A Grooves


Ardbeg Day falls on Saturday, 2nd June 2018. This year, the Islay distillery will be rolling back the years to the Ardbeg Village of the late 1960s 

Each year, Ardbeg Day marks the end of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt, Fèis Ìle, with a global celebration of the untamed spirit of Islay. Eagerly anticipated by Ardbeggians and smoky malt whisky enthusiasts the world over, this year will take them back in time for a celebration of all things ‘Peat Love’.

Inspired by the alternative lifestyle and unorthodox spirit of a previous generation, Ardbeg will release this year’s celebratory Limited Edition, Ardbeg Grooves. In his latest experiment, Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation and Whisky Stocks has used re-toasted red wine casks to mature a portion of the whisky. While still sticky with the residue of the wine, these casks were intensely charred to produce heavy grooves into the surface of the wood, a technique that has produced more intense flavours. The result is a whisky aromatic with smoked spices, distant bonfires and chilli-seasoned meats.

Meanwhile, all across the world, Committee Members and lovers of smoky malt will be invited to don their flares, channel some ‘flower power’ and celebrate their passion for the peaty whisky they “dig” above all others.

Distillery Manager Mickey Heads said: “The Ardbeg Village of the 1960s was a very different place – a groovy wee community, with its own post office, billiards hall, two choirs and even a football team. These days the Ardbeg community is a worldwide one, and Ardbeg Day is the best way for us all to come together and raise a dram to the ultimate Islay single malt.”

Ardbeg Day in the UK will play host to a live online tasting, broadcasting to all Ardbeg Embassies nationwide, uniting them in a celebration of Islay’s peatiest malt. The day will also see the launch of Ardbeg’s Summer of Peat Love Campaign, where Ardbeg’s own 1960s inspired VW van will tour the country making stops at a number of leading music festivals, bars and Ardbeg Embassies serving smoky drams to the masses, spreading a taste of Islay’s ‘Peat Love’ and good vibes along the way. More details on Ardbeg’s Summer of Peat Love will be released in the forthcoming weeks.

The Committee release of Ardbeg Peat Love bottled at 51.6% goes on sale at 9am on 14th March 2018, RRP: £89. Committee Members will receive a link to purchase their own special bottle.

Follow Ardbeg on:





Ardbeg Day:

Every year, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music takes place in May or June on Ardbeg’s island home. On the Festival’s final Saturday, Ardbeg Day, the Distillery traditionally throws open its doors to welcome fans from all over the world. In 2012 Ardbeg Day became a global event, enabling the whisky’s passionate international following to take part in a worldwide celebration of all things Ardbeg in their own country. Recent Ardbeg Day themes have included the Islay-limpics and the Peat Football World Cup, while in 2015, Ardbeg Day celebrated the single malt’s 200th anniversary by looking forward 200 years to a retro-futuristic version of Islay in 2215.  For 2016, Ardbeg Day became Ardbeg Night, as fans across the globe recalled Islay’s dark past as a smugglers’ haunt. And in 2017, Ardbeg Day plunged deep under the sea for another legendary celebration.

Ardbeg Grooves:

Ardbeg Grooves is a limited-edition bottling created to celebrate Ardbeg Day 2018. It is the Distillery’s first whisky with a heart matured in wine casks that have been intensely charred to carve heavy grooves in the surface of the wood. The result is a whisky with perfect harmony between smouldering, smoky cinnamon and the sweetness of vanilla popcorn, treacle and pear – with an intensity Ardbeg lovers will adore.

Tasting notes:

Ardbeg Grooves is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV. 

Nose: Intense aromas of smoked cinnamon and paprika, antique leather and saddle soap, with classic Ardbeg scents of pine resin, tar and briny sea spray in the background. A distant hint of a fragrant bonfire by the shores of the distillery and, finally, an unusual savoury note, like chilli-seasoned meats. A little splash of water releases some beautiful, unexpected aromas: lavender scented soap, ground white pepper, floral and herbal notes entwined. Fresh flowers mix with coriander leaves and mint.

Taste: A powerfully salty mouthfeel drifts into sweet vibes of treacle toffee, vanilla popcorn, salted fruits with soot and tar. Again, those distinctive savoury notes of smoky BBQ, paprika and mustard spice, fading into an unexpected haze of smoked pears and apples, almost like pear cider. 

Finish: Smoked paprika and bonfires with a mellow sweetness throughout.


Ardbeg is The Ultimate Islay Single Malt Whisky. Established in 1815, Ardbeg is revered by whisky lovers around the world as the peatiest, smokiest and most intense of all the Islay malts.  Despite its smokiness, Ardbeg is renowned for its delicious sweetness, a phenomenon that has affectionately become known as ‘the peaty paradox’.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ardbeg suffered from an uncertain future and it was not until it was purchased by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997 that the Distillery was saved from extinction.  Since then, the Distillery has risen like a phoenix and today Ardbeg is well established as a niche, cult malt, with a passionate following.  

Ardbeg Committee:

The legacy of the whisky was safeguarded in 2000 by the formation of the Ardbeg Committee.  The Committee is made up of thousands of Ardbeg followers in 130 countries worldwide who are keen to ensure that “the doors of Ardbeg never close again”.  Committee members are regularly consulted on new bottlings and expressions and are offered exclusive Committee bottlings. Members also receive invitations to special gatherings, tastings and events.  The Committee, chaired by Mickey Heads, is free to join at


Since 2008, Ardbeg has won more than 50 gold and double gold medals in key whisky competitions. Ardbeg was voted ‘World Whisky of the Year’ twice by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible (2008, 2009) and has twice been awarded ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards (2010, 2013). At the 2014 Global Icons of Whisky Awards, Mickey Heads was voted ‘Distillery Manager of the Year’. The following year, Ardbeg’s expressions took the top three spots in Whisky Advocate magazine’s review of the best single malt Scotch whiskies under US$100. Meanwhile, both Ardbeg Corryvreckan and Ardbeg Uigeadail have been awarded gold medals at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In 2017 Ardbeg Kelpie, released to celebrate Ardbeg Day, was named Whisky of the Year International Whisky Competition.

The Glenmorangie Company:

The Company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers and marketers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Company produces Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt whisky and Ardbeg Islay Single Malt.

Responsible Drinking:

Ardbeg and The Glenmorangie Company advocate responsible drinking and suggest that drinkers savour Ardbeg whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

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The Macallan Tasting Friday, March 16th 4-6PM The Whisky Shop #SFO – Scotch Whisky News


Friday, March 16th 4-6PM:

Scotch Tasting: The Macallan

Established in Speyside in 1824, Macallan has produced some of the most highly-sought after whiskies in the world. We’ll be pouring a variety of new and rare releases, with distillery representatives and our own in-store whisky experts present for all your whisky questions.

Pour list to be revealed as the event approaches.

Click Here to RSVP


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Milk Honey Distillery – Israel’s first whisky distillery

is launching a second edition of its single malt whisky Experimental Series

After making history on International Whisky Day 2017 with the first single malt whisky in Israel, the Milk Honey Distillery will launch a second edition of single malt whisky at “Whisky Live 2018 “

After making history in 2017 with the first  ever single malt whisky in Israel, sold at a particularly successful international public auction, Milk Honey Distillery is launching an exclusive second edition of lightly peated  single charred barrel.

Similar to the first single malt whisky, this cask is also part of the Experimental Series, distilled in the early stages of setting up the distillery – before establishing the distillery in south Tel Aviv and acquiring the current industrial equipment, and before crowd-funding through Indiegogo. This cask was distilled during April 2014.

Distillation of the cask was carried out in a small pot still in a warehouse in the Sharon region by head  distiller Tomer Goren, accompanied by the late Dr. Jim Swan, an international master distiller, in his role as consultant to the distillery at the time. This was a period of experimentation for Dr. Swan and Tomer Goren, using various interesting raw materials, and in this special cask they first experimented with peated malt, which was crafted in house and gave the  distillate light smoky notes.

The liquid was aged and matured over 43 months in two types of barrel – first in a new 225 liter American oak cask, and then, after 28 months, it was transferred to an ex-bourbon cask for the remainder of the period in the distillation warehouse in Tel Aviv, and bottled at the optimal time.

This series is a harbinger of what is to come: a unique Israeli whisky, mature for its age thanks to aging in Israel’s hot climate.

The Milk Honey Distillery products, including the single malt, are distributed and marketed exclusively by Hacarem Spirits Ltd., and sold at hundreds of points of sale across Israel. The second edition of single malt whisky can be tasted and purchased for the first time at ” Whisky Live 2018″ event. Afterwards the new single malt will be available at specialized stores around the country. 

Tasting impressions

Nose – a delicate maltiness with a hint of lemon in the background, combined with light oak notes and cinnamon, all enveloped in light  peat smoke  appearing in the background.

palate – light-bodied with a malty sweetness, lemon and orange peel notes followed  by a light tang of black pepper and delicate peat smoke. These combine to make a whisky that is both balanced and complex.

Finish – long. Delicate peat dominates the finish, with a hint of maltiness in the background and dark chocolate notes.

General – a balanced and complex whisky. The combination of delicate maltiness and light  peat that creates an interesting whisky that develops as you drink.

Price: Edition 2 Single Malt Whisky 500 ml NIS 449 

About the distillery

The Milk Honey Distillery is the first and largest whisky distillery in Israel. The distillery produces superior spirits, and is working on an Israeli single malt whisky to be marketed commercially, whose first edition, the Founders Edition, sold out in a successful crowd-funding campaign, is aging in barrels and will see the light in 2019. All the raw materials, equipment, barrels, and processes have been chosen with the aim of ensuring that the final product – whether clear spirit or aged whisky – meets the most stringent standards of quality and taste, without making compromises or cutting corners on the long journey to produce the whisky: guidance and advice from the late Jim Swan, a world-renowned master distiller specializing in hot climate aging; specially designed equipment; carefully selected barrels; and the best raw materials available.

The Milk Honey Distillery

16 HaTehiya St., Tel Aviv – 03-6320491

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deVine Spirits “Alt Whisky” Workshop March 24th, 2018 – Canadian Whisky News

devine logo

Groundbreaking deVine Whisky Workshop Shares

Canadian Expertise

2018 (Vancouver, BC) – Vancouver Island’s deVine Wines Spirits will host a special workshop on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Held in conjunction with the American Distilling Institute (ADI), the “Alt Whisky” event will be the first of its kind sponsored by ADI outside the US.

Held at deVine’s distillery in Bentwood Bay, the day-long workshop will include both traditional Single Malt Whisky and “Alt Whisky,” a term that describes modern, New World spirits made using alternative grains and techniques. The workshop will offer an informative, hands-on mix of instruction and enjoyment designed to appeal to both novice and expert Whisky lovers. deVine’s Master Distiller, Ken Winchester, will teach attendees about the science of distilling, as well as how to operate a still, fix a pump, and mill grains such as barley, spelt, emmer, and einkorn. The event also includes guest speakers, lunch, and a guided tasting of whiskies from around the world.

Ken Winchester, Master Distiller at deVine, studied at the University of California and apprenticed at Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland. He’s the creator of deVine’s award-winning Vin Gin, Glen Saanich Single Malt, Ancient Grains Whisky, and Honey Shine Rum.


The cost for the workshop is $300; guests can register here

deVine Wines Spirits “Alt Whisky” Workshop

Saturday, March 24 2018 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

6181B Old West Saanich Road Brentwood Bay, BC

About deVine Winery and Distillery: Family owned and operated, deVine is dedicated to showing what’s possible when you have a commitment to the local place and people, and a willingness to experiment. Located on Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula, the 25-acre organic farm and vineyard grows grapes for wine, grains for whisky, fruit for brandies, and botanicals for gin and vermouth. The farm also grows fruit trees, keeps bees for honey, and taps its maple trees for syrup. Visitors to the tasting room enjoy deVine’s eclectic portfolio in a stunningly beautiful setting, with sweeping views of the surrounding farmland, Gulf Islands, and snowcapped Mt. Baker.


Follow deVine on Social Media:
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Twitter

About the American Distilling Institute (ADI): Founded in 2003, the ADI is the largest and oldest organization of small-batch, independently owned distillers in the United States. Its goal is to promote and defend the art and enterprise of craft distilling through programs of economic development, academic research, and education. With over 1,000 current members, the ADI generates greater public awareness and appreciation for the quality and variety of artisan spirits.

Suggested Tweet: Groundbreaking “Alt Whisky” seminar March 24th @devinevineyards @Distilling

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Introducing Compass Box Hedonism, The Muse – Scotch Whisky News


Hedonism, The Muse – Coming Soon!

We are proud to introduce Hedonism, The Muse on International Women’s Day 2018, continuing our observance of this day over the past decade, as a recognition of women in whisky.

Hedonism will always be special to us as the whisky that launched the company over 17 years ago.  When we recently discovered a cask of exceptional aged grain whisky in the spectrum of flavours of a Hedonism whisky, we were compelled to return to the concept once again.

Hedonism, The Muse combines this single cask with other rare and remarkable grain whiskies of varying ages from four distilleries to create a whisky that has all the flavour hallmarks of the classic Hedonism, with even greater depth and intensity.
Celebrating the fact that women now make up the majority of our team here at Compass Box, this special limited edition bottling reimagines the image of the woman portrayed at the centre of all our Hedonism labels – the first woman, as far as we know, ever to feature on a Scotch whisky label.

Hedonism, The Muse will be available from March. 

Above all, share enjoy!

Whiskymaker John Glaser



To mark the fourth limited edition expression of Hedonism, we will be opening the Compass Box archive for the first time to create a one-of-a-kind lot for The Distillers’ Charity Auction 2018.

The Distillers’ Charity Auction is a unique event organised by The Worshipful Company of Distillers that will take place on 10th April 2018 at Mercers’ Hall in London.  The auction aims to support the Livery Company’s vision of improving alcohol education, training and vocational opportunities for young people.

Regular news updates, including details of the lots as they become available, will appear on the event website, below.



In 2016, our Scotch Whisky Transparency campaign set out to effect a change in the regulations governing the ability of Scotch whisky producers to communicate complete information about the age of their products.  With Scotch whisky regulations in the news once again, visit our website for the latest update on the fight for greater transparency


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Ardbeg Distillery rolls back the years to celebrate all things ‘Peat & Love’ on Ardbeg Day – Scotch Whisky News

Worldwide events coincide with the release of a Limited Edition bottling: the grooviest single malt to come out of the Ardbeg Distillery in decades

Each year, Ardbeg Day marks the end of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt, Fèis Ìle, with a global celebration of the untamed spirit of Islay. Eagerly anticipated by Ardbeggians and smoky malt whisky enthusiasts the world over, this year will take them back in time for a celebration of all things ‘Peat Love’.

This Ardbeg Day, which falls on Saturday, 2nd June 2018, the Islay distillery will be rolling back the years to the Ardbeg Village of the late 1960s.

Inspired by the alternative lifestyle and unorthodox spirit of a previous generation, Ardbeg will release this year’s celebratory Limited Edition, Ardbeg Grooves. This bottling has been matured in ex-wine casks which have been intensely charred to form heavy grooves in the surface of the wood. The result is a whisky aromatic with smoked spices, distant bonfires and chilli-seasoned meats.

Meanwhile, all across the world, Committee Members and lovers of smoky malt will be invited to don their flares, channel some ‘flower power’ and celebrate their passion for the peaty whisky they “dig” above all others.

Distillery Manager Mickey Heads said: “The Ardbeg Village of the 1960s was a very different place – a groovy wee community, with its own post office, billiards hall, two choirs and even a football team. These days the Ardbeg community is a worldwide one, and Ardbeg Day is the best way for us all to come together and raise a dram to the ultimate Islay single malt.”

Article source:


AA Jameson Logo


Jameson Irish Whiskey, which is produced by Irish Distillers in Midleton Distillery, has unveiled its latest advertising platform, entitled ‘Taste, That’s Why’. The campaign launches across television, out of home, digital, display and social media in the USA from this month, ahead of a wider roll-out later this year.

Two television films that reimagine true stories about Jameson and its workers have been created by TBWA Dublin under the helm of John Kane, Executive Creative Director, produced in Ireland and directed by award winning Dutch filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen.


The first film, ‘Scully was to Blame’, charts a story of redemption for Bill Scully in late 19th Century Dublin. A character on the Bow Street distillery floor, Scully absentmindedly makes a mistake during the third distillation in the production of Jameson Irish Whiskey – wasting gallons of precious distillate.

The drama captures Ireland’s history of embellishment in storytelling in a humorous and light-hearted yet authentic way. The film premieres on US television in March. Click here to view it:

‘Coopers’ follows the tale of Dempsey and Flanagan, master and apprentice Coopers, at the modern-day Midleton Distillery, County Cork. Passionate about the provenance and craftsmanship of their barrels, the duo panic when their prized barrels are loaned to a local brewery – and only an experiment in maturation, which results in Jameson Caskmates, eventually appeases their concerns. Click here to view it:

A documentary series, ‘The Story behind the Story’, has also been produced and provides never-before-seen glimpses into the real stories, people and places behind Jameson Irish Whiskey. Directed by Nick Rutter, these light-hearted films are available across Jameson social media channels:



The campaign has been adapted for out of home, with award-winning US photographers The Wade Brothers shooting a stills campaign in bars in Dublin and New York that brings to life ‘Taste, That’s Why’ through confident and engaging copy for key Jameson expressions and serves.


Simon Fay, International Marketing Director at Irish Distillers, said: “In this campaign we wanted to put the unique taste of the Jameson Family centre-stage of the creative, as this is the reason behind our success – and why bartenders, whiskey lovers and premium spirits drinkers alike all over the world continue to discover Jameson.

“It was also important for us to inject the light-hearted, humorous attitude of Jameson into the campaign in a very direct and transparent way. We feel, along with our partners at TBWA Dublin, that we have achieved the perfect balance of this.

“Our ‘Taste, That’s Why’ campaign presents a fresh, engaging and emotive creative for Jameson that is set to build the profile and personality of the brand in the USA, the world’s largest Irish whiskey market, and beyond. We see further growth potential for Jameson all around the world and we are confident that ‘Taste, That’s Why’ will help us to continue the 28 years of growth that we have achieved with Jameson.” 


Mark Nolan, Chief Strategy Officer TBWA Dublin, added: “While there are very few global brands that could dip into the well of provenance and authenticity like Jameson, here we are not reliant on the past to be relevant today.  ‘Taste, That’s Why’ is pure storytelling and like all the best stories, if they happen to be based on the truth, the more impactful and lasting they tend to be.”

John Kane, Executive Creative Director globally for Jameson at TBWA, said: “Jameson is an iconic Irish brand, so it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to create this global platform. We surrounded ourselves with the best talent we could find and had great fun bringing this work to life. We feel ‘Taste, That’s Why’ really captures the honesty and substance of the brand.”

The ‘Taste, That’s Why,’ campaign will be unveiled across the USA in March, ahead of its introduction to other key Irish whiskey markets throughout 2018.


About Irish Distillers

Irish Distillers is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Led by Jameson, our brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey. Jameson is the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey, experiencing 28 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 6.5m cases in 2017. Our brands are exported to 130+ markets, with over 71 of those experiencing double- or triple-digit growth.

Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power Son, John Jameson Son and Cork Distilleries Company. In 1988 Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network. Since 2012, we have invested over €250m to double our production and bottling capacity to meet global demand for our products.

We employ over 600 people across our operations in Cork and Dublin. 

About Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard is the world’s n°2 in wines and spirits with consolidated Sales of € 9, 010 million in 2016/17. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development, based on both organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and VinSprit (2008). Pernod Ricard holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur, Mumm and Perrier- Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard employs a workforce of approximately 18,500 people and operates through a decentralised organisation, with 6 “Brand Companies” and 86 “Market Companies” established in each key market. Pernod Ricard is strongly committed to a sustainable development policy and encourages responsible consumption. Pernod Ricard’s strategy and ambition are based on 3 key values that guide its expansion: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust and a strong sense of ethics.

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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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The Macallan at the Whisky Shop #SFO March 16th, 2018 – Scotch Whisky News


Friday, March 16th 4-6PM:

Scotch Tasting: The Macallan

Established in Speyside in 1824, Macallan has produced some of the most highly-sought after whiskies in the world. We’ll be pouring a variety of new and rare releases, with distillery representatives and our own in-store whisky experts present for all your whisky questions.

Pour list to be revealed as the event approaches.

Click Here to RSVP


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Matthew Clark Helps Licensees Drive Sales this St Patrick’s Day – Irish Whiskey News


Matthew Clark Helps Licensees Drive Sales this St Patrick’s Day

The UK’s largest drinks distributor, Matthew Clark, is set to help licensees make the most of one of the biggest on–trade events of the year, with tailored support packages and bespoke St Patrick’s Day brand activation.

In association with Jameson, Matthew Clark will be offering a full St Patrick’s Day support package, including a themed POS kit, and driving the Jameson ginger and lime perfect serve which will be supported on social media. Enabling licensees to take advantage of this significant sales opportunity, the kit includes 25 Jameson cups, 10 table talkers, 1 bar runners, 50 drink coasters and 3 metres of bunting, helping drive rate of sale and visibility in‐venue.

Matthew Clark is also actively driving distribution of Jameson Caskmates as part of this activity, and together with Meantime has created a perfect pairing of beer and whiskey to enhance the overall experience and provide a unique proposition for outlets looking to take advantage of this growing trend.

In collaboration with Guinness, Matthew Clark will also be supplying Guinness kegs and bottles, as well as offering support for outlets in the form of branded POS to dress venues for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The business will also be advising operators to mix up their drinks offering to give customers a variety of St Patrick’s Day themed beverages during their visit. Utilising bespoke POS, menus and recipes will also enable outlets to amplify activation further.

Katie Cook, Category Marketing Manager, Spirits at Matthew Clark, comments; “St. Patrick’s Day presents a huge sales opportunity for licensees, even more so this year with England playing Ireland in the Six Nations tournament on the same day. With this in mind, we’re dedicated to making sure that our customers have everything they need to truly make the most of this unique opportunity, and help drive footfall and increase sales as a result”.

Licensees can also take advantage of Matthew Clark’s recently enhanced online ordering platform, which is 100% mobile and tablet friendly and fully optimised for use 24 hours a day. Users can easily browse over 7,000 products, and purchase at the click of a button.

Recommended products and servings for the St Patrick’s Day activation include:

  • Jameson Original
  • Jameson Caskmates
  • Guinness
  • Jameson Ginger Lime – 50ml Jameson Irish Whiskey, top up with quality bottled ginger ale, squeeze a large wedge of lime and drop into the glass
  • Jameson Caskmates Irish Coffee – 40ml Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, 75ml Colombian Dark Roast Coffee, 25ml 2:1 Rich Demerara Syrup, layer fresh cold double cream on top and garnish with grated nutmeg. Build in a warm Irish Coffee glass
  • Perfectly poured pint of Guinness


Matthew Clark is a leading national drinks wholesaler with over 200 years’ experience supplier drink products, hospitality training, labour management and marketing support to over 16,000 On-Trade premises in the UK.

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