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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Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila 9 Year Old 2008 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News


Caol Ila 9 Year Old 2008

Single cask bourbon barrel bottled January 2018 by Gordon MacPhail for the Cask Strength series. Rich peat smoke, ripe banana, nectarine and pear flavours. Vanilla aromas lead to green app;es and citrus. The palate is peppery with ripe banana, nectarine and pear flavours. Rich peat smoke on the finish.  Caol Ila Distillery is famous for the stunning view from its still house windows looking out across the Sound of Islay and for the objects which have passed by including naval battleships, submarines and whales. Caol Ila was established in 1846 by Hector Henderson on a sheltered but rocky stretch of coast on north east Islay. Now the largest malt whiskey distillery on Islay it produces peated and some un-peated malt whiskey with the distillery range including Caol Ila 12 year old and the Distiller’s Edition. Caol Ila participates in Feis Ile, the annual Islay Festival of Malt and Music.

Buy – £49.61


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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:

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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Douglas Laing’s Big Peat “Christmas” Limited Edition at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Douglas Laing’s Big Peat “Christmas” Limited Edition Cask Strength Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $80)

SKU #1333591 $49.99

The exceptional Big Peat Christmas 2017 arriving perfectly timed to avoid any holiday gifting or sharing with unappreciative relatives. The 2017 Christmas Edition of Big Peat is the probably the best received of these always beloved annual releases. This is a blend of sevenIslay single malts including the rare closed Port Ellen distillery. Douglas Laing has confirmed Bowmore, Caol Ila and Ardbeg, so that leaves Kilchoman, Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Bunnahabhain for us to speculate about. High quality blended malt bottled at full strength from these rare special distilleries, we’d expect a hefty price tag. Since we have the California exclusive, we can offer you this amazing whisky for the best price anywhere in the world. Enjoy it now or stock up for the 2018 Holidays.


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Malt Maniacs Awards 2017- A Jury Report – Whisky News


Malt Maniacs Awards 2017- A Jury Report 

Since 1997, the malt maniacs (an international collective of malt whisky enthusiasts) have been enjoying and discussing the pleasures of (single malt) whisky with like-minded whisky lovers from all over the world. Since 2003, we have organised (non stop) our very own annual ‘amateur’ whisky competition. We like to think that, over the years, our modest little initiative has evolved into one of the leading (and most independent) whisky competitions in the world. You can find more details about our collective and its history on:


MMA 2017: The Rules

Our fundamentals are:

  • 100% Amateur
  • 100% Blind


In the Malt Maniacs Awards, medals are won on merit, similar to the system that is used by the boy scouts. The winners in specific categories receive awards instead – hence the name of our competition. There are six award categories in three price brackets. We distinguish between these six awards categories:

  • Non-Plus-Ultra Award (Overall top scoring whisky out of all Malt Maniacs Awards entries that year)
  • Best Natural Cask Award (Best whisky matured exclusively in ‘untreated’, regular casks)
  • Best Sherry Cask Award (Best whisky matured exclusively in sherry casks)
  • Best Peated Malt Award (Best whisky distilled from – relatively – peated malted barley)
  • Thumbs Up Award (Most exciting new release in that price category that year)

Every bottle that is entered in our competition can win only one award (as well as only one medal). Apart from the six awards categories listed above, there are three different price brackets –

Daily Drams (the bottles with a retail price of up to 50 Euros), Premium Whiskies (the bottles with a retail price between 50 and 150 Euros) and Ultra Premium Whiskies (the bottles with a retail price of more than 150 Euros).So there are 18 ‘standard’ awards that are assigned each year – provided we can find a suitable candidate.

If we feel that a certain whisky, bottler or distillery deserves special recognition in a particular year, we sometimes add one or more ‘special’ awards.

And finally, the moment you are waiting for……!!!!

AWARDS –Supreme Winner 

Kavalan 2009/2017 ‘Solist’ (58.60%, OB, C#S090306031, Sherry Cask, 481 Bts.)

AWARDS – Ultra Premium Category

Non-Plus-Ultra Award (Ultra Premium)

Glen Grant 1965 (43.6% Gordon MacPhail for LMDW, First Fill Sherry Cask, 19 Bts)

Best Natural Cask Award (Ultra Premium)

22yo 1993/2015 (52.70%, Chieftain’s Choice, C#3612, First Fill Sherry Butt, 579 Bts.)

Best Sherry Cask Award (Ultra Premium).

Yamazaki 25yo (43%, OB, Sherry)

Best Peated Malt Award (Ultra Premium)

Islay Distillery 25yo (48.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Thumbs Up Award (Ultra Premium)

Glenfarclas 10yo 2005/2015 (60.9%, OB, C#2424, Sherry Cask, 634 Bts.)

AWARDS – Premium Category


Non-Plus-Ultra Award (Premium)

Kavalan ‘Solist’ 2008 (58.6%, OB, C#S081217041, Sherry Cask, 476 Bts.)

Best Natural Cask Award (Premium)

Edradour 11yo 2005/2016 (59.1%, OB for Drunken Master Bar, C#90, Sherry cask)

Best Sherry Cask Award (Premium)

Kavalan 2009/2017 ‘Solist’ (58.60%, OB, C#S090306024, Sherry Cask, 461 Bts.)

Best Peated Malt Award (Premium)

Ledaig 12yo 2005/2017 (61.1%, Cadenhead’s for HNWS Taiwan 12th Anniversary)

Thumbs Up Award (Premium)

Amrut 2011/2016 (56.50%, OB for Hot Malt, C#4122, PX Sherry Cask, 624 Bts.)

AWARDS – Daily Drams Category


Non-Plus-Ultra Award (Daily Drams)

Elements of Islay ‘Peat Full Proof’ (59.3%, The Whisky Exchange, NAS)

Best Natural Cask Award (Daily Drams)

Wemyss ‘Treacle Chest’ (46%, Wemyss Family Collection, First Fill Sherry Hogshead, 6300 Bts.)

Best Sherry Cask Award (Daily Drams)

Glenfarclas 105  (60%, OB, Sherry Cask)

Best Peated Malt Award (Daily Drams)

Caol Ila 12yo (43%, OB)

Thumbs Up Award (Daily Drams)

Laphroaig 10yo (40%, OB)

Gold Medals (GM) 

Gold Medals as you all would agree are the cream of the crop! As mentioned earlier it is not easy to get a GM in MMA and the average GM winners per competition for last 14 years has been only eight!! The maximum of 15 were in the year 2006 with minimum being 3 in the inaugural year, 2003.

So this year we are not far away from our average number, which are:

1. Kavalan 2009/2017 ‘Solist’ (58.60%, OB, C#S090306031, Sherry Cask, 481 Bts.)

2. Kavalan ‘Solist’ 2008 (58.6%, OB, C#S081217041, Sherry Cask, 476 Bts.)

3. Edradour 11yo 2005/2016 (59.1%, OB for Drunken Master Bar, C#90, Sherry cask)

4. Glen Grant 1965 (43.6% Gordon MacPhail for LMDW, First Fill Sherry Cask, 19 Bts)

5. Yamazaki 25yo (43%, OB, Sherry)

6. Kavalan 2009/2017 ‘Solist’ (58.60%, OB, C#S090306024, Sherry Cask, 461 Bts.)

7. Ledaig 12yo 2005/2017 (61.1%, Cadenhead’s for HNWS Taiwan 12th Anniversary)

8. Kavalan 2009/2016 ‘Solist’ (57.10%, OB, C#S090306012, Sherry Cask, 498 Bts.)

9. Undisclosed 22yo 1993/2015 (52.70%, Chieftain’s Choice, C#3612, First Fill Sherry Butt, 579 Bts.)

10. Amrut 2011/2016 (56.50%, OB for Hot Malt, C#4122, PX Sherry Cask, 624 Bts.)

11. Edradour 11yo 2004/2016 (57.6%, OB, C#426, 674 Bts.)

12. Glenlivet 2007 (66.6%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Live 2017, C#900188, 343 Bts.)

13. Kavalan 2010/2017 ‘Solist’ (59.40%, OB for LMDW C#0100505013A, Port Cask, 196 Bts.)

Final words 

The MMA cannot take place without the participating companies submitting their bottles to us. So, a big thank you to them! The MMA2017 has been a very good year and as the next MMA will be the 15th anniversary of the awards, so malt lovers, expect something special in MMA2018!!

Article source:

Kensington Wine Market Malt Messenger No. 85 by Andrew Ferguson – Whisky News


Malt Messenger No. 85

It sounds like no matter where you are in the northern hemisphere, there is a reasonable chance you are having a snow day… unless you are in the arctic! Lots of whisky news to fill you in on, but before we get to that I have details on a couple of upcoming events.

We are just a few days away from our first ever Lassie’s Only Whisky Festival on Wednesday March 7. We have teamed up with some partners, Peasant Cheese, the Brasserie Kensington and Bamboo Ballroom, to put on this Ladies only whisky festival in support of the Brenda Strafford Society, which works to prevent domestic abuse and provide shelter for families. 100% of the ticket price, $40, will be passed on to the Brenda Strafford Society to aid their efforts. We are close to our target, please help us spread the world and sell this event out!

We are also just under 3 weeks from our 2nd Annual The Spirit of Speyside Festival. We will be cracking 80+ Speyside whiskies showcasing the wide variety of styles produced in the region. Think you know Speyside whisky? Think again, we have some surprises in-store!

On the new whisky front, a stunning single grain just popped into view without warning this week. The Sovereign Carsebridge 42 Year, $525, is only the second bottling we’ve ever seen from this distillery. I poured it at a tasting Thursday night and it was a big hit. Smooth, elegant, lots of character and very rum-like: think old Jamaican rum. The third release of the Tullibardine Custodians Collection, 1962, $5000, is also here. Bottled at the precariously low cask strength of 40.1%, only 3 bottles are coming to Alberta. KWM has acquired 2 of them, one of which is already sold!

Our new exclusive Cooper’s Choice bottlings have been trickling in to the store. Over the last week I wrote up tasting notes on: Ardmore 2001, Glen Grant 1996, Tomintoul 1996 and North British 1991. All four are lovely, but I will single out the North British, as it is an insanely well priced for a 26 year old, $140. It is also an unusually low cask strength of 42.5% ABV.

There are also new whiskies from Glengyle, Glenmorangie and Cotswolds distilleries. From Glengyle we have the second release to come to Canada of Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength, $85. The Glenmorangie Tarlogan is curious because it is actually a Duty Free release, but as it is 700mls, and not 1L, the Canadian Duty Free buyers passed on it. It is very well priced too, $85, matured in Virgin and Ex-Bourbon American oak.In addition to the above two Scottish single malts, we are also expecting our first English whisky from the Cotswolds Distillery. The Cotswolds Single Malt, though new, is a very traditional style single malt, produced from locally grown floor malted barley. The whisky is 46% and unchill-filtered after maturing in Ex-Bourbon Re-charred Ex-Wine barrels.

There are three new limited, and very big Gordon Macphail whiskies. Two of them, the Tormore 2002 and Ledaig 2005, are from GM’s Private Collection Wood Finish range. The third is a massive sherried Cask Strength Balblair 1993.  Sadly we were only able to acquire 6 each of the Tormore and Balblair.

We have two new whiskies coming from Old Pulteney, 25 Year and 1983 Vintage; ETA Spring. Over the next few weeks we are anticipating whiskies from a new to Canada Belgian independent bottler, Asta Morris. There are also a trio of rare old whiskies from Eiling Lim. And there is an offer on back vintages of Karuizawa. Don’t shoot the messenger, the prices on these reflect global secondary demand for this whisky. We will only be bringing in bottles if we have orders for them, as they are rather dear.

Finally, I am going to try to include a Scotch Malt Whisky Society Feature in the Malt Messenger moving forward. We see a lot of really cool whiskies from the Society, some of which sell out very quickly. If you are really into whisky, you might just want to check the Society out!

I hope this Malt Messenger finds you well. If you have any comments, questions or requests don’t hesitate to send me an email.

In This Edition

  1. Lassies Only Whisky Festival for the Brenda Straford Society
  2. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
  3. New Exclusive Sovereign Carsebridge 1973 42 Year
  4. Introducing Tullibardine Custodians Collection 1972
  5. Just Tasted: 4 KWM Exclusive Cooper’s Choice Bottlings
  6. NEW Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength 55.7%
  7. Introducing Cotswolds Single Malt
  8. Introducing Glenmorangie Tarlogan
  9. Three New Limited Gordon Macphail Whiskies
  10. Coming Soon: Two New Old Pulteneys
  11. Introducing Asta Morris
  12. New Whiskies from Eiling Lim
  13. Karuizawa Back Vintages – Available by Request
  14. Not a Members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society? You’re missing out…

Andrew Ferguson
Kensington Wine Market
PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:
@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:


The Lassies Only Whisky Festival In Support of the Brenda Strafford Society 

Sorry Gents This One if for the Lassies! – Wednesday March 7

Sorry gents, this whisky festival is just for the ladies. Our first ever Lassies Only Whisky Festival is in support of the Brenda Strafford Society. 100% of the registration fees from this event will go to the Center which aids women and children escaping abusive relationships. Guests will be welcomed with a cocktail and have the opportunity to sample from up to 80 different whiskies.

Tickets are $40 and include food from our friends at Peasant Cheese and the Brasserie Kensington.

About the Brenda Strafford Society: “The Brenda Strafford Society for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has 34 Second-Stage Shelter apartments where our families can stay for up to 6 months in safe, secure shelter. Individualized counselling for women and their children helps them heal from the effects of domestic violence and child care and parenting support is provided to assist with this. While in Second-Stage Shelter, women are at the greatest safety risk. Nearly half of all spousal homicides occur within two months of leaving their abusive partner, making safe affordable housing, specifically for women and children impacted by domestic violence, essential. In addition we have 51 Progressive Housing apartments where the women and their children can stay up to an additional two years while working on their goals with individualized counselling support provided. Our state of the art facility has been designed to enable women and children to move from Second-Stage Shelter apartments into Progressive Housing, our longer term apartments, all in the same security focused building. We believe that the cycle of violence can be broken by providing women and children with supportive programs and services that support healing, build self-confidence and self-awareness that enable long-term stability for families.”

Register in-store, by phone at 403-283-8000 or online:


KWM’s 2nd The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 

$50 for 80+ Speyside Whiskies a Glass – Thursday March22!

We featured Islay and Islayternative malts last month, this time around it is the Speyside’s turn in our 2nd Annual The Spirit of Speyside Festival. Only the whiskies of distilleries in the Speyside region will be featured in this festival style tasting. Think you know the Speyside? With over 80 whiskies to choose from we’ll guarantee you something new!

Thursday March 22, 7PM, just $50, including a glass!

Register in-store, by phone at 403-283-8000 or online:


Introducing Sovereign Carsebridge 1973 42 Year 

Only the 2nd Bottling We’ve Seen from one of the Rarest Grain Distilleries!

Only 167 bottles came from this Refill Hogshead cask. Distilled in May 1973 at the now closed Carsebridge Distillery (Founded late 1700s/Closed 1983) the whisky was bottled in April of 2016. KWM will receive just 12 bottles, half of which are sold! It is retailing for £499.95 on Royal Mile Whiskies, and appears sold out at most other places.

Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A copper coloured whisky with a rich nose of vanilla initially, then sultanas, raisins and liquorice. Palate: On the palate it is smooth bodied and pleasant with sweet vanilla, rich fruits and milk chocolate with nuts. Finish: The finish is long, satisfying and sweet with a fruity aftertaste.

Sovereign Carsebridge 1973 42 Year – 53.1% – Refill Hogshead – Andrew’s Tasting Note: Nose: soft and fruity, loads of caramel and a touch of chocolate; molasses and treacle – very old-rum like; vanilla pods with dates and figs. Palate: sweet, spicy and toasty; so much molasses, brown sugar and decadent spice; still very rum like, very old Jamaican rum notes… raisins, dates and figs; candied ginger and cinnamon hearts; burnt orange peel, some late tobacco and faint earthy tones with building star anise. Finish: long,light, fresh and sweet. Comment: I can help but think of fine old Jamaican rum while sipping this; it is decadent and dangerously drinkable!” – $525


Introducing Tullibardine Custodians Collection 1962  

The Third Release in the Series

The third release in the Tullibardine Custodians Collection is the 1962. Matured 52 years in two American Oak casks. Only 250 bottles produced, just 3 are coming to Alberta. KWM has acquired two of them, one of which is sold! 40.1%.

More Details “”: “The whisky is said to feature ‘tantalising hints of a lush green meadow’ on the nose, ending with ‘desiccated coconut and smooth dark chocolate’ on the finish. ‘This is truly a very special release for the brand and distillery, and one which is precious to us here at Tullibardine,’ said John Torrance, distillery manager. Purchasers of Tullibardine 1962 are also given lifetime membership of the Tullibardine Custodians Club, the distillery’s membership scheme.”

Tullabardine Custodians Collection 1962 – 40.1% – 52 Year – Ex-American Oak – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Amazingly youthful in parts there is a real depth of flavour with this whisky. On the nose tangerine and sublime citrus freshness abound counterbalanced with sweet barley and a touch of vanilla. Palate: There are hints of almonds, spice, creme brûlée and baked bananas to taste which combine beautifully with the citrus sweet barley notes from the initial nosing. For a whisky that is 55 years old there is not hint of old oak at all, this whisky delivers on so many levels elegance and charisma.” – $5000


NEW Cooper’s Choice Whiskies Part 1 

Mystery Single Malts More 

Copper’s Choice represents some of the best value in single malt whiskies these days. We love the fact that everything is bottled at 46% or cask strength, and their pricing is on the low side, even by the standards of other independent bottlers. But that doesn’t mean they don’t offer good quality. The quality of their whiskies is consistently high. We have 13 new Cooper’s Choice whiskies coming in, 6 of them are exclusive to KWM! There are some real curiosities on the list this time around. There is the Skara Brae 2005, “The Secret Orkney”, Laggan Mill 2009 “The Secret Islay” and Kilnaughton “Sherry Cask Finish.” The whiskies will be trickling in over the next few weeks, and we will be writing up tasting notes as opportunity permits. In the meantime, here are the first 7 whiskies:

  1. Ardmore 2001 – 51.5% – 16 Year – Bourbon Cask Matured – More Details to Come! –$145
  2. Glen Grant 1996 20 Year – 46% – 20 Year – Bourbon Cask Matured – More Details to Come! – $200
  3. Glenturret 1986 – 46.8% – 30 Year – Bourbon Cask Matured – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, buttery, floral and fruity; almond paste filled croissants and fruit flan; moist jujubes and tropical fruits; soft leather and decadent spice. Palate: creamy, fruity and very spicy, much spicier than expected: cinnamon heart and candied ginger; creamed honey, jujubes and more baked goods; tropical, floral, waxy and toasty.

Finish: long, dry and spicy; very toasty, jujubes and tropical fruits. Comment: this is a beautiful, elegant, fruity and floral malt; mature with lots of layers. – $285

  1. Kilnaughton Sherry Finish – 55.5% – NAS – Matured in American Oak, Sherry Cask Finish – Andrew’s Tasting Note:”Nose: massively malty, briny and subtly peated; big orange and new carpets; dried kelp an seaweed crisps; dark chocolate and soft leather. Palate: very medicinal, briny and seaweedy; more dried kelp and seaweed; creamy with some vanilla and leather and spices; orange with fennel, licorice and clove; cigar ash and cedar smoke. Finish: dry, medicinal and smoky; soft peat, dried orange and leather with firm spices. Comment: the is a firm, youthful, but surprisingly smooth considering its young age; the profile is very Ardbeggian, so there I’ve said it, I am confident this is Ardbeg!” – $90 (Ardbeg) (Only 30 Bottles)
  2. Laggan Mill 2009 – 52.5% – 8 Year – Refill Butt – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: grassy, malty and oily; a touch of diesel exhaust, soft leather and bright sugars; lemon and lime with chunky sea salt. Palate: oily, grassy and savoury with soft but firm peat and medicinal maritime notes; oily, more diesel smoke, juicy malt and tangy citrus; some leather, muted Wine Gums and liquorice Jujubes. Finish: long, coating and tangy; the peat oils, diesel and maritime notes tingle and warm the palate through a long finish. Comment: this is a reminder of how good young Lagavulin is… as with the 8 year old 200th Anniversary bottling, there is a lot to love here; and some good complexity for the age!” – $98 (Lagavulin) Only 30 Bottles!
  3. North British 1991 – 42.5% – 26 Year – Bourbon Cask Matured – More Details to Come! $140
  4. Skara Brae 2005 – 46% -12 Year – Bourbon Cask Matured – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: malt, honey and soft oily peat; very buttery, bright lemon, Manuka honey and sliced waxy honeycomb; very maritime, sea breeze and gentle beach fire smoke. Palate: creamy, honeyed and waxy, very waxy; honey comb, clotted cream and white chocolate fudge; juicy malt, becomes savoury and salty with gentle oily peat and more clean wood smoke from a beach fire; still citrussy, fresh and fruity. Finish: sweet and savoury all rolled in to one; medium length it cotes the palate with the honey, malt and gentle peat fading last. Comment: delicious, sweet and savoury; this feels a little sinful, a naked Highland Park stripped of its cloak of sherry. – $110 (Highland Park)

* News on more Cooper’s Choice whiskies in the next Malt Messenger! 


NEW Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength 55.7% 

The Second Edition of Cask Strength Kilkerran to Find its Way to Alberta!

Matured in 100% Ex-Bourbon barrels and bottled at a cask strength of 55.7%, this is  the second Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength to find its way to Alberta.

Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength – 55.7% – Matured Ex-Bourbon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Waxy with vanilla pods, lemon and sponge, candy floss, malted barley and digestive biscuits. Palate: Watermelon, lime and lemon zest, green apples, pencil shavings, salted peanuts, golden syrup with light mineral notes. Finish: An excellent balance of smoke; Earthy, briny and hints of liquorice, leaving your yearning for more.” – $85

From the Producer: “Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery re-opened in 2004, following closure in 1925. Kilkerran Single Malt is a lightly peated, double distilled whisky which is not chill filtered and has no added colouring.

The Distillery is Glengyle, so why is the single malt named Kilkerran?: “Kilkerran is the name that was chosen for the single malt produced at Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, because the name Glengyle is already used for a blended Highland malt and Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd were not able to purchase the rights to use that name. They also wished to avoid any possible confusion between the newest single malt to come from the Campbeltown region and a pre-existing blended Highland malt.

“Secondly, and more importantly, Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd are very proud to be continuing and adding to the great Campbeltown Distilling tradition and the choice of name reflects that. Kilkerran is derived from the Gaelic ‘Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain’ which is the name of the original settlement where Saint Kerran had his religious cell and where Campbeltown now stands. Kilkerran is thought to be a suitable name for a new Campbeltown malt since it was unusual for the old Campbeltown distilleries to be called after a Glen, a custom more usually associated with the Speyside region.”


Introducing Cotswolds Single Malt 

The First Whisky from This New English Distillery to Reach Canada!

The first release of Cotswolds single malt to find its way to Canada! The whisky is made from locally grown floor malted barley. It is matured in American oak and reconditioned ex-red wine casks. The whisky is bottled at 46% without colouring or chill-filtering.

Cotswolds Single Malt – 46% – American Oak Reconditioned Ex-Wine Casks – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Notes of honey and butterscotch layered with light fruits (peaches apricots), a hint of marzipan. Palate: Strong notes of tannin-rich malt, oils and dark sugar with lots of spice, caramelised Seville orange marmalade. Finish: Long and resinous, with dark red fruits and a hint of treacle.” – $92

More About Cotswolds from the Producer: “We use traditional production processes and equipment to produce our Cotswolds Single Malt. Locally-grown malted barley is milled and then mashed in our 0.5-tonne mash tun, mixing the milled grain with hot water to produce worts. Yeasts are then added. We run the fermentation for more than 90 hours in order to generate plenty of fruity flavour compounds alongside the alcohol produced.

“Then the distillations begin. First, in the wash still (Mary), and a second in Janis, our spirit still. In the spirit run, we only select a small section – the heart cut – which is taken unusually early in the distillation to capture the fruity notes and avoid the heavier, rougher elements that appear at the end of the run. The end result is a light, colourless, fruity new make spirit. This is diluted to 63.5%ABV and put into casks to mature. This release has been aged for just over three years, and is bottled non-chill filtered, with no added colouring, at 46%ABV.”


Introducing Glenmorangie Tarlogan 

A Rare Opportunity for a Duty Free Release… 

A Duty Free release of Glenmorangie, matured in Ex-Bourbon and Virgin Oak, it is the third release in the Legends, Travel Retail Collection. It is worth noting the whisky retails for £79.99 in the UK Duty Free shops, which is almost double our price.

Producer Description: “Nestled in a quiet clearing, surrounded by fragrant gorse and towering pines, the Tarlogie Spring has served as the sole water source for our distillery since 1843. Its unique, mineral-rich waters allow us to create our unusually fragrant house style. Glenmorangie Tarlogan displays all the sweet purity of the Tarlogie Spring while maintaining a classic Glenmorangie backbone. Aged in virgin oak as well as ex-bourbon casks, Glenmorangie Tarlogan evokes the botanical aromas of an early summer morning walk through the woods.

Glenmorangie Tarlogan – 43% – NAS – Matured in Virgin Oak and Ex-Bourbon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: Sweet, earthy aromas of creamy butterscotch, classic Glenmorangie vanilla and coconut, malt biscuits too. Taste: The texture is soft and silky and brings with it dessert-like flavours, especially vanilla custard and pears. There are delicious notes of pineapple and gentle citrus. Finish: A suggestion of exquisite ginger is followed by waves of long, lingering white chocolate and almond marzipan.” – $85


Three New Limited Edition Gordon MacPhail Whiskies  

Two wine finishes and a sherry bomb!

Though not exclusive to KWM, only handful of these three single malts are coming to the market. I haven’t had the time to write up my own tasting notes, but I can vouch for the Balblair. It is a stunner, and we are only getting 6 botttles… (same for the Tormore). The Ledaig is also interesting, a tame beast. Will write up all three this weekend. The deets from Gordon Macphail:

  1. GM Cask Strength Balblair 1993 – 49.6% – First Fill Sherry Puncheon – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose without Water Rich Sherry influences with demerara sugar and hints of roast coffee beans. Dark chocolate aromas lead to a beeswax polish note. Palate without Water Sweet and creamy with intense stewed fruit flavours developing. Raspberry, spicy clove, and a undertone of liquorice combine on the finish. Nose with Water Fresh tangerine notes followed by dried fruit and spicy accents. Ripe blackberry and chocolate truffle aromas are accompanied by a subtle oak edge. Palate with Water Sweet and creamy with stewed apple, clove, and cinnamon flavours. Summer berries lead to dark chocolate and charred oak. A touch of liquorice develops. Body Medium. Finish Long lasting with plenty of fruit and spice.” – $280 – Only 6 Bottles – 3 Left!
  2. GM PC Ledaig Hermitage 2005 – 45% – Finished in first fill Hermitage casks. – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose without Water Sweet honey roasted ham aromas mingle with vibrant summer berries and spicy citrus notes. A delicate smoky edge is present. Palate without Water Peppery yet creamy with orange marmalade flavours followed by redcurrant, raspberry, and hints of dark chocolate. Savoury roast peanut develops and leads to bonfire embers on the finish. Nose with Water Rich fruit aromas – blackberry, raspberry, and redcurrant – with citrus undertones. A cocoa powder note leads to lingering smoke. Palate with Water Sweet and smooth initially, smoky notes are brought to the fore. Fruity with chocolate and subtle citrus flavours. A hint of the sea on the finish. Body Medium. Finish Long, smooth, and fruity.” – $114
  3.  GM PC Tormore 2002 Guigal Cote Rotie – 45% – First fill bourbon finished in Côte-Rôtie wine casks.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose without Water Sweet vanilla aromas mingle with sticky prunes, apple, and fresh grapefruit notes. A touch of ginger and cocoa powder develop. Palate without Water Sweet and creamy with soft spiced apple, butterscotch, and tangerine flavours. An earthy undertone develops with toasted oak and brazil nut. Nose with Water Vanilla, blackberries, and rhubarb aromas mingle with tart raspberry and zesty lime. Palate with Water Intense sweetness initially, followed by baked apple pie flavours with a touch of spice. The finish is slightly drying with oak and lime. Body Medium. Finish Medium; sweet and fruity.” – $135 – Only 6 Bottles!


COMING SOON: Two New Old Pulteneys 

Introducing Old Pulteney 25 Year 1983

While the Old Pulteney 17, 21 and 35 Year olds have been discontinued due to inventory shortages, the northern Highland distillery has released some replacements. Old Pulteney 1983 and 25 Year an enroute, and are expected to be here in the Spring. Details on these two whiskies are below. I will try to get my own tasting notes written up on them over the weekend!

On the subject of Old Pulteney 17 and 21, there is reasonably good stock of the 17 Year in the Province, and it is expected to last for a while; possibly through the Spring. The Old Pulteney 21 Year is another matter. The whisky is sold out globally, as well as at the distribution level in Alberta. We have just 13 bottles left in-stock!

  1. Old Pulteney 25 Year – 46% – Matured 22 Year in Ex-Bourbon – Finished in Oloroso Sherry – Producer Description: “For a quarter of a century, casks of this rare expression of Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky breathed the invigorating sea air of the Caithness coast. Sheltered from a fast-changing world by the darkened calm of a distillery warehouse, the spirit mellowed at its own steady pace, echoing the reassuring rhythm of its hometown port. Aged firstly in American oak, its spicy sweetness was later granted depth and colour by casks of Spanish oak. Elegant and charismatic, this wonderful whisky embodies both Wick’s spirit of endurance and Pulteney Distillery’s devotion to its craft.” – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: Mature and fragrant. Opens with heavy spices and dark chocolate, leading to rum-soaked raisins and lime honey, punctuated with clean notes of orange peel and baked apples. Taste: Lush and rewarding. The flavour is firmly anchored in bitter chocolate and creamy vanilla with hints of toffee sweetness and crisp overtones of fresh lemon and coconut. The finish is long and spicy with a glimpse of dried fruit cake and exotic wood.” – $500


  1. Old Pulteney 1983 – 46% – 33 Year – American European Oak – Producer Description: “Brought to life at Pulteney Distillery in Wick, this exclusive vintage expression of the Maritime Malt was matured in American and Spanish oak casks for over 33 years. Robust and full-flavoured, the whisky is lent rare balance and elegance by the Caithness coastal air. Its excellence stands as a testimony to a time-honoured process and unrivalled craftsmanship.” – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: From the depth and sweetness of stewed fruit and toffee, a chocolatey aroma develops with spicy vanilla and oily citrus adding complexity and weight. Sublimely balanced and relentlessly rich. Taste: Full-bodied and mouth-coating, the sweet and savoury heart is reminiscent of salted caramel and dried fruit while honey and vibrant, spicy vanilla build contrast and breadth of flavour. The creamy finish is long and elegant.” – $900


Introducing Asta Morris 

New to Canada Independent Bottlings of Scotch Whisky, from Belgium!

About Asta Morris ( ” Ingooigem-based Asta Morris is an independent bottler and importer owned and run by Bert Bruyneel, a Belgian whisky enthusiast and writer who contributes to the magazine Whisky Passion. Asta Morris’ bottlings are notable for their neat, bubble style label designs that draw focus to the colour of the whiskies. They are generally single casks bottled without reduction, and are sold primarily through specialist retailers in mainland Europe as well as Japan, Hong Kong and, recently, Canada and Australia.

“Asta Morris was initially started in 2009 as a private company for Bruyneel to use for his writing and tasting work. However, while visiting Benriach distillery in 2010 he fell in love with a 1975 cask sampled in the warehouse, and upon discovering he was able to purchase it, the contents of that Sherry hogshead became the company’s first bottling. Its success gave Bruyneel the encouragement to seek out other casks and continue with other bottlings, which in turn led to his own range of whiskies.”

  1. Asta Morris Benrinnes 2006 – 46% – More details to come. – $155
  2. Asta Morris Glenburgie 1999 – 48% – 18 Year – Very sherried supposedly (PX). More details to come. – $215


NEW Whiskies from Eiling Lim 

A Trio of Curious Whiskies

About Eiling Lim Whisky: “Lim 林” is my family name and in Chinese, it is defined as woods or forests. If you separate the family name into two, this character “木” means wood and wood is crucial in making a good cask.From a humble beginning of a young lady who enjoys her whisky to being the 1st independent bottler of scotch whisky in my home country Malaysia is quite a feat! It is beyond my wildest dreams. This has not been possible without the guidance and motivation from my family and my husband Luc Timmermans whom is a whisky connoisseur and collector as well as a “retired” independent bottler himself under the handwritten label, Thosop.

“Maybe it was fate that brought me to start my very own whisky adventure. After all, whisky has played an important part in my life at every level. I wouldn’t have met my husband if it was not for whisky and I would not have met so many wonderful friends in many parts of the world coming together for whisky. Whisky changed my life and now I would love to change whisky scene in Malaysia by introducing them to a world of wonderful independent bottlings.

“The whisky selection which both my husband and I have chosen are based simply on 3 criterias. First of all the taste of the whisky has to be better than good because good is simply not good enough. Second, the whisky has to be highly quaffable where one have to feel the pleasure of drinking our whisky because taking just a sip is an insult. And lastly, we strive for a good price-quality ratio. We avoid choosing casks from only famous distillery and overpriced whisky. We bring variety to the whisky market with reasonable prices so that no one is obliged to keep my bottles as an investment and not to open them. We want whiskylovers to open and savour every bottle and share them with friends or even with us!”


  1. Eiling Lim Bessie’s Dram (Laphroaig) – 51.3% – Producer Description: “Named after Bessie Williamson, being the first woman to manage a Scotch whisky distillery during the 20th century and former owner of the Laphroaig distillery, I think I don’t have to mention the origins of this whisky bottling.” – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: simple, and simply right, a high-end distillate. Clean phenolic smoke, with a pear sweetness behind it, almost mezcal if not for the beach sand, oysters, saltwater and such. Not as medicinal as the double-digit expressions. Lemons and mint. Mouth: more mezcal character. Warm and slightly acrid smoke, phenols, seawater. Less sweet than expected, given its youth. Some burnt grass, ginger, lemon. Quite vibrant. Brine and smoke really, with some earthy notes in the end. Finish: long, briny, smoky, all good. Pure smoke and coastal goodness. Not too young, ticking all the boxes. If the aim is to bottle a nice, peated daily dram, then I can understand there’s no need to wait any longer.” – $280
  2. Eiling Lim Older Than Old – 46.5% – Producer Description: “It contains Old Highland and Speyside malts from the 70’s, 80’s 90’s that are vatted together in a sherry cask to produce a smooth and old-style whisky lingering experience.” – Producer Tasting Note: “On the nose: A soft touch of oloroso sherry, honey, warm toasted brioche, fresh, fine leather, warm cooked fruits, eucalyptus, soft hints of nutmeg, chrysanthemum, fine aged malt, aromas are well interwoven, almost no alcohol detected in the nose. On the palate: It starts with a very smooth and gentle sweetness, and then the spiciness kicks in, fine soft oak, gentle oloroso dryness, balanced whisky that tempts you to take a second glass with a lingering finish.” – $275
  3. Eiling Lim Speyside 1973– 47.8% – Fino Sherry Cask – 43 Year – Producer’s Description: “I was really happy to be able to share it first with a group of friends and whisky lovers during our recent trip to Orkney. I remembered opening this bottle first at Dornoch Castle Hotel and then taking some nice shots of it at the Yesnaby cliffs. What a place and company to enjoy a good dram! And in less than a month, my bottle was almost empty!” – 92pts : “Nose: full of beehive notes, beeswax, pollen, with some old and rather fragrant, minty oak, or sandalwood. Quite some blonde tobacco too. Orange peels, greengages, hints of dried apricot and herbal honey. Mentholated notes. Light exotic spices. Very light flinty / resinous notes in the background. Mouth: oak spices, again with this resinous feeling and bright tobacco notes. Fruit teas, stewed fruits, pollen, a little mead and honey. The wood brings freshness instead of a tannic dryness. Something of a fruity hoppy note too. Finish: long, flavourful, with white fruits, wax and vibrant oak spices. Comment: Great stuff. You have to like a good dose of old oak but it’s magically fresh and vibrant. I’ve heard the source of these casks could dry up any day now.” – $850


Karuizawa Back Vintages Available by Request  

The Rarest Most Collectible Japanese Whisky

Don’t shoot the messenger, these prices are correct, which is not to say they are right. Karuizawa is Japan’s Port Ellen, except that there was a lot less of its whisky made! The whisky has been lighting up auction markets for the last few years and these prices reflect that. The whiskies are very limited, with just 1-2 bottles of each available. If you are interested you will need to act quickly. We will only be bringing them in on request.

BottlingAlc./Vol.Price1969 Cask 8183 42 Year61.3$17,142.861970 Cask 198 41 Year59.1$15,428.571970 Cask 6177 42 Year64.3$15,428.571972 Cask 703 39 Year63.3$14,642.861979 Cask 818 35 Year58.8$10,357.141982 Cocktail Series 32 Year58.6$7,142.861984 W. Khong – Artifices57.7$7,142.861985 W. Khong – Artifices55.2$7,142.861984 Cask 817358.5$6,750.00


Not a Member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society? You’re Missing Out…  

Membership in the World’s Largest Whisky Club Has its Perks, First and Foremost Whisky!

Membership in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the World’s Largest Whisky Club with over 30,000 members and branches in nearly a two dozen countries, has its rewards. There are partner bars and Society venues all over the world, there is the quarterly whisky magazine Unfiltered, but first and foremost there is the whisky. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is one of the finest Independent Bottlers in the World. It has thrice been awarded Independent Bottler of the Year, most recently in 2017.

The Society bottles over 400 casks of whisky a year. Not all of these find their way to Canada, but around 90 do. Chosen because they are good or interesting, the Society always bottles its whisky from a single cask, at cask strength, without colouring or chillfiltering. You have to be a Society member to buy Society whisky, but membership is easily acquire. Check out for more details. Out current available stock of SMWS releases can be found on our website here. If it says it is out of stock, please contact either myself or Evan – we can check if we can get any more in!


Here are a couple of very interesting Society whiskies you could miss out on:


  1. M01: Exotic Cargo – 50% – 10 Year – The Society’s First Blended Malt – 1st fill ex-sherry hogsheads – Panel’s tasting note:  “A wooden ship is sailing through the tropics with an exotic cargo of spices, scented flowers, medjool dates and mangoes. The nose is deep, yet delicate – warming nutmeg and cinnamon spice; treacle tart and molasses; fragrant vanilla, lavender and rose with fruity splashes of cherry, mango and Madeira-soaked plums. The palate brings intense sweetness, moist ginger cake, treacle toffee, dark chocolate, marmalade and Turkish Delight, vying with tannic wood, chili spice, liquorice, walnut and leather, with a dry, ashy finish. The wood and spice edge forward after adding water – without compromising the balance. Close your eyes and drift away on this sherry-soaked cruise into paradise.” – $125 – Just released, there are only a half dozen bottles left! 
  2. 39.94: An exotic priviledge – 44.7% – 23 Year – Speyside – Refill Hosgshead – Panel’s tasting note:  “The delightful nose bestowed pleasing layers of complexity – first impressions of perfumed potpourri; then sweet and fruity aromas flooded through – barley sugars, fruit pastilles, ice-cream with tinned fruit, peach melba, strawberry tart, fruit cake with candied peel, real lemonade, Moffat toffees, etc – we could have sniffed it all night. The palate did not disappoint; fresh, delicate, juicy and perfumed – citrus mingled with mellifluous sweetness and gentle spice – chocolate orange, orange fondant, tinned mandarins, blackcurrant jelly and lemon – add candied ginger, sweet tobacco and scented wood and it became an exotic privilege.” – $215 – Only 4 left of this bargain priced delicate old whisky!
  3. 46.31: Sniffing a bee’s knees – 54.2% – 22 Year – Speyside – Refill Hogshead  – Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was sweetly seductive – toffee, caramel, fruity marshmallows, and carrot cake, but far from one-dimensional – it also had burlap, coconut, macadamias and insinuations of citrus. The palate offered fantastic, mouth-watering sweet acidity; plus exotic fruits, flowers and strawberry jam tarts – and the finish – teasingly dry with woody tannins, coconut and clove. Floral notes increased on the reduced nose – parma violets, lavender (someone imagined sniffing a bee’s knees) – not to forget pineapple, sherbet and granola. The palate now danced on our tongues – lively as lollipops and cream soda, with lots of interesting back-flavours (cardamom, anise, angostura) – engaging.” – $225 – Just released this is an excellent example of a delicate old whisky!
  4. 3.229: A mermaid in a meadow – 51.3% – 26 Year – Islay – Refill Barrel – Panel’s tasting note:  “Our mermaid sits amidst fresh lavender and kelp delicately nibbling on salted ciabatta with chorizo. She has prepared a rockpool bath with fragrant lemon and petal bath bombs. Hints of parma violet and sherbet emerge as she dips her fishy tail. After bathing she reclines on a freshly laundered blanket scented with wild flowers. She found seaweed sushi spritzed with lemon juice with wasabi and salmiak. To finish there was toasted cereal, American in style, pops, loops and flakes all in attendance. And with all said and done and a flick of her tail she disappeared into the misty depths.” – $260 SOLD OUT – A stellar excellent value older Islay whisky! 

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact Disclaimers 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


Andrew Ferguson
Owner Scotchguy
Kensington Wine Market
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


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The Whisky Barrel releases their latest exclusive Islay single cask – Scotch Whisky News


The Whisky Barrel releases their latest exclusive Islay single cask. 

Specialist online whisky shop,, is proud to release Isle of Islay 10 Year Old. 

The Isle of Islay, located off the west coast of Scotland, is the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides islands and known as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’. The island’s capital is Bowmore and the main port is Port Ellen.

Islay is perhaps best known for its whisky, with eight distilleries each producing their own distinctive single malts. The three distilleries along the south eastern coast of the island, Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin, all have a prominent peaty flavour; a true characteristic of Islay malts.

Rumour has it that the art of distillation was first introduced to Islay by the Irish monks living there in the early fourteenth century.


Isle of Islay 10 Year Old is a rare find to say the least. The refill hogshead cask yields just 285 bottles.

Distilled at one of Islay’s south eastern distilleries, this malt will be of interest to collectors and connoisseurs alike. It has the distinct peaty flavour that is unique to Islay whiskies. A golden malt with a beautifully balanced scent of fresh hay and peat, as well as a slight sweetness. A truly special malt from one of the most famous distilleries in Scotland. 


Isle of Islay 10 Year | 2007 | Exclusive Malts | 57.1% 

Tasting notes: 

Colour: Golden straw

Nose: Crisp and fresh with scents of hay and peat. 

Taste: Distinct peaty flavours come through, balanced with subtle earthy and briny notes. 

Finish: Long and comforting with warmth coming from the peat. 

Price: £99.95 GBP / $115.00 USD (+ PP)

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Lagavulin Single Cask – Whisky Barrel Exclusive – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Barrel Exclusive Islay single cask not to be missed!

Isle of Islay 10 Year Old 2007

Whisky Barrel Exclusive – single cask hogshead from a secret distillery which once contained the famed micro distillery Malt Mill, on the A846 between Laphroaig Ardbeg. Bottled 2018 by Creative Whisky Co. for the Exclusive Malts series, just 285 bottles.

Buy – $116.33


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The Whisky Exchange “Whisky Stories – Your Turn” – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Stories – Your Turn

Last month, I wrote a blog post about my most memorable whisky story – my first trip to Islay. It prompted several of you to share your own whisky stories, and here’s our favourite. Thank you to all of you who took the time to reply, and please keep sending your whisky stories to us – we’ll be publishing more of our favourites over the coming months.

by Edward
I was backpacking in Asia with a good mate of mine. One night while walking the streets of Saigon, Vietnam, we decided to make it our mission to find a fancy single malt. We dragged ourselves through 38°C heat at 80% humidity, in and out of bars in the hope we might discover a hidden gem.

After the seventh bar we were desperate and out of ideas – maybe our decision not to bring smartphones wasn’t so smart after all. While traipsing down a side street, an old Vietnamese guy lounging on his scooter yelled ‘What you want? I’ll get you anything.’

He followed us, asking the same question, calling to us in a well-pronounced, well-rehearsed fashion. Eventually I stopped and said, ‘OK! Whisky. Single malt.’

The man (Mikey) was convinced that he could help us if we bought him one Coke in a bar he swore sold whisky. Needless to say, the bar he took us to was not exactly street legal. It was too dark for me to accurately describe what was happening in there, but Coke was three dollars and everyone was very…friendly, shall we say?

So we joined Mikey in having Vietnam’s most expensive soft drink. He told us how he’d been a translator for the US during the Vietnam War, and after the Americans famously fled Saigon, Mikey was imprisoned for helping the enemy.

But the whisky. We still hadn’t found the whisky. So after making a polite excuse we left, and we were getting desperate as the night drew on.

Now lost, we found ourselves outside a door that seemed to be a bar. ‘Let’s just go in here, gather our thoughts and work out what we are going to do,’ I said. After a long flight of stairs we found ourselves in a terrace bar looking over the city. In the floor was a fish tank, and soft seating surrounded us.


There, to our amazement, on the menu was Laphroaig 10 Year Old. A double was £3, the same price as a Coke with Mikey. We ordered two doubles. A few minutes later the waiter appeared awkwardly holding the bottle. He looked at us and said, ‘I’m terribly sorry, I only have this. No one wants to drink it so I will charge you the same.’

He held up the bottle which read Laphroaig…18 Year Old!

‘Is that OK?’ he asked.

I replied: ‘I think we’ll manage.’

Thanks very much to Edward. If you have a whisky story you’d like to share, please send it to us.

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