Archive for May, 2020

Sullivans Cove: The Art of Blending – Tasmanian Whisky News



Sullivans Cove Distillery is mostly known for our award-winning single cask whiskies. These whiskies are carefully selected from our most complex and intriguing casks, decanted at the peak of flavour and character after being closely monitored and tasted many times, and bottled one cask at a time so that each can express its own unique characteristics. But individual casks that shine completely unblended are a rare and elusive thing. Ask any distiller, and they’ll tell you that most casks will turn out perfectly well, but generally lacking the depth of character to go it alone. That’s why single cask whiskies tend to be a lot less common and more expensive than standard single malt expressions, known as “vattings”, which make use of many barrels mixed together.

Most distilleries will either focus on large-scale vattings tens of thousands of bottles at a time, or single cask bottlings, and not much in between. But at Sullivans Cove, small batch blending is key to our Double Cask expressions. Unlike commercial distilleries, our vatted expressions are painstakingly constructed in very small batches from just a handful of casks.

According to Sullivans Cove Head Distiller, Heather Tillott, “It really comes down to listening to the spirit, as each cask will tell us where it’s meant to be. Some casks want to stand on their own- they are complex, well-rounded, well-balanced and interesting. They want the spotlight, and I say let them have it! But these superstar casks are the minority, so when they come along we can’t look past them, and we dress them up in a Single Cask outfit.”“The majority of casks, on the other hand, are their best selves when they’re matched with others. They’re the team players, they work together and complement each other to achieve the things that those Single Casks manage to achieve on their own. Most casks have a particular strength, so when you mindfully put them together you can balance out their traits to find a very happy place, like recruiting players for a well-rounded sports team.”

At most single malt distilleries, standard releases are made by vatting together hundreds or thousands of casks. By doing this, commercial brands can create a consistent style because any outlier casks with odd flavours will be diluted among all the others. In this way, most single malts aim for an average flavour profile. It’s more about maths than carefully selected casks: x% of ex-bourbon casks + y% of ex sherry casks = the flavour profile that the consumer will recognise, batch after batch and year after year.

But to do this, you need access to thousands of mature casks from the same distillery. At Sullivans Cove, we only bottle a total of about 50 casks of whisky every year, not nearly enough for large-scale vatted expressions based on averages and equations.

Even what most other distilleries would call “small batch” would dwarf Sullivans Cove by orders of magnitude. Our Double Cask batches are genuinely small, only producing around 1,000-1,500 bottles each, and that means we have to take a unique approach to blending. It takes time to get each batch just right by tasting and smelling and blending, sometimes for months at a time. That’s why we release only four or five batches every year, every single one a labour of love.

As our vatted expressions only contain whisky from a handful of casks, that blending process is critical. We build our Double Cask batches like you might create a perfume, with each cask representing a critical element of the final product. One cask might be selected for its rich and creamy texture, another for bright fruit and floral notes, one for a lingering finish, etc.

According to Heather, “I have a rule of thumb when it comes to the basic percentages of cask styles in any batch, but it’s only a guideline. That’s because every cask is unique, and the mature casks we have available at any one time will change. It’s like making an omelette from what’s growing in your garden; last week it had zucchini in it and this week it has peas, but it always has eggs and black pepper. The only way to figure out how the casks will work together (or not!) is to get your nose in there and work it out, one blend at a time.”

Heather pours over these cask samples for days at a time, using each to come up with the perfectly balanced blend. Some casks will be used in their entirety, while others will only be used a few litres at a time for a subtle influence across multiple batches. Heather says, “It absolutely takes time and a lot of patient detail work. 1L of liquid in 1,000 can make a noticeable difference, so getting it right every time is both beautiful and daunting!”

A typical blending day for Heather looks something like this: “I won’t go into the distillery, but rather work from home so I can offer the task my full concentration. I’ll start by prepping mind and body as much as the palate with some form of rhythmic exercise (cycling, rowing or yoga) and try to clear my mind. I’ve got to be quiet and still to hear the liquid- the liquid always knows when you are edgy. It will give you edges in return! So I get myself set up with my samples, no loud music, bright lights, perfume, lotions, candles, or other things that have an obvious scent or could otherwise distract me, and make sure my palate is clean with no dairy, coffee, black tea, salty things and absolutely no sugar. I basically eat plain porridge cooked in water the morning of a blending day.”

“I’ll be set up on my dining room table, surrounded by stacks of glasses, sample bottles, measuring cylinders and syringes, a notebook and a laptop. Each iteration is done on a very small scale, so there’s a lot of minute moving of liquid (i.e. using a syringe!). There’s a lot of nosing, tasting and staring into space. It’s super repetitive. If I’m not in a patient mood, then it’s not a day for blending. But when I’m in the right mood, I won’t stop until I’ve hunted it down. My partner will tell you how I’m on a somewhat crazed mission until I find the right blend match.”“I start by tasting a recent batch of Double Cask to give myself a baseline and get in the zone, going over the data for each component to check the volumes and ABV’s are correct. Then I get into nosing over my cask samples to spark the memory – these are the paints on my palette. I look at the previous iterations of the current batch I’m working on, which will guide what I’m trying to achieve for the day. Where am I? What’s missing? What’s there too much of? I plan out my trials for the day on paper, then put them together and dilute them. I’d do this 2-3 times on a blending day, with breaks for other work in between.”

“To come up with the final recipe, I usually start with half a dozen rough options, and then choose the best 2 or 3 from those. I then refine the best ones and put them all up against each other. That continues until there’s a clear winner. It’s kind of like the Olympics. So in the end each batch would have gone through roughly 30 iterations, some way more (pesky darlings) and some less.

“The final version has to have recognizable Sullivans Cove Double Cask attributes and be a good representation of our spirit and maturation style. It also has to be delicious, to make me want to drink more. It has to be interesting, complex, good breadth through the nose and across the palate, and have good length. The narrative has to be deep and right the whole way through. When it’s finally right, I’ll pour over the recipe again to ensure it’s perfect, and then send through the plan to our distillers, who will carefully marry all of the components. The last step is our very gentle dilution and settling process which usually takes about three months before we can finally bottle the whisky and send it out, ready to drink.”

We’re almost ready to release our next batch of Double Cask Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky, which we will announce shortly via this email. See the details of this upcoming release via the link below, and if you ever have any questions about how we make our products, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Malt Messenger Bulletin by Andrew Ferguson Late May 2020 Part Two – Whisky News



In Case You Missed It: Berry’s Orkney Islands 1998 KWM Cask 21 Year

We have a New KWM Exclusive Cask of Highland Park!

It’s here, our 2nd Berry’s Orkney Islands (aka Highland Park) Cask!

Our last Orkney Island Cask from Berry Bros., an 18 Year, sold out in less than 2 months. We don’t expect this 21 year old to last much longer… Distilled in 1998 and matured in a Refill Hogshead, Cask Ref 17. 342 total bottles, bottled at 53.0% exclusively for Kensington Wine Market.

Berry’s Orkney Islands 1998 21 Year KWM – 53.0% – Refill Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, honeyed and floral with delicate fruits; dried apricot, juicy orange, baked apples and grilled pineapple; soft, ashy, earthy smoke and toasted oak; chewy malt and candied ginger. Palate: soft, creamy, floral and smoky with juicy fruits; buttery with more baked apples, grilled pineapple and dried apricot; soft muddy peat, salty maritime tones and clean ashy smoke; toasted oak and crisp spices: cinnamon stick and licorice root; white chocolate, almond paste and baked French pastries; creamed heather honey, Earl Grey creme brule and butterscotch pudding. Finish: creamy, juicy and floral with clean smoke; buttery, oily and very fruity with more pastries; long, lush and layered. Comment: as with our last Berry’s Highland Park, this one will not appeal to those who are looking for something like the distillery bottled 18, 21 or 25 Year; especially the most recent releases; but that misses the bigger point, which is that this honeyed, lightly peated and very fruity malt is quite simply sublime.” – $160

In Case You Missed It: the Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2  

It is official, “Ferg in Front of the Store” is Officially Half Sold! 

360+ Bottles Sold In Just Over Two Weeks

Though it has only been with us for exactly two weeks, today, the Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2 “Ferg in Front of the Store” is already half sold, with 300+ of the 600 bottles having already found homes… Our 4th KWM exclusive Glenfarclas Cask Strength bottling, not a single cask, but rather a batch of their 15 Year, bottled for KWM at Cask Strength. We don’t get to pick or approve the bottling, we just have to trust them that it will be good. So far they have a perfect batting average, 4 for 4! Our last Glenfarlcas KWM Cask Strength, the 21 Year “Ferg in the Spey”, sold out in 8 weeks. We are calling this new bottling, which features our fearless leader (not my words), the “Scotch Guy”, standing in front of the iconic entrance to our shop: “Ferg in Front of the Store”… it is the second release in the “Andrew’s Ego Collection”… we are already working on the 3rd release, due next year, a 25 Year!

Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2 – 56.6% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big, rich and spicy; chocolate covered espresso beans; licorice Fisherman’s Friends, cinnamon sticks, candied ginger and firm new leather; candied nuts, mincemeat and earthy Oloroso sherry; dark chocolate with a touch of chili oil. Palate: big, round, rich and spicy; loads of soft, coating toasty oak; more candied nuts and loads of spices: cinnamon sticks, candied ginger, candied fennel seeds and salty licorice chews; orange peel and mincemeat, moving in the direction of Christmas cake; underneath the weight of the drying, spicy sherry more exotic fruits linger; melons, mango, papaya and grilled pineappe; more chocolate covered espresso beans, dark chocolate with chili oil and Cuban cigar tobacco. Finish: long, drying, coating and rich; this is full throttle sherry from start to finish; warming but balanced, elegant and dangerously drinkable. Comment: unlike our single casks, we don’t have the opportunity to pre-screen our Glenfarclas Cask Strength bottlings; but they are now 4 for 4, and have yet to disappoint; they keep offering us generous layups just begging to be slam dunked!” – $110

KWM Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings 

A First Stab at the Temporary New Normal!

For months we’ve been receiving requests about hosting virtual tastings while we live through social distancing. While we liked the idea, frankly the last 8 weeks were just too crazy for us to even wrap our heads around the idea. We are finally settling in to a new groove, and able to start looking at ways to connect with our customers and friends. We are still not sure of any regulations around pouring samples from full bottles for at home tasting, and until we have guidance from the AGLC we can’t look at that, but…

We have a great selection of 50ml bottled whiskies at KWM, and a gift pack ripe for conversion into Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings. To start we have put together 4 tasting lineups, 3 of which are now open for registration. If there is demand and interest in these, we will roll out the 4th tasting and maybe some others in the weeks ahead.

These tastings will be sold, much like our traditional tastings, at a set price. You can register in-store, online or by phone. Each tasting includes 5 whiskies. Participants can pick up their whiskies in-store, or request delivery (please don’t wait until the last minute). A few days before the tasting participants will be contacted with details on how to attend the tasting virtually. All are limited to between 20 and 24 people, and available on a first serve basis.

Here are our first, KWM Virtual At Home Whisky Tastings:


  1. Elements of Islay Sherry Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 4, 8PM – 5x 30ml – The Elements of Islay tasting kits are perfect for a Socially Distanced at Home Tasting… The Sherry Edition contains five 30ml bottles of Elements of Islay whisky, four of them at cask strength. The tasting will include Elements of Islay Peat, Bn7 (Bunnahabhain), Cl11 (Caol Ila), Lp9 (Laphroaig) and Pl5 (Port Charlotte). – $55 – *9 Spots Remaining*

  1. Mature, Rare & Interesting Malts  Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 18, 8PM – 5x50ml – You don’t often see older whiskies in 50ml format, but we have put together a range of whiskies 18 to 22 years of age. There is also a curious wild card in the range, a mature NAS whisky at cask strength. Our range: Glenfarclas 21 Year, Glen Scotia Victoriana, Loch Lomond 18 Year, SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM Cask and the Tomatin 18 Year. – $75 *ONLY 4 SPOTS REMAINING*

  1. Peat Freaks Virtual Tasting – Thursday June 25, 8PM. – 5x50ml – A celebration of all things peated, just before we head into the hottest months of the year. We will sample 5 whiskies, all from 50ml bottles including: Ardbeg An Oa, Ballechin 10 Year, Black Mountain Fumees, Kilchoman 2011 KWM Cask 770 and the Shelter Point Smoke Point. – $50 *11 Spots Remaining*

SAVE 25% on the Spirit of Hven Tycho’s Star  

A Very Interesting Peated Single Malt from Sweden!

We got a deal, so we are passing on the Savings! This is a lovely lightly peated Swedish single malt from the tiny island of Ven (Hven) in the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. The island is most famous for its association with Tycho Brahe, the Danish Astronomer who as Lord of the island had its residents build two observatories for him. The Hven Distillery produces Tycho’s Star single malt from heavily peated Pale Ale malt. The spirit is matured in a mix of American and French oak. The whisky is natural colour, unchill filtered and bottled in wax sealed 500ml beaker bottles.

The whisky is very good, I really should get a tasting note out on it… I paid a visit a couple of years ago and was very impressed by their operation! They also happen to produce and excellent Gin, limited edition releases of the whisky, and other spirits.

Sprit of Hven Tycho’s Star Single Malt – 41.8% – American & French Oak – Producer Tasting Note: “Without water: the whisky shows fruitiness, coated by a mild, balanced and very clear smokiness. The scent of barley is complemented by notes of coconut and almonds. The taste is fresh with distinct smokiness and straightforward maltiness, the sweetness from the American oak is well balanced with the stringency of the French oak. With water: the whisky uncovers the soft balanced notes of the barley mash-bill, the chocolate malt becomes more evident and the smoke and peat a bit rounder. The fruitiness matures a fraction and moves to ripe apples and hints of liquorice. There are notes of honey and fudge together with sweet wine aromas and wet wood jetty. The taste is well balanced with medium long aftertaste, an enticing smokiness combined with an oiliness shows that the whisky has not been chill filtered and the round maturity really comes from the cask maturation.” – Regular $120 – SAVE 25% – $89.99+gst (while stocks last)

SAVE 20% on the Cotswold Single Malt  

English Floor Malted Single Malt – Made Slowly with Local Barley!

We got a deal, so we are passing on the Savings! The Cotswolds Single Malt is made from 100% locally grown floor malted barley which is slowly distilled after a long fermentation. Owner Dan Szor while showing me around the distillery a couple of years ago gave me one of the most succinct explanations for why a long fermentation is so important. Using a banana as a point of reference he asked “when does a banana smell its most fragrant? When it is turning black and on the verge of rotting. Rotting fruit gives off the fruitiest esters!” The whisky is matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels and reconditioned ex-Red Wine Casks.

Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky – 46% – Matured in American Oak and Reconditioned ex-Wine Barriques – My Tasting Note: “Nose: warm, buttery, almond paste filled croissants; big orange citrus and Scottish shortbread cookies; beer nuts and maple glazed almonds; malty and herbaceous. Palate: round, chewy and very malty; the barley really shines on the palate; the whisky is young but the spirit very elegant; more orange and nutty almond tones along with both shelled and sugared peanuts; there is a touch of leather on top of a base of creamy vanilla. Finish: light and short in length, but pleasant. Comment: this is a young single malt that shows oodles of promise; can’t wait to see how this evolves over the next couple of decades!” – Regular $82.99 – SAVE 20% – $66.39+gst (while stocks last)

SAVE 25% on American Rockies & Feed YYC! 

$5 from Each Bottle to go to the Calgary Food Bank!

Looking for your next Bourbon, for sipping neat, on the rocks or for an Old Fashioned?

American Rockies Bourbon has been discontinued by the producer,  and they  are blowing it out. As always, we are passing the Savings on. Not only is this Bourbon 25% off, but we will also donate $5 from every bottled sold to the Calgary Food Bank!

From the people who brought you Canadian Rockies, American Rockies is a Small Batch Bourbon bottled at 44%. We believe the Bourbon is sourced from a Wyoming Whiskey distillery that we happen to be quite fond of.

 American Rockies – 44% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: dough, dill-y and woody; smells like a High School woodshop; shelled peanuts, butter tarts and aromatic bitters; peppery with some doughy oatmeal-raisin notes. Palate: sweet, fruity and spicy, with loads of wood-shop tones; fresh, fruity and toasty; more oatmeal-raisin cookie dough, peppery spices and oaky tannins; Demerara sugar and aromatic bitters before warm butter tarts. Finish: fresh, doughy, fruity, sweet and spicy; can’t get over the oatmeal-raisin cookie dough and Demerara mixed with bitters combo… Comment:  very fresh for an American whiskey, lots of layers, with the oak restrained nicely.” – Was $70 – SAVE 25% – Now: $52.49 & we’ll donate $5 of that to the Calgary Food Bank!

Free City-Wide Delivery in Calgary & Other Deals! 

Free Delivery in Calgary for Orders Over $50, and Loads of Deals To Be Had!

As with many other small and independent businesses in the city, we are getting creative to continue serving our customers and keeping the business going. We have taken precautions in-store to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and customers. Details on that below! We are also offering options to continue serving those of you in quarantine or who are taking extra precautions with regards to social isolation.


– We are offering free delivery for orders over $50 placed online or over the phone, and will do our best to deliver within 72 hours.


– Place an order, we’ll let you know when it is ready. Call us when you are out front or parked in the back lot and we’ll bring it out. Simple as that!


– Want to send someone a care package? All gifting options are still available. Quarantined parents and closed schools qualify as a “wine emergency”. Gift cards are also available and can be used over the phone.

If you are able, please submit your order online. We will answer any questions you might have before finalizing and processing your order. You are not automatically billed when you submit your order.

We will do our best to answer and process as many phone orders as we can. Call us at 403-283-8000. We are offering some great deals too. More on that below, see the bottom of the Malt Messenger!

Customers are still welcome to come in to the store to pick up orders as well as browse and purchase in-store. We are routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and have hand sanitation stations around the store.

Let us know how we can continue to help and serve you in these challenging times!

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact & Disclaimers 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson

Owner & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market


Calgary, Alberta, Canada



Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Ardbeg Committee and this year’s Limited Edition, Ardbeg Blaaack

Usually held on the final Saturday of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle), Ardbeg Day is a global, annual celebration of all things Ardbeg. This year, with the festival sadly cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ardbeg is taking its celebrations online, and inviting malt whisky lovers everywhere to join them as they toast two incredible decades of the Ardbeg Committee.

The Ardbeg Blaaack Whisky Trials will be broadcast on 30 May 2020 via Facebook to Ardbeg fans around the world. The two-hour programme of tastings, games, and entertainment is in celebration of the Ardbeg Committee’s 20th Anniversary (founded in the year 2000). It takes as its theme the Limited Edition bottled in their honour, Ardbeg Blaaack: a single malt which knits together flavours of velvety summer fruit pudding and bitter cherry, with a deeper edge of soot and Ardbeg’s hallmark smoke.

Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery Manager, said: “We were looking forward to marking Ardbeg Day this year with our dyed-in-the-wool fans here at the Distillery, and at celebrations around world. Sadly, global events overtook us.

“However, we’ve put our heads together and come up with a back-up plan to keep our Committee Members entertained, safe at home. I’ll be shepherding the Ardbeg team in an online extravaganza instead – expect tastings of some much-loved whiskies, fun, blether, and maybe even a few Blaaack-inspired surprises.”

You can tune into the Ardbeg Blaaack Whisky Trials from 7pm BST on Ardbeg’s Facebook page, with content available to watch later on, Instagram and YouTube. Ardbeg Blaaack will be available to buy from, Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, and online retailers around the world from 30 May 2020, although distribution may be a bit delayed in some markets due to the current Coronavirus restrictions.

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What is a Whisky Trial?

We’ve taken our inspiration for the Ardbeg Blaaack Whisky Trials from the rural tradition of Sheepdog Trials. A Sheepdog Trial is a competitive dog sport in which herding dogs move sheep around a field, fences, gates, or enclosures as directed by their handlers. We won’t be herding any whisky lovers, but we may have some tests of agility as part of our programme of events…

Aroma: On the nose baked fruit pudding knits together seamlessly with cedar wood and aromatic cigar box. Oak tannins and rich truffles then break away to reveal subtle notes of smoky jam tart.

With a splash of water, intense aromas of bitter cherry and a curiously zesty note emerges. Naturally, this dram then travels in a different direction with lovely fragrant violet notes.

Taste: A velvety and surprisingly furry mouthfeel drives your palate into a complex symphony of contrasting flavours. Aniseed, soot and summer fruits – such as cherries, strawberries, apricots and pears – give way to crumbly pastry, dark chocolate, coffee and almonds.

Finish: A long, lingering sooty finish.

Casks:             Pinot Noir

ABV:                46%

Colour:          Deep cherry blossom

RRP: £94 


Ardbeg prides itself on being The Ultimate Islay Malt Whisky.  Established in 1815, Ardbeg is revered by connoisseurs around the world as the peatiest, smokiest and most complex of all the Islay malts.  Despite its smokiness, Ardbeg is renowned for its delicious sweetness, a phenomenon that has affectionately become known as ‘the peaty paradox’.  During the 1980s and 1990s, Ardbeg suffered from an uncertain future and it was not until the brand was purchased by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997 that the Distillery was saved from extinction.  Since then, the Distillery has risen like a phoenix and today Ardbeg is well established as a niche, cult malt, with a passionate following.  

Ardbeg Committee:

The legacy of the whisky was safeguarded in 2000 by the formation of the Ardbeg Committee (1 January 2000).  The Committee is made up of thousands of Ardbeg followers worldwide who are keen to ensure that “the doors of Ardbeg never close again”.  Today there are more than 100,000 members of the Ardbeg Committee in over 130 countries.  Committee members are regularly consulted on new bottlings and expressions and are offered exclusive Committee bottlings.  Members also receive invitations to special gatherings, tastings and events.  The Committee, chaired by Mickey Heads, is free to join at


Ardbeg is the world’s most highly awarded smoky single malt whisky.  Since 2008, Ardbeg has won more than 50 gold and double gold medals in key whisky competitions.  Ardbeg was voted ‘Scotch Whisky of the Year’ twice by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible (2008, 2009) and has twice been awarded ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards (2010, 2013).  At the 2014 Global Icons of Whisky Awards, Mickey Heads was voted ‘Distillery Manager of the Year’.  The following year, Ardbeg’s expressions took the top three spots in Whisky Advocate magazine’s review of the best single malt Scotch whiskies under US$100.  Meanwhile, both Ardbeg Corryvreckan and Ardbeg Uigeadail have been awarded gold medals at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In 2019, Dr Bill Lumsden was awarded Master Distiller of the Year for the third time in four years. Ardbeg 10 Years Old also won the Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Year Old at the International Whisky Competition 2019, while the Ardbeg Distillery was declared the Distillery of the Year 2019.

The Glenmorangie Company:

The Company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers and marketers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Company produces Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt whisky and Ardbeg Single Islay Malt.

Responsible Drinking:

Ardbeg and The Glenmorangie Company advocate responsible drinking and suggest that drinkers savour Ardbeg whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Malt Messenger Bulletin by Andrew Ferguson – Happy Ardbeg Day – Surprise 1 Day Ardbeg Sale – Scotch Whisky News

Malt Messenger Bulletin

Happy Ardbeg Day!

We are at the tail end of what would normally be Feis Ile, the Islay Whisky Festival. As with much else in the World, Feis Ile had to take a hiatus this year on account of Covid-19. Most Islay distilleries are currently shuttered, or just in the early stages of reopening. The final day of Feis Ile, and one of the most anticipated, is Ardbeg Day. We’ve been celebrating Ardbeg Day at KWM for close to a decade, and our store was also they first to be given Ardbeg Embassy status in Canada, way back in 2012. Eight Years on, and we are still the only Canadian liquor store listed as an Embassy on Ardbeg’s Website, though there may be one or two more out there…

We usually host 2-3 back to back to back Ardbeg Master Classes in-store, before moving on to the main Ardbeg Day festivities. Ardbeg Day is celebrated all over the World. Last year I had the privilege of taking in Ardbeg Day in Tokyo (for the 2nd time). What a different a year makes!

This year’s Ardbeg Day, won’t involve in-store tastings, and we won’t be able to have a gathering Southern Alberta’s Ardbeg faithful to share drams, laughs and clink glasses. But we can still and will still mark this eagerly anticipated day. Today only we are having a Surprise 1 Day Only Ardbeg Sale. All core Ardbeg expressions are 15-20% off, but only until 6PM in-store and midnight online.

While you are welcome to come down to the store to browse and pickup an Ardbeg, we don’t want to encourage a rush or a lapse in social distancing. So please consider ordering online or over the phone for pickup or delivery. And if you are planning to come down, please don’t wait until the last 3 hours of the day. That is when we are at our busiest.

I will also be going on Instagram Live, on the @kwmwhisky feed at 3PM MDT this afternoon to taste a few Ardbegs. We may not be able to have anyone here in person for a tasting, but the tradition must continue, even if not quite as it did before!

One quick little anecdote: The late Shortie, Ardbeg’s regal mascot, was a real dog. I met him many times on visits to the distillery. He walked around the grounds going in and out of the buildings like he owned the place. He would wander up every day from his home in a nearby village. No visit to the distillery was ever complete without a Shortie sighting, and a Christening of one of my rental car’s tires… to Shortie!Sláinte,Andrew FergusonKensington Wine MarketPS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:

Ardbeg Day 2020 – Surprise 1 Day Only Ardbeg Sale!

Save 15-20% on All In-Stock Ardbeg Core Range Whiskies!

We normally host master classes and put Ardbeg on Sale on Ardbeg Day, and while we can’t hold Master Classes in-store this year, we can have an Ardbeg Sale! Here are the Ardbeg Core Releases On Sale, Today Only!

  1. Ardbeg 10 Year – 46% – Ardbeg Ten Years Old is revered around the world as the peatiest, smokiest, most complex single malt of them all. Yet it does not flaunt the peat; rather it gives way to the natural sweetness of the malt to produce a whisky of perfect balance. Named World Whisky of the Year in 2008. – Regular: $85 – Save 20% – Today: $67.99+gst
  2. Ardbeg Ardbone 10 Year Gift Pack – 46% – Features a bottle of the Ardbeg 10 Year, see above! – Here’s to Shortie – (Still)man’s best friend… Loved the world over (just like our whisky), this unique gift tin is in celebration of the Ardbeg Distillery’s loyal canine mascot, Shortie. This collectable tin contains a bottle of Ardbeg Ten Years Old – so be sure to keep it front and centre of the drinks cabinet…and not buried in the garden. – Regular: $85 – Save 15% – Today: $72.24+gst
  3. Ardbeg Uigeadail – 54.2% – Pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’, it’s a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. Ardbeg Uigeadail was voted by the 120,000+ strong Ardbeg Committee as their favourite Ardbeg. – Regular: $120 – Save 15% – Today: $101.99+gst
  4. Ardbeg Corryvreckan – 57.1% – Ardbeg Corryvreckan takes its name from the famous whirlpool that lies to the north of Islay, where only the bravest souls dare to venture. Swirling aromas and torrents of deep, peaty, peppery taste lurk beneath the surface of this beautifully balanced dram. Like the whirlpool itself, Corryvreckan is not for the faint-hearted! Awarded The World’s Best Single Malt in 2010 by the World Whiskies Awards. – Regular: $129.99 – Save 15% – Today: $110.49+gst
  5. Ardbeg An Oa – 46.6% – A welcome new addition to the Ultimate range. Ardbeg An Oa is singularly rounded, due in no small part to time spent in our newly established bespoke oak Gathering Vat where whiskies from several cask types – including; sweet Pedro Ximenez; spicy virgin charred oak; and intense ex-bourbon casks, amongst others – familiarise themselves with each other. The result is a dram with smoky power, mellowed by a delectable, smooth sweetness. Hallmark Ardbeg peat, dark chocolate and aniseed are wrapped in smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper and clove, before rising to an intense crescendo of flavour. – Regular: $99.99 – Save 15% – Today: $84.99+gst
  6. Ardbeg An Oa 50ml Minis – Same as above, but at 1/15 scale! – Regular: $11.99 – Save 15% Today: $10.19+gst

* Please consider ordering online or by phone!

Free City-Wide Delivery in Calgary & Other Deals!

As with many other small and independent businesses in the city, we are getting creative to continue serving our customers and keeping the business going. We have taken precautions in-store to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and customers. Details on that below! We are also offering options to continue serving those of you in quarantine or who are taking extra precautions with regards to social isolation.


– We are offering free delivery for orders over $50 placed online or over the phone, and will do our best to deliver within 72 hours.


– Place an order, we’ll let you know when it is ready. Call us when you are out front or parked in the back lot and we’ll bring it out. Simple as that!


– Want to send someone a care package? All gifting options are still available. Quarantined parents and closed schools qualify as a “wine emergency”. Gift cards are also available and can be used over the phone.

If you are able, please submit your order online. We will answer any questions you might have before finalizing and processing your order. You are not automatically billed when you submit your order.

We will do our best to answer and process as many phone orders as we can. Call us at 403-283-8000. We are offering some great deals too. More on that below, see the bottom of the Malt Messenger! Customers are still welcome to come in to the store to pick up orders as well as browse and purchase in-store. We are routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and have hand sanitation stations around the store.

Let us know how we can continue to help and serve you in these challenging times!

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact & Disclaimers 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson

Owner & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The Whisky Exchange Virtual Tastings – Scotch Whisky News

Virtual Tastings – June 2020

The summer is rapidly approaching and with it a need for some interesting drinks. While we’re not meeting up in person yet, our virtual tastings program is bigger and better than ever, with four more lockdown lock-ins for you to enjoy. Here’s to a June of great drinks and great chat, all from the comfort of your sofa.

Virtual tastings

With in-person tastings cancelled, we’ve moved ours online. There’s a new tasting every Thursday at 5.30pm, broadcast live on our Facebook page and available to watch again immediately afterwards. All of our tastings have a tasting pack available, and if you buy one in advance you’ll also get an invite to a private Zoom room where you can chat with the hosts and ask questions in person during the tasting.

Our June Tastings – Dawn Davies, Billy Abbott, Michael d’Souza from Paul John, and Tal Chotiner and Tomer Goren from Milk & Honey

All of our previous tastings are up on Facebook, but if you aren’t signed up, they’re also up on our YouTube page.

You can find all of our virtual tasting packs on our Virtual Tastings page. This includes the packs from our previous tastings, and you can taste along at any time using the video on a tasting pack’s page.

The June Line-Up

Thursday 11 June 5.30pm – Port Askaig with Oliver Chilton and Billy Abbott: Our second tasting is one that I’ve been looking forward to since we started going virtual – I’ll be joining Elixir Distillers master blender, cask selector and all-round spirits guru Oliver Chilton for a delve into the Port Askaig range of Islay single malts. Not only do you get me and Ollie talking, but the final dram is the rare Port Askaig 45yo which normally goes for £1,500 a bottle. And £10 from the sale of each pack goes to The Ben, the charity that supports Scotland’s drinks industry. What more could you want?
Get the tasting pack >

Thursday 18 June 5.30pm – The Dalmore with Richard Paterson and Dawn Davies: Richard Paterson, aka The Nose, aka ‘Mr P’, is a long-standing friend of The Whisky Exchange, and we’ve been trying to find time in his schedule for a virtual tasting since lockdown began. We’ve finally pinned him down and he’ll be joining TWE head buyer Dawn Davies for a taste of the Dalmore range. While he may not be able to throw ice or whisky at you over a virtual video link, be ready for shenanigans as he and Dawn are an excellent double act.
Get the tasting pack >

Thursday 25 June 5.30pm – Whisky and Chocolate with Dawn Davies: Dawn’s back for our final tasting of the month, showing you how to pair whisky with great chocolate from Prestat – veteran London chocolate maker and Royal Warrant holder. Dawn is a Master of Wine and has years of experience as a sommelier, so pairing food and drinks is something that she knows more than a little bit about – join her for an evening of pulling apart the flavours you find in whisky and chocolate, as well as putting them back together again, and doing a bit of eating and drink.
Get the tasting pack >

What’s Next?

Plans are still being planned, but we have July tastings almost ready to go and are looking further ahead to Whisky Show in October – we’ve not got it all confirmed yet, but we will have virtual activities in addition to the in-person show, so keep an eye on the Whisky Show website for more details when they are confirmed.

Apart from that, stay safe, have fun and see you online.

A Pair of K&L Exclusive, Age-Stated Gems – Laphroaig & Highland Park at Unbeatable Pricing – Scotch Whisky News

A Great Day for Scotch Collectors—Don’t Miss These Age-Stated K&L Exclusives
“Highland Park 20-Year is going to be delicious no matter what. At $150, it’s all the sweeter.”
— Andrew Whitely, K&L Spirits Buyer

“This is that perfectly idiosyncratic Laphroaig… A total dream and a secret that deserves to be kept.”
— David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer

NOTE: In accordance with local directives, our walk-in retail locations are currently closed. We have low cost and free delivery options available in ZIP codes where we can ship lawfully, including anywhere in California. We can also include any new or existing will call orders in your delivery batch. Choose local delivery at checkout to learn if you qualify.

Today’s Scotch offer from the spirits team is a nice little bookend of sorts featuring a pair of gorgeous K&L Exclusive casks from two of our absolute favorite independent bottlers, one just hitting its stride and the other one singing its swan song and wrapping up a truly storied run. The Thompson brothers’ Dornoch distillery is a new venture with a focus on the past. While their own age-stated single-malts are still years from market, they’ve been supplying us with one stellar aged cask after another from one of Scotland’s most impressive collections, and at incredible pricing to boot. This 20 year old “no name” Highland Park hogshead drinks like a whisky twice the price. In fact, that’s the going rate for similar casks of named HP that we’ve been offered from other suppliers. As the old adage goes, why pay more? In addition, we’re offering one of the very last casks we’ll ever get from the beloved Chieftan’s label. This stalwart bottler is winding down operations and will soon no longer be offering up casks for sale. Those who have gotten their hands on other Chieftan’s releases will know how bittersweet this is. It’s too soon to say if we’ll get another one from them, but if this is how it ends, then it’s hard to beat a sherry-aged, 13-year-old Laphroaig. Needless to say, these outstanding finds are some of the best deals we’ll offer all year on age-stated Scotch, and at these prices our limited supply is sure to fly out the door. Collectors and aficionados, it’s your move. You know what to do.

The wonderful Dornoch Distillery sits hidden on the main drag in the tiny town of Dornoch. Behind the majestic Dornoch Castle Hotel and its famous whisky bar sits one of Scotland’s tiniest and most exciting distilleries. Founded by brothers Simon and Phil, the distillery is completely contained in one tiny stone shed. While the brothers might not have the resources and capital of many of Scotland’s new distilleries, they do have an incredible vision and the unwavering support of the single malt-loving community. In that little shed a truly unique experiment is underway. The Thompsons are trying to make whisky the old way. The distillery was funded without any outside investment and pre-sales of the first casks were crowd sourced online. The contrast between extreme forward thinking and commitment to tradition makes the Dornoch Distillery one of Scotland’s most exciting new distillers bar none. We’ve got years before their malt is ready to go and in the meantime the brothers are distilling and selling an incredible malted gin and trafficking in some seriously delicious single casks. This HP is part of the great wave of unnamed Orkney that’s hit the market recently. They nabbed some of the very best and somehow offer it up at a reasonable price. Other bottlers offer versions of the same whisky for twice this price and none we’ve had taste as good as this. It’s got everything, balanced excellently. Delicate Orkney peat, bold malt, gorgeous maritime quality—a real island dream.

1998 Orkney (Highland Park) 20 Year Old “Thompson Bros.” K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($149.99)

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

We’ve had some up and downs with Highland Park recently. We’ve secured some incredible old stock with the distillery name on it, but also had offers for no named stuff at ridiculously high prices. Needless to say we’re always game for some HP. It’s really one of the very best distilleries out there and these incredible “no name” bottlings have been some of the very best values on the market today. Yet some of our suppliers feel comfortable charging well above what another no name might cost from another distillery. Of course, they’re looking at this like a business opportunity. They have high quality juice that can be implied to be from one of Scotland’s great distilleries, and most people are probably willing to pay it, but we’ve mostly avoided these offerings since we’ve been securing “named” versions in the $250-300 range consistently for the last two seasons. It wouldn’t make any sense for us to sell a similar product with no name for the same price. These products must offer value. So we’ve passed on several casks due to the very high prices. But now it seems our supply of distillery bottlings is becoming more and more scarce. We had to say no to a 21 year old Hogshead this year from Old Particular due to the incredibly high price. And at the same time, our friends in Dornoch came knocking with this stunner. The fun labels poke fun at the new aggressive viking style of the distillery bottlings, but do nothing to prepare you for the awesomeness that’s inside the bottle. The nose is the ultimate coastal curiosity: salty sea spray, coastal shrubs, crushed rocks, smoldering heather, floral peat, golden honey, ripe pears. Craggy rocks being battered by the ocean. Lots and lots going on, extremely layered and complex, but not brutish or explosive. One the palate the brown butter, wild honey, stewed grains, more peat. This is how I imagine gold tastes when it’s melted. More minerals more smoke, but not hard smoke. Soft sweet smoke. We’re not seeing anything on the market anywhere close to this caliber in this style. Nearly perfect.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 23, 2019

HP20 is going to be delicious no matter what. At 150 bucks, it’s all the sweeter. This number is particularly interesting as it is a hogshead filled from same day vattings before it was sold off onto the independent market – a number of these casks have come up as Edrington has divested stocks, rumor has it, to pay for the budget sucking massive new Macallan distillery. It’s classically salty and has that beautiful medium intensity heather driven peat that the distillery is known for, although it shows most on the finish and not up front. Apricots and other stone fruits in varying levels of dehydration play across the entire experience from nose to palate and intermix beautifully with the floral smoke on the finish. Coming in at an even 50% ABV at cask strength, it’s a very sippable whisky neat. With a touch of water the oils come crashing out of solution as do the grain notes. The aromas suddenly explode with honeyed barley and a whole new drinking experience begins. An extremely good first showing from our new partners in Sutherland, the Thompson Brothers.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2019

I can’t tell if the stick figure on the bottle is going into battle or partying but either way, it’s capturing what I’m getting from this unique Orkney single malt. I dig the label and I dig the juice. The nose gives off a pretty perfume of baked Bartlett pear, cinnamon, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and sassafras. The palate provides that same baked pear profile combined with chocolate covered toffee with a full-bodied texture. The finish leaves you with a nice, spicy tingling sensation on the tip of the tongue with spicy cinnamon notes and as I begin to regain feeling a subtle juicy pear jelly belly note clings as the breath escapes. This is the kind of Scotch I could see myself drinking all day in a ski lodge surrounded by friends.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2019

This single malt is elegant and pretty. It is very complex and this comes out when one first smells it. There are aromas of sea, beeswax and sweet malt. In the mouth it is again complex with malt and sea notes and a hint of savory. On the light side, this selection is about finesse and layered flavors. With a touch of water it becomes a little sweeter but it was very good without an addition of water.

Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 08, 2019

Perhaps I’ve grown jaded or entitled (or both) from so many high-proof cask-strength offerings of late, so when I saw this clocked in at only 50% ABV, I was less enthusiastic. This gorgeous whisky made quick work of showing me what a fool I’d been. Turns out that in the 20 years of barrel aging, its alcohol reduced to 50% naturally, packing all that exquisite flavor into every coveted drop. This isn’t your hedonistic sherry bomb or caramel-sweet bourbon barrel like the distillery release 17 year – what tumbles elegantly out of this bottle is superbly refined. Sultana, baked apricot, sea spray, and windswept grain build on the palate with the perfect amount of heat and ashy smoke. The finish is long, but not rushed, lingering with that oily texture we’ve come to love from properly aged Highland Park. Considering the price, this should be on everyone’s short list this season.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 21, 2019

I was just calling our Bunnahabhain 30 single cask our best whisky when Andrew plopped a bottle of this in front of me. Now I’m reconsidering. A single cask of 20-year-old Orkney Highland Park that is smooth as milk at 50% abv, with a very bright and distinct apricot, honey & apple core with a very subtle gravelly smokiness enveloping the fruit. I just can’t stop nosing it. The Thompson Bros. label is big bonus, too.

2005 Laphroaig 13 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($159.99)

The magical distillery on the south shore of Islay, like all south shore distillers, 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 create 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 since bottlers can’t replace even those few casks, the prices have gone absolutely bonkers. Signatory recently bottled a sister cask those we sold here just three years ago for $200, Laphroaig from the fall of 1997 for $700. And by God those bottles sell. But when we were offered 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 askew the idea of Laphroaig in active sherry, but much of their 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.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 23, 2019

Every so often time stops, a dizzying array of pieces fall into place, and you’re left with one special moment. Such is drinking this masterpiece. Tragically, Chieftain’s is going away. One of the most storied and high quality bottlers in Scotland has pulled out all of the stops for its swan song. Aged to perfection, this cask toes the line perfectly between every facet of Laphroaig. It’s equally salty, malty, fruity, floral, and smoky in that amazing way that only Laphroaig can be. In addition there is a splendid cigar box spice provided by an amazing barrel of the highest quality and perfectly matched to the whisky. Not overpowering, it is just robust enough to blend seamlessly with everything on offer from the spirit. My best Laphroaig drinking experience was having John Campbell, Distillery Manager, walk me through the classic 10 year, a single cask bourbon barrel roughly 14 years old, and the legendary 30 year. The insights those 3 carefully chosen whiskies provided into the soul of Laphroaig is something I will never forget. It set off a personal and more in-depth study of the whisky behind the smoke and iodine that the distillery is so famous for. This one cask highlights the traits that make the the malt from this special place so complete and such a rarity in the flavor spectrum without giving up that core profile. Tasting this malt and then going back to Laphraoig 10 will forever unlock for the drinker the often overlooked and underappreciated glory of the classic expression.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 07, 2019

Laphroaig is one of those incredible spirits 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 ever bad. The great heights that can be achieved by Laphroaig are truly unbelievable. And uniquely, some of the very best from this special distillery are not even very old. The very best Laphroaigs I’ve ever had the great pleasure of tasting were no more than 10 years old. Given they’d have been distilled 40 or 50 years ago, but the fact remains that Laphroaig is often more special in its youth. For years Laphroaig has felt like a bit of a secret that you weren’t sure you wanted to share with everyone you know. Particularly that was 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, apt to have you disagreeing with yourself. 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.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 23, 2019

Laphroaig very infrequently releases anything new, let alone a single cask of something new. Fans of the classic Laphroaig style will not be disappointed here, but will also be pleased to find new tastes and expressions. Rich texture and creamy peat notes get a kick from a slight jalapeno pepper spice in the back. This extremely limited and special release could retail for much higher given its scarcity. Lucky for us it doesn’t.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 18, 2019

Since barrels of single malt age differently and produce a range of flavors it is always a treat to taste something and see the variation on a theme from the regular releases.This tasty barrel is very interesting and fantastic. The nose has a burst of smoke that is almost pretty (a word not usually associated with Laphroaig) with toasty undertones. In the mouth it is classic Laphroaig with smoke, iodine, salt and malt. With water it opens up and becomes softer. There is a long finish with an interesting touch of spice. This single barrel is unique and interesting.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2019

If my family drank, this is a bottle I’d take with me to our holiday dinners. This bottle screams autumn with notes of ume plum, burnt caramel, oak spice, and cinnamon graham crackers on the nose. The palate is fatty, savory, and sweet and I can imagine it going perfectly with turkey and stuffing. It’s warm and inviting. I just want to cuddle up with it next to a fire and look longingly at the glass.

Am Bùrach “A one off Kilchoman” at Abbey Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

Kilchoman Am Bùrach

A one off release from Kilchoman distillery named, Am Bùrach – Gaelic for ‘the mess!’. Back in 2014 an unnamed stillman whilst vatting casks accidentally mixed Machir Bay and Port matured Kilchoman! Given the name ‘Am Bùrach’ by Islay Heads, the name has stuck ever since. The whisky is a vatting of bourbon and sherry matured Kilchoman combined with Port cask matured, filled back into bourbon barrel for 6 years then a final 6 months spent in ruby Port casks!

Limited stock available! 


Distillery Focus: BenRiach at Hard To Find Whisky – Scotch Whisky News



Founded in 1889, the Benriach distillery produces a wide range of deliciously fruity Speyside single malt whiskies. This unconventional distiller produces three malt whisky styles – unpeated, peated, and triple distilled – and holds some of the most experimental casks of any Scottish distillery. The distillery is also one of two remaining distilleries in Speyside to distill whisky from its own on-site floor maltings, a time honoured craft that is celebrated for one month each year.


The Good Dram Show – Episode 364 ‘C.R.W’ – Whiskey News

Welcome to this weeks episode of the show. The title of this show stands for Corn. Rye. Wheat and that’s exactly what I’ll be tasting!



First Auction in Hong Kong Behind Closed Doors
Live Biddings via Online, Phone and in Written Form

Young Collectors Go From Strength to Strength
Nearly Half the Bidders Under 40 Years Old, Winning Top Lots of Sale

Strong Global Participation From 22 Countries
Spanning Oceania, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Americas

Top Lot: The ‘Ghost Series’ Whisky Collection (11 bottles)

Sold for HK$ 967,200

Estimate: HK$ 820,000 – 1,000,000

Commenting on the result, Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine & Spirits, Asia, said: ‘We are pleased to see that the market is active. Japanese whisky, a category already trending over the past few years, shows strong resilience under the current climate, commanding prices in line with high estimates. This solid sale was encouraged by strong, global biddings from 22 countries, especially those from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. Meanwhile, young collectors under 40 years old continue to increase, in terms of both numbers (they account for nearly half of the sale’s bidders) and buying power (the top two lots of the sale – both Japanese whisky sets – sold to young collectors).’

Notable highlights:

Japanese Whisky

  • Lot 475  The ‘Ghost Series’ Whisky Collection (11 bottles)

Sold for HK$ 967,200

Estimate: HK$ 820,000 – 1,000,000

  • Lot 449  Yamazaki & Hakushu Vintage Malt – 1979 – 1994 (16 bottles)

Sold for HK$ 682,000

Estimate: HK$ 600,000 – 800,000

  • Lot 505  Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt-Joker ‘Monochrome’ and Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt-Joker ‘Colour’

Sold for HK$ 446,400

Estimate: HK$ 350,000 – 450,000

  • Lot 439 Hibiki ceramic – 35 year old – Tokuda Yasokichi III

Sold for HK$ 347,200

Estimate: HK$ 180,000 – 240,000

  • Lot 511  Karuizawa – 1964 – #3603

Sold for HK$ 322,400

Estimate: HK$ 260,000 – 300,000

  • Lot 287  Hibiki ceramic-35 year old-Sakaida Kakiemon XIV

Sold for HK$ 248,000

Estimate: HK$ 180,000 – 240,000

Please click here to find out further details of the auction result.

Specialist: Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine & Spirits, Asia


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

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