Archive for October, 2019

Macallan Speymalt 14 Year Old 2005 – 2019 Release at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

Macallan Speymalt 2005 (2019)

New 2019 bottling of Macallan from Gordon & MacPhail for the Speymalt series. This 14 year old 2005 vintage has matured in sherry wood. A very popular single malt which won’t last long!

Shop – Macallan Speymalt 2005 – $86.08

Introducing GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8 at The Whisky Shop – Scotch Whisky news

Introducing GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8

This Cask Strength release from The GlenDronach is the 8th edition in the series from the renowned Speyside distillery. Matured for 10 years in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks before being selected for bottling by Master Blender, Rachel Barrie, this expression is presented at a natural cask strength of 61% abv and offers a deeper insight into the characteristic GlenDronach profile.

70cl / 61% abv

Scotch Malt Whisky Society “Something special is in the air” – Scotch Whisky News

It’s that time of year when something special is in the air, whisky season is on the horizon making us feel magical. Enjoy a preview selection of casks from November’s First Friday Outturn, guaranteed to melt hearts and leave a warm fuzzy feeling.

A limited number of preview bottles are available ahead of the full release on Friday, 1 November at 9am. Click over to our website now before these preview releases disappear.




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


Whisky Wednesday Reviews Macallan Edition 5 – Scotch Whisky News

American Oak, BRIGHT PURPLE…OR IS IT PINK? A new Master Blender and a fresh look at Macallan, does it live up to the hype of Editions 2 & 4?

Whisky Reviews every Wednesday ~ ~ ~

Cask Trade launches creating an honest marketplace to trade whisky by the cask – Cask Whisky News

Cask Trade launches creating an honest marketplace to trade whisky by the cask

This month saw the launch of Cask Trade – the first real and trustworthy marketplace for trading single malt whisky casks.

Whisky experts, bottlers, collectors and journalists came together for the launch of Cask Trade at 67 Pall Mall, London, on Monday 7th October.

Guests heard a presentation on whisky investment by the owner, Simon Aron, before a tasting of six cask strength whiskies. All of the tasted whiskies were in casks owned by Cask Trade including Glenlivet 1978 and Aberlour 1989. The tasting was given by Keeper of the Quaich Sir Colin Hampden-White and the world’s leading authority on whisky Charlie MacLean.

Serial entrepreneur and angel investor Simon Aron’s aim is to build an open and honest marketplace for whisky collectors, investors and whisky bottlers, to trade. Cask Trade is unique in that it only deals in casks of single malt whisky it owns. It is not a whisky cask broker and it does not sell shares in whisky funds or offer fractional sales.

In his presentation, Simon shared example figures on a mixed portfolio investment of £100,000. A total of 14 whisky casks purchased for £100,000 would appreciate at an average increase of 13-18% a year (over 4-6 years), generating a gross return of more than £214,000, an increase of 114%.

He also revealed future plans for the business that are revolutionary and innovative. 

At the tasting this week, Charlie MacLean welcomed the launch of Cask Trade and the stringent checks and processes the business has in place. “It’s terribly important to evaluate by nosing and tasting the whiskies that you are selling. It’s so important not to sell a pup. I’ve come across companies and individual casks that have really been below par,” says Charlie who added age is not a guarantee of quality.

To view a live stock list, register an account today at

“All casks are owned by Cask Trade and whiskies are listed at a uniform price. – You won’t find casks being brokered here and are no different trade and retail prices either. We regularly check our casks, provide samples and arrange re-gauges. On our new live auction site, which is a world’s first, there is also a 0% sellers fee at auction. We can even arrange movement, bottling and shipment,” says Simon, who explains provenance and quality are ensured by the stringent application process.

Cask Trade has started the first live auction website dedicated to exceptional whisky casks:

Hosted four times a year, the auction helps private owners and investors sell their casks to independent bottlers and other investors all around the world. All casks will be re-gauged ready for auction and a full 70cl sample will be drawn so that bidders have the opportunity to try the whisky before they buy – wherever possible. Cask Trade validate all the sellers confirming proof of ownership and the history of the cask enabling bidders to safely buy. With complete transparency and 0% sellers’ fee Cask Trade can offer customers the actual hammer price. Their low buyers’ fee of 15% + VAT will offer the opportunity to buyers, trade or private, to buy fine and rare casks.

The first auction will take place on 20th November 2019.

Picture Caption: Sir Colin Hampden-White, Charles MacLean and Simon Aron

A link to images from Monday’s event can be found here:


Founded in 2018 by Simon Aron in partnership with several of the world’s foremost whisky masters, including Keeper of the Quaich Sir Colin Hampden-White, Cask Trade buys and sells exceptional casks of whiskies. The company is unique because it only sells casks it owns outright, and it only sells whole casks: it is not a whisky cask broker and it does not offer fractional sales.

A passionate whisky collector for more than 20 years, Simon Aron suffered many false promises from cask whisky investment companies and this drove his ambition to create a real and trustworthy market place for whisky collectors and investors, and bottlers:

The company’s casks are held in HMRC bonded warehouses, regularly visited and approved by Cask Trade’s experience staff. All stock holdings have a complete paper trail:

  • Delivery orders from supplier to Cask Trade
  • Invoices for transfer of ownership, storage insurance, re-gauging, sampling or movement
  • HMRC-issued WOWGR (warehouse keepers, warehouse premises, owner of goods and registered consigners): a fully regulated and closely monitored license requiring due diligence on suppliers as well as customers.

Included in its extensive list of customer services, Cask Trade’s rigorous processes means that the company will buy back from its clients the casks they have bought from and had managed by Cask Trade. It also offers:

  • Regular sampling and re-gauging of casks
  • Re-racking (sherry, wine, port, etc.)
  • Estimates of bottles and strength in cask (effects of angels’ share over years of maturations)
  • Financial modelling for each cask based on age and rarity with estimated % returns
  • Costings for bottling, labelling and shipping (duty & tax)
  • Regularly updated whisky investment guide which includes statistics from two authoritative third parties (independent of Cask Trade)
  • Cask Trade will arrange for clients to receive samples of their whiskies and visit their barrel(s), upon request – where available.

Hosted four times a year and helping private owners/investors sell their cask to independent bottlers and other investors all around the world. All casks will be re-gauged ready for auction and a full 70cl sample will be drawn so that bidders have the opportunity to try the whisky before they buy. – Wherever possible. We validate all the sellers and confirm proof of ownership and the history of the cask enabling bidders to safely buy. With complete transparency and no sellers’ fee we can offer you the actual hammer price. Our low buyers’ fee of 15% + VAT will offer the opportunity to buyers, trade or private, to buy rare casks. 

Simon Aron

Simon Aron is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He has a background in technology, commercial property and agriculture. Aged 23, in 1990 he founded his first business, Eurodata Systems plc. He grew the business to 180 employees with a turnover of $50 million in just over 20 years. During that time Eurodata won 22 business awards and Simon was Plimsoll Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 (

Simon is currently the Vice President of Agrovision ( which includes a 24,000-hectare farm in Peru and is the one of the world’s largest supplier of blueberries. The company operates with special care for the natural conservation of the land and environment, and it strives to make a positive impact on its local communities through employment opportunities and training, health care, educational and recreational programs, infrastructure projects, and other charitable programs.

Amongst his extensive charity work, Simon is also a trustee of Ort UK (, which is part of a global network that empowers young people through life-changing science and technology education and vocational training. “Having spent time with hundreds of IT Directors, working on their technology strategies, I believe that I can apply my knowledge to the next generation and even re-educate people on how to use IT to better enhance their lives and careers. Education in certain parts of the world is the only path to follow to counteract a vicious circle with no way out. ORT UK gives me the opportunity to make a difference; it’s a fantastic charity with a long heritage in education since 1880.”

Sir Colin Hampden-White

Sir Colin is Keeper of the Quaich and sits on the judging panel at the World Whisky Awards and International Wine & Spirits (IWSC) competition. He also presents on The Three Drinkers global TV show on Amazon Prime and is Chairman of the Circle of Wine Writers.

Colin has taken an unconventional route into the world of whisky. A trained quantity surveyor, in 2001 Colin decided to follow one of his passions and he moved into the world of media as a professional photographer. After several years at the Scotsman, he moved to London to work with The Times and The FT. There he was able to combine photography with wider journalism and became a freelance writer as well. His focus was fine wine and whisky for Condé Nast and LUX magazine. In 2012 he won the Louis Roederer Award for Artistry in wine.

Whisky Price Growth

Whisky, according to the recent Knight Frank Wealth Report, is 2019’s top performing luxury investment. With an increase of 40% on rare bottle values in the last 12 months, it far outstripped the more established alternative assets such as art, wine and cars.

From page 78 –

Data collected by Rare Whisky 101 suggests the four-year growth from December 2014 in rare whisky has increased over 160%, compared to just 2.47% for the FTSE 100.

The same report by Rare Whisky 101 claimed via the BBC that they had performed a controlled test of 55 rare bottles, of which over a third were fakes.

Luxury Christmas Gift: Bespoke 30 litre casks from Raasay Distillery – Scotch Whisky News

Proud to chart its own course, Raasay Distillery‘s ex-Speyside Scotch whisky oak casks are available to purchase on the distillery’s website and are priced from £999. The smaller casks make the island’s first expression more accessible to whisky lovers across the world and having been made using wood from ex-Speyside casks, they have ensured that the flavour of the final whisky are finely balanced.The smaller casks will sit proudly alongside the 190 litre first-fill ex-American whiskey casks which are also available to purchase online at £5000.

All Raasay spirit is produced and distilled on the island, using only Scottish barley, distillers’ yeast and mineral-rich water sourced and filtered directly from a Celtic well on site. A long fermentation period brings a rich, characterful flavour to the Raasay spirit before it even touches the oak of a cask. While the whisky matures, cask owners can come and visit their cask, staying in Raasay Distillery’s four-star accommodation: Borodale House. After the whisky is bottled, owners can also keep their empty cask as a treasured memento.

Raasay is now also part of Caskshare which allows whisky lovers to reserve ‘shares’ of whisky casks from their favourite distilleries, choosing between a wide variety of wood types and ages as the whisky matures. Single cask bottles of Raasay Single Malt will then be sent directly to buyers upon maturation, or even traded on this new leading-edge technology platform. Described as ‘crowdfunding for whisky’ customers can pre-order cask ‘shares’ from their distillery of choice via the Craft Whisky Club website.

Scotch Whisky Auctions “Auction #103 is now LIVE and it is going to be a ‘monster’ auction… – Auction Whisky News


Chieftain’s Final Batch—Last Chance at Single Casks from an Iconic Brand – at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Final Releases from a Cherished Single Malt Bottler
“There may never be another grouping of casks quite like this one.”
— David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

Chieftain’s, one of Scotland’s most inspired bottlers, has decided to end its single malt program. This is disappointing news for the legions of fans this iconic brand has garnered over the years. With a history of offering some of the rarest and most exciting whiskies in the market, Chieftain’s has proven time and again it knows precisely what makes for a world-class single malt. Based on our past success with Chieftain’s and our utter adoration of the brand, we sought out the best of their remaining casks. This swan song set is arguably the finest we’ve encountered from this treasured bottler. Caperdonich, Benriach, Laphroaig, and Ledaig are all represented and are pitch-perfect renditions from these distilleries. While Chieftain’s may come at a premium, what you get are some of the very best single malts to be found in all of Scotland. We urge you to scroll below to learn what makes each of these bottlings so special. We are selling these on pre-arrival, offering you the opportunity to lock in the bottles you want (these are sure to disappear quickly) for significantly less than their “on-the-shelf” price. If you’ve never enjoyed a bottle from Chieftain’s, you simply must add these singular expressions to your collection.

For more on this iconic brand, check out David Othenin-Girard’s recent On the Trail post.

1997 Ledaig 21 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Sherry Butt Island Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Pre-Arrival)

The odd and wonderful Tobermory distillery is one of Scotland’s most picturesque and divisive. Only the Jura Distillery has more disparate opinions of their products. But something that almost every peat lover can agree on is the fact that the distiller’s peated line, Ledaig, is an absolute dream. And it’s remained in relative obscurity until recently. We’ve had a good deal of independents offer us Ledaig over the years, but it’s almost always young stocks in very quiet hogsheads. That’s simply because the mark is only produced a few weeks out of the year and is turning out to be pretty sought-after by drinkers across the world, so we’re not seeing high quality older expressions very often. When we do, it’s NEVER in sherry. This distillery needs these barrels for their limited releases and rightfully so – there’s nothing better than an old, smoldering Ledaig in an active sherry. No cask this year will offer more deliciousness for your dollar. Old, peated, cask-strength sherry butt from a tiny distiller for under $150.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 15, 2019

This absolutely gorgeous Ledaig is easily going to qualify as one of the best buys of the year. It’s hard to argue that Ledaig isn’t one of the most exciting spirits coming out of Scotland these days, but the distillery bottlings are getting more and more expensive. That the Tobermory Distillery has also been closed for the last two years doesn’t do anything to ease the price pressures of this small operation. Regardless of the incredible price compared to distillery bottlings, this cask will almost certainly be a total sleeper. Not because it lacks merit in any sense, but simply because it’s not as flashy or obvious as the rest of the line up from Chieftain’s. Nonetheless, those who take the plunge will be rewarded with one of the most complex whiskies in our portfolio this year. A nose of smoldering cigars and high-end soy sauce. It’s not so abruptly peaty on the nose, but deeply umami with a wide range of savory aromas that make you instantly salivate. The sherry is definitely there, but we’re on the sweet roasted orange peel side of the spectrum rather than the raisins and roasted nuts. On the palate, the saltiness starts to take over, and there’s definitely more obvious peat. Smoked fish, smoked herbs, smoked meats, salty, dense sooty and savory. Some dried citrus, nut butter, and sweet barrel spice to balances out the absurdity of it all. This one may not be for everyone, but it’s damned delicious and absolutely unique.

1997 Benriach 21 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Single Rum Barrel Aged Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($149.99)

We could once bottle wonderful casks of BenRiach distillery directly at extremely reasonable prices and with no trouble. This unusual distillery has always been a favorite of ours, filled with experiments left over from their corporate past and their adventurous new owners. It’s one of the few Speysides to still boast a malt floor, and it was always exciting to see the unusual experiments that were hiding in the old warehouses at BenRiach. But at some point in the last five years, the prices climbed into the stratosphere, and when the distillery sold to Brown Forman, our hopes of seeing reasonably priced, old single casks dwindled. Honestly, you can’t really blame them for raising their prices, but it is difficult for us to justify continuing to purchase single casks at significantly higher prices. Our customers are too savvy for that. Not to say there isn’t a market for it, but we simply can’t sell 20-year-old malt for $500 unless there’s something seriously special about it. So, it’s particularly satisfying to see exceptional casks work their way out of the system. This wonderful BenRiach, aged for 21 years and finished in fresh rum barrel for more than 3 years, is our cask strength answer to the Balvenie 21 year. The malty beast that is BenRiach is trained into perfect submission after years in an old rum barrel. The resulting whisky is extremely polished, supple, and packed full of tropical fruit. The price is astonishing, but this whisky is about more than just value. Only 220 bottles available.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2019

This lovely cask of Benriach is the first we’ve bottled from the distillery in some time. While it’s nothing like the densely sherried monsters we once bottled, it is one of my favorite Riach’s to date. An incredibly fresh nose of clean roasted malt and tropical fruit. Tiny drop of water to start. There’s no rum esters funk, which I was kind of hoping for, but instead more of an agricole quality. Around that, a buttery creaminess that is unbelievably decadent. Massive bouquets of yellow flowers, honeysuckles, and sunflowers, papaya and pineapple. On the palate, rich and textured, full of malt and fruit. The oak surprisingly takes a back seat despite more than three years in rum casks. It’s hard to say exactly what the rum did or didn’t do here, but the ultimate result is absolutely dreamy.

2005 Laphroaig 13 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Sherry Butt Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($149.99)

The magical distillery on the south shore of Islay is quite unlike any other. But Laphroaig has a certain place in the hearts of the hardest core peat lovers. They’re the last distiller down there to malt a portion of their barley on site. Their complex system of tiny stills creates the most peculiar and enticing peated spirit in the world. The quality and consistency of their casks is second to none. But over the last decade, what was once a staple in the independent bottling repertoire has completely disappeared. Laphroaig is simply not selling casks any longer. And when we do find casks, they’re usually in very inactive hogsheads and declassified to their trade name, “Williamson.” Now that’s not a huge problem, because Laphroaig always tastes good. But bottlers can’t replace even those few casks, so the prices have gone absolutely bonkers. Signatory recently bottled Laphroaig from the fall of 1997 for $700, from a sister cask to those we sold here just three years ago for $200. And by god, those bottles sell. But a beautiful butt for a not completely abhorrent price? We jumped all over it. Thank the Lord of the Isles that we did, as it’s a complete and utter masterpiece. Some purists eschew the idea of Laphroaig in active sherry, but much of the experience is limited to low-proof distillery bottlings and finishes. It’s truly a stupendous find and is going to be one of those casks that people remember for years to come. Collectors and drinkers alike take note.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2019

Laphroaig is one of those incredible things that is both polarizing and unifying, sometimes between the same people at the same exact time. I personally adore almost everything I taste from this special distillery. Yes, there are some underwhelming distillery bottlings that might feel a bit over-manipulated, but the whisky is never bad. The great heights that can be achieved by Laphroaig are truly unbelievable. Nor do some of the very best of this special distillery need to be old. Some of the very best Laphroaig I’ve ever had the great pleasure of tasting are no more than 10 years old. And for years, Laphroaig felt like a bit of a secret that you weren’t sure you wanted to share with everyone you knew. That was particularly true of the special single casks that we’d come across in warehouses and whisky shops throughout Scotland. But in the current climate, where the distillery itself has no need or use for trading or brokering excess production, what was once a special secret to find and share is now an endangered species completely. So, when we get offered casks like this, we expect them to be unfathomably expensive. But even if this were twice the price, I’d still have bought it. This is that perfectly idiosyncratic Laphroaig. Deep, wafting peat, a mix of bitter herbs, salty ocean trawler, candied apricots, and diesel engine. Old leather furniture, Seville oranges, not quite tropical, but not so severe as it might be. On the palate a building sweetness envelopes the powerful smoke as it wafts toward the olfactory system. Dark chocolate, salted plums, menthol and magic. A total dream and a secret that deserves to be kept.

1995 Caperdonich 24 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single 2nd Fill Sherry Hogshead Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($349.99)

The enigmatic Caperdonich Distillery is extremely rare, built in 1897 and named “Glen Grant #2,” Caperdonich by J. & J. Grant in the town of Rothes. Only five short years later, the Pattison whisky crisis shuttered the gleaming new distillery. It lay dormant for 60 more years before Glenlivet rebuilt it and resumed production. The name Caperdonich, meaning “secret well,” was adopted due to new regulation prohibiting multiple distilleries from sharing the same name. It was purchased again in 1977 by Seagrams, who sold it to Pernod Ricard in 2001. Pernod ultimately closed the relatively small output distillery the following year along with Braeval, BenRiach and Allt-A-Bhainne. Those three siblings would find second lives in the subsequent whisky boom, but Caperdonich was not so lucky. Eventually demolished completely in 2010, Caperdonich has not really achieved cult status in the whisky collector’s pantheon because of a complete lack of availability. It’s so rare that few modern collectors have even had the chance to taste it. In its short life, it never had an official bottling, but certain casks have become legendary. When we tasted this, we knew we had to have it. On the label, the cask type is listed simply “Hogshead,” but the dark color and heady sherry notes can’t be missed. Caperdonich and sherry are an absolute match made in heaven, and this is a very active 2nd fill hoggie here. You won’t regret becoming part of Caperdonich’s hidden legacy.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2019

I was not expecting to see what I saw when we received this sample. When I saw old, expensive Caperdonich on the list, I figured it would be just like the other handful of Caperdonichs we’d seen over the years. That is to say, subtle and overpriced. The ones that tended to pop up were in 3rd and 4th fill, and while they were often delicious, they were too ethereal to merit those high prices. But when I saw the color on this monster, I knew we’d stumbled on something else completely. This bad boy is absolutely packed full of dark, roasty flavors. Big, bold spice, smoldering embers, high quality pipe tobacco, caramelized apple, and burnt citrus peel. This was a very active cask, indeed. Big, oily, rich, and long in the mouth, with lots of peppery and sweet, raisin-y stone fruit. The finish has a savory quality that’s hard to pinpoint – maybe some wasabi or habanero in the tiniest, most perfect addition to the massively complex package. Of course, many will balk at the price, but this is a rarity that actually justifies the inflated price point. You’ll be one of only 150 people in the world to experience and what is undoubtedly one of the last Caperdonichs we’ll ever see.

Maltstock in a Podcast – Whisky News

Maltstock in One Nation Under whisky podcast

Those of you who attended Maltstock probably have seen Jason and Joshua probing their microphone under peoples noses during the weekend. In their never ending search for relaxed content for the excellent Single Cask Nation podcast they ended up with Teun in the middle of the night…

Ah well, it’s only a good hour of your time. 😉

Annette, Bob, Klaas, Stan and Teun

The Good Dram Show – Episode 337 ‘Tomatin & Cu Bocan’ – Scotch Whisky News

This weeks episode of the show takes a look at the re-vamped Cu Bocan range as well as a couple of new limited edition releases from Tomatin.

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