Approachable Blended Malt Scotch Whiskies from the Islands of Scotland offering drinkers a gateway into the world of heavily Peated Malts
Mossburn is today [Friday 5th November] announcing the release of Caisteal Chamuis 12 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (NAS), which pay tribute to Hebridean life and lore, and are designed to welcome drinkers to a world of peat fires, lively company, and the misty sea breezes oft seen rolling on over the Western Isles.
Bold and smoky, the new 46% ABV Caisteal Chamuis Bourbon Barrelled Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (NAS) takes drinkers on a misty voyage to discover the perfect balance of heavy Island peat smoke notes with a crisp oak spice and vanilla finish.
Distilled on Skye, Orkney & Islay without colouring or chill-filtration, and finished in first-fill bourbon casks, the resulting liquor helps unlock the door to the world of peated whiskies.
The mysterious oak layers, added by the fresh bourbon casks, produces a character that reveals itself slowly; smooth peat, without ever being medicinal, to start; then honeyed peppery notes, complex sweet spices and a creamy vanilla finish.
Caisteal Chamuis 12 Year Old Sherry Barrelled Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is a characterful drink, blended from a careful selection of fine Single Malts all distilled on Islay and Orkney. Initially aged for a minimum of 12 years and then double barrelled in custom made Fresh Oloroso Sherry Butts, the result is rich and smooth, with a complex fragrant, heathery, lavender-like peat. Bottled at 46% ABV, a fascinating floral complexity gives way to sweet muscovado notes before finally evolving into a finish with concentrated sherry, crystallised fruit, and a touch of flint-smoke.
The new expressions are named after the mysterious medieval ruin, Caisteal Chamuis (Gaelic pronunciation phonetically resembles Kash-teel Haam-oosh or for non-Gaelic speakers – Castle Camus), which lies on the headland of the eastern flank of Knock Bay, on the Isle of Skye.
The once strategic stronghold helped Clan Macleod secure their hold over part of the Sleat peninsula on Skye, and is clearly visible from Mossburn Distiller’s new distillery, Torabhaig.
Last occupied over 380 years ago, the first elements of the castle were raised in the 13th century on the site of an Iron Age fort known as Dun Torabhaig. The ruins are a testament to the rich and storied heritage of the Isle of Skye and give thousands of tourists a year a glimpse of a world that once might have been.
Rick Bennett-Baggs at Mossburn Distillers, said: “In Caisteal Chamuis we have created a mystifying whisky from the Hebrides, celebrating the life and lore of a past that might have been at the castle. While the story may be mysterious, enjoying a good quality, peated malt whisky shouldn’t be, as we seek to transport drinkers and welcome them to the misty isles of the Hebrides.”
Caisteal Chamuis 12 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (RRP £49) and Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (RRP £39) are available to buy in over 15 markets including the UK, France, Germany in 2021 and in the USA in 2022.
In the UK, it’s available either in store or online at independent retailers.
Well it has been a while, the past 18 months have been pretty crazy for us all, and like most people, juggling work, home schooling, children and navigating this unfamiliar Covid landscape has been somewhat challenging. However, as things start to settle down, as we start to see what life post covid pandemic could be like, what the new “normal” may well be, we thought it was time to dust off the laptop and return to your screens, and what better way than with a brand spanking new interview, with none other than Dingle’s very own Graham Coull. You may recognise the name but not the distillery, and as one of Ireland’s relatively new start ups that can be forgiven. Graham spent 14 years as Master Distiller with Glen Moray, and with Ireland having a real resurgence in their whiskey industry, with several new distilleries springing up, he is a safe pair of hands for Dingle.
Take a seat, pour a dram if you wish and let’s talk all things, whiskey, Covid-19, pros and cons of collectible bottles, oh and elephants!
Morning Graham, so sorry that arranging this interview turned into a total technological fail (I somehow managed to block Ireland from being able to take part in my Zoom meetings, no idea how and it was not deliberate, honest), in fact this was the interview that almost never was when we were hit by even more technical difficulties and the entire recording was lost. Still we got there in the end.
I’m going to take you back a little bit now, where did your whisky journey being and what got you started?
Well I grew up in Elgin, my mother and father both worked as teachers, and my father was a chemistry teacher who had a real interest in whisky and in fact wrote a course on whisky production, so it was always a point of interest and influence. When I finished my studies there were no positions in the whisky field, it was a case of go into brewing or go into nuclear power, I chose brewing and that set me on the path to whisky. I started a job with Webster’s Brewing, and it was through there that I really got a taste for the whisky industry, as I oversaw the bottling process, I would also see the whisky bottling and it really piqued my interest. I was fortunate enough to land a position with William Grant back in 1994 on the bottling side of things. I was so lucky to be in with a company which had such a chance of progression. I worked hard, really hard, often taking on the jobs nobody else wanted to do and doing it with a smile. Hard work pays off, and the more I took on the more people noticed me and the work I was producing. I became the process leader in Dufftown, which gave me distillation responsibilities for Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie. I was then offered to join the Glen Moray team back in 2005.
You were Distillery Manager/Master Distillery at Glen Moray for 14 years, in that time you put out many different expressions and built up a loyal fan base, why did you decide to leave and take a chance with a new Irish distillery?
I had a fantastic time at Glen Moray and put out many whiskies that I am really proud of, sometimes though you just need to challenge yourself. The opportunity came up and I was really at the stage where if I was going to make a change to my career it was really now or never. I felt I was ready for another challenge, I was happy that I had left Glen Moray in a great place, ready for a new pair of hands and another perspective. I wanted to see for myself what I could do, and it’s always exciting to have a brand new project to work with. I wasn’t there quite from the start, but it is still early enough in the journey to really make it my own.
So, Graham, you joined Dingle in 2019, it will have no doubt been a busy time, and then Covid-19 hit, how much of an impact did that have and how has the journey been?
Its certainly been strange, there is always the excitement and nerves which come with starting any new job. There’s always a risk and a challenge, and that excitement spurs you on, then Covid hit the world and everything looked different. The peace, tranquillity and isolation (Dingle is very remote indeed, once you cross the Dingle Peninsular you really are quite cut off) which seemed quite a bonus suddenly seemed to almost trap you. Luckily it meant we could really get out and about and meet the locals. It let Fay and I really fall in love with our surroundings, we didn’t feel as much of the pressure from Covid as we maybe would have felt elsewhere, as that remoteness really kept everyone here safe. Obviously though we have family and loved ones back home and suddenly you couldn’t see them, you couldn’t just pop home and that was a source of worry. The people here in Dingle and especially the distillery team really helped to keep things as “normal” as possible and there was still plenty of work to be done.
Although you undoubtedly have joined Dingle very early on in their journey you were not quite there from the start. Is there anything you would have liked to have carried out differently if you had have been there since the off?
Actually I am very fortunate that the new make is exactly what I would want it to be, it has character, it is strong enough to stand up to be being bottled at a spritely age, the barley and yeast is perfect, and the runs and triple distillation give it so much body and character. There is nothing I would change there. I guess the only thing that I would have done differently relates to cask management. When you are starting up these can be such a huge part of your budget and obviously that can force your hand. I would have liked to have more of a hand in bringing the casks in and selecting what I wanted in advance. That said I am now able to have control of this area, but if I were to change anything at all, it would be that.
Was it a risk leaving not only a position that you had held for 14 years, but also to pack up and leave your home behind?
Well any new job involves an element of risk and for me the stakes were higher still as it wasn’t just a change of company/distillery, it was a change of scenery, of packing everything up and moving to another country (albeit one that is fairly close). It wasn’t just a change for me, it was a change for my wife Fay too, and had she not been on board, or not been as supportive as she always has been, I could never have taken the opportunity. Even though I was fairly sure that I had made the right decision with Dingle there is always those nerves in the pit of your stomach, and you just hope you hadn’t made a big mistake. I just looked at it and thought, well if it does go horrible wrong, I can just retire. *laughing* I don’t think Graham is made for retiring, he is far too passionate about his craft
Are there any similarities between the whisky you produced at Glen Moray and the whiskey you are producing with Dingle?
There are definitely similarities between Irish and Scotch. The history of distilling is rich and reaches back through the years, the roots are steeped in history and community much like it is in Scotland, those things are so important even now. You need the people of the community to believe in you, in your story and the same is true of Scotch. In terms of flavour profile, both are a light spirit, but with Dingle the triple distillations and short runs really make a huge difference to the spirit that we can put out. Very true, it’s often the history of whisky and the distillery area that gets me hooked before I’ve even tried the whisky. What about the “E”, some people feel very passionate about Ireland’s spelling of whiskey, others don’t even notice, how do you feel about it? Honestly, I cant say I am bothered either way, in fact, does it even need to be there? It’s the style and the history of Irish whisk(e)y that makes the difference and sets it apart, not the e. We can have an “E” amnesty then? *chuckles*Definitely!
I have had the pleasure of “speaking” to your lovely wife Fay over social media quite often regarding Dingle and Fay seems deeply involved and passionate about the Distillery was that always going to be the case and how important was it to have Fay involved?
Obviously Fay was taking a massive leap of faith alongside me, and throughout my career, no matter how busy Fay was with her own career (*Fay worked as a nurse previously, so a real hero*) she always supported me 100% and was always interested in the whole whisky process and loved the sense of community and family a distillery brings. Being able to take that experience and have her on the payroll is a wonderful thing, although technically I am her boss, but when I pointed that out it didn’t go down so well. *We had a good laugh about this, with far too many jokes then I could type, this was the kind of interview that you genuinely felt as though you were chatting to a friend*
What’s a typical day like for you at Dingle?
Well the day can be so varied, you have you day to day jobs which will always be there, you have to keep an eye on how the distillery is running, we have two shifts a day, 7 days a week and everything is done by hand. That’s really important to us, we want this to be a team effort, not a machine effort, if you do everything by hand you can make small changes as you go along, you can play around with the runs and the cuts if you want/need to. It’s a much more organic product that way. I need to keep an eye on the stock levels, think about the direction I want to go in, I am a great believer in cask management, it is so important to a distillery to know what it has, to know what it needs for the future and how it is going to achieve that. I am big fan of forecasts, and will often be found running these reports, changing them slightly and rerunning them. I know for many that may sound dull, but for me it is so exciting, you are predicting the future before it happens and the decisions I make now have massive implications 20/30 years down the line. There are often meetings to be had about anything from cask shipment/procurement, to financial, marketing and everything in between. I need to ensure that we have everything we need to run the distillery. Everything happens here at Dingle, we use Irish malted barley, we distill, we mature, and we bottle, we even have our own well for our water source. Everything happens here at the distillery. So, there is plenty to keep me busy.
It’s been an exciting few years for the whisky industry, prices are driven ever higher and whereas new distilleries would struggle to sell their first offering, they now sell out in seconds at crazy prices, many flipped straight away at auction, or kept on a shelf somewhere. What do you think about this, does it have an impact on distilleries or the industry, is it a good thing?
In terms of being able to produce whisky as a new distillery and still sell it out, well that is fantastic, with prices at auction climbing so high then as a distillery we are able to ride those good times and take a piece of the pie for ourselves. It’s vital, as a new distillery, that we are able to recoup our costs and bring money back into the distillery and of course to our funders. So much money is tied up in time, and although the industry is now accepting younger whisky now and most whisky drinkers realise that whisky does not have to necessarily be old to be good, we still want to have the ability to produce aged stock. I still think that a standard distillery release of around 10/12 years is a good thing and something I personally would like to produce, therefore it’s not hard to see the need to bring as much funding in as possible.
That said, it is so important to get whisky out there into the industry and to have it being opened and drank. To have it shared around so that people know that you exist and what you can produce. Obviously when we started, we have put out several small batch releases. These sold out very quickly and we are grateful to all who brought them, but you will often see lovely pictures on social media, with all of the releases, and these are all closed, and you know that they aren’t ever going to get opened and see the light of day, they will just sit of shelf gathering dust, coming out for photo opportunities and then going away again. I love to see that passion and commitment but as any distiller will tell you, they make whisky to be drank, or to make memories, to tell stories, not to sit in a bottle. Now with the release of our core Dingle Single Malt (read my review here) which will be widely available, we hope that people will now buy a bottle and open it and really get to know what we can do. It can become a stable in homes and in bars, and people know that when they run out they can replace it, and lose the fear of opening the bottles.
What’s next for Dingle?
We hope to keep building upon our success so far and for that the people really are instrumental. We had so many of the local people buying a cask, becoming one of Founding Fathers and taking that leap of faith. Whether they work in the distillery, or local shops or farms or support us by drinking any of our line (Dingle also produce Vodka and Gin), their support means the world and we couldn’t have done any of this without them. We are planning on having a complete fit out of the distillery, we have a lot of space that we can use so it’s time to start using it. We would like a larger visitor centre. Usually in the summer, I am told that we have a lot of tourists visiting Dingle. There are a lot of Americans who have roots here and we can get 30,000 tourists in summer alone. We would like to make the Dingle Distillery a real experience for them, have it as its own journey.
I want to play around with different casks and finishes, also we produced a small amount of peated Dingle, and that is something I would be really keen to produce again but on a larger scale. We want to see Dingle hit the global markets too.
Interesting, so big plans. You mention different casks types/finishes, any plans to use rum casks (we love a rum cask here at Whisky Corner).
Actually I do have plans to experiment with rum casks, it’s really important that you get really good casks for that and keep a really close eye on the finishing process, ideally I’d be looking at 18 months maybe 24 months but that can be tricky, once you have all the rum influence out of the cask, the casks themselves are usually pretty old tired casks, so they don’t have anything to give themselves, its purely the influence of the rum we want to use. I think sometimes people think finishing can be seen as easy or lazy, but it really isn’t, you have to watch the casks so carefully to ensure you don’t over finish it and then lose all the work you have already put it.
Let’s talk packaging. I really love the quality of the bottle on the new Dingle release. It’s a very heavy chunky bottle with heavy duty cork, the tin is very simple, but seems in perfect keeping with the overall look and feel. It would have been easy to pick a much simpler bottle I am sure, certainly cheaper, how important is the look of the finished bottle for you?
I think it is really important, it makes a statement, and gives you an idea as to what you can expect. It really is hats off to the team here, as they could definitely have gone for a less expensive, less luxurious style, especially as a new distillery with so many costs, this was one of the places the costs could be shaved a little, but to scrimp on the packaging would feel like cheapening, or underselling the whiskey we produce. It deserves the nice bottle. We want people to feel as though they are getting something special right from our special releases down to our new core range. There really is so much competition at the moment you need to ensure you can stand out from the crowd right from the off.
Whilst on the subject of packaging I noticed that there are no tasting notes on the bottle or the tin, is this deliberate?
It was very much deliberate, a lot of people find that they don’t necessarily know how to explain what they are tasting, they may not have the words or are able to recognise individual notes, and although there are many who are really into tasting and tasting notes, we wanted to make this as accessible as possible. There is no pressure to see if you can find the notes we have printed on the bottle, or no preconceived ideas, it’s not up to us to tell the customers what they taste, let them find out for themselves. Obviously for those who are interested in notes they can read reviews, such as yours or others out there and enjoy those.
The Dingle Dude (as I call him) features very prominently in the design, and I must admit I find him both cool and terrifying in equal measures. Who is he?
Ah that would be the Wren Boy or Wren Man. This is a local tradition still popular today in many parts of Ireland, and especially so here in Dingle. We wanted to ensure that it was very clear how important location and local community are to making Dingle Distillery a success, most of our Founding Fathers are from here in the local community and it’s important they know how much we appreciate them. *Having researched this a little it’s a fascinating mythical figure concerning, as you may expect, a wren. Legend has it that there was a parliament upon the birds (others say that it was god who wanted an answer to the question) and it was asked which of the birds would be king of the birds, in order to find this out it was decided that whomever could fly the highest would be king the birds, one by one the birds dropped out of the running until the Eagle who was soaring highest, tired and dropped lower in the sky, at this point the Wren emerged from under the Eagle’s wing and soared higher still, thus becoming the king of all the birds. There are also claims that the Wren stands for treachery and it is said that a Wren betrayed the Irish soldiers fighting the Norse by beating its wings upon their shields. On 26 December parades are held, and people dress up in straw and historically call house to house to collect money which is then donated to charity. No Wrens are harmed during the making of this parade and in fact now days a fake Wren is used, but even before the Wren was not to be killed. If you want to know more Google has all the information you need*
What is your greatest whisky achievement to date?
That is a difficult question, I think for me I would have to say it is my cask management skills. It might not sound much but it is so important for me to be able to manage stock levels so that we can continue to manage stocks. I have always been interested in numbers and forecasts and these are instrumental in being able to futureproof your stock. I would hate to go into a place, use all their whisky and leave them with nothing and then just walk away. Poor cask management/stock management can destroy a distillery. It’s a real source of pride for me that for a good many years, people purchasing Glen Moray expressions will still be drinking my whisky.
When you get a chance to sit down and relax with a dram, what do you reach for (other than Dingle of course)?
There are some really great whiskies out there. I am not a fan of very sherried offerings, mostly I will turn to something bourbon matured or a mix of bourbon/sherry. I find the strong sulphurous notes just too overpowering. I have to say I am a huge fan of the Caol Ila 18, it is a fantastic drop, it has those Islay notes which are so unforgettable, you can really just wile away the time with a glass of this. You don’t have to try and pick it apart, although that’s not to say that it isn’t complex, but you aren’t forced to explore it unless you want to, you can just sit back and enjoy it. That’s really what I have tried to do with our Dingle expressions, they are complex enough if you want to try and pick out the individual layers and notes, but you don’t have to, you can just sit and relax and enjoy it. When Scapa 16 was still available I would have a bottle of that on the go. It is unmistakable in its style, the apple notes work so well with the coastal elements. Clynelish 14 is another go to for me, its waxiness is so appealing, its always perfectly balanced and deeply enjoyable *we then wax lyrical (see what I did there) about Clynelish for a long time*
For nothing other than a bit of fun: you have been given an elephant, you can’t sell it or give it away, what are you going to do with it?
Hmm this is tricky, which type is it, African or Indian *I don’t know, which would you like it to be* which one has the biggest ears? *no idea* we were then reliable informed that the African Elephant has the biggest ears. ok I think that I would use it wash out the mash tuns and also I’d ride it down Dingle high street. It would be quite a tourist attraction and actually we had a dolphin here in Dingle called Fungie, who was very playful and friendly. It was well known for interacting with the boats and the tourists. It became something of a celebrity actually although it’s not been spotted since. *I looked this up on google, and Fungie was first spotted at Dingle in 1983, and a news report published a few months ago has confirmed that Fungie is alive and well and has merely moved to a new spot. Whether this is temporary or not, they cant say, but fingers crossed Fungie will return back to Dingle again.
And that concludes our interview, thanks so much for your time Graham we managed to rack up a two hour chat and none of it felt like work (well not for me anyway, hopefully it wasn’t too hard going for you), it was a really great chat and here’s hoping we can get a dram in person at some stage. Hope to speak again soon.
Keep your eyes peeled for Dingle Distillery is you have not tried their products yet you will want to. For my review of the new Dingle Distillery Single Malt read here. You can check Dingle’s website here and take a look at the gin and vodka too.
ROSEBANK 30 YEAR OLD LAUNCH MARKS FIRST GLOBAL RELEASE UNDER IAN MACLEOD DISTILLERS
Rosebank Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has today announced the first in a series of annual, limited edition, releases – a 30 Year Old 1990 vintage, bottled un-chillfiltered at 48.6% ABV. To celebrate this year’s landmark launch, the distillery is giving a select number of customers the chance to “bank” a future expression of the rare liquid.
Rosebank 30 Year Old is a hand-selected vintage, laid down in 1990, shortly before the distillery’s untimely closure in 1993. The limited-edition bottles will be marked Release One, a nod to this new chapter in Rosebank’s legacy. Each year will see a new limited-edition release, laddering up to the first “new” Rosebank spirit under Ian Macleod Distillers.
Only 4,350 bottles of Rosebank 30-Year-Old will be available to buy worldwide, making this an incredibly rare purchase and demand is expected to be high. Bottles are priced at £1,600 and available directly from Rosebank’s website.
Rosebank is also giving its fans and connoisseurs the chance to get more than just a bottle of the rare whisky. The first 200 people to scan the QR code on the neck collar of their Release One bottle will be given the opportunity to enjoy a dram of Release Two at their nearest high-end, luxury bar or whisky retailer in 2021 as well as the chance to receive an early link to purchase Release Two before the general release. (A list of participating outlets for these customers to choose from will be sent to them in early 2021.)
“What makes Release One so exciting is that we’re giving Rosebank fans the chance to join us on this monumental journey over the next decade, as we revive the iconic distillery. With a chance to “bank” exclusive access to next year’s release, we’re not only inviting them to become part of Rosebank’s legacy, but to become part of Rosebank’s family.”
Ahead of its official release, Rosebank invited some of the world’s top whisky writers to enjoy the “First Sip” of Rosebank 30 Year Old, capturing their initial reactions to the bottle and whisky itself on camera. Renowned and celebrated writers including Felipe Schrieberg (USA), Alice Lascelles (UK), Mamoru Tsuchiya (Japan), Martin Eber (Australia/Hong Kong), Bernhard Schäfer (Germany), and Thijs Klaverstijn (Netherlands) feature in the short video, having received no tasting notes or samples in advance. See their reactions here.
Rosebank 30 Year Old’s launch also comes shortly after the brand released two limited edition, single cask whiskies in February (Cask No. 433 and Cask No. 625) and a Travel Retail exclusive 1990 Vintage Release in March, much to the delight of fans. Only 100 bottles of each 1993 Single Cask bottlings were made available via online ballot, with over 3,000 people entering for a chance of purchasing one of the rare bottles. The ballot was temporarily paused due to COVID-related restrictions, with the final successful entrants set to be drawn before the end of the year.
These releases come after Ian Macleod Distillers acquired the Rosebank brand and last remaining stocks in October 2017 and were granted planning permission to revive the distillery on its original site in January 2019. In November 2019, construction officially began on the highly anticipated redevelopment – with expansive plans for a 1,000-square metre, energy-efficient distillery, including a state-of-the-art visitor centre, tasting room, shop and warehouse among the canal-side buildings.
Once open, Rosebank Distillery is expected to generate 25 full time jobs and attract around 50,000 visitors a year to Falkirk. It will offer a wide range of distillery tours, with some featuring the very last drams of Rosebank distilled prior to the 1993 closure.
ABOUT ROSEBANK 30-YEAR-OLD
Nose: Soft and creamy with caramel wafer, gooseberry, white grape, almonds, vanilla, honey, lemon, and nutmeg
Palate: delicate and crisp, wonderfully balanced, light syrup, chamomile, pear, and delicate tropical fruitiness with pleasing oak spice
Finish: soft but long, candied violets, orange, and faint mint
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.
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.
“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.
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 atwww.glengoyne.com.
The Teapot Dram series has been created in tribute to an oldGlengoyne 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
With 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
First whisky distilled in St Andrews for 160 years
Eden Mill distillery in St Andrews has released its first single malt whisky as its Hip Flask Series goes on sale today (Tuesday 24 April).
Only 3,800 20cl bottles from the series of seven single malt expressions are available, priced at £25 each.
The release marks the first time whisky has been distilled in the region for nearly 160 years, when the Haig family owned the Seggie Distillery until it closed in 1860.
Paul Miller, co-founder of Eden Mill, said: “St Andrews has a rich history when it comes to whisky, and now over a century and a half later we’re picking it up where it left off – on the site of the old Seggie Distillery that Eden Mill now stands on.
“Each expression in the Hip Flask Series contains liquid matured in what we call ‘honey casks’ – first-fill and virgin oak casks that we’ve hand-selected from all around the world, from Speyside to Spain. As each cask only holds a small amount of liquid, releasing smaller bottles of each is a way for as many whisky fans as possible to discover a taste of what’s to come.
“The Hip Flask Series is about applying the pioneering and experimental nature synonymous with Eden Mill to single malt whisky, showing the power of trying different grains, processes, maturation techniques and woods to highlight what you can do differently within the realm of single malt Scotch whisky.”
The launch of the whisky follows the announcement of Eden Mill’s expansion to a new £4m distillery and brewery just metres from its current headquarters in Guardbridge. This expansion will see capacity increase tenfold to 200,000 litres per year as well as opening the door to new product development.
Paul added: “What people are tasting now is the start of a journey that will see the Eden Mill single malt evolve over ten, twenty and thirty years. The passion of our small team of distillers is evident in every drop of liquid we have released, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”
A 70cl bottling of Eden Mill single malt whisky is due to be released this summer, with those purchasing a bottle from the Hip Flask Series given the opportunity to be among the first to sign up to the exclusive waiting list.