All posts by WhiskyCorner

DRINKS BY THE DRAM ADVENT CALENDARS 2018

Christmas is fast approaching, but there is still time to get that special someone a very special advent calendar.

So whether it is a whisky lover, a gin fanatic or a rum obsessive, we are sure there is something for everyone available.

 

The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar - Festive
The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2018 – Festive Edition
Following on from the success of 2017 with sales increasing by almost 75% year on year, Drinks by the Dram has refreshed its calendar line up and is pleased to reveal its 2018 offering, including new themed packaging, exciting collaborations and plenty of ways to ensure you countdown to Christmas in style.

This year some of Drinks by the Dram’s Advent Calendars have taken on a global feel, each featuring the finest liquids from different countries, all wrapped in unique, themed packaging. In the collection there’s the classic Whisky calendar, The Tequila calendar, The Scotch Whisky calendar, The Bourbon calendar, The Rum calendar and The Gin calendar —  each containing 24 wax-sealed 30ml drams of fine global spirits.

Without giving too much away (we all know Father Christmas won’t visit if you open all of your calendar at once), there are some very exciting tipples to be discovered behind these doors. Enjoy rare spirits, award-winning expressions and distinguished drams from all around the world.

Whisky lovers are in for a treat with this year’s calendar offering; in the Old & Rare Advent Calendar you’ll find truly exceptional expressions, including The Blended Whisky Company’s XL Blend – aged for over 40 years and extra large in intense flavours.

The best-selling original Whisky calendar returns this year in festive red packaging, and inside you’ll find 24 delicious drams including the highly sought-after Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 8 from The Blended Whisky Company, and the incredible Japanese Nikka Whisky from the Barrel. And, new to the line-up for this year is the World Whisky Advent Calendar, showcasing exceptional whiskies from around the globe – try whiskies from Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, England, India and more.

For gin enthusiasts, there’s a whole host of calendars to tantalise the taste buds, and after the huge success of last year’s calendar, That Boutique-y Gin Company has once again teamed up with Drinks by the Dram to bring you 24 incredible gins to count you down to Christmas. Behind these doors you’ll discover gins with interesting botanicals, incredible flavours and unique concepts. Sample award-winning expressions from boutique producers, and even get into the festive spirit with Yuletide Gin, containing gold, an entire gingerbread house and even Christmas tree needles.

 

gin
That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar 2018

“Our Drinks by the Dram advent calendars have become an annual Christmas essentials for many consumers, along with the tree, turkey and festive jumpers,” said James Griswood, Senior Product Manager, Drinks by the Dram.

“We see great loyalty for these calendars, and a large number of consumers come back year after to year to treat themselves to one. With stunning new designs this year, on a range of our best sellers, they look better than ever and also make the perfect gift for any drinks enthusiast.”

Drinks by the Dram first launched its line of advent calendars in 2012, starting with The Whisky Advent Calendar. Since then the range has grown year-on-year, always showcasing the most exciting liquids across each category and price bracket.

This year the full Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar range includes Whisky, Premium Whisky, Old & Rare Whisky, Very Old & Rare Whisky, World Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Bourbon, Japanese Whisky, American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Single Cask Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Cognac, Tequila, Armagnac, Mezcal and Absinthe.

In addition, the calendar range sees some exciting collaborations including with That Boutique-y Whisky Company, That Boutique-y Gin Company, Origin, Douglas Laing, Glenfarclas, The Hot Enough Vodka Co and The Gin Foundry, whose in-demand Ginvent calendar returns for another year.

The Drinks by the Dram 2018 Advent Calendars are available from 31 DoverBeer Hawk and Master of Malt, and from all good drinks retailers.

RRPs range from £99.95 to £9,999.95.

 

Glengoyne Teapot Dram 006

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced the release of the much-anticipated Teapot Dram Batch No. 006. 

The sixth release in the coveted Teapot Dram series, Batch No. 006 is matured in first fill Oloroso sherry oak casks and has a natural, rich amber hue and notes of cinnamon, marzipan and cloves. Bottled un-chillfiltered at cask strength, 2772 bottles of Teapot Dram Batch No. 006 are available to purchase exclusively from the Glengoyne Distillery shop and online at www.glengoyne.com. 

The Teapot Dram series has been created in tribute to an old Glengoyne Distillery tradition: until the 1970s, workers would be given three fingers of whisky, three times each day. Most distilleries gave their teams new make spirit, but not Glengoyne. At Glengoyne, the finest whisky from first fill Oloroso sherry casks was chosen for the distillery workers’ drams. The less seasoned stillmen would, to save face, discreetly pour some of their untouched drams into a copper teapot which sat on the canteen windowsill, ready for their older colleagues.

Teapot Dram Batch No. 006 was launched on Wednesday 21 November at Glengoyne Distillery by Duncan McNicoll and Billy Edmiston, two of Glengoyne Distillery’s original ‘teapot drammers’. 

Katy Macanna, Brand Manager for Glengoyne, said: “The Teapot Dram is a firm favourite amongst Glengoyne fans, and we’re delighted to share the latest release in the series.

“We’re incredibly proud of our history here at Glengoyne, and that’s why we continue to craft our whisky in the same unhurried way as we have done for more than 185 years. Our team is a vital part of that history, and the Teapot Dram series helps to tell the story of one of our old and most treasured distillery traditions.” 

Glengoyne Teapot Dram Batch No. 006 is bottled at 59.3% ABV. Exclusively available as a limited-edition release from Glengoyne Distillery, Teapot Dram Batch No. 006 retails at £90 per 70cl bottle.

Old Pulteney unveils new collection to signal brand evolution

New expressions set sail for the maritime malt

Distilled and matured by the sea, Old Pulteney single malt Scotch whisky is the true maritime malt and we’re excited to embark on a new voyage with the launch of our new core collection featuring our flagship 12 Years Old, Huddart, 15 and 18 Years Old.   This move marks a reinvigoration of the core range for the award-winning Caithness-based distillery, complemented by distinctive new design and packaging.

This new collection signals an evolution for the brand, with a renewed vigour around the maritime malt yet staying true to Old Pulteney’s rich heritage and traditions.  This introduction supports a wider drive to ensure strong consumer relevance and appeal, with the new whiskies consistent with the renowned house style and provenance; yet bringing some new flavours to the fore.

Defined and shaped by its stunning coastal location, Old Pulteney has a highly distinctive character infused by the unique combination of brisk sea air and meticulous cask selection.   Each of the new whiskies tell their own story and bring their own part of the Old Pulteney legacy to life.

Celebrating the birthplace of Old Pulteney, Huddart (ABV 46%) is rich gold in colour. A distinctively smoky take on its signature single malt scotch whiskies, Huddart is richly warming and combines influence from the salt-infused sea air with peat smoke, delivering a mellow and smoky whisky with real character, depth and identity.

RRP £45.

A naturally rich, amber-coloured whisky, the 15 Years Old expression (ABV 46%) is Old Pulteney’s most balanced and smoothest single malt whisky yet. Bursting with aromas of rich dried fruit, ripe apples and citrus, with honey sweetness and a generous chord of creamy vanilla, 15 Years Old effortlessly brings together two different sides of the flavour spectrum. RRP £70.

Completing the new portfolio, 18 Years Old (ABV 46%) takes its character and colour entirely from the American oak casks and Spanish sherry butts in which it has been nurtured, delivering a deep amber colour. This indulgent and deeply warming expression features notes of chocolate and spice, but allow for the influence of more vibrant, zesty flavours. RRP £115.

The new collection is complemented with the addition of the repackaged flagship Old Pulteney 12 Years Old.

The golden-coloured 12 Years Old expression (ABV 40%) is the perfect place to start your Old Pulteney journey, with a flavour which is welcoming and effortless.

12 Years Old embodies the maritime malt characteristic that has become synonymous with Old Pulteney whiskies. It has been matured for 12 years in ex-bourbon casks, marrying together the salty flavours of the sea with the influence of American oak, to bring sweetness into play, and create a classic expression. RRP £32.

 

The collection of four whiskies also has a striking new design, which freshens up the overall look yet created around the existing, highly distinctive Old Pulteney bottle shape.

 

The collection will be available from 14th August in the UK with our preferred partners The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Royal Mile Whiskies, and Sutherland Brothers, thereafter, there will be a phased global roll out.

Plans for a new distillery at Craggan announced

Plans have been announced for a new distillery at Craggan, near Grantown-on-Spey. It would become the first new malt whisky distillery to be built in the Cairngorms National Park since its creation in 2003. The multi million pound investment by Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd is expected to become a major tourist attraction and significant local employer.

Speymalt is the parent company of Gordon & MacPhail, the family owned whisky specialist, wholesaler and retailer. The company also owns and operates Benromach Distillery in Forres.

As part of a strategic growth plan, Speymalt hopes to build the new distillery overlooking the Cairngorm mountains in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Ewen Mackintosh 2018 (1)

As Ewen Mackintosh, Managing Director, Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd explained: “Building a second distillery is an important part of our business plan and we have spent some time researching a suitable site. We believe we have found the perfect place for our new distillery at Craggan. It’s a stunning location with strong transport links and can accommodate the distillery, warehousing and a visitor experience.

“The Cairngorms are a beautiful part of the world and we aim to design a distillery which will be in keeping with this wonderful landscape.

“We continue to build our business using our expertise and skill in the industry. The purchase of Benromach Distillery and the growth of this brand internationally over the past twenty years has proved to be a huge success. Constructing a second distillery will enable us to continue creating a sustainable long term legacy for future generations.”

No decision has been made on a name for the distillery.

The company now hopes to start the consultation process with the local community before submitting a planning application later in the year. If planning is approved, building is expected to start in 2019 and should take 12 months to complete.

A public exhibition on the plans will take place over the summer.

Speymalt is a fourth-generation family owned business which has built its knowledge and experience of the Scotch whisky industry over a 120-year history. The Urquhart family realised a long held ambition when they acquired Benromach Distillery in 1993.  They reopened it after extensive refurbishment in 1998 and are celebrating the 20th anniversary this year.  A member of the world famous Malt Whisky Trail, Benromach Distillery attracts over 13,000 visitors to the area every year. Work recently started on creating a gin distillery and visitor experience at the Benromach site.

Gordon & MacPhail unveils ‘Discovery’ range

Family-run single malt whisky creators, Gordon & MacPhail, has announced the launch of ‘Discovery’, a new range that is part of the company’s commitment to strengthen and streamline the brand’s portfolio.

The range of carefully selected whiskies is grouped and colour-coded under three flavour profiles – ‘Smoky, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Bourbon’. Designed to help whisky drinkers to begin an exploratory journey through the Gordon & MacPhail portfolio, each bottle features a brief tasting note and either a vintage or age statement.

G&M_Discovery Range_sml.jpgThe first expressions to be released within the new ‘Discovery’ range comprise spirit originally from Balblair, Tormore, Miltonduff and Caol Ila distilleries, then matured in Gordon & MacPhail’s own hand-selected casks. Prices start from £49.95 UK (RSP) and vary in available markets around the world due to taxes and duties.

Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige and a fourth-generation member of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail, remarked: “We’re proud to be the curators of the world’s most diverse stock of single malt whiskies from over 100 distilleries. We’ve spent several years working to develop this new range for whisky lovers globally.

’Discovery’ offers whisky drinkers the opportunity to begin a journey with us through the Gordon & MacPhail whiskies portfolio. By offering flavour profiles and tasting notes, we want to help the discerning consumer navigate their choices with confidence, beyond their usual malt.”

‘Discovery’ is the second range to launch as part of the updated portfolio, which offers consumers five distinct ranges. The new look ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range was unveiled last month (April 2018). The additional ranges for ‘Distillery Labels’ and ‘Private Collection’ will be revealed to consumers in the summer and autumn respectively. The launch of the next ‘Generations’ release is yet to be revealed.

For more information about the new ‘Discovery’ range and the streamlined portfolio, visit www.gordonandmacphail.com.

Eden Mill – 1st Whisky Record

Single malt whisky from Eden Mill distillery in St Andrews has fetched a record-breaking price at auction for the first release from a distillery.

Bottle number 1 of 300 from the Limited Release First Bottling, the first drops of whisky to be distilled and bottled in St Andrews for nearly 160 years, achieved a record sale of £7,100 through Whisky Auctioneer.

Eden Mill Limited Release First Bottling Single Malt Whisky - CopyWith a number of bottles gifted to long-standing Eden Mill employees and auctioned, there are now only 100 of the Limited Release remaining which go on general sale today, each priced at £500. Those interested in purchasing a bottle are invited to register their interest by emailing casks@edenmill.com.

Paul Miller, co-founder of Eden Mill, said: “This auction has given whisky enthusiasts the chance to own a piece of history. For our first ever single malt whisky to be rewarded with the prestige of a world record sale is the pinnacle of what has been a journey filled with experimentation and passion, fuelled by the entire Eden Mill team’s tireless pursuit of bringing whisky distilling back to the region.

“The Limited Release offers whisky connoisseurs the chance to secure historic bottles containing the first drops of spirit distilled in St Andrews since the Seggie Distillery closed in 1860.

“The whisky is a marriage of spirit matured in American and French Virgin Oak quarter casks and an ex Pedro Ximénez sherry hogshead since 2014, and we’re hugely proud of it. The liquid has been captured in bespoke bottles designed in Italy and blown in Croatia, and oak boxes handcrafted and engraved in Scotland with each bottle and box individually numbered.”

Sean McGlone, managing director of Whisky Auctioneer, said: “We were absolutely delighted here at Whisky Auctioneer to have been involved in the sale of the first bottling of Eden Mill Single Malt whisky. As an auctioneer, the only thing that excites us as much as old whisky, is a brand new one.

“It’s great to see new distilleries not just opening up across Scotland and contributing to our great industry, but also to see them doing such a great job. Eden Mill is a distillery with an already strong reputation and connection to a distilling heritage that we feel made their first bottles a perfect inclusion in our auctions.

“Whisky Auctioneer is dedicated to the provision of a first class service and expertise to our buyers and sellers, and we feel that this, coupled with the fantastic product Eden Mill have bottled, helped us achieve a record breaking sale for their first ten bottles of Single Malt.”

The launch follows the sell-out Hip Flask Series – a series of seven 20cl single malt whisky expressions released in April – which gave whisky fans the chance to sample the products of a range of experimental small-batch distilling methods.

To purchase one of only 100 remaining Eden Mill Limited Release (47%, £500/70cl) email casks@edenmill.com or visit www.edenmill.com/whisky.

Gordon & MacPhail – Connoisseurs Choice Highland Park 2004 – 13yo.

First Fill Sherry Butt, Cask Strength at 60% abv.

One of 655 bottles of cask number 3812

The G&M entire range has undergone a rather dramatic facelift.  Always a firm favourite with the whisky buffs, G&M always means quality, I have never had a whisky from G&M I didn’t like.  No matter which distillery, no matter which age, you cannot deny that G&M means quality and consistency that many other bottlers can only dream of, with experience that spans more than 120 years, they have built up an impressive range of casks, contacts, and one hell of a liquid library!

img_8952This is one of the first offerings from the new range, it’s a Highland Park, a much sought-after distillery with quite a fan base, it’s 13 years old and hails from a first fill sherry butt, a single cask offering of 655 bottles.  It’s priced at around £90 across the board, although we did see it at £85.

Right, you’ve got the basics, lets see what G&M have to say about it.

What they say

For more than 120 years Gordon & MacPhail has pursued a singular path to become the master of single malt Scotch whisky maturation.

Connoisseurs Choice

Passion for single malt Scotch whisky has been at the heart of our family business for four generations. This range is an ever-changing collection of unique perspectives on distilleries’ own bottlings, non-chill-filtered single cask and small batch expressions bottled at cask strength and exceptional one-offs.

For the malt whisky explorer, it promises a journey of discovery through different flavours, finishes, strengths and vintages.

Highland Park 2004 Bottled at 60% Vol

img_8960

  • Distillery: Highland Park
  • Region: Island
  • Distilled: Monday 21 June 2004
  • Bottled: Thursday 22 February 2018
  • ABV: 60%
  • Years Old: 13
  • Cask No. 3812
  • Cask Type: First fill Sherry butt
  • Outturn: 655 bottles
  • Batch: 18/016

 

G&M Official tasting notes:

Colour: Dark Gold.

Nose: Fresh, sweet, balanced: hints of seaside moss transform into tangy lemon, sweet meringue, and silky butter shortbread. Soft toffee notes unfold over time.

Taste: Creamy leading into warming spice, hints of milk chocolate and toasted hazelnuts mature into warm cinnamon buns glazed with brown sugar and sweet raisins.

Finish: Medium with a delightful and lingering wood smoke edge.

What we say:

Stewart

Nose:

Some newly melted milk chocolate is the first thing you notice.  This is closely followed by some berry fruits, almost blackberry and raspberry jam like.  These die down and a fresh feeling can be found, clean, sharp, like the wind on your face of a fresh breeze.  This is all cloaked by the red hot mist of the unmistakable ABV of this whisky.

Palate:

The milk chocolate from the nose is there, along with the berry jams.  As these die away your tongue starts to tingle as spices dance around.  Not peppery thought, more like popping candy, jumping and popping on the tongue.  You can tell this isn’t the standard 40% but it isn’t as sharp as the nose first indicated.

Finish:

The finish is middling, not overly long, but enough to know you have had a nice dram.

Overall Thoughts:

This is a highly sherry influenced whisky, which isn’t always to my taste, but if I was to go for a sherried whisky, this is the sort I like.  Lovely berry jams all the way through and the right amount of spice makes this a whisky wort returning to.  A great introduction to the new CC range.

The price point of £85 may seem steep for a 13 year old single cask, but it is a sought after distillery and the ABV will play a part in that.  If you want my opinion, this is well worth buying.

Stewart Craigon – @StewartCraigon

Kirsty

Nose:

Usually the first note is an easy thing to pick out, however that wasn’t the case here.  I was convinced that the first note was the robust earthiness of autumn leaves, then, that it was the sweet, creamy notes of warm melting milk chocolate, before deciding it was the sharp yet sweet notes of lemon zest, quickly becoming sweeter and more gentle, more dessert like.  Think lemon curd topped with meringue pieces that came to the fore.

The three flittered in and out tussling and jostling for first place.  Returning to the glass once more it was the earthiness of dew covered moss and crunchy autumn leaves turning to dust under foot, as the air, hanging heavy with mist encircles your face, both refreshing and musty all at once, which won out.   Not far behind  the sweet, dense, creamy milk chocolate started to make itself known, bringing a honey drizzled sweetness with a rich, chopped Brazil nut notes, and roasted chestnuts edge adding a grown up, savoury dimension.

Blood oranges with a dusting of icing sugar and just a hint of winter berries appear, with sticky brambles and damson, and a beautifully lively spiciness, with sweet dessert spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and five spice appearing first, followed up by a slight heat, like a dry rub on steak, meaty and yeasty, all paprika and peppercorns giving a prickle that dances around like the flames of a campfire, imparting a little smoke as it goes, giving a slight nod to the abv.

Palate:

The berry fruits from the nose burst on to the plate, the rush of sweetness so great it makes your mouth water.  There’s blackberry and raspberry joined by wild strawberries, apricots, stewed plums and sticky dates.   Lemon marches in, cutting through the sweetness, sharper than it appeared on the nose, yet soon it takes a turn for the dessert trolley once again, with notes of lemon drizzle cakes, with a rich vanilla buttercream.

The orange is there from earlier on, with a rich, sticky, marmalade quality, with softer notes of mandarins lurking behind it.   Before it all becomes overrun by sweetness personified the spices and earthy notes from the nose combine, bringing it quite literally back down to earth.   Think digging fresh, damp soil in the garden, uprooting turnips and potatoes with a touch of the hessian sacks you will fill, and thick fishing nets, salty and damp, with just a touch of the sea.

The spices make this such a vibrant whisky, and they aren’t found on the back of the tongue where you would usually expect to find them, instead they dance on the very front of the tongue, tumbling and churning like waves crashing on the shore.

Finish:

It is easy to dismiss this as a relatively short finish at first, however the spicy notes linger gently on the lips, making them tingle, like a kiss from a lover, making you smile long after the glass is empty.  The fruitiness from the berries is replaced by the sweet caress of milk chocolate and lemon meringue pie, fading out to a warm crepe suzette, those orange notes refusing to disappear, with just a touch of bitterness of chopped brazil nuts and polished mahogany.  Which takes this spritely, sweet, almost childlike dram, to sophisticated and grown up with just a hint of mischief.

Overall Thoughts:

I like this a lot.  Its not a typical first fill sherry whisky at all, but that is no bad thing.  13 years in a first fill sherry butt would lead you to expect a sherry monster that hits you round the head and almost overwhelms you with a youthful exuberance.  This is far more gentle, and in fact I’d go as far to say that this is a first fill sherry whisky for those who would not normally reach for such a dram.

It is beautifully put together, with notes that are strong enough to stand alone, yet are far better combining in a beautiful crescendo.   It starts out with the rich base notes of the earth, before middle notes of autumnal fruits and then high top notes of all things sweet and sing like the most beautiful melody.  Truly an orchestra of flavours.

The new look Connoisseurs Choice range is much like this, its grown up and sophisticated, no nonsense labelling tells you all you need to know and embossed coins and heavy bottle adds a touch of luxury.  The price is £90 and at first I struggled to decide if I thought it too steep, however quality will always out, and that it’s what G&M do so well.  Excellent spirit, fantastic casks with top quality wood and perfect maturation.    There’s a reason they have coined the #maturationexperts and I for one would not disagree with this self awarded accolade.

Buy this whisky, it’s from a popular distillery with a cult following and upon trying this, it’s easy to see why.

Kirsty Clarke – @KirstyClarke29