release, the Rye distillate is filled to cask at a lower strength of 103 proof, a method said to be more expensive. But the results are worth it, with a richer, smoother, more full-bodied whiskey.



Scotch Malt Whisky Society “March Previews: A Labyrinth of Flavours” – Scotch Whisky News

SMWS Labyrinth


Lose yourself in a labyrinth of mouth-watering flavour with these five preview bottles from March Outturn. Complex characters, each bring an alluring depth that we recommend taking time to taste and explore – your patience will be rewarded with dark chilli chocolate, truffles and wild mushrooms, elderflower wine, salted caramel and citric zing.

A great opportunity to buy before next month’s First Friday but be quick to order, only a limited number of bottles are available ahead of the full Outturn release on Friday, 2 March at 9am.

The March Previews will only be available online


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


The last few bottles of the original Loch Fyne Liqueur – Scotch Whisky News


The Last of a Classic

The last few bottles of the original Loch Fyne Liqueur

The Loch Fyne Liqueur Decanter Bottle

Ready for a trip down memory lane? Comprised of whisky matured for at least 12 years and housed in a striking glass decanter, the original Loch Fyne Liqueur was a premium dram in every respect! No longer produced, only a handful of these wonderfully presented bottles remain. So – whether you’re keen to try The Loch Fyne Liqueur in all its glorious forms, or are simply a devotee of the old style – we recommend stocking up, before it’s completely gone.

£38 Buy Now
Limited stock now available to order

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