Oct 172010

A hearty congratulations to Mark Connelly for putting together something unique and special for the members of the whiskywhiskywhisky forum.  Mark has managed a forum bottling of something quite nifty.  I’ll let him share the specs:


“I mentioned in the last email that a forum bottling was on the horizon. It
has been revealed as a Tamdhu 26yo and is now available for pre-order. The
whisky is superb and if you’ve not tried anything from this now mothballed
distillery then here’s the perfect excuse at a forum member discounted
price of £55 per bottle (plus postage)! It’s cask strength and there’s
nothing been added or taken away.

Sales will be done on a first come, first served basis and no limit to quantity per person either. Whisky details are:

Tamdhu Aged 26 Years
Distilled 12th October 1984
Cask no 2835 (American Hogshead – not finished or re-casked)
162 bottles only
50.1% (cask strength)


Price is £55 per bottle (not including any shipping). I hope you will agree that this is a good price and is exclusive to Forum members. Any remaining bottles will go on sale, towards the end of October, in the Chester Whisky Shop but at the full retail price of £69.99 (you will have to mention that you are a member of the Forum to get it at the original price).

Shipping in the UK will cost roughly £7/bottle and Europe will be more like £10. Rest of the world will be closer to £20.

Oct 092010

A Trip in Search of the Finest Whiskies

By Noah May, Whisky Connoisseur, London 

Though we are officially a “Fine and Rare Wine” department we do, internationally, sell spirits from time to time. In London on October 21 and in New York on November 13, the Christie’s wine department will be offering selections of rare spirits for your bidding pleasure. Comparatively, spirits is a small percentage of what we do. That being said, when we stumble upon something truly rare or valuable (as I did last March) it is our great pleasure to offer it to spirits connoisseurs the world over. Usually, we specialize in rare bottlings of the finest Scotch, and vintage brandies, specifically Cognac and Armagnac. It was Scotch, however, that brought me to Italy…Italy can be surprisingly cold in March. We walked out of Milan Linate Airport to find the skies grey and as we drove towards our client’s home, the mists fell heavy by the roadsides. When we finally arrived, it was a relief to be ushered into the warmth within. The house was magnificent, a treasure trove filled with fine sculpture and modern art; it was clear that there was hard work ahead, but with this knowledge came a sense of anticipation. 

As soon as we were settled, our host was keen to focus our attention on a bookcase in the corner of the sitting room. Confused, we followed his lead, suddenly reminded that in this industry things are rarely quite as they seem. The bookcase slid back to expose a hidden metal door, six inches thick, and wrought from solid steel.  A few deft workings around a combination lock and slowly, carefully, the door began to open, giving way to a sight that could make any whisky lover sob with joy. 

This was my second proper packing trip with the Wine Department, and my first dealing with whisky, but at that moment, it was clear that this was nothing short of astonishing. In this elegant, wood-panelled room stood almost two thousand bottles of whisky and other spirits, some of which dated back to first decades of the twentieth century. As I stood there, silent, staring up at row after row of dark bottles, I knew that this was something that would stay with me for quite some time. 

It was immediately apparent that the collector’s taste was impeccable and varied, allowing him, over a lifetime, to assemble a collection that was as broad as it was deep. What was also apparent was that we had been invited into someone’s private world; a microcosm where passion and connoisseurship met. Scotland and the great single malts were his first love. Looking along the meticulously ordered shelves, particular rarities stood out – The Macallan 1945, 1938 or 1946 – ancient whiskies that have endured, yet which are almost impossible to find today. As we moved around the room, checking, packing and moving boxes, we were taken on a journey across the moors of Scotland.  From those Macallans of Speyside we move west towards the smoke-scented Islay malts: The Bowmore and wild, peaty Laphroaig. Morning gives way to afternoon, and we find ourselves reaching for highland malts and realise that we’ve covered most of the great distilleries of Scotland. 

As mentioned, this collector’s tastes were broad, and this helps to introduce his cache of Prohibition-Era American whiskies that we discovered, seemingly frozen in time. Amid all the Laphroaigs and the Tamnavulins we came upon this assortment of pint-sized bottles that could transpire to be the most significant collection of Prohibition Era whiskey to ever be sold at auction. The bottles were dusty and irregular in shape, unlike anything I’d seen before. Some date back to the years of the First World War – ‘Old Granddad Whiskey 1916 – Unexcelled – For Medical Use Only’ or ‘St George Reserve –Eighteen Summers Old’ – even their names seem redolent of a very different time.  

Eventually, we came to the end of our task and sat back, exhausted, looking around an empty room. With the excitement of packing such a superb ‘cellar’, came a faint feeling of melancholy as I looked around the bare rows – the next step would be finding these extraordinary whiskies an appropriate new home. 

This magnificent collection represents the largest single-owner collection of whisky that Christie’s have ever offered and an almost unheard of opportunity for the world’s greatest connoisseurs to access an exceptional testament to one man’s lifelong passion. 

 Posted by at 11:28 pm
Oct 042010

by Jared Paul Stern

Sep 28th 2010 at 6:01PM

The world’s most expensive bottle of whisky, a one-of-a-kind crystal Lalique decanter holding the oldest and rarest Macallan single malt ever (above), will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York on November 15 for an estimated $150,000 or more. The Macallan in Lalique Cire Perdue, which we previewed back in April, is filled with 64 years and older Macallan single malt Scotch, vatted together from three sherry seasoned Spanish oak casks. The famed Speyside distillery commissioned the legendary crystal artisan to create the decanter using the ancient “cire perdue” or “lost wax” method. Painstakingly hand crafted by Lalique exclusively for The Macallan, and inspired by the beauty of The Macallan’s 150 hectare estate in north-eastern Scotland, it’s based upon a ship’s decanter of the 1820s. Proceeds from the historic sale will be donated to charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 
 Posted by at 6:21 am
Sep 152010

From www.glasgowswhisky.com:

Posted in Whisky News on September 15th, 2010 by Mark – 1 Comment

New Bunnahabhain 12yo New Bunnahabhain 12yo 

Burn Stewart, owners of Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig (as well as Black Bottle) have revamped three of their malts (Deanston was already revamped a year or two ago) to bring them up to 46.3%, unchillfiltered and with new packaging. 

New Ledaig 10yo New Ledaig 10yo 

New Tobermory 10yo New Tobermory 10yo 

Tobermory and Ledaig, being from the same distillery, have been given matching boxes and label designs tying them nicely together. Of the three new ones I have only tried the new Bunnahabhain at a recent festival and it was pretty tasty. I’ll need to try that against the old one which I still have from a recent review post, which is a classic malt in my opinion. 

Good to see another company raise their ABV and cut out the chill-filtering. I believe the colouring has also been left behind. Perhaps one day all malts will be like this. 

Sep 102010

From Islay Weblog…

Ardbeg and Bruichladdich Islay Distilleries Up For Sale?

Thursday, September 09 2010

Yesterday evening around nine a message was posted on a Dutch forum titled “Astounishing Islay whisky news from Scotland”. The message was posted by Hans Offringa. Hans Offringa is author of the book “The Legend of Laphroaig” and a respected member of the whisky community. The contents of his message were quite astounishing indeed. The news Hans posted was that Ardbeg Distillery was up for sale and Bruichladdich Distillery had recently been sold, according to a reliable Scottish source.

Immediately Twitter and Facebook were buzzing and several forums wrote about this unusual rumour, because that’s what it was/is. Hans Offringa tried to verify the news with some of his friends in Scotland and I did my wee research and checked with the Ileach. Brian was kind enough to contact Ardbeg and he said “I’ve checked with Ardbeg and they know nothing of which you speak. the source of the rumours may be the fact that Diageo own 35% of Moet Hennessy, who own Glenmorangie, but how that woud impact on the sale of ardbeg, I know not.” Continue reading…

In the meanwhile a Twitter message from Bruich_Sales appeared: “Not true! Bruich is still 100% independent & we are all working hard to hit budet this year and next.” Now that sounds like nothing has happened or will happen in the (near) future which means that Bruichladdich will remain independent and Ardbeg won’t be sold. Now why was this message posted in a Dutch forum in the first place? Of course it’s speculation but where there’s smoke there’s a fire. Like I said above, Hans Offringa is a reliable and respected member of the whisky community so my guess is that something really is brewing. Perhaps it’s something completely different, that I don’t know. In the meanwhile Hans is waiting for news from his friends in Scotland and as soon as anything comes up I will post it on Twitter and update this post. So for now the news is no news and the rumours will remain rumours.

Aug 292010

So…we have been nattering away over on Liquorature about the lastest from Balvenie.  I thought I would share some details with you from Malt Advocate’s John Hansell:

August 26th, 2010

Two new Balvenie releases

John Hansell

We are being blessed with two new Balvenie releases, a Peated Cask and a Caribbean Cask. Both press releases explaining the details of the whiskies, along with images, are below. I’ll be receiving review samples shortly and will let you know my thoughts after I taste them.


Most Handcrafted Single Malt Introduces Limited Edition, Collectible Whisky

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky, today announced the launch of a new and much-anticipated limited edition expression: The Balvenie Peated Cask aged 17 years.  Available starting in September 2010, this latest addition to the lauded Balvenie 17 Year Old range is an exciting marriage of Single Malt Scotch whiskies aged in special peated casks and finished in new American oak.

Like past 17 Year Old Balvenie expressions – which include the highly sought-after Islay Cask, Sherry Oak, New Oak, New Wood, Rum Cask and last year’s Madeira Cask – this latest offering is the brainchild of the Balvenie master distiller David Stewart.  More than 45 years of experience have given David an unparalleled expertise in single malt maturation. With a strong desire to experiment, David continues to look at the effects of age and wood upon The Balvenie spirit. The Balvenie Peated Cask is the result of David’s latest work and retains The Balvenie’s traditional honeyed complexity, but introduces layers of rich spice and smoke on the nose and palate.

In 2001, a heavily peated batch of barley was bought from a local supplier and distilled at The Balvenie Distillery. The distilled liquid was allowed to mature until David decided it was time to rejuvenate the maturation process and so the whisky was transferred to newly prepared traditional casks.

The casks that had originally held the peated liquid had taken on much of its character but were without purpose, until David decided to experiment by filling them with 17 year old Balvenie for a short period. The result was an intensely peaty whisky. Marrying this liquid with 17 year old Balvenie finished in new American oak casks produced a hugely complex single malt, rich and spicy with layers of smokiness.

David Stewart comments: “In the crafting of The Balvenie Peated Cask, we wanted to explore the impact of peat and new American oak upon The Balvenie single malt. What we have created is a wonderfully complex and unique whisky which is layered with spice and smoke whilst retaining the characteristic honeyed sweetness inherent to The Balvenie.”

The Balvenie Peated Cask will be available throughout the US from September 2010 for $129.99.


Most Awarded Single Malt Adds Touch of Spice to its Core Range with The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky, today announced the newest addition to its collection of award- winning Single Malts – the Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask.  Available nationwide starting in September, this rich and intense new expression will line up alongside the already established range of Balvenie single malts – 12 Year Old Doublewood, 15 Year Old Single Barrel and recent IWSC Trophy Winner 21 Year Old Portwood – as a permanent fixture in the Balvenie range.

This exciting new expression follows the acclaim of 2008’s limited edition Balvenie 17 Year Old Rum Cask, and the subsequent popularity of rum cask-finished whiskies, with a whisky that bears all the hallmarks of the Balvenie, but with an added level of complexity that comes from finishing the whisky in casks that once held Caribbean rum.  After a 14 year maturation period in traditional oak whisky casks, the Balvenie is then transferred to the rum casks, leading to an exceptional Single Malt that exemplifies the signature smooth, honeyed character of the Balvenie, while adding unique notes of toffee and fruit that come from its innovative cask finish.

The outstanding quality of The Balvenie is a result of the unique craftsmanship retained by The Balvenie Distillery. Nowhere else is there a distillery that still grows its own barley, malts in its own traditional floor malting, employs a team of coopers to tend its casks, a coppersmith to maintain its stills and has in its service David Stewart, the most experienced Malt Master in Scotland, whose innovative approach to cask finishing has set a new standard in Single Malts.

Said Stewart of this new release, “We’ve found that many years maturation in traditional oak whisky casks followed by a few months of rum cask maturation complements The Balvenie single malt very well, and this expression is a beautifully rounded 14-year-old whisky that combines traditional Balvenie vanilla notes with rich toffee, a hint of fruit and a warm, lingering finish.”

 The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask is available nationwide starting in September with a recommended retail price of $59.99. 

Aug 172010

I’m sure we’ve all seen headlines regarding the discovery and recovery of a crate of whisky from Ernest Shackleton’s 1908 Antarctic voyage.


Further details are starting to emerge…

by Richard Paterson on Friday, 13 August 2010

Finally! Shackleton’s whisky has been thawed enough that the straw and wrappings can come off to get a good idea of the bottle. This is a fantastic moment and well done to the team for their patience in getting to this stage.

I’m told that the shoulder label says
British Antarctic Expedition
Ship Endurance
while the bottle reads:
Rare Old
Malt Whisky
Blended and Bottled by
Chas. Mackinlay & Co
Blenders and Distillers
Leith and Inverness
I’m saying nothing about my previous prediction but for those interested in more here’s the press release that’s being issued today about the whisky… 

Shackleton’s whisky revealed

After much anticipation, the contents of a whisky crate from Ernest Shackleton’s 1908 British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition have been revealed today.
A team of Antarctic Heritage Trust and Canterbury Museum conservators have been examining and working on the crate for the last two weeks in a purpose built cool room. As the ice inside gradually thawed the team was able to examine the contents, and today they extracted several intact bottles labelled “Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky”.
“It’s been a delicate and slow process but we are delighted to be able to confirm that the crate contains intact bottles of whisky,” said Lizzie Meek, Antarctic Heritage Trust Artefacts Manager.
Eleven bottles of the 114-year old whisky have been recovered of which remarkably ten appear perfectly intact despite their labels having deteriorated. The wording “British Antarctic Expedition 1907 Ship Endurance” is still visible on some of the bottles. As it transpired Shackleton never changed the name of the ship Nimrod to Endurance for this expedition.
Intriguingly, one bottle is missing from the packing inside the crate. This is consistent with where the crate itself appears to have been jimmied open and the timber broken. “Perhaps one of Shackleton’s crew just couldn’t resist a tipple,” said Ms Meek.
Each of the bottles will be carefully assessed and conserved in the coming weeks.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust plans to work with the owners of the Mackinlay’s brand, Whyte and Mackay, to extract and analyse the whisky. “The ultimate aim is to replicate the original blend so that whisky drinkers the world over can enjoy this gift from the whisky gods. There is much to do before we know if this is possible” said Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender.
Images of the whisky bottles and video of the conservators at work can be seen in the project blog set up at http://whiskythaw.canterburymuseum.com/
It is expected the crate and its contents will remain on display at Canterbury Museum for the next month. Following conservation and analysis the intention is to eventually return them to Antarctica.
Aug 132010

Lads and Lassies,

After a final discussion with our friend, David Michiels, at Willow Park…

The Calgary Whisky Club is finally a reality!

To any who do not know me yet…my name is Curt.  I, along with David, will be spearheading this adventure.

The inaugural meeting of this exclusive little enclave will be:

7:00pm    Sunday, September 5th, 2010

This rather informal gathering will be at Willow Park Wines and Spirits in Calgary South.

If you are interested, please confirm with me, Curt, at uisgebeatha7@hotmail.com in order to ensure a spot is held.

Membership will be limited to 40 people.  When our maximum is met, we will have a wait list.  Annual dues are yet to be determined.  Your input at the first meeting will help decide many details about this club, including (but not limited to):

  • Member costs
  • Dates and times
  • Format
  • Products
  • What you want to put in/get out of this club

While there will be a nominal fee associated, the benefits will far outweigh anything you put in.  Exposure to many new products, access to industry persons and their knowledge, discounts and exclusive opportunities at products…and most importantly…a social circle of like-minded individuals out to have fun.

To all involved thus far, thanks for your help.  To those I have yet to recruit into supporting roles…uh, sorry…and again…thanks for your help.

To any reps and industry persons…if you are interested in being involved in hosting tastings, providing samples for review or simply sitting in…please do not hesitate to contact me.  Once a month you will have a captive audience of 40 whisky drinkers just itching to sample and purchase your product from Willow Park.

Please hang tight for more information.

Until we meet in September…Slainte!