Irresistible Caol Ila — Special Single Malt Finds from “Old Particular” at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


A Tantalizing Single Malt at a Price You Won’t Believe
2010 Caol Ila 8 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($69.99)

This is simply the prettiest style of Caol Ila malt available. We’ve managed to secure a record number of Caol Ila casks this year and the pricing has been extraordinary across the board. Our favorite of the lineup (with perhaps the exception of the exquisite 34 Year Old bottling) is the 8 year from Old Particular. This cask is bold, yet nuanced. It’s fruity, malt forward, and has the perfect thick thread of peat smoke stitching the whole thing together. This single cask is the perfect showcase of Caol Ila’s gentler side. It’s not a bruiser, but an elegant, thoughtful expression of everything Islay has to offer. At the jaw-dropping price of $69.99, we don’t expect this to last much longer than it takes to pour a single drop into your glass.

Also available is the coveted 34 Year Old bottling—you don’t get many opportunities to own a malt like this one for under 1000 bucks, let alone for under 400! This is the once in a lifetime cask you hope it is. There are no regrets in socking a bottle of this away for a rainy day, only in knowing you didn’t get one while you still could.


2010 Caol Ila 8 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($69.99)

We didn’t say no to a single Caol Ila cask this year. They’re too good and too reasonably priced. With the demand for Islay peat as high as it has ever been, the quality of these casks combined with sharp pricing was an absolute no brainer. This Old Particular bottling is charged from a refill hogshead and, as always, bottled with no coloring or chill filtration. The meaty quality that we see in this year’s Sovereign cask of Caol Ila is tamed here and while there is decidedly some richness of peat and decadent phenol components, this is really on the gentler side of Caol Ila. The fruit is more prominent than most of our other casks currently available. Tart cherries and blackberries mesh with salt and pepper and a bit of herbal spice. It’s wonderful at proof, but with a little water it just sings and sings. This is precisely the kind of bottle you don’t put down until it’s empty.

Will Blakely | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 21, 2019

One of my favorite aspects of Caol Ila is how the smell evokes a sea breeze on a cloudy but eerily beautiful coastline. Moss, salty air and fragrant barley make for a friendly introduction to the dram. What follows is perfectly integrated smoke and raging spice. There’s a hint of bell pepper there, accompanied by smoked meat and sweet orchard fruit. With water, the softness of the grain really shines through, bringing ripe pear and golden apple. The finish is long and savory compounded by subtle cocoa and a tinge of pine. This barrel really shows what Caol Ila is all about.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

When I think of Caol Ila distillery it is as a single malt that is a little more subtle and delicate than some of its neighbors on Islay. This Old Particular that was distilled in 2010 is a good example. Without water, the nose is a mixture of fruity malt aromas with a hint of smoke and the mouth is in the same direction. With a touch of water, this single malt it becomes better with the flavors and aromas opening up, becoming more complex and enjoyable. Although there are smoky influences they do not dominate this whiskey but play a secondary role.

William Beare | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2019

This Caol Ila bottling from Douglas Laing is a fun and refreshing change of pace from what I’ve come to expect from Caol Ila—namely, the monstrously peaty reputation that precedes it. The nose is full of savory vegetal characteristics that follow on to the palate—bell pepper, both green and yellow, spring to mind, along with some spicy sweet notes that remind me of a pepper jelly. Very light traces of pear and smoke mingle on the finish.

Neal Fischer | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2019

There is not much peat or smoke on this bottling of Caol Ila – which is surprising, but it’s not a problem for me because it’s still a tasty dram. I’m getting a wisp of smoke, a little meat with candied jalapeno, berries, and a rich buttery character. The palate offers leather, iodine medicinality, and earth. These flavors transition into herbal tea with accents of rock candy, black licorice, and after-dinner mints. This is Caol Ila’s lighter side and it’s rather delightful.


1984 Caol Ila 34 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($375.00)

No distillery is more representative of the state of the Scotch industry than this bewitching peater on the northern coast of Islay. The excellent shoreside stills have dutifully cranked out unbelievably delicious peated whisky since 1846, but it wasn’t until the malt floors were closed and the distillery began buying barley from the Port Ellen maltings that the current house style truly solidified. Caol Ila is known for their 12 Year Old in the US, but a huge majority of the spirit gets blended into the Johnnie Walker line. While the line has become slightly more available in the last few years, it still remains pretty elusive, especially in a significantly aged form. The last distillery on Islay where ultra-mature stocks are not in the $1,000 range, but they probably deserve to be. The spirit is impeccable and easily one of the most undervalued malts in Scotland. Oftentimes when we lament the loss of the old great peater Port Ellen, we’re reminded how lucky we are to have the beautiful beast that sits just north of Port Askaig. A 34 Year Old PE would easily cost you $1,500. Of course, whiskies of that age are always extremely rare, but this Caol Ila represents some of the most valuable stocks. The standard 30 Year Old, which is not available in the US, easily fetches over $500 in Europe. This single cask, nearly a half decade older than that, offers one of the best values for old Islay anywhere in the world. Absolutely no old peater offers as much luxury for your dollar.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 14, 2018

This cask aged very well. The positive aspects of long aging are apparent. It is lively and delicious. The nose has aromas of salt and smoke that work well together. In the mouth it is soft and concentrated with a creamy mouthfeel. The smoke and salt and a sense of place come through. It is enjoyable without water but a splash of water opens this selection up.

David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2018

I literally said the words, “holy sh*t” under my breath when I first tasted this special cask. Now we’re no strangers to old Caol Ila —in fact we seek it out like blood hounds. Why? Because it’s one of the only old Islay heavy hitters that has been available at semi-reasonable prices. Well, at least up until now. All but this one very special source have dried up or are becoming so prohibitively expensive that they effectively don’t exist in our world. It’s true that last year we bottled a sister cask to this one and for $25, but this whisky is in a whole other league. That’s not to imply that last year’s special whisky was a slouch by any means and the appreciation this year is relatively minimal compared to other casks. Stocks similar to the ’83 Signatory 30 year we bottled 5 years ago (retail $300) would now retail for at least $1000. Old bottles from that same period are still selling around the world for around $700. If you’re lucky you might find the bottler’s current release in Europe for $500+ and if the distillery releases a 35 Year, it will command upwards of $1000 as well. But this whisky is more than just a good deal. It’s an absolute star. The first moment the whisky hits your glass you’re blasted with massive billowing smoke. As it aerates it begins to offer some more nuance—lemon skins scorched in a pile of burning spices, the embers of a fire on an Islay beach—the smells of the bay, dried seaweed, and fresh peat burning in homes over the hill. On the palate this thing just about cuts you in half. Sooty bold peat, oyster shell, brine, tangy lemon rind, ashen embers of expensive incense. The finish is long and lingering. Too long to calculate as it forces another sip. Normally I’d recommend avoiding water on something this old, but the beast can handle it. With just the tiniest drop of water, the whole package coalesces. Salted fruits, cured meats, smoked salty fish, high end nori, sweet Meyer lemon. On the palate the water actually brings the oily texture out, revealing an almost thick mouth feel that coats every taste bud and drowns it in sooty sea spray and sweet citrus. An absolute star that probably deserves to be much more expensive, but I hesitate to anoint it with the term “value.” Just too good to be ignored.

William Beare | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 11, 2018

Attention lovers of peat: line up and hold out your glasses! Drinking this beautifully aged Caol Ila is like stepping in to a meat smoker for a light nap. The age here is not so much adding the overt sweetness found in other well-matured peaters, but instead contributes a savory, meaty richness to the healthy dose of smoke you get right at the front of the palate. The salinity comes in similar barbeque fashion—like a salt-cured rack of pork ribs, lightly coated in a sweet and spicy honey glaze. In the typical lineup of Islay scotches, this Caol Ila stands out in a beacon of light. Fascinating, exotic, and deeply pleasing to drink.

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 11, 2018

“Buried how long?” Almost 35 years. “You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?” “Long ago.” My personal tastes for whisky have changed dramatically over the years. I’ve at times found myself going gaga over loaded sherry bombs, exalting the finesse of delicate drams, and seeking out the peatiest of peatys. One thing that has been a constant over the last decade of my Scotch drinking life is my affection for well-aged smoke. As heavily peated spirits age the intensity of the smoke falls away into richness and body. It’s a particular and special characteristic that cannot be counterfeit or short cut. This specimen is a perfect example of why it is so compelling. I’m not saying this isn’t a smoky whisky, it certainly is. It’s just also so much more than that. The smoke has become a rich and oily slip’n’slide of flavor. There is a slight brine characteristic to it, not iodine, but a lighter kind of salinity. Sweet malt marries perfectly with a bit of tangy BBQ sauce. The freshness of fruit, once readily apparent in this whisky’s younger days has developed into a rich tapestry of salted and cured fruits. A refilled hogshead was undoubtedly the perfect vessel for this whisky, tame enough to stand up to many long seasons in the warehouse, and rich enough to make sure that this whiskey, after many long years in darkness would be “recalled to life.”

Jackson Lee | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 06, 2018

As a casual drinker of Caol Ila, I was very much looking forward to trying this dram and it didn’t disappoint. Classic Caol Ila honeyed smoke on the nose, much like a slow smoked honey ham, followed by a little peat, green apple, and sweet soy sauce at the end. The palate mirrored the smoked honey note I got on the nose but also included pencil shavings, charred strawberry, and a hint of brine. That brine became more noticeable throughout the finish, pairing with a sweet note that reminded me of salted caramel just not quite as…caramel-y; add wood and a nice fruity note and it’s a wrap!


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The Whisky Exchange “What is Irish Whiskey?” – Irish Whiskey News


What is Irish Whiskey?

Over the past decade, Irish whiskey has become huge. A drink with a long history, its popularity declined through the 20th century but it is now having a renaissance. Not only can you find it in bars and shops all over the world, but there are also new distilleries popping up all over Ireland. But what is it, where did it come from and how is it different to other types of whisk(e)y?

A brief history of Irish Whiskey

An excellent way to annoy a room full of Irish whiskey fans is to simply say ‘Didn’t the Scottish bring whisky making to Ireland?’ Similarly, you can annoy Scotch whisky fans by flipping it around. If you want to annoy everyone, claim it was the English.

There are many theories as to where whiskey making in Ireland and not a lot of evidence. The one that rings truest to me is that missionaries brought distillation to Ireland, primarily for making perfumes and medicines. The Irish modified the process, started distilling beer, and somewhere down the line whiskey was created.


A monk, caught in the act

However it appeared, by the middle of the 19th century Irish was the most popular whiskey in the world. But from the late 1800s onwards, there were a series of setbacks in Ireland that slowly wiped out the industry, leaving it a shadow of itself. The Irish War of Independence, the Irish Civil War, trade wars with England, prohibition in the USA, The Great Depression and the two world wars all took their toll. When writer Alfred Barnard visited Ireland in 1887, there were 28 distilleries making whiskey. By the early 1980s, there were just two.

In 1987, the Teeling family opened Cooley distillery, sowing the seeds of recovery. Over the past 30 years, that recovery has continued, and there are now more than 50 distilleries either in operation, being built or in the planning stages across Ireland.

Types of Irish Whiskey

The Irish Whiskey Act defines four types of whiskey:


A pot still, the traditional still of Ireland – used to make malt and, obviously, pot still whiskey

Irish Malt Whiskey – this has a very similar definition to malt whisk(e)y from around the world, and is made from just malted barley, water and yeast, and must be distilled in a pot still.

Irish Grain Whiskey – this is made using a mixture of malted barley (a maximum of 30% of the mash) as well as whole other grains, and is distilled using column stills.

Irish Pot Still Whiskey – this is the most traditional of Irish whiskey styles, and until recently it wasn’t found outside of Ireland. It uses a mixture of malted barley, unmalted barley and, optionally, other grains, and is distilled in pot stills. The recipe must include at least 30% of both malted and unmalted barley, and a maximum of 5% of other grains.

Irish Blended Whiskey – a mixture of at least two of the three types of whiskey above.

Is all Irish whiskey triple distilled?

Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled, making a lighter style of spirit than the normally double-distilled Scottish whiskies. However, Irish distillers can legally double distil if they wish.

Most companies do triple distil, but most of Cooley’s whiskeys, including Connemara and Tyrconnell, are only distiled twice.

What about the E in Whiskey?

There are many theories and stories, but the one that makes most sense to me is from the years of Irish whiskey’s dominance around the world.

With Irish whiskey so popular, other producers – including those from Scotland – started making whiskey of a similar style to try and compete. Sometimes these whiskies had a shady background, with Scottish whisky shipped to Ireland to be blended with a small amount of young Irish spirit before labelling as Irish whisky, and the genuine Irish producers needed a way to distinguish themselves – hence the added E.

It was far from standard for all distillers, and into the early 20th century you can still see Irish whiskey spelled without the E. However, over the decades it’s settled down, and now all Irish distillers use the E and Scottish distillers go without.

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Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Reveals New Label – American Whiskey News

Yellowstone Select New Label 2019 (002)

Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Reveals New Label

(Lebanon, Ky.) February 26, 2019 – Limestone Branch Distillery introduces a vibrant, new Yellowstone Select bottle label. This smooth, well-rounded bourbon features a hand-picked blend of sweet, spicy, and smoky bourbons, each chosen to give this exclusive whiskey a taste that celebrates its deep, family origins.

“We are excited about changing the look of Yellowstone Select’s label – we see this as a refresh of this brand,” says Steve Beam, head distiller and co-owner of Limestone Branch Distillery. “While the look is updated, consumers can still expect the same caramel flavor notes and smoky oak and brown sugar finish from the bourbon inside.”

The new label was designed by David Cole, prominent designer. Keeping the ornate golden lettering, Cole applied a bold and vivid design to a brighter, cream-colored background, making the label easier to read in a retail environment – both on the shelf and behind the bar. Adding to the vibrance of the design is an enhanced, colorful depiction of the classical waterfall at Yellowstone National Park. “Limestone Branch Distillery Co.” was also added to the front of the bottle to make a stronger connection between the brand and the distillery.

“The new design is more attention-grabbing and draws the eye to the iconic Yellowstone logo, which has been used continuously since 1872,” Cole explained. “Additionally, colorizing the waterfall art was inspired by a recently discovered and previously unknown historic Yellowstone label, which featured a gorgeous, similarly colored rendition of the waterfall.”

Taking home gold medals from both the 2018 SIP Awards and the 2018 San Francisco Spirits Competition, Yellowstone Select dates back to 1872 and is known for its smooth-sipping and time-honored original recipe, featuring leather with hints of citrus and oak on the nose. On the tongue, it’s spicy rye with soft cherries fading to smoked caramel and a memorable finish, rich with brown sugar and Kentucky tradition.

The new packaging will hit the market in March and will be available in 750ml. The SRP is $39.99.

About Limestone Branch Distillery

Steve Beam and his brother Paul Beam opened Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011, with the goal of crafting the finest whiskey in small batches, honoring their long family heritage. With a history of distilling on both sides of their family – Beam and Dant – the brothers are seventh-generation distillers. In 2015, by partnering with Luxco, they brought the Yellowstone brand back to the family, just in time to commemorate the brand’s 105th anniversary. As one of the founding members of the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail, Limestone Branch Distillery is located in Lebanon, Ky., in the heart of bourbon country. The distillery is well-known for its handcrafted products, including Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey.

For more information on Limestone Branch Distillery and Yellowstone, please visit, or



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Signatory Linkwood 42 Year Old at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Linkwood 42 Year Old

1974 vintage hogshead cask matured. 237 numbered bottles. Linkwood 42 Year Old 1974 vintage Speyside single malt Scotch whisky. Matured in hogsheads #8440 #8441 bottled February 2017 by by Signatory Vintage for the Cask Strength Rare Reserve Collection. 237 numbered bottles.

Linkwood Distillery was established in 1821 by Peter Brown in the Speyside whisky region. This is a malt whisky distillery equipped with six stills and whilst a large percentage of Linkwood whisky flows into blends an increasing volume is appearing as single malt whisky. There are some excellent independent releases including vintages such as Linkwood 1969 and Linkwood 1972 from Gordon MacPhail.

Shop £698.48

TWB 337

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Edinburgh Whisky Acedemy ‘Diploma in the Art of Tasting’ launches… – Whisky News


Diploma in the Art of Tasting launches…

The Academy is delighted to announce the inaugural Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky will take place on Wednesday 3rd April at Arniston House. This is the first sensory course of its kind with the focus on oak, odour recognition, flavour development and aroma memory.

The material covered on the course is:

  • Anatomy Physiology of Olfactory System (pre-course reading)
  • Multi Sensory Tasting Experience (pre-course reading)
  • Flavour Development
  • The Aroma Journey
  • Influence of Oak

John Ramsay is the Senior Course lecturer and candidates will benefit from his 40 years in the industry, most recently as the Master Blender at Edrington.

Sign up for the Diploma in the Art of Tasting

Edinburgh Whisky Academy
23b Windsor Street
Edinburgh, EH7 5LA
United Kingdom

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Tyler lunceford Smokehead 2 (002)



‘The Smoker’ will be a bespoke motorcycle expertly crafted by the Ducati Whisperer, Tyler Lunceford 

Smokehead Islay Single Malt Whisky has teamed up with renowned global biking sensation Tyler Lunceford (known as the Ducati Whisperer of the New York tri-state), challenging him to create his boldest motorcycle ever. The project will follow the creation of a customised Ducati bike, captured through a series of episodes*.

US born, Tyler has a workshop in Brooklyn where he has customised bikes for many obsessive bikers and rock stars. He recently moved to Scotland and opened a workshop in Leith, Edinburgh and will produce a custom Ducati, inspired by vintage racing motorcycles, for Smokehead to showcase at key events. The project will run until September 2019, when the finished model, ‘The Smoker’, will be unleashed.



Commenting on the partnership, Tyler Lunceford, of North Motorcycle, said: “I’m excited to be involved with Smokehead. I love the idea of this brand supporting craftsmen and women, and it’s even better as I’m a huge Smokehead whisky fan.

Motorcyclists have an identity; they feel independent and different from other people. When you find something you like, such as a bold, smoky, outrageous whisky that is not for everyone, it gives you a sense of belonging when it is for you.

I’m literally building my dream bike; it will be something that’s never been seen before, something so bold, that even motorbike buffs will be blown away. It won’t be easy, but it’s a great opportunity to make something really special.”

Adding his thoughts, Iain Weir, Smokehead Brand Director, said: “We’re proud to be working with Tyler. His all-round attitude personifies Smokehead – bold, daring and independent. We can’t wait to see the bike unveiled. Just like Smokehead, motorbikes are not for everyone, but that’s okay, and that’s why this partnership works so well.”

The Smokehead Refinery
The campaign will share stories of partnerships with the boldest of craftsmen and women that Smokehead is proud to rub shoulders with. Chapter 1 of the project was unleashed in 2018, a successful partnership with Dram Smoke creating a series of ‘Smokehead Feasts’ for media and trade across the UK. Chapter 2 celebrates the collaboration with Tyler.

In late 2018, Smokehead released Sherry Bomb, a heavily peated Islay single malt that has been boldly blasted by sherry casks; following hot on the heels of Smokehead High Voltage, along with their louder and bolder look, which was unveiled in April.

*Smokehead encourages everyone to drink responsibly, and not to drink and ride*






About Smokehead:

  • Smokehead is an Islay Single Malt Whisky and has been given a bold new look by Ian Macleod Distillers.
  • Originally launched in 2006, Smokehead has been labelled the wild one of Single Malt Whisky and is not for everyone.
  • Award-winning premium Scotch whisky that has an attitude-led positioning and heavily peated taste. 

About Ian Macleod Distillers:

  • Established in 1933, Ian Macleod Distillers is one of Scotland’s leading independent, family-owned distillers, blenders and bottlers.
  • Ian Macleod Distillers is the world’s 10th largest Scotch Whisky company, producing and selling over 15 million bottles of spirits every year.
  • Ian Macleod Distillers has built up an enviable portfolio of premium quality spirits and is proud brand proprietor of Glengoyne, Tamdhu, Rosebank and Smokehead Scotch whiskies and Edinburgh Gin to name but a few.

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BenRiach 22 Years Albariza

BenRiach 22 Years Albariza is a peated whisky matured in American oak and finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

Albariza is derived from alba (Spanish for white). It refers to the white chalky soil that is so typical for the sherry region (similar to the soils of Champagne or Chablis). It should be noted though that very little Pedro Ximénez grapes are planted in the sherry triangle, most of them are imported from the nearby Montilla-Moriles region.



benriach-22-years-albariza-peatedbenriach-22-years-albariza-peatedBenRiach 22 yo Albariza (46%, OB 2017, peated, Pedro Ximénez finish)

Nose: the peat is much more subtle here than in the 18 Years Albariza. It allows the bright fruity notes to shine. Apricots, blood oranges, hints of strawberry and Turkish delight as well. Just fine, fruity sherry. Leathery notes and light ashes. Honey and delicate mint. Mouth: still fresh and fruity, now more spicy notes too. Strawberries again, oranges and red plums. Mid-palate you get a slightly mentholated, elegant peaty side, as well as dark chocolate and vanilla. Cinnamon and honey. Finish: quite long, with ashes and slightly sour peat, blending with red berries.

A nice surprise: great drinking whisky, with candied fruity notes and subtle, elegant peat. Definitely deserves some attention. Still available from Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange.

Score: 89/100

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A Very Special, 44 Year “Old Particular” Scotch from Garnheath at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


An Exceptionally Rare Find for Whisky Collectors
1974 Garnheath 44 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($299.99)
“A superlative example of the merits of old grain whisky and worth every single penny.”
—David Othenin-Girard

This is one of those rare bottlings that we simply can’t believe we got our hands on. Coming from the long-shuttered Garnheath distillery, this 44-year-old single grain is not only a slice of history, but also a shockingly delicious of bottle of Scotch. Garnheath, for a brief twenty-two-year stint, produced the grain component for Scotch Inver House Rare Blended Whisky. Unfortunately, the cost of the operation became too much and the distillery was closed in 1986. The remaining casks like this one knocked around Lowland warehouses for years, slowly being picked off by independent bottlers. When our spirits team tasted this cask, they knew immediately it belonged on our shelves. Smooth, sophisticated, and refined, it serves up sweet caramel, berries, chantilly cream, wood spice, and so much more. When it comes to old single grains, this is easily among the best we’ve encountered. Its smooth and supple approach is the icing on the cake. Only 139 bottles were produced, so it will be a lucky few who get to enjoy this treasure. The moral of the story, don’t delay on this divine single barrel.

1974 Garnheath 44 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($299.99)

Garnheath was the grain side of a short-lived but very large malt and grain whisky production complex in Airdrie that only operated for 22 years. Opened in 1964, Garnheath was one of the most efficient and promising distilleries in the Lowlands. It was situated in the old Moffat paper mill and produced the grain for Scotch Inver House Rare Blended Whisky. Unfortunately for lovers of fine grain whisky, Garnheath closed its doors to production in 1986 deep in a hole of debt. Today, just the blending and office facilities remain and with every bottle of Garnheath consumed there is one less drop in the world. Perhaps the most robust of this year’s single grain lineup, this 44 year old whisky sports a particularly full custard and cream driven profile. It’s very fresh given its age and carries a surprisingly spicy backbone.

David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 17, 2019

The special spirit that came off the column still at the Moffat distillery 44 years ago should have never managed to make its way to the shelves of a little shop in California. It was certainly supposed to be dumped for some mild blend or traded off stiffen up some Drambuie. But instead this weird little bird was shuffled around and eventually forgotten in the back of some Lowland warehouse. Perhaps it was acquired by our friend Fred Laing along with the great Scotch liquidation of the mid ’90s that saw the transfer of countless casks of rare closed distilleries to this small family owner—Ardbeg, Port Ellen, Cambus, Garnheath. We’ll never really know the journey this barrel took, but only what it brought here with it. A nose of pure powdered candy, vanilla extract, quince peels and ripe steamed hominy. The somewhat restrained elegant nose is nothing like the mossy funky style we saw on her sister casks last year and doesn’t prepare you for the rich, almost syrupy texture that invades the palate on entry. As the fabulous JP Robinson would say, “it’s baby’s bottom.” The definition of smooth, but it’s not some slight little thing. The absolute lack of burn lets it completely envelop the palate and draws out a host of odd fruits—jelly melon, loquat, dragon fruit, white raspberry. The finish moves slightly more savory, showing turbinado syrup, cake frosting, meringue, and white chocolate. It’s astonishing that this is just oak, spirit and time rather than some mysterious concoction of fruit and sugars. Dangerously easy considering the nearly 100 proof. A superlative example of the merits of old grain whisky and worth every single penny.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 25, 2019

This cask has aged beautifully and has the soft concentration of age but is still alive and fresh. It is sweet and easy with a nice soft fruitiness. There is a long mouth coating finish that is delicate and delicious.

Jackson Lee | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 22, 2019

It’s not every day that I get to try a 44-year-old Scotch and I definitely appreciated and took my time with this in the glass. After spending that much time in a barrel, the normal alcohol note took a backseat and allowed more of the esters to come through. The nose was warm and inviting, giving off notes of candied dried plum, pencil shavings, baking chocolate and an underlying note of iodine. The taste was exceptional and dessert-esque; a soft texture yet with enough heat to liven up the palate. Notes of chocolate covered sweet cherries and strawberry angel food cake with whipped cream dominated my taste buds. The finish was ridiculously long and just as smooth. Soft notes of candy corn and ripe apricots ran to the finish line together while a sweet spearmint peaked towards the very end. If you haven’t had a Scotch with this kind of age on it, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal.

William Beare | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2019

This feels like a significant cut above some of the other overaged single grain offerings that we have had of late. From the first passing waft, the nose carries loads of fleshy fruit, caramel, and ultra-creamy custard. I spent so long picking out different elements of the nose that I almost forgot to actually drink it. Well…OK…not really. Sweet toasted challah bread hit the palate with incredible delicacy and smoothness. It drinks like a dream from start to finish, and could go toe-to-toe with single malts for twice the price. There is a bit of wood on the finish, not overwhelming, but rather a pleasant old cigar box spice (clove and cedar).

Neal Fischer | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2019

This single grain Scotch is so luscious and layered. On first smell, it seems like this Scotch is leaning toward armagnac territory. There are a lot of brandy qualities on display: from the woody notes that remind me of polished Limousin oak to the fruit-forward aspects. The glass bursts with fresh orchard fruits, especially apricot, cherry, and peach. The polished oak morphs into sandalwood, then gets herbaceous and a little medicinal. The palate is also quite fruit-focused adding flavors of a berry medley. Further sips reveal creamy vanilla and bready flavors. As it progresses, the whisky gets quite salty and spicy on through the finish. Is this a grain whisky or a fruit brandy? It’s jazz-fusion, and it’s as odd and magical as a Zappa record.

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 23, 2019

Almost rum-like in its nose. It’s sweet and caramelly and smells like a bowl of fresh, ripe strawberries covered in heavy whipped cream. On the palate it’s got amazing spice and persistence. There is tons of fruit, but a peppery drive of wood spice as well. The finish is complex and lengthy jumping back and forth between cream, brioche, stone fruit in syrup, and allspice. This should sell out quickly as more and more people are understanding the pleasures and value of old single grain.


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Angels’ Nectar Whisky Caching returns for the 20th Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News


Angels’ Nectar Whisky Caching returns for the 20th Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Similar to geo-caching, but with whisky,  a trail of  Angels’ Nectar Whisky Caches will be hidden across Speyside during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Guests will be able to find the whisky filled caches via a series of clues after registering for the event via the Spirit of Speyside web site. The first to find each Angels’ Nectar Whisky Cache will be rewarded with a 200ml bottles of Angels’ Nectar Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, perfect for sharing.

Whilst there is no charge to take part, whisky cachers are asked to leave a whisky miniature (or better!) in place of the dram they find. Thus everyone who finds an Angels’ Nectar Whisky Cache will be a winner.

Geo-caching is a worldwide treasure-hunting phenomenon, which started in 2000 and has grown to encompass more than three million caches across 190 countries. The Angels’ Nectar version does not require GPS, but as the search for the caches will involve some light walking, outdoor clothing and footwear are recommended. The caches will also contain a logbook for participants to record their visit, and guests are invited to share their experience and tasting notes of the dram they find on social media, with #angelsnectarwhiskycache

Commenting on the event, Robert Ransom, Angels’ Nectar founder said, ‘We hope Angels’ Nectar Whisky Caching will encourage festival goers to explore Speyside’s beautiful countryside and discover new drams. Whilst there is no need to have been geo-caching before, for the whisky loving geo-cacher, what could be better than a trail of Angel’s share inspired whisky filled caches.’

Angels’ Nectar Whisky Caching is one of more than 650 events due to take place across Speyside as part of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which this year runs from the 1st to the 6th of May. In addition Angels’ Nectar will be offering complimentary tasting sessions at Elephants in the Pantry, Grantown-on-Spey, on the 4th of May and at Brodie Countryfare, Forres, on the 5th of May.  


Angels’ Nectar, blended malts inspired by the Angels’ share, was launched by Grantown-on-Spey based Highfern Ltd in 2014. #dram19
For more information and pictures please contact;
Robert Ransom, Highfern Ltd, Mobile: 07811 640778



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– £10.5 million investment programme over three years – 

A three year refurbishment programme has begun at Bunnahabhain Distillery on Islay, as its owners, spirits and wine producer, Distell International invests £10.5m in an extensive upgrade and refresh of the iconic distillery.

Located in the most northerly point of the island, Bunnahabhain has experienced many changes over the years. As part of the upgrade, a number of the original buildings will be carefully restored to their former glory giving them a new lease of life, whilst others will be removed and relocated to create more space, allowing for better operational flow across the site and to enhance the experience for visitors to the distillery.

A key focal point for the development programme is the creation of a new ‘brand home’ and visitor centre. This will also feature a café and retail space and will be positioned along the shoreline with stunning views overlooking Bunnahabhain Bay and the Sound of Islay. This is one of the first new buildings to be progressed and the plan is for the brand home to be ready to welcome visitors for the start of the 2020 season.

Some of the existing warehouses are in the process of being removed from their current shoreline positioning to enable the visitor centre to be located there. Work has already commenced with the demolition of four warehouse buildings, as well as the start of upgrades to the existing pumphouse. So far, over 99% of the materials processed during the demolition have been recycled with the majority retained for re-use at the distillery. This recycling rate is in line with the ambition to reduce the potential impact of the works.

Other areas being improved include the build of a new filling store, refurbishment of the production building and also the series of six cottages alongside the distillery, which will eventually be used for holiday accommodation.

The development schedule and phasing of activity have been carefully designed to ensure minimal disruption to whisky production and to the visitor experience during this timeframe.

Bunnahabhain embodies the character of the island, its non-peated flavour exposes the coastal location of the warehouses and the affect the salty spray of the sea has on the whisky. All of the single malt whisky in the Bunnahabhain brand will continue to be matured at the distillery, only metres from the shoreline.

Derek Scott, Brand Director for Malts at Distell International, said: 

“Our investment programme, here at Bunnahabhain, is about improving the operational side of our distillery for the long term future. We are restoring our buildings to their former glory and providing a visitor experience where we don’t just welcome visitors, after the long winding journey to get here, we help them enjoy a piece of Bunnahabhain life.

“The plans aim to make the navigation of the site much easier for the visitor and to, in simple terms, declutter it. This will ensure the buildings are more efficient from a storage point of view and located in better suited, more accessible locations to the production buildings. Furthermore, we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the works. The whisky industry is starting to be more environmentally aware and our achievement of recycling over 99% of materials shows, with a little bit of extra effort, it is remarkable what we can achieve.

“Bunnahabhain has a special place in Islay’s whisky heritage and we are committed to retaining this by turning Bunnahabhain Bay into a world-class whisky destination of choice. As the most remote and northerly distillery on the island, our transformation will give those who have made the journey time to pause, forget about the rest of the world and enjoy the serene surroundings.”


About Distell

  • Distell is Africa’s leading producer of wines, spirits, ciders, scotch whisky and ready-to-drinks (RTDs) with a portfolio of close on 100 brands.
  • Within the portfolio, Distell owns four single malts and a number of scotch brands produced across three distillery sites.
  • The three distilleries include: Bunnahabhain on the Isle of Islay; Deanston in Doune, Perthshire and Tobermory based on the Isle of Mull.
  • With a global network of offices and distribution partners, the company employs nearly 5000 people worldwide and has an annual turnover of R14.2 billion. (£1.09 billion)
  • In Scotland, the company’s operations are based in East Kilbride where it has a bottling hall, with blending and warehousing facilities at Airdrie, both near Glasgow.
  • Distell is the 2015 “Distiller of the Year” award winner at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

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