The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has announced its 2020 programme of events, which will bring the best of the iconic whisky region to the public this spring. This year’s Festival will be the biggest yet and is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Speyside in celebration of all things Scotch.

Whether its having exclusive behind the scenes access to distilleries not usually open to the public, taking part in an archeological dig at an illicit distilling site or trail running and canoeing through the region of whisky mastery and heritage, visitors will have hundreds of events to choose from during the six-day Festival (29 April – 4 May 2020), with even more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Now in its 21st year, the celebrations provide the ultimate opportunity for the traveller, whisky lover, outdoor activity enthusiast or local community to explore, taste and learn about the world-famous Speyside region. Last year visitors across the globe took part in the Festival, which is no surprise given whisky tourism is currently at an all time high in Scotland*, with three in five visitors drawn to Speyside specifically for its Scotch credentials.

The full programme of around 700 events can be viewed on the Spirit of Speyside website, with tickets on sale from 12pm noon today (Wednesday 19 February).

Programme highlights include:

· Dalmunach Distillery Manager’s Tour – Chivas Brothers: One of Scotland’s most contemporary distilleries will open its doors exclusively for the Festival to give visitors an understanding of what it takes to build a state of the art distillery, designed with innovative energy efficient technology at its core.
· Archaeological Excavation – The Cabrach Trust: A guided tour of the excavation site at Blackmiddens Historic Distillery followed by a whisky tasting.
· Aberlour Macallan Whisky Brunch Trail Run – Run Speyside: A trail run through the heart of Whisky country, learning about the history of the region along the way, finishing with a dram and brunch at The Macallan Distillery.
· Women in Whisky – The Dowan’s Hotel: A topical discussion hosted by Georgie Bell of #OurWhisky, exploring the career stories of a panel of female whisky masters.
· Banquet in the Barn – Elchies Estates: A five course communal dining event at Campbell Cairns Farm.

Each year, the Festival continues to grow by welcoming more partner distilleries and organisations to help stage the world’s finest whisky festival. New members that will host events this year include The Cabrach Trust, The Boat Country Inn and Byres Farm in Fochabers. Both Glenlossie and Linkwood Distilleries, two distilleries not usually open to the public, will offer tours to festival-goers too this year.

Angela McOwan, Events Coordinator at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said: “This year we are celebrating 21 years of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, now recognised as the world’s finest whisky festival. Our diverse programme is jam packed and will be our biggest yet, with more events to be announced in the coming weeks.

“There really is something for everyone, whether visitors want to get to know Speyside as an outdoor adventure destination as well as enjoy our whisky, taste its delicious larder, learn about industry innovations from our whisky masters or explore distilleries that will open their doors especially for the Festival.

To view the full programme of events visit www.spiritofspeyside.com
Tickets go on sale at noon on Wednesday 19th February

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/speyside-shows-its-scotch-prowess-unveiling-programme-for-finest-whisky-festival-in-the-world%E2%80%8B-scotch-whisky-news/

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 6 Year Old at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

Bunnahabhain 6 Year Old 2013 vintage heavily peated Islay single malt Scotch whisky. Single cask first fill Bourbon barrel #TWB1009 bottled 2019 for The Whisky Barrel ORIGINALS series. 235 numbered bottles. MAXIMUM 3 BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER. Nose: Minerals, pet smoke, brine, vanilla and milk chocolate. Taste: Sea salt, bonfire smoke, toasted oak and vanilla. Finish: Endless oily and smoky finish with chocolate and tobacco.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 6 Year Old

Heavily peated Islay single malt matured in a first fill bourbon barrel. This great value malt is proving a hit with our customers – get your bottle before they are gone for good!

Shop – Bunnahabhain 6 Year Old 2013 – £45.00

Bunnahabhain Distillery was established in 1881 on the north eastern tip of the Isle of Islay by the shore of Bunnahabhain Bay and overlooking the Sound of Islay. All the building materials were transported by puffer and unloaded at the distillery pier. Now tucked away at the end of the single track ‘main’ road with spectacular scenery all the way. Bunnahabhain Distillery is equipped with four huge pear shaped stills and produces Scottish malt whisky which is released in blends and in single malt and single cask bottlings. A participant in Feis Ile, the annual Islay Festival of Malt and Music. Core editions include Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/bunnahabhain-staoisha-6-year-old-at-the-whisky-barrel-scotch-whisky-news/

Virginia Distillery Company’s American Single Malt Takes Home ‘Best American Blended Malt’ for Fourth Year – American Whiskey News

Virginia Distillery Company’s American Single Malt Takes Home ‘Best American Blended Malt’ for Fourth Year

Virginia Distillery Company’s American Single Malt sneak peek recognized at World Whiskies Awards Distillery also takes home ‘Best American Blended Malt’ for Fourth Year Lovingston, Va. (Feb. 12, 2020) – American Single Malt whisky distillery Virginia Distillery Company recently won ‘Best Single Malt’ in the NoVirginia Distillery Company’s American Single Malt sneak peek recognized at World Whiskies Awards Distillery also takes home ‘Best American Blended Malt’ for Fourth Year Lovingston, Va. (Feb. 12, 2020) – American Single Malt whisky distillery Virginia Distillery Company recently won ‘Best Single Malt’ in the No Age Statement category for the pre-release of its American Single Malt line, Courage Conviction, called Prelude: Courage Conviction at the World Whiskies Awards. The distillery’s Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky also won ‘Best American Blended Malt’ for a fourth year.

The American results were announced in New York City on February 11. The awards program highlights whiskies from around the world. The international results will be announced on March 26 at an awards dinner in London.

“Last night’s results were a result of the distillery team’s dedication, teamwork and passion for ultra-premium whisky,” Virginia Distillery Company CEO Gareth Moore said. “I’m very proud of these accolades, which adds to the momentum for the upcoming release of our Flagship offering of Courage Conviction this spring.”

Aged a minimum of three years at the distillery nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Prelude: Courage Conviction features notes of caramel and butterscotch and evolves on the palate with hints of dark dried fruit, raspberry, barrel spice and vanilla. The finish is creamy and exceptionally smooth. The whisky was released in the fall of 2019 as a sneak peek to Virginia Distillery Company’s upcoming Flagship offering of Courage Conviction, which will be released nationally in Spring 2020. The 100% malted barley whisky is matured in former Bourbon, Sherry and Cuvée wine casks, producing a uniquely nuanced profile. These whiskies were produced under the tutelage of the late Dr. Jim Swan, known for crafting some of the world’s greatest whiskies.

Virginia’s pronounced temperature swings between winter and summer accelerate the maturation of the Courage Conviction series. The whisky’s name is a nod to a phrase the late founder Dr. George G. Moore was often heard saying: “Have the courage of your convictions.”

As the whiskies of Courage Conviction aged, the distillery offered its cask finished Virginia-Highland Whisky series, which marries American Single Malt made onsite with whisky from Scotland. The Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky served as the flagship offering of this series, earning ‘Best American Blended Malt’ at the World Whiskies Awards in 2017, 2018, 2019 and again in 2020. Other finishes from the Virginia-Highland Whisky series includes beer, chardonnay and cider, which ranked in Whisky Advocates 2019 Top 20. This award-winning series will continue to be sold alongside the Courage Conviction line.

The awards are a part of the World Drinks Awards program which launched in 2007 with the World Whiskies Awards and World Beer Awards. Judges for the awards included a panel composed of leading journalists, specialist drinks retailers, bartenders/mixologists and hoteliers. Each entry is tasted blind, and in addition to nose, palate and finish the judges look for balance, character, complexity, quality and functionality when judging.

For more information, visit the distillery’s website.

About Virginia Distillery Company:

Virginia Distillery Company is currently crafting its ultra-premium American Single Malt whisky line, Courage Conviction, at the distillery located in Lovingston, Virginia. These whiskies yield a complex taste, due to the influence of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and maturation in former Bourbon, Sherry and Cuvée wine casks. The casks have been resting since November 2015 and the Flagship offering will be released in the Spring of 2020. A sneak peek pre-release product called “Prelude: Courage Conviction” became available nationally on October 1, 2019.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/virginia-distillery-companys-american-single-malt-takes-home-best-american-blended-malt-for-fourth-year-american-whiskey-news/

The Alternative Whisky Bible by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours ~ Mclean Scotland

As in many avenues in life, there is always an alternative – here is mine.

Paul McLean is the world’s most renowned independent whisky expert (in his own mind).  His Alternative Bible is the world’s newest whisky guide, with Paul having visited more distilleries in his own lunchtime than any other person who has ever lived including his dad (who is a whisky angel). Without fear or favour, after tasting many new whiskies, a thoroughly researched guide to all the whiskies he may have tasted. In terms of whisky, this is the alternative gospel. It has to be said, Paul buys all his own bottles, unless nice people at distilleries give him “drivers share” wee nips, he has no bias, no friends to please, no bulging bank account nor brown envelopes. My best (favourite) whisky of 2019 is a hard choice, high on the list is the fabulous Glendronach 18 year old. I do love a sherry finish and I have scored this 100/100. Why? Because each whisky is different, each person tasting has different tastes and likes/dislikes, I am not trying to be one person telling the world what is the best whisky to drink. I also am a fan of the Glenlivet 50 year old, happily consumed at the distillery library as a gift, thanks IL. A new dram to enter the best whiskies would be a cheap bottle – does it matter what cost? – Tamnavulin sherry finish, I bought, aye – bout, a 1 litre bottle at Tesco for £30! Cheap whisky, but not as we know it Jim. Strange as it maybe, some of my favourite drams seem to appear in my own top ten (or top hundred) consecutive years! Unlike certain other books/novels. I am not a Scotophobe, no, I like Irish, Japanese and other whiskies from around the world, but do think Scotland produces the best, but that’s just me.

No whiskies were hurt in writing this bible, none were thrown away, some were tasted and admittedly never tried again (not to mention names, but there is one from Texas, guests brought me, it was so bad I wouldnee even offer it to a Campbell! It was named after a creek in Texas, my mums name actually, so bad so it was, I now use it in summer months to get all those kamikaze flies of my windscreen). As mentioned, my dad is a whisky angel, my mum Rebecca is an angel, she didnee drink. I hear you ask “where can we buy this alternative bible?”answer; nowhere, I do not wish to make money out of telling the world what in my own mind, is the best dram in the world – even if everyone knows it isnee (I am under the illusion that people can make their own mind up). There are so many good whisky books out there, Ingvar, Charlie, David, Hans etc why would you waste good money on a book that is obviously biased as hell, even the devil doesnee buy that book! Use your money wisely, spend on the drams YOU like and the books that give good information. Aye, I have connections with the grand distillery upstairs, my dad, a pal Speyside, my Priest, and in my own mind, I am the best whisky drinker in the world to tell you what you should be drinking. Excuse me now please, I am away working on the best dram for 2020. PAUL MCLEAN.  Ps; I buy my own shirts too!

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/the-alternative-whisky-bible-by-paul-mclean-of-whisky-tours-mclean-scotland/

2005 Laphroaig 13 Year Old “Chieftain’s” K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength – Scotch Whisky News

2005 Laphroaig 13 Year Old “Chieftain’s” KL Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($159.99)

The magical distillery on the south shore of Islay, like all south shore distillers, is quite unlike any other. But Laphroaig has a certain place in the hearts of the hardest core peat lovers. They’re the last distiller down there to malt a portion of their barley on site. Their complex system of tiny stills create the most peculiar and enticing peated spirit in the world. The quality and consistency of their casks is second to none. But over the last decade, what was once a staple in the independent bottling repertoire has completely disappeared. Laphroaig is simply not selling casks any longer. And when we do find casks they’re usually in very inactive hogsheads and declassified to their trade name, “Williamson.” Now that’s not a huge problem because Laphroaig always tastes good, but bottlers can’t replace even those few casks the prices have gone absolutely bonkers. Signatory recently bottled a sister cask those we sold here just three years ago for $200, Laphroaig from the Fall of 1997, for $700. And by God those bottles sell. But a beautiful butt for a not completely abhorrent price, we jumped all over it. Thank the Lord of the Isles that we did, as it’s a complete and utter masterpiece. Some purists askew the idea of Laphroaig in active sherry, but much of the experience is limited to low proof distillery bottlings and finishes. It’s truly a stupendous find and going to be one of those casks that people remember for years to come. Collectors and drinkers alike take note

David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 07, 2019

Laphroaig is one of those incredible things that is both polarizing and unifying, sometimes between the same people at the same exact time. I personally adore almost everything I taste from this special distillery. Yes there are some underwhelming distillery bottlings that might feel a bit over manipulated, but the whisky is never ever bad. The great heights that can be achieved by Laphroaig are truly unbelievable. And uniquely, some of the very best from this special distillery are not even very old. The very best Laphroaig I’ve ever had the great pleasure of tasting are no more than 10 years old, given they’d have been distilled 40 or 50 years ago, but the fact remains that Laphroaig is often more special in its youth. For years Laphroaig has felt like a bit of a secret that you weren’t sure you wanted to share with everyone you know. Particularly that was true of the special single casks that we’d come across in warehouses and whisky shops throughout Scotland. But in the current climate, where the distillery itself has no need or use for trading or brokering excess production, what was once a special secret to find and share is now an endangered species completely. So when we get offered casks like this we expect them to be unfathomably expensive. But even if this were twice the price I’d still have bought it. This is that perfectly idiosyncratic Laphroaig, apt to have you disagreeing with yourself. Deep wafting peat, a mix of bitter herbs, salty ocean trawler, candied apricots and diesel engine. Old leather furniture, Seville oranges, not quite tropical, but not so severe as it might be. On the palate a building sweetness envelopes the powerful smoke as it wafts toward the olfactory system. Dark chocolate, salted plums, menthol and magic. A total dream and a secret that deserves to be kept.

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 23, 2019

Every so often time stops, a dizzying array of pieces fall into place, and you’re left with one special moment. Such is drinking this masterpiece. Tragically, Chieftain’s is going away. One of the most storied and high quality bottlers in Scotland has pulled out all of the stops for it’s swan song. Aged to perfection this cask toes the line perfectly between every facet of Laphroaig. It’s equally salty, malty, fruity, floral, and smoky in that amazing way that only Laphroaig can be. In addition there is a splendid cigar box spice provided by an amazing barrel of the highest quality and perfectly matched to the whisky. Not overpowering, it is just robust enough to blend seamlessly with everything on offer from the spirit. My best Laphroaig drinking experience was having John Campbell, Distillery Manager, walk me through the classic 10 year, a single cask bourbon barrel roughly 14 years old, and the legendary 30 year. The insights those 3 carefully chosen whiskies provided into the soul of Laphroaig is something I will never forget. It set off a personal and more in depth study of the whisky behind the smoke and iodine that the distillery is so famous for. This one cask highlights the traits that makes the the malt from this special place so complete and such a rarity in the flavor spectrum without giving up that core profile. Tasting this malt and then going back to Laphroaig 10 will forever unlock for the drinker the often overlooked and underappreciated glory of the classic expression.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 23, 2019

Laphroaig very infrequently releases anything new, let alone a single cask of something new. Fans of the classic Laphroaig style will not be disappointed here, but will also be pleased to find new tastes and expressions. Rich texture and creamy peat notes get a kick from a slight jalapeno pepper spice in the back. This extremely limited and special release could retail for much higher given its scarcity. Lucky for us it doesn’t.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 18, 2019

Since barrels of single malt age differently and produce a range of flavors it is always a treat to taste something and see the variation on a theme from the regular releases.This tasty barrel is very interesting and fantastic. The nose has a burst of smoke that is almost pretty ( a word not usually associated with Laphroaig) with toasty undertones. In the mouth it is classic Laprhoaig with smoke , iodine, salt and malt. With water it opens up and becomes softer. There is a long finish with an interesting touch of spice.This single barrel is unique and interesting.

Jackson Lee | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2019

If my family drank, this is a bottle Id take with me to our holiday dinners. This bottle screams autumn with notes of ume plum, burnt caramel, oak spice, and cinnamon graham crackers on the nose. The palate is fatty, savory, and sweet and I can imagine it going perfectly with turkey and stuffing. Its warm and inviting, I just want to cuddle up with it next to a fire and look longingly at the glass.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/2005-laphroaig-13-year-old-chieftains-kl-exclusive-single-sherry-butt-cask-strength-scotch-whisky-news/

Scottish Whisky Awards Launches 2nd Annual Competition – Scotch Whisky News

Scotch whisky producers are invited to prepare for the launch of the second annual Scottish Whisky Awards, the national awards programme which aims to recognise and reward people, teams and products operating in the business of Scotch.

Following the huge success of its inaugural year, the Scottish Whisky awards continues to fulfil its promise to reward the achievements of Scotland’s greatest global product.

The industry focussed competition offers 9 business categories alongside the taste competition which will be operated under strict blind tasting conditions and adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology.  The taste competition will assess the four main categories of Scotch; Single Malt, Blended Malt, Blends and a Single Cask Speciality category.

The competition will be judged by highly regarded independent judging panels comprising a wide range of experts from Scotland, the UK and abroad.  The judging panels will again be chaired by Professor Alan Wolstenholme.  He commented;

“This year the focus is on expanding the range of whiskies we will welcome into the competition after our hugely successful inaugural year.  Now that our Scotch producers are confident that this competition is rigorous, fair and has real credibility, they will want to be showcasing their best work from the last year.  Winning a Scottish Whisky Award, as we know from great business success stories of last year, will give finalists and winners a fantastic advantage in an increasingly crowded global market.”

The judging panel will also seek to recognise the outstanding contribution of an individual who has made their mark in the business of Scotch.  The Dr Jim Swan Award for Services to Scotch Whisky was established as an annual award after being presented to Dr Swan posthumously in the inaugural year of the awards.  Presented at the discretion of the judging panel, the award will recognise the dedication of the industry’s unsung heroes.

The Scottish Whisky Awards is open for entry until Monday 27th April.  For advice on categories, putting together your entries and how to maximise your marks please contact Pippa at KDMedia on 0131 337 6232 or email pippa@kdmedia.co.uk

The annual awards dinner and celebration will take place in Glasgow at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Thursday 3rd September 2020.  Tables can be booked here.

Limited sponsorship opportunities are available.  For further details, contact Maxine at KDMedia on 0131 337 6232 or email maxine@kdmedia.co.uk

The Taste Categories

The top three performing products will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Scotch medals in age ranges within in the following categories:

Single Malt
Blended Malt
Single Cask Speciality

The Business Categories

Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year
Product Launch of the Year
Newcomer of the Year
Independent Bottler of the Year
Brand Experience of the Year
Excellence in Branding
Excellence in Sustainability
Community Contribution of the Year
Tourism Destination of the Year

Meet The Judging Panel

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/scottish-whisky-awards-launches-2nd-annual-competition-scotch-whisky-news/

Kensington Malt Messenger Bulletin ~ Whisky Events Next Week & Two New KWM Exclusive Whisky Casks! – Whisky News

Malt Messenger Bulletin

Whisky Events Next Week Two New KWM Exclusive Whisky Casks! 

The Family Day long weekend approaches, and we have exciting new whiskies to tell you about, as well as an exciting week of whisky tastings ahead. Not going away this coming week? No problem, we have some awesome events and new whiskies with which to keep you busy!

Firstly, the new whiskies. I’m a week behind getting the word out on the first of these, our 3rd KWM exclusive Compass Box Blend! If you follow us on social media, you may have already caught wind of it. Tasted blind you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would identify the Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow KWM Marrying Cask as a Blend. It is big, rich and sherried with a prominent coastal peaty core. Love sherried Ileachs? This whisky is a steal at just $94+gst.

Our second new exclusive single cask is the Tipperary 2002 KWM Rum Finished Cask. The whisky is a joint bottling with our friends Keg n Cork in Edmonton. They wouldn’t put both of our logos on the front of the bottle, only individually on the back. So cheekily we found a work around, the label indicates the whiskey is “Exclusive to Canada’s Best Whisk(e)y Shops”. Tipperary is a new Irish whiskey producer, backed by Stuart Nickerson of GlenGlassaugh fame. It is is our second exclusive cask of Irish whiskey, following hot on the heels of our Teeling 16 Year KWM Single Cask. Curiously, both whiskies might have been sourced from the same distillery…

We have a trio of great tastings coming up this week including a Whisky Festival… starting Monday, we have Valinch Mallet with Davide Romano, 6PM. This is Davide’s first Master Class at KWM and we have an awesome range planned, $2000 worth of single cask whisky, in just 7 bottles, cost $50. More details below.

Then Wednesday we will be featuring Victoria Caledonian Distillery w/ Graeme Macaloney, also at 6PM. The Victoria Distillery is one of the diaspora of Jim Swan (think Kilchoman and Kavalan) distilleries scattered around the globe. Founder Graeme Macaloney will be launching his distillery’s first ‘own distillation’ whiskies. The cost, just $15. Details below.

Finally Thursday, the main event: our 6th annual Feis Ile: The KWM Islay Whisky Festival. We will have on offer a range of 100 whiskies from Islay, as well as a few Islay-ternatives. I can’t be sure, but I am taking credit for coining this term about 4-5 years ago… An Islay-ternative is a peated whisky from anywhere else in the World… Tickets are $60 and include a KWM logo glass, food from Peasant Cheese, and all the peaty drams you can reasonably (and safely) sample in 2 hours! More details below.

I hope this Malt Messenger Bulletin finds you well. Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or requests. As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.


In This Edition

  1. NEW KWM CASK: Introducing the Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow KWM Marrying Cask #34
  2. NEW KWM CASK: Introducing the Tipperary 2002 KWM Rum Finished Cask
  3. Monday at KWM: Valinch Mallet with Davide Romano
  4. Wednesday at KWM: Victoria Caledonian with Graeme Macaloney
  5. Thursday at KWM: Feis Ile: The KWM Islay Whisky Festival

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook: facebook.com/scotch.guy.1

NEW KWM CASK: Introducing the Compass Box Great King Street Glasgo KWM Marrying Cask #34 

If You Think That is a Mouthful… Wait Until You Try the Whisky!

This is our third KWM exclusive Compass Box Blend, and it is one for the peat heads! It is also our second marrying cask from the Great King Street line – this time from the Glasgow Blend – which means it has a bit of sherry cask influence and a dash of peat or more as well! Bottled at 49%, the whisky is the 2018 Glasgow Blend, finished for just under 2 years in a second fill Sherry Butt from the Craigellachie Distillery. The whisky is 18% Laphroaig, and it dominates the blend. The sherry matured Craigellachie 34% plays second fiddle, while the 35% Cameronbridge grain, matured in First Fill ex-Bourbon, plays a moderating role, adding an elegant touch!

 Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow KWM Marrying Cask #34 – 49% – Visit Our Website for a Full Breakdown of the Components, Ages Cask Types! – My Tasting Note: “Nose: big, rich and nutty with ashy peat and Dutch licorice; a touch waxy with round fruits: orange, melons and apricots; soft leather, dark chocolate, earthy dunnage notes and crisp oak spices; underneath the top note of sherry loads of creamy vanilla and honey. Palate: big, bold, round and smooth; bold leather, chocolate and tobacco along with ashy peat, tar and Dutch licorice; as the sherry pulls back it unveils elegant vanilla and delicate fruits: juicy orange, soft melons and dried apricots; the smoke is firm with an ashy, subtly medicinal edge; malty, meaty and nutty with late spices: cinnamon heart, ginger and cloves. Finish: long, coating, creamy and warm with decadent spices, smoke and a subtle medicinal edge; rich and elegant. Comment: wow, we tried the cask sample all those many months ago, but the final bottled whisky is even better; Laphroaig accounts for less than 20% of the Blend, but is without question the heart of the Blend; the Cameronbridge has added a touch of delicacy while the Bourbon matured Clynelish and heavily sherried Craigellachie also make their presence felt, but Laphroaig is standard bearer leading the charge.” – $94

NEW KWM CASK: Introducing the Tipperary 2002 KWM Rum Cask 

Our Second Ever KWM Exclusive Irish Cask – Matured in ex-Rum!

Our 2nd ever KWM exclusive single cask of Irish whiskey is here. It is a shared cask with our friends Keg n Cork in Edmonton, bottled by Tipperary, a new Irish whiskey firm headed by Stuart Nickerson of GlenGlassaugh fame, and his daughter Jennifer. Tipperary is still a ways away from building its first distillery, and is sourcing mature stocks from other Irish Distilleries. This whiskey is likely from the Cooley Distillery, or failing that Bushmills, regardless, the spirit was distilled in January 2002, and bottled in October of 2019, just shy of 18 years old, after maturing in a single Rum Cask. Only 108 bottles filled at 55.7%.

Tipperary 2002 KWM Rum Cask – 55.7% – 17 Year – Rum Cask 141 – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, juicy, tropical and fruity; the chewy malt is still there after almost 18 years, toasted oak, shredded coconut and bags of fruit: fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit, green mangoes and dried apricots; soft, floral and enticing. Palate: round, toasty and surprisingly spicy; rich and coating the palate comes in waves each one pushing further than the last; green grass and more chewy malt; vanilla and oak spices before making way for the fruits: at times tropical fruit punch, at others green apple and then melons; a touch of salted caramel, loads of coconut including shredded and toasted; big, decadent, toasty and fruity. Finish: long in length and coating; the spices fade before the finish, leaving room for vanilla, coconut, toasted oak and loads of fruit. Comment: not quite as tropical as our Teeling cask, but there are similarities there; surprisingly creamier and more decadent; why surprising? rum casks are typically more tired and less yielding of character than a first fill ex-Bourbon barrel; as with our Teeling we don’t know if the spirit is from Bushmills or Cooley; probably the latter, but who cares? it is great juice at a great price!” – $165

Monday at KWM: Valinch Mallet with Davide Romano 

We Have an Awesome Range of Single Malts 

Valinch Mallet is a small independent bottler founded by a pair of Italians with a passion for Scotch whisky. We have been very impressed in recent years with the quality of their whiskies, and their ability to source excellent single casks, so we are thrilled to welcome Valinch Mallet co-founder Davide Romano to KWM for his first Master Class tasting at KWM. It will feature 7 whiskies including: Bruichladdich 15 Year, Cameronbridge 37 Year, Glenlossie 25 Year, Glentauchers 21 Year, Tamdhu 20 Year, Wardhead 21 Year 1 more!

6PM Monday February 17 – $50

Please call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!

Wednesday at KWM: Victoria Caledonian with Graeme Macaloney 

Your Chance to Sample the Distillery’s First Whisky Releases

Graeme Macaloney’s dream was to establish a distillery on Vancouver Island, which he achieved in 2016. While the distillery’s own production matures, they have released a mix of Young Spirits and Blended Malts to build excitement. Graeme will be sampling our guests on a mix of these, as well as giving a preview of the distillery’s first whisky release.

6PM Wednesday February 19 – $15

Please call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!

Thursday at KWM: Feis Ile: The KWM Islay Festival February 20th, 2020

All The Islay and Islay-ternative Whiskies You Can Sample in One Night!

We’ll be cracking as many Islay whiskies as we can put our hands on, as well as some Islay-ternatives, all in the name of peat and Scottish West Coast culture. The whisky list is growing rapidly, currently just over 100 and counting. Includes a KWM logo Whisky Glass.

Please call 403-283-8000 to register, or register online!

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Contact Disclaimers 

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

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

Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


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

Kensington Wine Market

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/kensington-malt-messenger-bulletin-whisky-events-next-week-two-new-kwm-exclusive-whisky-casks-whisky-news/

2003 Benrinnes 15 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt – Scotch Whisky News

A Sharply Priced Single Malt Exclusive from a Top Speyside Distillery
2003 Benrinnes 15 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky 
“Just a perfect whisky and maybe the best intro to Benrinnes we’ve ever bottled.”
— Andrew Whiteley, KL NorCal Spirits Buyer

We’ve had huge success with Benrinnes over the past few years, and as a result, we’re always on the hunt for new casks from this excellent Speyside distillery known for its hallmark elegance and refinement. And that is precisely what we found with this exquisite 15 Year Old rendition. As our SoCal Spirits buyer, David Othenin-Girard, writes: “This cask is an absolute gem, especially if you love fruity spirit-driven malts…” Easy-drinking and immediately accessible, this is a must-have for those who crave a spirit that’s more nuanced and refined. But the quality of the spirits is only part of the story here, as we’re offering this exclusive cask for only $74.99. This is a remarkable value for a Scotch with such an impressive age statement. Finding such bottlings for under $100 is a rare feat, much less for under $75. If you’ve enjoyed our previous casks of Benrinnes, then you simply have to give this rendition a spin. It delivers everything we’ve come to expect and so much more. You’ll need to act quickly, as a groundswell of interest has made this one of the fastest-selling single malts in our portfolio.

2003 Benrinnes 15 Year Old “Old Particular” KL Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($74.99)

Benrinnes has become a staple on our shelves for the last several years. This isn’t simply because Benrinnes is available, but because the whiskies we taste from this lovely little facility are delicious. And while it’s true that it’s available relatively frequently, we’re picky about which casks come home with us. Benrinnes is unique for several reasons. Firstly, between 1974 and 2007, the distillery conducted an unusual semi-triple pot distillation whereby the feints from the wash still, weaker spirits still, and low wine still are included in the low wine distillation. The spirits still is fed by the foreshots and the heads of wash and low wine stills, and the heads and feints of the spirits still. Presumably, this was done to not waste any usable spirit, but the resulting malt is delicate and aromatic in a very unique way. Add the use of traditional worm tubs for cooling and it’s a recipe for one of our absolute favorite Speyside malts. We can only assume that the reason this excellent distillery isn’t marketed in the US as a standalone is due to its necessity in Diageo’s blending program. Now they’ve switched to a more traditional double distillation, which still produces an excellent if slightly more homogenous malt, but there’s something about the old way that’s endearing and appealing. This excellent cask shows the ubiquitous fruitiness that we’ve come to love in Benrinnes, but also some deep spice and tangy citrus thanks to a rather active cask.

David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 23, 2020

We’ve been on a bit of a Benrinnes bender these last few years. It’s just really hard to argue with the quality of this spirit and the value these incredible casks are able to offer. Last year’s 10 year sold well at $50, but that was distilled after the distillery flipped to its new double distillation system. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the added age or the old way of distilling that sets this one significantly apart from last year’s, but we’ve definitely graduated to the next level here. This cask is an absolute gem, especially if you love fruity, spirit-driven malts, rather than the cask-driven. The nose is a lovely mixture of cake frosting, ripe Mirabelle, touches of underbrush and sugar cookies. On the palate, sweet malt and slight grassy notes frame the lovely freshness and pure fruit perfectly. With water the intensity of the crystalline fruit is heightened. This is one of the cleanest, easiest-drinking malts in the shop right now. Easy, creamy and fruity, but don’t forget to add a drop of water or you’ll miss out on the fun. Too easy to drink and perfect for anyone, whether expert or novice, looking to have their first cask strength dram.

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2019

Light and chewy are hard to do at the same time, but the old distillations of Benrinnes seem to achieve it every time. There is so much complexity to the malt itself, it’s mesmerizing. Tons of fruit ranging from pear and apple to stone fruit crossed with a touch of fresh cut hay and the texture of fine-crumb, hot-out-of-the-oven pound cake. A bit of zesty lemon peel and pilsner-bright barley offer a fresh but flavorful palate. A fine toasty oak on the finish rounds everything out and provides a bit of sweet spice and chocolate. Just a perfect whisky and maybe the best intro to Benrinnes we’ve ever bottled.

Jackson Lee | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 28, 2020

It may have just passed but this would have been a great whiskey to celebrate the Lunar New Year with, perfect with dumplings and priced where I wouldn’t feel too bad if my relatives made a highball with it. The nose is sweet, with overly buttered toffee, cocoa powder, Asian pear, candied ginger, and goji berry. The texture was like watered down honey and just as sweet with a nice burn to it. Caramel banana, green apple, and cinnamon danced on my palate and left a oaky sweet tone with a bit of plum for me to ponder. Wonderfully light and expressive Scotch at a great price point.

Neal Fischer | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 27, 2020

This Scotch is surprisingly floral, but still has a lot of leather on the nose which is a character I associate with Benrinnes. Violets mix with red berries and scents of black licorice. With more nosing, yeasty and bready notes emerge with touches of cocoa. On the palate, fruit and spice shine in a big way. There’s a lot of orchard fruit coming through plus cinnamon, mace, and chili. What I really like about this malt is that the fruitiness is clean and bright, rather than the heavy sherry-focused variety that’s all the rage right now in Scotch. It stays light and zesty through the entire sipping experience.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 23, 2020

Lighter in profile than many others on the shelf, this is a great deal in single malt whisky. The palate is very honeyed with crisp ripe pear, orange rind and sweet/sour lemon drop candy. A touch of cinnamon on the end adds some great spice and complexity. There’s nothing not to like about this one, and it lends itself as one of the most approachable single malt Scotches on the shelf.

Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 02, 2019

This is a balanced and absolutely delicious single malt. It is lively with a pretty floral nose with beautiful beeswax notes. In the mouth it is sweet and round with no smoke to get in the way of the lusty malt and subtle beeswax flavors. With a splash of water there is the same flavor profile as above but it is more open and is softer. This is very easy to drink and shows why it is always a pleasure to taste something from Benrinnes.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/2003-benrinnes-15-year-old-old-particular-kl-exclusive-single-refill-hogshead-cask-strength-single-malt-scotch-whisky-news/




Double distilled and matured in Ireland’s oldest continually licensed distillery,
Kilbeggan® Single Pot Still features a rare oats-based mash inspired by late-1800’s recipes

Chicago, IL (February 6, 2020) – Kilbeggan Distilling Company continues to revive Irish whiskey history and tradition with the limited-edition release of Kilbeggan® Single Pot Still, a mixed mash whiskey featuring oats, which were used at Kilbeggan Distillery in the 19th century. Pot Still whiskey is significant, as it is the traditional and distinctive style of Irish whiskey that was first produced in Ireland. The limited-edition Kilbeggan® Single Pot Still Irish whiskey will be available in the United States starting February 2020 with a suggested retail price of $44.99 (750ml).

“This remarkable whiskey is a glorious tribute to the traditional Irish pot still style and the community that kept Ireland’s oldest continually licensed distillery alive over centuries of trial and triumph,” said Michael Egan, U.S. Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Kilbeggan Distilling Company. “It is a truly unique spirit, with a rare mash that has produced a flavor unlike anything available today.”

Featuring a unique mash of malted barley, raw barley and 2.5 percent oats, the whiskey was inspired by recipes used at Kilbeggan Distillery through the late 1800s. In those times, oats were grown across the Midlands Region of Ireland and were commonly used by distillers like the Locke family at Kilbeggan for filtration purposes. The grain also imparts a unique flavor and creamy texture not typically found in Irish whiskey. The subtle influence of oats in this Kilbeggan Single Pot Still expression results in a whiskey that is soft and mellow, with a fresh, fruity palate. It has a light, lingering spice and a rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Double distilled to 86 proof in Kilbeggan’s old copper pot stills – one of which is the world’s oldest working whiskey pot still today – the new spirit is the second limited release to be 100 percent distilled and matured at Kilbeggan Distillery since its restoration in 2010. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks due to its soft and round character. It follows the release of Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, another groundbreaking release and the first modern Irish whiskey of record to feature such a high quantity of rye within its mash.


AROMA               Initial fresh crisp aroma followed by apple, pear, and melon. Jasmine and hazelnut notes combine with a hint of honeycomb sweetness.

TASTE                  Spice becomes apparent, but not overbearing, with summer fruits and citrus. Warming mid palate with a fresh mint leaf flavor leading on to a rich creamy mouthfeel.

FINISH                  Initially soft, mellow, and smooth, with a creamy finish. Lingering spice and a dryness as the oat influence become evident.

Limited Edition Kilbeggan® Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey joins the U.S. portfolio alongside permanent expressions Kilbeggan® Blended Irish Whiskey (40% ABV) and Kilbeggan® Single Grain Irish Whiskey (43% ABV).

Note to Editors: What is Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey?

A single pot still Irish whiskey is produced only in Ireland, at a single distillery that is double- or triple-distilled in copper pot stills from a mix of malted and unmalted barley and up to 5% of other grains.

About Beam Suntory Inc.

As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and Midori liqueur.

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 vision of Growing for Good.  Headquartered in Chicago, 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 www.beamsuntory.com

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/kilbeggan-distilling-company-introduces-kilbeggan-single-pot-still-irish-whiskey-irish-whiskey-news/

Art for arts sake, whisky for my sake by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours Maclean Scotland

Christmas is just around the corner. After tramping round the shops for pressies, it becomes time for the whisky selections to your favourite people. How many times have you read the headline “the top ten whiskies to buy”?  Forget that list, any list. Art lies in the eye of the beholder. The best whisky lies in the mouth of the drinker, each person (thankfully) has his/her own favourites, so if everyone is different, how can there be a top ten? By sales? Grandad’s present for years has been a good blend – his age and taste dictates maybe? Can you trust independent reviews?  They may earn commission from some of the retailers/distillers but never allow this to influence your selections! The best whiskies in my view, are the ones you like best. Regardless of price, brand, label or even the shape of the bottle. Why not try a blind tasting, use blue glasses so you cannee see the colour of the dram (even cups if you don’t have coloured glasses, egg cups are good), use a cheap superstore blend, a cheap single malt “on offer” bottle, a well known so called top ten dram and one you may never have tasted or heard of, an expensive one (affordable to your pocket), mix them once poured so you don’t know the order but don’t forget to number them to relate to what whisky it really is. Then get some pals/family to test! You may be surprised. We did just this on tour, the favourite dram came out to be a bottle of Tamnavulin Sherry finish @ £30 a litre! This is a good dram, it beat Macallan, Ben Riach, and ran a Glendronach to a close second.

The whisky bible, forget it, one mans’ view on the best whisky in the world, complete rubbish, he is one man, who is greatly influenced in his choices – does he have a better taste machine than every other person in the world? Aye right. Don’t waste your hard earned money on this slop, use what you would have spent buying it on a bottle, who knows, you may even like it! Do I have favourites? Aye to be sure, but not one, I like many, including Glendronach 18 year old, if you can get it. Dalmore King Alexander, Balvenie 40yo, many Ardbegs and Bowmores. I can go on. Whisky is made for drinking, not sitting on shelves, buy what you can afford, maybe rather than two/three cheapies, get one expensive for a change. Try out miniatures, drams in pubs, even shop tasting nights, a whisky festival. All of this helps you determine what YOU like, not what you are told to like (no mention of JW here if you live in Aisia). Liz has a few good ideas, “don’t tell me what it is” – if she likes it, she looks at the label, she also has the “woo hoo” test, if she drams it and says “ woo hoo”, it goes on here favourites list. Then again, you can save up and join one of our whisky tours, you get many samples drams daily with us.

So, whisky is like art, you like or don’t like an item, you think the price is right, or totally stupid (read Macallan here), it’s all about taste at the end of the day. Enjoy an expensive dram at home, savour it, dinnae swig it, take your time, the pub is there for swillin doon the pints with your pals. Don’t let cost influence you, or the colour of the dram or the bottle shape/design.

Whisky is for DRINKING SLOWLY and enjoying every sip. Have a good peaceful Christmas, drink aware. But the New Year resolution could be a revolution! PAUL MCLEAN

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/02/art-for-arts-sake-whisky-for-my-sake-by-paul-mclean-of-whisky-tours-maclean-scotland/