Friday, September 30, 2011

Inbox > September 30, 2011

whisky for everyone inbox logoWelcome to Inbox - our weekly round up of whisky news and PR type material that has recently found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece that we receive. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we will 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 if you want to. So, what's landed this week?

Amrut > Bring two continents together
Two continents are better than one
The award winning Indian distillery of Amrut, which is located in Bangalore, have released a new single malt whisky with a twist. The whisky is made from Indian malted barley in Bangalore and undertook its initial maturation in the tropical heat at the distillery, with an altitude of 3,000 feet (915 meters) above sea level.  The casks were then transferred to a secret location in Europe to mature for their final two years in a cooler, temperate climate.  The casks in question are second fill ex-bourbon casks and four were used for this release, which has yielded just 1,260 bottles.  The bottling has a strength of 50% ABV and will cost around £50 each from specialist retailers. For further information, visit

Laphroaig > 'Live' from Australia

This year's Laphroaig Live event is taking place next week and the location is Sydney, Australia.  The event was first held in 2007 and the idea was to engage whisky fans around the world by holding a live tasting online.  This year's show, the first to be held in the southern hemisphere, will incorporate Laphroaig whisky tasting, food and music - don't be surprised to see something to do with a traditional Aussie barbeque!  Laphroaig is currently the third biggest selling single malt in Australia and the live broadcast will be hosted by Aussie TV presenter Simon Reeve, Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell, Laphroaig's Master Blender Robert Hicks and Lin Johnston, the great great great granddaughter of the distillery's founder Alexander Johnston.  He started Laphroaig in 1815.  The whiskies to be sampled and discussed will be Quarter Cask and Triple Wood releases, plus a special 10 year old which was bottled in the 1960s.  If it is as good as previous Laphroaig Live events, then we are in for a treat.  It will take place at 8pm Sydney time on Thursday 6 October.

We are delighted to announce that we will be streaming this year's Laphroaig Live, with permission, here on Whisky For Everyone.  Please join us on our special blog post next Thursday to watch the action live from Australia.

Master of Malt > Win £250 spending spree

Competition time ...
Remember The Blogger's Blend from a couple of months ago?  This was the competition operated by leading online whisky retailer Master of Malt, who invited 10 whisky bloggers from around the world to take part.  We were delighted to be one of the 10 and the brief was to create your own blend from the samples provided, then the public would decide the winner.  Well, Blend I was selected and the bloggers were asked to come up with a name - while we were away on holiday, the majority voted for St. Isodore. Now comes the final stage - Master of Malt are asking for the public's help again, this time to create a label for the whisky.  The details for entry can be found at Master of Malt's blog - get your skates on though as the winner will be drawn on 5 October.  First prize is a £250 voucher to spend on their website. Good luck!

Tullamore Dew > Brand redesign and investment 

The new 'Irish' packaging
William Grant & Sons Ltd. have announced a multi-million pound global campaign for Tullamore Dew – the world’s number two Irish whiskey brand. This comes in the form of new look packaging and the launch of global TV and print communication, under the banner of ‘Irish True’. This campaign features striking images and charismatic characters, which are to evoke the true spirit of the Irish. Tullamore Dew is currently one of the fastest growing Irish whiskey brands and has almost doubled sales since 2005. The investment has been prompted by the brand’s rapid growth, driven largely by increased consumer demand for Irish whiskey in the USA and emerging Irish whiskey markets such as the Czech Republic and Germany. Tullamore Dew’s Global Brand Director Shane Hoyne commented, “With Tullamore Dew, we want to establish a different definition of ‘Irishness’ – as something that people can relate to the world over and something that is rooted in the incredible spirit of the people".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New releases > Balvenie Tun 1401 (Batch #2)

This second batch of the Balvenie Tun 1401 was released during the early Summer.  The first batch of this limited edition whisky, which was created by the Balvenie's experienced Malt Master David Stewart, has already gone down in legend.  This made the release of this second batch highly anticipated. The first batch, which was released in 2010, contained just 336 bottles and was only on sale at the distillery shop.  Thankfully, the second release consists of more bottles (just under 3,000) and has been distributed in the UK and small amounts to selected other markets around the world.

The Balvenie distillery is located in the famous Scottish whisky town of Dufftown in the heart of the Speyside region. It is one of the largest and most famous in Scotland with an annual production level of 5.5 million litres. Balvenie is still owned by the original founders, the innovative William Grant & Sons, and was built in 1892 to help their other overworked distillery at Glenfiddich, which is next door.  Balvenie is a unique distillery - it has its  own floor maltings (the room used for the germination of the barley), a cooperage where they construct casks and they even grow some of the barley used for production within the distillery grounds. Most of these processes are carried out by external companies in the modern whisky industry.  Each year over 1.5 million bottles of Balvenie are sold across the world, putting it well inside the top 10 for total sales of single malt, and this continues to grow.

So, how is this whisky made and what is the significance of the name? To produce it David Stewart selected 10 premium casks from his warehouses and these have been put together in a vessel called a tun.  This is a large barrel/cask, which is traditionally made of oak, where different whiskies are allowed to 'marry together' for some time.  In this batch, he chose to again use one of the finest tuns at Balvenie for this marrying process - tun number 1401 - which took three months. The range of the 10 casks selected is interesting - one from 1967, one from 1989 and the other eight from the 1970s, mostly the early part of the decade.  Seven are ex-bourbon casks and three are ex-sherry casks. The Tun 1401 Batch 2 has an alcohol strength of 50.6% ABV and is available from specialist retailers for £150 a bottle.

Our tasting notes
The colour of this whisky is golden amber and the nose is deep, rich and complex.  There is plenty going on here with aromas combining well and grabbing your attention. There is an immediate hit of tangy candied orange peel with is mellowed by soft vanilla, honey and cereal aromas. Then come further aromas of dark dried fruit (think of raisins, dates, prunes and figs), slightly burnt caramel and soft wood spices, such as cedarwood, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The nose is very tempting.  On the palate, the age of the whiskies involved becomes clear.  It feels soft and velvety, despite the strength, but is lifted by the tangy candied orange from the nose.  The depth and complexity covers many notes - caramel, honey and vanilla offer sweetness, dark dried fruits and cereals offer something bittersweet and the wood spices give pleasant dryness and bite.  There are also notes of dark chocolate, fresh espresso coffee and dried tropical fruits (imagine pineapple and mango especially) adding to the character.  The finish is fantastically long with notes of spiced orange, dried fruit (both the dark and tropical ones from the palate) and drying oak lingering longest.

Although this whisky is very rounded and balanced as it is, the high ABV strength tends to suggest adding a dash of water.  Upon doing this, the tropical notes seen on the palate and finish also appear prominently on the nose.  The tangy orange is reduced, while the honey aromas increase.  A similar thing happens on the palate - the tropical and honey notes are more prominent, as is the chocolate and coffee bitterness.  The finish is a little shorter, with less dryness and more honey and vanilla than before, plus some brown sugar notes.

What's the verdict?
We are fans of most things Balvenie - the Doublewood 12 years old was one of the first whiskies to get us 'interested' in whisky and the Golden Cask 14 years old remains one of our all-time favourites - but on the occasions that we have tasted older expressions, we have left slightly disappointed.  Not here - this is a simply fantastic whisky that is packed full of interest, complexity and depth.  It is in a whisky like this that the skill of the master blender is evident, as he has married 10 highly individual casks in to one beautiful and balanced single malt whisky.

New releases > Irish Single Pot Still range

This Irish Single Pot Still range was released in May by Irish Distillers Ltd, which is part of the giant Pernod Ricard group.  The range contains four versions of whiskey from their popular portfolio - Green Spot, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, Powers John's Lane and Redbreast 12 years old. The idea was to highlight the traditional Irish production method of single pot still distillation - this involves using both malted and un-malted barley in the mashing, then fermenting, before triple distilling in a copper pot still.  This style of whiskey was revered in the 18th and 19th centuries and aided the rise in popularity of Irish whiskey around the globe. Now, most pot still whiskies are used in many of the Irish blends to add depth and character to the flavour, but this range rightly celebrates this genre of whiskey in its own right.

The range is produced at Irish Distillers Ltd's Midleton distillery in County Cork, southern Ireland.  The four whiskies are produced in the same way but using different percentages of malted and un-malted barley, plus different casking for the maturation, to produce the distinctive character of each brand. The Old Midleton distillery started production in 1825. but Midleton as we know it today was founded in 1975 following the joining of the Cork Distillers Company, John Jameson & Son and John Power & Son in the late 1960s. This group was called the Irish Distillers Group and they built the new distillery next to the old one - this is now the largest in Ireland and one of the largest in Europe with an annual capacity of 19 million litres. Other famous whiskey names produced there include Jameson, Paddy and Tullamore Dew.

To celebrate the launch, Irish Distillers Ltd have just launched an excellent new website to support the range.  It gives detailed history about Irish whiskey and the Midleton distilleries, explains about the single pot still process and each of the whiskies and gives you the chance to join their exclusive Stillman's Club.  However, the highlight is a series of fantastic informative videos about the range and Irish industry in general - these are hosted by writer Peter Mulryan, who is a world authority on Irish whiskey.  Check out the website at

When the whiskies were released back in May, we did not get the chance to taste or review them.  However, luckily for us we received a lovely parcel the other day that was to celebrate the launch of the new website.  It contained samples of each of the four pot still whiskies (pictured, left) - two of which are brand new expressions (the Midleton and Powers), with the other two being new versions of old favourites. So here goes with our tasting notes.

Green Spot
This whiskey gets its name from the green spot which was painted on the end of its maturation casks in the old days.  This would denote its age, which used to be 10 years, with other ages in the range having different coloured spots.  Only Green Spot survives today, albeit as a slightly younger expression.  Only around 1,200 bottles are released each year, so this can be hard to find.

The colour is a bright golden yellow and the nose sends your nostrils a clear message - this is going to be interesting.  There are aromas of sweet vanilla and honey, robust cereals and coconut, but with a pleasant dash of something floral (think of honeysuckle) and something tangy/zesty.  There is also a hint of green pear in there. This tangy nature is the first thing that translates on the palate and while it is hard to distinguish on the nose, it is definitely orangey here.  Then it softens dramatically and feels soft and gentle with plenty of creamy coconut, vanilla and honey.  Wood spices come through (imagine cinnamon and nutmeg), as do some bittersweet barley grains - this tempers the sweetness well.  The finish is delicate with the grainy and honey notes lingering longest.

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
This brand new whiskey is named after the current Master Distiller at the Midleton distillery and is a whiskey which he feels encapsulates the very essence of what an Irish pot still whiskey should be.  Barry has hand selected each cask to be included in this release.  Whiskies released under the Midleton name, such as the well loved Midleton Rare, are regarded as some of the finest examples of the pot still style.

The colour is golden yellow with a hint of amber and the nose is expressive, fragrant and classy.  There is initially plenty of robust cereals and coconut, which begin to mingle with vanilla, honey and sugary caramel aromas with time.  Then comes something nutty (imagine toasted almonds), some delicate wood spices (especially cedarwood and cinnamon) plus a hint of dried tropical fruit (think of mango and pineapple).  If it tastes half as good as it smells, we are in for a big treat.  On the palate this is so soft and gentle to begin with but packed with flavours.  The delicious tropical fruit notes hit first and are supported by plenty of oak and grain, which grip your taste buds.  Then comes vanilla, honey, coconut and hints of sultana, cinnamon and apple.  On the finish the initial sweeter notes become spicier and quite refreshingly dry.  This is a classic.

Powers John's Lane
This brand new whiskey is named after the former Powers John's Lane distillery in Dublin, which was originally founded in 1791.  At the time Powers was one of the industry pioneers, as it was one of the first distilleries to follow the traditional Irish practice of triple distillation. The Powers Gold Label is one of Ireland's best sellers, shifting 2.5 million bottles a year.

The colour is golden with a touch of amber and the nose is filled with lovely, promising sweet aromas.   There is an initial combination of cereal grains, vanilla, caramel and brown sugar.  With time in the glass, some dried fruit (especially sultana) and oak start to come through, as does some pleasant cedarwood and cinnamon spice notes, plus a hint of peach.  On the palate, this hits you with a dry, quite tannic oak and wood spice mix, before softening to give balance and depth with vanilla, cereal and soft dried fruit notes (sultana again with a hint of candied orange peel).  It feels lovely and creamy, but with a good grip and freshness on the taste buds.  The balance between the sweet and dry notes is very good.  The finish is full of sugary barley grains, which again are balanced superbly by a good dose of oaky, woody spices.

Redbreast 12 years old
As the story goes, Redbreast is named after the robin redbreast bird thanks to the red tint of the whiskey.  It, along with Green Spot, has been the mainstay of the Irish pot still whiskey industry for many years and has a cupboard full of awards to back that up.  This and its older 15 years old sibling remain two of our favourite Irish whiskies.

It does indeed have a slight reddish tinge but is largely golden amber in colour. The nose is rich, fragrant and fresh with initial aromas of creamy vanilla, honey and green fruitiness (think of fresh apples and pears). Underneath are notes of malted cereals, oak and rich, deep spices (especially nutmeg). On the palate, this whiskey is rich, creamy, mouthcoating and delicious.  The honey and vanilla notes from the nose are are joined by some dried fruit (imagine raisins and sultanas), ginger and further spiciness (think of cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper, in addition to the nutmeg) right at the end. The pleasant cereal and oak notes add to the rounded, creamy feeling as does a hint of coconut. The finish is long, complex and very well balanced. This is a top dram and one that we are glad to see has remained the same.

What's the verdict?
The quality of this range is excellent.  The Green Spot and Redbreast were already well loved and regarded and Irish Distillers Ltd have remained true to these two whiskies, while complimented them with the addition of the new Midleton and Powers expressions.  The Redbreast, and especially the Midleton, are absolute crackers and the other two are not too far behind.  They are clearly well made and as a result all would be accessible to anyone wanting to try Irish whiskies for the first time.  There is no harshness, which is sometimes associated with cheaper Irish blends, but just pleasant warming richness and spiciness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pure Festival, London

Last weekend saw the inaugural Pure Festival take place in London.  The event was organised by our good friends Jean-Luc and Pierre Thibault, who are the brains behind the hugely popular whisky social media website Whisky Connosr.  They teamed up with band promoters Brand New Music to bring a fresh, new event to the whisky calendar.  The concept was simple - to try and introduce new people to whisky and to showcase up-and-coming music acts.

The event was held at cult music venue The Relentless Garage in Highbury Corner.  It is not everyday that you get to have a whisky festival on your doorstep, so we offered to help Jean-Luc and Pierre for the two days.  It wasn't glamorous, but someone had to do it!  The whisky tasting took place in the main venue, while bands performed in the intimate upstairs venue.  Once the whisky stands were cleared away, the music switched to the main venue for the evening headliners.  It has to be said that The Garage has been tarted up a bit since we last visited, while still maintaining its cool vibe.

Ardbeg love peat and women in denim ... apparently!
The exhibitors covered a broad spectrum of the whisky world.  Big names such as Ardbeg (who win the award for most creative and interactive stand, pictured above) and Whyte & Mackay rubbed shoulders with smaller boutique producers such as the new Isle of Mull blend and The Tweeddale Blend, who were exhibiting their new second batch.  One of the most popular stands at the event proved to be that of SeventyPercent, a chocolate company that matched a different whisky to a chocolate in their range. The music also covered an equally broad spectrum.  Mercury Music Prize nominee Tom McRae and former Gene frontman Martin Rossiter were performing alongside up-and-coming and highly rated acts such as Kassidy and Smoke Fairies.

Dominic on his World Whisky stand
While working at the festival we met some great people, both whisky people and festival goers.  Amongst the whisky glitterati that supported the event were Sam Simmons (AKA Dr. Whisky and current Global Brand Ambassador for Balvenie), Gregg Glass of Compass Box, whisky journalist Dominic Roskrow and Chris & Lucas from The Edinburgh Whisky Blog.  Dominic was manning a stand (pictured, above) that had a great selection of whiskies from around the world including some rare beauties from Lark's in Australia and Amrut in India.  Likewise, Chris & Lucas were also working on a stand, bringing AnCnoc single malt to the masses.  Both were consistently two of the busiest stands at the show.

Lucas & Chris spread the AnCnoc love
There seemed to be many positives at the Pure Festival, but our main observation was that the demographic of the people attending was very different to any other whisky related show that we have been to.  Most that we spoke to were new to whisky but interested in it and Pure seemed to help break down some of the perceived barriers or snobbery that the festival goers associated with the subject.  The addition of the music to the event made it feel fresh and vibrant and clearly brought a new type of person to the show.  Many of the whisky brands also commented to us that it had made so many new potential customers aware of their products.

So congratulations to Jean-Luc and Pierre for pulling off a successful two day event.  Please be sure to check out the Connosr site over the next few days as they will be uploading a number of video clips from the weekend - this includes interviews with the bands and exhibitors, whisky reviews and exclusive acoustic tracks recorded by some of the artists. We had a great time helping out with everything and hope that the Pure Festival becomes a permanent fixture on the whisky show circuit. It offers something different and brings whisky to the attention of a new audience - that can only be a good thing.

Jean-Luc & Pierre relax with a well earned dram after Pure

Friday, September 23, 2011

Inbox > September 23, 2011

whisky for everyone inbox logoAfter last week's bumper holiday induced double issue, Inbox is back in to its regular Friday routine. For those of you that are new to Whisky For Everyone, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR type material that has recently found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece that we receive. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we will 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 if you want to. So, what's landed this week?

Bowmore > Launch Great Outdoors workshops & photo competition

bowmore logoThe oldest Islay distillery has again teamed up with The National Geographic Society to launch a new photographic competition.  The International Photography Contest forms part of a long term partnership between the two organisations.

To celebrate the launch of the competition, Bowmore has teamed up with renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior and The Whisky Shop - the UK's largest specialist whisky retail chain - by announcing a series of Great Outdoors workshops.  The workshops will take place at four of the chain's stores - York (30 Sept), Birmingham (6 Oct), Edinburgh Victoria St (7 Oct) and London (11 Oct) - and in each one Colin will give tips and advice about taking landscape photographs, plus sample some of the Bowmore range of single malts with guests.  The events are free and places can be booked by contacting the stores directly - store details can be found on Please note that the London event is already fully booked.  The International Photography Contest is open to all budding photographers and can be entered by clicking here.  The closing date is 31 October.

Dalmore > Sell bottle for £125,000
Richard's lost his bottle
A bottle of whisky which was released from Dalmore Master Blender Richard Paterson's private collection has been sold for a record retail price.  The Dalmore 62 was originally released in 2002 and consisted of just 12 bottles, which sold for £25,000 each.  However, Richard kept one and 10 years later presented it to Changi Airport in Singapore, where it has just sold for a staggering £125,000.  The whisky, which contains some exceedingly old single malts including one dating back to 1868, was transferred from Richard's original bottle in to a new bespoke hand blown crystal decanter for the sale.  It was presented in a hand made lacquered wooden case. As the whisky's creator, Richard Paterson commented, “The Dalmore 62 is legendary. In the space of 10 years it is has grown in value and is worth five times the original price, verifying the luxury credentials of The Dalmore, and confirming that whisky is an investment worth making.”

Glenglassaugh > Select a 'Chosen Few'

Stuart, Ronnie & Chosen Few No.1
The independently owned distillery of Glenglassaugh, located on the north east Highland coast near Portsoy, has asked its staff to select a forthcoming range of single malts.  The range named the Chosen Few will consist of 10 single cask releases, each of which have been specially selected by 10 members of Glenglassaugh staff.  They will be released periodically over the next 2-3 years and carry each persons name. The honour of the first Chosen Few release goes to Ronnie Routledge, the Customer Account Manager (pictured on the right with MD Stuart Nickerson).  He selected a sherry butt from 1976, which has yielded 654 bottles at a cask strength of 49.6% ABV and has a recommended retail price of £299.99.  It can be found in specialist whisky retailers or via the shop at

Glenglassaugh are also trying to complete the renovation of their new visitor centre facility. This is to get some tours in to coincide with the release of their first single malt under the new ownership, which took over in 2008. This release is planned for the en of 2011. At present the distillery can be toured but only on a pre-booked basis and it is hoped that that the new centre will bring much needed tourism to the localarea.

Macallan > 60 years old released

Riveting stuff
The famous Speyside distillery has announced the release of one of its rarest and oldest ever single malt whiskies.  The release sees Macallan continue their association with the iconic French crystal house Lalique, who have specially designed an extraordinary decanter for it. The design is inspired by the riveted entry hatch on Macallan's small stills.  The whisky is 60 years old and has been drawn from just five sherry oak casks, which were filled on the 9th and 10th of November 1950, and has a remarkable alcoholic strength of 53.2% ABV given its age.  There are just 400 individually numbered decanters, which are presented in a lacquered case with collector's booklet and will cost £13,000/$20,000.  Check out the video below, which shows some of the production and design processes.

Pure Festival > Whisky & music come to London

Just a quick final note to remind anyone in or around London that our good friends at the popular whisky social network Whisky Connosr, Jean-Luc and Pierre, are holding an exciting whisky and music festival over the weekend.  They have teamed up with promoters Brand New Music to create the event, which will be held at The Relentless Garage (opposite Highbury & Islington tube station).  The music will be supplied by such acts as The Raveonettes,  James Yorkston and Electric Soft Parade.  The whisky brands involved include Ardbeg, AnCnoc, Cooley, Dewar's and Whyte & Mackay, with whisky writer Dominic Roskrow holding tastings also.  Tickets are £28.50 each for each day and this includes vouchers for eight drams or cocktails and access to all of the music.  Please visit to book your tickets or you can pay on the door.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Inbox > September 19, 2011

whisky for everyone inbox logoInbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR type material that has recently found its way in to our email inbox. Inbox was born as we sadly cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece that we receive. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we will 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 if you want to.

However, following our holiday to Cuba the Whisky For Everyone email was bursting at the seams upon our return - so we decided to split last week's Inbox in to two parts.  Sit back and enjoy this bonus edition, before we return to the normal format on Friday.

Arran > New 12 years old launched 
Cool, classy packaging
The award winning Isle of Arran Distillers have announced a new product – the first batch of a 12 years old Cask Strength. This release will be at the end of September and will consist of 12,000 bottles. The whisky has been constructed, using a combination of first-fill and second-fill ex-sherry casks, by Master Distiller James MacTaggart. The cask strength is 54.1% ABV. Euan Mitchell, Arran’s Managing Director says, “The influence of the sherry casks has resulted in a powerful, spicy and rich whisky with notes of dark chocolate, toasted oak and baked apples. Adding a splash of water brings further depth with subtle flavours of citrus fruits and cinnamon”.

Balblair > WIRED Magazine photo competition
Timed to perfection ...
The north Highland distillery of Balblair, owned by Inverhouse Distillers, has teamed up with popular magazine WIRED to create an exciting new photography competition.  The first prize is a VIP trip to the distillery and a bottle of Balblair 1965 Vintage - their oldest vintage released to date, worth £1,500.  The theme of the competition ties in with Balblair tag line - Timed to Perfection.  Entrants are asked to interpret that expression and submit photographs, which will be judged by Steve Peck, the WIRED Picture Editor, and Edmund Clark, the Editorial Photographer of the Year 2010.  The closing date is 14 October and the winning photo will be published in the January edition of WIRED.  For further details and to enter - click here.

Black Grouse > Team up with RSPB
Helping the RSPB
An award sponsorship scheme between the Black Grouse whisky brand, owned by the Edrington Group, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been extended for a further three years. The scheme was originally started in 2008 and was created to raise awareness about the critical decline of the black grouse in the UK. This was prompted by a dramatic slump in numbers, which had fallen from 25,000 male birds in 1970 to only 5,000 in 2005. The scheme has already raised £300,000 and has seen numbers beginning to rise steadily, almost doubling in some locations. A further £150,000 will be given in the next three years to continue the good work. The extension was announced by Gerry O’Donnell, the Director of the Famous Grouse brand, and Stuart Housden, the Director of RSPB Scotland.

Glendronach > Tee off with a special whisky
Donald's favourite
The award winning independent distillery of Glendronach have announced that they will be supplying a limited edition whisky to celebrate the opening of Donald Trump's controversial new golf course near Aberdeen.  The tycoon invited a number of distilleries from the local area to submit samples and selected a Glendronach 25 years old single malt as the winner.  The whisky, which was selected by Managing Director of The Benriach Distillery Company Billy Walker, will come in 500 commemorative bottles and will be released to coincide with the grand opening of the £750 million golf complex next Summer.  No further details are available, but Billy Walker described the whisky as, "classic Glendronach - a silky and smooth fusion of sherry sweetness and concentrated fruit".

Jim Beam Red Stag > Try a new cocktail
Ahoy me hearties!
Believe it or not, today is ‘International Talk Like A Pirate Day’. Yes you read that correctly, but that is not the news here. To celebrate this day (question – is anyone really celebrating this?), the people behind Jim Beam Red Stag – the American bourbon infused with black cherries – have created a special cocktail. The Cherry Sour Sea Dog (pictured, left) can be made as follows - muddle four cherries in a dash of lemon juice in the bottom of a shaker glass, add 50mls of Jim Beam Red Stag and a drop of Angostura bitters and shake hard over cubed ice, then put all contents into a tumbler and garnish with a fresh cherry and lemon snap. Sounds delicious – try it out.

Whisky Socials @ the Athenaeum Hotel
Here's one for anyone in London - the Athenaeum Hotel, which is located on Piccadilly, has announced a series of whisky evenings where they will play host to some of the world's best known brands.  The Whisky Socials will incorporate a tutored whisky tasting with food matchings thanks to specially created menus for each event.  Each event will cost £39 per head and places can be booked by visiting or by calling 020-76403322.  The events are as follows ...
6 October 2011 - Aberfeldy & Dewar's with the legendary Roger Mallandine.
24 November 2011 - Balvenie with Dr. Andrew Forrester, the UK Brand Ambassador.
25 January 2012 - Burn's Night Special with The Macallan.
There is also a date in March 2012, yet to be confirmed, which will see Richard Paterson hosting a Dalmore evening.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inbox > September 16, 2011

whisky for everyone inbox logoInbox is back, after a few weeks break due to our trip to Cuba.  More will follow on that trip shortly. Upon our return, the Whisky For Everyone email inbox was bursting at the seams with whisky news.  As a result, there is so much to cover that we have split this week's bumper edition of Inbox in to two parts - the second part will be posted on Monday.

For those of you that are new to Whisky For Everyone, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR type material that has recently found its way in to our email inbox. Inbox was born as we sadly cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece that we receive. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we will 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 if you want to. So, here goes with part one ...

Ardbeg > Alligator on general release
Spot the alligator ...
The cult Islay distillery of Ardbeg have put a limited number of their Alligator single malt on general release.  The whisky was originally released to their Ardbeg Committee members earlier in the year and proved extremely popular.  The whisky is so named because it has been matured in special ex-bourbon casks, which have undergone heavy charring prior to filling.  This form of heavy char is called an 'alligator char' because the wood cracks and burns to look like alligator skin.  Ardbeg Alligator is released at 51.2% ABV and will retail for £65 from the Ardbeg website or selected specialist whisky retailers. To read our review of the Committee version - click here.

Benriach & Glendronach > New single casks released
Glendronach 1971
The two distilleries, both owned by Billy Walker's Benriach Distillery Co, have announced new additions to their popular single cask range.  Each vintage is hand numbered, bottled at cask strength and non chill filtered.  The Benriach range consists of 12 bottlings between 18 to 40 years old, and from a variety of different casks including finishes in Sauternes, Port and Barolo red wine. The Glendronach range has six new bottlings between 17 and 40 years of age, with all from their traditional Oloroso or Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.

Bowmore > Ben Nevis Challenge takes place
Winners - 'Rosie's Runners'
A few months ago, we reported on the Ben Nevis Challenge - a charity race up Britain's tallest mountain sponsored by Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the famous whisky island of Islay.  The event was to raise much needed money for Capability Scotland, a charity that provides education, employment and support for disabled people throughout Scotland.  Eight teams, each consisting of a mix of disabled and non-disabled people, took part in the challenge and the winners were 'Rosie's Runners' who completed the climb in five hours twenty minutes.  The goal is to raise £100,000 for the charity.

Glenfiddich > 'One Day You Will' Summit 2011
The famous Speyside distillery are offering whisky fans the chance to attend their inaugural One Day You Will Summit, which will be held at the distillery over a two day period in October.  The summit is being attended by contemporary innovators and pioneers from around the globe, including polar explorer Pen Haddow.  The main theme is how technology is affecting all aspects of our daily lives and will incorporate seminars, lectures and Glenfiddich whisky tastings.  To get the chance to attend, whisky fans are asked to visit the special One Day You Will Summit 2011 webpage - click here.  The deadline is very soon on 19 September, so hurry up!  Winners will be notified shortly afterwards.

Join now!
Glenfiddich have also launched a new quarterly newsletter for its online Glenfiddich Explorers community.  The newsletter will give an exclusive insight in to the world and happenings at Glenfiddich.  The first edition features news on their new Age Of Discovery release, news from the distillery, the chance to enter win a once-in-a-lifetime prize and a guest article by our good friend Lucas Dynowiak of The Edinburgh Whisky Blog. You can sign up for the newsletter at the Glenfiddich Explorers website, but you can click here for a sneaky look at the first edition.

Glenmorangie > Royal opening for bottling facility
"Don't press the blue button, Your Highness"
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was the guest of honour at the recent opening of Glenmorangie's new bottling plant in Livingston.  The new facility is packed with environment friendly features to ensure the efficient use of energy and water.  The first bottling on the production line was from a single cask which was presented to Prince Andrew on a visit to Glenmorangie in 1997.  He was presented with 270 bottles, most of which will go

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 > Details announced
This year's colour is ... purple
Each Autumn the whisky world waits for the release of one of its best annual book releases - the Malt Whisky Yearbook.  The book was the brainchild of Ingvar Ronde and this year sees the seventh edition.  It is a must read for anyone who is interested in whisky, beginner or connoisseur alike.  We purchased a copy when we were starting out almost four years ago and have learned so much of what we know now from it.  This year's edition has the regular mix of articles about the industry and current hot topics, interviews with distillery managers, statistics and facts and in-depth distillery profiles and tasting notes from around the world.  For more information and to pre-order your copy, go to the Malt Whisky Yearbook website.

Shackleton's whisky > Wins innovation award
Anyone for ice?
A few months ago, Whyte & Mackay the famous whisky company released the Shackleton Highland Malt whisky - a replica of the whisky taken by Ernest Shackleton on his ill-fated trek to the South Pole in 1907/08.  This whisky was found under the Antarctic ice at Shackleton's base camp, before some was taken back to Scotland by Whyte & Mackay for analysis by their Master Blender Richard Paterson.  He created a replica so close to the original that whisky writer Dave Broom couldn't tell the difference when tasting the two side by side!  The whisky has now won a major award - The Whisky Magazine's Innovator of the Year 2011.  To read our tasting notes of the Shackleton whisky - click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Whisky Round Table > September 2011

The latest edition of The Whisky Round Table is now available for all to read. For those of you that may have just discovered us, The Whisky Round Table is the brainchild of Jason Johnston-Yellin - the author of the 'must read' whisky blog Guid Scotch Drink. His idea was to gather together 12 whisky bloggers from around the world and get them to discuss a whisky topic once a month. The hosting of The Round Table is passed around the 12 members, with each host setting the question for each month - the subjects have been wide and varied to date. Links to the previous editions of Whisky Round Table articles can be found by clicking here.

This month sees the turn of Ruben, who writes the excellent and informative blog WhiskyNotes who is based in Belgium.  He has asked a question about which, if any, closed or mothballed distilleries would we like to see re-opened. It has created very interesting responses from the Whisky Round Table members, so grab a dram and put your feet up - click here to read everyone's answers. We hope that you enjoy the debate and please feel free to add a comment at the bottom of Ruben's posting.  Which closed/mothballed distillery would you like to see re-opened?

The Whisky Round Table can also be followed on Twitter. Come and join us @WhiskyKnights for updates and news from the Round Table and its members.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Diageo Special Releases 2011

Each Autumn sees the highly anticipated release of a selection of single malt whiskies from the portfolio of drinks giant Diageo, which owns 28 whisky distilleries in Scotland.  For the Special Releases programme they have traditionally mixed limited edition expressions from some of their flagship distilleries with very rare and older whiskies from some of the lesser known parts of their estate.  Some of these include whiskies from closed distilleries whose stocks have dwindled to almost critical levels.  This year's selection of eight whiskies are mostly bottled at the natural cask strength and are non chill filtered.

We are attending the launch of these products in London in October, so our personal tasting notes will follow that. However, below is a round-up and details of each of the whiskies for the Special Releases 2011 to tide you over until then.

Brora 32 years old
Single malts from this coastal north Highland distillery, which closed in 1983, are now very rare.  This bottling consists of just 1,500 bottles and rumour has it that this may be one of the last ever releases that Diageo can bottle.  It is their oldest ever bottling of Brora and this had been matured in a combination of re-fill ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.  The alcohol strength is 54.7% ABV and it will have a recommended retail price (RRP) of £300.

Caol Ila 12 years old Unpeated
This Islay distillery is well known and regarded for it soft peaty single malts, but once a year they produce a small batch of unpeated whisky.  Most of this is used within Diageo's range of popular blends but some of the best casks are kept for release.  This is the sixth such release and has been matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, which has yielded just under 6,000 bottles.  It has been bottled at an eye-watering 64% ABV and will have an RRP of £55.

Glenury Royal 40 years old
Whisky from this east Highland distillery are extremely rare and highly sought after.  Glenury Royal closed in 1983 and has since been demolished.  Recent releases have been scarce and this is one of the oldest ever expressions that Diageo have bottled from the remaining stocks.  There are just 1,404 bottles, each of which is individually numbered, and it has been maturing in the same re-fill ex-bourbon casks since 1970.  It has an RRP of £525.

Knockando 25 years old
The 12 years old bottling from the small Speyside distillery of Knockando is one of Diageo's best sellers, but older expressions such as this one are much harder to come by.  This has been maturing in first fill ex-sherry casks since 1985 and has been bottled at 43% ABV.  There are fewer than 4,500 bottles in this limited release and each one carries an RRP of £135.

Lagavulin 12 years old
This Islay distillery is one of Diageo's flagship single malts and the popular 16 years old forms part of their iconic Classic Malts series.  It is well loved for its peaty, smoky style of whisky and this one will be no different.  This expression is bottled at the natural cask strength of 57.5% ABV and has become a regular feature in recent Special Releases programmes.  It has been matured in re-fill ex-bourbon casks and will have an RRP of £63.

Port Dundas 20 years old
Port Dundas is a grain distillery in Glasgow which closed a couple of years ago.  Whiskies from this distillery are very rare, as most are used to produce Diageo's range of blends.  This is a 100% single grain whisky and is the first ever such release to appear in the Special Releases.  It has been bottled at 57.4% ABV and there are 1,920 bottles, each of which are individually numbered.  The bottling has been made from just three casks - one new American oak, one new European oak and one re-fill ex-bourbin cask - and has an RRP of £135.

Port Ellen 32 years old
This is the 11th release in the series from this fabled Islay distillery, which closed in 1983.  Port Ellen is highly sought after by whisky collectors and connoisseurs alike.  Stocks are said to be running very low and this release contains just 2,988 individually numbered bottles.  This is Diageo's oldest release of Port Ellen to date and has been maturing in re-fill ex-bourbon casks since 1978.  It has been bottled at 53.9% ABV and has an RRP of £300.  Previous releases in this series have seriously increased in value, some by over 150%, so this is one to watch.

Rosebank 21 years old
This whisky is from another closed distillery, this time from the Lowlands of Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Rosebank was founded in 1798 and would be one of Scotland's oldest distilleries if it were still in operation.  However, it closed in 1993 and despite almost constant rumours of it re-opening, it never has.  This expression has been matured in a combination of re-fill ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and there are 5,886.  Remaining stocks are low, so the RRP of £160 seems like a bit of bargain.