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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Japan bar scene update

This is an update on the bar situation in Japan from Chie Hasiguchi who is Whisky Mag Japan’s bar editor as well as translator for most of the whisky people who attend events in Japan.

The Ginza bars are so dark now, it is strange, not to see the  signs lit up as everyone is trying to save electricity.

There was a earthquake at Bar Four seasons 2 nights ago, scary. Customers come to check the bars to make sure they are OK and try to use money so that business will be kept going. I have talked with Ito-san who is at Land bar in Ginza which is Kishi-san’s (star bar)’s new bar. He is from Sendai. His report is that it will be difficult for bar owners to open the bar in impacted areas such as Ishinomaki. There was one bar called Iruka, the owner was alive but entire town was gone around that area. The customers were fishermen and local people so unless fishery industry and Sushi restaurants are back, bars can not come back. Ito-san’s major concern was job for those bartenders and bar owners and is hoping that if there is anyone who can offer jobs in Tokyo or Osaka for those who have suffered.

The NBA [Nippon Bartender’s Assoc] has already taken some action that they have put safety information (who is OK or missing) in the impacted areas on their web site and have started donation activity. They uploaded LOGO of donation with NBA name on it and anyone can down load it and put it onto the bottle or cans. Ginza has already initiated donation although it take some time to get approval from necessary position in NBA.

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Updates from Japanese distilleries: 16th March, 2011.

Suntory: (15.3.2011)

Yamazaki Distillery

Hakushu Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.


Nikka: (15.3.2011)

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: (15.3.2011)

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.”


Mercian: (16.3.2011)

Karuizawa Distillery

The Karuizawa Distillery was not damaged by the earthquake and the site has been operating (not distilling) since March 14th.


Kirin: (15.3.2011)

Fuji-Gotemba Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.


Hombo Shuzo (16.3.2011)

Mars Distillery.

There have been many aftershocks in the Nagano area but so far the distillery, located in the Shinshu area, and the staff and their families, are all okay. After a break of 20 years, they are planning to produce whisky continuously from March 15th through to April 20th. They are grateful for everybody’s concern and interest.


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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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Ben Nevis Challenge

Very pleased to say that I will be joining one of the teams for this ascent……

Bowmore, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, is delighted to announce its sponsorship of the 2011 Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge. The event, supporting Capability Scotland, Scotland’s best known disability organisation, will see teams of disabled and non-disabled people work together to take on the challenge of scaling the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, on Saturday 4th June.

Following the success of the original Challenge in 2008 which saw Britain’s first wheelchair-led ascent of Ben Nevis, this year’s event will give even more people the opportunity to take on this tremendous challenge.
Guided by ex-SAS officer and TV Presenter Ken Hames, the twelve teams of six will be led by disabled people with a variety of impairments.  The leaders will navigate and direct their team to the summit and in the process help beat 2008’s fundraising total of £100,000.

Cara Laing, Bowmore Brand Manager, added: “Bowmore has always been a champion of nature and the great outdoors so we’re delighted to be working with Capability and Ken Hames to help open it up to everyone. Scaling the mountain will be a challenge to every single member of the teams taking part and, as well as sponsoring the challenge, we are going to be tackling that challenge head on by entering our own team”

The money raised will go to Capability to support them in their work campaigning with and supporting disabled people of all ages in Scotland at home, at work and at school. But this event is not just about raising valuable funds, as Capability’s Director of External Affairs, Richard Hamer explains: “As well as challenging the people participating in the event we want to challenge people’s expectations of what is possible. In Scotland we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK and disabled people, just like non-disabled people want the opportunity to explore and enjoy every part of our country, an opportunity which they are not always given.”

The first Ben Nevis challenge in 2008 was the brainchild of Ken Hames, who will once again be leading the event giving his time, energy and expertise to the project. He said: “I am passionate about the great outdoors and about opening it up to everyone who wants to experience the excitement and challenge it offers. The great outdoors has been my life and it inspires me and others to challenge the status quo and to continue to offer support and opportunities while promoting inclusivity in all walks of life. I’m so pleased that Bowmore has offered their support.”

Now I must think about doing some training of some description, not just lifting tasting glasses.

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2011 Icons of Whisky announced

Whisky Magazine’s ‘Icons of Whisky’ have become one of the highlights of the whisky calendar and the 2011 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 2011  Icons of Whisky were announced at a dinner held at The Waldorf Hilton, London, in March 2011 and the winners are as follows:


Whisky Retailer of the year, single outlet Gordon & MacPhail, Scotland
Whisky Retailer of the year, multiple outlet Royal Mile Whiskies, Scotland
Whisky Online Retailer of the Year The Whisky Exchange, England
Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year Speyside Cooperage, Scotland
Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year James Sedgwick Distillery, South Africa
Whisky Ambassador of the Year Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay
Lifetime Achievement Award Evan Cattanach, Diageo
Whisky Distiller of the Year William Grant & Sons, Scotland

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 2011 winners as well as the shortlisted individuals and companies.”


Whisky Retailer of the year, single outlet Arkwrights, Rest of World 

Federal Wines and Spirits, USA

Whisky Retailer of the year, multiple outlet Binny’s, USA 

Shinanoya Shokuhin, Rest of World

Whisky Online Retailer of the Year Loch Fyne Whiskies, Scotland
Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year Kavalan Distillery, Rest of World 

Maker’s Mark, USA

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year Diageo’s Masters of Whisky scheme, USA 

Gordon & MacPhail, Scotland

Whisky Ambassador of the Year Simon Brooking, Beam Global 

Gillian Macdonald, Penderyn

Stephen Marshall, John Dewar & Sons

Fred Noe, Beam Global

Lifetime Achievement Award Evan Cattanach, Diageo
Whisky Distiller of the Year Amrut Distillery, Rest of World 

Four Roses Distillery, USA

Tuthilltown Spirit, USA

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World Whiskies Awards winners



300 whiskies have battled over three tasting rounds for the coveted titles of the ‘2011 Best Whiskies in the World’, with some surprising results; with Japanese distiller Suntory winning both the ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ and ‘World’s Best Blend’ categories, the first time that a single whisky producer has taken both titles.

Three intensive rounds of blind tastings have taken place by Whisky Magazine’s independent editorial panel drawn from the best journalists and retailers across the world, and also by industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors in the final round. The winners of the ‘2011 World Whiskies Awards’ were announced at a dinner at the Waldorf, Hilton Hotel, in London last night (3rd March 2011) and were as follows:

World’ Best Winner Brand
World’s Best Whisky Liqueur Drambuie The Royal Legacy of 1745
World’s Best Grain Whisky Greenore 15 years old
World’s Best Blended Whisky Hibiki 21 years old
World’s Best North American Whisky Parker’s Heritage Collection 10 years old Wheated Bourbon
World’s Best Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki 1984

The World Whiskies Awards is the annual selection of the very best whiskies internationally. This year entries have been received from; 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 ‘Best Whiskies in the World’.

The competition is open to **proprietary bottlings only, and is chaired by Dave Broom, contributing editor of Whisky Magazine and editor-in-chief of Whisky Magazine Japan, and exists to inform and educate consumers throughout the world about whisky. Categories are based upon the commonly held whisky groupings which define the style and process of whisky/whiskey production; malt whisky, blended whisky, blended malt whisky, American whiskey and whisky liqueurs.

Chairman of the judges, Dave Broom, 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.”

Ends –

Notes to editors

Category and sub category winners

Best Canadian Blended Whisky

(These all fell into the no age statement category so were tasted against each other)

The shortlist

Caribou Crossing

Canadian 83

Canadian Mist Black Diamond

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve

Proof Proof Whisky

Royal Canadian

Wiser’s Legacy

The Winner:

Wiser’s Legacy

Best Irish Blended

Jameson 18 Years Old Limited Reserve

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve

Tullamore Dew 12 Years Old Special Reserve

The category winner

Tullamore Dew 12 Years Old Special Reserve

Best Japanese Blended Whisky

The sub category winners were

Hibiki 12 Years Old

Hibiki 17 Years Old

Hibiki 21 Years Old

Nikka From The Barrel

The best Japanese blended whisky is:

Hibiki 21 Years Old

Best Rest of the World blended whisky

Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish

Three Ships 5 Years Old

The winner

Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish

Best Scotch blended whisky

The sub category winners are

Black Bull 12 Years Old Deluxe Blend

Cutty Sark 18 Years Old

Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old

The category winner is:

Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old

Best American Whiskey – Bourbon

Subcategory winners are

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

Parker’s Heritage Collection 10 Year Old Cask Strength Wheated Bourbon

Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel 2010

The category winner

Parker’s Heritage Collection 10 Year Old Cask Strength Wheated Bourbon

Best American Whisky non bourbon

Entries were:

Bernheim Wheat Whiskey

Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof

Sazerac Straight Rye

Thomas H. Handy Rye

The winner was

Thomas H. Handy Rye

Single malt category winners

Best Campbeltown

The shortlist was

Hazelburn CV

Longrow 14 Years Old

Springbank 12 Years Old

The winner

Springbank 12 Years Old

Best Highland

Balblair 1989 Vintage

Balblair 2000

Glen Garioch Vintage 1978

Glenmorangie Signet

The winner

Glenmorangie Signet

Best Islay

Ardbeg Supernova 2010

Bowmore Tempest

Caol Ila 25 Years Old

Lagavulin 16 Years Old

The winner:

Bowmore Tempest

Best Island non Islay

Highland Park 25 Years Old

Talisker 57 North

Talisker 10 Years Old

The Arran Malt 14 Years Old

The winner

Highland Park 25 Years Old

Best Speyside

Glenfarclas 40 Years Old

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix

Longmorn 16 Years Old

The Balvenie Signature

The winner was

Glenfarclas 40 Years Old

Best Lowland

Auchentoshan 1998 Sherry Matured

Glenkinchie 12 Years Old

The winner was

Auchentoshan 1998 Sherry Matured

Best Irish Single malt

Bushmills 16 Years Old

Bushmills 21 Years Old

Tyrconnell Port Finish

The Wild Geese Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The winner is

Bushmills 16 Years Old

Best Japanese single malt

Hakushu Bourbon Barrel

Yamazaki 1984

Yoichi 10 Years Old

Yoichi 1990

The winner

Yamazaki 1984

Best Rest of the World single malt

Glen Breton Battle of the Glen

Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Strength

Sullivans Cove Bourbon Maturation

The winner


Best Irish pot still whiskey

Midleton Very Rare

Green Spot

Redbreast 12 Years Old

Redbreast 15 Years Old

The winner was

Redbreast 15 Years Old

*Whisky Magazine

Whisky Magazine is published 8 times a year and is the leading publication in this sector. Every issue brings you articles on the art, science and romance of the ‘water of life’, plus pages of informative tasting notes.

**Proprietary Whiskies – owned by the distiller and brand owner

About the Judges


Dave Broom

Contributing editor, Whisky Magazine UK. Editor of Whisky Magazine Japan. Whisky expert


Rob Allanson

Editor of Whisky Magazine

Charles MacLean

Former Whisky Magazine editor. Whisky expert

Tom Morton

BBC journalist. Whisky writer

Martine Nouet

Former editor of Whisky Magazine France. Whisky chef

Neil Ridley

Whisky Blogger (

Dominic Roskrow

Former editor of Whisky Magazine. Whisky expert

Bernhard Schafer

Writer, expert and judge

Annabelle Meikle

Industry Expert

Ed Bates

Industry Expert

Sukhinder Singh

Owner Whisky Exchange

Tim Forbes

Whisky Exchange, whisky expert

Serge Valentin

Whisky Blogger and self-confessed Malt Maniac


Charles Cowdery

Bourbon expert . Whisky writer

Mark Gillespie

Whisky Podcaster. Whisky expert

LeNell Smothers

Whiskey writer and educator.

Mike Miller,

Bar owner of Delilah’s. Whisky expert

Liza Weisstuch

Whisky Magazine contributor


Davin de Kergommeaux

Malt Maniac. Canadian whisky expert


David Croll

Publisher of Whisky Magazine Japan. Whisky retailer

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Whisky Live London

For those of you looking for information please head to the Whisky Live site….see you all there

Oh and Saturday is sold out.

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More tea sir

You have got to love a nation that prides itself on its love for tea. Japan, China, Britain and of course here in India. Something like a billion people across this great nation start their day with a cuppa. Let’s face it as a visitor, and possibly worried about water quality, tea is a very safe thing to drink.
However it made me think, when you look at the numbers, how did a nation like this hit recession.
There have to be at least seven industries involved in bringing the cuppa to the table, not least the tea growing itself. There are the matches (wood and sulphur); the drinking vessel (china, tin or plastic); the utilities (gas, electric and water); milk; sugar and of course something to boil the water in and stir the final refreshing brew with.
So where does the money go from all this? Can a nation be supported by its love for tea?

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