Tuesday, 29 March 2016

RIP John MacLellan

John MacLellan, Distillery Manager of Kilchoman and Bunnahabhain passed away on Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016. He will be greatly missed by all whisky lovers.

John started out as mashman at Bunnahabhain in 1989. Het subsequently filled in positions as brewer and distillery manager at the distillery.

In 2010 he moved on to the young farm distillery Kilchoman.

The first bottle of 10 year old single malt of Kilchoman was auctioned for the Beatson Cancer Charity. This unique bottle from cask number 1 was sold for £7.000.

In 2013 he (and Eddie MacAffer of Bowmore) received the Icons of Whisky Distillery Manager of the year from Whisky Magazine.

You can donate to the Beatson Cancer Charity to honour him in the fight against cancer.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sunday, 20 March 2016

News: Ardbeg Twenty One

April Fools or an answer to the fans?

Ardbeg Twenty One
The public TTB registry revealed a label for a 21 year old (an age statement, what is happening??) Ardbeg.  It hasn't been a week since Oliver Klimek published his Annual Struggle article and the Dark Cove disaster and now this happens. Probably a very fortunate timing for the approval of the label.

Allied Distillers restored production with malt from Port Ellen Maltings in 1989 until 1996 when the distillery was closed (again) and put up for sale. The whisky dates from this time frame.

Allied Distillers also acquired Laphroaig in 1990 and their Distillery Manager Ian Henderson was put in charge of both distilleries. The decision to use malt from Port Ellen malts also meant a drop in phenol levels. From approximately 80-90ppm from their own malting floors to 30-35ppm.

Between 1991 and 1995 Ardbeg operated at only one third of its capacity. That means they probably did not even produce over 200.000 litres per year in the period from which this whisky comes...

Identity Card

  • Ardbeg Twenty One
  • Ardbeg Distillery, Port Ellen (Islay)
  • 21 year old single malt
  • 46% ABV
  • Distilled before 1995
  • 200 liter ex-bourbon casks (barrels)
What the back label reads:

Source Ardbeg Twenty One. A rare glimpse into Ardbeg’s precarious past. A shining example of its unwavering quality. This momentous bottling contains whisky distilled during some of the most precarious days of Ardbeg’s past, when only a handful of casks were set aside. Sumptuous and soothing, melding pepper, rye and Ardbeg’s famous peaty smoke, this is a golden dram born from adversity, determination and dedication.

Ardbeg Twenty One

pictures and info: Whiskynotes.be / TTB Cola Registry
background source: Ardbeg, a peaty provenance 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

World Whiskies Awards 2016 #WWA16

Tonight the World Whiskies Awards will be announced. The crème de la crème from the whisky industry probably have sweaty hands and awaits the results in the heart of London. We'll update the blog live as the results trickle in and line-up all the winners.

The Awards are presented by The Drinks Report (known for the World Beer Awards and a bunch of other awards) and Whisky Magazine. Place to be is the London Grand Connaught Rooms. Comedian and BBC presenter Fred MacAulay will host the evening.

Alongside the World Whiskies Awards Whisky Magazine will announce its Icons of Whiskies and some industry people will be honoured in the Whisky Hall of Fame.

There are two main categories: Taste and Design. The first is - you already guessed it - based on the flavour profile. A jury selects and approves the whiskies on their main qualities: balance, character, complexity and quality.

#WWA16 #worldwhiskiesawards Tonight, follow the results LIVE here! pic.twitter.com/2a20DaHzL4
— Whisky Magazine (@Whisky_Magazine) March 17, 2016

Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Global

  • Supermarket Retailer of the Year: Sainsburys 
  • Travel Retailer of the Year: DFS Group Changi Airport Singapore
  • Online Retailer of the Year: Master of Malt
  • Single Outlet Retailer of the Year: Celtic Whiskey Shop
  • Multiple Outlet Retailer of the Year: La Maison du Whisky
YYYYEEEEESSSS!!!!! Online whisky retailer of the year at the world whiskies awards! Get. The. Fuck. In. #WWA16 pic.twitter.com/vzEJDtPvXJ
— Master Of Malt (@MasterOfMalt) March 17, 2016

People Awards

  • Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year: Stuart Cassells
  • World Whisky Brand Ambassador: Ashok Chokalingam
  • Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador: John Quinn
  • American Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Bernie Lubbers
  • Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Simon Brooking
  • Special Awards: Beth Havers & Colin Dunn 
  • Distillery Manager of the Year: Koichi Nishikawa (Yoichi Distillery, Japan)
  • Master Distiller / Blender of the Year: Bill Lumsden (Glenmorangie Distillery)
Congratulations Simon on the award #WWA16 #worldwhiskyawards pic.twitter.com/Rmd6TixNXF
— Julie B (@Cdnchick74) March 17, 2016

Producer Awards

  • Craft Producer of the Year: Westland Distillery
  • Visitor Attraction of the Year: Teeling Whisky Company
  • Brand Innovation of the Year: Douglas Laing & Co of Scotland
  • Distiller of the Year: Heaven Hill Brands 
YESSSS!!!! Picking up our Visitor Attraction of the Year Award at the #WWA16 #TeelingDistillery #Revival pic.twitter.com/GozI0FImxx
— TeelingWhiskey (@TeelingWhiskey) March 17, 2016

World Whiskies Awards

And the winners in the most flavoursome category are... 

World's Best Single Malt Whisky

Old Pulteney 1989
picture: The Whisky Exchange

Old Pulteney Vintage 1989

World's Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky

Kavalan Solist single cask
picture: Whisky Suggest

Kavalan Solist Amontillado Sherry Cask Finish

World's Best Bourbon Whisky

Bowman Brothers
picture: Oaks Liquors

Abraham Bowman Pioneer Spirit

World's Best Bourbon Single Barrel Whisky

Smooth Ambler Old Scout
picture: The Whisky Exchange

Smooth Ambler Old Scout

World's Best Rye

Pikesville Straight Rye
picture: Entry Proof

Pikesville Straight Rye

World's Best Blended Malt

Reference Series III.2
picture: Master of Malt

Reference Series lll.2

World's Best Blended Whisky

Hibiki 21
picture: Royal Mile Whiskies

Suntory Hibiki 21 year old

World's Best Blended Limited Release 

Glen Alba 22
picture: Whiskyapocalypse

Glen Alba 22 year old (Lidl)

World's Best Canadian Blended Whisky

Godderham and Worts Four Grain
picture: The Rumhowlerblog

Godderham & Worts Four Grain

World's Best Corn Whisky

Balcones True Blue
picture: Balcones

Balcones True Blue 100 Proof

World's Best Wheat Whisky

picture: Whiskey under the label

Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight

World's Best Flavoured Whisky

Knob Creek Smoked Maple
picture: Knob Creek

Knob Creek Smoked Maple Whiskey

World's Best Grain Whisky

Fuji Gotemba 25
picture: Whiskiosity

Fuji Gotemba 25 Year old

World's Best Single Pot Still Whisky

Green Spot Bordeaux Finish
picture: The Whisky Exchange

Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton

Country Winners

RESULTS #WWA16 #worldwhiskiesawards Country winners of the World Whiskies Awards 2016... See 2 images please! 🎆 pic.twitter.com/KvysM59PLT
— Whisky Magazine (@Whisky_Magazine) March 17, 2016

Design Awards

The category Design can be summarised into two main awards: World's Best Design and Agency of the Year. Next to these two there are awards for Best new launch, Best relaunch/redesign, Best standard design and Best ultra premium design. To keep everybody happy there are also silver and bronze medals. 

World's Best Design

Puni Alba
picture: Puni Italia

Puni Alba (Italy)

Best Design Agency

Pocket Rocket Creative

Best New Launch

To be announced later tonight!

Best Relaunch/Redesign

To be announced later tonight!

Best Standard Design

To be announced later tonight!

Best Ultra-premium design

To be announced later tonight!

Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

Peter Russell - Chairman Ian Macleod Distillers

Charlie Smith - Master Distiller Ballindalloch Distillery

A final word

The World Whiskies Awards are but one of the many awards in the whisky industry. Some people consider these awards are only there so the majority of brands can show off with at least one award.

All the winners can of course be found on the official WWA website and Whisky Magazine's Facebook page.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 European Tour

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Kilchoman's 2014 European Tour was a commemorative bottling to the European Tour by George and James Wills, sons of Kilchoman Distillery founder Anthony Wills. I blogged about their passage through Belgium in September 2014. How time flies...

The European Tour Bottling was essentially the classic Machir Bay expression but bottled at cask strength instead of the normal 46% ABV. The Machir Bay was the first whisky that became a regular expression and part of Kilchoman's core range. The name comes from the desolate but beautiful Islay beach near the farm distillery.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

News: Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight

Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight
Bruichladdich Distillery is about to present a (its first travel?) retail exclusive expression ‘Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight’ at this April’s IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas.

The switch towards complete transparency results in a new age statement whisky with an upgraded 50% ABV, rather rare for the travel retail market but very good news for the Laddie lovers. I'm already eager to put it side by side with the Laddie Ten!

Identity Card

  • Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight
  • Travel Retail exclusive
  • 50% ABV
  • £45.00

The unpeated ‘Laddie Eight’ is a travel retail exclusive and the first released by head distiller Adam Hannett. His aim with this vatting is to preserve the Bruichladdich character: elegant, floral notes, a vibrant young spirit with aromas of salt and citrus.

Official tasting notes from Bruichladdich

Layer upon layer of oak from the casks used to create this dram give vanilla, lemon, honey, toffee and a creamy buttery texture and mouth feel. This dram has vitality, depth and mellowness as the classic Bruichladdich DNA of soft fruit and floral elegance mix with exotic fruit from such a variety of amazing oak.

Image & Source: Travel Retail Business

10 Irish whiskeys for Saint Patrick's Day 2016

Saint Patrick
picture: Wikipedia
Ireland's National Holiday is only two weeks away. It does not matter if you are Irish or not, it's time to stock up on some Irish whiskies to celebrate the Irish people.

It's a celebration of the heritage and culture of the Irish people who spread across the globe. 17 March is the death date of the Christian missionary Saint Patrick who converted the Irish pagans to Christianity. One of the symbols he used to explain the Holy Trinity to them was the shamrock. The shamrock (and everything green) became the symbol of Saint Paddy's Day.

I selected 10 Irish whiskeys, pot stills, single malts, blends and single grains, to make the most out of Saint Patrick's Day. And if you're not celebrating it, just pour a whiskey. With an e!

ATD - 10 Irish whiskeys for St. Patrick's Day

Redbreast 1999 TWE Exclusive

  • New Midleton Distillery
  • 16 year old single cask single pot still whiskey
  • 59.9% ABV
  • Distilled 2 April 1999 - bottled in 2015
  • Sherry cask | 576 bottles
  • Price: £180 / €232
Redbreast 1999 TWE single cask
picture: The Whisky Exchange
This is a single cask that has been chosen by attendees of a whisky tasting at The Whisky Exchange shop in 2015. This is your chance to taste a single cask from one of the best Irish whiskeys in the world (the Redbreast 12yo Cask strength, that is).

Green Spot Léoville Barton Bordeaux finish

  • Midleton Distillery for Mitchell & Son
  • NAS Single pot still
  • 46% ABV
  • Bourbon and oloroso sherry casks | two year finish in barriques from Château Léovill Barton
  • Price: £47.95 / €60
Green Spot Bordeaux finish
picture: The Whisky Exchange
This is a special edition of the classic Green Spot single pot still whiskey. Initially matured in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, this edition has been finished for two years in wine barriques from Léoville Barton, a highly regarded château in Saint Julien. The roots of the Barton family lay in... Ireland.

Teeling The Revival 1999

  • Cooley Distillery, Louth
  • 15 year old single malt
  • 46% ABV
  • Ex-rum casks
  • Price: £85 /€100
Teeling The Revival
picture: The Whisky Exchange
The new 15 year old Revival by Teeling (not related to the 15yo Glendronach Revival) is a commemorative bottling to mark the opening of the new Teeling Distillery in Dublin. It will be the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years. The two brothers, Jack & Stephan Teeling, inherited their love for Irish whisky from their father John Teeling, founder of Cooley Distillery.

Glendalough Double Barrel Single Grain

  • Glendalough Distillery
  • NAS single grain
  • 42% ABV
  • Ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks
  • Price: €35
Glendalough double barrel single grain Irish whiskey
picture: The Whisky Exchange
Glendalough is one of the many new Irish kids on the block. All the bottles wear the image of St Kevin of Glendalough who build up a civilisation in an isolated valley known as the city of the seven churches. (aka The Glen of the Two lakes nowadays).

Jameson Saint Patrick's Day Edition 2016

  • Bow Street Distillery, Dublin
  • Blended whiskey
  • 40% ABV
  • Designed by street artist James Earley
  • Price: €24
Jameson St Paddy's Day 2016
picture: Jameson

Jameson presents a limited edition of their world famous whiskey for Saint Patrick's day. The 2016 edition is the fifth annual whiskey and the label has been designed by street artist James Earley. The bottle has been inspired by the bridges crossing the river Liffey in Dublin. In March, Jameson will launch a global campaign #beOriginal around it.

Dunville's Very Rare 10 Year Old

  • Echlinville Distillery, Northern Ireland
  • 10 year old single malt
  • 46% ABV
  • Finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks
  • Price: £44.62 / €58
Dunville's Very Rare 10 Year Old
picture: Master of Malt
This is another fairly unknown Irish whiskey from the Echlinville distillery in Northern Ireland, the first distillery in Northern Ireland for over 125 years. A retro looking label for a somewhat rare Irish whiskey.

Jack Ryan Beggars Bush 15 Year Old Single Malt

  • Jack Ryan Whiskey Company
  • 15 year old single malt
  • 57.5% ABV
  • Ex-bourbon casks
  • Price: £77.95 / €100.75

Jack Ryans Beggars Bush 15 Year Old Single Malt
picture: Celtic Whiskey Shop
Another fairly unknown name in the Irish whiskey scene is Jack Ryan. Ryan's Beggar Bush is a Dublin pub which bottled their own Ryan's malt in association with The Dublin Whiskey Distillery until the distillery had to close its doors in 1946. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ryan's Beggars Bush, the family revived the brand.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach

  • Midleton Distillery
  • NAS single pot still whiskey
  • 58.2% ABV
  • Matured 15 - 22 years in refill American oak
  • Irish Virgin Oak finished in one of ten selected Irish oak trees.
  • Price: £180 / €230
Midleton Dair Ghaelach irish whiskey
Midleton's Dair Ghaelach, meaning Irish oak, is the result of a six year experiment by Billy Leighton and Kevin O' Gorman. They selected ten oak trees from Grinsell's Woods that were coopered into virgin oak casks. A vatting of 15 tot 22 year old Irish whisky had been finished in these casks and can be traced back to the exact tree from the forest.

Hyde Whiskey 1916

  • Hibernia Distillers
  • 6 year old single grain
  • 46% ABV
  • First fill Jack Daniels bourbon casks
  • Price: unknown
Hyde number 3 Single Grain
picture: Hyde Whiskey
Hyde Whiskey is named after the first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde. Their third expression is a 6 year old single grain that matured in heavily charred casks from Jack Daniels.

Chapter 7 Irish single malt 1999 rum cask

  • Undisclosed distillery
  • 16 year old single cask single malt
  • 57.3% ABV
  • Distilled in 1999 - bottled in 2015
  • Rum cask #5409
Chapter 7 Irish single malt
picture: Chapter 7
Chapter 7 is a one-man feat based in Switzerland. He already bottled two outstanding Irish single malts, one matured in a bourbon cask, the other one in a sherry butt. His third Irish single malt matured in a rum cask. And we all know rum casks and Irish whiskey can be a match made in heaven...

You think that I missed out an important Irish whiskey? Please let me know in the comments!
Want more of them? These Irish whiskeys were selected for last year's Saint Patrick's Day.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Chapter 7 Irish Single Malt 1999

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Irish whisky is back in full swing. This is the oldest whiskey from the Emerald Isle that has been bottled by Selim from Chapter 7 till date. It is a single malt matured in a rum cask for 16 years and is bottled at cask strength. It's definitely worth a try to compare it with the previous bourbon and sherry cask matured Irish single malts for a complete Chapter 7 experience!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Wood Makes The Whisky

The Wood Makes The Whisky by Gordon & Macphail

Independent bottler Gordon & Macphail recently started a campaign 'The Wood Makes the Whisky'. With it they aim to educate their customers on their wood management (purchasing, maintenance, coopering, allocating empty casks to be filled with new make and destructing unfit or overused casks).

The campaign is supported by a booklet written by the Cask Strength duo Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison and an interactive website. And whiskies to prove their point of course...

News: Laphroaig Four Oak

A new Laffie is coming for the Travel Retail market? Laphroaig Four Oak seems to fit the profile: NAS, 40% ABV and a liter bottle.

Laphroaig Four Oak
Four different casks, one unique single malt.

Identity Card

  • Laphroaig Four Oak
  • Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen (rIslay)
  • NAS
  • 40% ABV
More soon...