Royal Bond


September 11, 2014 (Chicago, IL) – New Orleans- based Sazerac Company announces an exciting addition to their current family of companies- Bond Royal Spirits Company- focused on developing brands within the specialty and craft spirits space. 

From the bar, a company was born.  In 1850, Aaron Bird moved into the Merchants Exchange Coffeehouse and rechristened it the Sazerac Coffeehouse; then began to acquire and market brands of liquor.  He bought the rights to Peychaud’s Bitters in 1873.  In the 1890s his company began to bottle and market the Sazerac cocktail, now made with rye whiskey instead of brandy. In addition, the company operated the Sazerac Bar on Royal Street.  Later, Thomas Handy’s former secretary, C. J. O’Reilly, chartered the Sazerac Company.  Ever since (except for a stint as a delicatessen and grocery vendor during Prohibition), the Sazerac Company has distilled an ever-increasing line of fine spirits.  Today, we are still an independent, American family owned company and proud owners of many of America’s most venerable distilling and spirits companies—Bond Royal is the newest addition to the family, aiming to further build on the company’s rich history and heritage. 

The new company will immediately be dedicated to nurturing and building existing brands identified as players within the growing specialty craft universe in the US, while building expertise through educational and industry resources across several categories.  Gemini Spirits Wine, a subsidiary of Sazerac, serves as the home for the majority of these brands today and the new division will operate in conjunction with Gemini.  

Ken Kwarta, General Manager of Gemini Spirits Wine, comments “Since its inception, Gemini has partnered with some of the greatest spirits producers in the world.  As we continue to grow and add new business, we are committed to developing the appropriate resources in the US marketplace to meet the growing demands of our customers and consumers.” 

Over the next several months, the full launch of Bond Royal will include a team of focused sales specialists, new brands and import partners coming on board, as well as marketing, PR, industry relations and educational programs.  The company’s focus will immediately be around the award-winning specialty and craft brands from the Gemini portfolio including Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Banks Rum, Siete Leguas Tequila, Campo de Encanto Pisco, Dimmi Liquore di Milano, Glenfarclas Single Malt Scotch and the Casa San Matias Tequilas.  Additional brands will be vetted and added to the portfolio as fitting with the company’s strategy. 

Megan Hurtuk, head of marketing for Bond Royal, notes “Our partners are true masters of their crafts, whose passion and experience- not to mention phenomenal products- inspire us daily.  Our vision for BR is to further spread the story of these high integrity spirits and develop additional brands, while fueling the energy, knowledge and overall conversation amongst the core of this burgeoning scene.” 

For more information, contact Megan Hurtuk at or visit 

About Bond Royal Spirits Company

Bond Royal Spirits Co. is a company rooted in American history and heritage—one that partners with some of the world’s best spirits producers to foster the growth and fuel the passion amongst the craft specialty spirits space within the US marketplace. Based in Chicago, IL, Bond Royal works in conjunction with Gemini Spirits Wine and Sazerac Company.  For more information, visit 

About Gemini Spirits Wine

Gemini Spirits Wine is the fastest growing spirits and specialty brand development company in the United States. Gemini is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sazerac Company and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Gemini operates as an autonomous company, and is focused on building its portfolio of spirits and specialty brands concentrated in targeted categories. For more information, visit  

About Sazerac Company, Inc.

Sazerac is one of New Orleans’ oldest family owned, privately held companies and has operations in New Orleans, Louisiana; Frankfort, Bardstown, Louisville and Owensboro, Kentucky; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Carson, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Lewiston, Maine; Londonderry, New Hampshire; and Montreal, Canada.  For more information, please visit

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The Return of the Milroy’s Bottlings – Scotch Whisky News

The Return of the Milroy’s Bottlings

It has been some time since we last bottled whisky here at Milroy’s of Soho. Our aim is to always bottle the best whisky we have available to us and unless we can do that we won’t bottle anything at all. After a lot of hard work (our bottler-in-chief has experienced ‘new parent’ levels of sleep deprivation) we have put together an entirely new range of whiskies and spirits.

We had a few objectives in mind when we created this new range. The first was to address the issue we’ve had with our single cask bottlings, which is that because there is always only a finite amount of each release, people are disappointed when we sell out. We wanted a core range of whiskies that we will always have in stock. As such, we are producing a number of regional age-statement whiskies that you can always find on our shelves without fear of them disappearing in the puff of a barrel!

Do not fear however, we will still be bottling single casks as well. These will become available as and when we find casks we think are worthy of bottling.

Secondly, we have upped our game and replaced the old Milroy’s Finest Blended Malt with a brand new Blend and a new Blended Malt whisky  – the quality of these two is astounding and are great everyday drinkers!

Finally – we really quite like gin – a lot. So being the intrepid types that we are, we’ve decided to bottle our very own. Adorned, in style, with a label featuring Hogarth’s famous Gin Lane print – it’s pretty cool, and tasty.

As if this wasn’t enough, we have invested in a complete label redesign to complement what we think is a confident step-up in range and quality.

In other news, our 50th anniversary is coming up and there may be a 50 Year Old bottling to match, and perhaps a party… with cake. More on that soon!

All the best,

Milroy’s of Soho

Our mailing address is:
Milroy’s of Soho
3 Greek Street
London, England W1D 4NX
United Kingdom

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 The Glenlivet Logo


The Glenlivet has unveiled a second new permanent expression in its innovative Nàdurra range, building on its leadership of the dynamic growth of craft spirits. The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection is drawn from casks made from American White Oak that have never before been used to mature Scotch whisky, with these casks – a popular choice of distillers at The Glenlivet since the early 1900s – imparting hints of creamy vanilla to this wonderfully rich single malt.

Bottled at cask strength, The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection will be available around the world and including within the UK, US and Sweden, rolling out from September 2014, priced at $80. The expression will also be available in Global Travel Retail at 48% ABV. 

The release follows the initial launch of The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso in Travel Retail Europe earlier this year and is supported by a new cask strength edition of this expression. The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso Cask Strength will also enter domestic markets, including India, Canada and Taiwan from the same month, priced at $75. 

These new permanent expressions showcase the versatility and multi-layered quality of The Glenlivet, whilst meeting the growing demand for handcrafted single malt whiskies with an interesting twist. The range is crafted in small batches using traditional production methods and capturing the original passion behind George Smith’s distillery. Celebrating the highly skilful traditions of whisky making at The Glenlivet, all expressions in the Nàdurra range are bottled without chill-filtration, offering the additional complexity, body and texture of a whisky that has just been drawn from the cask. 

The 19th Century production methods, combined with maturation in first-fill American Oak casks, imparts The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection with an inviting aroma of soft vanilla, fudge and sweet, ripe pears, developing into a tropical mix of pineapple, banana and citrus on the palate and leading to a refreshing finish. 

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director for The Glenlivet comments; “Whisky enthusiasts have admired The Glenlivet for its signature smooth and fruity flavour profile for nearly 200 years so, with our Nàdurra range, we want to highlight the skill and craftsmanship behind The Glenlivet. The Glenlivet Nàdurra has long held an extra special place in the hearts of single malt whisky connoisseurs and we are confident that our new Nàdurra innovations will satisfy their increasing appetite for excellence in single malt whisky craftsmanship.” 

The new expression comes in refreshed packaging, first introduced in April 2014, which all future expressions of The Glenlivet Nàdurra will be released in to emphasise the handcrafted nature of the range. The design includes a prominent batch number, cask-like stamps and a more visible translation of the Gaelic word, Nàdurra – meaning natural – to illustrate the essence of the brand. 

 AA Glenlivet N1st

The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection (cask strength) tasting notes

Colour: Light gold

Nose: An enticing mix of soft vanilla, fudge notes and sweet ripe pears engulf the senses

Taste: A tantalisingly tropical mix of juicy pineapple and ripe banana cut with a zesty citrus flourish

Finish: Medium and refreshing 

The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection 48% ABV tasting notes

Colour: Light gold

Nose: An abundant bouquet of sweet, soft pears and creamy vanilla fudge

Taste: A deliciously sweet mix of tropical pineapple and ripe banana coupled with a delightful citrus sparkle

Finish: Medium and refreshing 

AA Glenlivet NO

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso Cask Strength tasting notes

Colour: Bright gold
Nose: Aromas of ripe peaches, with gentle notes of cinnamon and rich fruit cake

Palate: Soft, creamy toffee, with the fruitiness of juicy sweet clementine oranges

Finish: Long and sweet, leading to a slightly dry, spicy finish 

About The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet is the No. 2 single malt Scotch whisky in the world. Crafted in the remote Livet Valley since 1824, it is the only whisky with the unchallengeable right to be called The Glenlivet. 

About Chivas Brothers

Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth Gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport. 

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Ardbeg Supernova 2014 – “SN2014 to its friends” – At The Whisky Exchange – Scotch Whisky News

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Ardbeg Supernova 2014 – SN2014 to its friends

Ever since the label leaked in the US this past April, the internet has been awash with rumours about a new whisky from Ardbeg. Finally, the details have been announced and we can let you into the secrets of the latest Ardbeg Committee Release – Ardbeg Supernova 2014, aka SN2014.

Dr Bill Lumsden after the experiment

Ardbeg whisky maker Dr Bill Lumsden in a space suit. Any excuse to dress up…

The third release under the Supernova name, this whisky celebrates the return to earth of The Ardbeg Space Experiment. That’s rather an over-the-top name for a project where vials of Ardbeg new make spirit and wood shavings where held on the International Space Station for a couple of years, to see how wood/spirit interaction changes in a microgravity environment. Specifically it’s all about terpenes, but as I gave up chemistry after GCSE, I’ll stop there.

The samples are now on their way back to earth (or are already here, if they came back on the Soyuz that landed this morning) with Friday 12 September as Ardbeg’s big day – the reuniting of the space samples with the control samples that were left on the earth, and the release of Supernova 2014.

The first edition of Supernova appeared during a slightly silly time, when the Islay distilleries were competing to produce the peatiest whisky. While Ardbeg might not have won the war (that accolade goes to Bruichladdich’s Octomore whiskies) they certainly came out of it with some credit: Jim Murray crowned Supernova 2009 the Scotch Whisky of the Year and Second Finest Whisky in the World in 2010.

If you’re looking for the earlier editions, we do have still have a few bottles, but they’re starting to become hard to find: Ardbeg Supernova 2009 and Ardbeg Supernova 2010.
This new edition steps back from the silliness, but still packs a flavoursome punch.

Ardbeg Supernova 2014

Ardbeg Supernova 2014, SN2014, 55%, £125

Nose: Big mulchy peat, with sweetness and brine. There are some soured cream notes, with grassiness and a touch of herbal mint. More savoury herbal notes come in, along with coal smoke and burning seaweed. There’s also a bit of straw and hay, adding to a decently farmy background.
Palate: Softer than the nose suggests, at least at first. Gentle, sweet orange peel starts, but intensifies with charred peel, mint leaf, damp earth and pungently sweet peat smoke. Liquorice notes sneak in behind, with ferns, TCP and brine. Dark chocolate bitterness is joined by a hint of cherry fruit, with rich loam and wood smoke adding a dryness.
Finish: Sweet smoke – both peat and wood – dark chocolate and ashy touches. Menthol hints linger.
Comment: It may be quite light in colour and relatively fresh on the nose, but it’s still a beast. There are darker notes underneath the initial feisty smoke, and a fair whack amount of complexity. It’s Ardbeg looking fondly back on the crazy days of the late noughties.

It’s an Ardbeg Committee Exclusive release, exclusive to Ardbeg Embassies in the UK, and will be available from Friday 12 September in our London shop. We will start start selling it online on Wednesday 17 September at 1pm – first come, first served.

However, if you’d like to try before you buy, we will have some to taste at The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in October. The folks at Ardbeg will be bringing along a huge 4.5 litre bottle for their stand, and we will be saving a few bottles to go on sale in the shop during the show. We still have some tickets for the Sunday of the show, so head on over to our tickets page to grab one.

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The Whisky Exchange “Haig Club – whisky for the cocktail fan?” – Scotch Whisky News

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Haig Club – whisky for the cocktail fan?

There’s been talk about Diageo’s new Haig Club whisky for months, with much speculation and discussion about its celebrity connections, thanks to endorsement by Simon Fuller and David Beckham. One thing that’s been missing, however, is information about the whisky itself. We’ve talked about Cameronbridge, the distillery where it’s made, but as we’ve not had any bottles to put on the website we’ve not said much about the Haig Club.

However, it’s now up on the site, so here’s a bit more background to share with you.

Firstly, some tasting notes:

Haig Club

Haig Club, 40%, £46.75

Nose: Toffee and bananas up front, with green grassy notes, and gentle ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon spiciness.
Palate: Sweet and creamy to start, with soft caramel and toffee. Lemon peel zestiness develops, with tingly cinnamon. Creamy lemon posset with a cinder toffee?
Finish: Spice, toffee, soft anise and a touch of warmth.
Comment: Light and sweet with more complexity than you might expect. It’s not a whisky that you’ll be sitting down to examine over hours, but it does have good flavours, which are strong enough to shine through even when mixed.

As it says on the back label, this is a whisky focused at mixing, either in short, old-fashioned cocktails or in long drinks. The Haig Club team have put together a selection of drinks, but these are our favourite two:

The Haig Clubman
50ml Haig Club
35ml sparkling apple soda (Appletise or one of its friends should work nicely)
6 dashes of ginger bitters (we like Bob’s Ginger Bitters)
Add all the ingredients to tumbler with some ice and stir gently to combine. Garnish with a thin slice of root ginger.

The cocktail appears to be named after an old advertising slogan for John Haig’s whiskies from the early part of the 20th century – The Clubman’s Whisky. It’s a spicy apple pie of a drink, with fruit from the apple, buttery sweetness from the whisky and a touch of heat from the ginger.

Haig Club New Old Fashioned
60ml Haig Club
10ml sweet vermouth (a spot of Gancia Rosso would do here – you don’t want anything too heavy)
2 dashes of orange bitters (we’d go for Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters No.6)

While we’d probably call this a “Haig Club Rob Roy on the rocks” rather than a New Old Fashioned, it certainly fits the bill as a twist on the more classic Old Fashioned. Focused on the whisky, with the vermouth adding a touch of both sweetness and bitterness, it showcases the spirit’s fruity notes.

It’s a versatile whisky, with enough punch of flavour to work in a long drink, but without some of the rawness that appears in Cameron Brig (which is also made at Cameronbridge). We suspect we’ll see this popping up in bars across the country as the launch rolls out, and it’s certainly worth a try.

The Haig team, as well as Diageo whisky ambassador and cocktail expert Andrea Montague, will be at this year’s Whisky Show. So, if you want to have a chat about the whisky and try some cocktails, make sure you get a ticket – we are close to running out of tickets…


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Buffalo Trace Distillery Hosts Two Nights of“ Disturbia at the Distillery” Oct. 30th and 31st – American Whiskey News

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Distillery Hosts Two nights of“ Disturbia at the Distillery”

Event for Adults to be held Oct. 30th and 31st

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (September, 2013) Buffalo Trace Distillery will again combine spooks and spirits for two nights of dinner, drams and drama this Halloween. Tickets are on sale now for Disturbia at the Distillery scheduled for Oct. 30th and 31st.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with an optional Ghost Tour starting in the Buffalo Trace Distillery Visitor Center. At 7 p.m. guests will be welcomed in the Buffalo Trace Clubhouse as dinner and the antics of the Bluegrass Mystery Theatre actors begin.

Guests will try to figure out “who did it” as they enjoy a three course meal prepared by one of the region’s best chefs. In between acts, attendees will be treated to a bourbon tasting of some of the Distillery’s award-winning products. As the event winds down around 9 p.m., guests will vote on who they think the guilty party is, and have a chance to win prizes.

Tickets for this event are on sale now for $60 per person and may be purchased by calling 502-696-5930 or email: Dress for the evening is casual.

Costumes are optional for this event but there will be a contest with prizes. This event is for adults 21 and over only.

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1786 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B.

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Journalist’s Canadian Whisky Primer – Canadian Whisky News

A 26-ounce Canadian whisky primer for journalists, editors, and publishers AND Whisky Intelligence Readers!

Davin de Kergommeaux

Hiram Walker Distillery, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The largest distiller of beverage alcohol in North America.

1. The story of Canadian whisky offers a distilled and bottled history of Canadian settlement and commercial enterprise. 

2. When Jesuit missionaries arrived here in the 1600s they left no record of distilling, but they did try (with limited success) to make wine for use in their liturgies. 

3. Later, in the 18th and 19th centuries when large groups of settlers arrived in Canada they often brought small stills with them. 

4. Despite what you might expect, when the early Scottish and Irish settlers began distilling here in Canada it was rum and not whisky that they made. 

5. The history of distilling in Canada, like many things Canadian, varies province by province. For example, the shift from distilling rum to whisky began as settlers moved west into Ontario. Why? Because of its distance from the sea. This made it expensive for producers to acquire molasses, (which they preferred over grain) as sea-going vessels transporting Caribbean molasses to Canada could not navigate beyond Montreal. 

6. Whisky making in Canada is really an imported Scottish tradition, right? Not quite. The first commercial whisky distillers were mostly English and German. Not surprisingly, there were Americans of English or German descent who were keen to expand business opportunities here in Canada. As for those Scottish and Irish immigrants, they made no contribution to creating the Canadian whisky we know today. They were, however, enthusiastic consumers of rum. 

7. There is much conjecture that United Empire Loyalists arriving here from the U.S. late in the 18th and early 19th century were responsible for introducing distilling to Canada. Nice story, but not one supported by the historical record. There is no evidence that this happened or that they ever distilled commercially.


Three fine Canadian whiskies. Gibson’s Finest, Canadian Club Black Label (Japan only), Alberta Premium Dark Horse.

8. Although Scotch whisky enthusiasts will swear that Aeneas Coffey invented the column still, Coffey stills were not the norm here in Canada. Those early Canadian column stills were of American and European design, adapted to suit Canadian conditions. 

9. Canadian whisky was, from the start, an integrated commercial enterprise. The early distilleries were generally associated with flourmills from which they sourced their grist. 

10. With an abundance of locally grown wheat, it’s not surprising that for the most part, in the early days, the grain of choice for making Canadian whisky was wheat. In those days, wheat whisky was so common that it was actually called “common” or “straight” whisky. 

11. When and how was the switch made from common or straight whisky to rye? It was German and Dutch immigrants who wanted more flavour in their whisky. They suggested adding small amounts of rye-grain flour to the mashes. They called this new whisky style “rye” and it quickly became so popular that “common” wheat whisky all but disappeared. 

12. Several key figures were responsible for establishing the Canadian whisky style. James Gooderham Worts arrived here from England in 1831 and William Gooderham arrived the following year. Another immigrant from England was Henry Corby who arrived in 1832. Then, in 1841, Joseph Seagram was born here. He was of English descent but his whisky style was influenced by his German-Canadian customers. In 1857, J.P. Wiser crossed the border in to Canada from the U.S., bringing his German heritage and American distilling methods with him. Two years later and also from the U.S., Hiram Walker arrived, bringing with him his English family heritage and expectations of quality whisky. Gooderham, Worts, Corby, Seagram, Walker: these are the dynastic and iconic names of Canadian whisky.

Several Canadian distilleries produce whisky using only rye grain. Collingwood 21, Lot No. 40 and Mastersons are each 100% rye grain Canadian whiskies, as are Alberta Premium, Jefferson’s Rye, Lock Stock Barrel, WhistlePig, Grand Grizzly and Pendleton 12.

13. Canadian whisky was and remains a southbound cross border enterprise. Early on, commercial Canadian distillers made inroads into American markets, and the U.S. quickly became the primary market for Canadian whisky. This is still the case today as American drinkers buy about 70% of the whisky that Canada produces. 

14. In 1865, two years before Confederation, Canadian whisky was the best-selling whisky in the U.S. period. And it remained that way until 2010 when bourbon overtook it. It is now number 2 in the U.S. market, and practically neck-and-neck with bourbon. Canadian whisky is still the best selling whisky in North America. 

15. Where there’s booze there’s legislation (and taxation) and Canada leads the way. In 1890, Canada became the first nation to pass legislation requiring that whisky be aged. More than a quarter of a century later the British government followed suit. The Scotch ageing legislation of 1916 was actually modeled on Canada’s. This is not an assertion but a fact. I have researched the official correspondence that confirms this. 

16. Canada’s whisky ageing legislation was intended to facilitate tax collection, and it had a dramatic commercial impact. It meant that it was no longer economical to operate small distilleries, leaving whisky production exclusively to the larger distilleries, most of which were already ageing whisky anyway. 

17. Prohibition may have had a moral tone to it in the U.S., but it also threatened the formerly lucrative cross-border sales of Canadian whisky. In 1920 when the U.S. declared Prohibition, Canada’s largest market suddenly dried up, creating serious financial difficulties for most of Canada’s commercial distilleries. They continued to export some whisky to the U.S. but in volumes so reduced that Corby’s, Gooderham Worts, and Seagram’s faced near bankruptcy. Hiram Walker’s distillery fared slightly better but not for long. It was eventually sold for about half its commercial value. Moreover, much of the whisky reaching the U.S. from Canada was Scotch and Irish whisky imported to Canada for sale in the U.S. 

18. Fast forward to today. Canadian whisky sales are in a resurgence. The most recent statistics (from 2013) indicate that Americans bought almost 17 million 9-litre cases of Canadian whisky that year.  

19. And where does Canadian whisky come from? There are eight commercial distilleries in Canada and each one of them is undertaking expansion and/or modernization projects because of the continually increasing demand for Canadian whisky. Production is racing to keep pace with demand. 

20. Canada’s commercial distilleries span the country and include three in Alberta (Highwood, Black Velvet, and Alberta Distillers), one in Manitoba (Gimli), three in Ontario (Hiram Walker, Canadian Mist and Forty Creek), and one in Quebec (Valleyfield.) 

21. These are distinct distilleries. Each one follows its own production processes and methods making it meaningless to talk about whisky “regions” in Canada. 

22. What is it, then, that makes Canadian whisky so distinctive? Here is a 5-point overview of key production factors that, when taken together, distinguish Canadian whisky from all other whisky styles. 

a. Like single malt Scotch, Canadian whisky is generally the product of a single distillery. With occasional exceptions, Canadian distillers do not exchange barrels or buy whisky from each other. Thus, Canadian whisky can perhaps best be described as “single distillery whisky.” 

b. In general, unlike their U.S. counterparts, Canadian whisky makers do not use mash bills. In Canada each grain type is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and matured separately, and only then mingled together as mature whisky. American distillers combine their grains before making whisky. Canadian distillers combine them afterwards. Like all things Canadian, there are exceptions: Canadian Club and Black Velvet distil their spirits separately, like everyone else, but mingle these spirits before maturing them. 

c. Regardless of grain type, Canadian distillers generally make two whisky streams which they later combine after maturation. This is similar to how blended Scotch is made. 

One stream (called “base whisky”) is distilled to a high alcohol content and, although it still includes many grain-derived congeners, when matured it facilitates the full expression of congeners derived from the wood. (Congeners are the chemicals that give whisky its flavour.) Some distilleries make only one type of base whisky, while others make several. This base whisky is most often matured in barrels that have already been used one or more times. The first use reduces the influence of oak caramels, tannins, and vanillins, allowing other wood-derived congeners to contribute to the flavour in greater proportions. This is one source of the “elegance” of Canadian whisky. 

The second stream (called “flavouring whisky”) includes whiskies that are distilled to a low alcohol content in order to emphasize grain-derived congeners. These flavouring whiskies are commonly made from rye, wheat, barley, and corn – and each is distilled and matured separately. Flavouring whiskies are generally matured in new virgin barrels or in a mix of new and used barrels. 

d. Each type of grain spirit within each stream is matured in optimal conditions for that particular spirit. This requires the use of different barrel types and chars for each grain, as well as different periods of maturation depending on the characteristics of the particular spirit. 

e. The addition of non-whisky flavouring − the so-called 9.09% rule − is sometimes talked about on chat boards, although it is poorly understood. This is a practice that is not nearly as prevalent as some people suggest. It is more of a footnote to a discussion of the elements of Canadian whisky production. 

In a nutshell, to aid U.S. producers, American tax law provides financial incentives for foreign spirits that include some American-made spirits. For high-volume bottom-shelf whiskies this is a substantial tax break. For lower-volume whiskies it is often not worth the effort. Thus, some Canadian whiskies made for the U.S. market include American spirits even though the version of the same whisky made for the Canadian market (and the rest of the world) often will not. As well, in some cases, regardless of the intended market, small amounts of foreign spirit will be added to enhance certain flavours.  

This is further complicated by the use of the words “wine” and “sherry” to describe some of these additives, even though the actual liquid used bears little or no resemblance to what the general public perceives wine or sherry to be. Moreover, all spirits added to Canadian whisky under this rule must have spent at least 2 years maturing in wood.


Like single malt Scotch, Canadian whisky is generally the product of a single distillery and thus, can best be described as “single distillery whisky.”

23. In addition to the eight Canadian distilleries mentioned above, two small Scottish-style distilleries (Glenora and Shelter Point) have been established in Canada in the past two decades. Recent years have seen a burgeoning of a craft distilling movement in Canada and there are some 30 of them at the last count. About half a dozen of these micro-distilleries are already making − or are planning to make − whisky. 

24. One issue that confuses some whisky writers is that unlike in the U.S. and the U.K., Canada does not unify all of its whisky laws, rules, and regulations in one tidy legislative place. Distilling in Canada is a matter, first of all, of provincial regulation even though many aspects of its production and export fall under federal regulation. Consequently, two levels of government and many provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, share these responsibilities. Each of them makes rules specific to its areas of legislated responsibility. To complicate matters further, provincial rules vary across the country. While it is not incorrect to rely on the basic definition of Canadian whisky from the Food and Drug Act, it is incorrect to draw the conclusion that this is the only regulation that whisky makers must comply with in Canada. 

25. The Food and Drug Act includes this definition:

Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky 

a. shall:

i. be a potable alcoholic distillate, or a mixture of potable alcoholic distillates, obtained from a mash of cereal grain or cereal grain products saccharified by the diastase of malt or by other enzymes and fermented by the action of yeast or a mixture of yeast and other micro-organisms,

ii. be aged in small wood for not less than three years,

iii. possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky,

iv. be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the Excise Act and the regulations made thereunder,

v. be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada, and

vi. contain not less than 40 per cent alcohol by volume; and 

b. may contain caramel and flavouring. 

26. Finally, a key resource for all these matters of history, production, commerce, regulation, and − perhaps most important of all: the delicious taste of Canadian whisky − my book, Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert, published by McClelland Stewart 2012 and 2014 is a well stocked bar of valuable information.  

This primer is a carefully researched overview of key points about Canadian whisky to assist journalists and others writing about it. These points may be quoted freely with credit to the author. Davin de Kergommeaux is also the author of Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert, the definitive book about Canadian whisky. 

These notes were first published in this format, September 3, 2014.





Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert is published by McClelland Stewart and distributed by Penguin Random House. It is available from most book shops and on-line book sellers.

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada “September Outturn and October Tasting” – Scotch Whisky News


September’s seven spectacular single malts await your discovery, so follow the signs – you won’t be misled! Bottle notes are below; for full tasting notes and to purchase please visit

Also, remember to sign up for the October First Friday tasting! Join Colin and Rick at The Strath Ale, Wine Spirit Merchants on Friday, Oct. 3rd at 6:30pm for another fun night of good scotch and good company. Contact The Strath now to register ($35 members/$45 non-members): 250-370-9463.

Cask No. 36.62 The Italian job
21 years old; 2nd fill hogshead; 51.3%
A fresh, chalky and slightly sweet nose neat with a fizzy mouth feel turning juicier with time. Adding water almost flinty like an austere Lombardian wine and the taste has an intriguing balance of sour cream chips and honey yogurt ice cream.

Cask No. 17.35 Very fruity, very tasty
11 years old; refill barrel; 56.1%
The nose – plentiful fruit (tinned pineapple, three-fruit marmalade), toffee, honey, vanilla and Battenberg cake; also tarragon, straw and stationery cupboards. The palate – very tasty, very fruity; gummy bears, ‘soor plumes’ candies, Moffat toffees and coke with lime, traces of salt and ginger.

Cask No. 94.4 Ode to autumn
24 years old; refill hogshead; 52.3%
Warm and dusty, like a hayfield at harvest time on a sunny afternoon. The taste has the sweet richness of Italian biscotti with hazelnuts and dark cherries. With water – roasted red peppers and salty/sweet flavours of a quality olive oil and balsamic bread dip.

Cask No. 7.97 Cedar, sandalwood and cinnamon
20 years old; refill hogshead; 53.9%
The nose balances deep wood, dark honey, chocolate, coconut, menthol and leather against tropical fruits and gardens of flowers and herbs. The palate tingles with leather, orange zest, aniseed and ginger, before finding sexy traces of floral perfumes and sweet tobacco.

Cask No. 4.181 A muscle man from Orkney
16 years old; refill sherry butt; 54.6%
Rustic, grizzly and animalistic at first sight, this muscle man has lots to offer. Burnt coconut syrup, Dundee marmalade, smoked pork buns and Demerara sugar; smouldering and rich to taste. Water gave coffee liqueur and sweet molasses.

Cask No. 33.130 The farmyard and the chip shop
11 years old; 2nd fill barrel; 56.1%
The tasting panel divided into two camps. Malt in burlap sacks, sillage, tomatoes and compost in one, versus fish and chips and lobster pots in the other. Coal buckets and barbecue smoke. Blankets with mothballs and laundry day at the beach.

Cask No. 127.38 Enticing fume of a peak reek
10 years old; refill sherry butt; 66.3%
Sweet smoke, pork cracklings, honey and soy sauce, oily mackerels and Germolene. The taste is simply huge! A peat fire blazing in a croft house. Water releases herbal aromas of fish stock and the taste Mediterranean pork with sage plums and oven-roasted tomatoes rolled in herbs.

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Jim Beam® Unveils Latest Expressions of Ultra-premium Jim Beam® Signature Craft Innovations – American Whiskey News

Jim Beam® Unveils Latest Expressions of Ultra-premium Jim Beam® Signature Craft Innovations

Deerfield, Ill. – September 2014 – Today, Jim Beam®, the world’s No. 1 bourbon, announces the release of two rare, ultra-premium expressions as part of its Jim Beam® Signature Craft line – Jim Beam® Signature Craft Quarter Cask and Jim Beam® Harvest Bourbon Collection™. The Jim Beam Signature Craft line is a series of innovative, limited released, small batch bourbons that showcases some of the finest hand-crafted and rare liquids to come from the Jim Beam distillery. 

“With the newest batch expressions in our ultra-premium line of craft products, we are honoring traditions of the past while charting new waters for bourbon distilling,” said Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s 7th Generation Master Distiller. “I’m very proud of these new expressions and am eager to continue experimenting and innovating in search of future batches for the Jim Beam Signature Craft line.” 

Jim Beam® Signature Craft Quarter Cask
Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask is the third edition from the Jim Beam Signature Craft line and second limited-edition expression. This full-bodied Kentucky Straight Bourbon is bottled at 86 proof, starts with premium Jim Beam Bourbon aged at least five years and is finished with a variety of fine quarter cask bourbons, and all aged at least four years in smaller barrels. By building on a base of mature liquid and finishing it with quarter cask aged liquid, the inspired distillers at Jim Beam were able to craft just the right balance of rich vanillas of a mature bourbon profile and the extra oak notes of the quarter cask bourbon.

Perfect for whiskey drinkers who enjoy trying unique expressions, this bourbon is an excellent addition to the Jim Beam Signature Craft family. Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask joins Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year, the permanent expression in the line, which was released in September 2013.

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask is now available in select bars and retailers nationwide and has a suggested retail price of $39.99 for 750mL. 

Jim Beam® Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection™
In 2003, a group of daring distillers at Jim Beam thought “outside the barrel” and experimented with a variety of obscure grains and non-traditional recipes and ultimately settled on a range of harvest grains such as Brown Rice and Soft Red Wheat (among others) to complement the majority grain of corn. These innovative distillers, many of whom have since currently retired, distilled a handful of liquids and laid them down in rackhouses to rest, untouched, for years…until now. More than a decade later, Fred Noe discovered these lost barrels and gave them a taste; and while a few batches from the lot did not make the cut, he was delighted to find six delicious bourbons, ready to be bottled and released.

Jim Beam Harvest Bourbon Collection is a series of six hand-crafted bourbons that celebrate the distinctive tastes imparted by the distillation of different grains. More than 11 years of aging have brought out the nuances of these unique ingredients to create some of the rarest, most unique whiskey expressions to ever leave a Jim Beam rackhouse.  

The first two grain representations – Soft Red Wheat and Brown Rice – are being released in extremely small quantities beginning today. The four remaining expressions – Whole Rolled Oat, Triticale, High Rye and Six Row Barley – will be released with limited quantity throughout 2015.

Jim Beam® Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Bourbon

•Bottled at 90 proof, Jim Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat is a light-bodied and very approachable bourbon that has been aged for 11 years 

•The finest Soft Red Wheat from Kentucky and Indiana gives this bourbon a gentle spice with a slight, light brown sugar sweetness and a light-bodied finish that is best enjoyed straight (neat or on-the-rocks)

•Jim Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat has a slight and soft aroma with mild oak notes, and has a range of color from golden honey to amber

Jim Beam® Signature Craft Brown Rice Bourbon

•Also bottled at 90 proof, Jim Beam Signature Craft Brown Rice is a full-bodied bourbon that has lasting flavor from its 11 years of aging

•This bourbon contains a taste of toasted grain with sweet oak and rich vanilla flavors and is best enjoyed straight (neat or on-the-rocks)

•Jim Beam Signature Craft Brown Rice has an aroma with notes of sweet potato and brown sugar with a slight oaky spice and a deep, rich amber color 

Jim Beam Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat and Brown Rice are now available in select bars and retailers nationwide and have a suggested retail price of $49.99 for a 375mL 

Fred Noe, Master Distiller of the world’s No. 1 bourbon, celebrates a variety of rare production methods with the release of Jim Beam® Signature Craft Quarter Cask and the unique expressions of the Jim Beam® Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection

For more information about the Jim Beam Signature Craft Line or the Jim Beam Harvest Bourbon Collection, like our Facebook page ( follow us on Twitter (@jimbeam) or visit

About Beam Suntory Inc. 

As the world’s third largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is Crafting the Spirits that Stir the World. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the flagship Jim Beam bourbon and Yamazaki Japanese whisky, as well as world renowned premium brands including Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek bourbons, Hakushu and Hibiki Japanese whiskies, Teacher’s,  Laphroaig, and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Sauza tequila, Pinnacle vodka, and Midori liqueur.  The company generates annual worldwide sales of approximately $4.6 billion excluding excise taxes. 

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and entrepreneurial culture.  Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan.  For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and

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Ballantine’s Unveils Winning Night Market Bar Concept at Exclusive Launch Event – Scotch Whisky News


Ballantine’s Unveils Winning Night Market Bar Concept at Exclusive Launch Event

When Ballantine’s launched The Bar Project in France earlier this year, young mixologist Abderrahim El Asfar – known as “Abdou” – could only dream of his entry reaching the final stages and eventually being brought to life by Europe’s leading whisky brand. However, last night, Abdou’s bar concept became reality, unveiled at a special launch event attended by some of Paris’s leading media and socialites.

“L’Epicerie” – Abdou’s imaginative bar concept which won the entrepreneurial competition with more than 50% of the public vote – is open to the public at popular Parisian nightspot “Le Chacha” now, opening Tuesday to Sunday for an exclusive six-week period.

Every week, customers will be able to join various sessions that will explore the characteristics of Ballantine’s, including the opportunity to sample some of the mixologists’ delicious concoctions that have been inspired by the whisky and its taste profile.

The bar is the product of a challenge set by Ballantine’s, inviting entrepreneurs from across France to submit their own vision for a dream bar. The project saw more than 100 entries submitted via Facebook, which were whittled down to just three by a jury including Simon Baldeyrou, CEO of Deezer in France, and Laura Leonard, a renowned interior designer, the public vote then deciding the overall challenge winner.

El Afsar’s design is inspired by a traditional night market, in which customers are able to browse the ‘market’s’ evocative shelves, selecting their own ingredients which will then form the base of their cocktail. The mixologists behind the bar will then create an innovative whisky cocktail with these ingredients, selecting the most appropriate expression from the Ballantine’s range to match, which customers will be able to drink around the large host table that forms the centrepiece of the bar.

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, said: “Given that our Founder George Ballantine is known to have created his first whisky in an ‘épicerie’ or delicatessen, it seems very fitting that it is this concept which we have been able to bring to life for the first time.

“The project has been so well received that it is to be repeated again in France next year and we have a number of other key markets who are also planning to run the competition. This means that more entrepreneurs around the world will have the chance to bring their own dream bar concept to life.”


About The Bar Project by Ballantine’s

The Bar Project by Ballantine’s launched in France in February 2014, offering French consumers the chance to create the bar of their dreams, with the winning design to be brought to life by Ballantine’s for a limited period in the heart of Paris. More than 100 designs were submitted, which were then reviewed by a panel of experts; Simon Baldeyrou, CEO of Deezer France, Laura Leonard, renowned interior designer, Hirmane Abdoulhakime, Artistic Director, and Mathieu Deslandes, Marketing Director of Pernod. Three finalists were chosen – “L’Epicerie”, “The Charlatan” and “Ball Cocktail” – and were put to the public vote, with “L’Epicerie” being crowned the overall winner. Ballantine’s will now work with the winning designer, Abdou El Asfar, to bring his design to life for a limited period in Le Chacha Club. The bar officially opened to the public on the 4th September 2014 and will remain open for a period of six weeks. For more information about The Bar Project by Ballantine’s, visit About Le Chacha Club Le Chacha is situated in the heart of Paris’s first district, a key feature of the nightlife scene. A restaurant, bar and nightclub, the décor evokes a 1930s apartment with the various rooms lending themselves to a range of uses, from showrooms to fashion shoots and even music studios. The winner of The Bar Project by Ballantine’s was given the opportunity to transform the first floor of Le Chacha; 45 square meters has been converted into a new look in line with the winner’s vision.

About Ballantine’s

Ballantine’s is the No 1 Scotch whisky in Europe and the world’s No 2 Scotch whisky by volume, and the range sells over 70 million bottles a year worldwide. Ballantine’s has won more than 120 trophies and medals at international competitions in the past 10 years for quality, as a result of its unique richness of character and perfect balance. The range, from Ballantine’s Finest to the exclusive 40 Year Old, is the most extensive in the world of Scotch and is maintained by the latest in a tradition of Master Blenders that dates back to 1827.

About Chivas Brothers

Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport.

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