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

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Mark Your Calendars

8th Annual 

Canadian Whisky Awards Banquet

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hotel Grand Pacific

Victoria, British Columbia

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

Reach James by e-mail at

jburrough@hotelgrandpacific.com

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

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

We hope to see you in Victoria.

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CTV Montreal’s Mutsumi Takahashi talks Canadian whisky.

Warm Welcome for Canadian Whisky

Second edition 

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

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

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

Escalator Tax Encourages Bootlegging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Strong range of fall releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And speaking of whisky books…

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

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

ROCK TOWN SORGHUM WHISKEY NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS TOP 100 SPIRITS OF 2017 LIST – American Whiskey News

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ROCK TOWN SORGHUM WHISKEY NAMED  TO PRESTIGIOUS TOP 100 SPIRITS OF 2017 LIST

Little Rock, AR – (December 7, 2017) – Rock Town Distillery is pleased to announce it’s Sorghum Whiskey has been named one of the top 100 spirits of 2017 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The full list can be found on Wine Enthusiast’s website by clicking this link:

Top 100 Spirits of 2017

Rock Town’s Sorghum Whiskey was distilled from a mash of 91% Arkansas grown red sorghum grain and 9% malted barley in summer of 2015. It was aged in new charred 15 gallon white oak barrels for 17 months.

“This is quite an honor”, said Phil Brandon Rock Town’s founder and head distiller. “The sorghum whiskey received a 93/100 rating, but it’s even more exciting to be named to the top 100 list”.

From Wine Enthusiast, the list is “reflective of what’s going on in the spirits industry, where innovation is shaking things up. A banner number of small and craft distilleries were purchased by larger entities over the course of 2017—arguably, a nod toward the innovation and nimbleness these smaller players bring to the market, as well as the increasing demand and appreciation for such products.

Going forward, all these new entrants may represent a thorn in the side to legacy spirits producers. But for consumers, it means that we will likely have even more varied and exciting options to choose from than ever before. That’s a prospect worth celebrating. So raise your glass, filled with any of these finest spirits reviewed this year.”

ABOUT ROCK TOWN DISTILLERY
Rock Town Distillery produces the award winning Arkansas Bourbon, Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey, Arkansas Rye Whiskey, Arkansas Lightning, and Rock Town Vodka which are distributed to 15 states and the United Kingdom, Canada and Taiwan. Winner of the 2015 US Micro Whisky of the Year Award in the 2015 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

Rock Town Distillery, Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition, is located in downtown Little Rock at 1216 E 6th Street, Little Rock, AR 72202. The distillery is open for tours 7 days a week. To find out more please visit www.rocktowndistillery.com

About Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Wine Enthusiast’s approach to wine and spirits is accessible and unpretentious, and enjoyed by novices and experts alike. Published 13 times per year, the magazine’s audience is at nearly one million strong. The magazine and its Buying Guide with more than 300,000 ratings and reviews make up the most comprehensive database in the industry available for free online at www.WineMag.com.

Rock Town Distillery
1216 E. Sixth Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/rock-town-sorghum-whiskey-named-to-prestigious-top-100-spirits-of-2017-list-american-whiskey-news/

ROCK TOWN SORGHUM WHISKEY NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS TOP 100 SPIRITS OF 2017 LIST – American Whiskey News

Rocktown

ROCK TOWN SORGHUM WHISKEY NAMED  TO PRESTIGIOUS TOP 100 SPIRITS OF 2017 LIST

Little Rock, AR – (December 7, 2017) – Rock Town Distillery is pleased to announce it’s Sorghum Whiskey has been named one of the top 100 spirits of 2017 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The full list can be found on Wine Enthusiast’s website by clicking this link:

Top 100 Spirits of 2017

Rock Town’s Sorghum Whiskey was distilled from a mash of 91% Arkansas grown red sorghum grain and 9% malted barley in summer of 2015. It was aged in new charred 15 gallon white oak barrels for 17 months.

“This is quite an honor”, said Phil Brandon Rock Town’s founder and head distiller. “The sorghum whiskey received a 93/100 rating, but it’s even more exciting to be named to the top 100 list”.

From Wine Enthusiast, the list is “reflective of what’s going on in the spirits industry, where innovation is shaking things up. A banner number of small and craft distilleries were purchased by larger entities over the course of 2017—arguably, a nod toward the innovation and nimbleness these smaller players bring to the market, as well as the increasing demand and appreciation for such products.

Going forward, all these new entrants may represent a thorn in the side to legacy spirits producers. But for consumers, it means that we will likely have even more varied and exciting options to choose from than ever before. That’s a prospect worth celebrating. So raise your glass, filled with any of these finest spirits reviewed this year.”

ABOUT ROCK TOWN DISTILLERY
Rock Town Distillery produces the award winning Arkansas Bourbon, Arkansas Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey, Arkansas Rye Whiskey, Arkansas Lightning, and Rock Town Vodka which are distributed to 15 states and the United Kingdom, Canada and Taiwan. Winner of the 2015 US Micro Whisky of the Year Award in the 2015 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

Rock Town Distillery, Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition, is located in downtown Little Rock at 1216 E 6th Street, Little Rock, AR 72202. The distillery is open for tours 7 days a week. To find out more please visit www.rocktowndistillery.com

About Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Wine Enthusiast’s approach to wine and spirits is accessible and unpretentious, and enjoyed by novices and experts alike. Published 13 times per year, the magazine’s audience is at nearly one million strong. The magazine and its Buying Guide with more than 300,000 ratings and reviews make up the most comprehensive database in the industry available for free online at www.WineMag.com.

Rock Town Distillery
1216 E. Sixth Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/rock-town-sorghum-whiskey-named-to-prestigious-top-100-spirits-of-2017-list-american-whiskey-news/

New: Johnnie Walker Blue Label // Big Peat Gold Edition 25 Years // Kyrö Rye

Johnnie Walker Blue Label - Brora  Rare

Johnnie Walker Blue Label - Brora  Rare

Johnnie Walker doesn’t come by often on this blog, but the new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost Rare line is pretty interesting. Each edition will be composed around whisky from a lost distillery and the first batch is a Brora edition.

At its heart is some Brora single malt, but two other lost distilleries are also included: Pittyvaich and Cambus grain, as well as Clynelish, Lochnagar and others. The first review I saw calls it a masterpiece. It is bottled at 46% ABV and arrived in stores this week.

 

 

Big Peat Gold Edition 25 Years

Big Peat Gold Edition 25 Years

The first expression in a limited trilogy from Douglas Laing: a 25 year-old version of Big Peat, bottled at cask strength 52,1%. Only 3000 bottles globally, available soon for around € 190.

Although the initial press release said it contains Ardbeg, Bowmore and Port Ellen, they withdrew these references.

ps/ There’s also a new Big Peat ‘Drinks by the Dram’ Edition, peatier and slightly higher strength than normal.

 

 

Kyrö Rye Whisky

Kyrö Rye Whisky

Finnish distillery Kyrö announced their single malt rye whisky, produced from wholegrain malted rye and around 3 years old. It was matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Marsala casks. Very limited though: just 315 bottles of which about half will stay in Finland. A bottle will cost around € 70.

 

 

Also interesting…

Things that may not have been widely announced but that I saw popping up in shops recently:

Article source: https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/whisky-news/johnnie-walker-blue-label-big-peat-gold-edition-25-yo-kyro-rye-whisky/

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

KWM Whisky Advent Day 14 – Writers Tears Copper Pot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodinville Whiskey Company Straight Rye Whiskey – American Whiskey News

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Woodinville Whiskey Company

STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

Surprise them with one of the only 100% straight rye whiskies produced: a whiskey with all the traditional rye spice and flavor that rye whiskey drinkers love. And then some…This 100% rye starts with pure, traditionally-grown rye cultivated exclusively for us on the Omlin family farm in Quincy, Washington. The grain is mashed, distilled barreled in our Woodinville distillery – then trucked back over the Cascade Mountains to our private barrel houses, where Central Washington’s extreme temperature cycles promote the extraction of natural flavors from the oak.

Prior to being coopered, the barrel wood is seasoned in open air, rain, wind, sun and snow for eighteen months softening the wood’s harsh tannins. They are then slowly toasted and heavily charred to further enrich the wood’s desirable flavors. The result of this meticulous process yields a truly hand-crafted whiskey with aromas of cinnamon, clove, and fruit leather, and notes of caramel, wood spice, and honey on the palate with a long, memorable finish that will leave you anticipating your next sip.

 

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/woodinville-whiskey-company-straight-rye-whiskey-american-whiskey-news/

K&L California ~ Garnheath 43YO Rare, Limited-Production Single Malt from a “Lost Distillery” – Scotch Whisky News

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Our “Old Particular” program continues to be a favorite among Scotch drinkers. And today’s offering, the 1974 Garnheath 43 Year Old Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky, is a classic example of why. From a now closed or “lost” distillery, the Garnheath offers both exceptional rarity and unparalleled value. We got out of the “lost distillery” game years ago, no longer willing to pay the crazy prices for Port Ellen and Brora, but luckily for us there’s still not much of a market for grain whisky despite the huge success of brands like the Nikka Coffey Still. We’re not complaining, however! We went back and dug out a second cask of 43 year old Garnheath, the long lost facility from Scotland’s Lowland region that operated between 1965 and 1986 before closing forever. Considering both the age and the rarity of the whisky, the price is downright ridiculous for something this delicious and exotic. But, so long as we keep finding deals like this, we’ll keep passing on the savings to you!

1974 Garnheath 43 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky (750ml) ($249.99)

Part two of Garnheath is finally here! Part of our lost whisky collection (meaning distilleries that have since closed and/or been demolished), we bring you the follow-up to our absolutely stunning cask of old Garnheath, a grain whisky from the once-active distillery site inside of Inver House’s Moffat site located just east of Glasgow on the road to Edinburgh. The distillery was located next to another closed malt producing site: Glenflagler. Closed in the mid-eighties, now just a memory and a story to share among friends, the spirit of Garnheath lives on (literally) in this single barrel, cask strength edition bottled just for KL. Not only is the Garnheath a lost legend, this 43 year old edition is one of the smoothest, roundest, most luxurious whiskies we’ve ever had the pleasure of selling. It rolls across the tongue effortlessly, coating the palate with rich waves of caramel, honey and maple syrup. In classic grain whisky style, there’s no maltiness or smoke here. It’s just four glorious decades of barrel maturation at work: orange zest, candied sugar and apricot. A true whisky classic in the making and a piece of history, to boot. The whisky is a year older, but the price remains the same. This is the last cask of Garnheath in the warehouse and it will be the last we bring in under the Old Particular label.

David Driscoll | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2017

If you want to knock someone’s socks off this year with the perfect bottle of Scotch, go with the Garnheath. Few people will know what it is, but everyone who has tasted this whisky thus far has been absolutely bowled over by its richness and concentration of flavor. Not only is the whisky absolutely delicious, it’s unbelievably rare. Garnheath was only open for two decades during the sixties and seventies before it was shutdown for good. It’s a forgotten piece of the past come back to life in this bottle. Old grain whiskies are still incredibly affordable for the price (even rare ones like this), but that’s starting to change. Nikka has seen tremendous success with its Coffey grain expression at $60 per bottle, so imagine a more intense version of that whisky, more than four times as old, and 1000x as rare. That’s what you’re getting for $249.99. Creamy on the palate, and reduced down to 47% naturally after four decades, this is an ultra smooth Scotch with loads of fudge, maple syrup, and spice. This is the rare, limited edition bottle for people who don’t want to drop $10,000 for Macallan.

Alex Schroeder | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 17, 2017

This Garnheath grain whisky aged 43 years is, simply put, a beautiful thing. After over four decades in the barrel, its taken on a beautiful light brown color with vanilla, cocoa, and honeyed cereal notes that are smooth and creamy all the way across the palate. Its an experience to behold, not even considering its an irreplaceable piece of history.

Joe Manekin | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 16, 2017

This is one of the richest, most burnished and appealingly maple/cola/sweet-ish grain whiskies I have yet to try. The alcohol is perfectly balanced, the lush burnt sugar and spice notes are expansive and linger on the palate for a long while. If you’re after older grain whiskey, or even if you’re a Bourbon fan chasing after something rare, old and delicious, I would strongly recommend the Old Particular Garnheath 43 Year Old. Yes, 43 year Old! Delicious stuff.

Andrew Stevens | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 16, 2017

I love when I get a chance to taste any whisky with significant age on it and the single grains we get in from Old Particular are always the best way to get truly older whisky. Even so I was surprised in the best way possible with this bottling from Garnheath. I did get some older wood characteristics in the nose alongside vanilla, and white toffee the palate was shockingly young and vibrant. It did not necessarily taste like a younger whisky, it has the elegance and complexity that age brings. However it was brimming with power and flavor, vanilla notes with white fudge swiftly turn to rising spicy layers and finish with a maple syrup sweetness. There is nothing off putting or odd in this bottling, just spectacular old whisky that reminds me more of an older American than an old Scottish whisky.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 16, 2017

At 43 years old this grain whiskey is still alive and delicious. Beautiful caramel aromas lead to a whiskey that is packed full of concentrated flavors. It is big and round with sweet richness and a touch of spice. There is a long sweet tongue coating finish that helps make this a good selection for grain whiskey lovers.

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2017

The delights of old grain whisky are numerous. The sweetness, the round profile, the cream and vanilla, and of course, the price! Where do you find 43 year old cask strength whisky at this kind of price!? No where but KL. The nose is seductive and warm and gives fair warning that whisky in your glass will be creamy and rich. Toasted coconuts, grain tea, sweet oak spices carry the palate through to a long and enjoyable finish. This is the kind of whisky that makes a perfect gift. It has a huge number on the front, tastes delicious and there are few people who, when poured a glass, won’t enjoy it.

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Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kl-california-garnheath-43yo-rare-limited-production-single-malt-from-a-lost-distillery-scotch-whisky-news/

KWM Whisky Advent Day 11 – Shelter Point Single Malt – Canadian Whisky News

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KWM Whisky Advent Day 11 – Shelter Point Single Malt

When Shelter Point whisky burst on to the scene with their Inaugural Run Single Malt last year, they took Canada by storm. At least Western Canada. We all knew it was coming, the first of the wave of BC Craft Distilleries to get a mature whisky to market. The Inaugural Run Single Malt, and the follow up, the Shelter Point Distiller’s Select Cask Strength (a single malt/rye hybrid) were both very well received. Shelter Point actually out sold Crown Royal Norther Harvest Rye, at least in our shop. This fall they have released two very interesting new releases: Shelter Point French Oak Finish and the Shelter Point Single Grain Montfort Lot DL 141.

Shelter Point Distillery was founded by Patrick Evans in 2011 in Oyster River BC. The distillery and the farm it sits on are located half way up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. Patrick is a third generation farmer in the Comox valley, his family having been early pioneers in the area around the turn of the 20th Century. In 2005 Patrick and his family bought a University of British Columbia research farm that was once owned by his father. The farm sits on fertile land, ideal for the growing of barley, and atop a large natural aquifer.

The farm covers 380 acres with 2 kilometers of oceanfront. The farm is run in as sustainable a manner as possible. In the Distillery’s Words: “We do not plow or cultivate the soils. Instead, we use a heavy-duty grain seeder that cuts through the previous year’s stubble, opening up the ground with a round disc and allowing new seed to be dropped in the soil and then covered for germination. We over-seed harvested fields with winter wheat, rye or winter peas to increase the organic matter in the soil and rebuild the soil naturally. This action also benefits the many visiting waterfowl who overwinter on the farm, and minimizes the potential of soil erosion during winter rains. On some fields, we also apply a heavy spring application of compost or manure.”

In 2009 when the decision was made to open a distillery, Patrick wanted to make sure they did things right. With the help of some Scottish investors and the Diageo veteran Mike Nicholson, a Vancouver Island transplant the distillery construction was completed in 2010, with the first distillation taking place in the spring of 2011 with barley grown on the farm. The distillery produced a range of vodkas and liqueurs while the early casks of whisky lay sleeping.

Shelter Point’s first single malt, the aforementioned Inaugural Run Single Malt, was released in May of 2016. We had early exclusivity on the product and were very impressed by its quality. Subsequent releases have not disappointed.

Shelter Point Single Malt – 46% – Matured in American Oak – Andrew’s Tasting Note: Nose: fresh, toasty and honeyed; a touch of sour orange opens into oatmeal-raisin cookies right out of the over and corn syrup; a touch vegetal and quite malty with aloe-like oils. Palate: still fresh, malty and honeyed; the corn syrup is still there with some simple syrup and melons; the orange note is drying with some Demerara sugar and Russian coffee dregs; still vegetal and floral with loads of toasty oak; the oatmeal-raisin cookies are still there, right out of the oven… not enough raisins though! Finish: clean, crisp and toasty; more malty tones, sugars and honey with a floral finale. Comment: more mature by a hair than the first release; further proof that they are on the right track! $87 per 750ml or $12 per 50ml

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kwm-whisky-advent-day-11-shelter-point-single-malt-canadian-whisky-news/

The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year 2018 – Scotch Whisky News

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The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year 2018

Whisky of the Year has gone global! For 2017 we opened up the awards to any bottle from across the world, provided it was not cask strength, below £60 and an ongoing release. Despite my repeated suggestions that we should hold the final somewhere warm and exotic to celebrate this momentous development, the event was once again held in The Rooms at Brown’s, just a hop and a skip from our Covent Garden shop.

On arrival we warmed up with a Claymore – not the Scottish two-handled sword, but rather the winning cocktail from the 2017 Speciality Drinks Next Whisky Cocktail Classic Competition. Made from Chivas Regal 18 Year Old and Champagne cordial, it’s delicious and relatively easy to make at home – providing you ever have leftover Champagne with which to make the syrup…

So what were we looking for in the eight unidentified whiskies sat temptingly in front of us? Our Master of Wine Dawn Davies, who was presiding over the evening, gave us a few tips:

  • don’t be swayed by big flavours
  • look at the whisky’s balance
  • consider how long you think about it afterwards
  • look carefully at the finish
  • taste a couple of whiskies to calibrate your palate before starting to give scores

Everyone in the room tasted each dram at the same time, giving us an opportunity to compare tasting notes and guess at the composition and origins of each whisky.

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The drams

First up was Arran 14 Year Old, which won praise from the room for its grassy, coconut, vanilla and fruit notes, with some observing that it had a slightly tannic finish.

Nikka Coffey Malt followed, which one person said smelled like Kraken rum, while another said was a ‘grain whisky made with barley sugar’. People found it easy to drink, noting flavours of toffee, vanilla, and gooseberry, but overall this dram proved to be much less of a talking point than the Arran.

Third was Cragganmore Distillers Edition 2004, which many said had similar elements to number one. It also, however, had smoky, woody and red-fruit notes, alongside a rich velvety texture. ‘I always think of fabric in terms of texture’ said Dawn.

The next one… well. The next one was Green Spot Leoville Barton, a wine-finished single pot still whiskey which, from a tasting point of view, deservedly won a place in the final. Unfortunately, we belatedly discovered that it doesn’t meet our criterion of being an ongoing release, so we had to knock Green Spot off the top spot. Oops.

Number five was Benromach 15, in which the audience found notes of paprika, farmyards, smoke and Burgundy. As Billy observed, it was like the ‘inside of a flaming Crunchie bar’, which led us to wonder exactly what he gets up to in his spare time.

After a brief digression about chickens and Rudolf Steiner (it made sense on the night), Dawn led us on to sample whisky number six: Inchmoan 12 Year Old. By this point there was a lot of debate about which whiskies were Scotch and which weren’t. ‘It’s like Scotland being in the World Cup final,’ said one chap at my table, looking nervous. The Inchmoan, Loch Lomond’s peated spirit, was observed to have notes that ranged from nit shampoo to pot pourri, with a tannic and dry finish.

Next we were off to Islay for Bowmore 15 Year Old, which elicited quite a few ‘oooh’s when people lifted the glass to their nose. Notes identified included Bonfire Night, Marmite, red fruits and bacon, with one attendee commenting ‘it’s almost too delicate to be an Islay.’

Our last dram was Ailsa Bay, a peated Lowland whisky that wrong-footed people with its salty, leafy bonfire characteristics alongside sweet citrus, white pepper and smoked-salmon notes.

The winner

Jonathan Dimbleby was unavailable to present the pre-results coverage, so while we waited for Billy to count the votes we turned our attention to the bonus ninth dram. This one, however, wasn’t sampled blind: as our CEO Sukhinder told us, this was a Caol Ila 32 Year Old that had been selected as a show bottling for Whisky Show Old and Rare. (‘Holy sh*t’, commented someone at my table when the age and distillery were announced.)

While our focus for the eight finalist drams had been on balance, Sukhinder explained that this wasn’t always the most essential factor for independent bottlers. ‘Distillers look for something quite balanced, something that shows their character’ he said, ‘but what we’re looking for is something that tastes nice. Sometimes we’re looking for something that is perfectly balanced but sometimes you want something wild and flavourful. Overall we just look for a good whisky.’ The Caol Ila, in case you haven’t guessed, was very good indeed.

And the winner? The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year 2018 is Bowmore 15 Year Old, one of the two drams that were clear favourites with the audience. Runner-up is the striking Ailsa Bay, and thanks to our special offer, both are just £50 if you fancy seeing what all the – entirely justified – fuss is about.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/the-whisky-exchange-whisky-of-the-year-2018-scotch-whisky-news/

KWM Whisky Advent Day 7 – Millstone Oloroso Sherry – Hollandish Malt Whisky News

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KWM Whisky Advent Day 7 – Millstone Oloroso Sherry

It has been a little over a year now since Millstone hit the market in Alberta, and our customers are lapping up the many different whisky releases we have from the Dutch distiller, which also goes by the name Zuidams. Zuidams is a family owned distillery in Baarle Nassau, The Netherlands. The firm opened its doors in 1974, and for the first 14 years it produced vodka, liqueurs, gin and genever. The latter spirit, genever is the key to the firms progression to making whisky.

Genever, is a spirit with a very long history. In the early days of distillation in Europe, beer made from malted barley was crudely distilled into a spirit. The result was essentially a proto-whisky, but the spirit would have been almost unpalatable. To make it more drinkable herbs were added to alter the flavour. Juniper was also added as it was believed the berries had health benefits. The name Genever, or Jenever, is derived from the Dutch word “jeneverbes” or Juniper Berry.

Patrick van Zuidam

The origins of Genever go back to at least the 13th Century, and they are not exclusive to the Netherlands. There is reference to Genever coming from Bruges in the 1200s and Antwerp a couple of centuries later. But most scholars argree that Genever was likely first produced in Flanders, in the Netherlands. By 1606 the industry was sufficiently large for it to attract the attention of the Dutch authorities, who began levying taxes on genever and similar spirits in 1606.

There are two types of Genever, Old and Young. Young or “Jonge” genever is a style that came about around 1900. Modern distilling techniques allowed for the creation of lighter spirits. During the Great War (First World War) there was a shortage of grain and Genever was made from molasses and sugar beets. People started referring to the Old or “Oude” style genever. Some Old Genever is matured in oak barrels, like whisky. It is this style that Millstone is famous for.

In 1988 at the behest of the sons, especially Patrick van Zuidam, the firm started experimenting with whisky making. In 1996 they began laying down casks in earnest. The company produces not just single malt whisky (both peated and unpeated malt), made in the Scottish style, but also 100% rye whisky. We bottled our own cask of Millstone Rye Whisky this year and it has been a hit!

So first and foremost, we know, the whisky is not a 50ml… Apparently Millstone does 40mls instead. We aren’t really sure why. I chalk it up to the Dutch being Dutch. Good folk that they are, sometimes it is best not to ask… besides, we would not have otherwise had this whisky in our Calendar!

Millstone Oloroso Sherry – 46% – No Age Statement – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: thick with chocolate, Kahlua and caramel flavoured Baileys; big notes of liquorice Jujubes, polished new leather and brand new rubber boots. Palate: big, nutty, leathery and earthy; syrupy, juicy dates and more Kahlua; caramel sauce and more cream liqueur tones; the leather and spices build but also some waxy Strawberry Twizzlers; young but layered and rich. Finish: milk chocolate coats the palate along with caramel Baileys and liquorice Jujubes. Comment: this is a malt for those looking to get their sherry on… it is big, proud and unapologetic; very Dutch! 50mls Available for $12700mls are SOLD OUT in Alberta. Due back in 2018!

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Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/12/kwm-whisky-advent-day-7-millstone-oloroso-sherry/