Scotch Malt Whisky Society “October Outturn: Very Inviting” – Scotch Whisky News

SMWS Plunge

We’re thirty. You’re thirsty. What better excuse for the Society to splash out on a party (or five) so we can all celebrate our pearl anniversary in style?

And if you can’t join us in person, we invite you to select a suitably celebratory bottling from this month’s Outturn and raise a glass from wherever you are instead.

Young spritely
48.39 Red Liquorice Shoelaces
125.70 A dram of two halves

Sweet, fruity mellow
121.64 Maggie Thatcher at the funfair
9.68 Plentiful fruit – super-charged sweetness

30.79 Wherever I hang my jacket…

Spicy sweet
73.57 Jamaican Rumtopf

Spicy dry
50.52 Tales of the River-bank

Old dignified
76.10 Summer fruit salad with cream

Light delicate
36.64 An old-fashioned sweetie shop
Exclusive to offers

Juicy, oak vanilla
35.96 Tour of a stately home

64.51 Tuck time in a stately home

Lightly peated
4.184 Restrained smoke in a gun room

53.195 Smoked ham and pineapple

Heavily peated
127.37 Dinosaurs dancing to Stravinsky £52.80

Click on the links above for full tasting notes, or… Browse all bottlings

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contact: or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at for your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers.

Spot the SMWS bottles in this You Tube video

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The Whisky Lounge “SMWS Series 2013 – Review” – Scotch Whisky News

After the runaway success of our first Edinburgh Whisky Festival in conjunction with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s 30th anniversary, we thought it fitting to take some of their bottlings on tour around the UK to help spread the word on what is simply one of the best Indie bottlers going.

So we set out to all our usual haunts London, Brighton, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, York and Sheffield. The series saw a fantastic uptake from you all with Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield all selling out. This in my mind shows just how keen people were to try these elusive single cask beauties.

Before we look at the results, its worth quickly explaining the SMWS, so if nothing else this review makes some sense to people other than those in the know.

The SMWS have been bottling single-cask whiskies exclusively for their members for three decades, and have a collection of slinky venues for members to kick-back in all over the world. Unlike other independent bottlers the SMWS never disclose the distillery of origin on their labels. Instead you get a quirky title which gives a suggestive nod to the whisky’s style and a mysterious code which (with a little research) reveals the whisky’s origin and release within the SMWS archive.

The beauty of single cask bottlings like these is that they are selected and bottled under their own merits and offer a one-off snap shot of the distillery in question. They will often display characteristics which are unique to that individual cask – characteristics which can be lost when casks are vatted together to iron out differences and create consistency in regular distillery bottlings.

Make sense? No? Well you should have booked onto one of these tastings! Never mind, the opportunity to taste single cask whiskies with us will no doubt come up again.

Now being single cask is both a strength and a weakness depending on how you look at it. The merits of bottling an individual cask which shines with unique and delicious character is a given, but what if you want to drink that dram for weeks, months, years to come? Well then quite simply, you’re scuppered, unless of course you had the foresight (and cash) to buy a case or two of the whisky in question. Indeed the whiskies that were featured on this flight of tastings might have already been lost to the pages of whisky history never to be repeated. So like I say strengths and weaknesses….

Here was the line-up

4.167 Perfumed and Sultry, 21yo, 53.7%

35.87 Exuberant, Confident, Energetic, Vivacious, 9yo, 60.1%

G7.3 Fresh Toffee and Glossy Magazines, 27yo, 59.4%

73.52 Speakeasy Perkiness, 23yo, 57.5%

3.193 Baby-Faced Arsonist, 14yo, 57.7%

53.176 Pain is So Close to Pleasure, 20yo, 56.6%

Just look at that lot, you know you’re in for a good a tasting when you kick off with a 21yo Highland Park. Apologies if you’re looking at this and thinking “what the hell does that all mean?” that’s ok, there was a day when I would have thought the same too. If you quickly search any of the codes and their titles on line you’ll soon find out which distilleries they’re from.

So with such an unusual and incredibly strong line-up like this is not surprising that everyone fortunate to taste this lot were blown away. I’ve worked with some strong line-ups over the years but this is probably one of the strongest and a real roller-coaster ride with sherried twists and peaty turns. Here’s some of the high lights from twitter, you can see what various people thought by searching the hashtag #scstunners


It’s often the case that single cask whiskies can display characteristics a far cry from their regular off the shelf counterparts and this lot was no exception. Whisky #2 was for me absolutely mind blowing, after having tried several releases from this distillery, including some rather old and expensive releases. This particular cask left all of these other examples in its dust. It also came in as the second favourite of the tour. Proof beyond any doubt yet again that you can never condemn a distillery as you never know when a little gem like this might appear to surprise and delight you.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that if you like whisky and are always on the hunt for interesting things to try you can do a lot worse than getting on board and becoming a member with the SMWS.

Check out for more info on this cracking organisation!

See you next time!

Cheers, Joe


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Artisan Scotch Seminar with Compass Box Whisky at Binny’s Chicago – Scotch Whisky News

Compass Box Logo



October 8th, 6:30-8:30PM



Come to the Tasting Room at Binny’s South Loop and meet Scotch Artisan John Glaser. John’s range of whiskies has redefined the idea and practice of blending. John will pour Compass Box whiskies from their Signature Range, as well as experimental batches including a sneak preview of the upcoming Peat Monster Tenth Anniversary bottling and the recently released stunner celebrating the 20th anniversary of Chicago’s own Delilah’s. This tasting has limited seating, so RSVP soon: 312.768.4400.


About John…

“John Glaser is an artist”

– Saveur Magazine

After many years in the wine trade, American ex-pat John Glaser entered the world of Scotch whisky, learning his art through one of the industry’s largest companies. In 2000, he started Compass Box Whisky Company, based on his commitment to evolving practices in the industry to make great Scotch whisky more approachable and relevant to more people. From the beginning, his vision has been to create one of Scotland’s finest and most exciting whisky companies, re-establishing the standards for quality and style in the industry.


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Port Ellen Old and Rare 30 year old – Available at The Whisky Shop – Scotch Whisky News


Port Ellen Old and Rare 30 year old – limited to only 120 bottles – only available while stocks last!

The Whisky Shop are proud to introduce the stunningly limited single cask Port Ellen Old and Rare 30 year old.

One of only 120 bottles ever produced and bottled at a natural cask strength of 53.9% volume this limited edition will not last long.

A robust peaty leathery nose initially masking a spicy citrus zest.
A strong island feel of peat notes is found at the front of the tongue but a light citrus fruit and honey taste found at the back.
A long finish brings through the light subtle zestiness. An example of this fine Islay whisky.

Simply click here to buy £899.99


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Exclusive Abbey Whisky Gift Sets at Abbey Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

Abbey Logo

Abbey Whisky Glass Gift Sets

A selection of our own label malts now available in these charming 10cl bottles, complete with Abbey Whisky tasting glass. These unique whisky gift sets are ideal for anniversaries, birthdays or weddings. The pocket sized bottle fits snugly into most sporrans!

Abbey Whisky 50 Year Old / Glass Gift Set


This 50 year old single malt whisky from Speyside is the oldest and rarest in ‘The Secret Casks’ series. To think this whisky has been slumbering in casks for as long as 50 years is truly amazing, the involvement of the flavours combined, produce a stunning dram.

£67.50 (£56.25 ex vat)

Click here to buy Abbey Whisky 50 Year Old / Glass Gift Set

Abbey Whisky 40 Year Old / Glass Gift Set

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The 40 year old whisky is a stunning example of an aged single malt Scotch whisky. 40 years of age, a dram that has beautiful deep flavours that have not been over powered from the long rest in cask. This is a dram that you just can’t get enough of.

£44.50 (£37.08 ex vat)

Click here to buy Abbey Whisky 40 Year Old / Glass Gift Set

Abbey Whisky 30 Year Old / Glass Gift Set


This beautiful 30 year old single malt distilled at secret distillery in Speyside is the youngest dram in our Secret Casks Series. Lots of sweet wonderful flavours combined with ripe golden delicious apples. The flavours get deeper and more intense when the dram warms up a little. It’s not in any way over sweetened; it’s perfectly balanced with great complexity. A dram you could nose all day, lovely!

£28.50 (£23.75 ex vat)

Click here to buy Abbey Whisky 30 Year Old / Glass Gift Set

Bunnahabhain 23 Year Old / The Rare Casks


A wonderful dram (if we do say so ourselves). The natural cask strength of 44% is surprising given its age but once explored it reveals a delicate but perfectly balanced depth of flavour. Warning! This is a very moreish, easy drinking dram that displays all the wonderful characteristics you would expect from a peated Islay malt whisky.

£18.50 (£15.42 ex vat)

Click here to buy Bunnahabhain 23 Year Old / The Rare Casks / Whisky Gift Set

Caperdonich 17 Year Old / The Rare Casks


This magnificent Caperdonich 17 year old was the 1st release in ‘The Rare Casks’ series by Abbey Whisky. This limited edition release was distilled in 1995 and left to rest for 17 years before being bottled in 2012.

£16.50  (£13.75 ex vat)

Click here to buy Caperdonich 17 Year Old / The Rare Casks/ Whisky Gift Set

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Old Ballantruan 10 years

Old Ballantruan is distilled at Tomintoul distillery. This peated version was first launched in 2009 without age statement, and the 10 year old followed in 2012.


Old Ballantruan 10 yearsOld Ballantruan 10 yearsOld Ballantruan 10 yo
(50%, OB 2012)

Nose: sweet and a little light, with plenty of oak spices, both soft vanilla and sharp ginger. Sharpish peat as well, the yeasty / leafy kind. Sweet bread. Some hints of banana and vanilla, signs of its youth. Mouth: tangy peat with a very sweet, malty core. Grain biscuits. Liquorice and kippers. Vanilla again. Lots of pepper and ginger. Punchy, young and a little rough. Finish: long, slightly hot and tangy with ginger and grassy notes.

Old Ballantruan 10 is pretty much okay. It’s peaty and rough, kind of a brash youngster. Around € 55.

Score: 82/100

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New Single Malt Scotch Arrivals At The Park Avenue Liquor New York – Whisky News


New Single Malt Scotch Arrivals At The Park Avenue Liquor Shop.

As the Fall season approaches, new releases from the whisky world will begin appearing on our shelves. Park Ave will try to keep you up to date as they arrive. In the meantime, here are some great bottles to get excited about, as the countdown to WhiskyFest begins.

First, we’d like to tell you about a Special bottle for a Special cause.


Jonathan Eric

Park Avenue Liquor Shop

292 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10017


The Unity Bottle.

Recently, Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Since being given this diagnosis, Parker is using his Bourbon legacy to bring awareness to the disease, including a special Parker’s Heritage Collection “Promise of Hope” release and a one-of-kind, exclusive bottling.

This exclusive bottling, entitled “Unity”, is a one-of-kind, never-before-done bottling, where the seven Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries have come together to marry their Bourbon into one. There exists within the Bourbon industry a very unique brotherhood among Master Distillers. So, when Parker was diagnosed with ALS, it was natural for him to reach out to this brotherhood and ask for their help. Immediately, he received an overwhelming positive response and some specially selected Bourbon from each.

The result is Master Distillers’ Unity…a skillfully crafted blend of seven Bourbon mashbills bottled unprocessed and unfiltered at 100 proof. It marks the first and only time that these distilleries have come together to produce a united product. Two elegant crystal decanters with silver closures of this rare Bourbon will be offered at the Bonham’s Whisky, Cognac and Rare Spirits auction in New York City on October 13th. These two decanters are enclosed in a specially designed wooden chest, which bears the signatures of all the participating Master Distillers.

All proceeds from the auction will go toward the Parker Beam Promise of Hope, established to raise money for research and patient care by The ALS Association in honor of the 6th Generation Master Distiller. The Park Avenue Liquor Shop asks you to please click on the bottle and take a look.


Kilkerran: “Work in Progress 5″ ~ Sherry Wood

The following notes are from the Kilkerran distillery.

“Released in 2013. Only 9000 bottles available worldwide. Nose: Who’s chocolate orange is this? Dark chocolate, marzipan, honey covered dates and strawberries build up to a very rich and sweet ginger preserve. A very complex nose that doesn’t stop developing in the glass. Palate: The honey covered dates return on the palate mixed with sultanas and black treacle fudge. This dram is as wholesome and tasty as a warm, toasted cinnamon and raisin bagel with real butter melting on top. Finish: Medium, well balanced and round finish, presence of dark chocolate but surprisingly no evidence of peat.”

Our Price: $70/btl


Kilkerran: “Work in Progress 5″ ~ Bourbon Wood

The following notes are from the Kilkerran distillery.

“Released in 2013. Only 9000 bottles available worldwide. Nose: This is evidently a Campbeltown dram. The waxy, lightly smoky nose with hints of leather gives away the origin of this dram. Rich and creamy with hints of American cream soda, apricots, dark fruit and linseed. Palate: Just like previous WIPs the tangy orange and citrus marmalade notes remains. A little bit sweeter than previous WIP releases, with clear presence of apricot jam. There is a great weight of Campbeltown sea air present. Very smooth and fruity. Finish: Fresh, sweet yet dry finish.

Our Price: $70/btl


Laphroaig: Cairdeas ~ Port Wood Edition
Please note: This Laphroaig release is in very limited supply.

“Each year, Laphroaig Master Distiller, John Campbell handcrafts a limited edition malt to celebrate friendship or in Gaelic – ‘Cairdeas’. The 2013 expression has enjoyed double maturation in bourbon and port wood casks to create an exceptional balance of Laphroaig’s signature peat flavor with tangy citrus fruits and a floral finish. Like any ‘friendship’, each blend of Cairdeas is completely unique and is meant to be savored”. – Laphroaig Distillery

“Nose: A wisp of Laphroaig smoke is hiding amongst sliced blood oranges, grapefruit, raspberry bushes and a hint of pot pourri. Clotted cream and lemon zest develop. Palate: Blackcurrants and sweet marmalade with more savoury pepper notes. Finish: Fruity and drying.” – Master of Malt

Our Price: $85/btl


Tullibardine: Sovereign

Adorned with golden detailing, Tullibardine Sovereign is a delicious creamy single malt which was aged in first-fill bourbon barrels before bottling. Expect plenty of vanilla and spice from this Highland Dram.
Tasting Notes by Master of Malt
Nose: Soft vanilla and cocoa butter on the nose. White chocolate, allspice and charred oak.
Palate: A little mixed peel with notes of pear cider, allspice and creamy chocolate. A core of rich malt with hints of maple syrup.
Finish: Spiced, creamy finish. Plenty of vanilla and cinnamon.
Overall: A creamy whisky from some truly delicious casks!

Our Price: $45/btl


Tullibardine: 228 Burgundy Finish

“Barrels, or ‘Pieces’ as they are called in Burgundy, vary in volume from one region to another, because of tradition and the local history of winemaking. In Burgundy a ‘piece’ holds 228 liters. After a long maturation in ex-bourbon oak casks,the Tullibardine 228 Burgindy Finish was re-casked into 228 liter Burgundy barrels from the world famous Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet. This Highland dram is a delightful ruby color and has flavors of vanilla and light chocolate. It has a warming creamy richness with hints of summer fruit.”

Our Price: $63/btl


Tullibardine: 500 Sherry Finish

“Sherry casks come in various sizes. A hogshead contains 250 liters, while a ‘butt’ holds 500 liters. After a long maturation in ex bourbon casks, the Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish was re-casked into 500 liter Sherry butts for a further period of maturation. The result is an intense dark rich brown whisky with hints of toffee and apples. There is an edge of of cereal notes and on the palate you’ll experience more toffee followed by vanilla, dates and spice.”

Our Price: $63/btl

Due to our ever-changing inventory, we cannot guarantee bottle availability. Prices can change without notice. Not responsible for typographical errors. Please contact the store with any questions you might have.

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Highland Park Linn Sondek


Highland Park single malt whisky, distributed by Maxxium UK, has embarked on an exciting new partnership with Linn to bring award-winning whisky together with the best music systems in the world, celebrating 40 years of exceptional music performance at home.

In 1973 Linn launched the Sondek LP12 turntable, a product which went on to change the world of hi-fi forever. To mark this anniversary, the makers of the best sound systems in the world have joined forces with Highland Park, the makers of the ‘best spirit in the world’ ¹, to stimulate the senses of music and whisky lovers alike.

United by their Scottish roots and dedication to exceptional quality, the globally renowned companies have combined their expertise and craftsmanship to create a limited edition Sondek LP12 turntable. This collaboration features Linn’s highest performance turntable which has been encased in a beautiful wood plinth, crafted from the solid oak casks used to mature Highland Park whisky. A special bottling of Highland Park 40 year old whisky has been designed exclusively to be paired with the turntable.

With just forty Limited Edition Highland Park and Linn Sondek LP12 Turntables available worldwide, they are expected to sell out quickly and become a highly collectible item.  The turntables can be ordered through Linn’s global network of specialist retailers, priced at £25,000.

Highland Park is crafted at one of the oldest single malt distilleries in Scotland, situated on the remote islands of Orkney.  With its unwavering attention to detail and its commitment to time honoured craftsmanship, Highland Park single malt scotch whisky has long been regarded as one of the best whiskies in the world.

Gerry Tosh, Global Marketing Manager for Highland Park, said “Working with Linn and helping to produce such a special version of their iconic Sondek LP12 Turntable is a great honour. Not only have we helped create a great looking piece of kit, the density of our hand selected, Spanish oak casks has also added to the already impressive sound quality.  The joining together of Linn and Highland Park, makes perfect sense and has created a powerful sensory platform that will appeal to both the whisky lover and the music lover – this is sure to be a highly sought after offering that will be desired by our fans from all over the world.”

Angus Lawrie, Marketing Director for Linn, said: “We’re delighted to be working with such an established and quality driven brand to mark this special occasion. Both Highland Park and Linn have a strong heritage in their respective fields.  We share the same values in terms of passion, innovation and exacting standards to ensure we continue to make world-leading products.”

For more information on Highland Park, visit 

¹ Highland Park 25 Year Old was named joint number on ‘Best Spirit in the World’ this year by American drinks expert Paul Pacult, the first time there has ever been a tie for number one position in the World’s Top 120 Spirits awards. Highland Park 18 Year Old was also named ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by Paul Pacult in both 2009 and 2005 in the Spirit Journal Top 115 Spirits awards.


About Highland Park

Established in 1798 on Orkney, Highland Park is one of the most remote Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. For over 200 years, the distillery has combined time old tradition and the very best craftsmanship to achieve perfection. Its range of 12, 18, 21, 25, 30 and 40 year old single malts is consistently acclaimed by connoisseurs and experts.  Highland Park has won a string of prestigious awards across its portfolio, most recently including category winner at the 2011 World Whisky Awards for its 25-year-old single malt and ‘Best Whisky in the World 2009’ for its 21-year-old expression in the World Whisky Awards, as well as four double gold awards in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2009.

Highland Park 18 year old was named Best Spirit in the World by American drinks expert Paul Pacult in Top 115 Spirits, Spirit Journal 2009 and 2005.

Five keystones contribute to making Highland Park:

  • Hand-turned malt adds to the deliciously succulent, balanced layers of aromatic character found in Highland Park
  • Aromatic peat gives a delectably seductive, luxuriant floral sweetness to Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Cool maturation enhances the smooth character of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Sherry oak casks contribute to the distinctive richness and multi-dimensional complexity of Highland Park
  • Cask harmonization ensures consistency and balance in Highland Park

Highland Park 40 Year Old 

Released in 2008, Highland Park 40 was named Best New Release of the Year at the World Whisky Awards 2009. It has been largely matured in refill casks, that is to say casks that have previously been used to mature whisky. Every time a cask is used, its ability to impart an influence on the spirit is diminished. When laying down a whisky for extended maturation, such as this, it is important that the cask doesn’t dominate the spirit. If first fill casks had been used, the sweetness (an oak-derived additive quality from the cask) would have been too strident.

Tasting Notes 

Appearance: Rich hues of russet and copper

Nose: Spicy and aromatic with a background of rich dark fruits, Nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest and darkest chocolate. The use of refill casks, allows, Highland Park’s trademark smoke to be retained, even after 40 years in wood

Palate:Beautiful balance of sweet toffee notes, dark chocolate, black cherries, honey, sun dried orange zest and aromatic heather peat smokiness

Finish: Rich, long, elegant, smoky and surprisingly sweet. Lingers forever

The long-term nature of the maturation of Highland Park 40 year old allows time for the perfect balance to be achieved. The colour, as with all bottlings of Highland Park, is entirely natural; the delicate coppery paleness of the whisky is down to the judicious use of refill casks. The strength (alcohol by volume) is relatively high at 48.3% to deliver maximum flavour.

About Linn

Linn design and make the best music systems in the world. Based in Scotland and established since 1973, Linn manufacture everything in-house, from the electronics in their industry-leading Linn DS technology to the loudspeakers found in homes around the world. The iconic Sondek LP12 turntable continues to set the standard for vinyl playback and the latest digital stream players out-perform any CD or network music player available. Linn systems are sold through a worldwide network of specialist retailers who also share a passion for enriching people’s lives through music. Linn were awarded a Royal Warrant in 2002 as suppliers of entertainment systems to the Royal Household, and received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2012. Linn also record music and sell high resolution Studio Master downloads. Awarded ‘Label of the Year’ by Gramophone magazine for 2010-11, Linn Records were the first label to release Studio Master downloads without DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the site,, now hosts Studio Master releases from labels including Universal, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics.

About Linn’s 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Sondek LP12 Turntable

Linn’s 40th Anniversary Highland Park Limited Edition Sondek LP12 comprises a Kandid moving coil cartridge, Ekos SE tonearm, Keel sub-chassis and armboard Radikal DC motor and power supply, Urika phono stage and LP12 with solid oak Highland Park whisky cask plinth.

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Peated non islay


  • Arran 2005 Peated single cask for Belgium
  • Benriach 21 Year Old / Authenticus Peated Malt 70cl / 46%
  • Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels
  • Ledaig 1997/2010 13 Year Old Malts of Scotland
  • Undercover n°2 – Talisker 24y 1984 (51,9%, Daily Dram 2008, 82 btl.)
  • TOMINTOUL ‘Peaty Tang’
  • Edradour Ballechin Port Cask Matured (70cl, 46%)


Poll :

Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels 1  83
Arran 2005 Peated single cask for Belgium 2  101
Benriach 21 Year Old / Authenticus Peated Malt 70cl / 46% 3  108
Ledaig 1997/2010 13 Year Old Malts of Scotland 4  116
Undercover n°2 – Talisker 24y 1984 (51,9%, Daily Dram 2008, 82 btl.) 5  130
Edradour Ballechin Port Cask Matured (70cl, 46%) 6  152
TOMINTOUL ‘Peaty Tang’ 7  196