Category Archives: whisky

The Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

This year we have made one important change to the Icons of Whisky line up. In the past we have honoured members of the industry with a Lifetime Achievement award. We have now evolved this award into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. All those who have been given a Lifetime award will be elevated to the Hall of Fame.

Inspired by the top 100 greatest whisky figures in history who appeared in the 100th edition of the magazine, the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame will be a permanent tribute honouring those noteworthy individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the world of whisky.

Douglas Campbell

Master distiller and brand ambassador Tomatin Distillery

Now joining the lofty ranks of those having passed 50 years in the industry, Our first inductee tonight has worked at the same distillery throughout his whisky career.

He started in 1961 as a clerk, and has worked through almost every area in the distillery; from the maltings, filling store, mash house, still house, cooperage, head  brewer in 1988, then distillery manager in 1990. He was appointed master distiller in 2009, and now works as a brand ambassador.

With his vast experience, his role is to keep track of the whiskies as they develop their own distinctive characters and then he decides how best to utilise these casks, to maintain the consistently high standard of his whiskies.

Richard Forsyth

Chairman Forsyths

For the last 80 years members of our next inductee’s family have worked at the heart of the whisky business.

By investing heavily in making sure the company has the finest artisans, and by maintaining quality the company has flourished.

In the last few years the company has contributed its expertise to the likes of The Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenmorangie and the building of the distillery Ailsa Bay at Girvan.

It designed, installed and commissioned the fully automated distillery in Taiwan that is now so successfully producing rising star Kavalan, and it has involved in projects in Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden.

Elmer T. Lee

Master distiller and brand ambassador Buffalo Trace Distillery

Elmer is known throughout the industry for his expertise and knowledge of Bourbon whiskey. His career in Bourbon began after the Second World War when in September 1949 he began working in the engineering department at a distillery in Frankfort.

Although retired in 1985, he continues to serve as ambassador, educating the world on the unique qualities of Kentucky’s Bourbon whiskey.

In 1984 he introduced the single barrel bourbon concept to the world and is also only one of three living master distillers who have a Bourbon whiskey named after them.

For more information please visit


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World Whiskies Awards 2012



Japanese whisky continued its dominance of World Whiskies Awards this year; with Suntory scooping one of the top titles and Nikka securing the blended malt title for the fourth year running. For the first time a South African blend, Three Ships, took the title of World’s Best Blended Whisky.

More than 300 whiskies battled during three intensive blind tasting rounds for the coveted titles of the ‘2012 World’s Best Whiskies’.

Judges for Whisky Magazine’s independent editorial panel were drawn from the best drinks journalists and retailers across the world, with industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors in the final round. The winners of the ‘World Whiskies Awards 2012’ were as follows:

World’s Best Single Malt Whisky                           Yamazaki 25 Years Old

World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky         Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old

World’s Best Blended Whisky                                     Three Ships 5 Years Old

World’s Best Grain Whisky                                     Greenore 18 Years Old

World’s Best American Whiskey                     Eagle Rare 17 Years Old

World’s Best Whisky Liqueur                                     Dunkeld Athol Brose

The World Whiskies Awards is the annual selection of the very best whiskies internationally. This year entries have been received from: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, USA and Wales. Categories are based upon the commonly held whisky groupings, which define both the style and the process of whisky and whisky production: single malt, blended, blended malt, grain, American and whisky liqueurs. Organised by Whisky Magazine, this annual competition selects, awards and promotes to consumers and trade the ‘World’s Best Whiskies’.

The competition is open to proprietary bottlings only, and is chaired by Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine, and exists to inform and educate consumers throughout the world about whisky.

Chairman of the judges, Rob Allanson, commented: “The competition featured some eye-opening whiskies and the judging panel had a hard time separating the good from the very good. My congratulations go to the winners, the judges’ exacting standards mean that the winners are truly the greatest whiskies in the world.”

Category and sub category winners


Best Blended Malt – Scotch The Hive, Wemyss Vintage Malts

Best Blended Malt – Non Scotch   Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old


Irish Blended Whiskey shortlist
No Age Statement                   Bushmills 1608

12 Years and Under                   Tullamore Dew 12 Years Old Special Reserve

13 to 20 Years                                     Kilbeggan 18 Years Old
Best Irish Blended Whiskey Kilbeggan 18 Years Old

Japanese Blended Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Nikka From The Barrel
12 Years and Under                   Hibiki 12 Years Old
13 to 20 Years                                      Hibiki 17 Years Old
21 Years and Over                   Hibiki 21 Years Old
Best Japanese Blended Whisky Hibiki 17 Years Old

Best New World Blended Whisky Three Ships 5 Years Old

Scotch Blended Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  The Naked Grouse
12 Years and Under                  Johnnie Walker Black Label

13 to 20 Years                                    James Martin’s 20 Years Old
21 Years and Over                   Black Bull 40 Years Old
Best Scotch Blended Whisky Black Bull 40 Years Old

Canadian Blended Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve

13 to 20 Years Old                  Wiser’s 18 Years Old

Best Canadian Blended Whisky Wiser’s 18 Years Old


Best Bourbon shortlist
No Age Statement                  Hudson Four Grain Bourbon

7 Years and Under                  Four Roses Small Batch

13 to 20 Years                                      Eagle Rare 17 Years Old
Best Bourbon Eagle Rare 17 Years Old

Best Rye shortlist
No Age Statement                  Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof

7 Years and Under                  Sazerac Straight Rye

13 to 20 Years                                       Sazerac 18 Years Old

Best Rye Whiskey Sazerac 18 Years Old


Best Pot Still Whiskey shortlist

No Age Statement                  Green Spot
12 Years and Under                  Powers John’s Lane Release

13 to 20 Years                                    Redbreast 15 Years Old
Best Pot Still Whiskey Powers John’s Lane Release

Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky shortlist
12 Years and Under                  Hazelburn 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                    Springbank 18 Years Old

Best Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky Springbank 18 Years Old

Highland Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Glenmorangie Signet

12 Years and Under                  Glen Garioch 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Old Pulteney 17 Years Old

21 Years and Over                  Speyburn 25 Years Old

Best Highland Single Malt Whisky Speyburn 25 Years Old

Islay Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  Bowmore Maltmen’s Selection

12 Years and Under                  Lagavulin 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Lagavuin 16 Years Old

Best Islay Single Malt Whisky Bowmore Maltmen’s Selection

Island (non Islay) Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Talisker 57º North

12 Years and Under                  Highland Park 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Scapa 16 Years Old

21 Years and Over                  Highland Park Vintage 1971

Best Island (non Islay) Single Malt Whisky Highland Park Vintage 1971

Speyside Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 2

12 Years and Under                  Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Aberlour 16 Years Old, Double Cask

21 Years and Over                  Glenfiddich 40 Years Old

Best Speyside Single Malt Whisky Glenfiddich 40 Years Old

Lowland Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  Auchentoshan Valinch 2011

12 Years and Under                  Auchentoshan 1999
Best Lowland Single Malt Whisky Auchentoshan 1999

Irish Single Malt Whiskey shortlist
No Age Statement                  Connemara Cask Strength Peated

12 Years and Under                  Tyrconnel Single Malt Sherry Finish

13 to 20 Years                                     Tyrconnel Single Cask

21 Years and Over                  Bushmills 21 Years Old

Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey Bushmills 21 Years Old

Japanese Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Miyagikyo Single Malt

12 Years and Under                  Miyagikyo 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Ichiro’s Malt Card Nine of Clubs

21 Years and Over                  Yamazaki 25 Years Old

Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki 25 Years Old

New World Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Kavalan Solist Fino

12 Years and Under                  Armorik Double Maturation

Best New World Single Malt Whisky Kavalan Solist Fino

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Icons of Whisky 2012


Whisky Magazine’s ‘Icons of Whisky’ have become one of the highlights of the whisky calendar and the 2012 competition has lived up to its reputation with the number and quality of companies entering the awards. The Icons are designed to celebrate the people and places behind the amber liquid. The 2012 Icons of Whisky were announced at a dinner held at The Waldorf Hilton, London, on 22nd March 2012 and the winners are as follows:


Whisky Retailer of the Year, single outlet The Vintage House, England

Whisky Retailer of the Year, multiple outlets La Maison du Whisky, France

Whisky Online Retailer of the Year Master of Malt, England

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year Jack Daniel Distillery, USA

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year Irish Distillers, Ireland

Whisky Ambassador of the Year Ashok Chokalingham, Amrut Distillery

Whisky Distiller of the Year Irish Distillers, Ireland

Initially, nominations for the awards are invited from the industry themselves. Based on the evidence supplied, an independent, international, editorial panel, chaired by Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine UK, draw up a shortlist from which the winners are picked. Voting rounds are held in the USA and Scotland in conjunction with ‘Whisky Live’ events ( Nominations are also invited from the rest of the world. The global icons are then drawn from this final shortlist.

Rob Allanson, Chairman of the Judge’s comments: “This year, in some cases we have seen smaller companies punching well above their weight to top their bigger rivals in the polls. The results also reflect the global nature of the whisky world. To make the final shortlist, given the all-encompassing nature of these awards and the quality of the entries, is an honour. I heartily congratulate all the 2012 winners as well as the shortlisted individuals and companies.”


Whisky Retailer of the Year, single outlet

Federal Wine & Spirits (USA)

The Vintage House (England)

The Whisky Shop Dufftown (Scotland)

Whisky Retailer of the Year, multiple outlets

La Maison Du Whisky (France)

Luvians Bottle Shop (Scotland)

The Liquor Barn (USA)

Whisky Online Retailer of the Year (USA)

Loch Fyne Whiskies (Scotland)

Master of Malt (England)

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year

Aberlour Distillery (Scotland)

Jack Daniel Distillery (USA)

St George’s Distillery (England)

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year

Buffalo Trace (USA)

Irish Distillers (Ireland)

Whyte & Mackay (Scotland)

Whisky Ambassador of the Year

Ashok Chokalingam (Amrut Distilleries)

Colin Dunn (Diageo)

David Blackmore (Glenmorangie USA)

Elmer T. Lee (Buffalo Trace)

Susan Colville (Wemyss Vintage Malts)

Whisky Distiller of the Year

Balcones Distillery (Craft Distiller, USA)

Diageo (Scotland)

Four Roses (USA)

Irish Distillers (Ireland)


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We all need some education

Raising the bar is a phrase all too often bandied about; however the innovative World Masterclass education course, which has just been unleashed for knowledge thirsty whisky fans, has done just this.

The game-changer in how education is delivered and consumed, the brain child of Whisky Magazine’s Dave Broom and one of the world’s leading hospitality training firm Lobster Ink, features a comprehensive on-line/DVD course.

I saw the course in action during its unveiling at Whisky Live South Africa, and have to say the results are excellent; in fact I cannot wait to get my hands on it and start going through it properly.

Each of the lessons includes a ‘classroom’ session, with Dave explaining in depth the principles behind each aspect of whisky production, followed by a lesson featuring distillers talking of their own specific techniques.

This means that students can learn about malting from Eddie MacAffer (Bowmore), milling from Georgie Crawford (Lagavulin), mashing from Andy Cant (Cardhu), fermentation from Alistair Longwell (Ardmore), distillation from Mickey Heads (Ardbeg), maturation from Andy MacDonald (Glenmorangie) and finishing from Jim McEwan (Bruichladdich)… and many more.

What better way to learn about whisky than from the people at the heart of the creative processes.

Dave tells me: “We genuinely saw the whole of the whisky-making process in amazing detail and got the people who make the whisky to explain what they believed it was all about. The end result is this fusion of hard fact and information placed in a real and living landscape populated by real people.

“When you listen to Georgie Crawford or Russell Anderson, Andy Cant or Eddie MacAffer, Frank McHardy or Alistair Longwell, Donald Renwick and Jim McEwan all talking – at length – about what is happening, it isn’t just the facts that stick with you but the passion these people have for their work. Capturing that, allowing them to speak, is the course’s greatest achievement – and there’s so much more still to come!

“The fact that they did this underlines that they recognised how important a course such as this is. It is generic, it treats all whiskies equally. We couldn’t have done this without the whole of the industry’s backing. That’s some achievement.”

The filming for Year 1 took place in the studio for the classroom material and during an intense three week period in Scotland, where the team filmed at more than 40 distilleries.

Dave adds: “Filming was an extraordinary experience, not only because of the number of sites we managed to visit, or the fact that we saw (and filmed) all of Scotland from Campbeltown to Islay to Skye to Orkney to Speyside down to Edinburgh, but the access we were given to the distilleries.”

I don’t think we can underestimate the impact this course is going to have on the education of whisky lovers, current and future. You can read as many books as you like, but this is almost as good as being there; and you get to watch and learn from some of the most important people in the industry.

In Dave’s words: “It tells you from the horse’s mouth what whisky is about and it does so in a way which is accessible to the newbie while also exploding a few of the myths which the aficionado may still be holding on to.”

With Year 1 complete, the team is working on Year 2 which will launch in spring 2012, featuring in-depth focuses on specific distilleries as well as Irish whisky and Scotch blends. Further whisky categories are then planned as well as extending The World Masterclass into all other spirits categories. “We have so many great ideas for this platform,” says Broom. “The possibilities with this application are endless.”

Students go to to enroll.  Year 1 costs £99/USD150. The course is also available in a 5-pack DVD format in selected countries.

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Bushmills finalists

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, has today announced the eleven pairs of friends who will represent their countries at ‘Bushcamp’, the global final of ‘Make it 2 Bushmills’, a competition hosted by Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

The eleven pairs will be taking part in the final, dubbed the ‘Whiskey World Games’, on Ireland’s north coast this August. The competition offers two friends the chance to win two weeks working at the world-famous Old Bushmills Distillery, where they will make their own unique blend of BushmillsIrish Whiskey, live in luxury penthouse accommodation and get £5,000 spending money. Then, the winning friends will get VIP access to the ultimate Bushmills party back in their home country.

The Bushcamp finalists are:
• Representing Belgium – Johan Lolos, a Student (23) and Mathias Gilles, a Student (24)
• Representing Bulgaria – Marin Aganderov, a Student (22) and Kiril Todorov, a Student (22)
• Representing Czech Republic – Ondřej Šimeček, a Hospitality Product Manager (27) and Jiří Tlach, an Insurance Officer (28)
• Representing Germany – Patrick Seidel, a Bartender (27) and Andreas Andricopoulos, a Bartender (27)
• Representing Great Britain – Keeley Sutcliffe, a Junior and Infant School Midday Supervisor (34) and Tom Lawrence, a Telesales Manager (39)
• Representing the Netherlands – Richard Beatty, an IT Consultant (36) and Michael Weijzig, a Social Worker (36)
• Representing Northern Ireland – Richard Roberts, a Customer Service Assistant (59) and Carol Roberts, a Home Care Worker (55)
• Representing the Republic of Ireland – Peter Majernik, a Hotel Concierge (32) and Vladimir Majernik, a Hotel Porter (31)
• Representing Russia – Nikolay Fedoseev, a Graphic Designer (28) and Ilya Rybalsky, a Chemical Engineer (26)
• Representing South Africa – Sean Tickner, a Orthotist and Prosthetist (30) and Jonathan Oliff, a Brand Strategist and Marketing Consultant (27)
• Representing the United States of America – Curt Neeb, an Inventory Specialist (40) and Paul Kowalski, a Graphic Design Business Owner (49)

The duos were selected to represent their countries by public vote on Facebook and will compete against each other in a number of challenges to find the ultimate winners of Make it 2 Bushmills. Some of the challenges they can expect to face include barrel-rolling, coopering and beach golf.

The final will be judged by the BUSHMILLS Master Distiller Colum Egan and some famous fans of BUSHMILLS, including Kevin Baird of Two Door Cinema Club, Jonathan Galkin of DFA Records and Rob Allanson of Whisky Magazine.

Colum said: “Bushcamp is going to be the World Games of Whiskey, played out in true Bushmills style. Kevin, Jonathan, Rob and I will be challenging the finalists to try out some of the things that the team at the Old Bushmills Distillery do on a daily basis as well as some of the things that we like to do in our spare time…all with a Bushmills twist.

“But of course, being the Old Bushmills Distillery, we’ll not be forgetting the whiskey itself. A couple of the challenges will test how passionate the friends are about BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey. All will be revealed when we welcome them here in August!”

Bushcamp will take place from 16th – 18th August at the Old Bushmills Distillery, in Bushmills village and the surrounding area, with the winning pair of friends being announced on the evening of the 17th.

Visit to follow the finalists’ progress and for more information on Make it 2 Bushmills.


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Sandwiches and sweat

I promise I will never spurn the attentions of a simple ham and tomato sandwich again, however to really appreciate one properly now, I need to work incredibly hard and summit out at about 1,000ft.

The humble buttie was the reward for about four and a half hours training for the Bowmore Ben Nevis challenge. God it tasted fantastic: standing on top on the little hill above the Aberfoyle outdoors centre with the team, having put into practice the lessons from Event leader and founder Ken Hames.

The breaded delight was made all the more tastier as we had been trekking downhill for about 30 or 40 minutes. Clearly much easier than going up hill, which we had already done and to be honest I thought at one point I was going to die, fairly quietly because I was too knackered to make much of a fuss. But we kept going, knowing that on the Ben we have to push on.

Anyhow as we reached to bottom of the hill, Hames gave us one of the harshest lessons, so we could all learn how to manage in the face of more adversity, and told us to go back up the hill and hit the summit.

Hence the sandwich, in one of its most humblest guises, was an excellent reward.

Essentially the Ben Nevis event, supporting Capability Scotland, Scotland’s best known disability organisation, sees teams of disabled and non-disabled people work together to take on the challenge of scaling the UK’s highest peak.

Last weekend we all got together for the first time as a time, and met our disabled captain Daryl.

Billed as a taster weekend, it was incredibly hard and very quickly you managed to get the measure of yourself, not just in terms of physical fitness but mental strength as well. Also it is about forming a bond of trust between everyone, learning each other strengths and weaknesses.

After arriving at the David Marshall lodge, home of the Go-Ape treetop play ground, the mood was confident among the teams, although this dissipated after Hames announced that in his opinion this was the toughest challenge in Britain at the moment; and this from a long serving SAS officer and hardened adventurer.

So after picking our faces and stomachs off the floor, deflated with mild panic at the task ahead, it was time to learn about pushing, pulling, manoeuvering and manhandling the specially adapted wheelchair over obstacles and the mountainside terrain.

First day not so bad, but the second day was the real eye opener – but I think you get the measure of it from the opening paragraphs.

That said there was a real sense of elation having reached the summit and returned; that was just a little hill. The Ben is another 2,000ft on top of it. There will be some emotion and elation when we summit out on it. One thing for certain, this will be a life changer.

So I have set up a justgiving page and would ask that you please give generously as the cause is good:

If you want to know more about the Challenge then visit:

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Shackleton’s whisky unveiled

Finally Whisky Magazine is ok to break cover with this. I was there in the room with Richard and Dave during the tasting comparison at Whisky Live London and have had to sit quietly until given the official go-ahead to report. There was a definite air of anticipation in the room as Richard brought out his samples…you could tell Dave was getting excited. There was much muttering and scribbling from Dave. Richard’s usual exuberant self was toned down a little, clearly in reverence of the major task he had just pulled off.

It truly is a great replica of the original and it is clear that Mr Paterson has hit the nail on the head with the liquid. Well worth the £100 given the provenance and the story behind it.

Now the official release:

“Whyte & Mackay has successfully recreated the century-old whisky buried under the Antarctic ice by famous explorer Ernest Shackleton.

The company’s master blender Richard Paterson spent a painstaking eight weeks marrying and blending a range of malts to get an exact replica of the 100-year-old Mackinlay’s liquid.

And according to one independent expert, he has got the copy exactly right.

Renowned whisky writer Dave Broom is the only other person in the world to taste both the original whisky and Whyte & Mackay’s new liquid.

He said: “The Shackleton whisky is not what I expected at all, and not what anyone would have expected. It’s so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece – it’s a gorgeous whisky.

“It proves that even way back then so much care, attention and thought went into whisky-making.

“I think the replication is absolutely bang on. Richard has done a great job as it’s a very tricky whisky to replicate, because you have this delicacy, subtlety and the smoke just coming through.

“The sweetness, fragrance and spice, and the subtle smoke, are all there in the replica. I’m blown away.”

The Shackleton replica will cost £100, with 5 per cent from every sale being donated back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, the New Zealand charity responsible for finding and uncovering the original whisky. If all 50,000 bottles sell out the Trust will receive £250,000.

Trust chief executive Nigel Watson said: “From start to finish it’s taken almost four years to safely extract the whisky crate from site and then Antarctica, thaw it in museum conditions, secure permits and complete scientific analysis in Scotland . I am delighted that Whyte & Mackay recognise the hard work and value of the Trust’s conservation mission in Antarctica by making this very generous and welcome donation.”

Richard Paterson said that matching the whisky really tested his blending skills, but it was a true labour of love.

“It was a real privilege getting to handle, nose and taste such a rare and beautiful bottle of whisky. The quality, purity and taste of this 100-year-old spirit was amazing. The biggest surprise was the light flavour and the clear, almost vibrant colour of the liquid. I hope I have done our forefathers and Ernest Shackleton proud with the replica.

“I would like to thank the Trust in particular for their patience, their expertise and their hard work. They fully deserve the substantial funds this special bottle will generate.”

The whole replication process has been documented exclusively for National Geographic Channel for a documentary due to air at the end of this year.”


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A tasting day with Glenmorangie

Yesterday I spent a great day with the Glenmoranige team (Bill Lumsden and Rachel Barrie) and got to taste some interesting whiskies, including the up coming release of Glenmorangie Pride 1981. So I thought I would share some tasting notes from the day.

Glenmorangie 10 Years Old (old version) 40%

n: Floral citrus, peaches, apricots, a little menthol, white chocolate. Very perfumed, juicy fruits and sweets.

p: V soft, bittersweet tang, vanilla, white chocolate, pears and melon slices.

f: Dries on spices

Glenmorangie Original 40%

[This has the so-called designer casks added to the mix and is chill-filtered at a different temperature]

n: Candy sweets (those cigarette sweets with the red ends), much bigger nose than previous, more ripe fruits and vanillin. With water there is a zingyness, almost balsamic vinegar.

p: More mouth coating, tropical fruit salad, mango and ginger. A slight nuttiness, toasted, sugar-coated almonds.

f: Drying but more lush at the end as well.


Glenmorangie Finealta 46%

[This was a recreation of an old fashioned Glenmo, there’s peated Glenmo in here and more sherry casks. Bill said he had already laid down some peated GM a few years ago, peated to about 15 to 20ppm. Also has some of the designer casks added to the mix]

n: More intense, caramalised pears, spiced orange peel, cherry brandy. The peat is a distant bonfire, very gentle. Has the cigarette sweetie note to it as well. Florals, lilies and jasmine.

p: Mandarin oranges, zingy, almost tangy blood oranges as well. The peat hits the back of the palate. Very intense, Kirch, leathers. With water there is a flinty, stone edge to it.

f: Gentle peat and big lush sweet waves


Mystery G 58.9%

[Turns out this was Bill’s Brazilian cherrywood experiment. 10 Years Old then reracked into small specially made cherrywood casks]

n: Initially it was WTF!!?! seriously unlike anything I have nosed. Marzipan and floor polish. Old violin cases and bow rosin. Cherry liqueur.

p: Menthol and mental, pistachio and more marzipan

f: well it just hung around like a recently cleaner floor

Mystery A

[Not allowed to say too much about this except it might be an Ardbeg from a heavily charred cask. This is a prototype and  ABV is somewhere in the high 50s]

n: coal tar soap, sweet heather, smoked kippers and creamy cullen skink. Sooty edges. There is also BBQ marinade. Rice, black bean sauce and chillies, Char Sui pork.

p: Sweet first and then the soot comes through. Has a slight waxy texture to it as well.

f: Dries out briefly before becoming seriously mouth watering.


Glenmorangie Pride 1981 56.7%

Some quotes from Bill about this new whisky which will sit in the company’s ultra prestige range:

“Rachel and I were tasting all the casks to see what we had and there seems to have been a spike in the casks in 1981. Don’t know why this happened. There was no wood policy at that point like there is today, perhaps it is something to do with how the barley was germinated, just not sure.

” I had always wanted to play with some Chateau D’Yquem casks and managed to get hold of six barriques and that parcel of 81 went into them. I have to say that development was slow.

“When we are chosing whisky we are always trying to choose it when it is at its pinnacle. It started to pick up some of the Sauternes elements. We decided that at 28 years and about 10 months it had reached its height. We were not swayed by brand directors to hold on for a 30 Years Old, we bottled it there and then. This will never be done again like this. 1,000 bottles release date July 1st priced about €2,000.”

Colour: Deep Mahogany

Nose: Very meaty, waxy, pears in Chantilly cream, roast chestnuts. With water more liquorice comes out, dark plum skins, burnt orange, Cooper’s marmalade. In time a little muskiness and sandalwood, antique furniture.

Palate: Hugely powerful with that waxiness present, resin, amber, more cooked oranges and fruit, mint toffee.

Finish: Balanced with toffee and musky spices.

Comment: The wood has taken over in a good way. Unlike the Nectar D’Or there is no major sweet sauternes elements here it has hints, what you have is a very well integrated whisky. If you let it breath for a while faint traces of smoke appear on the finish.


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Updates from Japanese distilleries: 15th March, 2011.

This has just come in from our man in Tokyo, David Croll, about the status of the Japanese distilleries. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese nation at this time:


Awaiting response from PR department.


Due to ongoing transport problems and power cuts, Nikka have not yet been able to carry out a comprehensive assessment at the Miyagikyo Distillery. Initial reports suggest that there has been no major damage however and they have confirmed that distillery staff and their families are unharmed.

The Yoichi Distillery has been unaffected.

Venture Whisky:

Ichiro Akuto says

“The Chichibu Distillery staff and their families are all okay. There has been no damage at the distillery to either cask stocks or distilling equipment and just some minor damage to bottled stock. We appreciate the concern from overseas.”


Karuizawa Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.


Fuji-Gotemba Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.


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Dave meets Shackleton (almost)

The Shackleton whiskies which were liberated from their icy tomb last year are finally back in the UK after a mildly surreal journey from their temporary residence in New Zealand under the protection of the Antarctic Heritage Trust [AHT]. The Trust had initially refused to allow Whyte & Mackay to transport the bottles back to Scotland for analysis on a commercial flight, but relented when the firm’s owner Dr Vijay Mallya flew his private jet to New Zealand. The three bottles were then placed in temperature-controlled boxes which were handcuffed to W&M’s master blender Richard Paterson for the long journey home.
The AHT also placed strict guidelines on how the whisky was to be extracted from the bottles, meaning that Dave Broom, WM’s man in Glasgow, was unable to even get the merest whiff of the liquid. Paterson will take the bottles to W&M’s lab in Invergordon today (Wed) to start the analysis. Small amounts will be extracted by syringe and then be run through GC analysis as well as being placed under Paterson’s legendary conk.
“At this stage I don’t even know if they are blend, vatted malt or single malt,” said Paterson, “though my hunch is that they are single malt. It is an unbelievable find. I feel a bit like Howard Carter when he discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamen. These bottles could give us clues as to how whisky was made in Edwardian times – we hope that the ice has allowed them to be perfectly preserved.”
Paterson will send up to six weeks analysing the three bottles before they are shipped back – again by private jet – to New Zealand where they will be reunited with the rest of the stash. In time they will be returned to their icy home.
The next stage will definitely be some form of replica or homage. “I’m looking forward to seeing the scientific opinion,” added Dr Mallya, “but what excites me most is the marketing opportunity. Though we have no timescale as to when it will appear, the new generation of consumers around the world is going retro and if the whisky is correctly positioned it might be a hit.” Will he be able to taste some of the original? “Richard will have to have a teeny drop.. and I’ll be there.”

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Filed under whisky