Canadian Whisky News ~ “Canadian Whisky Awards Banquet, Taxes, and My Book Tour” – Canadian Whisky News

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Mark Your Calendars

8th Annual 

Canadian Whisky Awards Banquet

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hotel Grand Pacific

Victoria, British Columbia

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It’s that time of year again. Join your hosts, Heather Leary and I in Victoria B.C. to celebrate the best Canadian whiskies in the world. We would love to have you with us as we announce the top winning whiskies of the year. Tickets for the gala banquet and awards presentation may be purchased for $65 from James Burrough at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Your ticket includes music, entertainment, a gala awards ceremony and a full hot and cold buffet.

Reach James by e-mail at

jburrough@hotelgrandpacific.com

The Canadian Whisky Awards help keep the world talking about the very best Canadian whiskies.

Winners will be announced at the ceremony and through major press across Canada and the U.S.

We hope to see you in Victoria.

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CTV Montreal’s Mutsumi Takahashi talks Canadian whisky.

Warm Welcome for Canadian Whisky

Second edition 

A whirlwind tour from Montreal to Vancouver to promote the second edition of Canadian whisky: The New Portable Expert made no fewer than 44 stops. Strong attendance at tastings, dinners, media events, a non-fiction literature festival, book stores and book signings confirm what we already know: Canadian whisky is having its moment.

Massive thanks to the whisky brands that made sure we had plenty to pour and talk about at each stop, to all who came out to chat and sip, and to Penguin Random House for ensuring every detail was taken care of.

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Redblacks star Henry Burris quarterbacks a CTV session about Canadian whisky.

Escalator Tax Encourages Bootlegging

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Anecdotal evidence suggests moonshine is making a a comeback in Canada. And it’s not the fun and often tasty white spirit some of Canada’s microdistillers are bottling to help keep the cashflow positive.

My experiences this year point to more and more off-the-grid distillers converting potatoes, apples, even deer feed into alcohol which they share with friends and sell surreptitiously. It’s profitable, and becoming more so as taxes drive the price of legally made spirits ever higher.

In my travels across Canada this fall I have been offered boot-leg spirit in four provinces. Occasional encounters in the past have become a deluge this year.

While I agree that as a luxury, alcoholic beverages should contribute more to the treasury than necessities, research shows that alcohol consumption is not “elastic.” As prices go up, consumption does not decrease, people just seek less expensive alcohol.

This unintended outcome is something legislators should keep in mind when determining how much to tax alcohol. Declining legal sales should not warm the hearts of health authorities or anti-alcohol advocates. They just as likely mean that more people are turning to illegal and unregulated sources. This not only reduces tax revenues, but puts people’s health at risk.

Automatic tax increases are not like automatic pay raises. At some point people are going to find ways to stop paying them.

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Strong range of fall releases

Canadian whisky has been attracting a lot of notice this year with Canada 150 special releases. While the scrumptiously flavourful Canadian Club 40 year old and the Northern Border Collection Rare Releases got most of the attention, there have been some stellar new whiskies from other producers as well.

Forty Creek Heritage, the latest in Forty Creek’s tradition of special fall releases is a dazzling throwback to the long-lost and much-lamented Forty Creek Three Grain. It’s rich silky texture brings a broad and carefully balanced range of fruits, flowers, nuts grains and barrel notes to the long and lusty palate. A must have.

For Crown Royal lovers in Ontario (and collectors around the globe) the world’s best selling Canadian whisky has a special new bottling called Blender’s Select. Well worth a trip to the LCBO, or of you live outside the province, a road trip.

Sour mash just leaps out of the bottle when you open another Ontario exclusive – Collingwood Double Barreled. Breaking the Canadian whisky mould, Double Barreled is made using a typical bourbon mash bill, with all the grains blended and then fermented together. It takes Canadian whisky flavours in a welcome new direction.  Highly recommended.

Wiser’s brilliant master blender, Dr. Don Livermore continues to stand Canadian whisky on its ear with his latest, Wiser’s 15. According to Dr. Don, this whisky reminds him of Wiser’s Deluxe 10 year old, another whisky we’ve long wanted to see revived. Good work, Doc!

And Canada’s microdistillers have joined the ranks of noteworthy new releases with Lohin McKinnon’s Wine Barrel Finished Single Malt, distilled and matured in Vancouver. Add to this Shelter Point Double Barreled Single Malt whisky and it has been a fall of spectacular new Canadian whiskies.

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And speaking of whisky books…

The updated Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert is now in stores and with on-line sellers. This new, updated edition includes a visitor’s map showing every whisky distillery in Canada (over 40  of them!), over 100 new tasting notes with a birdwatchers’ checklist so you can tick them off as you sample them, coverage of Canada’s burgeoning microdistillery sector, new chapters on whisky flavours and how to taste them, and numerous updates throughout.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/canadian-whisky-news-canadian-whisky-awards-banquet-taxes-and-my-book-tour-canadian-whisky-news/

Diageo celebrates 20 year anniversary – Scotch Whisky News

Diageo 20 years

Diageo celebrates 20 year anniversary 

This weekend, Diageo plc, the maker of some of the world’s most iconic drinks including Johnnie Walker scotch, Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Guinness stout is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Created on 17 December 1997, through the merger of Grand Metropolitan plc and Guinness plc, Diageo has become a global leader in beverage alcohol, with its products being sold in 180 countries.

Over the past 20 years Diageo’s share price has increased by 340%1, market capital has grown 440%1 and earnings per share (pre-exceptional items) are 220%2 higher.

The milestone is being celebrated around the world by the company’s 30,400 employees. From a time capsule ceremony at Cardhu distillery in Scotland, the home of Johnnie Walker, to employees in Lagos, Nigeria and Sydney, Australia toasting the occasion with a dram of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

In London, to mark the celebration, Diageo’s Chief Executive, Ivan Menezes, along with the company’s talented team of Scotch Whisky Blenders and fellow members of the senior leadership team opened the market at the London Stock Exchange.

Ivan Menezes, Diageo Chief Executive said: 

“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the past 20 years, which is testament to the commitment of our talented employees past and present.  Diageo is a young company created from the incredible entrepreneurial legacy of John Walker, Pierre Smirnoff, Charles Tanqueray, Arthur Guinness and many more – and this spirit continues today. 

“Our brands are part of celebrations globally every day, as we mark this milestone, it is not only the growth of our brands and business that I will be toasting, but the way we do business. We have made great strides in diversity and inclusion, minimising our environmental impact, our contribution to the communities where we operate and in our aim to reduce the harmful use of alcohol around the world.” 

E1Percentages calculated comparing number from 17 December 1997 and 4 December 2017.

2EPS calculated using numbers from 30 June 1998 and 30 June 2017.

LSE_Diageo_20 years
 

Key milestones  

  • Diageo plc is created through the merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness. The company is listed on the London and New York stock exchanges in December 1997.
  • In 2001, Diageo and Pernod Ricard acquired Canadian alcoholic beverages business Seagram’s. The acquisition brought Crown Royal Canadian whiskey and Captain Morgan rum into the Diageo brand family.
  • Our Water of Life programme was launched in 2007, to provide safe drinking water and sanitation to people across Africa. Since launch, the programme has reached more than 10 million people in 21 countries.
  • The Nolet Family and Diageo formed a new 50/50 company in 2008 to sell, market and distribute Ketel One vodka.
  • In 2008, Diageo launched DRINKiQ, an online resource to arm consumers with the tools needed to make informed choices about drinking, including the decision not to drink.
  • Diageo launches the Learning for Life skills programme in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008. The programme now runs in more than 40 countries, and has reached more than 120,000 people.
  • In 2011, Diageo became the first global company to own a majority stake in the fast growing Chinese White Spirits category through the acquisition of a controlling share of Shui Jing Fang.
  • Diageo also acquired Mey Içki, the leading spirits company in Turkey in 2011.
  • Diageo acquired Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia and Ypióca Cachaça in Brazil in 2012.
  • In 2013, Diageo began its acquisition of United Spirits Limited in India.
  • Diageo became the first alcohol beverage company to sign up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles in 2013.
  • Diageo gained full control of Don Julio tequila in 2015.
  • Diageo was named as one of the top 25 most diverse and inclusive companies in the 2016 Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion index.
  • In 2017, Diageo acquired the fast growing tequila Casamigos.
  • Diageo announced its investment to bring back two lost distilleries, Port Ellen and Brora in October 2017.
  • Diageo celebrated training 1 million responsible drinking ambassadors in 2017 and launched its Drink Positive campaign aimed at promoting moderation and tackling misuse. 

About Diageo 

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO). For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at http://www.diageo.com/. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

 

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/diageo-celebrates-20-year-anniversary-scotch-whisky-news/

Blair Athol 22yo 1995 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

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Blair Athol 22 Year Old 1995

Single sherry cask bottled November 2017 by Hunter Laing Co. for the Old Malt Cask. Sweet sherry notes, oranges, shortbread and caramel notes. Blair Athol 22 Year Old 1995 vintage Highland single malt Scotch whisky. Single cask sherry butt #14455 bottled November 2017 by Hunter Laing Co. for the Old Malt Cask series. 328 bottles.N. Oranges, green herbs and buer shortbread. P. Caramel, fresh tea and liquorice. F. Long with caramel and a hint of pepper. Blair Athol Distillery was established in 1798 in Pitlochry and with footprints in four centuries it is one of oldest working malt whisky distilleries in Scotland. Purchased by Arthur Bell Sons in1933 it is the spiritual ‘home’ of Arthur Bell’s range of blended scotch whisky complete with distillery visitor centre and Blair Athol Distillery tours. Although a large proportion of Blair Athol’s malt whisky cascades into blends, Bell’s to be precise, independent bottlings of Blair Athol single malts feature in the popular Connoisseurs Choice and Signatory Vintage ranges

Buy – £84.10

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Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/blair-athol-22yo-1995-at-the-whisky-barrel-scotch-whisky-news/

Blair Athol 22yo 1995 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

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Blair Athol 22 Year Old 1995

Single sherry cask bottled November 2017 by Hunter Laing Co. for the Old Malt Cask. Sweet sherry notes, oranges, shortbread and caramel notes. Blair Athol 22 Year Old 1995 vintage Highland single malt Scotch whisky. Single cask sherry butt #14455 bottled November 2017 by Hunter Laing Co. for the Old Malt Cask series. 328 bottles.N. Oranges, green herbs and buer shortbread. P. Caramel, fresh tea and liquorice. F. Long with caramel and a hint of pepper. Blair Athol Distillery was established in 1798 in Pitlochry and with footprints in four centuries it is one of oldest working malt whisky distilleries in Scotland. Purchased by Arthur Bell Sons in1933 it is the spiritual ‘home’ of Arthur Bell’s range of blended scotch whisky complete with distillery visitor centre and Blair Athol Distillery tours. Although a large proportion of Blair Athol’s malt whisky cascades into blends, Bell’s to be precise, independent bottlings of Blair Athol single malts feature in the popular Connoisseurs Choice and Signatory Vintage ranges

Buy – £84.10

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Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/blair-athol-22yo-1995-at-the-whisky-barrel-scotch-whisky-news/

KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 15 – Glenglassaugh Torfa – Scotch Whisky News

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KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 15 – Glenglassaugh Torfa 

Glenglassaugh distillery is built into the sand dunes above the east end of the Sandend Bay on the Moray coast. Established in 1875 by Col. James Moir the distillery remained in the family until just 1892 when it became a part of Highland Distillers. The distillery was established at its location near the growing town of Portsoy to supply the town’s growing grocery business. It also helped that the distillery sat on the plentiful clean Glenglassaugh Springs, and it was also surrounded by bountiful barley fields. Highland Distillers, who also owned Macallan, Glenrothes and the Famous Grouse Blend owned the distillery from 1892 through 2008. The distillery didn’t operate uninterrupted during these years.

In 1960 the distillery had a major upgrade, they doubled production and changed to producing a lighter spirit. But the good times were not to last, the late 1970s and early 1980s were a difficult time for the industry. An enormous number of distilleries were closed between 1981 and 1993, many never reopened. Only 26 years after its major upgrade Glenglassaugh joined the list of closed distilleries. The industry downturn was brutal, but it didn’t last forever. In the 1990s interest in Scotch whisky, especially single malts began picking up, many of the closed distilleries we brought back to life, none of them later than Glenglassaugh; though Brora, Rosebank and Port Ellen are set to change this. It is surprising that Glenglassaugh ever re-opened at all, as the distillery was very remote and not especially well known, bottled seldomly even by independents.

In 2007 a group of Dutch investors, the Scaent Group, who had been looking for a distillery to purchase found their way to Glenglassaugh. They purchased the distillery and approximately 400 casks of pre-1986 stock from Highland Distillers. They took possession the following year and released the oldest introductory core range that any Scottish distiller ever has, consisting of 26, 30 and 40 year old single malts. After 6 months of intensive refurbishments, the First Minister of Scotland was on hand to turn on the mill for first time, November 28th 2008, reviving the distillery. In 2013 the distillery was purchased by the BenRiach Distillery Co. who also own BenRiach and Glendronach distilleries. BenRiach Distillery Co. was itself purchased by Brown Forman in 2016. As the post 2008 stocks mature, it will be interesting to see how the whiskies develop. They can’t be the same as the pre-closures stocks as much of the equipment changed, but in the hands of the BenRiach Distillery Co. they will be sure to make a mark. While we wait for more mature stocks, they have released three young expressions including the Glenglassaugh Evolution, our Day 8 whisky!

The name Torfa translates roughly to Turf or Peat in the Old Norse influenced Scots Gaelic of Scotland’s North East, and as the name implies this is a peated single malt. The original Glenglassaugh distilled before its closure in 1986 was unpeated. When the distillery reopened in 2008, cognoscente of the fact that the new whisky would never be exactly the same as the old, the decision was made to produce both peated and unpeated single malts. The Torfa is, according to the bottle, “Richly Peated”, peated to 20ppm, matured Ex-Bourbon.

Glenglassaugh Torfa – 50% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: big, malty and savoury; a big hit of salted caramel, candied apply and brown sugar melting on warm homemade oatmeal; a touch of decadent spice and marmalade. Palate: still big, brash and malty; there is a surge of tarry-oily-peat on the palate; Dutch licorice and salted caramel with dried orange peel and cloves; more decadent spice and marmalade; still sugary with more melting brown sugar. Finish: clean, smoky and malty with more salted caramel. Comment: I swear the recipe for this whisky is evolving as the maturing spirit at the distillery ages; it is richer, more complex and peatier than I recall; it also tastes a lot peatier than 20ppm!”$78 for 700ml or $10 for 50ml

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kwm-whisky-advent-2017-day-15-glenglassaugh-torfa-scotch-whisky-news/

Introducing Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Special Release – Scotch Whisky News

Crafted by Johnnie Walker Master Distiller, Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare is a rich, velvety smooth blend of eight treasured Scotch whiskies, including three “ghost” whiskies from the silent distilleries of Cambus, Pittyvaich and the Highland Single Malt, Brora, which lies at the heart of this special release bringing a light peatiness and sophisticated subtle sweetness.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/introducing-johnnie-walker-blue-label-ghost-and-rare-special-release-scotch-whisky-news/

KWM Whisky Advent Day 14 – Writers Tears Copper Pot – Irish Whiskey News

KWM Whisky Advent Day 14 – Writers Tears Copper Pot

Today’s is the first whisk(e)y in the 2017 edition of the Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar not to be from a single distillery. For Day 14 of Advent, we are delving into our second Irish whiskey, but a more traditional one than the first. The Writers Tears Copper Pot is a blended Irish whiskey, composed of 60% pot still and 40% malt. There is a lot to unpack here, but before we go any further let’s quickly discuss the Irish spelling of the word whisk(e)y. The Irish, along with the Americans, are the only people in the world to employ an “e” in the spelling of whisk(e)y. The difference relates to Anglicizations of uisge beatha Scots Gaelic and usice beatha Irish Gaelic for “water of life”.

Single Pot Still, formerly, Pure Pot Still, is the most Irish of whiskey styles. The first whiskies in Ireland and Scotland were made from malted barley, essentially distilled beer. Unlike corn or wheat, barley has enzymes which can convert insoluble starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. Barley is also a hardy grain, so it is ideal for storing in cool, wet climates like Scotland and Ireland. Scottish and Irish whisk(e)y production in the 1700s did not escape the eyes of the government in London. Westminster sought to curb excessive drinking and tax its production. One way of doing this was by taxing malted barley by the ton. Although the alcohol yield per ton of barley can vary by strain and by harvest, taxmen could estimate the amount of whisky that would result from a given ton of barley. They could also estimate a distillery’s production for the purposes of taxation.

Over the course of the 18th Century the British imposed a series of “punishing malt taxes”. No one knows when or where the practice began, but Irish distillers began using a blend of malted and unmalted barley in their mashes as a way of avoiding or reducing their exposure to the “hated malt tax”. As is common in Canadian and American whiskies made principally from corn, you only need a small quantity of malted barley in the mash bill, 10-15%, for an efficient fermentation. So Irish distillers began making whiskey from a small amount of malted barley, and a greater amount of unmalted barley, or green malt. A uniquely Irish style of whiskey, Pure Pot Still, was born. In 2010 the style which had at least two other common names was legally re-categorized as Single Pot Still Whiskey.

Due to the Irish whiskey industry’s contraction, all Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey available today comes from the New Middleton Distillery in Cork. Some Single Pot Still Whiskey is bottled pure, under labels like: Red Breast, Powers, Green Spot, Writer’s Tears and Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy. But as with the bulk of single malt whisky production in Scotland, most pot still whiskey is produced for Blended whiskey. Many other distilleries in Ireland are making Single Pot Still whiskey, but none of them have yet produced whiskies old enough to bottle. Curiously Shelter Point on Vancouver Island has produced the closest thing we know of to Irish single pot still whisk(e)y, the Shelter Point Single Grain Montfort Lot 141.

Writers Tears is produced by Walsh Whiskey, which opened their own distillery in June of 2016 at Royal Oak, County Carlow. It is the first distillery to be built in this region of Ireland in over 200 years. The distillery was founded by Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, who started the Hot Irishman in 1999 to blend and bottle the perfect Irish Coffee. In 2007 the branched into whiskey with “The Irishman”, releasing “Writers Tears” for the first time a few years later.

Writer’s Tears Copper Pot – 40% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: doughy with loads of cooked apple, white chocolate Hershey’s kisses, a touch of juicy malt and fresh almond croissants; a touch of that distinct, dusty but oily pot still note. Palate: round, oily and coating; more cooked apple, under-cooked pie crust and dewy flowers; steely, a bright copper note and citrus; more white chocolate and light coloured Jujubes. Finish: more white chocolate, almond croissants and Jujubes; light but lasting and fresh. Comment: this is not mind-blowingly complex, but it is dangerously drinkable, especially on a hot day!” $52 for a 700ml or $7 for a 50ml

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kwm-whisky-advent-day-14-writers-tears-copper-pot-irish-whiskey-news/

Scotland’s first female coppersmith picks up the torch of age-old whisky craft – Scotch Whisky News

Rebecca joins a vanguard of female distillers, engineers, blenders and brand ambassadors at Diageo, hoping to inspire other women to join the industry. At Diageo in Scotland, a quarter of all its apprentices are female; 17% of the malt distilling workforce is female and 40% are in management roles, reflecting the company’s focus on diversity in its workforce.

Abercrombie, which hand-crafts bespoke stills for Diageo’s sites across Europe, is experiencing one of the largest peaks in demand for its specialist engineering services in its history. While a traditional product, Scotch is still innovative and new ranges – which require a diverse range of stills in different shapes and sizes – are constantly being launched.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/scotlands-first-female-coppersmith-picks-up-the-torch-of-age-old-whisky-craft-scotch-whisky-news/

Compass Box No Name

Compass Box No Name - whisky review

Compass Box No Name - whisky review

This is the peatiest whisky ever from Compass Box.

As often the recipe of the blend is easy to find: around 75% Ardbeg from re-charred barrels, around 11% Caol Ila from refill barrels, 13% Clynelish (re-charred hogsheads) and a very small portion of their typical Highland malt blend which usually involves Dailuaine and Teaninich finished in Compass Box’s special French oak ‘hybrid’ casks. A lot of information actually, it turns out the only thing missing is a name.

 

 

Compass Box No NameCompass Box No NameCompass Box No Name
(48,9%, OB 2017, 15.000 btl.)

Nose: lovely elegant Islay style. Lots of ashes and hints of antiseptic bandages. Tarry ropes. All very gentle though. Underneath is a mellow fruity layer of peaches, grapefruit juice and lime. Autumn leaves and mossy notes, a little vanilla custard too. The balance is spot on. Mouth: oily but more firm and slightly sharp now, with salty liquorice, big smoke and wet dogs. Hints of clove and a little oak char. Plenty of grapefruits again (maybe more zesty though). Brine and tobacco notes towards the end. Finish: long, ashy, with strong Dutch liquorice, citrus zest and dry, leafy notes.

This reminds us of the bespoke Compass Box bottling for the 10th anniversary of The Nectar last year. Perfect pedigree, great whisky. Very good value for money as well, check Master of Malt or TWE for instance.

Score: 89/100

Article source: https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/blends/compass-box-no-name/

KWM Whisky Advent Day 12 – Tullibardine Sovereign – Scotch Whisky News

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KWM Whisky Advent Day 12 – Tullibardine Sovereign

Tullibardine was founded in the old town of Blackford in 1949, a few miles down the road from the storied Gleneagles golf course. Though the distillery is relatively new by Scottish standards, the town of Blackford has been in the drinks business for 6th centuries. Situated just a few miles from the Ochil Hills, the town has long been blessed with pure, clean water, perfect for making beer. James IV famously made a visit to the town as a teenager in 1488, to acquire a cask of ale for his coronation. Legend holds the town, situated at a ford on the River Allan earned its named when Hellen, Queen to King Magnus, drowned in a storm.

The current Tullibardine distillery is the second to bear the name. The first operated for a year beginning in 1798 and again between 1814 and 1837. Though the distillery didn’t take hold the town remained a prominent brewing center with a maltings and three breweries. The Gleneagles Brewery was the last of these to close in 1927. William Delme-Evans, the mid-20th Century’s most famous distillery designer bought the old Gleneagles site in 1949 and set about opening Scotland’s first new distillery in half a century.

The distillery was built to supply young malt whisky for blending, and it was brought into service at the very beginning of the 20th Century’s first whisky boom. Over the course of the next 44 years it served as a workhorse of the rapidly expanding blended whisky market, changing hands a number of times until it was acquired by Whyte Mackay in 1993. The following year they mothballed it, a decade into the crises which had closed nearly half of Scotland’s distilleries. It would lay silent for just under a decade. In 2004 the distillery and its buildings were purchased by a consortium of investors.

A lot of work was needed to get the distillery and buildings up to speed. Some of the site was sold off for a commercial development to raise cash. Much of the whisky was found to be matured in sub-standard casks, so it was re-racked into an assortment of fresh new barrels. The years between 2004 and 2011 may well be looked upon as the golden age of Tullibardine. Many stunning old whiskies were bottled, all of them at cask strength or at the very least 46%. There was a core range of vintages and young wine finishes. The distillery was seemingly on a roll, and then it was sold!

In 2011 the French wine and spirit group Picard took over. They have done much good for the distillery, including recently opening its own cooperage. The portion of the site originally sold off as a retail park, which had failed by the middle of this decade, was bought back by Picard, and is now being repurposed for the distillery. But they made one crucial decision that has not sat well with me over the last five years. Tullibardine had been a proud proponent of bottling their whiskies at either cask strength or failing that, 46%. The distillery bottled loads of single casks and one off bottlings. They also experimented with different casks types and finishes. Picard dropped all of the single casks and one off in favour of a core range, and cut the strength of all of the whiskies to 43%. The whiskies are still good (especially the 20 and 25 year olds), but it has been quite a while since they were great.

Tullibardine Sovereign – 43% – Matured in First Fill Ex-Bourbon – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, floral and nutty; lots of almond, lush tropical vegetation just after the rain and chunky malt; becomes more honeyed as it opens with marzipan and candied lemon. Palate: fresh, floral and crisp; this is the tart sauvignon blanc of single malt whiskies; more dewy tropical vegetation; white pepper, Marcona almonds and French croissants filled with almond paste. Finish: light, clean and on the medium-short side of things. Comment: young but fresh and crisp; I really wish they would go back to bottling at 46%!!! $65 for 700ml

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Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kwm-whisky-advent-day-12-tullibardine-sovereign-scotch-whisky-news/