Jul 082013
 

Whisky Advent Calendar

Greetings, ATW Faithful!  Just wanted to share a word from a mate of ours down at Kensington Wine Market, Andrew Ferguson:

NOW TAKING PRE-ORDERS FOR OCTOBER 2013 ARRIVAL!!!  Could this be this fall’s hottest whisky gift idea?  Within 30 minutes of announcing it on Twitter we had a dozen orders!  Behind each of the 24 doors is a different 30ml sample of delicious whisky!  The exact contents are a surprise, but we can tell you that behind one of the doors is a sample of 50 year old Scotch whisky, the full-sized bottle of which is worth $600!  The Whisky Advent Calendar is exclusive to KWM in Canada!

 

Whisky-Advent-Calendar 

Price: $299.99 + GST

24x30ml Scotch Whiskies

Description: Behind each of the 24 doors is a different 30ml sample of delicious whisky! We’ll keep the contents a surprise, but we can tell you that behind one of the doors is a sample of 50 year old Scotch whisky, the full-sized bottle of which is worth $600! Full description on the blog, see below!

To order … here!

Blog … here!

 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Jan 122012
 

 MORRISON BOWMORE DISTILLERS APPOINTS

RACHEL BARRIE

AS MASTER BLENDER

Glasgow, Scotland (January 10, 2012) – Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), one of the major names in Scotch Whisky and producers of Auchentoshan,Bowmore andGlen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, announces the appointment of Rachel Barrie to the newly created position of Master Blender effective immediately.  Barrie will also head up the company’s Spirit Quality Control and laboratory functions. She will join Morrison Bowmore’s Operational Senior Executive Group and report directly to Andrew Rankin, MBD Operations Director and Chief Blender. Barrie joins the company bringing  a vast amount of knowledge and experience having served many years in a similar role within The Glenmorangie Company.

Commenting on the appointment Andrew Rankin says, “Rachel is one of the most experienced Master Blenders in our Industry and I am extremely delighted that she will be joining our team here at MBD.  We have a very strong blending team within the company and this appointment  will massively strengthen and reinforce  our commitment to producing the ultimate in quality single malt Scotch whiskies.”

Barrie’s background before joining MBD is steeped in the whisky industry.  Barrie comes to Morrison Bowmore from The Glenmorangie Company where she held the positions of Product Development Manager and ultimately their Whisky Creator and Master Blender and was responsible for creating some of their award-winning whiskies including Glenmorangie Signet and Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Prior to that, Barrie worked for Macdonald & Muir Ltd as the Quality Lab Manager and for the Scottish Whisky Research Institute as a research scientist.

MBD’s Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are available worldwide and imported to the US bySkyy Spirits LLC, the eighth largest spirits company in the US and a wholly owned subsidiary of Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI – Bloomberg CPR IM), together with its affiliates Gruppo Campari.

 

ABOUT MORRISON BOWMORE DISTILLERS (www.morrisonbowmore.com)

Founded in 1951, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntory Limited and is one of the major names in Scotch whisky. With three Malt Whisky Distilleries situated in the major production areas of Islay (Bowmore), the Highlands (Glen Garioch) and the Lowlands (Auchentoshan),as well as significant blending, bottling and warehousing facilities, the company has established a leading role in the export of bulk blend, vatted malt and in particular `Bottled in Scotland’ Blends and Single Malts.  The success of Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited is based upon maintenance of traditional values and innovation in the marketplace.

 Posted by at 6:37 pm
Dec 182011
 

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

Christmas is just a little more than a week away and that means that it is time for the Malt Messenger’s annual Christmas gift guide. I’ve got gift ideas for every malt lover on your list in varying styles and at every price point from $13.99 to 21,999.99 per bottle! Whether you’re looking for ideas on what whisky to buy that special someone or wanting to drop someone a hint, we have something for everyone on this list!

I had hoped to get out one more Malt Messenger in 2011, but the bustle of the season and an untimely crash of my work PC will make that a challenge. The later reason is also why you may not have heard back from me if you’ve sent me an email in the last 48 hours! There are new whiskies I had hoped to write to you about, like the distillery bottled Rosebank 21 Year ($286.99) which just came in. To my knowledge it is the first and only distillery bottling from that closed distillery to ever come in to the province. We also have the privilege of being the first store in Canada to sell the Fettercairn line of whiskies. The 24 Year old still hasn’t shown up, but the Fior ($71.99) has been flying off the shelf, and the 30 ($$409.99) and 40 ($1515.99) year olds are both doing very well. We also have a new exclusive French single malt called Armorik which is a steal at $62.99, the Dalmore Castle Leod ($183.99) and a 1981 ($445.99) vintage which is the most cherry heavy whisky I’ve ever had (think Cherry Halls). More details on these will have to wait until the next Malt Messenger, but I will give you a preview of our new rums in the guide below.

You are always welcome to drop by the store and sample a single malt or two, but every Christmas we step it up a bit and set aside a couple of specific times for people to come in and sample single malts with us. Usually it is with our good friend Andy Dunn of Gold Medal Marketing who represents Springbank, Benromach, Tullibardine and others. Andy will be dropping by a couple of times over the next 10 days to share some Christmas spirit, as will Mark Kuspira of Crush imports who has brought some fantastic new rums to Alberta! Kensington Wine Market is now stocking 9 unique rums from a producer called Rum Nation (rums are detailed below, same as referred to above) and we will be sampling many of these this weekend. For more details on the drop in tastings see below. But fret not if you can’t make it, you are welcome to drop in anytime for a dram of whisky or a tipple of rum!

If you don’t hear from me again before let me say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Holidays and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all the subscribers and readers of the Malt Messenger!

Slainté!

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

 

Drop in Holiday Tastings

  1. Andy Dunn – Whisky – Thursday December 15, 2:30-5:30
  2. Mark Kuspira – Rums – Friday December 16, 3:00-7:00
  3. Andy Dunn – Whisky – Saturday December 17, 2:30-5:30
  4. Andy Dunn – Whisky – Thursday December 22, 2:30-6:30

Accessories

1.      Whisky Advocate Magazine – This magazine is a great resource concerning what’s new in the world of whisky, and a spirited read. – $6.50

2.      Glencairn Glass – Still the world’s most popular single malt whisky tasting glass. I love how durable they are and find they have a more masculine feel than the Riedel single malt glass. – $15.99

3.      Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012 – The world’s leading whisky guide is back for 2012 with 1210 new whiskies reviewed and some 200 core brands updated. You may not always agree on the score, but the tasting notes always come in handy! – $21.99

4.      Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 – This is quite possibly the best bathroom reader out there for those who have a love of the malt. It is a great resource on the single malt distilleries of Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the rest of the world. – 29.99

5.      Whisky Aroma Nosing Kit – For the whisky lover who has such a big collection you have no idea what to buy for them! This kit will help them hone their nose! -$224.99

Gift Packs

1.      Glenrothes Selected Reserve 100ml – We call em hand grenades, but these little whiskies don’t pack too much punch! – $13.99

2.      Glenrothes 3x 100ml – 3x 100ml bottles including Select Reserve, 1991 and 1994 vintages. – $41.99

3.      Glenmorangie Gift Pack – 4x100ml bottles including Original 10 Year, Nectar D’Or, Lasanta and Quinta Ruban. – $56.49

4.      Springbank CV Set – Featuring one 200ml bottle each of Hazelburn CV (unpeated), Springbank CV(lightly peated) and Longrow CV(heavily peated) from Springbank distillery. $70.99

5.      Ardbeg 10 Year Gift Pack – This gift pack includes a bottle of Ardbeg 10 Year and a bespoke Ardbeg goldfish bowl glass in an Ardbeg Alligator themed glass. – $75.99

6.      Dalmore 15 Year Gift Pack – A bottle of Dalmore 15 Year and a 100ml bottle of Dalmore Kind Alexander III. – $93.99

7.      Jura 16 Year Gift Pack – Includes a bottle of Jura 16 Year and two bespoke glasses from the Isle of Jura’s only distillery. – $99.99

8.      Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey Gift Pack – In a book themed box complete with glass this is the only way to buy the Cask Strength version of Writer’s Tears. – $145.59

9.      Soctch Malt Whisky Society New Member’s Kit– The first year’s membership includes a handsome gift pack with four 100ml cask strength bottles representing a range of whiskies bottled by the distillery, a membership pin, tasting note book and members handbook. Members get the Unfiltered Magazine quarterly, monthly bottling updates called Outturn and much, much more! – $230.00

Top 5 Whiskies Under $60

1.      Finlaggan Old Islay Reserve – This whisky is a lovely peaty-chocolaty drink and excellent value at just over $50. This mystery malt is named for the ancient capital of the Lord of the Isles on Islay. – $50.99

2.      Nikka From the Barrel – It’s hard to find good single malts under $60, and unheard of to find any cask strength ones. Well this Nikka squeaks in, but only because it is a 500ml, but never the less it is a lovely whisky! – $53.49

3.      Yamazaki 12 Year – The 18 year old may no longer be available in Canada thanks to some unfairly strict regulations applied to Scottish whiskies but not French cognac by the Ontario government; but frankly the 12 year old is better anyway, and half the price. – $55.49

4.      BenRiach Curiositas 10 Year – This 10 year old peated Speysider is all Islay, or is it? Think Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Laphroaig! – $57.99

5.      Glenmorangie Original 10 Year – Matured 10 years in ex-Bourbon barrels made from American white oak harvested from the distillery’s own forests in the Ozarks. – $58.99

Top 5 Whiskies Under $80

1.      Armorik Breton Single Malt – This French single malt is not a gimmick but rather a round full bodied and fruity whisky with lots of character! New and exclusive to KWM… – $62.99

2.      Fettercairn Fior – The recent rebranding of the distillery has highlights what many have known for a long time, the Fettercairn is hidden gem. The Fior is a lovely expression with spices, notes of dark chocolate and clean smoke. – $71.99

3.      Springbank 12 Year Cask Strength – Are you still mourning one of our 1996 Sprinbank Oloroso or Manzanilla casks than this whisky will give you new hope! -$76.99

4.      Duthies Bowmore 17 Year – We’re down to just a few bottles, so we’ve put it on sale to make room for some new whiskies. Originally $90.99 it’s on SALE, 25% off! – $68.24

5.      Duthies Auchroisk 20 Year – This whisky is from the original distillery referred to as the Singleton, and like the Bowmore it’s on sale until its gone, making it an excellent value. Regular $96.99, 25% off! -$72.74

Top 5 Whiskies Under $100

1.      Arran KWM Sherry Cask – One of two casks of Arran we bottled earlier in the year, this whisky is big, fruity and spicy but soft and surprisingly approachable at its natural cask strength. Less than 50 of the original 300 or so bottles left. – $84.99

2.      Bowmore Laimrig – What else can be said but wow! This new whisky exclusive to KWM is hands down the best whisky in the store under $100 with big candied fruit notes, chocolate and soft, earthy peat smoke. Bottled at 54.4% the whisky is billed as a cask strength version of the 15 year old Darkest originally bottled for the Swedish market, but that really doesn’t do it justice. It’s much more and at less than $5 more than it’s lower proof sibling, it’s a steal! – $87.99

3.      Big Peat Santa – A cask strength version of Douglas Laing’s Big Peat Islay Blended Malt whisky rebranded with a would be Santa on the label. Probably small enough to squeeze into a stocking the whisky is a combination of malt whisky from Ardbeg, Bowmore, Coal Ila and Port Ellen! – $88.99

4.      Duthies Ardbeg 16 Year – Mature Ardbegs aren’t easy to come by, including independently bottled ones. This 16 year old Ardbeg is a classic older oily expression, and one that won’t be available much longer! – $91.99

5.      Arran Sleeping Warrior – Arran is donating some of the proceeds from this bottling to the National Trust for Scotland with an eye to maintaining the hiking trails on Arran’s tallest mountain the Goatfell! Chocolate, dark cherries and stewed fruits. – $97.99

Top 5 Whiskies Under $150

1.      Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Rumour has it its going, going, gone? Not sure whether we will continue to see it through 2012 but we’ve stocked up on it! – $109.99

2.      Kilchoman KWM Sherry Cask 322 – The oldest Kilchoman yet to come to Canada and to the best of our knowledge the first Sherry matured Kilchoman available in North America! – $114.99

3.      Dalmore Cigar Malt – Perfect for those who like marrying cigars and single malts and also for those who enjoyed our 1995 Glendronach cask. -$116.99

4.      Edradour Natural Cask Strength – Scotland’s smallest distillery, and the Malt Monster(Aka Bad Beaver)’s favourite (inside joke, put out some robust sherry bombs, and this one is no exception. Bottled at its natural cask strength from a single cask. Exclusive to KWM. – $129.99

5.      Signatory Highland Park 1990 20 Year – We may only have 6 or a dozen bottles of this left and it’s no wonder why: 53.4%, 20 years of age and from a single Sherry Butt. – $134.99

Top 5 Whiskies Under $250

1.      Dalmore Castle Leod – This is the second bottling of Dalmore released to help support the spiritual home of the MacKenzie clan. This 1995 vintage Dalmore was finished in Bordeaux red wine casks. – $183.99

2.      Longrow 18 Year – This is the oldest Longrow currently available by the distillery, and this second edition is a more reasonably priced offering than the original which has retained a gentle, oily, peaty character and all of the complexity of the original. – $206.99

3.      Glenmorangie Signet – A not so secret concoction of older sherry cask matured Glenmorangie and a unique style created by using chocolate malts (heavily roasted barley) which adds an oiliness to the body and deep flavours of chocolate and coffee. – $226.49

4.      Berry’s Own Teaninich 1973 – Teaninich distillery’s whisky are very rarely bottled as single malts, making this 37 year old expression especially rare, and at less than $250 it is excellent value. Bottled at its natural cask strength 41.8% it is very complex with notes of vanilla, fresh baked French croissants, almond paste and coconut chips. – $246.99

5.      G&M Connoisseurs Choice Glen Keith 1968 – This 43 year old Glen Keith is a steal for its age at 46% or any strength for that matter, especially when you consider it is from a closed distillery. An unusual triple distilled Speyside whisky, this one is really soft. – $247.99

Top 5 Whiskies Under $500

1.      Berry’s Own Dailuaine 1973 – Another of Diageo’s little known, over looked distilleries, bottlings of Dailuaine are not often released; even independent ones. This one is especially rare given that it is 37 years of age. Soft delicate fruits. – $286.99

2.      Glendronach 1972 KWM Cask 711 39 Year – Without any bluster, this is hands down the best whisky in the store right now, regardless of price point. We discovered this cask while touring the distillery in May and it completely blew our minds. It’s also caught on with our customers, with close to 200 of the 300 bottles having already been sold! It is bottled at cask strength, 49.8% from a single Oloroso Sherry Butt. – $439.99

3.      Benromach 30 Year – Recently scored 96.5 pts in the Whisky Bible. Matured in a combination of Refill and First Fill European oak ex-Sherry casks. This whisky is from the pre-closure years and is distinct in style from that which had been made under the guidance of its current owners Gordon & MacPhail. The 30 year old and the 25 too are a windows on a bygone era. – $307.99

4.      Tulibardine 1976 – You may recall this whisky was confiscated from me while flying to Maui on West Jet. Melons and Tropical fruit notes. – $499.99

5.      Glen Garioch 1978 30 Year – Exclusive to KWM only 24 bottles of this whisky have come to Alberta. It is one of the oldest bottlings the distillery has released, and the oldest one in their current portfolio. It is also from an era when the distillery used a noticeable amount of peat. Beautifully packaged. – $448.99

Top 5 Whiskies Under $1000

1.      Glendronach Grandeur 31 Year – This has been a customer favourite for the last few years, and frankly it is surprising that we can still get it as batch 1 consisted of just 1013 bottles at 45.8%. Can’t see this continuing to be available much longer!– $76.99

2.      Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary Chairman’s Reserve – Bottled at 46% this 175th Anniversary bottling of Glenfraclas was produced by marrying 4 casks which collectively matured 175 years; the youngest of these casks was 43 years of age at the time of bottling. The whisky is one of 1296 bottles, only 60 of which have come to Canada, all of them to KWM. – $703.99

3.      O&R Port Ellen 31 Year – A lovely cask strength(52.1%) bottling of Port Ellen which was matured in a single ex-Bourbon cask. 253 total bottles, of which 15 have made it to Alberta exclusively to the Kensington Wine Market. – $732.99

4.      Glenglassaugh Manager’s Selection 1967 – The last in a series of four Glenglasaughs bottled to recognize the managers who ran the distillery from its reopening in the late 1960’s through its closure in 1986. This is a very soft but complex ex-sherry cask matured bottling, disgorged from the cask in just the nick of time, as it was bottled at 40. – $828.99

5.      Tullibardine 1962 – This 48 year old bottling of Tullibardine is one of the oldest whiskies the distillery has released to date. Appropriately the strength of this whisky is also 48%, which shows that the angels, while greedy, left a little behind for the rest of us to enjoy! – $790.99

Top 5 Whiskies $1000 and Up

1.      Signatory Bowmore 1970 40 Year – 43.2% from a single Oloroso sherry butt which yielded 489 bottles. It is exclusive to the KWM in Canada, and a big sherried expression of Bowmore with soft smooth peat. How often do you get the chance to buy a 40 year old Bowmore? The last distillery bottled Bowmore 40 year old sold for £6,500.00! – $1136.99

2.      Balvenie 40 Year – Only 150 bottles of this rare whisky are available world wide with but a handful finding their way to Canada. KWM has managed to acquire one of them. It was matured in sherry casks and refill hogsheads. – $4,633.99

3.      G&M Private Collection Glenlivet 5 Decade Set – One of only 50 individually numbered sets of 5 vintage bottlings of Glenlivet bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in conjunction with the release of their 70 year old bottling. Vintages included are: 1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991. $5664.99

4.      G&M Generations Glenlivet 1940 70 Year 200ml – A 200ml bottle of Glenlivet and the oldest bottle of whisky in the world beautifully packaged in a bespoke teardrop shaped crystal decanter accented in stirling silver. The whisky is beautiful too, and far less oaky than one would expect for a spirit which had matured most of the last century in an oak barrel. Only 175 bottles produced. An affordable version of the full bottle below! – $5,999.99

5.      G&M Generations Glenlivet 1940 70 Year 700ml – This is the full size version of bottle described above, of which only 100 bottles have been filled, with just 2 coming to Alberta. KWW hosted two sold out tastings of this whisky with Michael Urquhart this summer which were superb. This is the perfect gift for the collector who has everything, and is reasonably priced for a whisky of this age. If it were a Macallan, Dalmore or a Glenfiddich it would be over $100,000.00 a bottle! – $21,999.99

Tastings

1.      The Ultimate Glenmorangie Tasting – To celebrate the launch of Glenmorangie’s latest opus, The Glenmorangie Pride, we are throwing a no holds barred tasting of the full line: The 10 Year Original, The Pride, The extra matured range, The Signet, The Quarter Century…and all things in between. To commemorate the event everyone will receive a monogrammed whisky glass! Thr Jan12 7PM – $150

2.      MS Calgary Whisky Festival – The Kensington Wine Market is proud to support an unforgettable evening of whisky tasting, art and music in support of The MS Society of Southern Alberta and those affected by MS. The event will feature more than 100 whiskies from the best distilleries in Scotland as well as select whiskies from around the world. Thr Jan 19 Location: Art Gallery of Calgary, 117 Stephen Avenue Mall 6 to 9PM. – $95

3.      Scots Wha Hae! Our 7th Annual Robbie Burns Supper – Caledonians Unite! It’s time to celebrate all things Scottish. Glenfarclas is the featured distillery for our 7th annual Robbie Burns Supper, and George Grant is our special guest. We’ll have bagpipes, poetry, haggis with neeps and tatties and six amazing single malts all from Glenfarclas, including—a Canadian first—a new single cask bottling of Glenfarclas exclusive to KWM! And a bonus special treat the Glenfarclas Chairman’s Reserve 175th Anniversary bottling, also exclusive to KWM! No previous whisky experience required. Wed Jan 25 Location: Fort Calgary 750 – 9th Avenue SE 7:00PM – $99

4.      Scotch Malt Whisky Society First Friday Tasting – Join the world’s largest whisky club and taste their latest, exclusive offerings. We host SMWS tastings the first Friday of each month. Members save $10 on class registration. Want to know more? smws.ca. Fri Feb 3 7PM – $45 / $35 for Members.

5.      Ancient Malts 40 Year Olds Tasting – Our blockbuster tasting for 2012 is going to feature not one, not two, not three, but SIX 40 Year Old whiskies. We are offering two tastings over two consecutive evenings, take your pick. Each participant will receive a monogrammed glass to commemorate the event. Thu Mar 29 7PM and FRI MAR 30 7PM – $275

 

New Rums from Rum Nation

More details and tasting notes to come in the next Malt Messenger.

1.      Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year – $52.99

2.      Rum Nation Demerara Solera No. 14 – $54.99

3.      Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year – $163.99

4.      Rum Nation Jamaica 25 Year – $163.99

5.      Rum Nation Martinique Hors D’Age – $68.99

6.      Rum Nation Martinique 12th Anniversary – $123.99

7.      Rum Nation Panama 18 Year – $82.99

8.      Rum Nation Ron Millonario Solera 15 Year – Best bet for anyone looking for Ron Zacapa! – $47.99

9.      Rum Nation Ron Millonario XO – $108.99

 

____________________

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com.. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson

KWM Scotchguy

403-283-8000
888-283-9004
1257 Kensington Rd. NW

Calgary, AB, Canada

T2N 3P8

scotchguy@kensingtonwinemarket.com

 Posted by at 8:42 am
Oct 302011
 

Malt Messenger No. 50

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

I am not a poet, a novelist, or in any way a professional writer, but I do make use of the written word (perfectly or not) to share my enthusiasm for single malt whisky and occasionally parallel adventures. Over the years readers of this humble newsletter have often kindly remarked on how much time and effort they feel must have been put into creating Malt Messengers. It does take both time and effort, but the amount of time and the degree of effort involved are directly related to inspiration. When moved, the words flow and almost seem to write themselves, when they don’t…

For the last couple of weeks the words of this the 50th full Malt Messenger could not find their way to the keys, and curiously, inspiration was not in short supply. I had just spent a week touring Islay, Arran and Campbeltown with a cadre of whisky enthusiast and had previously spent three lovely days in Edinburgh being properly introduced to the traditions and culture of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (much more on that below). I have new brands here and others coming, tales of whisky tourism to tell and excellent new whiskies to write about and yet somehow I still couldn’t find my words.

Which brings me to where I find myself right now, sitting through another long haul flight trying to bend time and effort into the desired end result.

A little background is required before I proceed. As I write I am hurtling out over the Pacific Ocean at 528mp and 37,954 feet. I am flying with the airline most of us, at least in Western Canada, do when faced with choosing between it and that other larger airline which as a nation we love to hate. I’m sitting in a sweaty leather seat, in a row which is lacking the extra legroom I paid for, but not the larger individuals who require it. Further, I am bored to tears because I can’t seem to write, I don’t feel like reading and the Satellite TV looses its signal when not directly over the North America’s landmass. I’m not a NASA Scientist, so I hope you’ll forgive my innocent ignorance in assuming that the advantage of satellite technology is that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world! 

It’s also important to know that I keep little sample bottles at the store for whiskies I want to write up. This is in part to keep them fresh until I taste them (which can be a while as I am want to procrastinate) but also so that I can take them with me wherever I go. I like to write my tasting notes on my own terms when I am in the mood to sample and have the time required. So, when I go away on trips, especially on vacation, I will generally take a few vials and a good whisky glass because, and let’s be honest, a good whisky in a tumbler or coffee mug just isn’t the same. About half way through the flight one of the attendants, a particularly officious one, (you can tell she was the tattler in elementary school) came by and offered all the people in my row—who were all under the same misapprehension as I—a free beer to compensate us for our lack of space and extra fees. I graciously accepted, though it was one of the pricier beers I’ve ever had, when it suddenly occurred to me that I had something much tastier in my briefcase, two in fact, and a proper glass!

If this is starting to sound like a Vinyl Cafe story or the plot from a Mr. Bean skit, you’re not that far off. Proudly I pulled out my glass, my notebook, a pen and a sample of Tullibardine distilled in 1976 which was dropped off at the store earlier in the day along with another by James Robertson of the distillery and Andy Dunn. I poured the amber gold liquid into my Glencairn and was immediately transfixed by how thick it looked as it curled into the glass. I hadn’t intended to taste the whisky on the plane, but I had five hours to kill and a good idea is a good idea. As I nosed it I jotted down my initial impressions: soft, rich and sugary working my way into more specific descriptors like poached pear, cooked apples and Turtles with sticky toffee pudding in cream. I’m hooked and I must admit, a little self satisfied. I feel sophisticated and relaxed. I start into the palate, lovely, rich and fruity with great body. I’m really enjoying myself and about to take a second sip when an arm touches my shoulder. “May I ask where you got that?” Earnestly, and a little naively, I respond: “oh, it’s a sample from work, I need to write it up.” The reply, “You can’t have that on here. I’m going to have to take it.” And without a further word my glass and whisky are gone and I’m gutted, I’ve only had one sip but what an impression it’s already made and such a nice finish.

As it turns out W— J—ers do care… in this case about following the rules. This isn’t my first time flying.  I’ve enjoyed a few malts smuggled on board in miniature form before, and I’ve even been offered a glass. That said, I’ve never before been so bold as to empty the contents into a proper whisky glass and take out a note pad. It never occurred to me that I was doing something wrong, though in retrospect it does make perfect sense. How can you possibly moderate your passengers’ consumption if they are allowed to BYOB. I can’t fault the flight attendant for doing her job, even if the manner in which she carried it out seems more in tune with writing up parking infractions than making people feel welcome. I erred, was rightly scolded, and was feeling a little sheepish for my naiveté until it dawned on me! I have a story to tell and the inspiration to put words on paper (or screen in this case). There is some unfinished business between the Tullibardine 1976 and me, and though I’ll spend the next week wondering just how many more layers it has, thank God she didn’t ask if I had any others samples. I still have the 1962 sample in my bag, and I have a feeling we’ll be getting acquainted real soon!

In the last Malt Messenger I gave you a taste of this fall’s new whisky releases. One of the most exciting of these is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the World’s foremost whisky club and the 2011 Whisky Magazine Independent Bottler of the Year. We successfully launched the brand on the 17th of October at a by invitation only event, and have since sold close to 70 memberships and much of the initial release of whiskies. You’ll find plenty on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society below. Kensington Wine Market is also hosting a special Glenfarclas tasting at the Petroleum Club on Monday night (October 31) with special guest George Grant. We will sample 5 vintages, including: 1960,1967, 1970, 1980 and 1991 as well as the 175th Anniversary Chairman’s Reserve. The latter, which is exclusive to the Kensington Wine Market in Canada, is a marriage of 4 casks from the 1960’s, all over 42 years of age which collectively add up to 175 years of maturation in oak! There is more on these whiskies, the tasting, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and much more below in this the 50th Malt Messenger!

I hope you enjoy it!

Slainté!

Andrew Ferguson

PS – Congratulations to my counterpart Dave Michiels at Willow Park who was made a Keeper of the Quaich a few weeks back. It is a much deserved honour, welcome to the club!

 

 

 

IN THIS EDITION

 

1.       The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Comes to Canada

 

2.       SMWS Canada Events

 

3.       SMWS Canada’s Inaugural Single Cask Offering

 

4.       Distillery in Focus Glenfarclas – 175 Years

 

5.       Glenfarclas Family Casks Tasting with George Grant at the Petroleum Club

 

6.       The Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary Chairman’s Reserve

 

7.       The Arran Sleeping Warrior

 

8.       Kilchoman 100% Islay Inaugural Release

 

9.       Two New Springbanks: Longrow 18 Year and Hazelburn Sauternes Finish

 

10.   Two New Older Tullibardines Coming Soon

 

11.   Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012

 

12.   Kensington Wine Market Whisky Week 2011

 

13.   MacKinlay’s (Shackelton Replica) Rare Old Highland Malt Update

 

THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY COMES TO CANADA

Rob and Kelly Carpenter, who have been friends of the Kensington Wine Market for years, were unofficial ambassadors for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society long before they were awarded the opportunity to launch the Canadian branch. They were introduced to the brand while living in Edinburgh. Over the years they have kept up their UK membership, brought Society bottles back to Canada to share with friends and even convinced the likes of me to join. I now finish all my whisky tours in Scotland with a dinner at one of The Society’s two Edinburgh venues.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, or The Society for short, is the world’s foremost whisky club and a whisky authority. The Society has 26,000 members worldwide with branches in 15 countries including now Canada. It all began with a man by the name of Pip Hills in the 1970’s. While working for a farmer in the Highlands he was offered a dram unlike any other he had previously tasted. It was straight from a cask the farmer had bought from Glenfarclas distillery. The whisky was served to Pip from a random bottle with chunks of charred oak in it: “where did you get this?” he is reputed to have asked.

On his return to Edinburgh Pip convinced a group of friends at his home on Scotland Street to part with some coin for the purchase of a cask. He drove up to Glenfarclas distillery, selected a barrel, rolled it into the boot of his car and drove home. The investors in the cask were invited over to pick up their share which they all filled into their own assortment of random bottles. It was a huge hit, so they bought another cask, then another and eventually the organization grew into a club requiring a dedicated venue. The Society has grown significantly from these early days, but has stayed true to the early principles which made it so unique.

The Society has had many notable members over the years, including Sean Connery and Scotland’s current First Minister, Alex Salmond. More than just an Independent Bottler, The Society has venues for members, staff, its own award winning magazine (Unfiltered) and tries to create a sense of belonging with its members. The Society bottles 300 different casks a year, always at cask strength from a single cask without colouring or chill filtering. To date it has bottled whiskies from more than 127 distilleries, with the 128th coming early next year! Casks are selected by committee in Tasting Panels. I have had the pleasure to sit in on one of these, as have Rob and Kelly, and it is a really cool experience. To be accepted for bottling samples must receive on average a passing grade from the entire panel. On an individual level a passing grade is achieved by asking oneself the question: would I buy this? Each Tasting Panel has a Chairman whose job it is to moderate the tasting, record each panellist’s tasting notes and summarize them for accepted casks. The unique name and tasting note given to each Society whisky are created at this time.

The Society takes a different approach to whisky than most distilleries or independent bottlers. Age is not a concern, only quality. Region is not expected to correlate with style. And every whisky is unique, a one off, which will never come again. The Society assigns each distillery a number, in the case of Glenfarclas, the first distillery they bottled this is number 1. In the case of Bowmore it is 3, as they were the third distillery bottled by the Society and 33 in the case of Ardbeg. A second number is assigned to each whisky, corresponding to the number of casks the distillery has bottled from that particular distillery. Canada currently has access to the 159th barrel of Glenfarclas bottled, and as such this whisky is numbered 1.159. Similarly Canada has the 111th cask of Ardbeg (33.111) and 175th cask of Bowmore (3.175). The distillery of origin, though often hinted at in the tasting note, is never explicitly mentioned. Because The Society does not advertise the distillery of origin, or rely on the distillery name to help move product, it gets access to casks from distilleries which don’t sell to any other company. Consequently, as independent bottlers go The Society has a more comprehensive range of distillery offerings than any other company. It is for this reason and more that Whisky Magazine awarded it 2011 Independent Bottler of the Year.

Of course you have to be a member to buy the whiskies, so what does that entail, and what are the benefits? Some of you are already members through either the US or UK branches of The Society. You will be contacted over the next few months with the opportunity to transfer your membership to the Canadian branch should you choose to do so. New membership in the Canadian branch costs $230 + GST and includes the Membership Pack. The Membership Packs include a welcome letter, 2 books (Society Members Handbook and a wee Tasting Notebook) as well as 4 x 100ml sample bottles reflecting the range of whiskies offered by The Society. Membership, which can be renewed annually for $120 + GST, also includes the quarterly award winning magazine “Unfiltered”, a list of the monthly new bottlings and tasting notes called “Outturn” as well as access to the members’ venues in the UK (2 in Edinburgh, 1 in London and the Hotel du Vin chain), Tokyo, Switzerland and Paris. Members also receive a discounted price for the monthly tastings (First Fridays).

You have to be a member to buy The Society’s whiskies, but membership does have its privileges! 

For more information on Society membership, or to purchase, go to www.smws.ca..

 

 

SMWS CANADA EVENTS

1.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society First Friday (November 2011) – The first of our monthly SMWS tastings… $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5-7 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 Friday November 4th 7pm – $35.00 – SOLD OUT

2.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society at the Kensington Wine Market Fall Single Malt Festival – SOLD OUT!

3.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society First Friday (December 2011) – This is the second of our monthly SMWS tastings. $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight at least 5 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 Friday December 2nd 7pm – $35.00 – SOLD OUT

4.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society at the Calgary MS Whisky Festival – The First Annual Calgary MS Whisky Festival – 6-9PM at the Art Gallery of Calgary – Thursday January 19th 2012.

5.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society at the Victoria Whisky Festival – For the first time the Canadian branch will be making an appearance at Canada’s Best Whisky Festival with an appearance in the festival tasting as well as two Master Classes. – www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com..

6.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society First Friday (January 2012) – The third of our monthly SMWS tastings… $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5-7 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 Friday January 6th 7pm – $35.00 – NOT YET OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

7.       Much More to Come in the New Year!

 

 

SMWS CANADA’S INAUGURAL SINGLE CASK OFFERING

1.       1.159: Lively and Explosive – 1st Fill Barrel – 56.2% – Colour: Sparkling Mica Gold – 11 Years – Outturn 211 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “An unusual and intriguing wee dram on the nose – hard peaches, wood sap, nutty notes, quince, juniper, flint, Evo-Stik and green ginger – quite clean but was it floral or soapy? The palate was fizzy, lively and tooth-stripping, with explosive ginger heat, granny smith apples, vanilla and mint humbugs. The nose seemed smoother and sweeter with water – cocoa butter, sherbet fountains (with liquorice), ginger beer and lime – quite summery in character. The reduced palate became well-rounded and easy-drinking with some of the deeper botanical ingredients of gin coming through – liquorice, aniseed, angelica and cassia. The distillery sits north of Ben Rinnes.” Drinking Tip: Could be a summery drink, maybe even with ginger ale. – $111.99 – Only 4 Left!

2.       3.175: On the Dunes Watching a Puffer – Refill Butt – 56% – Colour: Beady Ginger Gold – 16 Years – Outturn: 572 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “We found spicy Bombay mix on the nose – also Trail mix (dried pineapple, coconut and papaya) – sharp exotic fruits wrestling with smoke – like limes squeezed over barbeque meats. The palate’s lip-smacking fruitiness (melon, lemon) and mint suggested jugs of Pimm’s; but always with heat and smoke – ‘lime water on a sauna heater’, someone said. The reduced nose, with pineapple and menthol, seemed like sea breezes over the machair on warm spring days (with maybe a puffer on the horizon). The reduced palate balanced sherbet and ice tea against smoke, while retaining its intensity. Loch Indaal laps against the distillery wall.” Drinking Tip: A feel good dram – when heading off on holiday or celebrating an achievement. – $128.99 – 6 Left!

3.       4.155: Blackpool Rock with Threads of Chilli – 1st Fill Barrel – 58.6% – Colour: Pale Shiny Gold – 11 Years – Outturn: 239 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose was fresh (freesias, grass, wood-sap, hay fields, laundry, grapes, apples, refreshers) also biscuits, hard candies, café au lait, light tobacco and sea breezes. The unreduced palate was a ‘wow’ hit of bitter and sweet with dryness and heat – dark chocolate and Blackpool rock with threads of chilli and wasabi. Water improved it – the nose had lemon and lime-flavoured boiled sweets and flower shop freshness but also now some smoke. The reduced palate became more rounded and toothsome – floral, perfumed, lemon zest and ‘men’s shower gel’; liquorice and Dutch tobacco tethered it to the ground. From Orkney’s oldest distillery.” Drinking Tip: An aperitif or with a good lunch. – $112.49 – ONLY 4 LEFT!

4.       7.70: Naughty Nectar – Refill Hogshead – 51.1% – Colour: Golden Syrup in the Tin – 19 Years – Outturn:  161 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Notes: “The nose conveyed elegance and maturity – perfumed honey, dried coconut and exotic fruits (lychees, star-fruit, water melon, Keith Floyd’s flambéed barbequed bananas). These impressions carried through to the palate, with vanilla giving overall impressions of tutti frutti or Neapolitan ice cream – ‘Nectar!’, ‘Absolutely fabulous!’ and ‘Decadent and naughty!’ were some of our responses. The reduced nose, still sweetly enticing, also had intimations of worn leather, canvas, cigarette packets and celery salt. The reduced palate seemed like a heavenly garden – beehives, flowers, washing on the line and canvas chairs in the sun, with sherbet fountains! From the distillery next-door to Benriach.” Drinking Tip: A dram for celebrating, or as a special reward. – $155.49 – ONLY 4 LEFT!

5.       24.117: Mostarda di Frutta di Cremona – 1st Fill Sherry Hogshead – 55.4% – Colour: Profound Polished Mahogany – 20 Years – Outturn:  196 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “This malt used to pride itself on sherrywood maturation; now there is a parallel range of ‘Fine Oak’ bottlings. Fans of the traditional style will not be disappointed by this superb example! Aged PX and ripe figs; toffee sauce and maple cured gammon; pecan nuts and creamy Thai curry…Big and sweet in the mouth with creamy coffee, then dark chocolate truffles and stem ginger. It drinks very well straight, and with water the sweet, fruity flavours merge into ‘mostarda di frutta’, that wonderful glacé fruit condiment, with traces of Fentiman’s Cola. Syrupy sweet to taste, with treacle toffee and chocolate in the aftertaste.” Drinking Tip: Reminiscing at a reunion of old friends. $153.49 – SOLD OUT!

6.       26.82: Soft Light at Sunset – Refill Fill Sherry Butt – 57.9% – Colour: Winter Sunlight – 15 Years – Outturn: 571 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Light and fresh with a hint of parma violets, recently pressed nutty oils, and the scent of hedgerows on a warm day in a breeze. Neat on the palate there was heat, a hint of vanilla and freshly milled very dry sea salt. On the nose water reveals open pine cones, flint and light chalky soil reminiscent of a fine Chablis. The reduced palate was creamy, soft and light with a hint of slightly chewy meringue. A whisky evocative of a camp-fire in the watery sunlight of a late summer evening shared with friends.” Drinking Tip: After a long day… – $130.49 – 8 Left!

7.       29.105: Massive and Volcanic – Refill Sherry Butt – 59.6% – Colour: Deep Ginger Gold – 12 Years – Outturn: 619 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose leapt out with smoke, tar and smouldering embers (waking up the ‘danger’ zone of the cortex); it was also briny, with minty humbugs, some kind of green leaf and vanilla. The palate was described as “Massive!” and “Volcanic” – ash, liquorice, tar and salt, with wild boar sausages and something lovely and sweet hiding away, like a ballerina in a group of miners. Water hardly dented the nose – sweet-cured bacon, diesel exhaust and molasses. The palate seemed sweeter – chocolate in among the smoke and a lavender after-taste. One of the founders, Donald Johnston drowned after falling into ‘burnt ale’.” Drinking Tip: A late night dram. – $116.99 – ONLY 3 LEFT!

8.       33.111: Gentle Giant – 1st Fill Barrel – 57.6% – Colour: 9 Carat Gold – 9 Years – Outturn: 229 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Although this was an initial blast of peat smoke, smoked bacon, vegetable oil, brine (from hot dogs) it was sweet and delicate. There was toffee dust (the stuff you find at the bottom of a big jar from the sweet shop), white bonbons, all interlaced with a mineral character. Big, salty, smoky, and earthy to taste but a delicate perfumed herbal note gave the impression of lightness. Water stabilised this gentle impression; now it was nutty, grassy, herbal and more perfumed although the smoky bacon was still there. Liquorice, walnuts, pine resin and salty ash were added to the palate.” Drinking Tip: On your way to Islay or for an education in the art of smoky whiskies. – $102.99 – 6 Left!

9.       35.58: A Caravanserai on the Silk Road – Refill Butt – 41% – Colour: Saraha Sand Reverie – 26 Years – Outturn: 294 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose was exotic and intriguing; ‘like a Marrakesh spice market!’ someone said; we also got sherbet, vanilla, golden syrup, banoffee pie, crème brûlée and traces of leather. The unreduced taste had Turkish Delight, baclava, coffee, perfumed sweets and sherbet lemons – a theme was emerging – we imagined a caravanserai on the Silk Road. The reduced nose seemed lighter, more floral, with elusive perfumes – as the belly dancers departed the stage?! Adding a drop of water (though it surely needed none) we found spicy Oddfellows sweets, dry perfume and a nutty, woody, lip-sucking after-taste. The distillery is named after the county.” Drinking Tip: When dusk deepens and the promise of the night tingles the senses. – $178.99 – 6 LEFT!

10.   38.21: Manuka Honey on a Razor Strop – 2nd Fill Hogshead – 58% – Colour: Auspicious Gold – 17 Years – Outturn: 234 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “This rare offering, from the distillery originally built as Glen Grant Number Two, had a subtle, unusual nose – initially yeasty (sourdough bread, Hefeweizen beer), then developing leather, plasticine and peeled twigs, fruit skins (especially orange) and eventually, chocolate. The taste combined the dark sweetness of Demerara, toffee and Bourneville, with orange, black pepper and leather (someone suggested ‘manuka honey on a razor strop’). The reduced nose had herbal notes (coriander, nettles) wood polish and sweet perfumes (jelly beans, dolly mixtures, gummy bears, rose hip tea). The palate balanced that jelly bean sweetness with slightly bitter lemons and mild pepper heat.” Drinking Tip: Whenever you have a craving for jelly beans! – $139.99 – 7

11.   53.154: A Surfer’s Sundown Dram – Refill Sherry Butt – 59.8% – Colour: Dried Pasta in Glass Jar – 17 Years – Outturn: 462 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Unreduced the nose was like the soft smoke of burning driftwood on a distant dune. Damp coarse sand, seaweed and brine fill the nostrils as if one were laying prostrate on a wet beach after an energetic swim across the bay. On the palate it sets the tongue ablaze with hot smoke and black peppercorns cracked between the teeth. With water the nose softens as if a mist has fallen; pleasant, cooler with a hint of eucalyptus. Citrus, tar and swirling smoke cover and console the palate. The narrows of the Sound of Islay remain visible through the mist.” Drinking Tip: Outside on a cool autumn evening. – $139.99 – 7 Left!

12.   73.44: Old Friends Remembered – Refill Sherry Butt – 53.7% – Colour: Golden Syrup – 29 Years – Outturn: 207 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Without water this warm and comfortable malt delivered rich dark chocolate and raisins on the nose. There was a hint of freshly planed wood shavings; echoes of the boat builders’ art in times past. The unreduced palate was hot and urgent, smoky and mouth watering, while the after taste revealed dried fruits and just a whiff of tobacco. The addition of water freed more sweetness on the palate; sticky toffee pudding with a rich homemade vanilla custard and heather honey straight from the jar. On the nose a new confection; sweet tobacco and oil of orange wrapped in velvet coat of dark chocolate.” Drinking Tip: After the party in the big comfy chair. – $194.99 – ONLY 2 LEFT!

13.   76.85: The Antagonist – 1st Fill Sherry Butt – 55.2% – Colour: Honey Gold – 15 Years – Outturn:  548 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The intriguing nose had candied fruit pieces, lemon, brown sugar and crushed mint leaves; also figs and dates, sultana cake. Lime and pickles, curry leaves and oxo cubes brought savoury contrasts. The neat palate was hot and sweet – treacle toffee and heather honey; Granny Smith apples brought freshness. With water, the nose became more floral; poppies, elderflower and plum, blackberry jam and maple syrup, banana and walnut oil. Also truffle oil and squash.  The reduced palate brought thoughts of the vineyard – grape skins and must, Poire William eau de vie and black tea tannins drying out on the tongue. The distilling water comes from the Conval hills and cooling water from the river Dullan.” – Drinking Tip: Enjoying with good friends – preferably at a Society venue. – $130.49 – ONLY 5 LEFT!

14.   125.50: Heavenly Beauty – De-Char Toasted Hogshead – 50.5% – Colour: Rich Gold – 12 Years – 251 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Notes: “The nose started out quite lively – paint turning to William’s pear schnapps, then sherbet, vanilla ice-cream, toasted peaches, plum jam, chocolate and chestnut purée. The unreduced palate seemed quaintly curious – quite floral, but with caramel, Ice Magic toffee sauce, cocoa butters, marzipan and spicy heat in the finish. The reduced nose delighted us with fruity toffee, white chocolate, guava and almond; someone described it as ‘Heavenly’. The reduced palate had luscious pecan pie, and almond cake with pear liqueur – an unusual dram from the sixteen men of Tain. ‘No twinkle-toed, shy maiden, but a mature, busty beauty!’ one panellist opined.” Drinking Tip: With dessert or at least something sweet. – $115.99 – ONLY 2 LEFT!

15.   127.14: Right Up My Street – Refill Barrel – 65.7% – Colour: Mellow Yellow Buttercup Gold – 9 Years – 243 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Notes: “The nose delivered suggestions of Germolene, coal, trainers, Dutch liquorice, mint humbugs, roasted chestnuts, bananas and ham ribs – but mainly freshly tarred roads and new telegraph poles (‘right up MY street’ someone said). The palate was huge, tongue-roasting and crying out for water – but we identified roasted parsnips, liquorice, sweet cinnamon, cherries and coal-dust. Water freshened the nose – maple cured bacon, Thai coconut satay, banana, peanut, cranberries and cherries. The palate was still challenging and took plenty of water, but the panel remained positive – finding ever-lasting heat, sweet smoked pecans and other lip-smacking flavours. The medium-peated version of distillery 23.” Drinking Tip: Could stiffen you up before setting out to do battle – or just a nice winter fireside dram. – $108.99 – ONLY 5 LEFT!

 

DISTILLERY IN FOCUS GLENFARCLAS – 175 YEARS OF HISTORY

Robert Hay, the leaseholder at Reichlerich Farm, took out a license for Glenfarclas distillery in 1836, though there is evidence that a distillery existed on the site in 1797 and possibly before. On Robert’s death in 1865 John Grant and his son George bought the distillery for £511 and change leasing it to John Smith of Glenlivet fame. John Smith’s tenure at Glenfarclas was just 5 years after which he left to start the nearby Cragganmore. This is when the Grant family’s interest in the distillery begins in earnest, with J & G Grant taking control.

The first two Grants, John and his son George saw the distillery through its next twenty years until John passes away in 1889 and his son George the next year in 1890. George’s son, appropriately John and George were too young to take on the license which is taken over by their mother Barbara with the sons managing operations. The late 1800’s saw a significant whisky boom with blenders driving demand for stocks of young and mature whiskies. In 1895 the brother’s go into business with the infamous Pattison Bros. forming Glenfarclas-Glenlivet Distillery Co. It was not unusual for distilleries in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to add “Glenlivet” to their name as an indication of quality. The Pattison brothers had through the 1890’s built a business on credit which they used to finance their extravagant lifestyles. This house of cards came tumbling down, the Enron scandal of its day in Scotland, and it brought the industry to its knees. Many distilleries closed, some never to reopen, and others like Glenfarclas had to make difficult decisions. They survived by selling and mortgaging maturing stocks to a whisky broker in Elgin, and the family vowed it would never do business outside the family again, and it hasn’t!

John left the business in 1914 due to ill health, but his brother George stayed at the reigns until his death in 1949. It then passed to George’s sons George Scott and John Peter Grant. The brother’s increased the distilleries volume by  adding two stills in 1960 and then launched the world’s first cask strength single malt whisky, the Glenfarclas 105 in 1968. Glenfarclas malted its own barley until the early 1970’s around the same time it opened a distillery visitor center, which would have been one of the first. In 1976 the number of stills was increased again by 2 to 6. George S Grant chaired the distillery until 2002, when after his death the distillery passed to his son John. John L S Grant continues in his role as distillery chairman to the present, with his son George the distillery’s brand ambassador.

Glenfarclas is unique among the more than 100 single malt distilleries in Scotland, first in that it is the second oldest family owned distillery, but more crucially, that it is sitting on a more comprehensive stock of older whiskies than any other distillery in Scotland. In 2005 the distillery launched a 50 year old whisky the mark the bicentenary of the first John Grant’s birth. In 2007 the distillery launched the Family Casks, a series of 43 single cask, cask strength vintage whiskies representing every year from 1952-1994. Many of the initial offering of casks has sold out with these being replaced with additional casks. The distillery has since gone on to release 1995 and 1996 vintages. This is a range of whiskies not rivalled by any other distillery for its completeness or depth. In 2010 Glenfarclas stunned the world by releasing a regularly available 40 year old whisky for less than $500.00CDN.

The Kensington Wine Market stocks the following Glenfarclas distillery bottled whiskies, tasting notes courtesy of the distillery:

1.       Glenfarclas 10 Year – 40% – Delicately light, with a mouth-watering combination of maltiness, smokiness and sherry sweetness. Hints of dried fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves tempt the taste buds further. – $65.49

2.       Glenfarclas 12 Year – 43%Full bodied, delightful sherried fruit, with oak, a hint of peat and delicious sweet sensations. – $67.99

3.       Glenfarclas 15 Year – 46% – Full bodied with super balance of sherried sweetness, malty tones and peaty flavours. – $88.99

4.       Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength – 60% – Dry and assertive, develops quickly to reveal a rich spiciness, combined with a hint of oak and sherried fruit. – $88.99

5.       Glenfarclas 17 Year – 43% – Big, full-flavoured, with excellent balance, develops slowly, full of sherry sweet malty tones, and a touch peat smoke. – $96.99

6.       Glenfarclas 21 Year – 43% – Full bodied rich and rounded develops slowly into fruity, smoky and spicy flavours. – $116.49

7.       Glenfarclas 25 Year – 43% – Full-bodied and robust, the sherry and the oak fight for your attention yet neither is overpowering. A powerful nutty smokiness. – $152.99

8.       Glenfarclas 30 Year – 43% – With Sherry, cognac, brandy, fruit, nuts, marzipan (and even icing), this is a wonderfully indulgent Christmas cake, in a glass! – $337.49

9.       Glenfarclas 40 Year – 46% – A sweet initial taste, orange segments, chocolate. Then a lovely flavour of burnt brown sugar. – $499.99

10.   Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary Chairman’s Reserve – 46% – A dry whisky initially letting way for bitter dark chocolate, the taste of chocolate goes on for some time then a lovely cream brulée finish. Some light vanilla and burnt Demerara sugar. Then just when you think it’s all gone a lovely burst of caramel toffee. – $703.99 *Exclusive to KWM!

11.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1960 – $1702.99

12.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1967 – $918.99

13.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1970 – $876.99

14.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1978 – $788.99

15.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1979 – $564.99

16.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 – $576.99

17.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1988 – $477.99

18.   Glenfarclas Family Cask 1991 – $401.99

Kensington Wine Market also stocks the following independently bottled Glenfarclas whiskies:

1.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society 1.159 Lively and Explosive: “The palate is lively, with explosive ginger heat, green apples, vanilla, mint humbugs and various gin botanicals.” Bottled after 11 years in a First Fill Barrel at 56.2%. – $111.99 *You must be a Society member to buy this whisky.

2.       O&R Probably Speyside’s Finest 45 Year – “Probably Speyside’s Finest Distillery” is Douglas Laing’s euphemism for Glenfarclas Distillery. Unable to refer to the distillery by name they’ve come up with a clever and appropriate tip of the hat! – $499.99

 

GLENFARCLAS FAMILY CASKS TASTING WITH GEORGE GRANT – $160

The Glenfarclas Family Casks are the most comprehensive offering of single cask vintage whiskies from a single distillery ever released. Initially launched in 2007 with 43 vintages spanning every year from 1952-1994 the distillery has expanded the range to 1995 and 1996 bottlings, as well as releasing new casks for vintages which have sold out.  

This is Kensington Wine Market’s 4th Annual Glenfarclas Family Casks tasting, and it will feature 5 vintages (1960, 1967, 1970, 1980 and 1991) and a new very limited bottling released to celebrate the distillery’s 175th Anniversary. The Glenfarclas Chairman’s Reserve 175th Anniversary bottling was created by marrying 4 casks; all matured no less than 42 years, whose collective age adds up to 175. Only 60 bottles are coming to Canada, all of them to the Kensington Wine Market, and this will be your first opportunity to sample this amazing whisky in Canada!

Monday October 31st at 7PM at the Petroleum Club!

 

GLENFARCLAS 175TH ANNIVERSARY CHAIRMAN’S RESERVE – $703.99

GLENFARCLAS 175th ANNIVERSARY CHAIRMAN’S RESERVE – 46% – A combination of 4 of their best Sherry Casks with a combined age of 175 years, the youngest of which was 42 years of age. – 1296 bottles have been released worldwide complete with glass, water jug and certificate. – Only 60 bottles to Canada, exclusively for Kensington Wine Market – My Tasting Note: Nose: brown sugar and beer nuts; espresso roast, rich buttery sherry notes; roasted marshmallow with musty/earthy dunnage floor notes and dark aged rum; spices aplenty with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and other sweet spices; there is a tropical fruit backdrop to the whole thing but they are hidden behind the burnt sugar and other caramelized notes; burnt butter and coffee cream; Palate: rich, bold and yet very soft with silky buttery sherry notes; sweet spices with mocha and espresso; burnt fruits, melons, and then the tropical fruits start to emerge, and fruits aplenty though they remain tempered by the burnt sugar and sherry notes; there is a chocolaty element to the whisky too, including cocoa nibs, Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Cadbury milk chocolate with fruit and nuts; Finish: more sweet spices with dried tropical fruits, burnt brown sugar and fading tones of chocolate; long and oily the oak spices and fruit linger; Comments: needs a little time to open up, but once it does its full of layers, depth and complexity. As rich as the 40 year old, but perhaps a little darker! – $703.99 *Exclusive to KWM!

 

 

THE ARRAN SLEEPING WARRIOR

Arran is one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland with a very diverse landscape from south to north and west to east. It contains a taste of most of Scotland’s distinct geographic zones and is even crossed by the famous Highland-Lowland boundary fault which bisects the rest of the country north of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The island is often referred to as Scotland in miniature with rolling hills in the south and rugged mountains in the north. It is at the north end of the island where Arran distillery can be found at Lochranza bay. One of these mountains at the north end of the island as viewed from the Ayrshite coast has the profile of a person lying on their side and is known as the Sleeping Warrior.

The Arran Sleeping Warrior is a vatting of 6000 bottles from the 2000 vintage which have been produced from American and European oak casks selected by Master Distillery James MacTaggart. The whisky has been released with some of the proceeds going toward the National Trust for Scotland to help maintain the footpaths on the Goatfel. The Goatfel is Arran’s tallest peak at just under 2900ft. The whisky has been bottled at a cask strength of 54.9%. I wrote the following tasting note while at the distillery in October.

Arran Sleeping Warrior – 54.9% – Only 180 bottles coming to Alberta. – KWM is getting 90 bottles. – My Tasting Note: Nose: very unusual, blue cheese with honey and truffle oil, browning green apples and poached pear; old books and worn leather with prosciutto wrapped dates and Sunrype fruit bars; Palate: very fruity, caramelized fruits, cornsyrup and drying leathery spices; very earthy with dark chocolate damp tobacco leaf; more prosciutto wrapped dates with blue cheese filling; Finish: warming and leathery (soft ladies glove leather) with loads of soft fruits and jujubes. – $97.99

 

KILCHOMAN 100% ISLAY INAUGURAL RELEASE

A couple of weeks back I had the privilege of touring Kilchoman distillery again with distillery manager John MacLellan on the very same day that the distillery’s founder and managing director Anthony Wills was in our store to lead a Kilchoman tasting. Anthony lead those present through a tasting of several whiskies from his distillery, including a new cask bottled for our store (more on that next month) and the Kilchoman 100% Islay Inaugural Release. Even before founding the distillery Anthony had a vision to make a whisky which was 100% local. All of Kilchoman’s production is matured and bottled on Islay making Kilchoman one of only two distilleries which can make that claim (the other is Bruichladdich). Kilchoman’s new 100% Islay line is made from barley grown on Islay at Kilchoman’s own farm, malted on the distillery’s own malting floor, then distilled, matured and bottled by hand all on site. No other whisky in Scotland can claim such a micro-provenance. The new line from Kilchoman will be bottled a sold separately from its regular line at 50%. It is matured in ex-Buffalo Trace casks and was distilled from malt peated to between 10-20ppm, much lower than the regular Kilchoman.

Kilchoman 100% Islay Inaugural Release – 50% – Matured in American Ex-Bourbon – 3 Years – My Tasting Note: Nose: cheese-wiz and beach fires, Japadog (Vancouverites will know), creamy with soft vanilla and very grassy-floral notes; Palate: much softer and sweeter than expected; barley sugar, creamy rich vanilla and grassy fragrant smoke with floral minty notes; Finish: creamy and soft with vanilla and clean-salty-citric smoke. – $105.99

 

 

TWO NEW SPRINGBANKS: LONGROW 18 YEAR AND HAZELBURN SAUTERNES FINISH

Springbank is Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery as well as one of Scotland’s most traditional. They are the only distillery to continue to malt 100% of their own barley and as my tour participants saw a couple of weeks back visiting the distillery is like stepping back in time. There is no automation and most of the equipment is from the early 20th century if not older. One of the other things which makes Springbank distillery unique is that they produce three distinct styles of whisky: the regular Springbank which is 2 ½ distilled and lightly peated, Longrow (named for a now closed distillery) a double distilled heavily peated whisky and Hazelburn (also named for another closed Campbeltown distillery) which is unpeated and triple distilled. Alberta has just received two new expressions, one each of Longrow and Hazelburn.

1.       Hazelburn 8 Year Sauternes Finish – 55.9% – 5 Years in American Oak – Finished 3 Years in Sauternes Casks – 9180 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: honey, spices, candied and blood oranges with black liquorice, graham wafers and sweet toasted oak; fruit flan and stir fried vegetables in soy sauce; Palate: very light and soft with sweet toasted oak and spice; delicate; black liquorice, clove, all spice and even some peppery notes; new leather jacket with more fruit flan and some honey-citrus but the spices dominate; Finish: drying and spicy with toasted creamy oak; Comments: the highlight of my visit to Springbank, that is with the exception of getting to sample the new 21 year old with Frank and Ranald which is still in cask! We were the first non-employees to have such a privilege and boy was it good! – $83.49

2.       Longrown 18 Year – 46% – Only 60 Bottles have come to Canada, 30 to KWM! – Official Tasting Note: “Nose: This whisky has an incredibly sweet nose with some savory notes peeking through. Marshmallows in abundance – the vanilla variety, with icing sugar and foam bananas adding to the sweetness. Upon further nosing the fruit makes an appearance, brambles, mandarines and over ripe damson fruits. Some savory notes pushing through such as linseed oil – do we smell cricket bats? Palate: This dram coats your palate in a waxy fashion with its continuing sweet flavours as described on the nose. But there is also the familiar, well balanced trace of smoke which makes this a brilliantly complex wee dram that will make you feel right at home no matter where you are. Finish: The creaminess of this whisky means it doesn’t go away – you feel the warmth of this Longrow all the way down to your boots, creamy, sweet with a gentle smoke finish.” Comments: I haven’t tasted this one yet, but I can’t wait, the last release of Longrow 18 was in 2008 and it was terrific!

 

TWO NEW TULLIBARDINES AND TWO MORE OLDER ONES ON THE WAY

Tullibardine is one of the most accessible distilleries in the whole of Scotland, located just off the A9 between Perth and Stirling. Any trip north along this road should warrant a pit-stop tour and tasting at was is one of less than a dozen independent distilleries in Scotland. Many bloggers and critics wrote Tullibardine off years ago but the little distillery keeps putting out great whiskies, of which I have four to tell you about. The first two are in stock and the latter two will be here in short order.

1.       Tullibardine Port Finish – Tasting note to come in the next Malt Messenger. – $61.99

2.       Tullibardine Sherry Finish – Tasting note to come in the next Malt Messenger. – $61.99

3.       Tullibardine 1976 – 50.2% – Cask 3161 – 2nd Fill Hogshead – 226 Total Bottles – 94.5pts Jim Murray 2012 Bible – Tasting note to come in the next Malt Messenger – $TBA

4.       Tullibardine 1962 – 41.8% – 48 Years – Cask 3185 – Refill Hogshead – 223 Bottles – 95.5pts Jim Murray 2012: ”Exquisite’, ‘faultless’ and ‘Simply timeless” – My Tasting Note: Nose: soft fruits enticing me to come in, a Parisian bakery at about 8 AM, canned peaches and apricots; melons: cantaloupe and honey dew with mango and papaya chutney; the nose feels silky and soft, though while the aromas a light they have great depth; Palate: silky soft with smooth oaky threads and a thick mouth coating body which leave my mouth feeling moisturized with tingling light spice; more melons with ripe peaches and canned fruits; the whisky shows a firm backbone of earthy oak with cloves and black pepper; honeyed and very fruity throughout; vanilla and honey notes from the oak back up against the peppery notes; I also find notes of brown sugar, Demerara and dried cranberries; Finish: at once coating and drying with some spice and soft vanilla/honey oils; a creaminess develops with the finish showing firm toasted oak. – $TBA

 

 

MALT WHISKY YEARBOOK 2012

As another year draws near to a close and the latest editions of the Malt Whisky Yearbook and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible start to trickle out. We are still waiting on the Bible, but the new Malt Whisky Yearbook, 2012 edition, is in. This is my favourite whisky resource with a background and history on all Scottish, Irish, Japanese and most world malt distilleries. The book features articles from some of the most respected writers on the whisky industry and is a great guide for those looking to increase their knowledge about the industry and keep on top of new bottlings. The 2012 edition is the most comprehensive yet and finally, after some persistent pressure, contains a listing of some non-European whisky specialists including the first Canadian specialist. Any guesses which Canadian whisky specialist is the only one listed therein?

 

 

KENSINGTON WINE MARKET WHISKY WEEK(S) 2011

1.       Jura Distillery with Willie Tait – Jura’s brand ambassador and employee of nearly 37 years, Willie Tait, will be in town to shed some light on the distillery, its whiskies and the mysterious island they come from. This tasting will feature some incredible whiskies including: 10 Year, Superstition, Prophecy, 16 Year and 1974. Tuesday November 8th at 7pm $40.00

2.       Glendronach 1972 Launch Dinner – Our exceptional new cask will be launched this night during a special whisky dinner with Alistair Walker at Buchanan’s Chop House, 738 3 Avenue, SW. Wednesday November 9th at 7pm at Buchanan’s Chophouse$135.00

3.       Fall Single Malt Festival – Our iconic whisky festival is back for another year with a lineup of up to 100 premium whiskies from some of Scotland’s finest distilleries. Don’t hesitate, it sells out every year, and there are only 100 tickets! – Thursday November 10th at 7pm !!SOLD OUT!!

4.       Rare Malts – Rare Malts is one of our more special tastings. In order to qualify for this tasting whiskies must meet one of three criteria: they must be especially rare; from a closed distillery; or more than 20 years of age. This rare malts tasting is going to set a new bar, admittedly one which will be hard to equal. We have two whiskies of more than 37 years of age, two whiskies from closed distilleries (one of which is a new bottling of Port Ellen) and another whisky which is part way between 40 and 50 years of age! This will truly be a tasting not to be missed! Tuesday November 15th at 7PM $75.00

5.       Laphroaig with Simon Brooking – Details to be announced – Wednesday November 16th

 

 

MACKINLAY’S (SHACKLETON REPLICA) RARE OLD HIGHLAND MALTS UPDATE

If you’ve been paying attention to the Malt Messenger over the last few months you’ll know that one of the biggest pieces of news this fall was the Canadian launch of the MacKinlay’s Shackleton replica, which is exclusive to the Kensington Wine Market in Alberta. It has been a massive success, with the first 150 bottles of this curious malt having sold out even before the official launch.

On Friday September 30th an assortment of whisky enthusiasts, Shackleton aficionados and other interested parties gathered at the Kensington Wine Market to sample the whisky while enjoying Dr. Jane Cameron’s photos and a presentation by Susan Eaton who has followed in Shackleton’s footsteps. Well the launch of the MacKinlay’s in Canada on September 30th was a massive success and orders for the second 150 bottles were brisk and quickly started pilling up. Fearing we wouldn’t have enough to meet demand I reached out to the importer and pressed them to find more for us, and it’s a good thing I did because things went from hot to boiling when participant Susan Eaton’s article made the front page of the Calgary Herald last Sunday. All of the 156 bottles due in December are long spoken for as are most of the 300 bottles due later in the spring.

If you haven’t seen Susan’s article in the Herald here is a link to it: http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/spirit+exploration/5593782/story.html as well as the modified version carried in the Vancouver Sun: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Antarctic+expeditions+revisited+through+reproduced+whisky/5593511/story.html.

 

 

____________________

 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

 

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com.. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!

 

 

 

Slainte!

 

 

 

Andrew Ferguson
KWM Scotchguy

 

 Posted by at 8:53 am
Oct 262011
 

THE WAIT IS OVER – A WORLD OF WONDERFUL WHISKIES AWAITS!

How do I get them? you ask.  Join The Society now, we reply!

The Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is open for business.  For details on how to join visit www.smws.ca.  But for more instant gratification, here’s a quick overview.

Initial membership is $230.  Upon joining you will receive the exquisitely-designed Membership Pack (pictured above) which includes the coveted membership card personalized with your name and membership number; a handsome lapel pin; a Society handbook; a tasting note book; and best of all – four 100ml bottles of The Society’s extraordinary single cask, single malt whiskies to tantalize your tastebuds!

But more than the Membership Pack, joining The Society puts you in the enviable position of being able to purchase our rare and unique whiskies, not available to non-members.  The Society only bottles single cask whisky which means quantities are limited.  Once an expression is sold out, it’s gone forever, never to be replicated.  But don’t let that deter you!  If you miss the chance to buy one, there’s always another fantastic choice on offer.

Members will receive a monthly bottling list called Outturn which outlines each month’s new bottlings.  Quirky yet informative tasting notes written by our Tasting Panel of industry experts and enthusiasts accompany each bottle description making it easy for you to find the perfect dram.  The month’s Outturn is available on www.smws.ca.

Membership also entitles you to receive our quarterly award-winning magazine Unfiltered – a glossy, colourful, sometimes whimsical look at the whisky industry.

Don’t delay – there’s a space on your shelf for a great new whisky (or two, or…).  www.smws.ca

Here’s just one great example of the whiskies now available:

 

7.70 Naughty Nectar  19 year old Speyside

The nose conveyed elegance and maturity – perfumed honey, dried coconut and exotic fruits.  These impressions carried through to the palate, with vanilla giving overall impressions of tutti frutti or Neopolitan ice cream – ‘Nectar!’  ‘Absolutely fabulous!’ and ‘Decadent and naughty!’ were some of our responses.  The reduced nose, still sweetly enticing, also had intimations of worn leather, canvas, cigarette packets and celery salt.  The reduced palate seemed like a heavenly garden – beehives, flowers, washing on the line and canvas chairs in the sun, with sherbet fountains!  From the distillery next-door to Benriach.

 Posted by at 6:11 am
Sep 282011
 

Malt Messenger No. 49

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’ve had a great summer. Our Alberta summer was predictably… unpredictable! Spring arrived late and brought with it lots of rain. Summer didn’t arrive until the second week of August, but what little we had was great and we’ve been compensated with a fantastic September. Yes, we’re having Indian summer with temperatures nearing 30oC today and tomorrow. For many parts of the world reaching 30oC in September is probably a given, but at nearly 3,500 feet (a full kilometre above sea level) and just a stone’s throw from the Rocky Mountains, anything can happen! In this light, I thought this would be a good opportunity to recommend a couple of great Indian summer whiskies to toast the waning days of warm weather.

There are of course some new and returned whiskies to tell you about: the An Cnoc 16 Year, Bowmore 1981, Forty Creek John’s Private Cask and some new independent bottlings from Berry’s Own Selection and Douglas Laing. But, the bulk of this news letter will be dedicated to a preview of what’s coming this fall and this is a first for the Malt Messenger. I will focus on some of the new and exciting whiskies to keep an eye out for. We’ve already seen a few of them start to trickle in, like the MacKinlay’s Shackleton replica, the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 70 Year (the world’s oldest whisky) and the Private Collection Glenlivet Decades. But these are just the first of many exciting new product launches we’ll see over the next few months. Here’s an important note, look for “The Scotch Malt Whisky Society” which was just awarded Independent Bottler of the Year 2011 by Whisky Magazine, and some new KWM casks!

It is also worth pointing out that the Kensington Wine Market has launched a new Blog, which can be found at http://www.kensingtonwinemarket.com/blog/ or by navigating from our home page. The Malt Messenger takes a lot of time to write, and our other store newsletters don’t often have the flexibility to tell stories, show photos or go into great detail. For this reason, our new store blog will allow us to do this and publish information in a more timely manner. There is an RSS feed you can subscribe to and we will also be announcing new posts via Twitter. In addition to reading the posts, you’ll be able to click directly to the products and have the ability to leave comments. It’s just another way we can serve and inform our customers. We hope you find it helpful.

Next month we’ll get back on track with the regular Malt Messenger, the 50th full edition of the Malt Messenger. There will be a “Distillery in Focus”, “Collector’s Picks”, “Whisky 101” and the second half of my “Closed Distilleries of Scotland” feature. Look for this in early October.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this Fall Preview Edition of the Malt Messenger.

Slainté!

Andrew Ferguson

PS-Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/scotch_guy !

 

In this edition of the Malt Messenger:

1.       Up Coming Events

2.       Whiskies for an Indian Summer

3.       Bin Ends We’re Blowing Out This Month

4.       Introducing the An Cnoc 16 Year

5.       Three New Releases From Berry’s Own

6.       Two New Whiskies from Douglas Laing

7.       Two New 18 Year Old From Cooley Distillery

8.       Bowmore 1981 28 Year

9.       Amrut Intermediate Sherry Is Back!

10.   Forty Creek John’s Private Cask

11.   Fall Preview

I.            MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt – The Shackleton Replica

II.            Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 70 Year and 5 Decades

III.            The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is Coming to Canada!

IV.            Exclusive Casks

V.            Exclusive Whiskies

VI.            Other Whiskies

VII.            Tastings & Events

 

UP COMING EVENTS

1.       Raucus Rums – A roundup of some of the finest sipping rums in the world. We’ll be sampling some old, some rare, and some new rums to the Alberta scene. As a special treat, we will have a preview sampling of some really interesting rums which will be here before Christmas. – Tuesday September 27th – $50

2.       MacKinlay’s Shackleton Whisky Launch – Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer, was forced to abandon 3 crates of whisky in 1907 to try to save his doomed expedition. Discovered 100 years later, these rare malts have been painstakingly recreated by the distiller Whyte and MacKay. The presentation package is authentic, inspired by the original crates, the bottle was made with the same imperfections as the original and the lable has been hand drawn to reproduce a now extinct typeface. This is no gimmick; the whisky has been carefully blended to duplicate the original, and is mostly composed of whisky from the original, now closed Glen Mhor distillery. Only 180 bottles of this very limited whisky are coming to Alberta, all of them to Kensington Wine Market. We will be throwing a party to celebrate the launch, with special guests, a commemorative glass and your first opportunity to sample whiskies from the Fettercairn distillery! – Friday September 30th – $30

3.       Rare Malts – Only whiskies 20+ years of age, from closed distilleries or the very rare, need apply for this staple of our tasting schedule. This will be an epic tasting by Rare Malts standards, three of the six whiskies are from closed distilleries, and two of the whiskies are more than 35 years of age and one is more than 40! – Monday October 11th – $75

4.       Kilchoman Tasting with Anthony Wills – Anthony Wills, founder of the Kilchoman micro distillery on Islay, will be in town for a special vertical tasting of whiskies from his cult distillery including a new KWM cask and the 100% Islay bottling! – Tuesday October 11th -$30

 

WHISKIES FOR AN INDIAN SUMMER

1.       An Cnoc 16 Year – Much more information on this below, but in short it is a soft, creamy and toasty whisky with big Bourbon notes. This is one of the most exciting new releases of the summer! – $87.99

2.       Glenmorangie Sonnalta – This whisky is going, going, and very nearly gone. A onetime release from the Northern Highlands, and a store exclusive, it’s been our best seller since March. Since then we’ve sold more than 400 bottles, and at the time of writing, there are but 42 bottles left until its gone! – $74.99

3.       Arran KWM Fresh Bourbon Cask – I’m a sherry cask man through and through, but when came time to select an Arran cask for the store last winter I was torn. Both the best Bourbon and Sherry cask samples were superb and in the end we decided to do both, but faced to make a “Sophie’s Choice”, I’d have to go with the Bourbon! – $84.99

4.       Balvenie 17 Year Madeira Wood – Anyone who’s been in to the shop and chatted whisky with me knows I’m a proponent of whisky being bottled above 46% without any colouring or chill-filtering. But there are exceptions to every rule and this Balvenie is one of them, soft, sweet and spicy. A limited edition bottling, already sold out in most other parts of the world, it won’t be around for much longer. – $137.99

5.       Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year – I wouldn’t say that The Glenlivet and I don’t get along, but we’ve never really seen eye to eye. The Glenlivet Nadurra though may be the long sought after middle ground in our dispute. It has bags of honey, ginger and natural caramel. I love the fact that it is cask strength (57.7%), that it is non-chill filtered and am presuming that they’ve added no caramel colouring. Now why can we move the rest of the line in this direction? – $77.99

6.       BenRiach 15 Year Madeira Wood – 94pts in the Whisky Bible a few years back, this dram is sweet, soft and gently spiced. Best served around a camp fire with Chips Ahoy cookies. – $82.49

7.       Auchentoshan 18 Year – This bourbon cask matured Auchentoshan is very citrusy with loads of toasted oak. It is a light refreshing dram. – $106.49

8.       Amrut Intermediate Sherry – A small amount of this soft, light, sweetly sherried whisky has returned to the market, more info can be found below! – $114.99

 

 

BIN ENDS WE’RE BLOWING OUT THIS MONTH

1.       Duthies Cragganmore 15 Year – 25% OFF – Only 11 left! – Honeyed and grassy with wet leaves, you don’t often see Cragganmore from Independent Bottlers. – Was $94.99 – Now $74.24

2.       G&M KWM Glen Grant 1966 – 25% OFF – Only 11 left!This nearly 42 year old whisky was selected by and bottled exclusively for our store. It shows great subtlety for a whisky of its age. – Was $449.99 – Now $337.49

3.       Duthies Glen Scotia 17 Year – 25% OFF – Only 18 left! – This whisky won a silver medal in the Whisky Magazine Independent Bottler’s Challenge. What is truly amazing is how impressive this whisky is, given the derelict nature of the distillery which produced it! – Was $101.99 – Now $76.49

4.       Duthies Laphroaig 11 Year – 25% OFF – Only 8 left! – This dram is a bit of an enigma for a Laphroaig, especially a younger one given that it is not a heavily medicinal whisky! – Was $98.99 – Now $74.24

 

 

AN CNOC 16 YEAR

In May of this year I had the honour of being inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, a by invitation only society founded to recognize those who make significant contributions to the global success of Scotch whisky. The induction ceremony was held at Blair Castle in the Northern Highlands, home of the Duke of Athol, and spiritual home of the Keepers of the Quaich. The great and good of the whisky industry were all assembled for the biannual event, everyone was kitted out in Highland regalia and the Athol Highlanders (the last private army in Europe) were providing a level of pomp and circumstance above that of the 700 year old castle we assembled in.  I didn’t think I’d be, but I was very nervous, most of the inductees were members of the big beverage companies, National importers from around the world or ambassadors of this distillery or that. And there I was a humble self professed whisky expert from a single small retails store in Calgary, the first Canadian retail expert to be so honoured. The generous dram of An Cnoc 16 Year I was handed couldn’t have come at a better time. After a few pulls I relaxed and it dawned on me that this An Cnoc was a lovely little dram, I made a mental note to inquire about it on my return.

An Cnoc for those of you who don’t know is a pseudonym for Knockdhu distillery. When the brand was first launched as a single malt, it was felt that the name Knockdhu might be confused with another not too distant distillery Knockandoo. Even though Knockdhu predates Knockandoo by the better part of five years, the latter had gone to market first with its single malt (both being primarily made for blending until a relatively short time ago) and it was felt that single malt from Knockdhu should have a distinct moniker.

An Cnoc 16 Year – 46% – American Oak – My Tasting Note: Nose: floral, bourbony and citric; dandelions, geraniums and rose petals; barley sugars, firm toasted oak and roasted coconut chips; citrus notes include shades of lemon and lime zest; Palate: is massively bourbony with vanilla icing, shredded coconut and more firm toasted oak; the citrus notes are much more prominent on the palate with lemon drops, candied orange and lemon/lime zest; there is a soft creamy component to it too but the whisky retains a soft character and is far from over the top; Finish: drying and toasty with burnt orange, a late wave of lemon drops and more vanilla icing; Comments: this whisky will be forever linked to Keepers of the Quaich inauguration in May of this year. It was our welcome dram, it was three fingers deep and it cut my nerves just before the ceremony. This is the first An Cnoc which has really impressed me, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! – Exclusive to KWM – $87.99

 

 

THREE NEW WHISKIES FROM BERRY’S OWN SELECTION

Berry’s Own Selection is a line of independently bottled single malt whiskies sourced, selected and bottled by Berry Brothers & Rudd in London. They are one of the world’s oldest wine merchants, and have been trading from the same shop at 3 James Street for more than 300 years. The company began retailing whiskies in 1909 under the “Berry’s Own Selection” label, making it one of the oldest independent bottlers in Scotland. For two successive years, 2010 and 2011, Berry Brothers has been awarded Independent Bottler of the Year by Whisky Magazine as part of their “Icons of Whisky” awards.

       

Kensington Wine Market has carefully selected three bottlings from Berry Own Selection for exclusive sale in Canada! I sat down with my good friend and fellow whisky lover Dr. Jane Cameron and a batch of samples for review some months ago. After the tasting we settled on three favourites which I arranged to bring in to the store.

1.       Berry’s Own Teaninich 1973 – 41.8% – 37 Year – Bottled 2010 – Cask 10418 – My Tasting Note: Nose: fruit flan, shortbread with icing sugar and softly toasted oak; it is so decadent with Crave vanilla cupcake icing, peaches, almond paste and buttery French croissants right out of the oven; there are some green floral and herbal notes but they never manage to dull the lustre of the more decadent ones; Palate: very soft, grassy but buttery with more sweet decadent notes; the oak is firm, thick and oily with roasted coconut chips, vanilla extract and cocoa beans; there are citrus notes to the palate which I didn’t pick up on the nose: like lemon drops and candied orange; Finish: drying and oily, but sweet with rich sugars and warm toasted oak; the oils linger as the sweet oak coating the palate long into the finish; Comments: this is dollar for dollar a better buy than the Daluiane (see below) and the one which will please the greater number of whisky drinkers. – $246.99

2.       Berry’s Own Daluaine 1973 – 50.6%37 Year – Bottled 2010 – Cask 6074/5 – My Tasting Note: Nose: at first warm with caramelized fruit and gentle spices; the spices develop into ground cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and anise; the toasted oak develops next followed by some stewed and poached fruits like apple and pear then figs and prunes; as it opens up the fruits come to the fore and dominate all else with peaches, plum and dried apricots; Palate: the fruits waste no time coming out on the palate, though they are immediately accompanied by sweet spices like ginger, cardamom and liquorice; the oak makes its presence felt with some earthy notes, wet leaves and clove; fresh peaches, strawberries and dried apricots also emerge with some stronger notes of coffee bean, candied orange, moist ginger snap and glazed raisin Danishes; Finish: round and chewy with more notes of glazed raisin Danishes, burnt liquorice and espresso bean; some of the stronger sherry notes like wet leather and tobacco start to show later with some nutty-chocolaty notes. Comments: hands down my favourite of the three, it shows the most growth and the most depth of any of these whiskies. – $286.99

3.       Berry’s Own Bowmore 1994 – 46% – 14 Years – Bottled 2008 – Cask 1682/3 – My Tasting Note: Nose: very herbal with fresh green grass, salty and medicinal notes, cured fish and clean smoke; shortbread with granular sugar topping, candied lemon, something a little rubbery and burning grass; steamed mussels in broth, Salt n Vinegar chips and rubber tubing; Palate: a little ashy with clean burning wood smoke, liquid honey and vanilla; the palate shows more steamed mussels in a very salty broth with a sweet sugary backbone that never really disappears; the whisky has an oily-mouth-coating character and some balancing acidity; Finish: fine cigar tobacco, gently peat oils and sweet toasted oak, with clove and more clean wood smoke Comments: this is a night and day different whisky from the Tempest which is more creamy and buttery, this one is much more salty, smoky and sweet! –$95.59

 

TWO NEW WHISKIES FROM DOUGLAS LAING

Douglas Laing & Co. is a Glasgow based Blender and Independent Bottler of Scotch whisky. Headed by brothers Stewart and Fred Laing the company has some enviable stocks, especially of older whiskies and those from closed distilleries. I have always been a big fan of their Port Ellen bottlings, and the older casks of Glenfarclas they somehow manage to get their hands on. Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 and its whiskies are getting older, rare and more expensive with every passing year. No one has as much Port Ellen, or is as prolific in bottling it as Douglas Laing. And their Glenfarclas bottlings are especially curious, as they can’t mention the distillery by name, instead giving it an appropriate pseudonym: Probably Speyside’s Finest Distillery.

1.       Provenance Port Ellen 27 Year – 46% – Distilled: Spring 1983 – Bottled: Spring 2010 – Refill Butt – DL Ref # 6101 – My Tasting Note: Nose: creamy, oily and buttery with grassy/heathery notes and clean peat smoke; very soft on the nose and creamy rich with vanilla, citrus and doughy notes; I’m trying to resist calling it sweet, because the nose can’t detect “sweet” as an aroma but it seems very honeyed, sugary and promisingly sweet; Palate: the palate definitely has a sweet honey/barley sugar character but it is also very creamy, oily and soft with gentle peat smoke and a salty tang; there is a lot of depth to this Port Ellen, and while I would suggest the peat and smoke are on the light side for a whisky from this Islay distillery they are made up for by great complexity; melons, peaches and dried apricots dance across the palate through a base of cream with tiny islets of grassy/heathery peat; Finish: drying, salty and cleanly smoked the fresh cream lingers for a long time with tingling traces of grassy smoke, sea salt, leather and sweet oak; Comments: one of the creamier Port Ellen’s I’ve had, this may be from a Refill Butt, but if I had to wager I’d suggest it was an American Oak sherry butt! – $346.99

2.       O&R Probably Speyside’s Finest Distillery 45 Year – 54.2% – Distilled: July 1965 – Bottled: March 2011 – Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: Nose: Christmas cake, brown sugar, candied nuts and all things “sherry cask”; It is like walking down the bulk candy isle at a grocery store with the aromas of mixed nuts, dried fruit, jujubes and other candies; there is oak presence in the whisky but not dominance, with plenty of room left over for gentle but rich spices, anise and even some notes of fresh mint and marzipan; Palate: the spices and candied fruit don’t take long to develop with the oak emerging later; for my taste it is the spices which are the most dominant and interesting characteristic, with hints of cardamom, clove, ginger sticks, and cinnamon; there are big Christmas cake and candied fruit notes to this whisky along with shades of leather and strong cigar tobacco; Finish: drying, leathery and oaky with some traces of nutty sherry and old oak; spices linger throughout the finish along with some fatty oak notes and soft leather; Comments: there is something about Glenfarclas spirit which allows Glenfarclas to mature longer than most other single malts at a similar age; perhaps it is the spirit or their choice of casks, but I’ve had more good whisky from Glenfarclas than from any other distillery; possibly because next to no-one else has as much mature stock! – $499.99

 

 

TWO NEW 18 YEAR OLDS FROM COOLEY DISTILLERY

Cooley Distillery is one of only 4 distilleries in Ireland, and along with the Kilbeggan Distillery (the 4th distillery) which it is in the process of bringing back to life; together, they are the only independent distilleries in Ireland. At the end of the 19th Century Irish whiskey had a reputation and demand second to none in the world, but the 20th Century put paid to this in just a few short years. First off there was the War of Independence which cut Irish whiskey off from the world’s largest market, the British Empire. This was shortly followed by the bitter Irish Civil War which tore the country apart. As though these troubles weren’t enough, then came the American prohibition, severing the last remaining major market for Irish whiskey. By the second half of the 20th century there were but four remaining distilleries in Ireland, Bushmills in the North and three in the Republic. The three in the Republic banded together to create Irish Distillers, closing their old independent distilleries and moving production to a single massive new distillery, Midleton Distillery. In 1972 Bushmills too fell under the control of Irish Distillers (today it is owned by Diageo), and all distilling in Ireland fell under the control of one firm, which has been owned by Pernod Ricard since 1988.

Cooley Distillery is the brain child of John Teeling who purchased an old industrial potato alcohol distillery in 1987 with the intent of turning it into an independent Irish distillery. The distillery had some difficult early years, including an attempted hostile takeover by Irish Distillers in 1989. But the distillery has stuck to its vision and today produces some of the best whiskies in Ireland. The distillery produces two different styles of single malt whiskey: the unpeated Tyrconnell and the lightly peated Connemara. They also have a blend called Kilbeggan, named for Ireland’s oldest distillery (1757; note Bushmills wasn’t founded in 1608 but rather 1784 making it younger than some operational Scottish distilleries). They are in the process of bringing the Kilbeggan distillery back to life, but in the interim the whisky that bares that name is a blend of malt and grain whiskey from Cooley. The distillery also bottles the only known single grain whiskey in Ireland.

Here are the two new additions to KWM:

Greenore 18 Year – 46% – American Oak – Made from Corn – My Tasting Note: Nose: vaguely Bourbon-like with thick vanilla, robust notes of corn and corn-mash and an aloe-like floral top note; some faint spices: cinnamon and cardamom with Fig Newtons; Palate: very sweet with vanilla and sugary oak notes; the corn makes its presence felt in a big way with soft thin oils and more gentle spice; there are also notes of juniper, grapefruit and orange rind which strike me as being vaguely gin-like; Finish: sweet with vanilla, toasted oak and more of the Juniper-citrus notes; Comments: good but not great, lacking a little complexity, but it will please anyone looking for a soft sweet tipple. – $109.99

Kilbeggan 18 Year – 40% – American Oak Matured – A blend of corn and malt whiskies. – My Tasting Note: Nose: honey, oranges, unmalted barley and other grains; the nose is a tad dusty but very soft and smooth without even the faintest rough edge; grassy floral notes develop with patience with both ripe green grass and geraniums; Palate: the palate is silky soft and sweet with more vanilla and honey than I expected from the nose (a pleasant surprise); the grains show well with both corn and wheat notes which develop into more of the floral and ripe green grassy notes found on the nose; there is a touch of earth and spices too with an orange citrus character as well; Finish: a touch oily and coating, though it is a light touch; the grassy/floral notes take center stage with traces of honey and the oak starting to show some age (but not in a bad way); the finish is of medium length and is drying; Comments: by far my favourite of the two; much smoother and more complex than the Greenore 18 Year and worth the extra $45 and then some. – $154.99

 

BOWMORE 1981 28 YEAR

Sadly, if you don’t already own a bottle of this whisky, there isn’t any to be had! Only 12 bottles of it came to Canada, all of it to KWM, and they were all sold before they even hit the floor. But don’t feel too badly, there is a follow-up 1982 Bowmore coming in, in just a few months, and we will be getting approximately 18 bottles of it. It will also be exclusive to KWM. More info can be found below in the Fall Preview section. But seeing as I wrote one, here is the tasting note for the 1981 anyway:

Bowmore 1981 28 Year – 49.6% – 402 bottles – Only 12 in Alberta, all of them at Kensington Wine Market – American oak matured in the storied No. 1 Vaults – My Tasting Notes: Nose: very soft and creamy white and orchard fruits; there is a faint whiff of something salty and smoky but is the soft fruits that are on the charm offensive; treacle sauce, toffee and Highland toffee back up the whisky’s assault; old brown sugar and bacon fat show up late; Palate: creamy, sweet and complex; vanilla pods and fresh cream with faintly spicy herbs and clean wood smoke; there are notes of melon, apricots and some buttery tropical fruits; this whisky is a little like the Tempest (Batch 1) left in the warehouse to mature another couple of decades; Finish: an extension of the palate it is long, creamy and fruity with more bacon fat and clean salty smoke. – $490.99

 

AMRUT INTERMEDIATE SHERRY IS BACK – $114.99

90 bottles of this whisky came in earlier this year and sold out immediately. Currently we only have 18 bottles so this whisky is limited to 2 bottles per customer. It has been bottled at a cask strength of 57.1%. My tasting note follows below after Jim Murray’s which explains the origin of this whisky. Me thinks he may have had something to do with it…

 

“Amrut Intermediate Sherry – 96.5pts Jim Murray – “Nose: instead of the usual biscuit aroma, we now get moist cake. And my word: is it fruity and spicy!! Love the freshly waxed oak floor, too. Brain-explodingly complex and multi-layered with one of the most intriguing sherry-style-bourbon-style marriages on the market; Taste: cracking delivery and entirely unique in form. The structure is decidedly oak-based, but acts as no more than a skeleton from which the juicy sultana and spices drape. Salivating, too, as the barley kicks in powerfully. But the liquorice-orangey-honeycomb bourbon theme quietly shapes the flavour profile; the spices pulse and glow; Finish: quite a chunk of natural caramel quietens the more exuberant characteristics, long and elegant; Balance: how do you three freshly emptied oloroso butts from Jerez to Bangalore without the casks spoiling, and not use sulphur? Answer: empty two cases of Amrut cask strength whisky into each of the butts before shipping them. Not a single off note. No bitterness whatsoever. And the fruit is left to impart its extraordinary riches on a malt also matured in American oak. Amrut is spoiling us again. 57.1%” – Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

My Tasting Notes: Nose: good depth, sweet candied fruits, papaya and mango, vanilla milkshake, mixed berry jam, ginger snaps, molasses and caramel aplenty; there is fresh green grassy character; Palate: lots of spice, cinnamon, clove and ginger, sweet sherry notes, firm but not overpowering oak warms the palate; the whisky has a nice weight to it, silky oils stroke the back of my palate while the spice (or the alcohol) leaves it pleasantly tingling; vanilla custard and boiled cream show up late to represent the early Bourbon maturation of this whisky; Finish: drying with more spice and pleasant oak notes; Comments: very good, and very drinkable; the cask strength is nowhere near as overbearing as it is on some of the other Amruts; overall a very pleasant sherried whisky!

 

 

FORTY CREEK JOHN’S PRIVATE CASK – $65.99

Every fall Forty Creek Master Distiller John Hall launches a new Canadian whisky on to the market. Last year it was the hugely successful Confederation Oak, this year it is “John’s Private Cask”. Although the whisky is called John’s Private cask it was actually a marriage of whiskies from 23 hand selected casks which he felt emphasized the traditional characteristics of good Canadian whisky, bringing the spicy rye flavours to the forefront.  The result is a limited release of 9000 bottles available in small quantities nationwide. Kensington Wine Market is expecting at least 60 bottles.

As I haven’t tasted it just yet I will borrow the work of a friend, Davin de Kergommeaux, who runs a website called www.canadianwhisky.org and who has just published a book on the subject with photos by Jane Cameron whom many Kensington Wine Market customers will be familiar called: Canadian Whiskey (the editor chose to insert an “E”).

“Nose: Very fruity and rich, the nose is immediately reminiscent of those old fruity lumber smells of whiskies like Canadian Club 30-year old with its prunes and dry figs and sweet wood and lushness. This dark fruit slowly evolves into fresh fruit – maybe berries, maybe kiwi – while rye spices, ginger and some slight herbal notes simmer away well below the surface. Gradually the rye ripens into cloves and especially ginger with lots of that generic Canadian rye whisky smell. Butterscotch envelopes a sweet Canada balsam woodiness, or is it dry wood strapping in a hot attic? Campfire notes teasingly hint at smoke, leaving more room for wood than char. A certain brightness is cloaked in heavy fruit, muskiness and the muggy weight of a sweet virgin redwood forest. Imagine a damp West Coast Trail on a brilliantly sunny morning. Palate: Bursting blasts of candied ginger quickly overpower a huge surging creamy butterscotch. Oh, it’s hot, but a spicy hot, not peppery. These are real rye spices – traditional rye spices – with ginger at the fore. They immediately take siege of the palate, yet the palate remains broad and rich with constant action from bittersweet citric elements such as candied orange rind. And every here and there a few odd things creep in such as milk duds, gelatin caps and brown sugar, only to scurry quickly away. A warming Christmas-fire glow coats the throat. The rich, mouth-filling, medium-to-robust body, though creamy, is by no means smooth. No: Eruptions of spice take care of that. Hot glowing ginger dominates the middle and as it fades into the finish it tingles like ginger ale. Rich dark fruit permeates supple tannins that pull gently at your cheeks as cedar lumber and pencil shavings linger long on the tongue and in the nose. Finish: Very long; it never really disappears. Spicy and refreshingly citric with lots of ginger and grapefruit pith.” – Davin de Kergommeaux www.canadianwhisky.org

 

 

KWM 2011 FALL WHISKY PREVIEW

This is shaping up to be the most exciting and interesting fall with respect to whisky that Kensington Wine Market has had in the 9 years I’ve been here. We have some really interesting brands and whiskies already here, with many more on the way! Next week we are launching the MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, a replica of the whisky discovered lying under Ernest Shackleton’s Hut for more than 100 years. The first half of our 300 bottle allocation was sold before it even landed in Alberta, and I expect the same will be true for the other half due in December, especially after next week’s event!

We also launched the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 1940 70 Year late last month, the oldest whisky in the world! We held two packed sold out tastings with the whisky here at the store which raised more than $4000.00 for the Children’s Hospital Aid Society. I’ll have more on that tasting in the next Malt Messenger, including my tasting notes on the 70 year old, as well as the five decade bottlings (1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991) which accompanied it.

One of the most exciting product launches this fall is the arrival in Canada of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. “The Society”, as it is known to members, is the world’s largest whisky club. It selects and bottles single cask, cask strength whiskies exclusively for members. In partnership with the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the Kensington Wine Market is very excited to be able to exclusively offer memberships and Society bottlings to beginning in mid-October.

But as if this were not enough, we have much more planned for this fall including a couple of casks. We have selected a second bottling from Kilchoman(this one from a sherry cask), and we’ve gotten our hands on a spectacular 1972 Glendronach sherry cask. The Glendronach was a serendipitous discovery of my May Speyside whisky tour. While touring the distillery we were given the opportunity to sample a couple of casks, and one of them completely blew us away. It is one of the most complex, fruitiest whiskies I’ve ever had, and I know it will be a huge hit with all of you!

There are so many interesting whiskies coming in this fall that I couldn’t possibly fit them all into this Malt Messenger, but I’ll try. Here’s a taste of what to expect over the next 3-4 months:

I               MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt – The Shackleton Replica

·         More than 100 years ago Ernest Shackleton’s South Pole expedition chose to abandon 3 crates of MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt to the frigid Antarctic climate. For more than 100 years the bottles lay forgotten, packed with straw in wooden crates under the expedition’s hut. Discovered by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust two of the bottles were given to the owners of the brand Whyte and MacKay. Their Master Blender Richard Patterson, “AKA the Nose” using meticulous sensory and chemical analysis has recreated the whisky’s profile, even going so far as to include whisky from the original distillery Glen Mhor which has been closed nearly 30 years. The whisky, in the words of expert Dave Broom is: “absolutely bang on,” and Malt Advocate Magazine has scored it 92/100 pts. In Alberta this interesting little dram is exclusive to the Kensington Wine Market!

·         We are having a tasting  on Friday September 30th to celebrate the launch at which we will also be showcasing the soon to arrive Fettercairn whiskies and some other Dalmore/Jura whiskies. The event is only $30, includes a unique Glencairn glass created just for the event and will feature a Shackleton expert Susan Eaton and penguin photos by amateur photographer and whisky connoisseur Dr. Jane Cameron. For more info refer to Up Coming Events above.

·         Only 300 bottles are coming to Alberta, all of them to the Kensington Wine Market.

·         144 bottles arrived in August and have already sold.

·         156 bottles due in December, 10% of which are already spoken for.

·         $194.99 + GST

 

II             Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 1940 70 Year and Private Collection 5 Decades

·         The whisky, filled into cask in 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, has been bottled at its natural cask strength of 45.9% after maturing 70 years in a single First Fill Sherry Butt. The hand blown crystal decanters are in the shape of a tear and have a British Hallmarked silver stopper. The decanter is cradled in a sterling silver base, in a bespoke Scottish Elm box handmade in Scotland.

·         Gordon & MacPhail Generation Glenlivet 70 Year – 45.9% – 100 Numbered Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: peaches and cream, mulled fruits, hard candies and fruit leather with some deft Christmas Cake notes; it is like opening a fresh bag of assorted jujubes on a new leather sofa, and there is something vaguely smoky (it was after all the war years and coal was in high demand); Palate: soft and so, so delicate, surprisingly some soft smoky notes to start with more peaches and cream and the softest-warming-buttery fruit imaginable; it becomes richer as the palate develops with brown sugar and spices: cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger; leather and tobacco notes also develop but remain delicate and smooth; there are so many layers to this whisky: citrus, smoke, soft coating oils and much, much, more; nutty tones and vanilla; I can’t believe how gentle this whisky is, and how soft the oak; Finish: long and warming, sweet with subtle spice and nutty oak, my palate is moist, damp and coated with soft oils; Comments: much more than I ever expected a 70 year old whisky could be and more complex and far less oaky than expected!

o   Only 2 700ml bottles of the 70 Year Old are available to Canada, both exclusive to KWM, $21,999.99.

o   10 200ml bottles of the 70 year old are available for $5,999.99, also exclusive to KWM.

·         Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivets: 5 different vintage Glenlivets were released along with the 1940 70 Year Old, available individually, as part of the 5 Decade Boxed Set and as 5 Decade Loose Set:

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 5 Decade Boxed Set – 50 Sets Available World Wide– The 1st one in Alberta sold immediately, we have 2 more coming. – 1 bottle each of the following vintages: 1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991. – $5664.99

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 5 Decade Loose Set – I put this together at the shop, because there were only 3 bottles of the 1980 vintage to come in. – Only two of these are available, with each vintage individually boxed. – 1 bottle each of the following vintages: 1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991. – $5664.99

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1954 – 56 Year – 135 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 50.6% – First Fill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $2193.99 – A few left in stock, we are getting a few more.

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1963 – 47 Year – 169 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 40.6% – First Fill American Oak Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $1325.99 – A few left in stock, we are getting a few more.

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1974 – 36 Year 189 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 50.1% – First Fill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $923.99 – A few left in stock, we are getting a few more.

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1980 – 30 Year – 61 bottles – Only 3 bottles to Alberta – 48.5% – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $496.99 – SOLD OUT – Unable to get any more…

o   Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1991 – 19 Year – 203 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 54.4% – Refill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $202.99 – Currently we are sold out but getting more…

 

 

III            The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is Coming to Canada!

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is coming to Canada, and Kensington Wine Market will be its exclusive Canadian embassy. “The Society”, as it is known, traces its origins to the 1970’s and the passion of one man, Philip “Pip” Hills, who travelled around the Scottish Highlands sampling whiskies straight from the cask. Eventually he convinced a group of friends to pitch in for a cask of whisky from Glenfarclas distillery. The first cask was a huge hit and a syndicate was formed which began buying and bottling casks for members. From there the organization grew, attracting new members and then establishing venues for members first in Edinburgh and then in London. Today the Society has branches in more than 15 countries, , including its newest in Canada!

This curious Society selects and bottles whiskies only for its members, relying on a panel of experts to make the selections. The distillery of origin is assigned a number; for example, as Glenfarclas was the first whisky bottled by the Society, it is distillery number 1. A second number is then assigned according to how many casks from that distillery have been bottled; the 159th cask of Glenfarclas bottled by the distillery would be referenced as 1.159. Each of these single cask bottlings, bottled at their natural cask strength and without added colouring or chillfiltering, is also given a colourful tasting note and quirky name like “Lively and Explosive” (which incidentally is the name given to 1.159). This specific bottling from the Society will be available in Alberta in the next few weeks (not to mention “Naughty Nectar”, cask no. 7.70)! And if those teasers aren’t enough to tempt your taste buds, The Society was just named Independent Bottler of the Year by Whisky Magazine.

 

Starting in the second half of October Scotch Malt Whisky Society Memberships and bottlings will be available exclusively from the Kensington Wine Market. Memberships include a membership pack, including 4 x 100 ml bottles of Society whisky, a coveted membership card, which will gain entrance to the members’ rooms in Edinburgh, London and elsewere, and a subscription to Unfiltered, The Society’s award winning magazine for members only. We are also informed that The Society aims at releasing five new bottlings EVERY month! Because these are bottlings of single casks, each is completely unique – once they’re gone, they’re gone forever – so members need to stay at the top of their game and act fast to grab the ones they like.

 

For more information on The Society and its Canadian arm, and to be kept in the loop regarding Society news pay a visit www.smws.ca , or send an e-mail to curious@smws.ca..

 

 

IV            Exclusive Casks

1.       Glendronach 1972 KWM Cask – As mentioned above this whisky was discovered purely by luck while visiting the distillery in May of this year. It is exceptional, and we will be getting 300 bottles, of which we’ve managed to pre-sell no fewer than 85. I haven’t had the opportunity to write a proper tasting note yet so I am a quoting the “Malt Monster”:

o   “1972 CASK # 711 39 YEAR OLD  ABV – CASK STRENGTH ,  ADVANCE SAMPLE KENGINGTON WINE MARKET  , OLOROSO SHERRY BUTT – NOSE: Fruit explosion.. Pineapple , bananas , mango , melons , cherries and oranges.. Cocoa and mint TASTE : Melons and prunes.. Tannins from the sherry.. Raisins , coffee and cinnamon  FINISH : Long and fantastic..Begins creamy & spicy , then warms up and fades gently.. little briny at the back end ASSESSMENT : Complex and balanced older sherry fruit bomb.. What a nose.. Would put this whisky right between the Black Bowmore and the Glenfarclas 40 year old.”

   The cask.     The sampling.

2.       Kilchoman KWM Sherry Cask – Our first Kilchoman cask, from a fresh ex-Bourbon barrel, was a huge hit this past year, and of the 267 bottles we have just two left! I have been very impressed by their whiskies since they started releasing three year olds just a few years back and I’m not alone. There is something about their raw spirit and the casks they’re filling which has allowed Kilchoman to bottle excellent whiskies, even at a young age. While visiting the distillery in May I asked the founder Anthony Wills (who’ll be here for a tasting October 11th—while I’m at Kilchoman coincidentally) if there was any chance we could do another cask. He said we could, and we’ve selected a Sherry Cask, 322/06.– $114.99

3.       Glenfarclas 1997 KWM Cask – The first to my knowledge, private cask of Glenfarclas in Canada! This won’t be available until the New Year and will be launched at our Robbie Burns Supper on the 25th of January 2012, with special guest George Grant. – $TBA

 

V             Exclusive Whiskies

1.       GLENFARCLAS 175th ANNIVERSARY CHAIRMAN’S RESERVE – 46% – A combination of 4 of their best Sherry Casks with a combined age of 175 years, the youngest of which was 42 years of age. – 1296 bottles have been released worldwide complete with glass, water jug and certificate. – Only 60 bottles to Canada, exclusively for Kensington Wine Market – My Tasting Note: Nose: brown sugar and beer nuts; espresso roast, rich buttery sherry notes; roasted marshmallow with musty/earthy dunnage floor notes and dark aged rum; spices aplenty with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and other sweet spices; there is a tropical fruit backdrop to the whole thing but they are hidden behind the burnt sugar and other caramelized notes; burnt butter and coffee cream; Palate: rich, bold and yet very soft with silky buttery sherry notes; sweet spices with mocha and espresso; burnt fruits, melons, and then the tropical fruits start to emerge, and fruits aplenty though they remain tempered by the burnt sugar and sherry notes; there is a chocolaty element to the whisky too, including cocoa nibs, Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Cadbury milk chocolate with fruit and nuts; Finish: more sweet spices with dried tropical fruits, burnt brown sugar and fading tones of chocolate; long and oily the oak spices and fruit linger; Comments: needs a little time to open up, but once it does its full of layers, depth and complexity. As rich as the 40 year old, but perhaps a little darker! – $TBA ($700 range)

2.       BenRiach Firkin 1978 Only 40 bottles of this whisky are available in the world and just one if coming to Canada. This unusual whisky was matured 32 years in an unusual cask. “Firkin casks were traditionally used for the maturation of fine ale and the name is derived from the Middle Dutch word ‘vierdekijn’, meaning ‘fourth’ – in other words, a quarter of a full-size barrel.”  Would love to have bought one of these for myself, as I share the vintage, but its a little out of my range and I’ve already found a buyer! – $2599.99

3.       Fettercairn Fior – 42% – Heavily peated single malt from one of the eastern Highland lesser known distilleries. I will write my own tasting note sometime soon, but in the meantime: “Official Tasting Notes: Dark chocolate, coffee beans and peat smoke, with nutmeg, mint, citrus fruits and truffle. A finish of sherry trifle, marzipan and pineapple.” $TBA

4.       Fettercairn 24 Year – 44.4% – 1984 Vintage – Only 6000 bottles worldwide. – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Honey gold in colour, with aromas of crushed pear, toffee apple and hints of cinnamon and vanilla. A kiss of peat smoke with hazelnuts, orange rind, ginger and coriander complete the nose. Taste is of bold dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and peat smoke fused with nutmeg, mint, citrus fruits and truffle. The lingering finish proffers sherry trifle, marzipan and pineapple. “ – $TBA

5.       Fettercairn 30 Year – 43.3% – 1978 Vintage – Only 3000 bottles worldwide. – Distiller’s Tasting Notes: Nose – Warm and inviting. Sweet juicy grape pulp, crushed apples and soft pear with subtle hints of cinnamon. This pleasurable experience is quickly followed by oatcakes, freshly baked bread and creamy caramel, with nuances of lemon grass, pineapple and sensual jasmine. Taste – Firm and positive. Elegant and distinguished. The warmth of American White oak has nurtured this Highland classic single malt and moulded its noble character to perfection. Luscious soft fruits of apple, pear and Cape gooseberries linger long on the palate before the next wave of ecstasy follows on. Nutmeg, peaches and spice brings this fanfare of flavours to a pleasing finish. – $TBA

6.       Fettercairn 40 Year 40% – 1969 Vintage – Only 463 bottles worldwide. – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose – Rich and pleasing. Marmalade, ground coffee with whispers of crushed almonds, marzipan and spice open the initial bouquet of complex aromas. Matured for 30 long years in the finest wood, you can easily taste the influence of our Spanish Oloroso sherry butts. Taste – A treasure chest of flavours gently unfolds on the palate and exposes its many hidden secrets. Warm, sensual and inviting. Citrus fruits, sweet mango and wild berries tease the tongue with their tantalising flavours. Enjoy subtle hints of freshly cut pineapple, tangy grapefruit and cranberries. This fruit bowl of abundance truly rewards the palate providing it with a long lasting memorable after taste. As the saying goes ‘ all good things come to those who are prepared to wait.” $TBA

7.       Bowmore 1982 – 29 Year47.3% – 501 Bottles Released – 18 of them are coming to Canada/KWM – Matured in the No.1 Vaults – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose: On the nose, the Bowmore 1982 reveals barley sugar and gentle peat smoke coupled with delicious Peach Melba ice-cream and vanilla pods. Taste: On the palate, anticipate fresh lemon pepper followed by warm, earthy smokiness. Finish: The sweet, fruity finish lingers on perfectly. – $TBA

8.       Glen Garioch 1978 – 30 Year – 57.8% – 1320 bottles worldwide – 24 to Alberta/KWM – Distiller’s Tasting Note: Nose – The nose is filled by the fresh and fragrant aroma of pear drops, orange fruit loaf, dark chocolate and toasted oak. Palate Poached pears and sweet red apple fill the mouth before nuances of smoked oak begin to emerge. The aftertaste is of Seville orange zest with a pleasant wood spiciness. $TBA

9.       Bowmore Laimrig – This is a cask strength version of the 15 Year Darkest, originally created for the Swedish market and will be exclusive in Alberta to the Kensington Wine Market. We are expecting 300 bottles beginning this fall! $TBA

10.   Premier Barrel Highland Park 10 Year – Further details and tasting notes to be provided upon arrival. – $126.99

11.   Old Malt Cask Talisker 10 Year – Further details and tasting notes to be provided upon arrival. – $129.99

12.   Old Malt Cask Littlemill 19 Year – Further details and tasting notes to be provided upon arrival. – $154.99

13.   Old & Rare Port Ellen 31 Year – Further details and tasting notes to be provided upon arrival. – $699.99

14.   Glendronach 1972 Cask # 712 – 39Yr – Oloroso Butt – Only 6 Coming in to Canada

15.   Glendronach 1992 Cask # 161 – 19Yr – Oloroso Butt– Only 6 Coming in to Canada

16.   BenRiach 1971 Cask # 1947 – 40Yr

17.   BenRiach 1972 Cask # 802 – 39Yr

18.   BenRiach 1976 Cask # 6942 – 34Yr

19.   BenRiach 1977 cask # 1034 ­- 34Yr – PX Sherry Finish

20.   BenRiach 1978 Cask 4387 – 32Yr – Virgin American Oak Finish

21.   BenRiach 1979 Cask # 11195 – 31YrPeated

22.   BenRiach 1980 Cask 2531 – 31Yr – Virgin American Oak Finish

23.   BenRiach 1984 Cask # 7193 – 26Yr – Peated Virgin American Oak Finish

24.   BenRiach 1989 Cask # 4813 22Yr – Sauternes Finish

25.   BenRiach 1989 Cask # 5620 – 22Yr – Virgin American Oak Finish

26.   BenRiach 1992 Cask # 972 – 19Yr – Tawny Port Finish

27.   BenRiach 1993 Cask 7415 – 18Yr – Barolo Finish

VI            Some Other Whiskies

1.       Springbank 21 Year – Back from the dead, finally a new 21 year old…

2.       Longrow 18 Year – If its half as good as the last one it will be terrific!

3.       Hazelburn 8 Year Sauternes Wood

4.       Kilchoman 100% Islay – The first Islay grown, malted, distilled and bottled whisky, possibly ever? At least from Kilchoman who grew the barley themselves!

5.       Big Peat Santa – $87.99 – A ask strength version of the Big Peat dressed up in a Santa’s hat for the holidays.

6.       Really Big Peat – $469.99 – 4.5L of the Big Peat Islay Blended Malt Whisky (Contains at least a drop of Port Ellen!)

7.       Glendronach 1971 Cask # 1436 – 40Yr – PX Puncheon

8.       Glendronach 1989 Cask # 2917 – 21Yr – PX Puncheon

9.       Glendronach 1990 Cask # 1032 – 20Yr – PX Puncheon

10.   Glendronach 1994 Cask # 97 – 17Yr – Oloroso Butt

11.   Dalmore Castle Leod

12.   Dalmore 40 Year

13.   Dalmore Astrum

14.   Dalmore Aurora

 

VII          Tastings & Events

1.       Glenfarclas Family Casks w/ George Grant – George Grant, Glenfarclas’ larger than life ambassador will be back for the fourth annual Family Casks tasting at the Petroleum Club. 319 – 5th Ave Sw..This year we have a special treat, a 40+ year old special bottling, The Chairman’s Reserve, celebrating the distillery’s 175th year. – Mon Oct 31 7pm – $160.00

2.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society Friday I – This is the first of our monthly SMWS tastings. $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, cask strength, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 – Fri Nov 4 7pm – $35.00

3.       Jura Distillery with Willie Tait – Jura’s brand ambassador and employee of nearly 37 years, Willie Tait, will be in town to shed some light on the distillery, its whiskies and the mysterious island they come from. – Tue Nov 8 7pm – $40.00

4.       Glendronach 1972 Launch Dinner – Our exceptional new cask will be launched this night during a special whisky dinner with Alistair Walker at Buchanan’s Chop House, 738 3 Avenue, SW. – Wed Nov 9 7pm – $135.00

5.       Fall Single Malt Festival – Our iconic whisky festival is back for another year with a line-up of up to 100 premium whiskies from some of Scotland’s finest distilleries. Don’t hesitate, it sells out every year, and there are only 100 tickets! – Thr Nov 10 7pm – $60.00

6.       Whisky, Women & Chocolate – Nothing pairs better with whisky than chocolate, so gather the gals for a sumptuous ladies only sampling of fine single malt Scotch and premium chocolate. Fri Nov 25 7pm – $50.00

7.       Master Malt – Only the most rare and special whiskies are showcased at this tasting which always highlights some of the most exciting whiskies in the world! – Tue Nov 29 7pm – $99.00

8.       Scotch Malt Whisky Society Friday I – This is the second of our monthly SMWS tastings… $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, cask strength, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 – Fri Dec 2 7pm – $35.00

9.       Universal Whisky Experience “Epicurean Scotch Tasting Indulgence” – Is being held in 7 American cities and Calgary. The Calgary event will be held at Buchanan’s Chop House as per my recommendation and you can find out more and buy tickets at http://universalwhiskyexperience.com/events.. This is an ultra-premium whisky dinner which will feature the Dalmore 40 Year Astrum and Dalmore 45 Year Aurora amongst others…

10.   Victoria Whisky Festival – January 20th -22nd 2012 – One of the best organized and most fun whisky events in Canada, with proceeds going to Children’s charities. Visit http://www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com/ for more details.

11.   Kensington Wine Market’s 7th Annual Robbie Burns Supper with George Grant of Glenfarclas Distillery – Tickets will go on sale in mid November. Save the date!

12.   Universal Whisky Experience Nth 2012 – This Super Premium whisky festival in Vegas was a lot of fun last year, and I’ll be going down again this March. – March 2nd-3rd 2012  – Visit http://universalwhiskyexperience.com/ for more info. If you are interested in attending, please contact me for a special Malt Messenger discount code.

____________________

 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

 

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com.. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!

 

 

 

Slainte!

 

 

 

Andrew Ferguson
KWM Scotchguy

 Posted by at 5:53 pm
Sep 052011
 

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

I hope this Malt Messenger Bulletin finds you well. The Labour Day Weekend is fast approaching, and I’m sure most of you are focused on your plans for the last weekend of the summer. I know technically the summer doesn’t end on Monday but it kind of feels that way, doesn’t it? Kids go back to school, business starts to pick up and the evenings get shorter. The fall can be a lonely and foreboding time, but it doesn’t need to be that way. The Kensington Wine Market has more than a dozen reasons for you to step boldly out into the cool crisp air this fall; our Fall Tasting Schedule is now online! You can view and register for tastings online at https://www.kensingtonwinemarket.com/tastings/register.php , or give us a call at 403-283-8000. As always, many of the tastings will fill up quickly.

The next full Malt Messenger will be out next week. This Fall Preview Edition will be full of information on the exciting new releases we will be bringing to you from now through December. In the meantime I’ll share a few tidbits below on some of the new whiskies to have come in over the last few weeks. More to follow next week…

And one final piece of business. I don’t want to create a Stampede—though the last few times I announced this that was the result—but we’ve managed to get our hands on a little more of both the Alberta Premium 30 Year and the Highland Park St. Magnus. This is not a case of me “Crying Wolf”, I have been assured by the importer Beam Global that this is the last of both in the Province, and very likely, Canada! We managed to acquire 48 more bottles of the Alberta Premium 30 Year, the world’s oldest straight rye whisky. It retails for $54.99 + GST which is ridiculously cheap for a 30 year old whisky; even if they did sell the 25 year for about half the price (they may just as well have given it away). Many of these have already been sold and the rest won’t last long. And as for the Highland Park St. Magnus, we’ve picked up the last 18 bottles of it, and there is but 4 of them which weren’t already spoken for. It retails for $124.99 + GST.

I hope you enjoy this Malt Messenger Bulletin and take pleasure in the waning days of summer!

Slainté!

Andrew Ferguson

PS-Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @ twitter.com/scotch_guy and check out our new store Blog at http://www.kensingtonwinemarket.com/blog/..

 

FALL TASTING SCHEDULE

1. Classic Single Malts – This is our classic introduction to the world of single malt Scotch whisky. You’ll discover a little history, how it’s made and sample six distinct styles. – Tue Sep 20 7pm – $30.00

2. Raucous Rums – A roundup of some of the finest sipping rums in the world. We’ll be sampling some old, some rare, and some new rums to the Alberta scene. – Tues Sept 27 7pm – $50.00

3. MacKinley’s Shackleton Whisky Launch – Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer, was forced to abandon 3 crates of whisky in 1907 to try to save his doomed expedition. Discovered 100 years later, these rare malts have been painstakingly recreated by the distiller Whyte and MacKay. The presentation package is authentic, inspired by the original crates, the bottle was made with the same imperfections as the original and the label has been hand drawn to reproduce a now extinct typeface. This is no gimmick; the whisky has been carefully blended to duplicate the original, and is mostly composed of whisky from the original, now closed Glen Mhor distillery. Only 180 bottles of this very limited whisky are coming to Alberta, all of them to Kensington Wine Market. We will be throwing a party to celebrate the launch, with special guests, a commemorative glass and your first opportunity to sample whiskies from the Fettercairn distillery! – Fri Sept 30 7PM – $30.00

4. Rare Malts – Only whiskies 20+ years of age, from closed distilleries or the very rare, need apply for this staple of our tasting schedule. – Mon Oct 3 7pm – $75.00

5. Kilchoman – Anthony Wills, founder of the Kilchoman micro distillery on Islay, will be in town for a special vertical tasting of whiskies from his cult distillery, including our now sold out Kilchoman KWM Fresh Bourbon Cask and the new Kilchoman KWM Sherry Cask! – Tue Oct 11 7pm – $30.00

6. Glenfarclas Family Casks w/ George Grant – George Grant, Glenfarclas’ larger than life ambassador will be back for the fourth annual Family Casks tasting at the Petroleum Club. 319 – 5th Ave Sw..This year we have a special treat, a 40+ year old special bottling, The Chairman’s Reserve, celebrating the distillery’s 175th year. – Mon Oct 31 7pm – $160.00

7. Scotch Malt Whisky Society Friday I – This is the first of our monthly SMWS tastings. $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, cask strength, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visitwww.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 – Fri Nov 4 7pm – $35.00

8. Jura Distillery with Willie Tait – Jura’s brand ambassador and employee of nearly 37 years, Willie Tait, will be in town to shed some light on the distillery, its whiskies and the mysterious island they come from. – Tue Nov 8 7pm – $40.00

9. Glendronach 1972 Launch Dinner – Our exceptional new cask will be launched this night during a special whisky dinner with Alistair Walker at Buchanan’s Chop House, 738 3 Avenue, SW. – Wed Nov 9 7pm – $135.00

10. Fall Single Malt Festival – Our iconic whisky festival is back for another year with a line-up of up to 100 premium whiskies from some of Scotland’s finest distilleries. Don’t hesitate, it sells out every year, and there are only 100 tickets! – Thr Nov 10 7pm – $60.00

11. Whisky, Women & Chocolate – Nothing pairs better with whisky than chocolate, so gather the gals for a sumptuous ladies only sampling of fine single malt Scotch and premium chocolate. Fri Nov 25 7pm – $50.00

12. Master Malt – Only the most rare and special whiskies are showcased at this tasting which always highlights some of the most exciting whiskies in the world! – Tue Nov 29 7pm – $99.00

13. Scotch Malt Whisky Society Friday I – This is the second of our monthly SMWS tastings… $25 for members and $35 for neophytes. These tastings will highlight 5 new releases every month from the most prolific bottler of single cask, cask strength, single malt whisky. You have to be a member to buy the bottles, but we’ll let you have a taste, and membership is open to all… For more information on the Society visit www.smws.ca or call our Scotch Guy at 403-283-8000 – Fri Dec 2 7pm – $35.00

____________________

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com.. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson

KWM Scotchguy

403-283-8000

888-283-9004

1257 Kensington Rd. NW

Calgary, AB, Canada

T2N 3P8

scotchguy@kensingtonwinemarket.com

 Posted by at 9:10 am
Aug 032011
 

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

The Kensington Wine Market is thrilled to announce it will be stocking bottles of the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 70 Year (tied for the world’s oldest whisky ever bottled) beginning in mid August. The release of this 1940 vintage 70 year old Glenlivet is exciting enough, but made even more so because Gordon & MacPhail is also releasing five vintage bottlings of Glenlivet, one each from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s. Collectively, this release represents six decades in the history of one of Scotland’s most well know distilleries. That it is Gordon & MacPhail who bottled these Glenlivets, and not the distillery, is a testament to the special relationship which has long existed between the two firms. That and the fact that no other company in the world has had the patience and vision to mature whisky to such advanced ages.

This exciting new 70 year old whisky will be exclusive to the Kensington Wine Market in Canada (save for Airport Duty Free shops). We are also the only retail liquor store in the country who will be receiving the five Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Decades and Five Decade Set. This is a very exciting opportunity for the Kensington Wine Market, and one that can’t go unmarked. To celebrate the occasion we are having a event to initiate the launch. We are very pleased to be hosting Michael Urquhart, Co-managing Director of Gordon & MacPhail, for a very rare and exclusive tasting of the Glenlivet 70 Year as well as each of the Five Decades bottlings. On August 25, twenty lucky individuals will have the opportunity to sample this unique range in what is, without doubt, a once in a lifetime tasting opportunity. Initially I was projecting a cost upwards of $400 for this unique experience, but thanks to the generosity of Michael and Gordon & MacPhail, we can offer it for just $200/person. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity. There is much more below on the Glenlivets and the tasting.

In addition to the exciting news above, we also have a couple of whiskies in stock right now which I’ve been dying to write about for months: The Alberta Premium 30 Year and Highland Park St. Magnus have been on our radar for the last 3-4 months, and while I’ve wanted to make light of them in the Malt Messenger, the fact of the matter is, we’ve had far more demand than supply. Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, as the saying goes and I’ve been squeaking in the ear of my Beam Global Canada rep for the better part of the last 3 months. Products like these two are allocated, meaning only certain stores can buy them. We were given generous allocations, but ones too small to meet the demand of our extensive customer base. Other stores were given allocations too, and some of them didn’t appreciate what they’d been given, so the cases sat, and sat and sat. Over the last few months Beam has been reallocating a few cases of each here and there, as they emptied the allocations of those taking too long, putting some of them in ours. But it still wasn’t enough. Demand was outstripping supply, until now. For the first time since these two whiskies were released I finally have enough to put some on the floor and provide the Malt Messenger Diaspora with tasting notes. They are both excellent whiskies, and I’ve included more info on both below. Don’t hesitate. They may both be sold by the weekend!

I hope you enjoyed this Malt Messenger Bulletin! Stay tuned for the next full Malt Messenger with another big announcement, and the balance of my Closed Distilleries of Scotland feature, in about two weeks time.

Slainté!

Andrew Ferguson

PS-Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter for more timely updates at twitter.com/scotch_guy..

 

GORDON & MACPHAIL GLENLIVET GENERATIONS TASTING  – Thursday August 25th, 7PM – $200

To celebrate the launch of Gordon & MacPhail’s Generations Glenlivet 70 Year and the Private Collection Glenlivet Decades we will be hosting the most exclusive whisky tasting of 2011 on Thursday August 25th! We will be sampling six whiskies representing six decades in the life of the Glenlivet distillery, including a 1940 vintage 70 year old expression. Along with the Mortlach 70 year old Gordon & MacPhail released last year, this is the oldest whisky ever bottled! When I first started looking at this tasting I was forecasting a per person price tag of $500+, but thanks to the generosity of Gordon & MacPhail we’ll be able to do much better than that. Michael Urquhart, Joint Managing Director of Gordon & MacPhail, is making a special trip to Calgary for this amazing tasting event. Michael has generously agreed to bring with him bottles of the 70 year old Glenlivet, as well as the 1954 and 1963 Private Collection Glenlivet vintages. Thanks to his generosity we are pleased to be able to offer 20 people the chance to take part in this once in a lifetime tasting for just $200/person, a considerable amount of which will be going to charity! Our charity of choice for this event is the Children’s Hospital Aid Society or CHAS.

The tasting will take place here at the Kensington Wine Market at 7PM on Thursday August 25th. Participants will be lead through the tasting of the six whiskies by Michael Urquhart, and will all be given a special whisky glass to take home with them. Participants will also have a chance to bid on a special signed press pack containing a book and samples of each of the six whiskies. 100% of the proceeds from this item will be going to our chosen charity. Tickets for this event will go quickly, we’ve already sold 7 of the 20 spaces to people in the know. Tickets can be purchased in store, over the phone at 403-283-8000 and online at https://www.kensingtonwinemarket.com/tastings/register.php..

 

GORDON & MACPHAIL GLENLIVET GENERATIONS 1940 70 YEAR OLD – $21,999.99(700m) $5,999.99(200ml)

Gordon & MacPhail is unique not just among independent bottlers, but among all whisky companies in Scotland, in that it has great vision for and patience with its whisky stocks. Save for Glenfarclas no other company in the whisky industry is even close to possessing Gordon & MacPhail’s depth of old maturing whisky stocks. When Macallan launched their Fine and Rare line of vintage single malts a decade ago, rumour has it most of the casks came from Gordon & MacPhail. In the case of Glenfarclas their stocks go back only to the 1950’s, but Gordon & MacPhail has casks from the 1940’s and even a few from the late 1930’s. That’s how it’s been able to release not one, but two different 70 year old whiskies within the last year.

Only 100 700ml decanters of this rare whisky and 175 of the 200ml variety are being released worldwide. The whisky, filled into cask in 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, has been bottled at its natural cask strength of 45.9% after maturing 70 years in a single First Fill Sherry Butt. The hand blown crystal decanters are in the shape of a tear and have a British Hallmarked silver stopper. The decanter is cradled in a sterling silver base, in a bespoke Scottish Elm box handmade in Scotland.

I had a chance to sample the whisky in March at a whisky show in Las Vegas, and will reproduce my tasting note below along with those of Malt Advocate and Lawrence Graham of Whisky Intelligence.

Lawrence Graham, Whisky Intelligence: “The nose is refined, speaks of some age (although not of 70 years), hints of heather, sherry, plump raisins and some fruit in the form of apricots and lychee. There’s also some oak spice an hints of pepper however this is very subtle. Hints of bees wax, a waft of tobacco (like walking down wind of a curing shed). Some hand warming brings out some malt which nicely ties everything together. The aromas are really a delight and the more times spent in the glass the more that is revealed; all it takes is a little hand warming and the myriad of delicate aromas waft up. It really is quite sensational. The taste is honeyed but also has an immediate malt delivery quickly followed by some oak notes (oak spiciness, a little leather and tobacco) followed by the fruit. Some moments later it turns a little dry along with some banana (but more like they’ve flambéed). Once again quite sensational. Well done. The finish is quite long and very representative of the afore mentioned descriptors in the nose and the taste. It’s quite long and holds together very well, it doesn’t go off in some unhappy direction. Perhaps a hint of smoke at the tail end?” 91pts

“Gordon & MacPhail Generations: The Glenlivet 70 year old, 45.9%  You would expect any 70 year old whisky to be crepuscular, dense, and wooded. Not here. The nose is amazingly fresh — distillery character fully intact — with layers of rancio and heavy florals. In time, there’s candle wax, vanilla, milk chocolate, and a touch of leather, even the whiff of a soft mink stole. Concentrated and complex. The palate is like an ancient vin santo with oxidized nuttiness, quince and medlar, and subtle peat. Hugely expressive on the palate, with a sweet finish. Truly remarkable.” – Dave Broom 90pts

Gordon & MacPhail Generation Glenlivet 70 Year – 45.9% – 100 Numbered Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: peaches and cream, mulled fruits, hard candies and fruit leather with some deft Christmas Cake notes; it is like opening a fresh bag of assorted jujubes on a new leather sofa, and there is something vaguely smoky (it was after all the war years and coal was in high demand); Palate: soft and so, so delicate, surprisingly some soft smoky notes to start with more peaches and cream and the softest-warming-buttery fruit imaginable; it becomes richer as the palate develops with brown sugar and spices: cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger; leather and tobacco notes also develop but remain delicate and smooth; there are so many layers to this whisky: citrus, smoke, soft coating oils and much, much, more; nutty tones and vanilla; I can’t believe how gentle this whisky is, and how soft the oak; Finish: long and warming, sweet with subtle spice and nutty oak, my palate is moist, damp and coated with soft oils; Comments: much more than I ever expected a 70 year old whisky could be and more complex and far less oaky than expected!

 

GORDON & MACPHAIL PRIVATE COLLECTION GLENLIVET DECADES

As mentioned above, we are also receiving five vintages of Glenlivet representing five decades in the history of the distillery, six when combined with the seventy year old. Here are some details on those bottlings:

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 5 Decade Set – 50 Sets Available World Wide– Only 1 set to Alberta – 1 bottle each of the following vintages: 1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991. – $5664.99

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1954 – 56 Year – 135 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 50.6% – First Fill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $2193.99

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1963 – 47 Year – 169 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta –  40.6% – First Fill American Oak Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $1325.99

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1974 – 36 Year 189 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 50.1% – First Fill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $923.99

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1980 – 30 Year – 61 bottles – Only 3 bottles to Alberta – 48.5% – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $496.99

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glenlivet 1991 – 19 Year – 203 bottles – Only 6 bottles to Alberta – 54.4% – Refill Sherry Hogshead – Tasting Notes to Come in a Future Malt Messenger – $202.99

 

HIGHLAND PARK ST MAGNUS – $124.99                (Limit 2/Customer)

Highland Park has released a trilogy of whiskies over the last few years bottled at a higher strength than their traditional bottlings. The first was the Earl Magnus, a 15 year old bottled at 52.6%, named after the legendary leader of the island. This second bottling is also named after the same Earl Magnus, but called St. Magnus. The St. Magnus is a 12 year old cask strength bottled at 55% with a subtle sherry influence. Magnus was co-ruler of the Orkney’s until betrayed by his cousin the other Earl, Haakon. Magnus was sainted just 20 years after his death, and I’ll let you guess who the third bottling in the series is named after. We long ago sold out of our generous allocations of this whisky, and have since then been hounding the supplier for as many additional bottles as they can spare. Of the 84 bottles we’d previously received all but 3 of them were sold before we could put a single bottle on the floor. We are getting but 12 bottles in this week, of which 6 are already spoken for; the rest will be sold in very short order. The original limit of 2 bottles per customer stands. I’ve included my tasting note as well as that of John Hansel of Malt Advocate.

“Highland Park, “Saint Magnus,” 12 year old, 55%, £85 The second in a series of three high-strength, limited-edition Highland Park whiskeys, and a rather bold expression. Nicely sherried and noticeably smoky—more than a standard Highland Park. Quite spicy too—cinnamon, but also ginger and nutmeg. Throw in some toffee apple, Cointreau, and waxed fruit (towards the finish) for intrigue. Long, sherried, smoky finish. A very exciting Highland Park.” 92pts John Hansel, Malt Advocate Magazine

Highland Park St. Magnus – 55% – 12 Year – My Tasting Note: Nose: very appley, with green and candied apples, peaches, heather honey and musty earthen floors (like those in a dunnage warehouse); the nose is tight but within its constraints that are lots of bold aromas which you have to work for; later I get notes of treacle, wood smoke and dark chocolate; Palate: dark, fruity and earthy with rich sherry notes, thick but yielding peat and more heather honey; the palate is very viscous and oily with far more peat than you typically associate with Highland Park, and that is what really strikes me; Highland Park is famous for the soft chocolaty peat they harvest from Hobbister’s Hill(moor), and there’s much more of it here than in the standard 12 year; the white fruits and apples provide a sweet decadent edge to the whisky complimenting the heather honey and toning down the surging peat; there is youthful barley notes too, but they are late to the show; Finish: very sweet and softly drying with more chocolaty peat and apples; the finish is long and its mouth-coating oils linger long after the last sip retaining flavours of honey, chewy barley and soft peat smoke; Comments: this is no sherry-heavy Highland Park like the 18 year, but it has as much depth and character as the distillery’s flagship brand; this is an excellent whisky for a reasonable price that just happens to be beautifully packaged! – $124.99

 

 

ALBERTA PREMIUM 30YEAR – $54.99       (Limit 2/Customer)

Alberta Premium jumped onto the world screen a few years back when the whisky and its distillery was single out by Jim Murray of Whisky Bible fame as the number one whisky in Canada and one of the top whiskies in the world. The whisky has long been unique, being one of the few 100% Rye whiskies produced in Canada. Although “Rye” has long been a pseudonym for Canadian whisky, the fact of the matter is that most Canadian whisky has been made primarily from corn for a very long time, and there is nearly as much Rye whiskey made in the United States as Canada.

After the success of the regular Alberta Premium the distillery launched a special 25 year old expression in late 2007, which was named Canadian whisky of the year in the 2008 Whisky Bible. Curiously the whisky was released with little fanfare and with a shelf tag of less than $30 (the regular $5 year old version being around $23) and was little more than a curiosity. Initially few people took it seriously partly because it was Canadian and party because it was priced too low. It wasn’t until long after the whisky was sold out that its reputation started to grow and the broader public starting searching out bottles. It is for this reason that when rumours of a 30 year old Alberta Premium release started trickling out late in 2010 the buzz in the whisky community made sure it would be snapped up quickly.

The story of Alberta Premium 30 year goes back to 1946 when Max Bell and Frank McMahon two notable Calgary community builders decided it was time for Calgary to have its own distillery. The dry climate around Calgary was perfect for growing Rye and a natural aquifer under the city’s Ogden neighbourhood provided the perfect water for producing a fine Rye whisky. Within a few years Alberta distillers was producing more unmalted  rye spirit(must be two years in oak before it can be called whisky) than all other North American distilleries combined. 65 years later Alberta Distillers is still the largest producer of straight rye whisky in the world and the single largest consumer of Canadian rye grains. Today the vast majority of Alberta Distiller’s production is consumed within Canada. In 2007, the same year that the distillery bottled its first 25 year old expression, a parcel of casks filled in 1981 was re-married into a smaller number to preserve the whisky’s strength. These casks were bottled in 2011 yielding just 8400 bottles.

8400 bottles may sound like a lot, but in fact it is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. All 72 bottles of this whisky that Kensington Wine Market has previously acquired sold out before they hit the floor. Over the last few months I have been hounding Beam Global for every unclaimed case that other stores didn’t purchase, and all of these cases too have sold. Last week they informed me we had another 30 bottles coming our way. These bottles came in yesterday, Wednesday July 27th and they won’t last long. The original restrictions still hold, it is limited to 2 bottles per customer while supplies last.

Alberta Premium 30 Year – 40% – American Oak Matured – 100% Unmalted Rye – My Tasting Note: Nose: thick and syrupy on the nose with dark fruits and that distinct earthy/oily character possessed by most true Rye whiskies; thick with Panda brand black liquorice, liquorice all sorts, fruit leather and Teriyaki BBQ beef jerky; Palate: soft, sweet and layered with oils that are crossed by tendrils of spice, dark fruits and more Teriyaki BBQ beef jerky; I find the palate salty with more black liquorice, dried spices and some candied fruits; there are also notes of Ruby port and thick pancake syrup notes; truly though it is the spices which reign supreme with all kinds but ginger by far the most dominant; Finish: drying and sweet with more spices, Ruby port, and some tangy oak notes more reminiscent of very old Tequila than whisky; Comments: there is much more elegance to this whisky than the regular bottling, though it retains its full throttle character, and at $55/bottle, you’d be a fool not to buy one, just to try it! – $54.99

 

____________________

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. Feel free to forward me any whisky news you feel should be included in a future issue of The Malt Messenger; it might just get included.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com.. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change!

 

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger!

 

Slainte!

 

Andrew Ferguson
KWM Scotchguy

403-283-8000
888-283-9004
1257 Kensington Rd. NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2N 3P8

scotchguy@kensingtonwinemarket.com

 Posted by at 7:01 pm
Jun 112011
 

Dear Malt Messenger Subscribers,

Welcome to summer and our Spring Whisky Week!

Tonight we are hosting our annual Spring Single Malt Festival which is another sell out. We have probably our best line-up of whiskie ever, with more than 120 on offer. Tonight we will be launching a number of new whiskies on to the market, like the Isle of Jura Prophecy one of our latest exclusives. We also have an advance bottle of the Shackleton Whisky—Mackinlay’s Old and Rare Highlan Malt. This is a meticulous recreation of a whisky discovered under Shackleton’s hut in Antarctica. We will be the exclusive retailer of the Shackleton Whisky in Alberta, and are taking pre-orders for it. (I will include some pre-order info on the Shakleton Whisky in the next full Malt Messenger) There are also a slew of other new whiskies to showcase from Signatory, Edradour and a number of other producers which I will write in detail about in the next Malt Messenger.

As part of our whisky week I am hosting a special whisky dinner tomorrow night at Buchanan’s Chop House, I am calling it the Peat Monster Dinner. Participants will enjoy a three course meal and six heavily peated whiskies including three single cask single malts from Kilchoman Distillery. Last year three casks of Kilchoman were sold to North American Retailers, one to Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago, one to the Whisky Shop San Francisco and the other one too… you guessed it the Kensington Wine Market.  I’ve acquired a bottle of each of the Whisky Shop and Binny’s bottlings, and we will sample these rare single malts next to the Kensington bottling. The dinner will also feature a whisky from Port Ellen and the Ardbeg Supernova 2010 and another unnamed single malt. The cost for the dinner is $120 + GST. It includes a three course dinner, six whiskies and gratuity!+

 

 

Finally, Father’s Day is nearly here.  Happy Father’s Day to all you father’s and grandfather’s out there. Below you’ll find a copy of my Father’s Day gift guide. I hope it comes in handy!

 

FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Under $60

1. Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 – A dense tome of whisky musings, tasting notes and pointed personal opinions on whiskies from all over the world from one the industries foremost critics.- $21.99

2. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2011 – A great resource on the Single Malt Scotch Whisky Industry with in-depth descriptions of all active distilleries and what happened in the industry over the last year! – $29.99

3. Finlaggan Old Islay Reserve – A peated mystery malt from oops, Caol Ila Distillery. 94pts Jim Murray. Exclusive to KWM! – $50.99

4. Arran 10 Year – The best unpeated malt available for less than $70 bucks! – $53.99

5. Nikka From the Barrel – I’d call this whisky cute, but you might not take it seriously… this cask strength little Japanese whisky is sublime and comes in a handsome little square bottle. – $53.49

 

Under $100

1. Auchentoshan 1998 – An excellent vintage just awarded best Lowland Whisky in the World Whisky Awards – $64.49

2. Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX – One of the most lovely noses you’ll ever sample, and a very soft complex palate. This KWM exclusive is currently our best selling whisky by a long shot! 96pts  Jim Murray. – $74.99

3. Bowmore Tempest 1st Edition – Over the last year and a half this is our best selling single malt, and it was just awarded Best Islay Single Malt Whisky in the World Whisky Awards. – $81.99

4. Arran KWM Bourbon and Sherry Casks – A couple of times a year the Kensington Wine Market selects a barrel to be bottled exclusively for our store. We review a selection of barrel samples and with the assistance of some select customers we choose on exceptional cask.  This time things went a little bit sideways, we were unable to decide between one rich bourbon barrel and a superb sherry cask, SO we decided to do both! Our Bourbon and Sherry cask Arran bottling are each from a unique single barrel, bottled at natural cask strength, without chill filtering or added colouring.  Like a proud father unable, nae unwilling to decide which child he prefers, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is the better whisky! – $84.99 / Each

5. Duthies Ardbeg 16 Year – From a single cask bottled at 46% without added colouring or chill filtering; 1110 bottles. The whisky is a
classic mature Ardbeg with soft oily peat, earthy spices and sweet vanilla! – $91.99

 

 

Under $150

1. Glendronach 1995 KWM PX – Our Glendronach single cask PX Sherry Puncheon is one for the ages, sweet, chocolaty and soft with fruit and spice notes. It has yielded 682 individually numbered bottles at a cask strength of 52.2%, fewer than 125 left! – $114.99

2. Kilchoman KWM Fresh Bourbon Cask – KWM is the first store in Canada and one of only 3 in North America to be given the privilege of bottling our own cask of Kilchoman, Islay’s newest and most exciting single malt. Less than 50 of the 260+ bottles left! – $114.99

3. Tullibardine Gold Medal Marketing Cask 1987 – Bottled for the Alberta Importer this cask is sublime, rich with very soft sherry notes. Plus $5 from each bottle sold by Kensington Wine Market will go to the Children’s Hospital Aid Society. – $131.99

4. Auchentoshan 21 Year – A classic, elegant, well priced single malt. 93pts Jim Murray’s Whisky Bibile. – $126.49

5. Balvenie 17 Year Sherry Oak – Rich with big, dark sherry notes. This is one of my favourite Balvenies period! – $128.99

 

 

Under $250

1. Signatory Glen Albyn 1981 – A very soft whisky from a little know closed distillery.  I have only seen one other bottle from this distillery come into the store over the last 9 years. – $173.99

2. G&M Conn Choice Convalmore 1984 – Round full and oily, this is a whisky that really leaves an impression, but I dare not say what it makes me think of. – $182.99

3. Glenmorangie Signet – This is one of the most interesting and unsual whiskies in the store. Made from chocolate malt and very old sherry cask whiskies. It is decadent! – $226.49

4. G&M Conn Choice Glen Keith 1968 – A very reasonably priced whisky from a recently closed distillery. Lots of spice, and soft oak notes, hard to believe its 42 years of age. Exclusive to KWM! – $247.99

5. Signatory Glen Mhor 1982 – This whisky from a long lost Inverness Distillery is intriguing with multiple layers and facets to it. Exclusive to KWM! – $234.99

 

Under $500

1. Compass Box Hedonism Maximus – A Blended Grain Scotch whisky combining 41 year old Invergordon (70%) and 29 year ol Carsebridge (30%). Only 1500 bottles ever made, exclusive in Canada to KWM. 93pts Jim Murray: “massive chewy oak”. – $233.99

2. Pittyvaich 20 Year – Early reviewers have highlighted the whisky’s nose as being exceptional. The whisky is also exceptionally rare, this being only the second ever official bottling and the oldest. 6000 bottles worldwide. – $269,69

3. Port Ellen 29 Year 8th Release – This 8th official release of Port Ellen is 29 years old and is already sold out in Europe. Distilled in 1978 only 6,678 numbered bottles were released World Wide of what is expected to be one of the final official releases. – $361.99

4. Glenrothes Anniversary Cask 1979 – In 1979 Glenrothes celebrated its 100th anniversary, installed 2 new stills and laid down couple of special casks distilled from the new stills. Cask # 13459, 492 bottles at 56.6%ABV. – $409.99

5. Glenfarclas 40 Year – Only Glenfarclas could release an official 40 year old single malt for less than $500. Malt Advocate gave it 96pts
and called it “Scotch Whisky of the Year”, Whisky Mag named it “Best Speyside Whisky!” – $499.99

 

 

Sky’s the Limit

1. Signatory BenRiach 1966 – 42 Year – This one came as a huge surprise. Lovely soft malt and silky oak. A steal for its age, quality and
price. – $777.99

2. Signatory Bowmore 1970 – 40 Year – Two different 40 year old casks from the same vintage 1970! One of them is bottled at 43.2 and the other at 51.5%. – $1136.99 and 1137.99 respectively.

3. Glenfiddich 40 Year – This retooled 40 year old comes in a beautiful box you can lock with a key, lest you should be tempted to dip into it at an inopportune time! – $2729.99

4. Bowmore White 1964 – One of the three whiskies in the legendary trilogy. By far the softest and creamiest of the three but still retaining the trademark tropical fruit notes. – $4388.99

5. Balvenie 40 Year – Only 150 bottles available worldwide, mostly from Duty Free. But a few bottles have made it to the retail level in
Canada, and we have one! – $4633.99

 

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Jun 012011
 

The latest (from Ardbeg Committee email):

 

 

For many years it has lain brooding and untamed in Warehouse 3. Now in the
deep south of Islay a new breed is ready to be released into the wild.

Scarcely seen…

But while the much-anticipated Committee bottling of Ardbeg Alligator has
emerged, sadly due to European tax laws, it could prove to be a rare breed in
some parts.

Unfortunately, your country is one of those we are unable to ship whisky to
due to these laws. But the good news is that Alligator will be available on
general release from 1st September at your usual outlets. Ferocious ‘alligator’
charring of new American white oak casks has created a spicy, dark dram of
hidden depths, within which lurks deep tarry coffee, barbecue sizzle and sooty
aromas.

An expression that may prove a challenge to the unwary, it is set to test the
palate of even the most hardened Ardbeg adventurer. So be careful, its unique
spicy bite may catch you unawares…

In the meantime, why not discover the Islay-gator’s tale for yourself at ardbeg.com/gator. It’s powerful stuff…

 

Damn.  Here, gator, gator…come to Canada…

 Posted by at 8:30 pm