Paul’s Story of the World Championship Pipe Bands Weekend, August 2014 – Scotch Whisky News

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Paul’s story of the world championship pipe bands weekend, August 2014; PAUL MCLEAN;

I arrived into Glasgow on the Thursday, checked into my hotel in the city and wondered off to take in the sights. A few bands were playing, entertaining the crowds on the main shopping street, some street entertainers and plenty of noise and hubbub! After a wee while (it was warm and sunny) I decided to rest up and do some research (whisky). Research continued at Horton’s bar and Waxy O’Connors before dropping into the Pot Still.  Glasgow’s famous Pot Still Pub hosts one of the finest collection of malt whisky in Scotland. Lovers of a good Scotch come from all over the world to this wonderful pub. The attraction? The hundreds (literally) of malt whiskies on display on the impressive gantry. It is not unusual to see Americans, Germans, Swedes, Danes, Japanese and Irish jostling with Glaswegian regulars and Paul at the bar for service from the cheery staff. The Murphy family give everyone a warm welcome, a smile and…if you’re lucky… some recommendations from the gantry. The Pot Still is a popular haunt of journalists, stars of stage and screen such as actress Susannah York, comedian Phil Kay and musician Lloyd Cole have all been spotted enjoying the unique atmosphere of The Pot Still as it’s at the heart of Glasgow’s Theatre Land.

While sipping my first dram, I started chatting to Ken Misch from San Francisco, he is Drum Major with the L.A. Scots pipeband, also a whisky lover. We drammed while we chatted, he knows many of the people in piping and whisky as I do, even Andy Grant!  From Port Ellen dram (superb) to a 1954 Mortlach, Glendronach and Glengoyne Teapot, it was a good session – he bailed out after the teapot! I stayed for one more (Irish) then moved back to the hotel for a wee siesta! Met up with Ken again at Waxy’s around 7pm, gave him a bottle of teapot, enjoyed a few more drams, met more of the band, then departed for my hotel. No the end of the story, my hotel room came with a wee extra; a free bar from 5pm – 10.30pm, I made the most of it.

Friday arrived, still sunny – for a while, so wandered along to the Glasgow Green arena, where Grade 1’s were competing in the play offs. Met up with many bands, Ken, some whisky people I know, watched the cooper at work, took in a burger and some sights, many photos taken – see facebook; McLean whisky tours. Tired on my feet, I dondered back to my hotel and the bar! Spoke to my pal Andy Grant (DM with grade 1 band Denny Dunipace) on the phone, he arrived just gone 5pm, we hit the free bar! At around 9.15 we went back to my posh room, where I had more wine, lots of whisky to sample – we did! He went away with a few samples, some of the4 drams he had no heard of before. A rest, then at 10.45 another pal turned up, just home from abroad, working as he does with a whisky company. John arrived with samples – great stuff! A few fast sample drams, then to Waxy’s (again), two drinks here before closing, a long whisky chat and farewells. Back at the hotel, I reckoned I had two more drinks in me, I had one, then fell asleep!

Saturday. The main event! Looked at of the hotel window … rain. At ten o’clock I jumped a taxi to the green, it was still raining. Wandered aboot checking out the bands, so many more people here than yesterday, many thousands more! The bands had many spectators watching, the food outlets were busy, I managed a smoked salmon butty, had a slug from my hip flask; Clynelish 16 year old, spotted big Andy, had a chat, was he ok after last night? Seemed so, started watching the drum majors, a venison burger, it has to be done. Followed by a dram. It was raining. More hiding under tents from the rain/showers, then it rained heavy, real heavy, so took shelter again at the cooper demo. Met up when the rain slowed down with more friends, The New York Metro pipeband, we were supplying their band coach again – we work with pipebands on accommodation and coaching each year. Had a chat with them, Mike, Michael and Dan, sharing a few hip flask drams; 16 yo Clynelish was the favourite.  

World Champions 2014; Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. The band was founded in 1945 in the townland of Drumalig, a few miles from Carryduff on the outskirts of Belfast. The band won the World Championships in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, becoming the first band to win all the Major competitions in a single year more than once.

Each year MCLEANSCOTLAND offer a Pipes Drams tour, to coincide with this huge event;  another tour will be offered for 2015.

It was a good blend of pipes drams, yet again! Bring on 2015 worlds! 


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Whisky Auctioneer August 2014 Auction – Scotch Whisky News

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Our August extended auction is live

Ends on Monday 8th September!  

View August Auction 

Johnnie Walker 1805 Celebration Blend

This stunning bottle and box, produced to mark the 200thanniversary of John Walker’s birth is making a re-appearance this month. This extremely limited Johnnie Walker was never available for public sale as all of the bottles were given to people who, in Diageo’s words, “made a significant contribution to modern life.”  Blended from nine whiskies all aged between 45 and 70 years old and limited to only 200 bottles, this is bound to be a hotly contested bottle this month.

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Let’s take a wee look at Port Ellen this month, there are  a number of bottles available but least of all we have the First, Second and Third Official release making an appearance! 

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We think this could be one of the rarest Glenlivets ever bottled.  This special bottling of 36 bottles of 18 year old Glenlivet was given to Major Ivan Straker on his retirement as the Chairman of Seagrams in 1993. Major Ivan Straker is perhaps better known as the man ‘who saved the Grand National’.

He worked for the company between 1962 and 1993 and on his retirement was awarded 36 of these bottles.  After much research and discussion we are fairly sure that the majority was consumed in his own homes with only one bottle appearing at auction since 1993. 

This bottle was gifted to a friend who has kept it hidden away until this point…this could well and truly be one of two bottles remaining of this Glenlivet.

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There is no registration fee, our commission structure is very competitive and we offer worldwide shipping. For our terms and conditions please click here

With over 10 years of experience in the whisky industry, Whisky Auctioneer specialises in auctioning whisky whether it be fine, old, rare, collectable or affordable. Formed in 2013 and based in Perth, central Scotland, we aim to be the most comprehensive website for the buying and selling of whisky online. 

Happy Bidding!

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Hankey Bannister & Longmorn at Single Malts Direct – Scotch Whisky News


Hankey Bannister Original Blend 40% | 70cl

A popular Scottish blend it is said to be over 250 years old. Hankey Bannister is a popular export whisky.

Tasting Notes

Nose: A light aroma with a spiciness which gives extra depth.

Colour: Creamy toffee with a golden hue.

Taste: A light, subtle blend, clean, sweet and spicy with honeyed tones and a pleasant lasting finish.

Tasting notes by Hankey Bannister.

Price: £15.83 ex VAT
£19.00 inc VAT

Hankey Bannister 12 Year Old Regency Blend 40% | 70cl

Tasting Notes.

Nose: Slightly sweet aroma with hints of vanilla and oak.

Colour: Golden amber with reddish highlights.

Taste: Medium bodied, well-balanced with sweet soft vanilla and a slightly smoky finish.

Tasting notes by Hankey Bannister.

Price: £20.83 ex VAT
£25.00 inc VAT

Longmorn 1992 21 Year Old Dimensions Cask 71740 53.0% | 70cl
Distilled May 1992

Bottled May 2014

One of 272 bottles.

Released in small batches, these unique expressions from renowned and lesser known distilleries offer a comprehensive overview of Duncan Taylor’s award winning portfolio. Neither chill filtered nor coloured, only the finest whiskies are selected for inclusion in the Dimensions Collection, ensuring that each release represents the true multi-dimensional character of the distillery and delivers the company ethos: Whisky Without Compromise.

Established in 1938, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Limited are specialist independent whisky merchants who hold one of the world’s largest private collections of vintage single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies. Using only the finest oak casks, Duncan Taylor lays down whiskies that are only bottled upon meeting rigorous standards of quality, ensuring optimum dimensions of character and flavour for the whisky enthusiast.

The balance of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is central to Duncan Taylor’s award winning reputation is evident in complexity and depth of each release in the Dimensions Collection.

Price: £104.17 ex VAT
£125.00 inc VAT

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Glen Flagler (70° proof)

Glen Flagler is one of the rarest names in the modern Scotch whisky history. It’s actually not a distillery but the name for a set of stills within the Moffat distillery complex, traditionally a grain whisky production site built by Inver House.

The oldest pair of stills produced grain whisky (Garnheath) and two pairs of pot stills produced malt whisky (under the names Glen Flagler, Killyloch and Islebrae, in order of peatiness). One pair of malt stills only worked from 1965 until 1970, the ones used for Glen Flagler kept running until 1985.

Since only a handful of expressions exist, Glen Flagler is a collectors whisky rather than a drinkers whisky.

Some bottles of Glen Flagler are ‘pure malts’, vatted or blended malts. This one says ‘all-malt Scotch’ which, frankly, could mean the same. Some would say we’re not necessarily trying a single malt. On the other hand, it probably indicates malt whisky made in different still sets within the same distillery. Sounds like a single malt to me.

There’s a similar label that says ‘5 years old’. The one we’re trying doesn’t have an age statement but it’s probably of a similar age. Also, this is the older version (pre-1979) with red print (instead of white) at the bottom.



Glen Flagler 'all malt' 1970'sGlen Flagler 'all malt' 1970'sGlen Flagler ‘all-malt’ (70° proof, OB pre-1979, black red shield, 1 2/3 fl.oz.)

Nose: starts a little harsh with hints of hair spray, but it settles nicely. Lots of malty notes. Quite grassy and lemony, in the Lowlands tradition, but it also includes nice barley sugars and vanilla. Hints of pear eau-de-vie. Banana. Not too bad actually. Mouth: light and gentle, with a lot of citrus again, both zesty and candied notes. Grassy notes, hints of dried herbs. Hints of vanilla and toasted wood, but overall fairly thin. Light mocha. Finish: medium long, slightly grainy, not very interesting.

When compared to other similarly aged malts from the same era (say Glen Grant 5yo), it’s really not bad. Usually around € 200 in auctions, although some stores value it at € 600.

Score: 77/100

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Whisky Firms Eyes Expansion With Support from Clydesdale Bank – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky firms eyes expansion with support from Clydesdale Bank

Independent Scotch whisky firm JG Distillers Ltd is targeting increased growth with support from Clydesdale Bank.

The whisky blender, bottler and exporter, which trades through its wholly owned subsidiary Campbell Meyer and Co, Ltd is investing in new stock after obtaining significant funding from Clydesdale Bank’s West of Scotland Business and Private Banking Centre in Glasgow. The bespoke package includes a revolving credit facility together with general day to day banking support.

Founded in 1991 by Colin Barclay the JG Distillers Group employs 40 staff at its bonded warehouse facility in East Kilbride. The business exports a range of single malt, blended malt and blended Scotch whisky to over 40 overseas markets, including its best-selling blended Scotch whisky brands Barclays, Highland Chief and McIvor. It also supplies a range of Hart Brothers single malts featuring whisky from some of Scotland’s most acclaimed distilleries including world famous Islay distillery Ardbeg.

According to figures published by the Scotch Whisky Association in April of this year, Scotch whisky exports increased by 3% last year and were worth £4.3bn to the UK economy. The fastest growing markets were the US, India and Brazil.

Gerry McSherry, group managing director, said: “Scotch whisky continues to be one of the UK’s major export success stories, accounting for 85% of Scottish food and drink exports and nearly a quarter of the British total.”

“As demand continues to grow overseas we aim to develop new markets and expand within existing markets. Campbell Meyer is currently seeing strongest demand in the US, the Middle East and Latin America, but we supply to many more markets around the world.

“Maintaining our maturing stock portfolio is crucial to building on our success. We are delighted that Clydesdale Bank’s knowledgeable team took time to fully understand the very specific dynamics of our business and tailored a bespoke funding package that will support our growth ambitions over the years to come. The revolving credit facility gives the group medium term funding which marries well with the aging process and forward commitments required to maintain and grow our inventory.”

Neil Berry, West of Scotland Business Development Manager at Clydesdale Bank, said: “We are proud to support JG Distillers Ltd, a thriving, independent Scotch whisky group supplying blended whiskies and malts from its bonded warehouse in East Kilbride to countries all over the world.

“The company’s success is a testament to the experience, drive and expertise shown by Gerry and his team. With a track record of growing exports in key markets such as the US they are in a fantastic position to expand and develop new markets.

“We look forward to working in partnership with JG Distillers and helping the group to achieve their substantial growth plans.”


Clydesdale Bank:

Clydesdale Bank is part of the National Australia Bank Group. Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and, as one of Scotland’s largest banks, has a proud history of innovation and support for industry and communities across the UK.

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IWSC Gold Medal Winner 2014…Highland Queen 1561 30yo at Single Malts Direct – Scotch Whisky News

IWSC Gold Medal Winner 2014…

Highland Queen 1561 30 Year Old Blended Whisky 40% | 70cl
Save £20.00 (RRP £120.00)

IWSC Gold Medal Winner 2014

Highland Queen 1561 has been produced using traditional cask maturation, where the malt and grain whiskies are blended together and then recasked into barrels for further maturation for a period of at least six months.
This allows the whiskies to marry together perfectly to give an incredibly smooth blended whisky.

This is a superb example of a vintage, traditionally produced super premium Scotch whisky.

“The result we leave, with confidence to your judgement”

Tasting Notes.
The sweetness from the sherry cask comes through on the nose, together with notes of butterscotch, leather and spices. We can also detect hints of cinnamon and apple. In the mouth the whisky is exceptionally smooth and elegant, there are hints of smoke and an underlying flavor of cinnamon apple crumble. The finish is long and elegant.

Price: £83.33 ex VAT
£100.00 inc VAT



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Three Ships HTA 01 (LR)


Three Ships Whisky has awarded a bursary to Thabang Motaung, a promising student at the HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg, at a dinner held at the school last night (14 August). The bursary will provide Thabang with much needed financial support to complete his studies for the Diploma in Professional Cookery by 2016.  

Thabang, 21 years old and from the East Rand, is dreaming about working on cruise liners to see the world. And at some point in his career he wants to find himself working alongside executive chef David Higgs at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg. 

He started his course at HTA in March this year and was selected as the Three Ships bursary recipient for his dedication, hard work, and willingness to learn and succeed.  Thabang left school at the end of Grade 10 and includes finishing his matric as one of his goals. 

Both Thabang’s parents passed away when he was fairly young and it was his aunt Corinne that fostered his dream of becoming a chef. “I used to help my aunt preparing Sunday lunches and she shared her recipes with me, showed me how to cook a variety of dishes and stimulated my enjoyment of food and cooking. 

“Since enrolling at HTA I’ve realised just how much detail and perfection is required in preparing a meal. I have found making a sauce to complement a dish is not quite as easy as it seems and I’m working hard at perfecting the skill.” 

Thabang enjoys cooking with beef fillet, onions for their versatility, and pineapple, his favourite fruit. As part of his course he is exposed to new techniques and cooking styles from around the world, yet South African dishes interest him the most. “There are so many local ingredients from which to create unique dishes and so many traditional methods of preparing food. I would love to discover how to incorporate these in my own style of cooking.”  

Three Ships Whisky brand manager Hayley Read said this was the first year the bursary was being awarded. “We’ve been involved with HTA for a number of years now and discovered there was a real need for financial assistance for students with limited means. The bursary is our way of providing such assistance. 

“Three Ships Whisky has pioneered many firsts for the country, including being named the World’s Best Blended Whisky at the 2012 World Whisky Awards. We therefore find it only fitting to share our success with someone who has great aspirations. A little financial help goes a long way and we wish Thabang all the best in realising his dreams.” 

According to Stephen Billingham, director of HTA and president of the South African Chefs Association, Thabang is very deserving of the bursary. 

“He is eager, hard-working and determined to succeed.  I’m delighted by his strong interest in all aspects of our South African cuisine as well as the industry as such. It’s important for young chefs to realise that being part of the industry is to grow local cuisine and also to support and nurture the greater community, something for which Thabang has a natural affinity.” 

Three Ships Whisky and the HTA have for the past few years hosted a series of Gourmet Discovery dinners initiated and prepared by Executive Chef and Manager of the South African National Culinary Team, Heinz Brunner. As part of the series, the team raised funds last year for the World Chefs Tour against Hunger which saw six chefs, including Heinz, climbing Kilimanjaro to raise R280 000 to feed 7000 children daily in nine provinces. 

The HTA was established in 1996 and offers courses providing grounding in all the disciplines of the kitchen. Some of the countries’ finest chefs launched their careers here. 

Photo Caption:

(Social images left to right)

 Three Ships HTA

Stephen Billingham (HTA), Thabang Motaung (bursary recipient), Hayley Read (Three Ships Whisky) Heinz Brunner (HTA) and Mpo Morudu (Three Ships Whisky)

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 AA Bowmore 2nd


The global hysteria of Bowmore’s Devils Casks is back with the second release in the series 

Bowmore , Islay’s first distillery, is proud to announce the  second release in its sell-out Devil’s Casks series.  

Matured exclusively – and unusually – in the finest first fill sherry casks, the second small batch release of Devil’s Casks is still mischievous. Having mellowed under a cloak of smooth velvet and sublime sherry cask indulgence, it reveals even more of Bowmore’s devilish dark side. This small batch release is, quite simply, devilishly good! The expression gets its name from a legend nearly as old as the distillery itself. It was claimed that the Devil was once spotted and chased through the town, eventually hiding away in the distillery. After searching, the Devil was nowhere to be seen, having made his escape in a whisky barrel. 

Rachel Barrie, Master Blender, Morrison Bowmore Distillers, said:

“The first edition of this expression was one of the most sought after whiskies of 2013. This second small batch release will no doubt emulate that success thanks to its devilishly tasty dark side, in debt to the first-fill sherry casks it has been carefully mellowed in.” 

Product details:

RRP: £60.00

Retailing: Available at specialist whisky retailers globally

Tasting notes:

Colour: Deep mahogany

Nose: Breathe in rich sherried sweetness with dates and sultanas smothered in the indulgence of treacle toffee, pecan and maple syrup.

Taste: Sip the sublime velvet taste of dark chocolate fudge infused with sherried dark fruit, sea-salt and walnut oil.

Finish: Savour the long-lasting finish with sun-dried raisins and salted treacle.



The best-balanced Islay Single Malt whisky is the perfect reward after your outdoor experience. Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest Distillery on Islay, one of the Scottish isles, which make up the region known as the ‘Islands’ in the lexicon of Whisky. The other regions are the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands. Islay malts are famous for their characteristic smokiness and Bowmore is no exception; we carefully smoke our malt and use skills handed down from generation to generation to craft a perfectly balanced Single Malt.

Bowmore’s adherence to traditional production methods helps to shape the character of our Single Malts. We’re one of only a few distilleries anywhere which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by traditional wooden malt shovel and hand drawn machinery. For our whiskies we draw water from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones, and it’s the same Islay peat that fires the malt-drying kiln.

Bowmore Distillery’s close proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of our spirit. The legendary Bowmore No. 1 Vaults is where most of our whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the Vault’s sea-facing wall.

They mature in oak casks, previously used for bourbon, sherry or claret, gradually developing rich and mellow flavours.

It’s this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people and tradition that together create the perfectly balanced warm and smoky character of Bowmore Single Malt Whiskies.

The Bowmore domestic product range:

• Bowmore Small Batch

• Bowmore 12 Years Old

• Bowmore 15 Years Old ‘Darkest’

• Bowmore 18 Years Old

• Bowmore 25 Years Old


Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, and is also known as “The Queen of the Hebrides.” Its mild climate and rich peaty soil make it ideal for creating whisky, and despite having a population of not much more than 3,000, it’s home to no fewer than eight distilleries.

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Single Malts Direct “Come and see us at the Lonach Highland Gathering” Saturday the 23rd August – Scotch Whisky News

Come and see us at the Lonach Highland Gathering on Saturday the 23rd August…. 

…..for a wee dram and buy your exclusive bottle of Lonach 2014 Single Malt.

We are hosting the “Whiskies Of Scotland” whisky marquee where you can taste free samples from distilleries such as Benriach, Benromach, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh, Tomintoul Glencadam. Also exhibiting their portfollio of whiskies are Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, Black Bull Blended Whisky independant bottlers Dougas Laing.

And of course our own exclusive single malts label “Whiskies Of Scotland”.  

Slainte, Ronnie Routledge.


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Jolly Toper Edinburgh August Update – Scotch Whisky News

Jolly Toper’s whisky tastings normally take place on Thursday nights from 7:30pm until approximately 10pm at  The Kilderkin, 65/67 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, (they do a mean pizza). For more details on the tastings themselves please click here
P/O/U/R/S = Peaty, Old, Unusual, Rare and Sherry cask matured. Recently many people have requested the exact nature of the line up at the ‘pours’ tastings remain secret so a proper ‘blind’ tasting can be held. However I understand some attendees would be more comfortable knowing which drams were to be tasted before committing to attending. If  you don’t want to know the confirmed line up contact us before checking the details listed below.

* = £3 discount for first timers and members. Membership costs £10 for 13 months.

Walking Tour of Edinburgh Sunday 24th August meet at 3pm outside Thomson’s bar, Morrison St, Haymarket £28/25*

We’ll visit a few sites of past distilleries starting at Caledonian then continuing down the Water of Leith. The story of whisky in Edinburgh will accompany the walk and drams. An updated written history will be available.

Caledonian 30yo refill Bourbon barrel cask strength SMWS

Glenkinchie 24yo 49.2% Bourbon hogshead Cadenheads

EH10 blend 40%

Queen Anne blend bottled in the 1970s

North British 24yo 46% 1989 -2014 Bourbon barrel 192 bottles Cadenheads

+ an optional mystery dram for a donation towards Marie Curie


P/O/U/R/S 28th August 7.30pm Kilderkin, Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh £to be confirmed

Spirit of Freedom 30yo 46% blend bottled to commemorate the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn

Glenfarclas 105 60%

Something peaty

Springbank 14yo refill sherry butt local barley bottled for the 10th anniversary of The Springbank Society

Auchentoshan 24yo single cask cask strength Cadenheads


Future themed tastings: a vertical Glendronach tasting, Bottled at the Distillery No.3, sherry casks and Canadian whiskies.


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