Archive for January, 2019

Holyrood Distillery appoints Visitor Experience Director ahead of 2019 opening – Scotch Whisky News

Debs Newman, Visitor Experience Director

Holyrood Distillery appoints Visitor Experience Director ahead of 2019 opening 

Holyrood Distillery is gearing up for opening later this year with the appointment of Debs Newman as Visitor Experience Director.

As a member of Holyrood Distillery’s senior management team, Debs will be focusing on the development and delivery of Holyrood’s ambitious visitor experience.

The shape and character of Holyrood’s visitor experience has already played a pivotal role in the planning and construction of the distillery. At Holyrood’s ‘Home of Flavour’, guests will be able to immerse themselves in every aspect of sprit production and distillation, providing them with a multi-sensory experience.

Debs brings a wealth of prior experience to the role. Most recently she was Director of Visitor Experience and Operations at the new V&A Dundee, responsible for the development and delivery of building services and visitor operations. Prior roles include Head of Business Operations at Edinburgh Zoo and Head of Visitor Services and Retail at the Palace of Westminster, home of UK Parliament.

“We are delighted that Debs has joined us” said Bill Farrar, Managing Director. “Our ambition at Holyrood Distillery is to offer an outstanding experience to our visitors, entertaining and educating them regardless of their level of scotch whisky knowledge. Debs brings not only an exceptional depth of operational and planning experience but also fresh ideas which will allow Holyrood Distillery to offer its own unique approach to whisky tourism in Scotland.”

Holyrood Distillery is currently under construction in central Edinburgh. With the production of four gins already underway, Holyrood Distillery will produce a range of single malt whiskies and provide visitor tours from its opening in mid-2019. With flavour at the forefront and unconstrained by heritage, category and tradition, Holyrood Distillery will be a distinctively different spirits company. For more information please see

The Whisky Exchange Blog – Old & Rare Whisky – Where do I start? – Scotch Whisky News


Old & Rare Whisky – Where do I start?

Since its very beginnings, The Whisky Exchange has had a focus that sets us apart from other whisky shops: we love old and rare whisky. Co-founder Sukhinder started as a collector of old bottles and that grew into The Whisky Exchange – we’ll be celebrating our 20th year online later in 2019, and he’s been collecting even longer.

Why old and rare?

Whisky is far from static. Over the centuries of production, the spirit has changed hugely. From uisge-beatha, an unaged spirit infused with herbs – a proto-gin – it has gradually become the oak-matured whisky that we know and love today.

While we haven’t had a huge jump comparable to the ‘what happens if I put this in a cask?’ moment in recent times, whisky these days is not the same as that produced even as recently as the 1980s. Since the early 1980s, for example, regulations on sherry production have changed the way that sherry casks for whisky have been made; meaning that a sherry-matured whisky from that period might taste significantly different to one produced more recently. Step back further, to whisky distilled in the 1960s, and you can easily find large changes, especially in the types of casks used: bourbon casks revolutionised whisky making when they started appearing in the 1950s, imbuing whisky with new flavours which we now so often take for granted.

Learn more about sherry casks >

Some people like older whisky bottlings for collecting, but for us it’s all about taste. Seeing how the flavours created by the distillers, warehousemen and blenders have changed over the years. Old whiskies aren’t necessarily better, but they are different, and that difference is what we enjoy looking for.

First steps

One of the most common questions we’re asked is, ‘where do I start?’

With so many whiskies available, launching into the world of old and rare bottles can be daunting. But worry not – here are a few easy ways to start your journey.


Old Blends

One problem when first setting out to try older bottlings – especially single malts – is that they can be expensive. If you’re looking for a more reasonably priced place to start and develop your palate, then old blends are great.

The way that whisky has been blended has changed a lot over the years. Ratios of grain whisky to malt have shifted, with older blends often having much higher malt content than we find these days. 50% malt/grain recipes weren’t uncommon, compared to the 20% and lower malt whisky content that we usually find today.

The components of the blends were also quite different to today. Not only were the single malts not the same, with different yeasts, fermentation times and distillation techniques used, but the grain whisky has also changed. Changing tastes and new technology has led to a lighter style of whisky, both of grain whisky and modern blended whiskies.

Stepping back to the 1980s is enough to find whisky of a different style. If you find whiskies from the 1970s and earlier, with components often distilled in the 1960s and further back, things change even more. With just a few bottles you can start to unpick the recent history of whisky.

Buy old & rare blended whisky at The Whisky Exchange >

Whisky Clubs

Our next tip is sharing whisky. While that’s at the heart of all whisky for us, when it comes to old and rare whisky, especially more expensive bottles, it’s worth bringing together a like-minded group to share the costs and, more importantly, the experience. A whisky drunk with friends is almost always better than a whisky drunk alone.

Sharing the tasting experience is even more fun with old and rare whiskies than with modern bottlings. Comparing and contrasting your experience with others is better when the whiskies are unfamiliar, as old and rare drams almost certainly will be, at least to start with.

Outside of informal groups of friends, there are whisky clubs in most major cities around the world – a quick “whisky club” search should turn up at least one entry. And if not, why not start your own?

Bars and whisky shows

The single most useful thing for old and rare whisky fans is a place where they can try them without having to buy a full bottle. While many bars offer the chance to try recently bottled whiskies, there are far fewer that specialise in old and rare releases.

There are also a few whisky shows around the world that cater to an audience who want try interesting old whiskies, from Limburg’s Whisky Fair and the Whiskybase Gathering in Europe to an increasing number of shows in the far east. However, as you’d expect, we’d recommend heading to Glasgow at the end of February for our own event – The Whisky Show: Old & Rare.


In the end, the idea behind them all is the same: gather a selection of the top whisky shops and bars out there, as well as the world’s best-known collectors, hook them up with some whisky fans who want to buy their whisky to try by the dram, and let nature take its course.

Whisky Shows are almost always significantly cheaper than buying the same whiskies by the glass in a bar, with many also offering smaller sample sizes than you find in bars – a 1cl pour is standard at The Whisky Show: Old & Rare. You don’t need much of a whisky to be able to tease apart its character, and with 1cl pours you always have the chance to go back for more if you love a whisky. And one thing’s certain when you drinking old and rare whisky – you’ll find something you’ll love.

Originally published on The Whisky Exchange Blog – Old & Rare Whisky – Where do I start?

Garnheath 28 Year Old 1986 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Garnheath 28 Year Old

1986 vintage single cask of the rare single grain whisky distilled at the closed Moffat distilling complex. Garnheath 28 Year Old 1986 vintage Lowland single grain Scotch whisky. Distilled at the Moffat distilling complex in Airdrie which closed in 1986. Matured in a single bourbon cask #22156 bottled 2015 by The Vintage Malt Whisky Co. for the Cooper’s Choice series. 410 bottles.


The site of Moffat paper mills in Airdrie was converted into the Moffat whisky complex in 1965 by Inver House Distillers. The complex comprised three different sets of stills including Garnheath equipped with five column stills which produced grain spirit. The complex also included a maltings which contemporarily was the largest in Europe. Garnheath Distillery closed in 1986 and was demolished in 1988. Occasionally independent bottlings of single cask Garnheath grain whisky are released, most recently in the Cooper’s Choice and Carn Mor ranges.

Shop £490.16

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WhiskyFest Washington DC April 10th, 2019: Buy Tickets At Early Bird Prices – Whisky News


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 234: Strathmill 10 Year Old 2007 The Ultimate – Scotch Whisky News


Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 234: Strathmill 10 Year Old 2007 The Ultimate

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky blogger, tries a Strathmill. Did you know that Strathmill only got that name in 1994? Before that, she was called Glenisla-Glenlivet named after the Isla river nearby. But two decades ago she was renamed Strathmill in honor of the mill that was built there in 1823. There are hardly any official releases, because the lion’s share of production goes to the blenders with Justerini & Brooks as biggest customer. Mark, however, tries a very young independent Strathmill 2007 from the Dutch company Van Wees in their series ‘The Ultimate’.


Isle of Raasay Distillers


Attendees at The National Whisky Festival in Glasgow will be among the first in the world to preview the Isle of Raasay Single Malt Scotch Whisky during Head Distiller Iain Robertson’s Whisky Masterclass on Saturday 26th January.

Festival-goers will also be given an exclusive opportunity to reserve one of the first bottles of Isle of Raasay Single Malt in Scotch whisky history. Pre-orders for the first Raasay Single Malt will then be available on general release on from 14th February.

At the exclusive ‘Whisky Masterclass’, Raasay’s Head Distiller Iain Robertson will showcase the new-make spirit alongside cask samples from Raasay. Iain Robertson will conduct tastings of five different drams from specially selected rye, virgin oak and Bordeaux casks, exploring the blending, balance and finish that will characterise the first Isle of Raasay Distillery Scotch Whisky due to be released in 2020.

Visitors to the Raasay Distillery stand will also be able to sample Raasay While We Wait’s 2018 Release – a peaty yet fruity whisky that was created to represent the flavour profile of the future Raasay Single Malt. This is the fourth expression of the independent bottling launched in 2018 to mark one year since production began at Raasay Distillery and to kick-start the two-year countdown to the first bottling of Raasay whisky.

The National Whisky Festival will take place in the iconic SWG3 venue in Glasgow’s Kelvinhaugh as part of the largest winter music festival of its kind: Celtic Connections. Music has played a significant part in Raasay Distillery festivities since the Isle of Skye pipe band first welcomed guests at the 2017 grand opening, and since then as part of the regular ‘Raasay Tunes’ events, which celebrate a wealth of musical talent. The star line-up for Raasay Tunes in 2019 will also be revealed at the event in Glasgow.

Raasay Distillery is owned by independent Scottish whisky company R&B Distillers, which will also be showcasing its heritage brand The Tweeddale at The National Whisky Festival. Brand Ambassador Chris Hoban will be telling the story of the rebirth of the Tweeddale Blend with guests able to sample the 28-year-old Tweeddale: The Evolution and Tweeddale Grain of Truth Single Grain. Chris will also host a live blending session with a selection of Highland single malt and grain whisky, with a chance for guests to try the whisky blended during the class.


Raasay Distillery will be at Stand 25 in the Galvanizers Hall at The National Whisky Festival at Celtic Connections.

Tickets to The National Whisky Festival are priced at £37 and available to purchase on the website:

Places at R&B Distillers’ tasting events are limited with places allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the tasting events will be announced on the National Whisky Festival Facebook page.

ISLE OF RAASAY DISTILLERY Isle of Raasay Distillery opened in September 2017 and became the first “legal” distillery on the beautiful Hebridean island. Co-founded by Scottish entrepreneurs Bill Dobbie and Alasdair Day, Raasay Distillery is designed to produce a contemporary Scottish island malt and catapult Raasay into the global market as Scotland’s newest whisky producing island. Raasay Distillery is proud to be one of the few 100% Scottish-owned Scotch whisky businesses in Scotland. On the site of the Victorian-era Borodale House, formerly the Isle of Raasay Hotel, is a state-of-the-art modern distillery, offering year- round tours and luxury accommodation, with, arguably, the best view of any distillery in Scotland. The distillery has since received Five-Star Visitor Attraction rating and Four-Star Accommodation rating from VisitScotland for the visitor centre and accommodation respectively. Isle of Raasay Single Malt will be lightly peated and fruity, utilising the best of the island’s natural elements and reflecting Raasay’s rugged natural beauty. Raasay Distillery uses water from an ancient Celtic well located behind Borodale House at every stage of production, from mashing to fermentation, cask reduction and reduction to bottling strength, ensuring that natural flavours are retained in the final whisky.

Working with local crofters, Raasay Distillery has successfully grown and harvested barley in a nearby field, the first time that barley has been grown on Raasay in over 40 years. In August 2018, the team successfully produced spirit from the 2017 batch of Raasay barley crop, which will mature into the first ever single malt produced from Raasay-grown barley in 2021. Raasay While We Wait is an independently bottled single malt – which has been crafted as an accurate preview of Raasay Distillery’s future core style. Designed as a peaty and fruity single malt, each iteration of Raasay While We Wait has been crafted through the vatting of two malts from a single Highland distillery – heavily peated at 45ppm and unpeated – matured in bourbon barrels and finished in Tuscan Montechiari wine casks.

Raasay Distillery, Borodale House, Isle of Raasay, Kyle IV40 8PB Instagram/ Facebook: @raasaydistillery, Twitter: @RaasayWhisky

January 2019 Whisky Auctioneer Auction Now Live – Whisky News


 January 2019 Auction

is now LIVE!
Take a look at some of the incredible lots on offer this month.


Ardbeg Kingsbury

Kingsbury are Japan’s most sought after independent bottler. They were founded in 1989 by Eaglesome, the high-end deli in Campbeltown that was purchased by J & A Mitchell & Co of Springbank distillery, and turned into one of the region’s finest whisky merchants.


Hanyu Card Series

In 2015 Ichiro Akuto released the first four cards of his now widely sought after series. Now, 14 years later, there are 58 different expressions (13 of each suit, 2 jokers and a second edition of the first four released). This month we are delighted to feature a great selection of the popular collection.


Macallan Fine and Rare

Full of fantastic examples of old Macallan, the Fine and Rare series of whiskies was designed to represent the very best vintages that Macallan had to offer, dating back as far as 1926.


American Whiskey

The world of American Whiskey holds a vast array of spirits to explore with seemingly endless variety – from bourbon and rye to malt, corn and Tennessee whiskey.  The vintage, rare and old whiskies from America are truly a product of their time, more often than not holding a direct connection to historical events at the time.


Tullamore Private Stock circa 1950 / Daly’s

A fascinating piece of Irish whiskey heritage, this is a late 1950s / early 1960s bottling of Tullamore which will have been produced entirely at the original Daly’s distillery in County Offaly.

The Whisky Barrel “GlenDronach 26 Year Old New & Exclusive Sherry Butt” – Scotch Whisky News

GlenDronach 26 Year Old 1992 Twin Sherry Butts


New & Exclusive GlenDronach 26 Year Old 1992

We’re delighted to be bringing you two more single cask expressions of sherry matured Highland malt whisky from GlenDronach distillery. Exclusive to customers of The Whisky Barrel. This time two sherry butts.

GlenDronach 1992 Sherry Butt #179
GlenDronach 1992 Sherry Butt #180


We appreciate the high demand for GlenDronach, especially single cask vintages.


MONDAY 28 January 2019
5-AM EDT / 6-PM HKT / 10-AM GMT

As an existing TWB customer, we will email you a link to the product page at this time before the product is visible across the website.

On Sale – MONDAY 28 January 2019

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society “A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME” – Scotch Whisky News

SMWS Jan19a

SMWS Jan19b

We’re encouraging you to quench your thirst for knowledge and explore new experiences this month as you delve into our colourful collection of single casks. We’ve released five preview bottlings to whet your appetite ahead of our February Outturn. Only a limited number of bottles are available now, with the full Outturn coming your way on Friday, 1 February at 9am. Order now before they’re gone


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 Good Dram Show – Episode 297 ‘Gordon & MacPhail’ – Scotch Whisky News

Chris Goodrum

Welcome to this weeks episode of the show, in which I’ll be looking at a selection of bottlings by Gordon & MacPhail.

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