Friday, May 24, 2019

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (May 24, 2019)

Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. 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.  This is the news that has grabbed our attention this week.



The popular Speyside distillery of Balvenie has announced a new series of whiskies and the first three expressions in that series. The Balvenie Stories range is designed to show the tales of character, endeavour and craftsmanship created at the distillery's home in Dufftown, Speyside. The three whiskies - The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 years old, The Week of Peat 14 years old and A Day of Dark Barley 26 years old - were each created by different people - Kelsey McKechnie (Apprentice Malt Master), Ian Millar (former Distillery Manager) and David Stewart MBE (Malt Master).

The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 years oldis bottled at 43% ABV and saw McKechnie experimenting with virgin white American oak casks that were twice toasted, while The Week of Peat 14 years old (48.3% ABV) pays homage to Millar who introduced the short run of peated malt production in the early 2000s. A Day of Dark Barley 26 years old (47.8% ABV) tells the story of when Stewart experimented with heavily roasted malt for a short period back in 1992. They are priced at £45, £65 and £600 respectively, and will be available worldwide in selected retailers.

"Stories are the lifeblood of the distillery. They make up the fabric of who we are and what we do. The Balvenie Stories collection tells these tales in liquid form, giving whisky drinkers a glimpse into the unique and very human nature of how we produce our whisky. "
David Stewart MBE.

Highland Park

The Orcadian single malt distillery of Highland Park have announced a new limited edition that celebrates the career of Søren Solkær, the leading music and film photographer. The whisky has been matured in a combination of American oak ex-sherry casks and first-fill ex-bourbon casks, and celebrates his 26 year photographic career that has seen him take images of bands such as The Arctic Monkeys and U2 amongst others.

The Highland Park Søren Solkær 26 Years of Photography will see a staggered worldwide release, beginning with the UK. The exact number of bottles was not revealed in the press release. The bottle comes in a bespoke camera case style box and includes a 250 page book of Solkær's photos that he has taken on Orkney, including the Highland Park distillery, over the last three years. The price is £499/ $635 US.

Hunter Laing
The family owned independent bottling company and distiller of Hunter Laing & Co. have announced the release of a new Islay single malt, named Scarabus. The new whisky, which is an old Nordic word for 'rocky place', will be previewed at the company's Ardnahoe distillery during the Feis Ile 2019 that begins this weekend. The whisky, which comes from an un-named Islay distillery, is bottled at 46% ABV and will be available worldwide in specialist retailers from mid-June. The price is £38/ $49 US and it is available to buy and sample at Ardnahoe now.

"We are extremely proud of the Scarabus whisky and the Feis Ile Festival is the perfect place to release the first bottling. We aimed to produce an expression that showcases a traditional Islay whisky style."
Stewart Laing - Managing Director at Hunter Laing & Co.

The Irish pot still whiskey brand of Powers has unveiled its first ever pre-mixed classic cocktail - the Powers Old Fashioned. The new product is designed to tap in to the growing pre-mix market, the growth of whiskey cocktails and recruit new consumers to the Irish whiskey category. The 500ml bottle contains a blend of the classic Powers Gold Label, sugar syrup and herbal bitters with a serving suggestion of over ice with a twist of orange peel. The Powers Old fashioned is bottled at 38% ABV and will be available initially in Ireland through selected retailers. A bottle will cost €30/ £26.


Another Irish pot still whiskey from the Irish Distillers stable, Redbreast, has announced the release of its annual Dream Cask bottling. The 2019 expression is the Redbreast Dream Cask Pedro Ximénez Edition and has seen a combination of four single pot still whiskeys aged between 20 and 33 years in ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso sherry and ex-Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. These were then re-casked and finished in an old ex-Pedro Ximénez sherry butt. The four original cask details are below,

  • Cask 1 – a single pot still Irish whiskey distilled in 1998, matured in an ex-bourbon barrel and re-casked into a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt in 2012 
  • Cask 2 – a single pot still Irish whiskey distilled in 1995, matured in an ex-bourbon cask and re-casked into an Oloroso sherry butt in 2012 
  • Cask 3 – a single pot still Irish whiskey distilled in 1985 and matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel 
  • Cask 4 – a single pot still Irish whiskey distilled in 1997 and matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel

The four casks were selected and re-casked/finished by Billy Leighton, the Master Blender for Redbreast. The Redbreast Dream Cask Pedro Ximénez Edition is bottled at the natural cask strength of 52.2% ABV and the large finishing butt has yielded just 924 bottles. These will be available to members of The Birdhouse, Redbreast's exclusive online private club, from 3pm on May 27 and each bottle will cost €380/ £335.

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