What a busy fall its been. I spent 10 days in Scotland in September, mostly on the west coast, leading a pilgrimage to Islay, Campbeltown and Arran. I came back for a flurry of events over two weeks and then took off again on another whisky pilgrimage this time, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Both were amazing trips. Once again I returned to a flurry of events which will hit fever pitch starting on Saturday when Michael Urquhart pops in for a farewell tasting.
I’ve known Michael nearly as long as I’ve been with KWM. Michael is one of the fourth generation Urquharts to own and manage Gordon MacPhail. For the last five years or so he’s been their Managing Director. We’ve had a great relationship with Gordon MacPhail over the years, and have done well with their brands including the Benromach Distillery which they acquired in 1993. Michael announced his retirement earlier in the year, and we jumped at the chance to throw him a farewell tasting at our store. We’ve got an incredible range for it including a pair of Port Ellens, a 1975 Dallas Dhu (closed) and 5 different Benromachs including the 1969 ($1300) and 1976 (coming soon). You’ll regret missing this event if you do, and the good news is we still have a few open spots, A Farewell to Michael Urquhart $130.
Next week is our busiest week of whisky tastings all year. On Monday night we are launching Springbank Society bottlings for the first time in Canada with Ranald Watson, Springbank Society Launch $30. Then on Tuesday we’ll be turning up the heat with some heavily peated Kilchomans presented by the distillery’s founder and director Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Master Class $30. Wednesday is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s November Outturn tasting and then on Thursday it is time for Glen Garioch… KWM has a new cask of Glen Garioch coming, and we’re having a mini festival to celebrate its launch, Glen Garioch Cask Launch $25. Info on all these tastings can be found below. Our sold out Fall Single Malt Festival follows on the 13th.
One little item that’s kept us very busy this fall is the 2014 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar. We’ve put our hands on 24 different 50ml whiskies, one of which is 40 years of age and retails for $750 for a full size bottle. Each calendar includes a special Glencairn glass for tasting and a great range of whiskies. We built 288 of them, and at the time of writing just 35 remain unsold! They’ll likely be gone by the end of this week!
There are some other great whiskies to tell you about in this Malt Messenger Bulletin, including the new Glenmorangie Companta, the final edition of the Arran Devil’s Punch Bowl and a cool new Ardbeg Escape gift pack. There is also other news on Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, Old Pulteney and the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015.
Finally, tickets are now on sale for the 2015 MS Calgary Whisky Festival. There are two ticket options this year, standard $99 and VIP $149, the latter of which includes earlier access and a special tasting feature a new top shelf Macallan. Hope to see you there!
I trust this email finds you well and that you are easing into the cooler weather ahead with a warming dram or two.
Kensington Wine Market
PS- PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/scotch_guy and Facebook: facebook.com/scotch.guy.1 .
Whisky Week Tastings Start this Saturday
Springbank Society Launch – Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery launches a couple of limited release Sprigbank Society bottlings every year for their members. These weren’t available to Canada, until now. Ranald Watson from Springbank will be here for a special a mini festival tasting featuring 4 Society bottlings, and a range of other whiskies from Scotland’s most traditional disitllery. We’ve added room for an additional 20 participants. $30
Kilchoman Distillery Master Class – Kilchoman Distillery Founder and Director Anthony Wills will be our guest of honour for the evening leading us through a tasting a presentation on his Islay distillery which turns 10 years old next year! We have a great range including 2 limited expressions, Kilchoman Small Batch and the soon to arrive Port Wood! – $30
Glen Garioch Cask Launch – Kensington Wine Market has an exceptional exclusive Glen Garioch cask on the way, it will be here next week. To celebrate we’re throwing an open house, mini-festival style tasting. You’ll have the chance to sample a range of whiskies from Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch, including our new cask! – $25
Visit us online at HERE to see our full tasting schedule and register, or call us at 403-283-8000.
The 2014 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar is Here
And it selling quickly… only 50/288. – $360+GST
Last year’s Whisky Advent Calendar from Master of Malt was a huge success. It sold out quickly, and customers loved it, but we felt we could do a little better for the price point. For 2014 we’ve put together our own calendar, complete with a bespoke Glencairn glass and 24 50ml bottles (last year’s were 30ml). The actual list of whiskies is a surprise, but here’s a hint: One of the whiskies is 40 years old and retails for more than $700 a bottle (750ml)! This is the perfect pre-Christmas gift for the whisky lover in your life and a great way to lift your spirits.
The calendars are available in store and online while supplies last. As of this morning there are just 35 left!
Introducing: The Glenmorangie Companta
The Latest Release in the Private Collection Range
Every year Glenmorangie releases a unique expression in its Private Collection range. The 2014 release is called Companta, Scots Gaelic for “friendship”. This 5th Private Collection release follows Sonnalta, Finealta, Artein and Ealanta, all now sold out, and is a worthy successor to the range. The whisky has been created with inspiration from Dr. Bill Lumsden’s (the director of Whisky Creation and Distilling for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg) travels through France looking for the finest casks. After maturing in American white oak, the whisky was ‘extra matured’ in hand selected wine casks from one of the most celebrated Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy, Clos de Tart. These Burgundian casks add berry fruits and citrus notes. Other whiskies were also blended (yes it is still a single malt) from other casks which once contained a fortified wine from the Cotes du Rhone.
As with all the Private Collection releases before it the Companta is very limited and will not last long. KWM has already sold through 1/4 of our allocation, and it just got here!
Glenmorangie Companta – 46% – My Tasting Note: Nose: “Immediately a massive hit of butterscotch, leather, candied nuts, dark fruits, tobacco and chocolate; a little like a Negroni, with a very creamy and fruity base; Palate: dark and fruity, loads more candied nuts, dark spices like clove, anise and fennel, leathery and chocolaty with more tobacco and some tart Negroni-like notes; a big hit of Cherry Halls over some creamy honey and vanilla; Finish: long and a bit Halls like; more fading cherries, tart fruits and spices. – $114.99
Introducing the Arran Devil’s Punch Bowl III
The final release in the trilogy: Chapter III The Fiendish Finale!
The Isle of Arran has released some exciting and very tasty whiskies since it started distilling in 1995. There have been a number of one offs over the years, but none have been quite so well received as the Devil’s Punch Bowl trilogy. I don’t recall the distillery mentioning it before, I may have missed the fact, but I was a little surprised when the 3rd whisky was released and they announced that it would be the final edition. The first two were very popular, and there is no reason to suspect that the 3rd would be any different.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl series is named for a prominent and dramatic geological feature (a glacial hollow) on the northeastern end of the Isle of Arran. The three releases in the series, though slightly different from one another, have all shared a strong sherry influence and the introduction of some prominent peaty tones. Arran has been distilling peated malt for almost a decade, but other than the Devil’s Punch Bowl releases, the only peated Arrans are bottled under the Machrie Moor Label. So these Arrans are quite uncharacteristic of the house style.
Appropriately this final release is called the Fiendish Finale, following Chapter III: Angels Deamons. The whisky is appropriately limited to 6,660 bottles worldwide, with probably no more than 300 having found their way to Canada. The whisky is a marriage of 8 sherry butts, 8 French oak barrque and 5 ex-bourbon barrels, bottled at 53.4%. KWM has already sold through nearly half of the 60 bottles we acquired.
Arran Devil’s Punchbowl III – 53.4% – Andrew’s Tasting Note (sampled at the distillery in September): “Nose: at first some melon and tropical fruits, quickly displaced by clean smoke and grassy malt; some leather, dark fruits and spices linger; some of the classic honeyed floral notes; Palate: a tad punchy, and very fruity, excellent balance, building smoke and spices with a base of creamy vanilla oak and honey; some dark fruits and leather; Finish: leather, tobacco and chocolate with some malt and citrus fruits; medium finish. – $120.99
Ardbeg Escape Gift Packs
Not quite “Life Proof” but they look that way! $79.99
Looking for a great gift pack, a whisky and glasses you can “travel rough” with, or something to just stand out on your shelf? These new Ardbeg 10 Year gift packs will do the trick. They come complete with two “shorty glasses” and a bottle of damn fine whisky. Very limited quantities available!
Distiller’s Tasting Note for Ardbeg 10 Year: “Nose: A burst of intense smoky fruit escapes into the atmosphere – peat infused with zesty lemon and lime, wrapped in waxy dark chocolate. Bold menthol and black pepper slice through the sweet smoke followed by tarry ropes and graphite. As you dip your nose in further, savour the aroma of smoked fish and crispy bacon alongside green bell peppers, baked pineapple and pear juice. Palate: An explosion of crackling peat sets off millions of flavour explosions on the tongue: peat effervesces with tangy lemon and lime juice, black pepper pops with sizzling cinnamon-spiced toffee. This is followed by a wave of brine infused with smooth buttermilk, ripe bananas and currants. Smoke gradually wells up on the palate bringing a mouthful of warm creamy cappuccino and toasted marshmallows. As the taste lengthens and deepens, dry espresso, liquorice root and tarry smoke develop coating the palate with chewy peat oils. Finish: The finish goes on and on – long and smoky with tarry espresso, aniseed, toasted almonds and traces of soft barley and fresh pear.” – $79.99
Order a set. – $79.99
MS Calgary Whisky Festival Tickets Now On Sale
Thursday, January 15, 2015 w/ 2 Ticket Options
The Macallan Reflexion
The 2015 Calgary Whisky Festival in support of the MS
Society of Calgary is set to be another barnburner of an event. Last year’s festival drew 400 attendees and featured nearly 150 whiskies from distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the US, Japan and India. This year’s event is set to be even bigger and better with more whiskies, more presenters and a capacity of 500 participants. New this year we are offering a VIP package, which will include a Macallan Master Class featuring a very rare and special bottling. The VIP Ticket is $149 and the regular ticket $99. Only 40 VIP tickets are available!
Get your tickets now, they won’t last long.
Order tickets through the MS Society by clicking here!
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015
The 10th Anniversary Edition – $30
This year’s edition includes articles by respected whisky authors: Johnny McCormick, Neil Ridley, Dominic Roskrow, Gavin D Smith, Charles (Charlie) McLean, Ian Buxton and Bernard Schafer. There 135 pages on malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, and another 100 pages on whiskies from around the world. If there is one must have annual whisky book, this is it!
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015 – $30
Coming Soon: Ardbeg Supernova 2014
A New Committee Release of the World’s Peatiest Whisky – $194.99
ETA mid-November, the latest incarnation of Ardbeg’s Supernova, the distillery’s peatiest release! From the Distillery: “Ardbeg’s first experiment in space has been slowly doing its thing for 3 long years. However, we predict excitement is set to gain momentum as we announce that the experiment is returning very soon and with it… a brand new limited edition Committee bottling of Ardbeg SUPERNOVA.”
Ardbeg Supernova 2014 – 55% – My Tasting Note (Sampled at the Chateau Lake Louise Launch): “Nose: clean ashy smoke, kelp drying on the rocks of a windswept beach, cooling bacon fat and Port Askaig lagostines in butter; creme caramel and chococlate whisky mouse; Palate: big and firey, massive oils, maritime notes, pine resin and earthy spice; burnt bacon, more steamed mussles, dark chocolate and espresso beans with clove and black licorice; as the palate adjusts it becomes creamier and sweeter with dark earthy smoke; Finish: long creamy and coating with dark yet smooth smoke, more seafood notes, dark spices and some bold cigar smoke; a surprising late surge of malt. – $194.99
Coming Soon: Glenmorangie Taghta
The World’s First Crowd Sourced Whisky – $114.99
ETA late November, this is the world’s first crowd sourced whisky. If you attended one of the many Cask Masters tastings held at KWM, accross Canada or one of 29 other countries around the world, you aided in its creation! Very limited quantities of this sherry finished whisky are to be released at a strength of 46%. Taghta is Scots Gaelic for selected!
From the Distillery: “Each of our unique expressions is a glorious marriage of wood and whisky. How the two complement each other is crucial. In the case of Taghta, we extra matured our Glenmorangie original whisky in three cask varieties for a number of years. Each one imparted its own unique flavour, depth and character into our whisky. Finally, we asked you to decide which one you preferred.”
Glenmorangie Taghta – 46% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Curiously nutty and salty at full strength, reminding you of brazil nuts embedded in toffee, hints of linseed oil, and some savoury cured ham. A splash of water opens up the whisky, bringing into play a burst of aged balsamic vinegar, dried fruits, tangy-orange, and a gentle reminder of Christmas incense and spice. Taste: The texture is oily and viscous, with a delicious primary flavour of caramelised orange and lemon, plump sultanas, a hint of brown sugar, but then a wave of salty, briny notes – olives, salted cashew nuts and some nice, toasty oak flavours, like walnut and leather. Finish: The long aftertaste is rich, mellow and soothing, with flavours of toffee, caramel, chocolate and dates.” – $114.99
Old Pulteney Whiskies Back in Stock
Old Pulteney 17 and 21 Year Back for a Limited Engagement
For the first time in months we have stock of Old Pulteney 12, 17 and 21 year expressions. The later two won’t last long, as demand is high globally and there are rationed out to different markets. Old Pulteney was the northernmost mainland distillery in Scotland, until the nearby Wolfburn distillery opened.
Old Pulteney was built during a herring boom in the north of Scotland in 1826. Established near the tail end of the Highland Clearances the distillery was part of the Pulteneytown settlement named for Sir William Pulteney who had died in 1805. He was reputedly the wealthiest man in the United Kingdom in his day. The distillery’s early days were fueled by the seasonal fishing village who’s thirst for whisky was prodigious. According to legend half a liter per person, per day for every man, woman and child!
The distillery’s whisky was long underated until it’s 21 year was named world whisky of the year in the Whisky Bible in 2012. The 12 year has long been a reliable standby at its price point and as highly rated as the 21 year is, I’ve always been fond of the 17 (though it has changed considerably over the years).
Old Pulteney 12 Year – 40% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Medium to high intensity, dry with a briny hint of sea air. Palate: Sweet, floral, citrus: lemon and lime plus dry banana skin. Smooth and faintly salty. – $64.99
Old Pulteney 17 Year – 46% – Matured Entirely in Ex-Sherry European Oak – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet with traces of apples and pears: slightly woody with a hint of butterscotch. Palate: Sweet with soft fruits: kiwi, guava, peach. – $124.99
Old Pulteney 21 Year – 46% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Full bodied with traces of fruits (apples and pears); slightly fragrant with spicy overtones. Palate: Creamy, toffee, vanilla, baked red apple with a hint of smokiness and a dry finish. – $167.99
Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger!
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 www.kensingtonwinemarket.com. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change, 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.
Kensington Wine Market
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Ferguson’s Whisky Tours
Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2014/11/kensington-calgary-malt-messenger-bulletin-scotch-whisky-news-3/