British team crowned winners of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2019 – the ‘World’s Toughest Row’ – Scotch Whisky News

British team crowned winners of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2019 – the ‘World’s Toughest Row’

  • British team, Fortitude IV, have been crowned winners of this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge
  • The four-man boat completed the 3000-mile Atlantic crossing in 32 days 12 hours and 35 minutes from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean
  • The four long-time friends attest ‘some of the scariest moments of [our] life’ but ‘memories that will last a lifetime’
  • The team witnessed incredible wildlife, as well as extreme challenges including capsizes (72 hours from shore), sores and 12 metre waves
  • The winning team stormed into English Harbour at a phenomenal speed of 7 knots – more than double the average speed for the race
  • This year, Talisker will enjoy a double-celebration, with one of the winning rowers, Ollie Palmer, also a Diageo employee
  • The next boat is due to arrive into Antigua within 48 hours, with the remaining fleet following between 1-65 days behind
  • Talisker are excited to announce their renewed sponsorship of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge for the next two years

14th January, London: British four-boat, Fortitude IV have been crowned winners of this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – the world’s toughest rowing race.

The four friends – Ollie Palmer, Tom Foley, Hugh Gillum and Max Breet – completed the 3000-mile rowing race in 32 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes, arriving into English Harbour, Antigua on 13 January 2020 – the first dry land the team have seen since departing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, over one month ago, on 12th December last year.

It was not an easy crossing for the winning team – this year’s weather conditions were tough and there was a close rivalry with Australian four-boat, Rowed Less Travelled, who are due to arrive in Antigua within the next 48 hours.

The team endured some of the strongest winds ever experienced by the race – causing waves up to 12 metres in height, broken oars, capsizing as well as sores and bruises.

But alongside extreme weather conditions, the participants have also experienced incredible wildlife sightings during their voyage – witnessing both highs and lows of mother nature during this elemental adventure. Whales, orca and repeat sightings of flying fish jumping over their boat and even hitting rowers’ heads – Fortitude IV reported a pod of dolphins and sea turtles circling around their boat on Christmas Day – such sightings lifting spirits on this epic journey. The natural wonders combined with the challenge of both mental and physical endurance result in a life-changing achievement – and affirm the rowers’ motivations for entering.

Elsewhere in the fleet, 9 boats are expected to finish within the next week, with some of the solo boats predicted to spend up to 8 more weeks at sea.

Talisker Whisky have sponsored the Atlantic Challenge for six years and share the same love for adventure and the world’s oceans. Talisker has a rich history with the sea – in 1830 Talisker Whisky was founded by the MacAskill brothers who rowed from Eigg to Skye to find the perfect spot for their distillery in Scotland. Just like the Talisker distillery, this row represents what it means to be made by the sea.

Talisker are excited to announce their continued sponsorship of the Atlantic Challenge and have renewed their partnership with the race for two years.

Speaking in Antigua after the race Ollie Palmer and Hugh Gillum of Fortitude IV said:

OP: “It feels amazing – words won’t be able to sum up how we feel, what we’ve just gone through and then seeing friends and family just now. The memories we have out there will last a lifetime. With all that time on the ocean, you definitely realise what is important to you. 

“The most amazing thing I saw was this incredible array of stars – all moving along in a line like a train – there must have been 200 or 300 stars. That for me was the most incredible thing I saw – along with lots of wildlife; dolphins, whales and turtles.”

HG: “Being on the ocean in quite an extreme context, strips back all the noise and makes you realise what is really important to you. You have a lot of time to think out there – with no distractions – and that inspires you in different ways. 

“It was an amazing thing to have done – we set off thinking it was a once in a lifetime thing and we can certainly maintain that position. The sum of all the parts is incredible – from seeing the shooting stars, to the arrival here tonight, and the support from all of our family and friends. There are tough times that we perhaps would wish away slightly but standing here now [in Antigua] we just think that the sum of all those parts is incredible.”

Natalia Montigny, Head of Global Marketing for Talisker commented: 

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Fortitude IV into English Harbour in Antigua as the winners of this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. I am personally proud of my dear friend and colleague, Ollie Palmer, for him and his teammates to have accomplished this unbelievable achievement, unthinkable to most. Talisker joins their family and friends in celebrating these Wild Spirits and know that their journey will inspire others to embrace their inner-adventurer and reconnect with nature and the things that matter most.”

CEO of Atlantic Campaigns, Carsten Heron Olsen said: 

“Our winning team – Fortitude lV with Tom, Ollie, Hugh and Max – have, from the beginning, done incredibly well. I salute them, and we are, as every year, blown away by our teams’ determination and capability to make what seems impossible, possible – rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. 

“The first team arriving into English Harbour, Antigua, is the greatest time of year. To see our rowers’ faces, their expressions, the way they have changed… as one of our rowers said in La Gomera ‘the journey is the start of a new beginning’ and it is.”

Notes  

TALISKER

The TALISKER distillery is battered by the elements on the windswept coast of the Isle of Skye and is one of the most remote distilleries in Scotland. It was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and the distillery has been in near-constant operation ever since. Talisker 10 year old, Talisker Skye and Talisker Storm are widely distributed while Talisker 18 year old, Talisker Distiller’s Edition and Talisker Port Ruighe can be found in specialist stores. See www.malts.com and www.facebook.com/Talisker for more information. The TALISKER, TALISKER STORM, TALISKER PORT RUIGHE, TALISKER SKYE words and associated logos are trademarks. © DIAGEO 2018.  Talisker 10 year old and Talisker Storm were recently awarded Double Gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Awards. Talisker 10 year old was also awarded Best in Category. Talisker has a heritage rooted in adventure, in 1830 its founders the MacAskill brothers crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the Isle of Eigg to establish the TALISKER distillery on the shores of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. It has remained there ever since, producing consistently fine whiskies for almost 200 years.

As a whisky Made By The Sea, we want to do our part to protect our oceans, the most important ecosystem of our planet. We believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer and brands and as such, Talisker is currently undertaking initiatives to improve its environmental performance.  To date, the Talisker distillery has reduced energy by 12%, improved water efficiency by 22%, achieved zero waste to landfill and is constantly exploring new innovative uses of natural resources, including using sea water for cooling water which can help reduce demand for freshwater during warmer months on Skye. Talisker is equally committed to improving the sustainability of its packaging, including opportunities to reduce weight of materials, increase the recycled content and ultimately, to remove plastic almost entirely from its primary packaging by 2020.  The initiatives currently underway to improve Talisker’s environmental performance are aligned with Diageo’s industry leading environmental targets for 2020 which include halving its carbon emissions and improving its water efficiency by 50% by 2020.

TALISKER 10 YEARS OLD

Talisker 10 Years Old is much-loved with a smooth and smoky finish. Double distilled to create a rich, deep character embodying maritime characteristics of a coastal whisky, it is one of the most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world. This single malt has a sea-salty nose and famously rich and powerful peat-smoke flavour, leaving a warm peppery taste at the back of the mouth.

TALISKER SKYE

Talisker Skye pays homage to the Isle of Skye’s majestic landscape and coastline. The liquid has been made from a combination of hand selected toasted and refill American oak casks, that accentuate the sweet, citrus notes of Talisker. The result is a Talisker expression that opens with welcoming, smoky sweet notes, developing into deep maritime flavours and culminating in a powerful, spicy conclusion.

TALISKER STORM

Talisker Storm is crafted to enhance the distillery’s signature smoky and briny flavours, Talisker Storm displays characteristics of the tempestuous seas of its home on the Isle of Skye. It is spicy on the nose, with a hint of struck matches, brine and an oily explosion of pepper. On the palate a deep, nutty smokiness is followed by a hit of wood and brine, finishing with a smooth aftertaste of peaty burnt embers.

DIAGEO

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

ATLANTIC CAMPAIGNS

Atlantic Campaigns is the official race organiser and the company behind the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.  Without Atlantic Campaigns the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge would not be possible. Working alongside some of the planet’s best ocean rowing advisors, Atlantic Campaigns make dreams a reality and challenges conquerable.  The main goal for Atlantic Campaigns is to make The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge the best organised rowing event in the world. For more information please visit – taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com

The full list of teams competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2019

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/british-team-crowned-winners-of-the-talisker-whisky-atlantic-challenge-2019-the-worlds-toughest-row-scotch-whisky-news/

K&L California Top Whisky Picks January 2020 – Whisky News

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof “Batch C919” Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($59.99)

4.5/5 points, John Dover in thewhiskywash.com: “Stimulating the palate and the mind, Elijah Craig has crafted a spicy sipper that will awaken the drinker to the punchier side of the bourbon spectrum with its Barrel Proof distilling. Go in prepared and you will be rewarded with a refined drinking experience lodged firmly in the traditions that make bourbon the drink of choice for so many.” (12/2019)

Andrew Whiteley | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 09, 2020

C919 compared to B519 is an absolute monster. Tipping the scales at 136.8 proof it’s the highest proof Elijah Craig we’ve seen in over 3 years. The nose is full of spice box, petrichor, savory spices, thyme, fresh sliced green apples, and the sweeter notes of butter, cream and heavy caramel. It shares some aromatics with B519 that remind me of a cooperage – full of toasting oak – rather than a lumber yard of fresh sawn wood. The palate is an absolute beast. Packed with dark cocoa powder and sweeter milk chocolates. When you add in water drop by drop each splash looks like it’s creating an oil slick as the fat texture of the whisky comes crashing out of solution. The wood profile changes into more of a barrel house and a summer farmers market. The finish is essentially endless. If you want to tame this one, add lots of water. If you love your bourbon to be confrontational and maybe bite you back, leave it alone and enjoy the ride.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 09, 2020

This is the ultimate style of rich, silky smooth Bourbon with a pretty hefty kick of heat amplified by the barrel proof nature. Strong dark chocolate, clove, and coffee grounds prevail in this bottling, whereas the B519 has more of a sweet cream taste. A powerhouse whiskey like this at 12 years is a steal at $60. I guess the 200+ years of experience making Bourbon has given Elijah Craig the edge.

1998 Orkney (Highland Park) 20 Year Old “Thompson Bros.” KL Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($149.99)

The wonderful Dornoch Distillery sits hidden on the main drag in the tiny town of Dornoch. Behind the majestic Dornoch Castle Hotel and its famous whisky bar sits one of Scotland’s tiniest and most exciting distilleries. Founded by brothers Simon and Phil, the distillery is completely contained in one tiny stone shed. While the brothers might not have the resources and capital of many of Scotland’s new distilleries, they do have an incredible vision and the unwavering support of the single malt-loving community. In that little shed a truly unique experiment is underway. The Thompsons are trying to make whisky the old way. The distillery was funded without any outside investment and pre-sales of the first casks were crowd sourced online. The contrast between extreme forward thinking and commitment to tradition makes the Dornoch Distillery one of Scotland’s most exciting new distillers bar none. We’ve got years before their malt is ready to go and in the meantime the brothers are distilling and selling an incredible malted gin and trafficking in some seriously delicious single casks. This HP is part of the great wave of unnamed Orkney that’s hit the market recently. They nabbed some of the very best and somehow offer it up at a reasonable price. Other bottlers offer versions of the same whisky for twice this price and none we’ve had taste as good as this. It’s got everything, balanced excellently. Delicate Orkney peat, bold malt, gorgeous maritime quality—a real island dream.

David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 10, 2019

We’ve had some up and downs with Highland Park recently. We’ve secured some incredible old stock with the distillery name on it, but also had offers for no named stuff at ridiculously high prices. Needless to say we’re always game from some HP. It’s really one of the very best distilleries out there and these incredible ‘no name’ bottlings have been some of the very best values on the market today. Yet some of our suppliers feel comfortable charging well above what another no name might cost from another distillery. Of course, they’re looking at this like a business opportunity. They have high quality juice, that can be implied to be from one of Scotland’s great distilleries, and most people are probably willing to pay it, but we’ve mostly avoided these offerings since we’ve been securing ‘named’ versions in the $250-300 range consistently for the last two seasons. It wouldn’t make any sense for us to sell a similar product no name for the same price. These products must offer value. So we’ve generally passed on several casks due to the very high prices. But now it seems our supply of distillery bottlings is becoming more and more scarce. We had to say no to a 21 year old Hogshead this year from Old Particular due to the incredibly high price. And at the same time, our friends in Dornoch came knocking with this stunner. The fun labels poke fun at the new aggressive viking style of the distillery bottlings, but do nothing to prepare you for the awesomeness that’s inside the bottle. The nose is the ultimate coastal curiosity: Salty sea spray, coastal shrubs, crushed rocks, smoldering heather, floral peat, golden honey, ripe pears. Craggy rocks being battered by the ocean. Lots and lots going on, extremely layered and complex, but not brutish or explosive. One the palate the brown butter, wild honey, stewed grains, more peat. This is how I imagine gold tastes when it’s melted. More minerals more smoke, but not hard smoke. Soft sweet smoke. We’re not seeing anything on the market anywhere close to this caliber in this style. Nearly perfect.

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

HP20 is going to be delicious no matter what. At 150 bucks, it’s all the sweeter. This number is particularly interesting as it is a hogshead filled from same day vattings before it was sold off onto the independent market – a number of these casks have come up as Edrington has divested stocks, rumor has it, to pay for the budget sucking massive new Macallan distillery. It’s classically salty and has that beautiful medium intensity heather driven peat that the distillery is known for, although it shows most on the finish and not up front. Apricots and other stone fruits in varying levels of dehydration play across the entire experience from nose to palate and intermix beautifully with the floral smoke on the finish. Coming in at an even 50% ABV at cask strength, it’s a very sippable whisky neat. With a touch of water the oils come crashing out of solution as do the grain notes. The aromas suddenly explode with honeyed barley and a whole new drinking experience begins. An extremely good first showing from our new partners in Sutherland, the Thompson Brothers.

Jackson Lee | KL Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2019

I cant tell if the stick figure on the bottle is going into battle or partying but either way, its capturing what Im getting from this unique Orkney single malt. I dig the label and I dig the juice. The nose gives off a pretty perfume of baked Bartlett pear, cinnamon, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and sassafras. The palate provides that same baked pear profile combined with chocolate covered toffee with a full-bodied texture. The finish leaves you with a nice, spicy tingling sensation on the tip of the tongue with spicy cinnamon notes and as I begin to regain feeling a subtle juicy pear jelly belly note clings as the breath escapes. This is the kind of scotch I could see myself drinking all day in a ski lodge surrounded by friends.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/kl-california-top-whisky-picks-january-2020-whisky-news/

A BOLD NEW LOOK FOR POWERS IRISH WHISKEY – Irish Whiskey News

A BOLD NEW LOOK FOR POWERS IRISH WHISKEY 

Powers Irish Whiskey, which is made by Irish Distillers in Midleton Distillery, has unveiled a bold new bottle design for its range of premium Irish whiskeys. Debuting on core expression Powers Gold Label in the USA from March 2020, the dynamic new look is set to attract a new generation of drinkers to one of Ireland’s most loved whiskey brands.

The design features a new bottle shape which has been inspired by the distinctive pot still silhouette from the brand’s historical home at John’s Lane Distillery.  Another striking aspect of the new design is the label which is styled on the iconic Powers ‘diamond P’ – one of the first ever trademarks registered in Ireland and a link to the legacy of Powers and Irish whiskey history all over Ireland. Each whiskey in the Powers range is presented with a label in a different colour to bring to life its unique story; Powers Gold Label in red, an homage to the original red Powers diamond marque; Powers Three Swallow in blue, a nod to the feathers of the graceful bird; and Powers John’s Lane Release in metallic ink, to reflect the industrial innovation that the Powers family demonstrated at the original distillery established in 1791 on John’s Lane, Dublin.

Carol Quinn, Archivist at Irish Distillers explains, “Powers sense of identity has always focused on the diamond P; that became very clear to me as I worked my way through the historical archive. The diamond P was everywhere; on the casks, stationary, on bills and receipts, emblazoned on everything that left the distillery, and notably on the wonderful Powers mirrors that still hang in Ireland’s pubs today.  Workers at the old John’s Lane distillery even took to wearing a diamond P pin on their lapel, such was their pride to be part of the Powers family.  For me it’s wonderful to see the diamond P front and centre on this new label, symbolising all the history of this great whiskey since 1791.”

Following the launch of the new-look Powers Gold Label in March 2020, the new design will be introduced across Powers Three Swallow and Powers John’s Lane from mid-2020 in the USA and the rest of the world  from late-2020. In Ireland, Powers Three Swallow and Powers John’s Lane will be released in March 2020, with Powers Gold Label to be reviewed in due course.

Conor McQuaid, Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers commented: “Powers has been famous for its bold taste profile and character since the family distillery was established in 1791. We are excited to introduce this new look to the world and inspire a new generation with the unique history and personality of Powers. At Irish Distillers, we have pride in Powers as one of the world’s leading Irish whiskeys and we welcome this dynamic new chapter for the brand as we seek to continue the Irish whiskey renaissance around the world.”

New packaging for Powers Irish Whiskey underpins recent innovation for the brand as it seeks to reach and inspire whiskey drinkers including; the release of Powers Old Fashioned, the brand’s first ever pre-mixed classic cocktail; and the Powers Quarter; a collaboration between six Dublin bars to tell the story of Powers and its illustrious Dublin history.

Notes

About Irish Distillers

Irish Distillers is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Led by Jameson, our brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey. Jameson is the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey, experiencing 30 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 7.7m cases in 2019. Our brands are exported to 130+ markets, with over 70 of those experiencing double- or triple-digit growth.

Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power Son, John Jameson Son and Cork Distilleries Company. In 1988 Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network. Since 2012, we have invested over €250m to double our production at Midleton Distillery and bottling capacity at Fox and Geese in Dublin to meet global demand for our products.

We employ over 600 people across our operations in Cork and Dublin.

About Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard is the No.2 worldwide producer of wines and spirits with consolidated sales of €9,182 million in FY19. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has developed through organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and VinSprit (2008). Pernod Ricard, which owns 16 of the Top 100 Spirits Brands, holds one of the most prestigious and comprehensive brand portfolios in the industry, including: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur, Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo, and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard’s brands are distributed across 160+ markets and by its own salesforce in 73 markets. The Group’s decentralised organisation empowers its 19,000 employees to be true on-the-ground ambassadors of its vision of “Créateurs de Convivialité.” As reaffirmed by the Group’s three-year strategic plan, “Transform and Accelerate,” deployed in 2018, Pernod Ricard’s strategy focuses on investing in long-term, profitable growth for all stakeholders. The Group remains true to its three founding values: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust, and a strong sense of ethics. As illustrated by the 2030 roadmap supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “We bring good times from a good place.” In recognition of Pernod Ricard’s strong commitment to sustainable development and responsible consumption, it has received a Gold rating from Ecovadis and is ranked No. 1 in the beverage sector in Vigeo Eiris. Pernod Ricard is also a United Nation’s Global Compact LEAD company.

Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN code: FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 index.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/a-bold-new-look-for-powers-irish-whiskey-irish-whiskey-news/

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 292: Sirius 31 Year Old 1988 North Star Spirits – Scotch Whisky News

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 292: Sirius 31 Year Old 1988 North Star Spirits

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky vlogger, tastes an aged blended malt. Next to the popular Vega, a blended malt of which 6 editions have been released so far; and Spica, a blend of which two expressions have hit the market; North Star Spirits now surprises us with the brand new Sirius. To make a grand entrance, Iain launched this series with a 31 Year Old blended malt, of which all components were distilled in 1988 : Sirius!

https://youtu.be/jfxgT_l771k

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/marks-whisky-ramblings-292-sirius-31-year-old-1988-north-star-spirits-scotch-whisky-news/

Cotswolds Distillery Events January 2020 – English Whisky News

As thoughts head north of the border for Burns Night at the end of the month, why not point your taste buds south for a private Tour Tasting at the Cotswolds Distillery. On Saturday 25th January from 12pm-3pm, our founder Dan and Head Distiller Nick will be hosting a private tour focused on our whisky with a unique warehouse sampling from the cask, alongside a full tasting of our whisky portfolio. Before the afternoon draws to a close, we’ll treat you to lunch and a whisky cocktail in our café. If you have some burning questions you’d like to ask, or simply want to learn more about how we craft our whisky from our experts, then this is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Spaces are very limited. £50pp.

To book a place, please get in touch with us on 01608 238 533 or email us at tours@cotswoldsdistillery.com.

RAISE A GLASS TO ROMANCE

Ditch the chocolates this Valentine’s Day and treat that special someone to a fun-filled evening you’ll both remember (or bring your friends along for the ultimate Galantine’s)!  Join us on Friday 14th February from 6pm-8pm for our intimate Valentine’s themed Cocktail Masterclass, where our professional mixologist, Ollie, will be ready to teach you the tricks of the trade. And most importantly, there’ll be some sampling throughout the evening… £50pp.

2 FOR 1 TOURS

Have you joined us on one of our Tour Tastings yet? For a very limited time only, we’re offering our Club Members two tickets for £15 on midweek tours (Monday – Thursday) until the 30th January. So, why not come along and get up close and personal with our Outstanding Natural Spirits and make your January that little bit brighter!

To book your place, give us a ring on 01608 238 533 and quote ‘CLUB‘. Tours must be booked by 5pm on Wednesday 14th January and are subject to availability.

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/cotswolds-distillery-events-january-2020-english-whisky-news/

Malt Messenger No. 107 by Andrew Ferguson – New Year, New Whiskies, Tastings & More – Whisky News!

Malt Messenger No. 107 – New Year, New Whiskies, Tastings More

Happy New Year!

Here at Kensington Wine Market we are strolling in to 2020 full of hope an optimism for the year ahead, and there is a lot to look forward too.

The MS Calgary Whisky Festival is less than a week away. Nearly 600 tickets have been sold, and the event, now in its 9th year, will be the biggest yet with over 320 products poured  y nearly 60 vendors. In our new venue at the Glenbow Museum we were also able to incorporate 10 Master Classes this year. The 4 VIP Master Classes are sold out, but there are 6 others running during the show, which can be added on for just $15. This year’s show is truly taking things to the next level. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, it isn’t too late, but it is getting close. Your MS Calgary Whisky Festival Guide 2020 can be found below. You might want to have a look, as there are some really exciting Master Classes that still have room. Seriously, take a look… a few of them have some insane whiskies in their lineups!

Our first new KWM exclusive cask of 2020 is here, and it is a first in another way too. It is our first ever KWM exclusive Irish whiskey cask! The Teeling 16 Year KWM Cask is lush, decadent and very fruity. We were blown away by this whiskey, and we are thrilled to be able to offer it at such a good price, $150. We have a bottle open in-store for sampling, and it will be available for tasting at Thursday’s MS Calgary Whisky Festival too.

There are some great whisky tastings coming up in the days following the MS Festival. On Friday January 17 we are thrilled to welcome Elixir Distiller’s Brand Ambassador Katy Kennedy for a very special Master Class at KWM. Elixir Distillers is the drinks firm of Sukhinder Singh, who is better known as the owner of the Whisky Exchange in London. The name Elixir may not be familiar to you, but their brands might be: Elements of Islay, Port Askaig and Single Malts of Scotland (SMOS). The range being poured is valued at $1600… and the tickets are just $30. More teasers below.

The week after next we have two more tastings. On Thursday January 23rd there is our Burns Bash, Whisky Festival. A week before our Year End Inventory Sale (Jan 31-Feb 2), the Burns Bash will preview the coming Sale and highlight some of the best bargains. Up to 100 whiskies will be open for tasting. The following night, Friday January 24 we will be welcoming Thomas Boyd of A.D. Rattray for a Master Class in-store. Once again we are pulling out all the stops!

While on the subject of A.D. Rattray, we are thrilled to have Thomas Boyd and Nick White (Managing Director), in house not just on the 24th, but also at the Burns Bash the night before and the MS Whisky Festival a week earlier. Their timing coincides with the relaunch of A.D.Rattray in Alberta. We have just received 9 new single cask bottlings from the firm, including 3 KWM exclusives! Details below.

In other new whisky news, we received a top up of Glenfarclas Family Casks in December. A few of them have sold, but there are more than a few interesting vintages still available. We have also been working in another new release of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies. We are looking forward to trying more than a few of these in the months ahead.

Three of the four whiskies in the new Balblair Core Range are here. The 12, 15 and 18 will all be available for tasting at the MS Whisky Festival, in a Master Class with Lukasz Dynowiak. For those who can’t make that, you will have to make do with the descriptions below. The 25 Year is expected later in the year.

We also have a pair of new Gordon Macphail Connoisseur’s Choice “Upper” cask strength whiskies from the 1980s!

Staying on the “new” theme, I have details on a pair of newly arrived Two Brewers whiskies from Yukon Brewing Distilling.And there is also the January 2020 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn, AKA Evan’s SMWS Corner.

And there is still more… but I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself in this jammed packed, first Malt Messenger of 2020.

I hope you enjoy the 107th Malt Messenger. 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 will be taken as correct.

Slàinte!

Andrew Ferguson

In This Edition:

  1. NEW KWM Exclusive Teeling Single Malt Cask
  2. MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Guide
  3. Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy
  4. Burns Bash: Whisky Festival
  5. The Whiskies of A.D. Rattray with Thomas Boyd
  6. New Whiskies from A.D.Rattray
  7. Glenfarclas Family Casks in Stock
  8. New Cadenhead Single Malts – From Batch 25
  9. Introducing: The New Balblair Range
  10. Two New GM Connoisseurs Choice “Upper” Whiskies
  11. Two New Two Brewers
  12. My Tasting Note: Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt
  13. Winter 2020 KWM Tasting Schedule
  14. KWM Casks Update: Good Things Don’t Always Come to Those Who Wait

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 Exclusive Teeling Cask 

A Glorious Tropical Fruit Bomb of Irish Whiskey!

Our first ever exclusive single cask of Irish whisky is here… Andrew paid a visit to Teeling in the Spring, and visited the Dublin-based distillery’s extensive warehouse in the north of Ireland. He was blown away by the selection of casks on offer. We have been privilege to bottle a 16 Year Teeling Single Malt exclusive for KWM. The cask is a First Fill ex-Bourbon Barrel, No. 12297. The whisky is either from Cooley or Bushmills… we don’t know for sure, and they wouldn’t tell us, but it is glorious. Our only regret, is that there are just 216 bottles!

Teeling 16 Year KWM Single Cask – 54.6% – ex-Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: butterscotch ice cream, creme caramel, clotted cream and Jujubes; very floral and decadent, with prominent soft citrus notes; a touch on the waxy side before more exotic fruits emerge: cantaloupe and melon, banana chips, mango and papaya with cracked pepper sprinkled on top; soft malty tones and nougat. Palate: soft, creamy, floral, decadent and very fruity; an explosion of fruits: first white fruits, then melon with citrus hard on their tail; ripe mango and papaya, again with a spicy black pepper hit; lush vanilla, honey, clotted cream and butterscotch ice cream; late malty notes of chewy barley; still floral, warming and a touch toasty. Finish: long, coating, warm and toasty; the decadent, fruity and floral tones linger long, fading in to gentle spices and sugars. Comment: this is the Irish whiskey you are looking for, and wow, what a fruit bomb it is; Teeling has such an incredible variety of casks maturing in their warehouses; the Scots must rightly be very envious; but will all that selection we opted for something classic!” – $150

MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Guide! 

Calgary Biggest Best Whisky Show is Only a Week Away!

The 9th Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival is fast approaching, taking place this coming Thursday, January 16, 2020, at the Glenbow Museum. The VIP Packages are sold out, and the General Admission tickets are also disappearing quickly. This year we are very excited to have been able to offer 10 Master Classes, including the 4 sold out VIP Master Classes. There are also 6 Master Classes running during the event, and whether you already have an admission ticket or not, you might want to take a peek at what is on offer, because I don’t think you want to miss out. The Master Classes cost just $15 on top of your general admission ticket… and there are some really cool whiskies being poured, including…

7:15PM Master Classes

You must have a VIP or General Admission ticket to purchase Master Class tickets. You can either purchase Master Class tickets with your Admission, or if you have already purchased your VIP/General Admission ticket, please email Paula at the MS Society! She can assist you in adding on a Master Class ticket(s). You can also purchase them at the door, but you run the risk that there aren’t any spaces left…

  1. Sazerac Whiskey with Joshua Steely – You will be introduced to the World of Sazerac Whiskey by Buffalo Trace Premium Bourbon Portfolio Brand Manager Joshua Steely. Joshua is responsible for building some of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s most award-winning bourbon brands around the world. He spends most of his days working on great brands like Weller, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor Jr, Stagg, and Buffalo Trace Antique Collection among others. This tasting will include a tasting of the Blantons Gold, Weller 12 Year and Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year, as well as three other Bourbons. – $15
  2. Balblair Distillery with Lukasz Dynowiak – Blablair’s Global Brand Ambassador Lukasz Dynowiak will introduce you to one of Scotland’s oldest and most mysterious distilleries. The northern Highland distillery used to bottle their whiskies by vintage, but has just launched a new age statement range, and Lukasz is here to introduce them to the Canadian market! You will sample the new core range including 15, 18 and 25 Year olds, none of which will be available on the festival floor, and two other Balblair single malts! – $15
  3. The GlenAllachie with David Keir – The GlenAllachie Distillery was acquired by Scotch whisky industry legend Billy Walker and some partners after the BenRiach Distillery Co. was acquired by Brown Forman. Can Billy Walker do with GlenAllachie what he managed to do with BenRiach and GlenDronach? He already has! We are starting to see the fruits of his labours and experience in the Distillery’s core range and limited releases. GlenAllachie Sales and Marketing Director David Keir, a quarter century Scotch whisky industry veteran will be your guide, as you are introduced to one of the fastest rising stars in the industry, the GlenAllachie! – $15

8:40 PM Master Classes

You must have a VIP or General Admission ticket to purchase Master Class tickets. You can either purchase Master Class tickets with your Admission, or if you have already purchased your VIP/General Admission ticket, please email Paula at the MS Society! She can assist you in adding on a Master Class ticket(s). You can also purchase them at the door, but you run the risk that there aren’t any spaces left…

  1. Springbank Distillery with Nicole Lindsay – Springbank isScotland oldest family owned distillery, and easily the country’s most traditional. The distillery produces three distinct whisky styles, Springbank, Longrow Hazelburn. It also has a sister distillery Glengyle, which produces the Kilkerran single malt. Nicole Lindsay, Regional Sales Manager from Springbank Distillers Ltd. will guide you through a range of six single malts, including the very limited Kilkerran 15 Year single cask, Springbank 15 Year Rum Wood, a Springbank Society Longrow and one other surprise! – $15
  2. Glenmorangie Distillery with Ruaraidh MacIntyre – We have managed to coax Ruaraidh MacIntyre, National Brand Ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, out west for one night only… Ruariadh will be hosting a Glenmorangie Master Class to introduce the new Quinta Ruban 14 Year. But that isn’t the only treat he he has in store… in addition to an impressive range of 5 Glenmorangies, he will also be pouring the stunning Glenmornagie Grand Vintage Malt 1991. This rare and spectacular old whisky is not to be missed! – $15
  3. Teeling Whiskey with Sabrina Minks – Teeling is one of the brightest stars in the Irish Whiskey firmament. As the Irish industry heads in to a period of massive expansion, it is not the industry giant Irish Distillers leading the charge, but this plucky upstart Dublin based firm. Sabrina Minks, Teeling Whiskey Brand Ambassador, will guide you through a range of Teeling Irish whiskies including single grain, single malt, blended and pot still. She will also be featuring a rare Teeling Single Cask whiskey! This is a rare opportunity to discover the broadest range of Irish whiskey styles offered by any Irish whiskey firm! – $15

The Master Classes aren’t the main feature of the event, it is the Festival itself. You will be able to roam over two floors of the Glenbow museum while sampling from over 300 whiskies and a few other spirits presented by nearly 60 different vendors! In addition to some of the World’s finest whiskies, we are also thrilled by the number of local craft distilleries present. Enjoy amazing whiskies, good food, great conversation and a diverse array of silent auction items. This will be the best event ever, and we hope you will be a part of it. 100% of proceeds from the event will go to support the MS Society of Canada. Last year’s event raised over $70,000.00 after expenses. We expect this year’s event will be even more successful!

Preview this year’s pour list!*

*actual pour list may varry

You can purchase tickets now by following the links at

www.calgarywhiskyfestival.ca !

Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy 

Sample $1600 worth of Rare Old Whiskies for Just $30!

Elixir Distillers is rapidly becoming one of our key suppliers of cool and unique whiskies. Katy Kennedy Export, Sales Manager, will guide you through a range of unique, rare and very good value whiskies. Our lineup:

  1. SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM
  2. SMOS Marriage Mortlach 22 Year Old
  3. Port Askaig 8 Year Old
  4. Elements of Islay Cl12
  5. Elements of Islay Peat Full Proof
  6. Elements of Islay Pl6
  7. Port Askaig 28 Year Old
  8. Elements of Islay Lp10

Friday January 17 – $45

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

The Burns Bash Whisky Festival 

Our Ongoing Tradition Raising a Glass to the Bard

We’ll mark the birth of the Scottish Bard a couple of days early, with a whisky festival featuring some very good deals, our Year End Inventory Sale is a week later. Taste your way through a preview of some of the weekend’s best whisky deals! We won’t supply the Ode to the Haggis or a kilt, but we will give you a KWM logo Glencairn Glass which you can raise with whisky, to the memory of Scotland’s favourite son.

Thursday January 23 – $45

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

The Whiskies of A. D. Rattray with Thomas Boyd 

Your Chance to Sample Some of the New Arrivals Below!

Thomas Boyd, and Nick White, Managing Director of independent bottler A.D. Rattray will be our guests of honour as we trace the origins of the storied whisky firm.

A.D. Rattray is a Scottish Independent Bottler created by the marriage of two prominent whisky families in the mid 1900s, the Walkers and the Morrisons. The firm traces its origins to 1868 when Andrew Dewar Rattray set up shop as a grocer in Glasgow, selling wine and olive oils from Europe, dark rums from Jamaica… and Scottish whisky. Thomas Boyd of A.D. Rattray will take us through the history of A.D. Rattray while sample a range of single casks and other independent bottlings from the firms extensive range.

Friday January 24 – $30

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

New Whiskies from A.D. Rattray 

Including 3 KWM Exclusives!

A.D. Rattray is returning to Alberta with a bang. Over the last few months we’ve received some of their core skus like the Cask Islay, Cask Speyside and Cask Orkney whiskies. We’ve also have a couple of single casks, like the A.D. Rattray Blair Athol 1997 and A.D. Rattray Miltonduff 1983. We now have 8 new single casks, including 3 exclusive to KWM. The Knockdhu 10 Year and Tamnavulin 10 Year are even labelled for KWM with our logo. The Williamson, which is teaspooned Laphroaig, is exclusively ours in Southern Alberta. I wrote up tasting notes on all three yesterday, and they are lovely!. The Knockdhu is very fruity and malty, the Tamnavulin waxy, honeyed and fruity and the Williamson, well the Williamson is just wow… It is exactly what you look for in a feisty young Ileach!

  1. A.D. Rattray Knockdhu KWM Cask 3 – 54.1% – 2009 – Bourbon Hogshead – Andrew’sTasting Note: “Nose: honeyed, nutty and toasty; malty, fall grasses, maraschino cherry, bright orange and marzipan; white chocolate and gas station Jelly Beans. Palate: still malty and nutty with more fall grasses, lots of honey and toasted oak; more Jujubes and maraschino cherry, add in some Winegums and chocolate marzipan; a touch earthy, used tea bags and Demerara sugars. Finish: long, toasty and coating with more fruits, sugars and toasted oak. Comment: fresh, fruity and malt; a great dram at a great price.” – $95
  2. A.D. Rattray Tamnavulin 10 Year – 54.2% – 2009 – Bourbon Barrel – Andrew’sTasting Note: “Nose: soft, honeyed and fruity; melons, Starburst fruit candies and linseed oil; toasty, with white pepper and a touch vegetal. Palate: a touch dusty, Sun-Maid Raisins (in the wee box), more honey, French vanilla and rose petals; soft toasted oak, gentle spices and paraffin wax; more Starburst fruit candies and some late peppery spices. Finish: warming, floral and elegant; more waxy-soft fruit tones and those Sun-Maid Raisins. Comment: this whisky will transport you back to recess in elementary school; sitting on the edge of the playground on a warm day; your dirty little fingers coated in chalk from the gravel box around the jungle gym; tucking in and out of the tiny little box of Sun-Maid Raisins, popping them into your mouth one at a time; life is simpler than it will ever be again!” – $94
  3. A.D. Rattray Williamson 8 Year Cask 131 

59.9% – Sherry Butt – 2011-

Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: malty, ashy, honeyed and creamy with bright citrus and salty maritime tones; creamy and a touch floral with melons and grilled prosciutto wrapped figs. Palate: yeeeessss… ; this is a cracker!!! starts soft, creamy and honeyed with loads of chewy malt; vanilla, creamed honey and building maritime smoke; the brash, tarry, medicinal, muddy peat quick catches up to you along with smoke mussels, seaweed and with patience, juicy malt and all those missing fruits: citrus, melon and grilled prosciutto wrapped figs; spicy. Finish: medium in length, but bold; more smoked mussels, hickory, tarry peat and spices. Comment: the nose is spectacular and the palate not so shabby; if you enjoy brash, young, peated malts, this is your ticket to heaven; layered, complex and lush, with a very tarry bold classic young Islay profile; this is the Laphroaig-ish you are looking for!” – $92

  1. A.D. Rattray Craigellachie 16 Year 

52.3% – 2002 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 900599 –

$125

  1. A.D. Rattray Crotfengea 12 Year – 56.9% – 2007 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 396 – $93
  2. A.D. Rattray Glenburn 25 Year – 54.9% – 1997 – Sherry Butt – Cask 1 – $220
  3. A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year – 54.8% – Distilled 1988 – Sherry Cask No. 9173 – 

Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Walnuts, hazelnuts, gooseberry and banana chips. Palate: Almond butter, gentian and vanilla. Finish: Exceptionally nutty, with cacao nibs and Seville orange.” – $595 

  1. A.D. Rattray Glen Spey 20 Year – 59.0% – 1997 – Sherry Butt – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Quince, thyme, vanilla and almond. Palate: Green apple, peach and tarragon. Finish: Exotic fruits mingle with Mediterranean herbs.” – $220
  2. A.D. Rattray Staoisha 6 Year – 59.1% – 2013 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 10536 – $75

Glenfarclas Family Casks Currently in Stock! 

The Late December Arrivals are Available in Limited Quantities!

We have just 1-2 bottles of most of these. And there is one thing I feel needs to be addressed. Many of these – especially the older ones – are described as 4th Fill Hogsheads. And yet the colour and their tasting notes, don’t always seem to reflect this. I remember George Grant telling me a long time ago that they often categorized casks as 4th Fill when they weren’t sure of their provenance. They might be 2nd or 3rd fill, but they couldn’t be sure… So the lesson is, don’t judge the character of a Family Cask by its declared cask type, especially if it is 4th fill. It might be considerably more active…

Although the Winter 2018 releases of the 1978 and 1979 Family Casks have not been reviewed, it is worth noting that their sister casks, also 4th Fill Hogsheads, have been scoring in the 90s. The 1993 is another one of these “4th Fill” casks, that is surprisingly sherried. When we initially brought it in at the end of the summer it was $600/bottle, but an opportunity came our way. Another retailer had committed to a couple of cases and then backed out after the product arrived. We were offered a $75/bottle discount to pick up the last 18 bottles so we jumped at it… see below!

  1. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1978 Winter 2018 – 42.7% – 40 Year – 4th Fill Hogshead – $1650
  2. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1979 Winter 2018 – 48.4% – 39 Year – 4th Fill Hogshead – $1585 – 90.25pts Whisky Base
  3. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 Summer 2018 – 4 7.8% – 37 Year – Refill Hogshead – 89pts Whisky Fun: “A sister cask, this should be interesting. Colour: light yellow. Nose: lots of freshly baked breads, sourdough starter, veg stock and curious things like roast chicken, bay leaf, tarragon and wild mushrooms. A meal in a glass! Goes on with baking soda, cornbread, ginger biscuits and a rather dry and peppery waxiness. Things like wax paper, canvas and old jackets. Freshly rolled oats, savoury flapjack, trail mix and toasted mixed nuts. Fresh, clean and getting increasingly cereal in profile. Mouth: full and syrupy in texture. Lots of toasted almonds, coconut oil, buttered bread, lemon peel, citrus infused darjeeling tea, mint leaf and fir liqueur. Touches of fennel seed, caraway and miso broth. Again this rather delicate waxiness in the background with similar peppery notes. Finish: long, earthy, all on olive oil, mixed shades of pepper, lime zest, white truffle and dried herbs. Comments: cleaner than its sibling and very good. A more technical and textbook early 80s Glenfarclas. I like the dryness, it felt very crisp and appetising.” – $1523 – 89.75pts Whisky Base / 89pts Whisky Fun
  4. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 Winter 2018 – 43.3% – 38 Year – Refill Hogshead – $1523
  5. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1989 Winter 2018 – 51.4% – 28 Year – Sherry Butt – $1190 – 91pts Whisky Base
  6. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1992 Winter 2018 – 53.5% – 26 Year – 4th Fill Butt – $625 – 89.06pts Whisky Base
  7. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1993 Summer 2018 – 53.3% – 25 Year – 4th Fill Butt – 86pts Whisky Fun: “Colour: amber. Nose: Lovely! A big, easy, leafy and tobacco-scented sherry profile. Interesting that the sherry still has a clear and definable voice on a 4th fill – perhaps the first 3 fills were reasonably short? All very typical on raisins, sultanas, dates and the usual mix of dark fruits. Brown bread, mushrooms, damp earth and some old wine cellar notes. With a little breathing it begins to display notes of cherry blossom and strawberry laces. Very lovely. With water: more toasty notes, more seeds, freshly baked savoury pastries, some cinnamon powder. Mouth: gingerbread with lemon icing, strawberry pipe tobacco, lime leaf, mint julep, some cloves, black pepper and a more developed bready aspect as well. Fresh brown bread and croissants. Getting more and more tertiary and autolytic as time goes on; you can feel that the distillate is starting to have a much more assertive voice over and above the cask. Which, obviously, I rather like. With water: dryer, more towards soft chocolate notes, some walnuts, grist, chamois leather and pollen. Finish: long and on cereals, cocoa, black tea and a few citrus peels. Comments: There’s lots to enjoy here, not least the interplay and changing volumes between cask and distillate. However, I think it’s perhaps not quite a thrilling as some of the older FCs we’re already tried. Quality is still undeniably high though.” – $525 – 91.85pts Whisky Base – Was initially closer to $600, we got a $75 a bottle discount to clear out the stock and passed on the savings!
  8. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1999 Winter 2018 – 56.0% – 19 Year – Refill Butt – $450 – 84.3pts Whisky Base
  9. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 Winter 2018 – 56.9% – 17 Year – Refill Hogshead – $450 – 88.5pts Whisky Base
  10. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 Summer 2018 – 5.3% – 17 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – $420 – 88.5pts Whisky Base
  11. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2003 Winter 2018 – 58.3% – 15 Year – 4th Fill Butt – $407 – 89.35pts Whisky Base

New Cadenhead Single Malts from Batch 25 

Young, Old and Very Limited Whiskies!

We have released a new selection of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies from the International Release No. 25. There are a couple of Gold Label Single Casks: Speyside 1991 and Glen Moray 1998, with just 6 bottles of each for Canada. There are also some curious twenty-something single malts from Glen Elgin, Strathmill, Tormore, as well a decent selection of 10-12 year old value priced young cask strength single malts. Only 6-18 bottles of each are destined for KWM. Here are the whiskies of Small Batch Release #25:

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Elgin 1995 – 50.6% – 23 Year – Two Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Toffee shortbread, cardamom, pecans and white chocolate. Honey, sage and fennel. Palate: Juicy and syrupy, mangoes, passion fruit, peaches in syrup, maraschino cherries, apricots and lots of thick creamy notes. Finish: A syrupy fruit bomb with pouring cream and a hint of ginger snap biscuits.” – $220
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Glentauchers  2007 – 57.9% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Warm banana loaf, barley loft, marshmallow sweet. Palate: Candy cane, root ginger, apple skins. Finish: Hint of mace, white pepper, mandarin.” – $112
  3. Cadenhead Small Batch Aultmore 2006 – 57.4% – 12 Year – 4 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Creamy, fresh spearmint, slight moss. Palate: Watermelon, pineapple juice, clotted cream. Finish: Lemon and lime, orange bitters, grated nutmeg.” – $122
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Dailuaine 2008 – 59.8% – 10 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Honeycomb, roasted peanuts, soft brown sugar and crème caramel. Palate: Soft grassy notes, caramel, faint allspice. Hints of coconut along with butterscotch and coffee beans. Finish: Toffee meringues, faint white pepper, mashed bananas and kiwi fruits.” – $115
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Benrinnes 1995 – 51.1% – 23 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Vanilla pods, hint of dunnage warehouse, fresh fruit salad. Palate: Kiwi, candy floss, strawberry yoghurt. Finish: Citrus hoppy notes, lemon peel, honeycomb.” – $210
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Royal Brackla 2006 – 57.7% – 12 Year – 4 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Vanilla pods, whole pineapples, caramel with hints of lime and paprika. Palate: Thick chewy mouthfeel with, lemon peel, honey, almonds and gooseberries. Finish: Hint of spice, heavy cream with lemon, white chocolate and soft orange notes.” – $114
  7. Cadenhead Small Batch Craigellachie 2007 – 54% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Millionaire shortcake, green bananas, muscovado sugar. Palate: Paprika, pecans, honey. Finish: Dried mixed herbs, pears, star anise.” – $112
  8. Cadenhead Small Batch Strathmill 1991 – 51.2% – 27 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich and fruity, with chocolate brownies, almonds, coconut and pistachios. Dates, strawberries and green apple skins. Palate: Salted caramel, toffee apples with a hint of cloves. Pineapple in syrup, lemon drizzle cake and popping candy. Finish: Hints of rhubarb, star anise, cinnamon, fresh ginger and lemongrass.” – $320
  9. Cadenhead Small Batch Tormore 1988 – 47.9% – 30 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Earthy, stewed fruits, caramel. Palate: Toffee ice cream, butterscotch, pine nuts. Finish: Lemon thyme, gooseberries, lemongrass.” – $400
  10. Cadenhead Small Batch Fettercairn 2007 – 56.7% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Cinnamon buns, caramel and toffee shortbread. Agave syrup, grapes, passion fruit and ginger. Palate: Muscovado sugar. Strawberry yoghurt, raisin butter, figs, and peaches. Finish: Milk chocolate, faint cayenne pepper, coriander and salted butter.” – $118
  11. Cadenhead Small Batch Speyside Distillery 1991 – 48.6% – 27 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Focaccia bread, milk chocolate and hazelnut spread, icing sugar. Palate: Vine tomatoes, honeycomb, olive oil. Finish: Strawberry coulis, ginger ale, clove oil.” – $285 – Only 1 Bottles Left!
  12. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Moray 1998 – 52.5% – 20Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Lemon bonbons, cocoa powder, hazelnuts and golden syrup. Palate: Very syrupy with lime zest, persimmons, bergamot and a hint of liquorice. Finish: Long and syrupy with fennel, basil, lemon and growing runny honey finish.” – $206 – Only 6 Bottles/Limit 1 per customer!

Introducing: The New Balblair Core Range 

Moving to Age Statements!

The first three whiskies of the new Balblair core range are here. The Highland distillery, established in 1790 along the Dornoch Firth, is one of Scotland’s oldest operating distilleries. It is also one of the most beautiful. The Distillery’s whisky is lovely, with a heavy oily style, but it has struggled to crack the mainstream. The switch from a vintage based range to an age statement core range will likely assist this. I have long had a soft spot for Balblair whisky, especially bottlings in their late teens and early 20s. The range will be capped with a 25 year, which is coming to Canada, but not just yet. I love that the full range is bottled at 46%.

  1. Balblair 12 Year – 46% – Matured in American oak ex-bourbon “double-fired American oak casks” – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Elegant bright lemon peel layered with creamy vanilla and crisp green apples. Palate: Ground spices and dried orange slices enveloped in intense set honey sweetness. Finish: Creamy and leathery with notes of sweet vanilla.” – $90
  2. Balblair 15 Year – 46% – Matured in ex-Bourbon and 1st fill Spanish Sherry Butts – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Leatherwood honey and spicy gingerbread followed by juicy prunes and fresh lemon peel. Palate: Velvety in texture, bursting with dark chocolate, tropical fruit and spices. Finish: Long and mellow, with notes of creamy vanilla and citrus.” – $120
  3. Balblair 18 Year – 46% – Matured in ex-Bourbon, Finished in First Fill ex-Sherry Seasoned Spanish Oak Butts – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Rich toffee and baked pears shine bright against an elegant backdrop of new leather. Palate: A masterful balance of juicy apricots, seasoned oak and vanilla custard. Finish: Long and warming with chords of fresh spices and raisins.” – $180

Two New Gordon Macphail Connoisseurs Choice Upper Releases 

Of Glenrothes 1988 and Scapa 1986!

The “Upper” range of Gordon Macphail’s Connoisseurs Choice consists of old and rare single casks, selected for their superior quality. The whiskies are filled in to premium bottles and come in handsome oak boxes. These two just landed in Alberta!

  1.  GM CC Upper Glenrothes 1988 – 58.5% – Refill American Hogshead – 200 Bottles Worldwide – Producer Tasting Note:Nose: Hints of aromatic kaffir lime add a zesty freshness to a pronounced sweetness – apricot jam, peaches in syrup, and brandy snaps. Spicy ginger and toasted malt aromas develop over a vanilla toffee undertone. Taste: Thick and mouth-coating; warming ginger spice with woody undertones complement sugared red apples. Finish: Medium-bodied finish with lingering fruity notes.” – $860+gst
  2. GM CC Upper Scapa 1986 – 55.2% – Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel – 65 Bottles Worldwide – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aromas of tropical fruit weave around subtle glazed-meat notes. Kiwi and honeydew melon come together with manuka honey whilst sprigs of mint add a fresh lift. Taste: Mouth-coating; intense woody flavours transform into aniseed and ginger spice. Hints of wood smoke are balanced by caramelised bananas coated with luxurious dark chocolate. Finish: A medium finish with lingering woody notes.” – $1120+gst

Evan’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society Corner 

Introducing the January 2020 SMWS Canada Outturn!

January is a time of new beginnings, a brief moment to recollect at days past but also dream of what the future holds. The new year means seven new cask strength bottles to discuss and share with friends.

If you are a Scot, a Scotch Whisky Drinker, or both; it also means the specter of Rabbie Burns looms in the air. He hovers above us, anxiously waiting for his moment to pounce, which as always will happen on January 25th: the day of his birth. Then we will all be forced to don a fake Scottish accent, wear kilts and belt out Gaelic Rhymes in a Seussian manner and gulp down some haggis before we get to the dramming.

Enough of that for now. We have at least a few days more before we do all of that. For now, let’s talk about Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles and the spirits that THEY contain. If you want to read Evan’s take on the new flight of SMWS bottles, check out the KWM Blog. In the meantime, here is the Janauary 2020 Outturn:

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 58.29: Soul o’ plays and pranks  – 59.3% – 10 Year – Refill Hogshead – Flavour Profile: Light Delicate – Panel’s Tasting Note: “As spiky as a passionate poet, prickling with assorted citrus, fresh pineapple, cheese curds, lemon bonbons, icing sugar, chamomile and a maple syrup drizzled cheesecake. Water throws up apple turnover cake with a hefty slathering of vanilla custard. The palate has a fine texture, more maple syrup but a bittersweet quality as well. Some chewy toffee and a guilty note of chocolate eclairs. Even with water the texture is still luxurious and mouth-coating. Notes of gooseberry jam, stem ginger in syrup and rhubarb and custard sweeties. Barley water washed everything down nicely in the finish.” – $142
  2. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 13.70: Nuts, spice and intrigue

– 61.1% – 10 Year – Refill Barrel – Flavour profile: Spicy dry. –

Outturn: 172 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose began with fresh waves of cut grass and pine forests whilst a curious overlaying character initiated thoughts of ‘what is that aroma’? Perfumed notes formulated into lilac and lavender before brazil nuts and toasted pine nuts presented oily textures. Oils turned to cream – strawberries and cream to be precise which quickly became accompanied by peaches, apricots and brandy butter.

Curious aromas turned into warming spice as cloves and nutmeg joined allspice and star anise. Without water the palate was sweet and rich yet feisty like fresh ginger. However, with just a drop added it revealed herbal tones with butter on crumpets and puff pastry wrapped around blackberry jam. The dried fruits of malt loaf appeared at the end with brioche bread and a glass of dry white wine.” – $149

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 35.220: walking into a fruit punch

Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak vanilla. –

Outturn: 187 bottles.

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Vibrant fruit came out swinging as banana and tinned peaches traded blows with apricot and coconut before getting caught by a tropical rum punch. Apple and rhubarb crumble waited in the corner with a bucket of vanilla custard and dusty oak sawdust.

Soft marshmallow cushioned blows as boozy baked plums entered the ring with frangipane cakes and stone fruits in a dunnage warehouse. Honey sweetness transpired into chewing on warm fudge and fondant icing before the final round presented pink wafer biscuits and Turkish Delight with banana fritters on an oak platter.” – $500

  1.  Scotch Malt Whisky Society 10.165: Sand and soot – 62.4% – 11 Year – Refill Barrel –

Flavour Profile: Oily coastal. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Mineralic sea air came laden with the sweet smell of vanilla ice cream cones and cinnamon on seaweed. Coal dust and soot sprinkled down onto a sandy beach as driftwood and the frayed remnants of ship’s rope washed up on the shore. The sweet fragrance of hibiscus flowers drifted into Earl Grey tea and spicy sandalwood like a lucid dream whilst a whiff of the medicinal delivered tea tree oil and salted blackcurrants.

Sticky cherry cola and pink wafer biscuits became balanced by the tartness of kumquats and lime relish with a suggestion of turmeric and lemongrass. A combination of salty rocks and gravlax returned us to a maritime mood as the finish wrapped our senses with warm butter and pepper.” – $178

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 93.116: Dystopian cyberman lubricant

Flavour Profile: Lightly peated. –

Outturn: 171 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note:  “Fish and chips with lashings of malt vinegar, smoked marzipan, heather doused in TCP, salted grist, Parahandy puffer smoke and grilled whelks bobbing in petrol diluted with barnacle foam. Delicious madness! With water it moves more towards the farmyard with notes of iodine, ink, mutton fat, antiseptic, disinfectant and mixtures of brine, engine oil and medical tinctures. Smoked black peppercorns pulverised in a pestle and mortar.

The palate opens with smoked porridge, nettle cordial, soft tar notes, citronella candles, kippers in kedgeree, smoked almonds, aged Loire chenin and dried kelp. Water unveils notes of salt baked cod, Austrian potato salad, peppered mackerel, coal dust, miso seaweed broth, meat stock, beach sand and salty blue cheese sprinkled with crushed aspirin.” – $214

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 16.38: Acme ghost repellent

– 59.3% – 8 Year – Recharred Hogshead – Flavour Profile: Peated. –

Outturn: 315 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Pure farmyard! All smouldering wood ash, strap leather, old hay loft, tractor engines and mutton heavy stovies. Some burnt orange peel, burning newspaper and flint smoke. Water brings out coal tar soap, brake fluid, mead and burlap. Hints of antiseptic, chicken soup, mustard oil and burnt toast.

The arrival in the mouth is all on earthy peat oils, lemon jam, biltong, game meats, pine cones, dried banana chips, camphor and lanolin. A splash of water gives jasmine tea, caraway, incense, ginger beer, heavy eucalyptus oils, smoky bacon, salted liquorice, butterscotch and paraffin wax. A wee beast!” – $137

Two New Two Brewers Single Malts 

Releases 17 18 from Two Brewers!

These chappies came in before Christmas, but it is only now that we have been able to get the word out.

Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 17 – 46% – Innovative Series: “Distilled using malted rye and specialty brewer’s malts and then finished in specially selected barrels.” – Producer’s Tasting Note: “A vibrant nose of citric ginger and burnt caramel foretell the drams temperament. A light sweet entry gives way to an assertive, cinnamon
candy spice, enveloping the brown sugar centre. The finish is a visit to the spice store, the senses tingling, prolonged and pleasing.” – $100

Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 18 –  Special Finish Series: “100% barley, standard mash and distillation. The mash was used in the blends of 7 Releases. This is the last two barrels. This started in 1st use Exbourbon, but was transferred to new barrels in June’13.” – – $130

My Tasting Note: Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt 

The Best Yet in the Series!

Readers of the Malt Messenger are more than aware of our love of the mystery Edrington Blended Malts… This is a good one!

Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt – 45.1% – Matured in Sherry, the whisky is a marriage of Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes, Bunnahabhain and Tamdhu distilleries which were all distilled back in 1994. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: brown sugar melting in butter, French toast with maple syrup and earthy dunnage warehouse notes; bright orange, dried apricot and cantaloupe; dark chocolate covered espresso beans and loads of dried and dark fruits: prunes, raisins, dates figs; salted caramel and treacle toffee; a touch of clean smoke and maritime notes. Palate: big, rich, round and nutty with building spices; still earthy, more dunnage warehouses, leather and damp tobacco; more dried dark fruits, citrus and apricots; some melon and a touch of more tropical fruit; prominent, but elegant smoke and salt, with a touch of a tarry leathery backbone; builds in to dark chocolate, espresso bean and deep spices: fennel, clove, anise and a touch of Dutch licorice; more salted caramel and treacle toffee. Finish: long, rich, sherried and coating; loads of dark fruits, spices, leather, chocolate and tobacco; ends creamy with a hint of salt, smoke and bags more fruit. Comment: if you are seeking a big, rich, mature sherry bomb, look no further; this is a very complex, fruity dram, with just a touch of clean smoke and salt; the prices on these mysterious Edrington Blended Malts keep creeping up, but the juice is maturing beautifully!” – $290 – Only 24 bottles coming to KWM!

KWM Winter 2020 Tasting Schedule 

Some Very Cool Tastings Events in the First Three Months of 2020

The Winter 2020 tastings, including Wine, Whisky, Beer and other Spirits are all online and open for registration. A summary of the whisky tastings is below:

  1. MS Calgary Whiskies Festival 2020 – Thursday January 16 7Pm – The 9th Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival returns, in an exciting new venue. We have moved the event to the Glenbow Museum to make more room for exhibitors and Master Classes, while retaining the “cool venue” aesthetic. 10 Master Classes are available, including 4 VIP. Nearly 70% of the tickets have already sold…  tickets can be purchased by following this link!$120-200
  2. Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy – Friday January 17 7PM – Elixir Distillers is rapidly becoming one of our key suppliers of cool and unique whiskies. Katy Kennedy Export, Sales Manager, will guide you through a range of unique and very good value whiskies. – $30
  3. Burns Bash: Whisky Festival – Thursday January 23 7PM – We’ll mark the birth of the Scottish Bard a couple of days early, with a whisky festival featuring some very good deals, our Year End Inventory Sale is a week later. Taste your way through a preview of some of the weekend’s best whisky deals! We won’t supply the Ode to the Haggis or a kilt, but we will give you a KWM logo Glencairn Glass which you can raise with whisky, to the memory of Scotland’s favourite son. – $50
  4. The Whiskies of A.D. Rattray with Nick White – Friday January 24 7PM – Nick White, Managing Director of independent bottler A.D. Rattray will be our guest of honour as we trace the origins of the storied whisky firm. – $30
  5. Single Barrel Very Small Batch Bourbon – Tuesday January 28 7PM – With two KWM exclusive barrels of Jefferson’s Bourbon having just landed, as well as a bunch of other great single barrel and small batch Bourbons, the time is ripe for a Bourbon Tasting! – $30
  6. Heritage Hunter Laing with Andrew Laing – Mon Feb 3 6PM – Andrew Laing of Hunter Laing returns to KWM with-you’ll be shocked to learn-some exciting new whiskies, including the Hunter Laing Heritage Series… 30 year old Bowmore anyone? – $50
  7. I love Whisky Chocolate – Tuesday February 11 – A sumptuous whisky and chocolate tasting for lovers of both, or people who just love whisky or chocolate! Singles, couples and more complicated groupings all welcome. – $40
  8. Feis Isle: The KWM Islay Whisky Festival – Thursday February 20 7PM – 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. Includes a KWM logo Whisky Glass. – $60
  9. Great Grains – Thursday February 27 7PM – Looking for an old whisky that is also excellent value? There are some glorious old grain whiskies out there and you need to give them a closer look. We are also planning to open something a little crazy for this one! – $60
  10. Stillin’ Gin’s Still In – Tuesday March 10 7PM – You can make gin with practically any flavouring that can be dissolved in alcohol, and with this blank canvas in mind, it makes sense that gin is now one of the biggest trends in the spirit world. We’re going to taste some of our favourites, both new-school and old. – $30
  11. Irish Whiskey: Boom or Bubble – Saturday March 14 5PM – The last few years have seen a resurgence of interest in Irish whiskey. 5 years ago there were just 4 distilleries in the whole of Ireland, today there are at least 18 with plans for many more! We’ll look at Irish whiskey’s past, present and future while sampling some of the finest whiskies from the Emerald Isle. And we’ll, of course, raise a glass to Saint Paddy! – $40
  12. The KWM Rare Old Whisky Festival – Thursday March 19 7-10 PM – Think of this as one of our Ancient Malts tastings but festival style, with more unique whisky to try and an exclusive takeaway tasting glass. This event will feature a range of at least 30 Rare Old whiskies priced $300 to $3000 a bottle or more. The event will be smaller and more intimate than our typical festival, with an extra hour so you won’t feel rushed! In all up to $15000.00 worth of whisky will be open for tasting! – $200
  13. Classics of Cadenhead – Friday March 20 7PM – We have assembled a range of unique, rare and special Cadenhead whiskies for a Master Class tasting. The range will include at least one closed distillery and even a 45 year old! – $75
  14. Making Bourbon Great Again: Unimpeachable Whiskey – Tuesday April 7 7PM – Bourbon doesn’t stay up all night tweeting into the void, pressure foreign governments to personal ends or pretend it is something it’s not. It just tastes great! Evan will obstruct any discussion of American politics, and let the whiskey do the talking, as we once again Make Bourbon Great Again. – $30
  15. Why Are So Many Rums Named Ron? And Other Stupid Questions! – Thr Apr 9 7PM – This and other stupid questions will be answered. We’ll explore the shady beginnings of the rum trade, the meaning of the word “Hogo”, and sip on things so good it’d make pirates surrender their booty. – $40

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 or register online!

KWM Casks Update 

Good Things Don’t Always Come to Those Who Wait…!

We have had more than a few dynamite single casks and exclusive bottlings last year. There was the Imperial 1995, which set a new record for the fastest selling single cask we’ve ever had. It sold in 10 days, edging out our Laddie from 2018 which took just 15 days… There was also the Berry’s Orkney Islands 18 Year (cough Highland Park) from this past winter… It too didn’t last long, it sold out in just under 3 months. If you missed out on any of these I have really exciting news for you, we are expecting new single casks of all three this coming year. Stay tuned in the months ahead for more details on our next single casks from Bruichladdich, Imperial and Highland Park… er, Orkney Islands single malt!

In the meantime, a couple of our current offerings are disappearing fast. At the rate our Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength and SMOS (Single Malts of Scotland) Ben Nevis 1996 are selling, they won’t last long this year. We have just two dozen bottles left of our Glenfarclas and for the Ben Nevis no more than double that. Our Glen Scotia 1999 KWM Cask is also getting low in inventory, with just over 30 bottles left, and it is the same store with our Shelter Point KWM Rye Cask, with just over 20 bottles left! Details and tasting notes on all three of them below. Good things don’t always come to those who wait… 

  1. Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength – 53.5% – Bottled at 53.5% this cask strength 21 year old Glenfarclas has been bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. The back label says it is bottled for “The Scotch Guy’s 15th Anniversary at KWM!” but we are actually launching it on his 16th Anniversary, November 25, 2019. This is not a single cask, a Glenfarclas Family Cask of this age would cost at least twice as much as this, but it is a bespoke exclusive, especially the label. See below. The whisky is 75% sold in just a month! – My Tasting Note: “Nose: round, rich and fruity; very nutty: beer nuts, maple coated walnuts and marcona almonds; soft leather, brandy infused chocolate and white fruit cake; loads of fruit: candied and citric; creamy, warm pie crust from the oven; perhaps some tart lemon meringue. Palate: big, rich and very fruity with building earthy spices; loads of caramel, candied orange, orange peel and other candied fruits; still creamy with more buttery pie crust and tart fruit cake; the spices slowly build: fresh sliced ginger, as well as cardamom and cinnamon sticks; moves towards fennel and anise; very nutty too, loads of candied nuts and more oily marcona almonds. Finish: long, drying, spicy and elegant; fading candied fruits and nuts with more buttery pie crust and soft leather. Comment: another cracking cask strength Glenfarclas at an awesome price point; we can’t take any credit for the selection of this whisky; once again we put our faith in George and his team at Glenfarclas, and once again they have delivered; just in time for Christmas this bottle is oozing candied fruits, nuts and spices… how festive!” – $180
  2. SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM Cask – 53.4% – 22 Year – Sherry Butt – This 22 Year old Ben Nevis is one of a pair of really exciting single casks we obtained from Elixir Distillers this fall. Distilled in 1996 and matured in a Sherry Butt, the whisky was selected by and bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market at 53.4%. More than 2/3 of the 440 bottles have sold in the first six weeks! – My Tasting Note: Nose: Eatmore and polished new leather shoes; dark fruits; nutty with caramel, leather and tobcco; dried apple chunks sprinkled with cinnamon; woody: freshly sawed cedar and a dry-mossy pine forrest floor; fig jam and pineapple. Palate: round, rich and fruity; there is a soft silky body full of dried dark fruits: raisins, sultanas, date squares and figs in honey; dark milk chocolate and Caramilk; not quite molasses-y enough to be in Eatmore territory, but it is close; pineapple in sweet sour sauch; honeyed and decadent with burnt caramel and maple syrup; the leather and tobacco move in with soft spices; sherried and woody but balanced in both cases. Finish: big, drying, fruity and spicy; the fruits and caramels fade leaving traces of their past glories; not as complex as the palate but elegant none the less. Comment: this is a big rich and sherried Ben Nevis with a soft coating body; there is a touch of more tropical fruits, but it is the sherry tones driving the bus on this one; the nose is good, the palate is great; Ben Nevis has built a cult following among whisky geeks, and this is another fine example as to why…” – $180
  3. Glen Scotia 1999 KWm Cask No. 359 – 53.6% – 19 Year – Our first exclusive Glen Scotia is from an ex-sherry hogshead cask filled in July of 1999 and was bottled in March of 2019 after 19 years at 53.6%.  Of the 227 total bottles, just a little over 40 are left!. The first official bottling of Glen Scotia ever to come to Canada, possibly North America. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: cola cubes and old fashioned root beer; delicate smoke, a touch of wasabi-ginger and salted caramel; a touch of the classic Glen Scotia dirty engine oil, honey dew melon, mango and brown sugar round out the nose. Palate: big, rich, herbaceous and oily, very oily; this is classic Glen Scotia with a fine balance between the dirty engine oil soaked rags, subtle maritime smoke and delicate fruits; more salted caramel, root beer cola cubes and chinotto; melons, mango and Granny Smith apples make way for wasabi, sliced ginger, clove and nutmeg. Finish: long, coating and oily; like the palate it moves in layers, with traces of fruit, spice and dirty engine oil; creamy and fruity for the finale. Comment: this is a cracking Glen Scotia; it was made at a time when the distillery was severely neglected, almost decrepit; I have long marvelled at how this distillery produced such beautiful whiskies, especially the older ones, almost despite itself; this whisky is not for everyone, but if you like the classic Campbeltown style, there is much to love here!”

– $220

  1. Shelter Point KWM Rye Cask – 59.6% – 9 Year – My Tasting Note: “Nose: maple syrup, peanut brittle, cloves just plucked from a honey baked ham and treacle tarts; oily with loads of spice; there was a hint of dill at first but it quickly vanished; dark fruits, licorice root and fig jam; oh and glazed pork belly (seriously). Palate: big, oily, syrupy and spicy; decadent Demerara and brown sugars before bacon infused dark chocolate and crisp spices: fennel, cloves and licorice root; more cloves plucked from a honey baked ham and sweet and sour pork; silky vanilla with dates and figs are late to the party. Finish: insanely long, oily, coating and decadent with more dark fruits and soft spices; a touch of glazed pork belly. Comment: wow… this was a serendipitous discovery on visiting Shelter point with Evan and Curt in September.” – $120

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact Disclaimers 

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

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at 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.

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson
Owner Scotchguy
Kensington Wine Market
403-283-8000
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

www.kensingtonwinemarket.com

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/malt-messenger-no-107-by-andrew-ferguson-new-year-new-whiskies-tastings-more-whisky-news/

Malt Messenger No. 107 by Andrew Ferguson – New Year, New Whiskies, Tastings & More – Whisky News!

Malt Messenger No. 107 – New Year, New Whiskies, Tastings More

Happy New Year!

Here at Kensington Wine Market we are strolling in to 2020 full of hope an optimism for the year ahead, and there is a lot to look forward too.

The MS Calgary Whisky Festival is less than a week away. Nearly 600 tickets have been sold, and the event, now in its 9th year, will be the biggest yet with over 320 products poured  y nearly 60 vendors. In our new venue at the Glenbow Museum we were also able to incorporate 10 Master Classes this year. The 4 VIP Master Classes are sold out, but there are 6 others running during the show, which can be added on for just $15. This year’s show is truly taking things to the next level. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, it isn’t too late, but it is getting close. Your MS Calgary Whisky Festival Guide 2020 can be found below. You might want to have a look, as there are some really exciting Master Classes that still have room. Seriously, take a look… a few of them have some insane whiskies in their lineups!

Our first new KWM exclusive cask of 2020 is here, and it is a first in another way too. It is our first ever KWM exclusive Irish whiskey cask! The Teeling 16 Year KWM Cask is lush, decadent and very fruity. We were blown away by this whiskey, and we are thrilled to be able to offer it at such a good price, $150. We have a bottle open in-store for sampling, and it will be available for tasting at Thursday’s MS Calgary Whisky Festival too.

There are some great whisky tastings coming up in the days following the MS Festival. On Friday January 17 we are thrilled to welcome Elixir Distiller’s Brand Ambassador Katy Kennedy for a very special Master Class at KWM. Elixir Distillers is the drinks firm of Sukhinder Singh, who is better known as the owner of the Whisky Exchange in London. The name Elixir may not be familiar to you, but their brands might be: Elements of Islay, Port Askaig and Single Malts of Scotland (SMOS). The range being poured is valued at $1600… and the tickets are just $30. More teasers below.

The week after next we have two more tastings. On Thursday January 23rd there is our Burns Bash, Whisky Festival. A week before our Year End Inventory Sale (Jan 31-Feb 2), the Burns Bash will preview the coming Sale and highlight some of the best bargains. Up to 100 whiskies will be open for tasting. The following night, Friday January 24 we will be welcoming Thomas Boyd of A.D. Rattray for a Master Class in-store. Once again we are pulling out all the stops!

While on the subject of A.D. Rattray, we are thrilled to have Thomas Boyd and Nick White (Managing Director), in house not just on the 24th, but also at the Burns Bash the night before and the MS Whisky Festival a week earlier. Their timing coincides with the relaunch of A.D.Rattray in Alberta. We have just received 9 new single cask bottlings from the firm, including 3 KWM exclusives! Details below.

In other new whisky news, we received a top up of Glenfarclas Family Casks in December. A few of them have sold, but there are more than a few interesting vintages still available. We have also been working in another new release of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies. We are looking forward to trying more than a few of these in the months ahead.

Three of the four whiskies in the new Balblair Core Range are here. The 12, 15 and 18 will all be available for tasting at the MS Whisky Festival, in a Master Class with Lukasz Dynowiak. For those who can’t make that, you will have to make do with the descriptions below. The 25 Year is expected later in the year.

We also have a pair of new Gordon Macphail Connoisseur’s Choice “Upper” cask strength whiskies from the 1980s!

Staying on the “new” theme, I have details on a pair of newly arrived Two Brewers whiskies from Yukon Brewing Distilling.And there is also the January 2020 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn, AKA Evan’s SMWS Corner.

And there is still more… but I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself in this jammed packed, first Malt Messenger of 2020.

I hope you enjoy the 107th Malt Messenger. 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 will be taken as correct.

Slàinte!

Andrew Ferguson

In This Edition:

  1. NEW KWM Exclusive Teeling Single Malt Cask
  2. MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Guide
  3. Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy
  4. Burns Bash: Whisky Festival
  5. The Whiskies of A.D. Rattray with Thomas Boyd
  6. New Whiskies from A.D.Rattray
  7. Glenfarclas Family Casks in Stock
  8. New Cadenhead Single Malts – From Batch 25
  9. Introducing: The New Balblair Range
  10. Two New GM Connoisseurs Choice “Upper” Whiskies
  11. Two New Two Brewers
  12. My Tasting Note: Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt
  13. Winter 2020 KWM Tasting Schedule
  14. KWM Casks Update: Good Things Don’t Always Come to Those Who Wait

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 Exclusive Teeling Cask 

A Glorious Tropical Fruit Bomb of Irish Whiskey!

Our first ever exclusive single cask of Irish whisky is here… Andrew paid a visit to Teeling in the Spring, and visited the Dublin-based distillery’s extensive warehouse in the north of Ireland. He was blown away by the selection of casks on offer. We have been privilege to bottle a 16 Year Teeling Single Malt exclusive for KWM. The cask is a First Fill ex-Bourbon Barrel, No. 12297. The whisky is either from Cooley or Bushmills… we don’t know for sure, and they wouldn’t tell us, but it is glorious. Our only regret, is that there are just 216 bottles!

Teeling 16 Year KWM Single Cask – 54.6% – ex-Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: butterscotch ice cream, creme caramel, clotted cream and Jujubes; very floral and decadent, with prominent soft citrus notes; a touch on the waxy side before more exotic fruits emerge: cantaloupe and melon, banana chips, mango and papaya with cracked pepper sprinkled on top; soft malty tones and nougat. Palate: soft, creamy, floral, decadent and very fruity; an explosion of fruits: first white fruits, then melon with citrus hard on their tail; ripe mango and papaya, again with a spicy black pepper hit; lush vanilla, honey, clotted cream and butterscotch ice cream; late malty notes of chewy barley; still floral, warming and a touch toasty. Finish: long, coating, warm and toasty; the decadent, fruity and floral tones linger long, fading in to gentle spices and sugars. Comment: this is the Irish whiskey you are looking for, and wow, what a fruit bomb it is; Teeling has such an incredible variety of casks maturing in their warehouses; the Scots must rightly be very envious; but will all that selection we opted for something classic!” – $150

MS Calgary Whisky Festival 2020 Guide! 

Calgary Biggest Best Whisky Show is Only a Week Away!

The 9th Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival is fast approaching, taking place this coming Thursday, January 16, 2020, at the Glenbow Museum. The VIP Packages are sold out, and the General Admission tickets are also disappearing quickly. This year we are very excited to have been able to offer 10 Master Classes, including the 4 sold out VIP Master Classes. There are also 6 Master Classes running during the event, and whether you already have an admission ticket or not, you might want to take a peek at what is on offer, because I don’t think you want to miss out. The Master Classes cost just $15 on top of your general admission ticket… and there are some really cool whiskies being poured, including…

7:15PM Master Classes

You must have a VIP or General Admission ticket to purchase Master Class tickets. You can either purchase Master Class tickets with your Admission, or if you have already purchased your VIP/General Admission ticket, please email Paula at the MS Society! She can assist you in adding on a Master Class ticket(s). You can also purchase them at the door, but you run the risk that there aren’t any spaces left…

  1. Sazerac Whiskey with Joshua Steely – You will be introduced to the World of Sazerac Whiskey by Buffalo Trace Premium Bourbon Portfolio Brand Manager Joshua Steely. Joshua is responsible for building some of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s most award-winning bourbon brands around the world. He spends most of his days working on great brands like Weller, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor Jr, Stagg, and Buffalo Trace Antique Collection among others. This tasting will include a tasting of the Blantons Gold, Weller 12 Year and Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year, as well as three other Bourbons. – $15
  2. Balblair Distillery with Lukasz Dynowiak – Blablair’s Global Brand Ambassador Lukasz Dynowiak will introduce you to one of Scotland’s oldest and most mysterious distilleries. The northern Highland distillery used to bottle their whiskies by vintage, but has just launched a new age statement range, and Lukasz is here to introduce them to the Canadian market! You will sample the new core range including 15, 18 and 25 Year olds, none of which will be available on the festival floor, and two other Balblair single malts! – $15
  3. The GlenAllachie with David Keir – The GlenAllachie Distillery was acquired by Scotch whisky industry legend Billy Walker and some partners after the BenRiach Distillery Co. was acquired by Brown Forman. Can Billy Walker do with GlenAllachie what he managed to do with BenRiach and GlenDronach? He already has! We are starting to see the fruits of his labours and experience in the Distillery’s core range and limited releases. GlenAllachie Sales and Marketing Director David Keir, a quarter century Scotch whisky industry veteran will be your guide, as you are introduced to one of the fastest rising stars in the industry, the GlenAllachie! – $15

8:40 PM Master Classes

You must have a VIP or General Admission ticket to purchase Master Class tickets. You can either purchase Master Class tickets with your Admission, or if you have already purchased your VIP/General Admission ticket, please email Paula at the MS Society! She can assist you in adding on a Master Class ticket(s). You can also purchase them at the door, but you run the risk that there aren’t any spaces left…

  1. Springbank Distillery with Nicole Lindsay – Springbank isScotland oldest family owned distillery, and easily the country’s most traditional. The distillery produces three distinct whisky styles, Springbank, Longrow Hazelburn. It also has a sister distillery Glengyle, which produces the Kilkerran single malt. Nicole Lindsay, Regional Sales Manager from Springbank Distillers Ltd. will guide you through a range of six single malts, including the very limited Kilkerran 15 Year single cask, Springbank 15 Year Rum Wood, a Springbank Society Longrow and one other surprise! – $15
  2. Glenmorangie Distillery with Ruaraidh MacIntyre – We have managed to coax Ruaraidh MacIntyre, National Brand Ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, out west for one night only… Ruariadh will be hosting a Glenmorangie Master Class to introduce the new Quinta Ruban 14 Year. But that isn’t the only treat he he has in store… in addition to an impressive range of 5 Glenmorangies, he will also be pouring the stunning Glenmornagie Grand Vintage Malt 1991. This rare and spectacular old whisky is not to be missed! – $15
  3. Teeling Whiskey with Sabrina Minks – Teeling is one of the brightest stars in the Irish Whiskey firmament. As the Irish industry heads in to a period of massive expansion, it is not the industry giant Irish Distillers leading the charge, but this plucky upstart Dublin based firm. Sabrina Minks, Teeling Whiskey Brand Ambassador, will guide you through a range of Teeling Irish whiskies including single grain, single malt, blended and pot still. She will also be featuring a rare Teeling Single Cask whiskey! This is a rare opportunity to discover the broadest range of Irish whiskey styles offered by any Irish whiskey firm! – $15

The Master Classes aren’t the main feature of the event, it is the Festival itself. You will be able to roam over two floors of the Glenbow museum while sampling from over 300 whiskies and a few other spirits presented by nearly 60 different vendors! In addition to some of the World’s finest whiskies, we are also thrilled by the number of local craft distilleries present. Enjoy amazing whiskies, good food, great conversation and a diverse array of silent auction items. This will be the best event ever, and we hope you will be a part of it. 100% of proceeds from the event will go to support the MS Society of Canada. Last year’s event raised over $70,000.00 after expenses. We expect this year’s event will be even more successful!

Preview this year’s pour list!*

*actual pour list may varry

You can purchase tickets now by following the links at

www.calgarywhiskyfestival.ca !

Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy 

Sample $1600 worth of Rare Old Whiskies for Just $30!

Elixir Distillers is rapidly becoming one of our key suppliers of cool and unique whiskies. Katy Kennedy Export, Sales Manager, will guide you through a range of unique, rare and very good value whiskies. Our lineup:

  1. SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM
  2. SMOS Marriage Mortlach 22 Year Old
  3. Port Askaig 8 Year Old
  4. Elements of Islay Cl12
  5. Elements of Islay Peat Full Proof
  6. Elements of Islay Pl6
  7. Port Askaig 28 Year Old
  8. Elements of Islay Lp10

Friday January 17 – $45

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

The Burns Bash Whisky Festival 

Our Ongoing Tradition Raising a Glass to the Bard

We’ll mark the birth of the Scottish Bard a couple of days early, with a whisky festival featuring some very good deals, our Year End Inventory Sale is a week later. Taste your way through a preview of some of the weekend’s best whisky deals! We won’t supply the Ode to the Haggis or a kilt, but we will give you a KWM logo Glencairn Glass which you can raise with whisky, to the memory of Scotland’s favourite son.

Thursday January 23 – $45

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

The Whiskies of A. D. Rattray with Thomas Boyd 

Your Chance to Sample Some of the New Arrivals Below!

Thomas Boyd, and Nick White, Managing Director of independent bottler A.D. Rattray will be our guests of honour as we trace the origins of the storied whisky firm.

A.D. Rattray is a Scottish Independent Bottler created by the marriage of two prominent whisky families in the mid 1900s, the Walkers and the Morrisons. The firm traces its origins to 1868 when Andrew Dewar Rattray set up shop as a grocer in Glasgow, selling wine and olive oils from Europe, dark rums from Jamaica… and Scottish whisky. Thomas Boyd of A.D. Rattray will take us through the history of A.D. Rattray while sample a range of single casks and other independent bottlings from the firms extensive range.

Friday January 24 – $30

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

New Whiskies from A.D. Rattray 

Including 3 KWM Exclusives!

A.D. Rattray is returning to Alberta with a bang. Over the last few months we’ve received some of their core skus like the Cask Islay, Cask Speyside and Cask Orkney whiskies. We’ve also have a couple of single casks, like the A.D. Rattray Blair Athol 1997 and A.D. Rattray Miltonduff 1983. We now have 8 new single casks, including 3 exclusive to KWM. The Knockdhu 10 Year and Tamnavulin 10 Year are even labelled for KWM with our logo. The Williamson, which is teaspooned Laphroaig, is exclusively ours in Southern Alberta. I wrote up tasting notes on all three yesterday, and they are lovely!. The Knockdhu is very fruity and malty, the Tamnavulin waxy, honeyed and fruity and the Williamson, well the Williamson is just wow… It is exactly what you look for in a feisty young Ileach!

  1. A.D. Rattray Knockdhu KWM Cask 3 – 54.1% – 2009 – Bourbon Hogshead – Andrew’sTasting Note: “Nose: honeyed, nutty and toasty; malty, fall grasses, maraschino cherry, bright orange and marzipan; white chocolate and gas station Jelly Beans. Palate: still malty and nutty with more fall grasses, lots of honey and toasted oak; more Jujubes and maraschino cherry, add in some Winegums and chocolate marzipan; a touch earthy, used tea bags and Demerara sugars. Finish: long, toasty and coating with more fruits, sugars and toasted oak. Comment: fresh, fruity and malt; a great dram at a great price.” – $95
  2. A.D. Rattray Tamnavulin 10 Year – 54.2% – 2009 – Bourbon Barrel – Andrew’sTasting Note: “Nose: soft, honeyed and fruity; melons, Starburst fruit candies and linseed oil; toasty, with white pepper and a touch vegetal. Palate: a touch dusty, Sun-Maid Raisins (in the wee box), more honey, French vanilla and rose petals; soft toasted oak, gentle spices and paraffin wax; more Starburst fruit candies and some late peppery spices. Finish: warming, floral and elegant; more waxy-soft fruit tones and those Sun-Maid Raisins. Comment: this whisky will transport you back to recess in elementary school; sitting on the edge of the playground on a warm day; your dirty little fingers coated in chalk from the gravel box around the jungle gym; tucking in and out of the tiny little box of Sun-Maid Raisins, popping them into your mouth one at a time; life is simpler than it will ever be again!” – $94
  3. A.D. Rattray Williamson 8 Year Cask 131 

59.9% – Sherry Butt – 2011-

Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: malty, ashy, honeyed and creamy with bright citrus and salty maritime tones; creamy and a touch floral with melons and grilled prosciutto wrapped figs. Palate: yeeeessss… ; this is a cracker!!! starts soft, creamy and honeyed with loads of chewy malt; vanilla, creamed honey and building maritime smoke; the brash, tarry, medicinal, muddy peat quick catches up to you along with smoke mussels, seaweed and with patience, juicy malt and all those missing fruits: citrus, melon and grilled prosciutto wrapped figs; spicy. Finish: medium in length, but bold; more smoked mussels, hickory, tarry peat and spices. Comment: the nose is spectacular and the palate not so shabby; if you enjoy brash, young, peated malts, this is your ticket to heaven; layered, complex and lush, with a very tarry bold classic young Islay profile; this is the Laphroaig-ish you are looking for!” – $92

  1. A.D. Rattray Craigellachie 16 Year 

52.3% – 2002 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 900599 –

$125

  1. A.D. Rattray Crotfengea 12 Year – 56.9% – 2007 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 396 – $93
  2. A.D. Rattray Glenburn 25 Year – 54.9% – 1997 – Sherry Butt – Cask 1 – $220
  3. A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year – 54.8% – Distilled 1988 – Sherry Cask No. 9173 – 

Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Walnuts, hazelnuts, gooseberry and banana chips. Palate: Almond butter, gentian and vanilla. Finish: Exceptionally nutty, with cacao nibs and Seville orange.” – $595 

  1. A.D. Rattray Glen Spey 20 Year – 59.0% – 1997 – Sherry Butt – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Quince, thyme, vanilla and almond. Palate: Green apple, peach and tarragon. Finish: Exotic fruits mingle with Mediterranean herbs.” – $220
  2. A.D. Rattray Staoisha 6 Year – 59.1% – 2013 – Bourbon Hogshead – Cask 10536 – $75

Glenfarclas Family Casks Currently in Stock! 

The Late December Arrivals are Available in Limited Quantities!

We have just 1-2 bottles of most of these. And there is one thing I feel needs to be addressed. Many of these – especially the older ones – are described as 4th Fill Hogsheads. And yet the colour and their tasting notes, don’t always seem to reflect this. I remember George Grant telling me a long time ago that they often categorized casks as 4th Fill when they weren’t sure of their provenance. They might be 2nd or 3rd fill, but they couldn’t be sure… So the lesson is, don’t judge the character of a Family Cask by its declared cask type, especially if it is 4th fill. It might be considerably more active…

Although the Winter 2018 releases of the 1978 and 1979 Family Casks have not been reviewed, it is worth noting that their sister casks, also 4th Fill Hogsheads, have been scoring in the 90s. The 1993 is another one of these “4th Fill” casks, that is surprisingly sherried. When we initially brought it in at the end of the summer it was $600/bottle, but an opportunity came our way. Another retailer had committed to a couple of cases and then backed out after the product arrived. We were offered a $75/bottle discount to pick up the last 18 bottles so we jumped at it… see below!

  1. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1978 Winter 2018 – 42.7% – 40 Year – 4th Fill Hogshead – $1650
  2. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1979 Winter 2018 – 48.4% – 39 Year – 4th Fill Hogshead – $1585 – 90.25pts Whisky Base
  3. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 Summer 2018 – 4 7.8% – 37 Year – Refill Hogshead – 89pts Whisky Fun: “A sister cask, this should be interesting. Colour: light yellow. Nose: lots of freshly baked breads, sourdough starter, veg stock and curious things like roast chicken, bay leaf, tarragon and wild mushrooms. A meal in a glass! Goes on with baking soda, cornbread, ginger biscuits and a rather dry and peppery waxiness. Things like wax paper, canvas and old jackets. Freshly rolled oats, savoury flapjack, trail mix and toasted mixed nuts. Fresh, clean and getting increasingly cereal in profile. Mouth: full and syrupy in texture. Lots of toasted almonds, coconut oil, buttered bread, lemon peel, citrus infused darjeeling tea, mint leaf and fir liqueur. Touches of fennel seed, caraway and miso broth. Again this rather delicate waxiness in the background with similar peppery notes. Finish: long, earthy, all on olive oil, mixed shades of pepper, lime zest, white truffle and dried herbs. Comments: cleaner than its sibling and very good. A more technical and textbook early 80s Glenfarclas. I like the dryness, it felt very crisp and appetising.” – $1523 – 89.75pts Whisky Base / 89pts Whisky Fun
  4. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 Winter 2018 – 43.3% – 38 Year – Refill Hogshead – $1523
  5. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1989 Winter 2018 – 51.4% – 28 Year – Sherry Butt – $1190 – 91pts Whisky Base
  6. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1992 Winter 2018 – 53.5% – 26 Year – 4th Fill Butt – $625 – 89.06pts Whisky Base
  7. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1993 Summer 2018 – 53.3% – 25 Year – 4th Fill Butt – 86pts Whisky Fun: “Colour: amber. Nose: Lovely! A big, easy, leafy and tobacco-scented sherry profile. Interesting that the sherry still has a clear and definable voice on a 4th fill – perhaps the first 3 fills were reasonably short? All very typical on raisins, sultanas, dates and the usual mix of dark fruits. Brown bread, mushrooms, damp earth and some old wine cellar notes. With a little breathing it begins to display notes of cherry blossom and strawberry laces. Very lovely. With water: more toasty notes, more seeds, freshly baked savoury pastries, some cinnamon powder. Mouth: gingerbread with lemon icing, strawberry pipe tobacco, lime leaf, mint julep, some cloves, black pepper and a more developed bready aspect as well. Fresh brown bread and croissants. Getting more and more tertiary and autolytic as time goes on; you can feel that the distillate is starting to have a much more assertive voice over and above the cask. Which, obviously, I rather like. With water: dryer, more towards soft chocolate notes, some walnuts, grist, chamois leather and pollen. Finish: long and on cereals, cocoa, black tea and a few citrus peels. Comments: There’s lots to enjoy here, not least the interplay and changing volumes between cask and distillate. However, I think it’s perhaps not quite a thrilling as some of the older FCs we’re already tried. Quality is still undeniably high though.” – $525 – 91.85pts Whisky Base – Was initially closer to $600, we got a $75 a bottle discount to clear out the stock and passed on the savings!
  8. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1999 Winter 2018 – 56.0% – 19 Year – Refill Butt – $450 – 84.3pts Whisky Base
  9. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 Winter 2018 – 56.9% – 17 Year – Refill Hogshead – $450 – 88.5pts Whisky Base
  10. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 Summer 2018 – 5.3% – 17 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – $420 – 88.5pts Whisky Base
  11. Glenfarclas Family Cask 2003 Winter 2018 – 58.3% – 15 Year – 4th Fill Butt – $407 – 89.35pts Whisky Base

New Cadenhead Single Malts from Batch 25 

Young, Old and Very Limited Whiskies!

We have released a new selection of Cadenhead Small Batch whiskies from the International Release No. 25. There are a couple of Gold Label Single Casks: Speyside 1991 and Glen Moray 1998, with just 6 bottles of each for Canada. There are also some curious twenty-something single malts from Glen Elgin, Strathmill, Tormore, as well a decent selection of 10-12 year old value priced young cask strength single malts. Only 6-18 bottles of each are destined for KWM. Here are the whiskies of Small Batch Release #25:

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Elgin 1995 – 50.6% – 23 Year – Two Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Toffee shortbread, cardamom, pecans and white chocolate. Honey, sage and fennel. Palate: Juicy and syrupy, mangoes, passion fruit, peaches in syrup, maraschino cherries, apricots and lots of thick creamy notes. Finish: A syrupy fruit bomb with pouring cream and a hint of ginger snap biscuits.” – $220
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Glentauchers  2007 – 57.9% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Warm banana loaf, barley loft, marshmallow sweet. Palate: Candy cane, root ginger, apple skins. Finish: Hint of mace, white pepper, mandarin.” – $112
  3. Cadenhead Small Batch Aultmore 2006 – 57.4% – 12 Year – 4 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Creamy, fresh spearmint, slight moss. Palate: Watermelon, pineapple juice, clotted cream. Finish: Lemon and lime, orange bitters, grated nutmeg.” – $122
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Dailuaine 2008 – 59.8% – 10 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Honeycomb, roasted peanuts, soft brown sugar and crème caramel. Palate: Soft grassy notes, caramel, faint allspice. Hints of coconut along with butterscotch and coffee beans. Finish: Toffee meringues, faint white pepper, mashed bananas and kiwi fruits.” – $115
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Benrinnes 1995 – 51.1% – 23 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Vanilla pods, hint of dunnage warehouse, fresh fruit salad. Palate: Kiwi, candy floss, strawberry yoghurt. Finish: Citrus hoppy notes, lemon peel, honeycomb.” – $210
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Royal Brackla 2006 – 57.7% – 12 Year – 4 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Vanilla pods, whole pineapples, caramel with hints of lime and paprika. Palate: Thick chewy mouthfeel with, lemon peel, honey, almonds and gooseberries. Finish: Hint of spice, heavy cream with lemon, white chocolate and soft orange notes.” – $114
  7. Cadenhead Small Batch Craigellachie 2007 – 54% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Millionaire shortcake, green bananas, muscovado sugar. Palate: Paprika, pecans, honey. Finish: Dried mixed herbs, pears, star anise.” – $112
  8. Cadenhead Small Batch Strathmill 1991 – 51.2% – 27 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich and fruity, with chocolate brownies, almonds, coconut and pistachios. Dates, strawberries and green apple skins. Palate: Salted caramel, toffee apples with a hint of cloves. Pineapple in syrup, lemon drizzle cake and popping candy. Finish: Hints of rhubarb, star anise, cinnamon, fresh ginger and lemongrass.” – $320
  9. Cadenhead Small Batch Tormore 1988 – 47.9% – 30 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Earthy, stewed fruits, caramel. Palate: Toffee ice cream, butterscotch, pine nuts. Finish: Lemon thyme, gooseberries, lemongrass.” – $400
  10. Cadenhead Small Batch Fettercairn 2007 – 56.7% – 11 Year – 3 Bourbon Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Cinnamon buns, caramel and toffee shortbread. Agave syrup, grapes, passion fruit and ginger. Palate: Muscovado sugar. Strawberry yoghurt, raisin butter, figs, and peaches. Finish: Milk chocolate, faint cayenne pepper, coriander and salted butter.” – $118
  11. Cadenhead Small Batch Speyside Distillery 1991 – 48.6% – 27 Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Focaccia bread, milk chocolate and hazelnut spread, icing sugar. Palate: Vine tomatoes, honeycomb, olive oil. Finish: Strawberry coulis, ginger ale, clove oil.” – $285 – Only 1 Bottles Left!
  12. Cadenhead Small Batch Glen Moray 1998 – 52.5% – 20Year – Bourbon Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Lemon bonbons, cocoa powder, hazelnuts and golden syrup. Palate: Very syrupy with lime zest, persimmons, bergamot and a hint of liquorice. Finish: Long and syrupy with fennel, basil, lemon and growing runny honey finish.” – $206 – Only 6 Bottles/Limit 1 per customer!

Introducing: The New Balblair Core Range 

Moving to Age Statements!

The first three whiskies of the new Balblair core range are here. The Highland distillery, established in 1790 along the Dornoch Firth, is one of Scotland’s oldest operating distilleries. It is also one of the most beautiful. The Distillery’s whisky is lovely, with a heavy oily style, but it has struggled to crack the mainstream. The switch from a vintage based range to an age statement core range will likely assist this. I have long had a soft spot for Balblair whisky, especially bottlings in their late teens and early 20s. The range will be capped with a 25 year, which is coming to Canada, but not just yet. I love that the full range is bottled at 46%.

  1. Balblair 12 Year – 46% – Matured in American oak ex-bourbon “double-fired American oak casks” – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Elegant bright lemon peel layered with creamy vanilla and crisp green apples. Palate: Ground spices and dried orange slices enveloped in intense set honey sweetness. Finish: Creamy and leathery with notes of sweet vanilla.” – $90
  2. Balblair 15 Year – 46% – Matured in ex-Bourbon and 1st fill Spanish Sherry Butts – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Leatherwood honey and spicy gingerbread followed by juicy prunes and fresh lemon peel. Palate: Velvety in texture, bursting with dark chocolate, tropical fruit and spices. Finish: Long and mellow, with notes of creamy vanilla and citrus.” – $120
  3. Balblair 18 Year – 46% – Matured in ex-Bourbon, Finished in First Fill ex-Sherry Seasoned Spanish Oak Butts – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma: Rich toffee and baked pears shine bright against an elegant backdrop of new leather. Palate: A masterful balance of juicy apricots, seasoned oak and vanilla custard. Finish: Long and warming with chords of fresh spices and raisins.” – $180

Two New Gordon Macphail Connoisseurs Choice Upper Releases 

Of Glenrothes 1988 and Scapa 1986!

The “Upper” range of Gordon Macphail’s Connoisseurs Choice consists of old and rare single casks, selected for their superior quality. The whiskies are filled in to premium bottles and come in handsome oak boxes. These two just landed in Alberta!

  1.  GM CC Upper Glenrothes 1988 – 58.5% – Refill American Hogshead – 200 Bottles Worldwide – Producer Tasting Note:Nose: Hints of aromatic kaffir lime add a zesty freshness to a pronounced sweetness – apricot jam, peaches in syrup, and brandy snaps. Spicy ginger and toasted malt aromas develop over a vanilla toffee undertone. Taste: Thick and mouth-coating; warming ginger spice with woody undertones complement sugared red apples. Finish: Medium-bodied finish with lingering fruity notes.” – $860+gst
  2. GM CC Upper Scapa 1986 – 55.2% – Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel – 65 Bottles Worldwide – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aromas of tropical fruit weave around subtle glazed-meat notes. Kiwi and honeydew melon come together with manuka honey whilst sprigs of mint add a fresh lift. Taste: Mouth-coating; intense woody flavours transform into aniseed and ginger spice. Hints of wood smoke are balanced by caramelised bananas coated with luxurious dark chocolate. Finish: A medium finish with lingering woody notes.” – $1120+gst

Evan’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society Corner 

Introducing the January 2020 SMWS Canada Outturn!

January is a time of new beginnings, a brief moment to recollect at days past but also dream of what the future holds. The new year means seven new cask strength bottles to discuss and share with friends.

If you are a Scot, a Scotch Whisky Drinker, or both; it also means the specter of Rabbie Burns looms in the air. He hovers above us, anxiously waiting for his moment to pounce, which as always will happen on January 25th: the day of his birth. Then we will all be forced to don a fake Scottish accent, wear kilts and belt out Gaelic Rhymes in a Seussian manner and gulp down some haggis before we get to the dramming.

Enough of that for now. We have at least a few days more before we do all of that. For now, let’s talk about Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles and the spirits that THEY contain. If you want to read Evan’s take on the new flight of SMWS bottles, check out the KWM Blog. In the meantime, here is the Janauary 2020 Outturn:

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 58.29: Soul o’ plays and pranks  – 59.3% – 10 Year – Refill Hogshead – Flavour Profile: Light Delicate – Panel’s Tasting Note: “As spiky as a passionate poet, prickling with assorted citrus, fresh pineapple, cheese curds, lemon bonbons, icing sugar, chamomile and a maple syrup drizzled cheesecake. Water throws up apple turnover cake with a hefty slathering of vanilla custard. The palate has a fine texture, more maple syrup but a bittersweet quality as well. Some chewy toffee and a guilty note of chocolate eclairs. Even with water the texture is still luxurious and mouth-coating. Notes of gooseberry jam, stem ginger in syrup and rhubarb and custard sweeties. Barley water washed everything down nicely in the finish.” – $142
  2. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 13.70: Nuts, spice and intrigue

– 61.1% – 10 Year – Refill Barrel – Flavour profile: Spicy dry. –

Outturn: 172 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose began with fresh waves of cut grass and pine forests whilst a curious overlaying character initiated thoughts of ‘what is that aroma’? Perfumed notes formulated into lilac and lavender before brazil nuts and toasted pine nuts presented oily textures. Oils turned to cream – strawberries and cream to be precise which quickly became accompanied by peaches, apricots and brandy butter.

Curious aromas turned into warming spice as cloves and nutmeg joined allspice and star anise. Without water the palate was sweet and rich yet feisty like fresh ginger. However, with just a drop added it revealed herbal tones with butter on crumpets and puff pastry wrapped around blackberry jam. The dried fruits of malt loaf appeared at the end with brioche bread and a glass of dry white wine.” – $149

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 35.220: walking into a fruit punch

Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak vanilla. –

Outturn: 187 bottles.

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Vibrant fruit came out swinging as banana and tinned peaches traded blows with apricot and coconut before getting caught by a tropical rum punch. Apple and rhubarb crumble waited in the corner with a bucket of vanilla custard and dusty oak sawdust.

Soft marshmallow cushioned blows as boozy baked plums entered the ring with frangipane cakes and stone fruits in a dunnage warehouse. Honey sweetness transpired into chewing on warm fudge and fondant icing before the final round presented pink wafer biscuits and Turkish Delight with banana fritters on an oak platter.” – $500

  1.  Scotch Malt Whisky Society 10.165: Sand and soot – 62.4% – 11 Year – Refill Barrel –

Flavour Profile: Oily coastal. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Mineralic sea air came laden with the sweet smell of vanilla ice cream cones and cinnamon on seaweed. Coal dust and soot sprinkled down onto a sandy beach as driftwood and the frayed remnants of ship’s rope washed up on the shore. The sweet fragrance of hibiscus flowers drifted into Earl Grey tea and spicy sandalwood like a lucid dream whilst a whiff of the medicinal delivered tea tree oil and salted blackcurrants.

Sticky cherry cola and pink wafer biscuits became balanced by the tartness of kumquats and lime relish with a suggestion of turmeric and lemongrass. A combination of salty rocks and gravlax returned us to a maritime mood as the finish wrapped our senses with warm butter and pepper.” – $178

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 93.116: Dystopian cyberman lubricant

Flavour Profile: Lightly peated. –

Outturn: 171 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note:  “Fish and chips with lashings of malt vinegar, smoked marzipan, heather doused in TCP, salted grist, Parahandy puffer smoke and grilled whelks bobbing in petrol diluted with barnacle foam. Delicious madness! With water it moves more towards the farmyard with notes of iodine, ink, mutton fat, antiseptic, disinfectant and mixtures of brine, engine oil and medical tinctures. Smoked black peppercorns pulverised in a pestle and mortar.

The palate opens with smoked porridge, nettle cordial, soft tar notes, citronella candles, kippers in kedgeree, smoked almonds, aged Loire chenin and dried kelp. Water unveils notes of salt baked cod, Austrian potato salad, peppered mackerel, coal dust, miso seaweed broth, meat stock, beach sand and salty blue cheese sprinkled with crushed aspirin.” – $214

  1. Scotch Malt Whisky Society 16.38: Acme ghost repellent

– 59.3% – 8 Year – Recharred Hogshead – Flavour Profile: Peated. –

Outturn: 315 bottles. –

Panel’s Tasting Note: “Pure farmyard! All smouldering wood ash, strap leather, old hay loft, tractor engines and mutton heavy stovies. Some burnt orange peel, burning newspaper and flint smoke. Water brings out coal tar soap, brake fluid, mead and burlap. Hints of antiseptic, chicken soup, mustard oil and burnt toast.

The arrival in the mouth is all on earthy peat oils, lemon jam, biltong, game meats, pine cones, dried banana chips, camphor and lanolin. A splash of water gives jasmine tea, caraway, incense, ginger beer, heavy eucalyptus oils, smoky bacon, salted liquorice, butterscotch and paraffin wax. A wee beast!” – $137

Two New Two Brewers Single Malts 

Releases 17 18 from Two Brewers!

These chappies came in before Christmas, but it is only now that we have been able to get the word out.

Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 17 – 46% – Innovative Series: “Distilled using malted rye and specialty brewer’s malts and then finished in specially selected barrels.” – Producer’s Tasting Note: “A vibrant nose of citric ginger and burnt caramel foretell the drams temperament. A light sweet entry gives way to an assertive, cinnamon
candy spice, enveloping the brown sugar centre. The finish is a visit to the spice store, the senses tingling, prolonged and pleasing.” – $100

Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 18 –  Special Finish Series: “100% barley, standard mash and distillation. The mash was used in the blends of 7 Releases. This is the last two barrels. This started in 1st use Exbourbon, but was transferred to new barrels in June’13.” – – $130

My Tasting Note: Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt 

The Best Yet in the Series!

Readers of the Malt Messenger are more than aware of our love of the mystery Edrington Blended Malts… This is a good one!

Old Perth 24 Year Blended Malt – 45.1% – Matured in Sherry, the whisky is a marriage of Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes, Bunnahabhain and Tamdhu distilleries which were all distilled back in 1994. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: brown sugar melting in butter, French toast with maple syrup and earthy dunnage warehouse notes; bright orange, dried apricot and cantaloupe; dark chocolate covered espresso beans and loads of dried and dark fruits: prunes, raisins, dates figs; salted caramel and treacle toffee; a touch of clean smoke and maritime notes. Palate: big, rich, round and nutty with building spices; still earthy, more dunnage warehouses, leather and damp tobacco; more dried dark fruits, citrus and apricots; some melon and a touch of more tropical fruit; prominent, but elegant smoke and salt, with a touch of a tarry leathery backbone; builds in to dark chocolate, espresso bean and deep spices: fennel, clove, anise and a touch of Dutch licorice; more salted caramel and treacle toffee. Finish: long, rich, sherried and coating; loads of dark fruits, spices, leather, chocolate and tobacco; ends creamy with a hint of salt, smoke and bags more fruit. Comment: if you are seeking a big, rich, mature sherry bomb, look no further; this is a very complex, fruity dram, with just a touch of clean smoke and salt; the prices on these mysterious Edrington Blended Malts keep creeping up, but the juice is maturing beautifully!” – $290 – Only 24 bottles coming to KWM!

KWM Winter 2020 Tasting Schedule 

Some Very Cool Tastings Events in the First Three Months of 2020

The Winter 2020 tastings, including Wine, Whisky, Beer and other Spirits are all online and open for registration. A summary of the whisky tastings is below:

  1. MS Calgary Whiskies Festival 2020 – Thursday January 16 7Pm – The 9th Annual MS Calgary Whisky Festival returns, in an exciting new venue. We have moved the event to the Glenbow Museum to make more room for exhibitors and Master Classes, while retaining the “cool venue” aesthetic. 10 Master Classes are available, including 4 VIP. Nearly 70% of the tickets have already sold…  tickets can be purchased by following this link!$120-200
  2. Whisky Gems of Elixir Distillers with Katy Kennedy – Friday January 17 7PM – Elixir Distillers is rapidly becoming one of our key suppliers of cool and unique whiskies. Katy Kennedy Export, Sales Manager, will guide you through a range of unique and very good value whiskies. – $30
  3. Burns Bash: Whisky Festival – Thursday January 23 7PM – We’ll mark the birth of the Scottish Bard a couple of days early, with a whisky festival featuring some very good deals, our Year End Inventory Sale is a week later. Taste your way through a preview of some of the weekend’s best whisky deals! We won’t supply the Ode to the Haggis or a kilt, but we will give you a KWM logo Glencairn Glass which you can raise with whisky, to the memory of Scotland’s favourite son. – $50
  4. The Whiskies of A.D. Rattray with Nick White – Friday January 24 7PM – Nick White, Managing Director of independent bottler A.D. Rattray will be our guest of honour as we trace the origins of the storied whisky firm. – $30
  5. Single Barrel Very Small Batch Bourbon – Tuesday January 28 7PM – With two KWM exclusive barrels of Jefferson’s Bourbon having just landed, as well as a bunch of other great single barrel and small batch Bourbons, the time is ripe for a Bourbon Tasting! – $30
  6. Heritage Hunter Laing with Andrew Laing – Mon Feb 3 6PM – Andrew Laing of Hunter Laing returns to KWM with-you’ll be shocked to learn-some exciting new whiskies, including the Hunter Laing Heritage Series… 30 year old Bowmore anyone? – $50
  7. I love Whisky Chocolate – Tuesday February 11 – A sumptuous whisky and chocolate tasting for lovers of both, or people who just love whisky or chocolate! Singles, couples and more complicated groupings all welcome. – $40
  8. Feis Isle: The KWM Islay Whisky Festival – Thursday February 20 7PM – 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. Includes a KWM logo Whisky Glass. – $60
  9. Great Grains – Thursday February 27 7PM – Looking for an old whisky that is also excellent value? There are some glorious old grain whiskies out there and you need to give them a closer look. We are also planning to open something a little crazy for this one! – $60
  10. Stillin’ Gin’s Still In – Tuesday March 10 7PM – You can make gin with practically any flavouring that can be dissolved in alcohol, and with this blank canvas in mind, it makes sense that gin is now one of the biggest trends in the spirit world. We’re going to taste some of our favourites, both new-school and old. – $30
  11. Irish Whiskey: Boom or Bubble – Saturday March 14 5PM – The last few years have seen a resurgence of interest in Irish whiskey. 5 years ago there were just 4 distilleries in the whole of Ireland, today there are at least 18 with plans for many more! We’ll look at Irish whiskey’s past, present and future while sampling some of the finest whiskies from the Emerald Isle. And we’ll, of course, raise a glass to Saint Paddy! – $40
  12. The KWM Rare Old Whisky Festival – Thursday March 19 7-10 PM – Think of this as one of our Ancient Malts tastings but festival style, with more unique whisky to try and an exclusive takeaway tasting glass. This event will feature a range of at least 30 Rare Old whiskies priced $300 to $3000 a bottle or more. The event will be smaller and more intimate than our typical festival, with an extra hour so you won’t feel rushed! In all up to $15000.00 worth of whisky will be open for tasting! – $200
  13. Classics of Cadenhead – Friday March 20 7PM – We have assembled a range of unique, rare and special Cadenhead whiskies for a Master Class tasting. The range will include at least one closed distillery and even a 45 year old! – $75
  14. Making Bourbon Great Again: Unimpeachable Whiskey – Tuesday April 7 7PM – Bourbon doesn’t stay up all night tweeting into the void, pressure foreign governments to personal ends or pretend it is something it’s not. It just tastes great! Evan will obstruct any discussion of American politics, and let the whiskey do the talking, as we once again Make Bourbon Great Again. – $30
  15. Why Are So Many Rums Named Ron? And Other Stupid Questions! – Thr Apr 9 7PM – This and other stupid questions will be answered. We’ll explore the shady beginnings of the rum trade, the meaning of the word “Hogo”, and sip on things so good it’d make pirates surrender their booty. – $40

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 or register online!

KWM Casks Update 

Good Things Don’t Always Come to Those Who Wait…!

We have had more than a few dynamite single casks and exclusive bottlings last year. There was the Imperial 1995, which set a new record for the fastest selling single cask we’ve ever had. It sold in 10 days, edging out our Laddie from 2018 which took just 15 days… There was also the Berry’s Orkney Islands 18 Year (cough Highland Park) from this past winter… It too didn’t last long, it sold out in just under 3 months. If you missed out on any of these I have really exciting news for you, we are expecting new single casks of all three this coming year. Stay tuned in the months ahead for more details on our next single casks from Bruichladdich, Imperial and Highland Park… er, Orkney Islands single malt!

In the meantime, a couple of our current offerings are disappearing fast. At the rate our Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength and SMOS (Single Malts of Scotland) Ben Nevis 1996 are selling, they won’t last long this year. We have just two dozen bottles left of our Glenfarclas and for the Ben Nevis no more than double that. Our Glen Scotia 1999 KWM Cask is also getting low in inventory, with just over 30 bottles left, and it is the same store with our Shelter Point KWM Rye Cask, with just over 20 bottles left! Details and tasting notes on all three of them below. Good things don’t always come to those who wait… 

  1. Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength – 53.5% – Bottled at 53.5% this cask strength 21 year old Glenfarclas has been bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. The back label says it is bottled for “The Scotch Guy’s 15th Anniversary at KWM!” but we are actually launching it on his 16th Anniversary, November 25, 2019. This is not a single cask, a Glenfarclas Family Cask of this age would cost at least twice as much as this, but it is a bespoke exclusive, especially the label. See below. The whisky is 75% sold in just a month! – My Tasting Note: “Nose: round, rich and fruity; very nutty: beer nuts, maple coated walnuts and marcona almonds; soft leather, brandy infused chocolate and white fruit cake; loads of fruit: candied and citric; creamy, warm pie crust from the oven; perhaps some tart lemon meringue. Palate: big, rich and very fruity with building earthy spices; loads of caramel, candied orange, orange peel and other candied fruits; still creamy with more buttery pie crust and tart fruit cake; the spices slowly build: fresh sliced ginger, as well as cardamom and cinnamon sticks; moves towards fennel and anise; very nutty too, loads of candied nuts and more oily marcona almonds. Finish: long, drying, spicy and elegant; fading candied fruits and nuts with more buttery pie crust and soft leather. Comment: another cracking cask strength Glenfarclas at an awesome price point; we can’t take any credit for the selection of this whisky; once again we put our faith in George and his team at Glenfarclas, and once again they have delivered; just in time for Christmas this bottle is oozing candied fruits, nuts and spices… how festive!” – $180
  2. SMOS Ben Nevis 1996 KWM Cask – 53.4% – 22 Year – Sherry Butt – This 22 Year old Ben Nevis is one of a pair of really exciting single casks we obtained from Elixir Distillers this fall. Distilled in 1996 and matured in a Sherry Butt, the whisky was selected by and bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market at 53.4%. More than 2/3 of the 440 bottles have sold in the first six weeks! – My Tasting Note: Nose: Eatmore and polished new leather shoes; dark fruits; nutty with caramel, leather and tobcco; dried apple chunks sprinkled with cinnamon; woody: freshly sawed cedar and a dry-mossy pine forrest floor; fig jam and pineapple. Palate: round, rich and fruity; there is a soft silky body full of dried dark fruits: raisins, sultanas, date squares and figs in honey; dark milk chocolate and Caramilk; not quite molasses-y enough to be in Eatmore territory, but it is close; pineapple in sweet sour sauch; honeyed and decadent with burnt caramel and maple syrup; the leather and tobacco move in with soft spices; sherried and woody but balanced in both cases. Finish: big, drying, fruity and spicy; the fruits and caramels fade leaving traces of their past glories; not as complex as the palate but elegant none the less. Comment: this is a big rich and sherried Ben Nevis with a soft coating body; there is a touch of more tropical fruits, but it is the sherry tones driving the bus on this one; the nose is good, the palate is great; Ben Nevis has built a cult following among whisky geeks, and this is another fine example as to why…” – $180
  3. Glen Scotia 1999 KWm Cask No. 359 – 53.6% – 19 Year – Our first exclusive Glen Scotia is from an ex-sherry hogshead cask filled in July of 1999 and was bottled in March of 2019 after 19 years at 53.6%.  Of the 227 total bottles, just a little over 40 are left!. The first official bottling of Glen Scotia ever to come to Canada, possibly North America. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: cola cubes and old fashioned root beer; delicate smoke, a touch of wasabi-ginger and salted caramel; a touch of the classic Glen Scotia dirty engine oil, honey dew melon, mango and brown sugar round out the nose. Palate: big, rich, herbaceous and oily, very oily; this is classic Glen Scotia with a fine balance between the dirty engine oil soaked rags, subtle maritime smoke and delicate fruits; more salted caramel, root beer cola cubes and chinotto; melons, mango and Granny Smith apples make way for wasabi, sliced ginger, clove and nutmeg. Finish: long, coating and oily; like the palate it moves in layers, with traces of fruit, spice and dirty engine oil; creamy and fruity for the finale. Comment: this is a cracking Glen Scotia; it was made at a time when the distillery was severely neglected, almost decrepit; I have long marvelled at how this distillery produced such beautiful whiskies, especially the older ones, almost despite itself; this whisky is not for everyone, but if you like the classic Campbeltown style, there is much to love here!”

– $220

  1. Shelter Point KWM Rye Cask – 59.6% – 9 Year – My Tasting Note: “Nose: maple syrup, peanut brittle, cloves just plucked from a honey baked ham and treacle tarts; oily with loads of spice; there was a hint of dill at first but it quickly vanished; dark fruits, licorice root and fig jam; oh and glazed pork belly (seriously). Palate: big, oily, syrupy and spicy; decadent Demerara and brown sugars before bacon infused dark chocolate and crisp spices: fennel, cloves and licorice root; more cloves plucked from a honey baked ham and sweet and sour pork; silky vanilla with dates and figs are late to the party. Finish: insanely long, oily, coating and decadent with more dark fruits and soft spices; a touch of glazed pork belly. Comment: wow… this was a serendipitous discovery on visiting Shelter point with Evan and Curt in September.” – $120

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact Disclaimers 

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

All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at 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.

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson
Owner Scotchguy
Kensington Wine Market
403-283-8000
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

www.kensingtonwinemarket.com

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/malt-messenger-no-107-by-andrew-ferguson-new-year-new-whiskies-tastings-more-whisky-news/

Dewar’s to launch Caribbean Smooth ~ by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours ~ Mclean Scotland

an eight year old whisky blend finished in rum casks – as the first in a new series of ‘innovative’ blends set for release over the next few years.  The whisky has been finished in rum casks for ‘around six months’ before being bottled at 40% abv. Priced at US$21.99, Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth is available exclusively in the US and Canada from 1 October. MY QUESTION IS how can a rum cask flavour this dram in under six months? Casks were sourced straight from the Caribbean and brought to Glasgow to be filled with an 8 year old blend. SECOND QUESTION as the new laws on whisky came out in June, June to September is only 3 months or so, when did Dewar’s obtain the casks? Did they know in advance the changes about to come into force? What if it hadnee happened? How long does it take to formulate a blend, then re cask and bottle, then have it available the other side of the world?  All since June and mid September? Come on, somebody is pulling the wool here! How did Glenfiddich Distillery get away with it? Like many industries, it seems to me that whisky has many hidden, hidden/underhand deals going on behind the scenes, far too much money is at stake to just take chances. What did Glen Moray  do with those cider casks? It seems to me that the big boys in the whisky industry get away with things, that wee distillers cannee. Why did they decide to only launch in North America? Are the rules different? Are the drinkers less knowledgeable? Like JW did with their ill-fated Jane Walker, use that region as a guinea pig? If all goes horribly wrong, just dinnae mention it again and forget it. The amendment to the Scotch whisky technical file, made in June 2019, allowed Scotch whisky producers to use a wider variety of casks for maturation, including ex-Tequila and Calvados casks. However, rum casks were already permitted for the maturation of Scotch before the rule change, with recent examples including Glenfiddich Fire Cane and Ardbeg Drum. The amendment to the Scotch Whisky Technical File, gives specific guidance on which casks can be used to mature or ‘finish’ Scotch whisky, with new text as follows:

The full detailed guff;  ‘The spirit must be matured in new oak casks and/or in oak casks which have only been used to mature wine (still or fortified) and/or beer/ale and/or spirits with the exception of: wine, beer/ale or spirits produced from, or made with, stone fruits – beer/ale to which fruit, flavouring or sweetening has been added after fermentation – spirits to which fruit, flavouring or sweetening has been added after distillation and where such previous maturation is part of the traditional processes for those wines, beers/ales or spirits. Regardless of the type of cask used, the resulting product must have the traditional colour, taste and aroma characteristics of Scotch Whisky.’ In practice, the new rules mean that distillers can now mature Scotch whisky in a much wider variety of casks, including those previously used to age agave spirits (including Tequila and mezcal), Calvados, barrel-aged cachaça, shochu and baijiu, as well as some other fruit spirits. The rules also do not allow the use of ex-cider casks, despite the launch of a cider cask-finished single malt by Speyside single malt Glen Moray in October last year. In January 2018, a report by The Wall Street Journal claimed that Diageo, the world’s biggest Scotch whisky producer, had formed a ‘secret task force’ to explore possible changes to Scotch’s strict production rules, including ‘finishing’ Scotch whisky in casks previously used to mature Don Julio Tequila, which the company owns. At the time, the plans were said to have been rebuffed by the SWA. There is more of this than meets the eye, have Diageo been “up to dealings”? Most distillers have been supportive of Scotch whisky’s strict production regulations, but some have privately expressed concerns recently that the tight rules governing cask maturation in particular might be putting Scotch at a commercial disadvantage to rival whisky categories.  Balvenie have used rum casks for many years now, is it just me? I don’t understand this “new development”. PAUL MCLEAN http://whiskytours.scot/

 

 

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/dewars-to-launch-caribbean-smooth-by-paul-mclean-of-whisky-tours-mclean-scotland/

THE MCLEANSCOTLAND WHISKY INTERVIEW by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours ~ Mclean Scotland

This (interview) chat was with a pal I’ve know some years now, a hard one to be honest, as he is a part of the church and, me being Catholic, be careful what I ask!  Even so, it was fun.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Vic Cameron, and I am a minister and whisky consultant. Yes, quite a difference in roles, however I am ‘living the dream’. Pastoring my church and travelling the world doing whisky consultancy is my dream job. I am also a husband, father and Drowdie (that’s a grandfather) and a passionate follower of Forres Mechanics Football Club.

What whisky do you collect if any and why?

I don’t really collect whisky as such; I am a firm believer that whisky is purchased for drinking and enjoying. I have nothing of course against whisky collectors; however, it is not for me. There are certain whiskies I thought that I will keep. I’m always on the look out for whiskies with distillation dates when I was based on a particular site. So, I’m always on the look out for Blair Athol and Aberfeldy from 1995 and 1996, and Dailuaine and Benrinnes from 2000 to 2003.

How did your passion for whisky begin?

I was never really into whisky as a young man but got a taste for good whisky while I was training to be a Distillery Manager with Diageo. I was 29 at the time and was based at a good site (which will remain nameless) working under an experienced manager (who will also remain nameless). One Friday afternoon I was informed we were going for a walk round the warehouse and we ended up at the back of one next to a 30 year old sherry cask. Samples were drawn and drams were poured and I was offered one. “I don’t drink whisky”, I said. I was told in no uncertain terms, with a few expletives thrown in for effect, that if I wanted to be a Distillery Manager, I had to drink whisky. So, I did, and it was wonderful; it was smooth (even at about 55% alcohol) and delicious and I have never looked back. It was also at this point that I saw distilling as a vocation and career and not just a job.

Would you like to see the closed distilleries rebuilt? Any one in particular?

I’m probably not the best person to ask this question seeing as I stood up in a training session a couple of years ago and stated that Diageo would never open Port Ellen or Brora! So, I’ve not got a great history in this respect. There are of course many sites that could be opened again. It is good to see the ‘old giants’ opening again; Port Ellen, Brora and Rosebank for example. As a local Forres boy it would be nice to see Dallas Dhu opening again, just to have another distillery in Forres to go along with Benromach and increase employment and visitors in the area.

The prices for certain whiskies keep on climbing. How does that affect your decision to keep or open a bottle?

I have to say that I will not pay what I think to be silly prices. You can still get great whisky for good prices; you can get a decent dram from the SMWS for under £60 in my opinion. Up here we can get good distillery bottlings at decent prices from Glen Moray and Benromach. And as I’ve said before I buy to enjoy not invest, so if I buy a bottle, I will open it eventually.

How do you feel about whisky investment – and do you consider yourself an ‘investor’?

As I’ve said I do not see myself as an ‘investor’ but nothing against those that are good at it and think they can make some money from it. Sometimes it bugs me when I see something that has just come out being sold on Facebook and auction sites almost immediately but that is always going to happen.

Do you think you’d be as passionate about whisky if you didn’t have connections so immersed in it?

No, I don’t think I would. Having worked in the industry for so long and being involved in so many aspects of the industry has seen my passion increase over the years. Now I just love being involved in this wonderful industry, that is known about all over the world. Everywhere I go in the world, once people know I am Scottish they want to talk about whisky, and I love that.

What are the most prized bottles in your collection?

It would be whisky distilled when I was in the management team at that site, so they would be my 1996 Gordon and MacPhail Aberfeldy, 2000 Cadenhead’s Benrinnes and 2002 Gordon and MacPhail Dailuaine.

Do you like sharing your own bottles?

Aye, I certainly do. Whisky is for sharing and I love drinking my whisky with my family and friends. I have found that people who are passionate about whisky are also normally generous as well and I’d like to think that my friends would say I was a very generous host with regards to my whisky.

What do you think about the modern whisky industry and the finishes of the product?

I think we are seeing some really exciting things happening in the industry right now. I had the great pleasure to be the Technical Advisor in the first ever Scottish Whisky Awards recently and saw the great entries that came in for this competition. The industry is full of experienced and innovative people doing great work and I am very excited about what they are doing now. And this includes what both the established guys and the new guys are doing; there is space in the industry for both.

What’s been the greatest whisky experience of your life so far?

I think it is what I am doing currently; having people put their trust and confidence in me, allowing me to work for them as a consultant. That is an amazing experience and means I have seen many parts of the world that I would never have been to, such as Myanmar and Singapore.

What are your holy grail bottles to taste/own/find?

For me it must be the ones I help to make!

Talking of Holy Grail, what drew you into becoming a spiritual leader? And your role with the higher spirits?

I started attending church in the early 1990s but soon fell away. I came back after the Twin Towers terrorist attack and made a real commitment to the Lord. I became a leader in the church fairly quickly and then studied via correspondence and on-site training to become an ordained minister (yes, I can call myself Reverend Cameron). I did this while working for Diageo and started leading a church in my ‘spare time’. 5 years ago, I felt led to change my work/church balance in order to work more in the church, so I left my full-time role with Diageo. I then started a consultancy business and done that in my ‘spare time’. And this is what I am still doing.

I do class my main job as Pastor (or minster). I love this job, being there for people and helping them live their lives. I like seeing people achieve their potential and I feel I can help them do this in my spiritual role.

How do you blend both pastimes? Is pastimes the correct word?

Maybe pastimes is not the correct word but I’m OK with that. Perhaps vocations would be a better word to use? I am very blessed at church in that I have a good team of leaders around me who can take the strain of the ministry as and when I am away on business. I love the freedom I have just now, being able to juggle my time according to what is needed. I can minster during the day for example and work at night, something that was not possible with a full-time secular job. So, I can be available for people in the church more than I used to be. I am passionate about both my vocations and feel if I manage my time well, I can do both.

What of the future?

Who knows! But whatever it is I am really excited about it. I have a few projects in the consultancy business about to start that are very exciting, both at home and abroad (watch this space), and that will keep me busy. I am also excited about our church project in India, where we have built and now run, an orphan and widow feeding station. I visit ever year and am about to go out again soon. In the long term I hope to live for half the year in India and build a school near our feeding station. So, lots of plans and lots of things to do? And of course keep enjoying a wee dram every now and again!

 

Article source: http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2020/01/the-mcleanscotland-whisky-interview-by-paul-mclean-of-whisky-tours-mclean-scotland/