BenRiach 21 Year Old

BenRiach has a new expression in their ‘classic’ (unpeated) range, BenRiach 21 Year Old. I suppose this means the excellent BenRiach 20 Years will be phased out. Mind that there is also a peated 21 year-old Authenticus.

The recipe is quite unconventional, with four oak types involved: ex-bourbon, Pedro Ximénez sherry, red wine (Limousin oak) and virgin oak casks. It is one of the first creations of the new Master Blender Rachel Barrie.



BenRiach 21 Year OldBenRiach 21 Year OldBenRiach 21 yo (46%, OB 2017)

Nose: a bright fruity nose, with the ex-bourbon oak in front with some oak spices from the virgin wood. Peaches, Granny Smith apples, lemon peels with pepper and ginger. Light marshmallow and vanilla. A hint of strawberry candy after a while. I can get something from all oak types except for the PX maybe. Mouth: same intense fruitiness (peaches, berries, citrus) a bit like a fruit compote. Then some milk chocolate and sultanas (sherry after all) and balanced spices. Cinnamon pastry, a little ginger. Sweet biscuits. Finish: quite long, with a sweet maltiness, light earthy touches and oak spices.

It’s quite a complex dram and the composition is very well done, you really get something from all oak types without breaking the balance. Personally I’m not a fan of using so many casks but here it works out well. Coming soon, already available from Master of Malt.

Score: 87/100

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Becky and Georgie


London, UK, 6th March 2018, Becky Paskin, Editor of and Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Specialist, have partnered to launch #OurWhisky – a new movement designed to challenge perceptions of the stereotypical whisky drinker.

This is the world’s first campaign to unite the global whisky industry and whisky lovers in a combined bid to dispel common myths of who modern whisky drinkers are.

Although the consensus within the industry is that whisky is a drink with widespread appeal, the perception remains among many consumers that whisky is still a “man’s drink” – an opinion perpetuated by decades of male-oriented advertising.

As an on-going global project, #OurWhisky aims to showcase the inclusiveness of whisky and the diversity of its drinkers through a photographical social media series, launching on 6th March in the run-up to International Women’s Day (on 8th March).

For the launch, Georgie and Becky have invited women from across the global whisky industry – ambassadors, distillery managers, blenders, whisky lovers, journalists and bartenders – to participate. By showcasing the diversity that exists within the whisky industry, Becky and Georgie are hoping to inspire whisky lovers all around the world to join the #OurWhisky movement.

The initial drive for the campaign will be to encourage women to tag @OurWhisky in a photo of themselves that illustrates how they like to drink whisky – at a bar, at home with their partners or with friends, and use the hashtag #OurWhisky. Their photos will then be retweeted, regrammed and shared with fellow whisky enthusiasts to build a digital community that reflects the face of the modern whisky drinker.

Becky comments: “We are asking whisky lovers all over the world to take a photo of themselves that illustrates how they like to enjoy whisky, whether in a cocktail, from a hipflask on a wintry walk, as an accompaniment to their favourite meal, wrapped in a blanket on the couch, hanging out with friends or doing something more adventurous!”

“The campaign is called #OurWhisky as our first and foremost priorities are equality, gender parity and inclusiveness. Whisky is a drink that can be enjoyed by everyone, and we feel it’s important to demonstrate that by celebrating the gender and cultural diversity of the modern day whisky drinker.”

Georgie says: “Whisky still widely succumbs to misconceptions amongst consumers. The more people we get involved in spreading the message that whisky does in fact have a broad appeal, the stronger it will become.”

She adds: “This is something we both feel really strongly about, a true passion project – it’s not a branded piece but instead a rally cry to unite whisky lovers and the industry together.”

Following the initial launch, the #OurWhisky campaign will evolve to encompass diversity, highlighting different ethnicities and cultures, to move forward against preconceived notions of what a whisky drinker ‘should’ look like.

The tagged photos will be collated and published on the @ourwhisky Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.


OurWhisky is an on-going global campaign to highlight the diversity of the whisky industry, the inclusiveness of whisky and the variety of its drinkers. The project is designed to challenge opinions of what a whisky drinker looks like through a photographical social media series. Spearheaded by Becky Paskin, Editor of, the leading online whisky magazine, and Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Educator, they hope to inspire people all over the globe by showcasing how diverse the whisky industry really is.

About Becky and Georgie:

 Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin is editor of online magazine, the world’s leading website for whisky lovers. She was the first journalist to gain a General Certificate in Distillation with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling – a qualification usually reserved for distillery operators. Becky has been writing about drinks for over 10 years, is a member of exclusive society Keepers of the Quaich, and is an expert in all manner of spirits. She regularly presents educational whisky seminars at global drinks shows including Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Whisky Show in London.

Georgie Bell
Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Specialist, started her career in the drinks industry as a cocktail bartender. Going on to study for a diploma in distillation at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling she achieved the highest mark globally, leading to The Worshipful Company of Distillers to grant their International Award and accepting her in to the exclusive society. Georgie began educating through her various whisky brand ambassador roles starting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, before moving to Diageo and now as a Global Malts Ambassador for Bacardi.

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Glen Albyn 10 Years (McPherson & Sons)

Glen Albyn distillery (together with Glen Mhor) was part of Mackinlays until 1972 when it was sold to DCL which closed it down in 1983 due to its low value as a blender’s whisky. A couple of official bottlings appeared in the 1970s.

Once a year or so a group of serious malt connoisseurs gets together in Limburg, trying all kinds of interesting (long gone) bottles from their own collections. It is a mind-blowing experience that I was lucky to attend once, and sometimes I also get a few outstanding leftover samples in the post. Many thanks, Carsten.



Glen Albyn 10 Years (John McPherson)Glen Albyn 10 Years (John McPherson)Glen Albyn 10 yo (40%, John E. McPherson Sons pre-1974, white label)

Nose: hints of metal polish and dusty books at first, OBE effect. Then a gentle old-school notes, with malty notes and a vague sweetness, but also nicer things like pineapples / papayas, waxy touches and fresh eucalyptus / grasses. Mouth: sweet pineapples and green mango again, with hints of biscuit dough and aniseed. Light pepper and mint.Maybe lacking a bit of brightness here. Hints of cardboard (not necessarily a negative element in this case) and latte. Finish: sweet and malty, not too long, with light spicy notes.

Quite a subtle style, although the creamy fruitiness makes it a nice dram. Very educational.

Score: 86/100

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BenRiach Distillery Profile by Mark Davidson (aka The Jolly Toper) – Scotch Whisky News

BenRiach Distillery

Benriach Distillery

Benriach-Glenlivet is situated a few miles south of Elgin in the Speyside region. It is named after Riach farm, ‘Riach’ meaning either “Hill of the red deer” or more likely “speckled Mountain”, although it was originally called ‘Longmorn No.2”.

Foundation and the Early Days


 The story begins with John Duff (b. Aberchirder, 1842). His family owned land around Miltonduff just west of Elgin. In the 1870s he managed Glendronach distillery but then went on to be the publican at The Fife Arms in Lhanbryde near Elgin. He built Glenlossie distillery in 1876 in partnership with two local businessmen : Alexander Grigor Allan (d. 1895) who was the Procurator Fiscal for Morayshire and Roderick Kemp an Aberdeen wine spirit merchant. On the dissolution of the partnership in 1892 Grigor went on to become sole owner of Talisker and Kemp to own Macallan. From 1887 sales of Glenlossie were exclusively via John Hopkins the London based blender and from 1890 proprietor of Tobermory distillery as well as the Old Mull brand. Hopkins was originally a partner in Glenlossie but left in 1888. Another partner was H. M. S. MacKay who was both Elgin’s burgh surveyor and a land agent. Glenlossie was built under the supervision of Duff to his own plans. It is one of the first examples of the use of concrete in construction in the distilling industry with only the stone built stillhouse not using the then new material. In 1887 Duff was described as “a great moving spirit” by The Aberdeen Journal. Certainly he seems to have successfully climbed ladders but his next ‘move’ may not have been his best. In 1888 Duff emigrated to South Africa with his wife and 3 daughters. He tried to distil in Gauteng Province in the Transvaal, an area where gold had recently been discovered. He failed to find success perhaps mainly due to opposition to British influences and investment from President Kruger which led to the blocking of Duff’s plans. Duff then attempted a similar scheme in the USA. This plan likewise didn’t bear fruit, apparently a combination of the competition from illicit distilling and again anti-British sentiment. Returning to Scotland in 1892 he found work as the distillery manager at Aberdeen’s Bon Accord distillery having his registered address in the city at 5 Union Terrace. He also became a partner in an Aberdeen wine and spirit merchant. He was 52 when he went into partnership with George Thomson Charles Shirres in 1894 under the trading name of John Duff Co.. They built Longmorn distillery, spending £20k (equivalent to £2M today). In 4 years Duff had bought out the other two and built Benriach with the profits from Longmorn at a cost of £16,000. This time he entrusted the distillery design with Elgin architect Charles Doig. Building of Benriach on an adjacent site to Longmorn commenced in 1897 with production starting in 1898. At this point the company was changed from Longmorn-Glenlivet Distillery Company by being incorporated into Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Company Limited while Hill Thomson Co.Ltd and Longmorn distillery manager James Grant and his son ran the distillery when Duff, the sole share owner, ran into financial difficulties and the distillery was repossessed by the bank. This was a disastrous period for many businesses in the whisky industry as boom turned to bust. To illustrate the intensity of the optimism around this time: an amazing total of 33 distilleries were built in the 1890s with 21 of these being in Speyside. However production stopped in 1900 due to the collapse of the market. In this year Duff was officially declared bankrupt although he had been insolvent before this. By 1901 the Board of Directors included J.A. Dewar of John Dewar Sons, Arthur Sanderson of VAT 69 and James Anderson of J.G. Thomson, Leith. Despite the influence of such names the distillery had to shut come 1903.

The Distillery

The Distillery


Recent History


 When the dark days of the first half of the 20th century turned to the post WWII recovery rising demand prompted building and expansion of distilleries. After sitting dormant for over 60 years Benriach was rebuilt and reopened in 1965. The current stillroom was originally a warehouse, the mash house is original while the tun room dates from the refit. Up until 1980 a private rail link was used to move goods between Benriach and its sister Longmorn. The shunting engine, called a ‘puggie’, is now preserved at Aviemore. Since closing in 1900 and the subsequent mothballing in 1903 the floor maltings were however retained and used to contribute to Longmorn’s malt needs. This remained the case even after Benriach reopened. Only after the rail link closed did Benriach use its own malt. The output of the malting floors contributing 7/8% of grain requirements at the time. In 1970 an amalgamation between The Glenlivet and Glen-Grant Distilleries Ltd. and Hill, Thomson Co. Ltd. formed The Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd. Shortly after this in 1972 batches of malt using significant peat levels started. This would have been due to the high demand put on Islay malts by blenders. On the subject of peating: previous to this increase in peat levels it was reported that in 1967 Longmorn stopped using Mannochhill peat and started using New Pitsligo while circa 1987 Benriach had peat cutting rights at Faemussach Moor near Tomintoul. Similar experiments with peated malt took place at Caperdonich and Glen Keith, the latter going under the name Glen Isla. Other trials included the use of virgin oak.


 In November 1977 Glenlivet Distilleries were taken over by the Seagram Company Ltd. of Canada and was operated under the control of Seagram’s Scottish subsidiary Chivas Brothers. Seagram liked a light spirit for their house style of blends for example Benriach was a major component of their Queen Anne brand (which was named after the last serving Stewart monarch) as well as 100 Pipers, Chivas Regal itself, St. Leger and Something Special. The latter brand dated from 1912 when it was created by Hill Thomson and is to this day big in South America. Steps to boost output at the distillery came when the number of stills were increased from 2 to 4 in 1985. From 1965 there was one large wash still and two small spirit stills. This was later adjusted when a second wash still with a 15KL charge was added and the two small spirit stills were replaced with a single larger one. Due to the ensuing imbalance the new large spirit still was retired and the original stills returned. Also at this time a 7 day working week was introduced. Perhaps these are surprising moves as at this time many distilleries were being mothballed or had production levels reduced. At this point capacity would have been about 1.8ML. From this date the distillery had a dedicated manager, since 1965 this role had also included the management of Longmorn. From 1978 Stuart Gillies was the manager having spent the previous 20 years at Glen Grant. Come 1994 the first bottling of a single malt from the distillery was featured in the Heritage Collection alongside Strathisla, Glenkeith and Longmorn- all Speysiders and not dramatically dissimilar in character so the offering was no where near as diverse as the Classic Malts. By 1998 the maltings were decommissioned. Then on 19.12.2001 Seagrams was bought by Pernod Ricard creating the 3rd largest spirits company. Subsequently due to the overall increase in company capacity four distilleries: Benriach, Allt A’Bhainne, Braeval and Caperdonich were each only operated for 3 months of the year. The following year all four distilleries were mothballed. 


 Unusually for the region triple distillation was experimented with in 1998 and was later reinstated by subsequent owners under the guidance of Billy Walker. Currently some three times distilled spirit has been produced every second year. From the original experiment the necessary 5th still is apparently now an ‘ornament’ in Ontario(!). 

The BenRiach Train

The BenRiach Train


A New Chapter


 On 26th April 2004 Billy Walker, Wayne Kieswetter and Geoff Bell operating under the name Intra Trading buy the distillery from Pernod – reportedly paying £5.4M. 40,000 casks are acquired the earliest from 1966 with only a few vintages missing. Billy Walker, an organic chemist, joined Ballantines in 1971 later moving to Inverhouse as a blender. After a subsequent move to Burn Stewart to become their master blender and then production manager he was part of the management buy out that took over the company in 1988. Under the new owners 96 first fill Bourbon barrels are warehoused on 20.9.2004 marking the first filling of new spirit production having recommenced shortly after acquisition. 7.8.2004 saw the first new releases of bottled products. In 2007 the owner’s stewardship is rewarded with the accolade Distillery of the Year from Malt Advocate magazine. A significant development comes in 2008 when the company acquires Glendronach also from Chivas. In 2009 the Whisky Distillery of the Year award comes again but this time from Whisky Magazine. 2011 marks the first year the new owners were able to fill 10,000 casks. Two years later floor malting is restarted although due to cost it is unlikely more than 10% of requirements will be hand malted. In the same year the next acquisition in the form of Glenglassaugh is added to the portfolio. From 2012 it was decided that 200k litres of peated spirit are to be made each January and February. By 2017 this had risen to 0.5ML. Currently the capacity of the distillery stands at 2.8ML. The latest change in ownership came in 2017 when American based Brown Forman took over for a sum of £286M. Most recently, in March 2017, industry personality Rachel Barrie takes over as master blender.


Equipment, Fermentation and Water.


 Cast iron rake and arm mash tun. 8 stainless steel washbacks of 30kl capacity. 48 66 hour ferments. Shell tube condensers. Plain wash still: 15KL charge, plain spirit still: 9.6kl charge. Horizontal lyne arms.The Porteus mill with two de-stoners dates from 1965. 5 dunnage warehouses holding 30K casks. Water comes from 6 wells at Burnside Springs about half a mile from the distillery and is shared with Longmorn. Cooling water is from the same burn that was used by Coleburn, then Glen Elgin, Longmorn and eventually Linkwood.


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A unique opportunity to secure your own barrel of Scotch Whisky history and heritage ~ Littlemill Private Barrels – Scotch Whisky News

Littlemill 1990 Cask

A unique opportunity to secure your own barrel of Scotch Whisky history and heritage.

  • Littlemill Distillery ceased distilling in 1994 and was destroyed by a fire in 2004.
  • You can now select Littlemill spirit from barrels distilled in the final years ~ 1990 or 1991.
  • Select your barrel with guidance from our Master Blender and have the flavor finished to your preferred taste.
  • We will then store your chosen cask in our distillery until your unique Littlemill Single Malt reaches a minimum of 30 years old.
  • Upon your request we will then bottle your single cask, with personalized label.


The Littlemill distillery was officially established in 1772 on the site of an old brewery that had been founded during the 14th century in Bowling, on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow. Intrinsically tied to the United States with two of its most progressive owners hailing from the USA.

It is also rumoured that illicit distilling had taken place here since 1750 when the site was bought by George Buchan, a malt master, and according to the renowned whisky historian and writer Misako Udo in her book ‘The Scotch Whisky Distilleries’ distilling may have taken place here for many centuries before, possibly making it the world’s oldest whisky distillery.

Littlemills’ rich history include a number of owners during its lifetime, two of which have strong links to the United States, Duncan Thomas and Barton Brands from Chicago. It was also one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee, Jane MacGregor who was in charge in 1823.

In the 1930’s the distillery was known for triple distillation before moving to the more traditional double distillation associated with Scotch whisky.

In 1931 Littlemill led whisky still innovation, whereby its innovative design could create three styles of spirit under the stewardship of the American Duncan Thomas. It was these stills that provided the inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery. An injection of capital from Barton Brands in 1959 enabled the expansion of the Loch Lomond whisky group with the commissioning of Loch Lomond Distillery in 1964 and whisky production commencing in 1966.

It is a tragedy that Littlemill fell into perpetual silence in 1994, and then subsequently the distillery was destroyed by fire in 2004. All that is left is the ghost of Littlemill and of course the last remaining drops of an outstanding single malt whisky. Once consumed an important part of Scotland’s and Scotch whisky’s heritage will be lost forever.

Therefore Littlemill liquid is precious and highly sought after. In 2015 Loch Lomond Group commenced the new Littlemill Private Cellar Edition as a celebration of this rare liquid. With a new 2017 Private Cellar Edition created and future limited edition releases planned there has never been a better time to seek out Littlemill Single Malt.


Lomond Estate, Alexandria G83 0TL, Scotland

+44 (0) 1389 752 781

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  • The Winter Queen whisky honours remarkable legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark
  • Latest release from innovative Fusion Whisky and Adelphi partnership that celebrates historical Scots and their influence on the world
  • First blend of Scotch and Dutch whisky from firm that pioneered ‘fusion’ concept of international blends using Scotch with Japanese and Indian whiskies


SHE was the Scottish princess with Queen Elizabeth I for godmother, destined for a lifetime of exile in The Hague, and is the forgotten link between the Stuart and Hanoverian thrones.

Now the legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I, is being honoured by a unique new whisky made from a pioneering blend of Scotch and Dutch single malt whisky.

Edinburgh-based Fusion Whisky said its new Winter Queen whisky “celebrated the story and honoured the memory” of Elizabeth Stuart, who was born in Fife in 1596, but spent most of life in The Hague.

Fusion Whisky Director Graham Langley said: “Elizabeth’s story is a superb one, and certainly deserving of a wider audience. Our Winter Queen whisky serves to honour this forgotten Scottish princess and to bring greater awareness to her remarkable life and influence.”


As eldest daughter to King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark, Elizabeth was always destined for a place in the history books. While still a child, she was caught up in the web of intrigue during the infamous Gunpowder Plot.  At 16 she was married to Elector Palatine Frederick V and the couple moved to Bohemia, where they reigned. But after a year the couple were besieged and forced to flee Prague, earning the couple the moniker, the Winter King and Queen.

Elizabeth spent the next 40 years living in The Hague, campaigning for her lost lands and establishing a royal court that became an artistic and diplomatic hub whose influence extended across Europe. She also became a figurehead for the thousands of Scottish mercenaries based in the Netherlands.

Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University is the leading authority on Elizabeth Stuart. She said: “More politically cunning than her grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and more belligerent than her godmother, Elizabeth I, she never relinquished the title Queen of Bohemia, even though she spent upwards of forty years in exile in The Hague after but a year in Prague.”

Dr Akkerman said that the thousands of letters Elizabeth wrote to statesmen and stateswomen, generals, lieutenants, ambassadors and other diplomats, showed the complex, witty and influential character of Elizabeth, whom history has largely overlooked.

She added: “During her years in exile, she changed court culture in the Netherlands and was matriarch to a family that included artists, warriors, natural philosophers and one queen mother: George I was her grandson.

The Winter Queen is the third character-led blend of international whisky launched by Fusion Whisky. Working in partnership with the acclaimed Adelphi, Fusion Whisky has established itself as a pioneer of premium blends made using Scotch and international whisky to honour remarkable Scots.

Its iconic Glover whisky was made by blending Scotch with rare Hanyu whisky from Japan in celebration of Thomas Blake Glover, the so-called “Scottish samurai”. Glover, who is better known in his adopted Japan than in his homeland, played a critical role in the country’s industrialisation, and had a part in the foundation of Mitsubishi and Kirin Group. He was the first non-Japanese person to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan’s highest civic honour.


Last year the firm released The EK whisky, which was made using Scotch and Indian whisky from Amrut Distillery in honour of the “Walking Viceroy”, Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine. Bruce served as Viceroy of India under Queen Victoria in the late 19th century, and pushed for greater infrastructure and economic growth, including the construction of 4000 miles of railway during his term of office and linking all the major Indian cities for the first time, creating a railway network of more than 20,000 miles.

Fusion Whisky’s latest title, The Winter Queen, was made using Scotch from Longmorn and Glenrothes distilleries, blended with malt whisky from the renowned Dutch Distillery Zuidam. The recipe was created by Adelphi’s managing director and master blender Alex Bruce.

Mr Bruce said: “By taking whiskies matured in different climates, we have been able to create a very new and innovative style. Like the historical characters we honour, these whiskies are themselves pioneers, challenging expectations of what blended whisky is. Crucially, these whiskies are also products of international partnerships and friendships. We’re very proud of it!”


Tasting notes:

The Winter Queen (52.7%), 1 of 866 bottles

9 year old malt whisky

A blend of Scotch malt whisky from Longmorn and Glenrothes distilleries and malt whisky from Zuidam Distillery in the Netherlands. By Adelphi and Fusion Whisky.

Nose drying; polished floor boards; chocolate and desiccated coconut; Scotch pancakes topped with bacon and coated in maple syrup; manilla envelopes; crème caramel; maraschino cherry; rhubarb crumble, dark toffee and molasses; soft and creamy mouthfeel; Sunday lunch, with quince jelly and jus.

The Winter Queen will be available through select specialist retailers, priced around £125.


Image of The Winter Queen whisky from Fusion Whisky and Adelphi. Image: Tina Norris.

Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, as the Biblical Queen Esther, by Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy of Hoogsteder Hoogsteder.

Painting of Prince Maurice in the company of Prince Frederick Henry, Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart, King and Queen of Bohemia, (on left hand side) at the Buitenhof in The Hague. By Pauwels van Hillegaert. Courtesy of Rijksmusuem.

Painting of Frederick V (1596-1632), Elector of the Palatinate, King of Bohemia, and

Elisabeth Stuart (1596-1662), Queen of Bohemia, out hunting, by Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne. Courtesy of Rijksmuseum.

 Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, by Gerard van Honthorst. Courtesy of National Gallery, London.

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Loch Fyne Whiskies “Delusions of Grandeur? Absolutely not!” – Scotch Whisky News


Delusions of Grandeur? Absolutely not!

The latest batch of The GlenDronach Grandeur is on its way to the shores of Loch Fyne and it certainly lives up to its name. Entirely matured in sherry casks dating from the early 1990s, this limited edition is now available to pre-order while stocks last.

We’ve also had the latest batch of annual releases from Springbank arrive this week and, while the Longrow Red 11 Year Old is already gone, you still have a chance to get your hands on this year’s Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength and the new 25 Year Old, but you’ll have to be fast!

Only available while stocks last
We ship all over the world!

The GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 9 24 Year Old

This 9th release in the Grandeur series from The GlenDronach has been specially selected by Master Blender, Rachel Barrie, from some of the distillery’s most remarkable sherry casks from 1990, 1992 and 1993. Matured entirely in sherry casks, only 1,487 bottles of this Speyside single malt have been produced, each one individually hand-numbered.

Limited to 1 bottle per customer
£595 Pre-Order Now
Orders will be dispatched week beginning 26th February

AA LFW Header

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Winners announced in Icons of Whisky 2018 Rest of World

Whisky Magazine has revealed the winners from the Rest of World stage of its Icons of Whisky 2018 awards.

With the winners from Australia, Ireland and Scotland already revealed, the USA will be the magazine’s last stop in this year’s awards before its global victors are announced in London at the Whisky Magazine Awards on March 22 2018.

Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Rest of World 2018:

Distiller of the Year: Distell
Highly commended: Kavalan Distillery

Brand Innovator of the Year: Compass Box
Highly commended: Kavalan Distillery

Craft Producer of the Year: The Cotswolds Distillery
Highly commended: Venture Chichibu

Distillery Manager of the Year: Ian Chang – Kavalan Distillery
Highly commended: Takahisa Fujii – Suntory Yamazaki

Master Distiller / Master Blender of the Year: Andy Watts – Distell
Highly commended: Ichiro Akuto – Chichibu

Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Martin Markvardsen – Highland Park Distillery
Highly commended: Sam Simmons – The Balvenie

World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Dave Worthington – That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Highly commended: Dave Mitton – Corby Distillers

Online Retailer of the Year:
Highly commended:

Single Outlet Retailer of the Year: The Whisky Exchange
Highly commended: Whisky Brother

Visitor Attraction of the Year: Yamazaki Distillery
Highly commended: Kavalan Distillery

Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year: Alison Dinnie – The Cotswolds Distillery
Highly commended: Taichi Sasaki – Suntory Spirits

6 February 2018 – Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor

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Latest Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch released

Diageo Global Travel has announced the release of Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Sherry Cask Finish, the latest addition to its Blenders’ Batch series.

Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Sherry Cask Finish is the seventh release from this series and the first experiment to launch exclusively in travel retail.

Johnnie Walker Black Label is produced with an element of sherry cask maturation. Drawing inspiration from this, the new Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch whisky has been matured in sherry casks.

Sherry Cask Finish has been created with whiskies from distilleries including Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill.

Aimée Gibson, whisky maker says: “Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch whiskies are the result of bold experiments that push the boundaries in flavour. Taking inspiration from the element of sherry cask maturation in Johnnie Walker Black Label, I was intrigued by the rich and fruity element it brought to the blend. It inspired me to experiment with the sherry cask finish to awaken more of these fruity notes and to add a unique flavour dynamic.”

She adds: “The outcome has been extraordinary; Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Sherry Cask Finish is a sweet and rich whisky. It’s the perfect introduction for those who are new to Scotch whisky, but will also excite seasoned whisky lovers.”

Commenting on the travel retail exclusivity, Dayalan Nayager, managing director of Diageo Global Travel says: “This is a special launch for Diageo Global Travel because it’s exclusive to our customers. You won’t get your hands on this whisky anywhere else, making it the perfect purchase for travellers who want to gift something truly special.

“Travellers are looking for brands that have discovery, authenticity, craftsmanship and real human stories behind them, and there is none better than Johnnie Walker. We are excited to offer a glimpse into the constantly shifting world of flavour exploration from the biggest spirits brand in the channel.”

The limited edition Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish is available now in selected travel retail outlets globally, retailing at £26.50 / $44 RRSP for a 1 litre bottle.

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Still from ground 1


MONTREAL (Feb. 14, 2018) History was made earlier this year when Canadian whisky was distilled in downtown Montreal for the first time in decades at the Sazerac Company’s Old Montreal Distillery. For more than a year Sazerac has been putting the elements in place, installing grain mills and a 4,000 gallon mash cooker, converting existing equipment and hooking up fermenters.  Recently a key piece, a brand new still, was added to the Distillery located in the downtown Montreal area, adjacent to the Port and Old Montreal. The still is 18 inches in diameter and 37 feet tall and was made at Vendome in Louisville, Ky.

The Old Montreal Distillery has long had the capacity to distill spirits, including Genever gin, but had always wanted to bring back whisky distillation to Montreal.  “With the long standing connection this city has had with distilling premium Canadian whisky, through the headquarters of the legendary Seagram Company and its patriarch Sam Bronfman, it was always a goal of ours to bring whisky distilling back to Montreal,” said Mark Brown, Sazerac Company president and chief executive officer.

Not only does the new still mean Canadian whisky will be made here, it will also allow experiments with new whiskies, something Sazerac is itching to do.  “With over 500,000 Canadian whisky barrels in inventory, we’re anxious to get started experimenting here in Montreal similar to what we do at our other distilleries,” said Drew Mayville, Sazerac’s master blender. The Montreal project holds a special place in Mayville’s heart, a native Canadian now living in Kentucky, who worked for Seagram’s for 22 years, serving as the fourth and last Master Blender under the Seagram dynasty.

Plans are still under wraps for now as to which Canadian whisky or whiskies will be made at the Old Montreal Distillery, and a formal christening of the still will be held later this year.  It is likely tours will be added later this year as well.

The Old Montreal Distillery dates back to 1929.  It currently employs more than 100 people. The addition of the new distilling operation adds a few more full time employees. Caribou Crossing, the world’s first single barrel Canadian whisky, is bottled at the Old Montreal Distillery, along with many other long time favorites.


About the Sazerac Company

Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in the United States in Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, California, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, India, Australia and Canada. For more information on Sazerac, please visit

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