Friday, December 7, 2012

Inbox - December 7, 2012

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 that we receive. 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.

As with the previous weeks, this last week has proved super-hectic for all four of us as we have hit Christmas trading in our day jobs.  It has proved difficult to get any blogging done as a result.  Please bear with us over the next couple of weeks - posts will appear, but less frequently and when we have any spare time.  Here is what has caught our attention this week ...

Auchentoshan - Three is the magic number
The Lowland distillery of Auchentoshan have spoilt us this week with the announcement of three new single malts.  The first is the second release of their annual Valinch - a cask strength version of Auchentoshan which is made in small batches.  The 2012 edition is bottled at 57.2% ABV and has been matured exclusively in first fill ex-bourbon American oak casks.  There are 12,000 bottles in this batch.

The second whisky is the latest in Auchentoshan's vintage series from the 1970s.  The new 1979 Vintage was distilled in October 1979 and has been maturing in first fill ex-Oloroso sherry butts ever since.  After 32 years, it has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 50.5% ABV - there are just 1,000 bottles and each bottle is numbered.  The whisky is presented in a premium black cardboard box with copper trim and will cost £350.

The final release is the also the rarest.  The Auchentoshan 1966 is one of the oldest Lowland whiskies ever to be released by any distillery.  This whisky has been maturing for 44 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead American oak cask.  There are just 257 bottles.  The decanter style bottle is presented in an aluminium and oak casket, which includes a commemorative booklet about the whisky.  The recommended retail price is £4,500.

Glendronach - Strengthens up
The independently owned distillery have announced the bottling of a new expression for its core range of whiskies - the Glendronach Cask Strength.  The first batch containing 12,000 bottles will be released shortly at an as yet unnamed price.  The whisky has been matured in a combination of ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez Spanish oak casks and is bottled at the natural cask strength of 54.8% ABV.  It is also non chill-filtered and of natural colour.  For further information, go to

Jack Daniel's - Have a barrel of laughs
The American whiskey giant has brought a bit of Tennessee Christmas spirit to the streets of London.  Jack Daniel's have transported 140 used whiskey barrels to construct a huge Christmas 'tree' in Covent Garden piazza, one of London's most famous squares.  The 'barrel tree' has only previously been built at the distillery in Tennessee, making this a pioneering venture.

The 'tree' is nine barrels high and took 11 people, include three from the distillery, two days to build.  To coincide with the 'tree', they have released a limited festive bottle - the Jack Daniel's Holiday Select 2012 - which is on sale at selected UK retailers for £45.  The Jack Daniel's Barrel Christmas Tree will remain in Covent Garden up to and over the festive period.  Check out the video to see them constructing the 'tree' ...

Macallan - Master of Photography winners

Some time ago, we reported on the Macallan Masters of Photography - a global consumer competition launched to celebrate the third part of the brand's Masters of Photography series, which this year saw famous portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz commisioned.  The winners have now been announced from the 2,500 images that were entered.

The winning photo (pictured, above), as selected by esteemed judges Roy Robertson and Leo Palmer of the Royal Photographic Society and Vanessa Slawson, was taken by Martin Faltejsek from the Czech Republic and is entitled Personality.  He wins a VIP trip to Macallan, including a stay at the famous East Elchies House, a personal distillery tour and some serious camera equipment.

Southern Coast Distillers
Not all news is good news, as they say.  This week we received the news that our friends at the Southern Coast distillery in Adelaide, Australia are ceasing production.  The distillery was operated in the team's spare time, as they all have full time jobs.  The closure is blamed on "the pressures of modern life" and in particular "the juggling of the ever increasing demands of the distillery with those of full time employment, business and families is just too much".

We had the pleasure of visiting on our last trip back to Australia earlier this year (read about our visit here) and were highly impressed with their whiskies.  We weren't the only ones as they have gained recognition around the world for their single malts, most notably from Jim Murray in his last two Whisky Bible's. It is sad to see such an enterprising place cease to be, but hopefully they will continue to release some further award winning whiskies from their remaining maturing stock.

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