Friday, May 3, 2013

Inbox - May 3, 2013

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Last week we were away on holiday in Jerez, Spain learning about sherry amongst other things (more to come on that shortly), so Inbox took a bit of a break.  It seems to have been a bumper couple of weeks in the industry, so here is the news that has attracted our attention ...


Amrut - Angels get greedy
The Indian distillery of Amrut have announced their oldest single malt release to date, called Greedy Angels.  The limited edition bottling is eight years old, which is an unprecedented amount of time in the heat of Bangalore.  This heat means that whisky evaporation (called 'the angel's share') is significantly higher rate than elsewhere in the world, hence the name of Greedy Angels. Just two ex-bourbon casks have been used and these have yielded just 144 bottles, which will cost £150 each.

Ardbeg - Ardbog on the radar
Around this time each year excitement builds amongst whisky drinkers as we wait to see the details of Ardbeg's annual limited release, the launch of which normally ties in with Ardbeg's open day at the forthcoming Islay Festival.  This year is no different - the release will be called Ardbog to celebrate the bogs around the distillery that provide Ardbeg (and the other Islay distilleries) with the peat that gives their whiskies the distinctive smoky flavours.

The Ardbog is due for release on 1 June, which has been officially renamed Ardbog Day this year.  It has been matured for 10 years in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and ex-Manzanilla sherry butts, and has been bottled at the cask strength of 52.1% ABV.  The recommended retail price is £79.99 and will be available via (there is more information on Ardbog here too) and selected specialist whisky retailers - as with previous such releases it is expected to sell out fast, so don't hang around.

Ballantine's - Tees off with new packaging
The popular blended whisky brand of Ballantine's has launched a set of limited edition packaging for its 17 years old and 21 years old expressions.  The Ballantine's Golf Limited Editions have been released to celebrate the sixth year of the brands sponsorship of the Asian Championship, an annual golf tournament held in South Korea each April.

The bottles and packaging both feature an image of a golfer, the Ballantine's logo written in gold and an enhanced B from the brand's name.  They are available now across various world markets, including the travel retail sector, with guide prices of £49 ($75 USD) for the 17 years old and £79 ($123 USD) for the 21 years old.

Chivas - Double takes
The popular blended whisky brand of Chivas has launched an innovative new app for the iPhone, that allows you to take photos of yourself and your friends enjoying a glass of Chivas all at the same time.  Named Chivas DoubleTake, the app simultaneously activates the iPhone's regular and self-facing cameras to create two images side by side, which can then be shared instantly on email, Facebook or Twitter.  To find out more and download the new app for free - visit

Douglas Laing - Split in two

The big news in the independent bottling sector is that Douglas Laing & Co have split in to two.  Fred and Stewart Laing, who have operated the company together for 40 of its 65 years, are heading their separate ways and both companies are based in Glasgow.  Fred (pictured above with daughter Cara, who joins as Head of Marketing) takes control of Douglas Laing, while Stewart has formed Hunter Laing & Co with his sons Andrew and Scott (all pictured below).

The assets and brands of Douglas Laing & Co have been split equally - Fred 's new Douglas Laing taking the Director's Cut, Double Barrel, Premier Barrel, Provenance and MacGibbon's ranges plus the award winning Big Peat brand.  Stewart has taken the House of Peers, Old Malt Cask, Old & Rare and Sovereign Single Grain ranges.

In a joint statement, Fred and Stewart commented, "The Scotch whisky industry is in great shape at the moment and this presents each of us with the perfect opportunity to diversify and explore different projects with the next generation of our families. As drinkers around the world expand their whisky repertoire and seek out new flavours, the opportunities for niche players will flourish".

Karuizawa - Oldest ever

The oldest Japanese whisky ever to be released was announced at the Tokyo International Bar Show on 21 April.  The whisky is from the legendary Karuizawa distillery and was put to cask in 1960, just five years after the distillery was founded and was the oldest cask on the inventory of remaining stock (it ceased production in 2000).  The cask (#5627) is an ex-sherry hogshead cask and has yielded just 41 bottles at a cask strength of 53.2% ABV.  The bottles are available via four selected retailers - La Maison du Whisky (France), Magny International (Taiwan), The Whisky Exchange (UK) and Whisk-e (Japan) - for £12,500 each.

Macallan - New series arrives

One of the most protracted and eagerly anticipated launches in whisky history is nearing a conclusion with the announcement that the iconic Speyside distillery of Macallan are to release The 1824 Series very shortly.  Pre-orders are now being taken with various specialist retailers.  The first bottling in the series (Macallan Gold) was launched back in the Autumn and now the three other expressions - Amber, Sienna and Ruby - are to join it.  They are to be priced at £45, £65 and £120 respectively.  To read more about The 1824 Series - click here to read our review.

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