Friday, May 12, 2023

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (May 12, 2023)

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. 
Here is the round-up of the news from this week.
Big Peat
The award-winning Islay blended malt of Big Peat has revealed details of its annual bottling for the Fèis Ìle festival on the famous whisky island. This year's limited batch is named The Smokehouse Edition and comes in at a strength of 48% ABV.  It is also the first ever expression of Big Peat to be finished in ex-red wine casks. Big Peat is created using only single malts from Islay. Brand owners Douglas Laing & Co. will also be supporting local businesses with Big Peat at several events during the festival. Big Peat The Smokehouse Edition will be available in selected specialist retailers in Asia, Europe and the UK, and via A bottle will cost £65/ €75.


The Lowland distillery of Bladnoch has announced the release of a new series of whiskies that celebrates the nuances of the whisky making craft. The Dragon Series consists of five single malts with each bottling showing a pivotal moment in the production process. The collection draws inspiration from the Dragon Curve, a fractional curve in mathematics that suggest a stable and predictable pattern but often gives other outcomes.

The expressions are divided into five iterations. The 1st Iteration : The Field - Field to Distillery tells the story of barley sourced from local farms and the malting process. The liquid has been matured in re-fill ex-bourbon casks and is bottled at 46.7% ABV. The 2nd Iteration : The Spirit - Malt to Spirit captures the essence of mashing, fermentation and distillation within the distillery. It has been matured in first-fill and re-fill ex-bourbon casks and is bottled at 48.3% ABV.

The 3rd Iteration : The Casks - Tree to Cask considers the art of coopering and the oak used to make the barrels for maturation. It has been matured in a combination of American oak first-fill ex-bourbon and first-fill ex-sherry casks made from Spanish oak, and is bottled at 49.9% ABV. The 4th Iteration : The Ageing - New to Mature focusses on the unpredictable nature of spirit maturation. It has been matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and ex-red wine hogsheads, and is bottled at 51.1% ABV.

The 5th Iteration : The Decision - Complexity to Simplicity looks at role of the Master Blender and their work in the sample room, which determines when the whisky is ready. This has been matured in a combination of ex-Tokaji sweet wine casks from Hungary and Spanish ex-sherry casks. It is bottled at 53.1% ABV.

Each bottling in the series will cost £110 with the entire set of five selling for £550. The Dragon Series will be available in specialist whisky retailers in selected global markets, plus from the distillery shop in Wigtown and via

Isle of Raasay 

The privately owned Isle of Raasay distillery has launched a distillery exclusive bottling to celebrate a recent award. The distillery was the winner of the coverted Tourism Destination of the Year 2022 at the Scottish Whisky Awards. For the limited edition release the distillery team, led by founder and Master Distiller Alasdair Day, selected ex-sherry and ex-Manzanilla Pasada casks. 
These were filled with lightly peated spirit and the whisky has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 63.5% ABV. The Isle of Raasay - Tourism Destination of the Year Edition will be on sale at the distillery shop and also exclusively to their online club members. There are just 2,500 bottles and these will be available to purchase from May 17. Each will cost £95.


The family-owned Islay farm distillery of Kilchoman have announced the release of two Spring limited editions - the Kilchoman Cognac Cask Matured and Fino Sherry Cask Matured. The Cognac Cask Matured (pictured, left) is the first ever Kilchoman expression to feature maturation in ex-Cognac casks. These were sourced from Cognac house Tonellerie Bossuet in France. Heavily peated (50ppm) spirit was filled to these casks in 2016 and have matured for a minimum of six years. It is bottled at 50% ABV and there are just 15,100 bottles.

The Kilchoman Fino Sherry Cask Matured (pictured, right) is just the second ever release to feature ex-Fino sherry butts. These were selected by founder Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal, the Production Manager at Kilchoman. Just 20 butts were used and these were sourced from Bodega Jose y Miguel Martin in Jerez, Spain. They were filled with heavily peated (50ppm) spirit in 2018 and matured for a minimum of five years. There are just 15,650 bottles and these are released at 50% ABV. Both bottlings are non chill-filtered and of natural colour.
"The Cognac casks selected allow our fruit-driven, citrus spirit style to balance with that of the Cognac oak. There is a delicate balance to be found that ensures flavours from the spirit and the cask are easily detected. 
The Fino Sherry maturation works incredibly well with our classic Kilchoman character. Fino is another example of sherry casks working together, not against, our spirit.”
Anthony Wills.


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