Thursday, 30 April 2015

News: Ledaig 42yo 'Dùsgadh'

Burn Stewart Distillers has released a rare, one off malt to key international markets - Ledaig 42YO, a robust, smoky malt whisky with a rich and distinct history. 

Named Dùsgadh, meaning ‘awakening’ in Scot’s Gaelic, reflecting the long, dormant period of maturation, this is the rarest and oldest Ledaig ever released and the next 40YO Ledaig single malt won’t be available until 2036.

The story of handcrafted Ledaig 42YO begins on the Isle of Mull at the Tobermory Distillery, the only distillery on the mystic island and amongst the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. The malt’s old world charm reflects the brand’s spirit to do things the traditional way, by hand. 
In a rare feat of master blending, this Single Malt Scotch Whisky has retained all of its deep, peaty intensity, which is almost unheard of for an expression of this age. Throughout its four decade history, the Scottish landscapes and climates to which Ledaig 42YO has been exposed, have strengthened the malt’s distinctly rich and smoky flavour.   

Source: Burn Stewart Distillers


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

News: Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition

  • Kilchoman Distillery
  • Multivintage 2009 - 2010
  • 50 % ABV
  • Ex-bourbon barrels
On the 4th of May at 10am will release the 5th Edition of the 100% Islay range. The 5th Edition 100% Islay is a vatting of ex-bourbon barrels filled in 2009 and 2010. This will be bottled at 50% abv and rrp £67.50.

First released in 2010, the annually released limited edition bottling is produced solely from barley grown at the distillery and is only lightly peated compared to the Machir Bay and Loch Gorm.
On the 4th of May Kilchoman will release the 5th Edition of the 100% Islay range. The 5th Edition 100% Islay is a vatting of ex-bourbon barrels filled in 2009 and 2010. This will be bottled at 50% abv and rrp £67.50.

First released in 2010, the annually released limited edition bottling is produced solely from barley grown at the distillery and is only lightly peated compared to the Machir Bay and Loch Gorm.

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Managing Director; ‘There is a clear difference between the 100% Islay range and other releases, the lighter peating level and maturation exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels gives the whisky a beautiful fragrance and balance
When we first set out to build Kilchoman the ambition was to produce a single malt from barley grown on the distillery farm to give complete control and traceability, we also wanted to echo how whisky was once made on Islay and across Scotland.  We are incredibly proud to continue these traditional practices.
We expect that followers of Kilchoman will enjoy this latest Edition of the 100% Islay, the added maturation time compared to previous releases has given the whisky added depth and balance, we expect it to be a hit

Source and pictures: Kilchoman

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

News: Glendronach Cask Strength batch 4

Another sherry bomb from Billy Walker

Glendronach Cask Strength
  • Glendronach Distillery, Forgue (Highlands)
  • NAS
  • 54.7% ABV
  • Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry casks | 17,806 bottles
The fourth batch of Glendronach's Cask Strength expression is bottled at 54.7% alcohol and comprises 17,806 bottles, The GlenDronach Cask Strength is a delicious, creamy sherry bomb! The whisky sensationally explodes on the palate with dark fruit, ginger and oak flavours at the fore, and with gingerbread, barley, roasted coffee beans and a hint of walnut softening to a long, satisfying finish.

Official Tasting notes from Billy Walker

Colour: Dark rich amber with a glint of burnished copper.

Nose: Delicious molten toffee and wild honey poured over ripe figs and dates. Subtle hints of tangerine, coffee grounds and a dusting of cinnamon add a perfect balance to the nose.

Taste: Vibrant oak spices and warming stem ginger complement the rich sherry and dark fruit characteristics. Waves of sour plums and subtle gingerbread combine with stewed barley and roasted coffee beans, softened by a gentle hint of walnut.

Finish: A perfect harmony of the finest sherry casks and traditional Highland characteristics.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “The whisky for this fourth edition in our renowned series has been carefully selected from a combination of the finest Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks. Non chill filtered and of natural colour, the Cask Strength has been produced in the classic GlenDronach style.

Master of Malt has it online at £51.69

Source and pictures: Glendronach

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Chapter 7 Glentauchers 1996

Chapter 7 Glentauchers from 1996
The Swiss indy bottler Chapter 7 seems to be taking the whisky world by storm. The one-man company from Selim Evin already released 5 single casks in a year and has a few tricks up his sleeve for the coming months. The stylish black boxes are a homage to the Swiss design style.

The Allt-a-Bhainne and the Glen Keith were already very promising. Chapter 7 bottled another ex-bourbon single cask from Speyside from a lesser known distillery. One should almost think it is becoming the company's trademark... Let's see how this Glentauchers performs.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Living legend Jim McEwan retiring in July

Jim McEwan, Production Director and Master Distiller at Bruichladdich, has announced that he is to retire in July of this year after more than 52 years in the business.

He started as a cooper making whisky casks, then learned mashing and distilling. In the small island community when someone is sick, everyone pitches in and learns to do all of the jobs.

At 22 years old, Jim McEwan became responsible for filling the casks and maturing the whisky. In Glasgow, he learned about nosing and eventually became a chief blender. Jiù moved back to Islay to take over as general manager of Bowmore and was elected "distiller of the year" three times.

A legendary figure in the Scotch whisky industry, Jim joined the independent company that was to drive the renaissance of the then moribund Bruichladdich in the year 2000.
Describing it as the “Cinderella” distillery on the isle of Islay, he released an innovative and thought-provoking portfolio of terroir based single malts that challenged previous perceptions.

Pictures: Cool Hunting
Pictures: Cool Hunting


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

News: Kilchoman Sanaig

  • Kilchoman Sanaig
  • NAS
  • 46 % ABV
Islay’s smallest distillery silently released a new whisky this spring: Kilchoman Sanaig. This single malt whisky has been composed of 50% bourbon casks and 50% sherry casks. Sanaig is named after a creek, close to the distillery, on the Scottish island.

Tasting notes from La Maison Du Whisky

Nose: Fruit compote with notes of caramel and vanilla.
Taste: Peaty with a hint of toffee and grapefruit.
Finish: The peat is balanced by the fruitiness.

The whisky has been bottled at 46% ABV and is already available at La Maison du Whisky. Price: €64 / £45.99.

Source: LMDW

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Glen Moray SMWS 35.108 A Feast of Flavours

Glen Moray SMWS 35.108 A Feast of Flavours

Glen Moray is a Speyside distillery on the banks of the river Lossie. The former brewery was part of the Glenmorangie portfolio (consisted of Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Glen Moray) when it was sold to luxury concern Louis Vuitton - Moët Hennesy in 2004. The brand was considered less desirable (read: it did not fit into the luxury plans of LVMH) and was disposed of fairly quickly.

La Martiniquaise bought the distillery and upgraded its capacity from 2 million litres to 3.3 million litres. Glen Moray nowadays supplies malt for the Label 5 blend and its single malt core range consists of some pretty high VFM bottlings like the 10yo Chardonnay matured, a 12yo and a port cask finish.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Bladnoch 1991 Malts of Scotland

Bladnoch 1991 Malts of Scotland
Bladnoch Distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery in south-west Scotland. It was one of six remaining Lowland distilleries and is located at Bladnoch, near Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway.

The story of the distillery is one of temporary closures and reopenings. The mothballed distillery was discovered by Irishman Raymond Armstrong in 1994. After several years of trying to fund the project and replacing the old infrastructure and equipment, the distillery reopened for production in late 2000.

The fate of the Lowlands distillery is unclear nowadays. Bladnoch went into administration in 2014 and production has been halted. A court-appointed receiver has been appointed to handle the sale of Bladnoch’s assets. There have been some rumours of potential buyers but as today it remains to be seen whether the distillery will be reopened. Update: Bladnach has been reopened.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Tomatin Cuatro Manzanilla

Picture: The Whisky Exchange

The four whiskies from the Cuatro series come from a spirit batch distilled on the same day, the whisky matured for nine years in American Oak casks before being transferred to four different types of Sherry butts for a period of three years. As a result, each of the four expressions has developed their own unique characteristics. Today I explore the second from the series: Manzanilla sherry cask.

Manzanilla is an especially light variety of Fino Sherry solely made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Like Fino sherry, it is made from the Palomino grape and ages under a layer of flor yeast. This layer is thicker than a normal Fino and thus allows less contact with the air. Manzanilla features dry, salty and maritime flavours.

Let's see how this Manzanilla whisky compares to the first Cuatro whisky.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

10 books on whisky that you should own

Every self-respecting whisky lover has a few books on the golden nectar on his shelf. When you're taking your first steps, the overwhelming choice - Amazon has over 3000 books on the subject on the website - can seem an insurmountable paper mountain. I'm here to help you with my ten favourite books on whisky.

Whisky books

Malt Whisky YearbookMalt Whisky Yearbook - Ingvar Ronde

Ingvar Ronde publishes his Malt Whisky Yearbook since 2005 . It's a combination of interviews, interesting articles about the industry and an overview of the Scottish distilleries with numbers and facts. Malt Whisky Yearbook lists independent bottlers and results and forecasts from the whisky industry. Food for number crunchers.

Available on amazon, and

World Whisky - ed. Charles MacLean

World WhiskeyThis is the starter's book (as a matter of fact, this was my first book on whisky). Charles MacLean guides the reader through the process of distillation, how to taste whisky and an overview of all the important whisky brands. The book treats well respected names from Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the United States but does not forget emerging countries like Sweden, India and Belgium. The book features a lot of pictures too.

Available on amazon

The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom -
Alfred BarnardThe Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom

Alfred Barnard’s classic book from 1885 is far from forgotten. The book is a time machine to the golden Victorian era. Barnard travelled to Scotland, England and Ireland and wrote down his travels and visits to the distilleries for Harpers Weekly Gazette. He did this when visitor centres were nonexistent. The book is filled with classic sketches and vintage ads.

Available on amazon and

Whisky The Manual - Dave Broom

Whisky: The ManualDave Broom is widely known as the author of The World Atlas of Whisky. In 2014 he released a more challenging book. Dave sets out to seek how people with different cultural backgrounds enjoy whisky. And he goes a lot further than neat or 'on the rocks'... Prepare yourself for Bowmore with coconut water and Glenfarclas with green tea.

Available on amazon and

The Science and Commerce of Whisky - 

Ian Buxton & Paul S. Hughes

The Science and Commerce of WhiskyIan Buxton and Paul S. Hughes wrote this book with the knowledge seeking whisky geek in mind. Part one of the book talks about the production of whisky to the smallest detail. A working knowledge of chemistry or a computer with Wikipedia or Google fired up are more than necessary. Part two is less challenging and takes a look at the commercial side of the industry. The four classic marketing P's and the use of social media are only two aspects of this part.

Available on amazon and

Peat, smoke and Spirit - Andrew Jeffords

Peat, smoke and SpiritAndrew Jeffords' book first came out ten years ago. It is not a whisky book pur sang, but a complete journey to the Queen of the Hebrides: the isle of Islay. Each chapter is alternating between a distillery, a piece on the origin of the island, its geography, the ship wrecks. The perfect start for a trip to the island.

Available on amazon and

Let me tell you about whisky -
Gavin D. Smith & Neil RidleyLet me tell you about whisky

Another absolute primer on the subject. Neil and Gavin explain the process of various types of distillation with a drawing that could provide starters an aha! moment. They go on with a series of articles about the age of whisky, food pairing and cigars, the appropriate glass. Of course they include a journey through Scotland and the world. They provide you with a few representative whiskies of every region to try out for yourself.

Available on amazon and

1001: Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die - ed. Dominic Roskrow

1001: Whiskies You Must Try Before You DieThis pretty  extensive book offers exactly what's on the cover: 1001 whiskies from almost every conceivable country. The tasting notes are rather concise but the book is loaded with interesting and fun trivia on the whiskies and the brands behind them. The book features some 800 pictures on bottles, labels, distilleries and vintage ads.

Available on amazon and

Whisky & Jazz - Hans OffringaWhisky & Jazz

Hans Offringa wrote this book in 2009 and already did a sequel on it with a trilogy on jazz, blues and reggae. The writer first takes a look at ten jazz musicians and ten distilleries and tries to blend whisky and jazz afterwards. Hans pairs f.e. the genius of Miles Davis to Bruichladdich. Two determined jack-of-all-trades who reinvented themselves all the time.

Available on amazon and

Distilled - Neil Ridley & Joel Harrisson

DistilledThis is not a real whisky book either. Neil and Joel, masterminds behind the Cask Strength blog, guide you on a spiritual journey through everything that is distilled and drinkable. Mainly Gin, vodka, tequila, rum, grappa and cognac. And of course whisky. They leave no stone unturned. Through the book you'll find some recipes, DIY projects and interviews with people from the spirit industry.

Available on amazon and

Bottles make excellent book supports

Other books worth mentioning are: 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton, The Legend of Laphroaig by Hans Offringa & Marcel van Gils, Raw Spirit by Iain Banks, Malt Whisky Companion by Michael Jackson and Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales by Gavin D. Smith.