ISSUE TEN | FREE
WATER OF LIFE The three brothers who pillaged 16 West Coast distilleries
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ON THE COVER: Whisky for water (Lost Clock Productions)
Even as I write this I’m busy compiling my Christmas list. Nope, that’s not a list of the presents that I want, but a manifest of all the supplies that I need to take with me for the week I’ll be spending on the small island off the west coast of Scotland where my wife’s family live, and where we spend every other Christmas. She’s one of seven siblings, so throw in all of our teenagers and twentysomethings and there are plenty of glasses to be filled. As editor of this august publication, I’ll rightly be expected to do much of the heavy-lifting, but on the plus side it means that everyone has to put up with my particular gastronomic peccadilloes. These include a love of Christmas pudding and the whiskies which match – although any blend will do for the whisky cream to accompany the king of puds on its day-of-days. My go-tos are sherry-casked malts like Glendronach 18yo Allardice, Glenfarclas
105 and Glen Garoich 15yo. But I’ll also be guzzling some of my other festive season staples: sloe gin and its flavoured cousins, plus Scottish rums, and yuletide cocktails, including warm bullshot, which is unbeatable on a frosty day – if you don’t know it, look it up, try it, and I promise you’ll never look back...
EDITOR Richard Bath
GERALDINE COATES A world-leading authority on gin, Geraldine looks at the enormous popularity of flavoured gin liqueurs. She selects some of her favourites and examines how the sector is used to introduce women to gin and to maximise profit.
JOHANNE MCINNIS One of the whisky world’s most authentic and original voices, Johanne trains her guns on the often nameless denizens of the internet as she laments the rudeness and arrogance of social media’s entitled whisky snobs.
4 | What’s inside
Cover line 20 WHISKY FOR WATER Rowing to
Scotland’s West Coast distilleries was the perfect training for three Scottish brothers preparing to row across the Atlantic
10 28/11/2019 16:58:28
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S NOV 2019 ISSUE TEN @caskandstillmag
DESIGN & EDITORIAL Editor: Richard Bath Creative: Grant Dickie Production: Andrew Balahura Rachel Morrell
06 NEWS Remember, you heard it here first... 08 BAR SNAPS A
luxurious whisky paradise in Singapore revealed
10 ME AND MY DRAM Author & defence
lawyer Willie McIntyre shares a few tales over a dram
12 FUTURE PROOF
We delve into the latest whisky-related technology
18 THE RANT Johanne
McInnes takes aim at whisky snobs on the web
28 SIX OF THE BEST Festive cocktail recipes to impress from the bar at Fingal in Edinburgh
30 THE LAND OF MILK & HONEY Israel joins the whisky boom
35 WHISKY BY NUMBERS 36 A BLUFFER’S GUIDE TO CARAMEL COLOURING
38 WHISKY SOUND
Whisky Heroes Niels Dalum & Nikolaj Kynde compose music for whisky
60 FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH Geraldine
Coates explores the growing world of gin liqueurs
68 SPIRIT LEVEL
Spirit guru Brooke Magnanti examines the USA’s 25% whisky tariff
70 GROUND TO GLASS We meet the
Photographer: Angus Blackburn Staff Writers: Kenny Smith, Morag Bootland, Rosie Morton, Stephanie Abbot Intern: Bethany Ferguson Contributing Editor: Blair Bowman Contributors: Dr Brooke Magnanti, Federica Stefani, Geraldine Coates, Johanne McInnes, Peter Ranscombe, Ian Buxton Email: editor@caskandstill magazine.co.uk
ADVERTISING Sales Director: Brian Cameron
man and the pigs behind Scotland’s first vermouth
Ad sales: John Boyle
74 THE RUM REVOLUTION Could
this traditional pirate tipple prove to be the next big thing in the drinks world?
79 OVER A BARREL Brewgooder, the Scottish beer brand changing lives in Africa
80 WHISKY EVENTS 82 WORLD OF WHISKY The whisky
Publisher: Alister Bennett, Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh EH5 2DL. Tel: 0131 551 1000 Published by Wyvex Media Ltd. While Cask & Still is prepared to consider unsolicited articles, transparencies and artwork, it only accepts such material on the strict understanding that it incurs no liability for its safe custody or return. The views and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of Wyvex Media Ltd.
scene in New Zealand is small but growing
6 | News feed
WORTH A VISIT
Glasgow’s Clydeside Distillery has won the award for Best Distillery Experience and for overall Best Visitor Attraction at the 2019 Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards. It was recognised for experience to people of all ages along with whisky knowledge and, since opening in 2017, has established itself as one of Glasgow’s leading tourist attractions. Earlier this year, the Clydeside was awarded a five-star rating from VisitScotland. Located beside the River Clyde, it combines the old and the new with a contemporary structure complementing the striking old Pumphouse. The Clydeside Distillery also took the title of Distillery Visitor Centre of the Year in the Cask & Still/Scottish Field Whisky Challenge. www.theclydeside.com
its commitment to delivering a five-star visitor
ALL AT SEA
The Islay Sea Collection, a group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries, has raised £725 for charity. Presented in a one of a kind display case, it was sold by the Just Whisky auction website, with all proceeds going to the Portrush and Islay volunteer lifeboat crews. It contained a Bowmore 15 Years Old, Caol Ila 12 Years Old, Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie, Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old - Small Batch Distilled, Laphroaig 10 Years Old, Ardbeg An Oa, and Lagavulin 16 Years Old. The bottles and cask staves, which form the display case, were collected by a group of keen sailors who rowed 110 miles from Northern Ireland to Islay earlier this year.
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FIVE STAR RATING
ROSEBANK RETURNS Work on the restoration of the Rosebank
The Isle of Islay’s ninth and newest distillery has
Distillery in Falkirk, now owned by Ian Macleod
received a five star grading from VisitScotland,
Distillers, got underway in November. The
just months after opening. Ardnahoe Distillery,
extensive, multi-million pound revamp is
situated on the north-east of the island, received
expected to be completed in summer 2021,
top marks in the national tourism organisation’s
when the iconic distillery – complete with 108ft
Quality Assurance Scheme in recognition of its
chimney stack – will open its doors to the
‘exceptional standards’. The distillery opened in
public and begin production once again.
April this year and has so far welcomed 24,000
Rosebank has been dormant since 1993
visitors. The distillery restaurant has a commitment
when former owner Diageo mothballed
to using quality locally sourced produce, and it
the site and its maltings were converted
received VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best award.
into a restaurant.
Cask and Still Magazine | 7
A BALLET GOOD IDEA
celebrate 50 years of Scotland’s national dance company. Highland
ARDBEG TRAIGH BHAN
Islay single malt 46.2% ABV, RRP £169
Ardbeg’s first aged whisky as a permanent expression in 20 years, it is seductively smooth on the nose. Its exquisite taste crescendo is a rush of salt, smoke, sweet and sour.
Orkney distillery Highland Park has partnered with Scottish Ballet to Park will make a donation from the sales of 5,000 special bottles to support Scottish Ballet, enabling them to continue to deliver outreach projects across the country from Kirkwall to Kilmarnock. Featuring Highland Park’s flavours, aromatic peat smoke and heather honey sweetness, they say the spicy flavour profile reflects Scottish Ballet’s exciting repertoires, while an intense character shows the passion of the company.
GAME OF THRONES SIX KINGDOMS Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 15 Years. 46% ABV, RRP £120.
The ninth Game of Thrones whisky from Diageo was matured in first-fill sherry-seasoned casks and finished in American Oak exbourbon casks. A smooth taste with notes of vanilla and spice.
THE BALVENIE FIFTY: MARRIAGE 0197 Blended malt whisky 42.0% ABV, RRP £27,500.
Deep on the nose with an abundance of oak tannins, dark fruits, bitter chocolate and intense spice. A balanced malty sweetness and spicy outburst with hints of honey and dark chocolate, with a rich oak sweetness.
GLEN SCOTIA 45 YEAR OLD
1973 single malt 43.8% ABV, RRP £3,795
Ripe pineapple, crisp green apple, rose and vanilla. The palate is caramel sweetness, juicy fruit with pineapple, mango and watermelon rounded by vanilla and honey.
A NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD An exceedingly rare 30-year-old whisky sherry hogshead cask
from the Macallan Distillery was sold at an auction in Hong Kong. It achieved £443,717, setting a new world auction record for a whisky cask at Bonhams’ sale of Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky on 15 November. Distilled in May 1989 and never removed from the distillery, this was one of the oldest editions of Macallan whisky cask available on the market. The cask is expected to produce 261 bottles of whisky.
A TV STAR IS BORN
The Glen Moray Distillery has become a worldwide TV star in itself, after featuring on Amazon Prime TV. It appears in The Three Drinkers, as the latest series focuses on a journey of discovery through Scotland, exploring the world of whisky with the film crew paying a visit to the distillery, near Elgin. The Three Drinkers are Aidy Smith, Colin Hampden-White and Helena Nicklin, a trio of friends who take an entertaining look at the Scotch whisky industry.
8 | Whisky bars of the world
THE AULD ALLIANCE, SINGAPORE This beautifully designed bar is the perfect answer to Singapore’s single malt boom. With its luxurious leather sofas and classic style, it feels as though you’ve stepped into an age-old library. An incredible number of shiny bottles line its walls and the drinks menu is an impressive 70 pages long, consisting of more than 1,300 whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Japan and beyond. This whisky paradise is just a stone’s throw away from Marina Bay. www.theauldalliance.sg
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10 | Me and my dram
Me & my
Do you ever work on criminal cases that involve whisky? I was defending a guy today who had gone a bit crazy and had gone around to his ex-wife’s to try and kill her new man. He was a slightly older guy, so I said to him, ‘what was that all about?’ He said, ‘I think it was that second bottle of Glenﬁddich that did it’. Does whisky ever feature in your crime novels? The hero, Robbie Munro, has a father who’s an ex-cop. Robbie’s father disapproves very much of Robbie’s way of life. Robbie’s a criminal defence lawyer who spends his time getting people out of jail while his dad’s career has been spent getting them into jail. Robbie’s dad is a big whisky buff who has amassed a collection of whisky over the years thinking that when he retires he’ll sell it, but then realises all he’ll do is spend that money on buying more whisky. Is whisky in your latest book? Fixed Odds is based on a case I had, as are all my books. It’s about a guy who breaks into the wrong house and steals some whisky, which is what a client of mine did. In Fixed Odds he steals some expensive whisky but also takes a rare whisky artefact. When Rembrandt was a young man he painted ﬁve pictures of the ﬁve senses: taste, sight, touch, smell
Scottish crime novelist and criminal defence lawyer Willie McIntyre is partial to a wee dram after hours Interview by Richard Bath
and sound. One of them was found in New York in 2015 in a car boot sale, but the one that is missing is taste – whoever ﬁnds that will complete the collection and it’s worth tens of millions. That is fact. In the book the guy steals ‘taste’ from an old lady by mistake – she didn’t know what it was, and he doesn’t know what it is, but somebody else does and wants it…
I represented this man who was charged with stealing £250k of Glengoyne
Are your kids into whisky? Two of my four boys are. The one who’s a lawyer like me likes Islay whiskies. The other is doing a PhD in London. When my four sons graduated I got them all a bottle of Rosebank 21YO because they were all born in Falkirk. At the time they were just £150, but they’re worth more now. Son number four said he’d rather have a laptop.
Best whisky-related advice? Watch how much you drink, otherwise you end up trying to swim the Esk or capture Carlisle. How do you uncover new whiskies? I like to try as many whiskies as I can. I go to festivals – the Fringe Festival, the Falkirk Festival and the Whisky Stramash. The best-quality whisky is at the Whisky Fringe, the best one is Whisky Stramash because they have lots of different things going on where you get to taste some strange things. The Falkirk one has taken off as well. When were you first introduced to whisky? I was car sick as a young boy. My aunt thought, ‘give him a toddy, that’ll help’. I remember thinking I’d rather be car sick – whisky for a kid was horrendous. I can still taste it to this day. When did you begin to like it? With four sons, a busy law practise and coaching youth football, for most of my twenties and thirties I was practically tee-total. But when I hit forty I got lots of bottles of whisky for my birthday. But in my early forties I represented this man who was charged with stealing £250,000 of Glengoyne 17-year-old. I got him off and as a thank you he bought me
Cask and Still Magazine | 11
a bottle of Glengoyne 17-year-old (he put the receipt in with it) but I remember thinking at the time, ‘I’m never going to drink this’. But one night I opened it and when I tasted it I thought, ‘good grief, is that what whisky tastes like – it’s really good’. So I went back to the bottles I’d been given for my fortieth and I’ve never looked back. I particularly love Glengoyne. What’s your favourite dram? I used to love the Islay whiskies like Ardbeg Uigeadail, but have gone off the peaty ones a bit. At the moment I like great-value drams like Glenﬁddich’s 15-yearold Solero, Benromach’s 10-year-old and Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseur’s Collection. What features in your own whisky collection? I’ve got quite a large Ardbeg collection, partly because one of my sons went out with a girl who had family on Islay, and every time they went over he bought me two bottles from a distillery – only special edition – one would go onto an auction site and I’d keep the other. I’ve stopped collecting though, because the prices are getting silly. The more of these strange bottlings they do, hoping that people will collect them, the fewer people actually drink them so there’s no rarity. I’ve got a few bottles of Macallan Ruby, which is excellent and no longer made. In all I’ve got over a hundred bottles. Are you gifted a lot of whisky now? I get a lot of bottles from clients I’ve got off. The best was from a client who gave me four bottles of Highland Park 30-year-old, and then told me that he dropped the ﬁfth one on the kitchen ﬂoor. I’ve drunk two of them and they were excellent. What’s the most unusual bottle you own? I have a couple of bottles of an Indian whisky Paul John. A guy at the Falkirk Whisky Festival was dressed up as a Maharajah and I’m a sucker for a good outﬁt. I hear you make whisky glass holders? I make them from barrel staves. I get the staves from Aberlour, and they’re absolutely ﬁlthy, so I wash them, sand them with 1,500 grade sandpaper so they are smooth to the touch. I then drill the holes and give them to friends. They make good candle holders too. It’s a good wee hobby.
12 | Technology in whisky
Future O O
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As the whisky industry continues to thrive, more crooks are coming out of the woodwork â€“ but can science save the day for Scotch? Written by Blair Bowman
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14 | Technology in whisky
f there’s one industry that has been booming of late, it’s the whisky industry. Proﬁt margins are healthy and sales ﬁgures are growing year on year – and they have been for quite some time. But with whisky being such a sought after, luxurious item, it is also incredibly attractive to fraudsters who want to cash in on its successes. Thankfully, though, advances in technology and IP protection are leading the way in protecting the genuine article from whisky scammers that could damage the reputation of whisky forever. In the early 2000s Macallan fell foul of fraudsters after purchasing 100 bottles of Macallan whisky thought to have been from the 19th Century. In some instances, the bottles and labels could be dated to the correct time period, but the liquid was believed to have been from the 1950s. In 2017, a story hit international headlines when a Chinese billionaire paid $10,000 for a single dram of ‘1878 Macallan whisky’ at a highly esteemed whisky bar in St Moritz, Switzerland, making it the highest price ever paid for a single glass of whisky. However, the news went viral and whisky experts from across the globe soon declared the bottle was a fake and it was later proven to date to the early 2000s. The billionaire was refunded his money. In August 2019, scientists at the University of Glasgow announced they had developed ‘a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue’ or ‘artiﬁcial tongue’ which could be
An artificial tongue could be used in the fight against fake whisky
used in the ﬁght against fake whisky. Their research shows that the artiﬁcial tongue can identify the characteristics of whiskies based on its unique ‘signature’ or ‘ﬁngerprint’. For example, in their experiments the tongue could distinguish between Glenﬁddich 12 year old and Glenﬁddich 18 year old whiskies. The artiﬁcial tongue works by placing a sample of whisky on a glass wafer which is coated in various chemicals. It is made up of three sensing regions, each with two million microscopic artiﬁcial taste buds. When light is shone through them, it reacts with electrons on the surface of the glass. The reﬂected light and wavelengths can then be measured, resulting in a different ‘ﬁngerprint’ for each sample of whisky. This is not the ﬁrst time this kind of technology has been developed though, and the downsides are signiﬁcant – it can only identify a whisky that has already been ‘ﬁngerprinted’. Not dissimilar to detectives trying to identify a ﬁngerprint from a crime scene that is not yet on their database. That said, it is a great addition to the industry’s arsenal against fraud. What’s more, the technology could be used from a quality control perspective, or even before bottling to ensure consistency from bottle to bottle. Will this be the end of our esteemed master blenders? I seriously doubt it, but I see its potential to assist the experienced noses of the industry. And the protection for whisky doesn’t
O O Clockwise from top left: Under a microscope Glemorangie 2019 experiment; the artificial tongue is a lot smaller than a £1 coin; Glenfiddich 30-year-old under teh microscope; Dr Alasdair Clark holding a scaled-up version of the materials that make up the ‘tongue’.
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16 | Technology in whisky
end there. Blockchain technology also allows for full traceability of a product from its very source. ArcNet, an Edinburgh-based blockchain specialist, have developed a new platform called Distilled ID, which allows distilleries to trace the entire supply chain from grain to glass. The Ardnamurchan Distillery have pioneered the use of this blockchain technology, which allows for fully authenticated digital provenance of their products. Their bottles have a unique QR code which consumers can scan using a smartphone. This provides the consumer with a detailed picture of that product, tracing it right back to the grain. William Grant & Sons have also started applying this technology to their Ailsa Bay whisky. It is so precise that blockchain can even tell you which ﬁeld the barley came from, with exact GPS coordinates, as well as what the weather was like when it was harvested. The use of blockchain is still relatively new in all sectors but it will be very interesting to see how far its application will extend in the whisky industry. In my eyes, these advances in fraud detection and end-product traceability should be strongly encouraged. They increase transparency in the sector and weed out those who are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Luckily, the whisky industry is well protected by the ongoing work of the Scotch Whisky Association, but there is no harm in being prepared for battle against fraudsters, protecting one of Scotland’s most valuable assets.
LOST SPIRITS DISTILLERY
The Lost Spirits Distillery in California is using advanced technology to speed up maturation. By forcing spirit through wood under immense pressure they can create the equivalent of a 10-year-old whisky in a matter of days.
Not something from the book 1984 but in fact a specially created cocktail for London Cocktail Week. Glenlivet created special one off ‘pods’ of whisky cocktails that could simply be popped in the mouth. Just don’t confuse them with your dishwasher pods.
Above: Blockchain technology offers full traceability.
WHISKY BY-PRODUCTS FUELLING CARS Celtic Renewables convert draft and pot ale, whisky making by-products, into various chemicals which can then be pumped directly into cars without the need to make any adjustments to the car’s engine.
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EVERY BOTTLE has a story to tell... A D R A T T R A Y. C O M
A LW AY S D R I N K R E S P O N S I B LY
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18 | The Rant
Do not feed
Out in the wild west of social media, a new horde of angry whisky snobs and entitled curmudgeons is making Johanne McInnis feel sick
omething has been slowly eating away at my whisky soul for the past year, like a midge bite I’ve picked at so many times it has left a scar. When did it become acceptable to say things online that are insulting or inﬂammatory? Is it just me, or has the ability to hide behind keyboards given birth to an entire generation who not only believe their arrogant opinions are acceptable, but are a needed service provided free of charge to the rest of us? I’ve been tuned in to social media since 2012. I helped coin #whiskyfabric as a place to share ideas, trade samples, ask questions and so much more. By 2016, I began to leave groups or visit sites less and less when I started to notice a level of hostility creeping in, then realised I knew some of these people. Colleagues, friends and fellow bloggers granting themselves the moral responsibility of attacking not only the brands, ambassadors or whisky makers, but also each other. The ﬁnal straw came on 2 October this year when the whisky Twitter world exploded – how dare The Glenlivet produce edible whisky cocktail capsules for a festival in London? Twitter: We – insert thousands of Twitter handles – are outraged and disgusted that single malt is being served like this – insert green vomiting emoji. What’s next? Dehydrated whisky ﬂakes! #whiskypods #boycottglenlivet Me: What The Francis Ford Coppola just happened? As I watched the backlash go from stupid to utterly absurd it dawned on me that this mob of angry single malt snobs were not
Being online creates a level playing field with no rules
Cask and Still Magazine | 19
Left: Whisky trolling is poisoning the well. Above: The anonymity of social media inevitably encourages the trolls.
reading the article, therefore missing the point completely. It didn’t matter that many of us responded that it wasn’t single malt or available commercially because the troll train had left the station and 9,000,000 people were aboard and all because of one tweet from The Glenlivet account which was replied to 10,600 times and retweeted 7,005 times. This caused 1,000 times the indignation caused by Trump passing a 25% levy on Scotch. Have you heard of the ‘online disinhibition effect’? Described in 2004 by John Suller, a psychology professor in the US, it’s based on what was taking place on the internet 15 years ago. His research stated that when people are online this happens: ‘You don’t know me, you are not physically in front of me and your rules don’t apply to me.’ Individuals interact anonymously, the target is not physically in front of them so there are no ramiﬁcations and being online creates a level playing ﬁeld with no rules. In real life this doesn’t apply because most of us were raised with ﬁlters, taught to respect and behave in certain ways. Case in point, you would never ﬁnd yourself standing at Victoria Coach Station waiting for your train, see Jim Murray standing there and decide it’s your God given responsibility to bellow, ‘Jim Murray, you corporate sellout, your last whisky bible was utter rubbish!’, would you? The online disinhibition effect created the perfect platform for belligerence, welcoming the golden age of self-righteous judgmental whisky trolls. Not liking a bottle you bought
for 20 quid now equates to posting photos and telling everyone online it tasted like diesel pissed through dirty wool socks. Didn’t care for the free whisky tour you received because you didn’t get special treatment as a prominent whisky blogger with 1,500 followers? Also remember to make fun of the struggling 19-year-old university tour guide and give it a one star rating on your website. Instagram and shame every single bar menu for accidentally putting Hibiki in the scotch category – the rest of us certainly don’t want to be seen drinking in ‘those’ establishments. Oh, and my favourite – the brand ambassador failed to see that donating that expensive whisky bottle for your club tasting was fantastic exposure for their products. Let the Facebook world know you are never pouring their brands again for your 36 members. Therein lies the irony of what seems to be left of the virtual whisky world. What was once a community is now ﬁlled with people who don’t recognise they’ve become entitled online whisky curmudgeons. I’m declaring this the golden age of trolls. However, like all other eras it will come to an end, whether it’s because something comes along to replace social media, whisky falls out of the limelight or simply because the rest of us get fed up and refuse to feed the trolls. No matter what, I look forward to moving on past this horrendous chapter so I can drink whisky whatever way I choose, read articles and reviews without hateful commentary and maybe, just maybe, try the dehydrated whisky ﬂakes without judgement.
20 | Whisky for Water
Barrels of fun: Lachlan (left), Ewan (with â€˜tache) and Jamie MacLean.
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When three Scottish brothers decided to row the Atlantic, the perfect way to kick-start fundraising was to pillage for whisky up the West Coast Written by Rosie Morton
owing and whisky. Two words that don’t often sit side by side, but two that have been married seamlessly by a trio of adventurous brothers from Edinburgh. And it’s not what you may think – Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan MacLean, sons of acclaimed whisky writer and connoisseur Charles MacLean, will not be cracking open a bottle and paddling merrily down the stream. Instead they are supporting two charities (Children 1st, Scotland’s children’s charity, and Feedback Madagascar, which provides locals on the African island with access to clean water) by rowing the Atlantic Ocean. Dubbed the toughest row in the world, they are taking on the gruelling Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, and to kick-start their fundraising drive, they rowed 300 nautical miles up the west coast pillaging from local distilleries.
Setting off from Arran and making the long journey to Talisker on Skye, the brothers’ pillaging expedition was remarkably fruitful. ‘I wrote to all the owners of the west coast distilleries,’ explains their father, Charles, and thanks to his connections in the industry they collected over 400 bottles in just ten days, helping them creep ever closer to their fundraising target. Stopping off at the likes of Bowmore, Jura, Tobermory and Lochranza, each of the distilleries were hugely generous, donating an average of 24 bottles to the cause. Of course, the pillage also gave them a taste for what was to come – the exhausting reality of rowing two hours on, one hour off, hit home, and they became well acquainted with the feeling of burning blisters, thighs and lungs that is part and parcel with this back-breaking endurance sport.
22 | Whisky for Water
more people have been to space than rowed the atlantic ocean
‘The whole idea of the pillage was actually modelled on one that was completed on Islay in 2003,’ explains Charles. ‘The men and women from Lagavulin Distillery rowed round Islay, effectively ﬁlling a cask, and they bottled it up and sold it for charity.’ Despite labelling it a ‘daft idea’ themselves, the team at Lagavulin successfully raised £25,000 for the RNLI and Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund. Charles, who has also starred in the hit Ken Loach ﬁlm the Angels’ Share, has now taken charge of the donated whisky and intends to make a blend out of them which will be sold in early 2020 from Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh and on BROAR’s website, raising further funds for Feedback Madagascar. This campaign – named ‘Whisky for Water’ – will essentially see the transformation of the water of life into clean drinking water for those in Africa.
‘It’s quite cool,’ says Lachlan. ‘Obviously with Dad’s expertise, it should be a great blend.’ The intention is to make a blended malt called MacLean’s Pillage, with the potential for a second blended Scotch variation, named MacLean Spillage. By creating separate expressions, better quality drams can be produced, as Lachlan explains: ‘Apparently if whiskies are too peaty in a blend, it’s like a “rat in the bag”,’ he says, quoting his father. ‘It just ruins the whole blend.’ While the brothers are accomplished rugby players, competent sailors and all-round sports aﬁcionados, rowing the Atlantic had yet to be ticked off their bucket list. Following in the wake of such greats as Olympic rowing legend James Cracknell is no mean feat, and their adventure of a lifetime is set to begin very soon – they’ll be waving goodbye from the Canary Islands on 12 December in the hope of seeing the outline of Antigua on the other side. ‘I mentioned this Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to Jamie and Ewan, and they were both dead keen,’ says Lachlan. ‘Next thing we knew, Jamie had signed us up to the race. It’s like when your brother signs you up for a half marathon, except this was a little more extreme.’
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LOST CLOCK PRODUCTION
An incredible 3,000 miles long – that’s 2,500 times the length of a traditional Olympic rowing race – the brothers will be launching from La Gomera. ‘We’ve been advised not to have family there when we’re actually leaving the shore,’ explains Lachlan, setting his sights on the end goal. It’s psychologically better to be rowing towards your family rather than rowing away from them. ‘We’re all as ﬁt as we’ve ever been. We’re not drinking just now. which is ... interesting! We’re as prepared as we could be.’ More people have been to space or climbed Mount Everest than have rowed this expanse of water, but undeterred by such trivial facts, Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan intend to become the youngest trio to have ever rowed across an ocean. They’ll also be the ﬁrst team of brothers to have completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. At just 21-years-old, Lachlan is the youngest of the crew and is taking a sabbatical from his philosophy studies at the University of Glasgow; while Jamie, 25, is following suit, pressing pause on his architectural studies at the Glasgow School of Art. Ewan, meanwhile, at 27-years-old, is managing to juggle a full-time role at Dyson as a design engineer with
Above (l-r): Showing off their loot; their Whisky for Water campaign will help provide clean drinking water in Madagascar; the brothers are musical talents as well as sporting greats; all smiles at Oban Distillery.
Oﬀ License of the Year 2019
The Carnegie Whisky Cellars is an award winning retailer specialising in all forms of Scottish produced spirits, situated in the towns former Courthouse in the centre of Dornoch, only a short walk from Royal Dornoch Golf Course. At the Carnegie Whisky Cellars we stock an extensive range of Scottish single malts, blended whiskies, craft gins and much more. See our selection of old, rare and collectable whiskies in the Carnegie Vault, book in for one of our tasting experiences or pop in for a browse and chat about Scotland’s most famous export. Open 10 – 6 daily April to October Open 10 – 5 Mon – Sat & 12 – 5 Sun November – March Tastings can be arranged at times to suit, booking is essential New Scottish gin, rum and whisky tastings available in 2020 The Carnegie Whisky Cellars, The Carnegie Courthouse, Castle Street, Dornoch, IV25 3NE 01862 811 791 – firstname.lastname@example.org The Carnegie Whisky Cellars.indd 24
Cask and Still Magazine | 25 >>>
be sure and raise a glass to wish these three brothers on their way intense training – a fact that continues to baﬄe his siblings: ‘We’re not really sure how he’s still got a job to be honest,’ jests Lachlan. ‘But he seems to be multi-tasking quite well.’ Of course, their parents were a little less keen on the idea of all the eggs being in one basket, as it were, paddling off into the sunset in a 28ft boat. ‘The ﬁrst reaction from my wife and I was dismay,’ says Charles. ‘But the effort they’ve put into it ﬁlls me with conﬁdence now. I’m very, very proud of them. They’ve created a considerable stir.’ As the countdown begins to race day, Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan are relieved to have a blood bond to see them through the inevitable trials and tribulations they encounter. ‘When you’re stuck on a raft with these people, you have to get on,’ says Lachlan. Nor do the brothers’ talents end there. Not content with overcoming the toughest rowing race in the world, they also hope to compose a piece of music from the middle of the ocean. Ordinarily Ewan plays guitar, Jamie plays the pipes and Lachlan is a dab hand at the accordion. But scaling down their instruments on board with a harmonica, a whistle and a shaker, their shared interest in music is another of the strengths that will no doubt keep the spirits up when they’re burning 12,000 calories a day. Certainly, Christmas dinner will bear no resemblance to the traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. ‘We’ll probably have an extra delicious freeze-dried food meal for Christmas,’ says Lachlan. ‘Instead of opening our stockings, we’ll probably treat ourselves to 20 minutes of ﬁshing. We’re going to take a line and use it as a reward system because we’re all keen ﬁshermen. Hopefully we’ll catch some fresh tuna.’ The MacLean brothers have reached around 80% of their sponsorship target, with just another two sponsors to ﬁnd, and are halfway to reaching their fundraising target of £250,000 – and that’s before they’ve even waved goodbye to the shoreline. So, while they are enduring a treacherous ordeal over Christmas and New Year, taking 1.5 million strokes over 40-60 days, be sure and raise a glass of your favourite dram to wish these three extraordinary brothers on their way. www.broar.co.uk, @broaratlantic From top: Sampling the goods; BROAR rowed 300 nautical miles to fundraise; the boys’ father, whisky writer Charlie MacLean, will blend the pillaged whiskies. Credit: Lost Clock Production.
26 | Whisky for Water
Donâ€™t drink and ...row
The epic fundraising journey undertaken by the BROAR brothers as they stopped off at 16 West Coast distilleries:
Isle of Arran
10 11 5
Angus Dundee Distillers PLC.indd 27
28 | Festive cocktails
Try your hand at making these decadent festive cocktails from Fingal
SERVE IN: Retro Coupe
SERVE IN: Old Fashioned
SERVE IN: Coupette
25ml Tanqueray No. TEN
50ml Belvedere vodka
25ml Hennessy VS
20ml honey syrup
White of 1 egg
1/2 stem lemongrass
15ml date syrup
25ml Luxardo Bitter Bianco
2g wood sorrel
1/4 Granny Smith apple
Bitter orange oil
(NORTHERN LIGHTHOUSE BOARD)
Juice of 1/2 a lime METHOD: Stir all the ingredients (bar
12.5ml green chilli liqueur
the egg and Italicus) in a mixing glass.
GARNISH: Marasca cherry, dried orange
Shake the egg and Italicus together
GARNISH: Sea shell with dried
and pour over the gin mixture.
channelled wrack seaweed, single
METHOD: Put all the ingredients in
large ice block.
the serving glass, stir and taste.
METHOD: Blend the lemongrass, sorrel, apple and lime juice before straining and adding to a cocktail shaker with other ingredients. Pour
PHOTOS: JOHN CAREY
into a serving glass.
Cask and Still Magazine | 29
YARD N0. 140
SERVE IN: Martini glass
SERVE IN: Old Fashioned
SERVE IN: Julep cup
65ml Britannia gin
65ml blend of Glenmorangie 10 YO
37.5ml Sea Wolf white rum
15ml Wermod Great British Vermouth
Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or 12 YO
37.5ml pineapple wine
A dash of grapefruit bitters
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 YO
20ml aloe vera syrup
20ml Lustau PX
GARNISH: Pickled Amalfi lemon
Grapefruit & chocolate bitters
3 dashes of peach bitters
METHOD: Mix all of the ingredients
GARNISH: Grain spike, large single
GARNISH: Crushed ice, dried
together and then freeze in a
pineapple, dried lime, tarragon leaves
suitable container for a minimum of three hours. Pour into a glass to
METHOD: Combine enough
METHOD: Shake all the ingredients
grapefruit bitters with chocolate
with crushed ice, strain and then pour
bitters to add three dashes to the
into the serving glass and garnish.
other ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir everything then strain and pour into an old fashioned glass.
We hopped aboard Scotland’s luxury floating hotel, Fingal, to try these cocktails created by Head Bartender Alessandro Borelli and adapted for you to try at home. Fingal is permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s waterfront in Leith. www.fingal.co.uk
30 | Whisky in Israel
In 2018 Israel imported 4.9 million bottles of whisky from Scotland
Written by Blair Bowman
Cask and Still Magazine | 31 >>>
The land of
Milk and Honey As the whisky boom spreads across the globe, Israel’s first single malt distillery is gearing up to make its mark on the industry Written by Blair Bowman
srael’s first single malt whisky distillery, Milk & Honey Distillery, is about to take the world by storm. Following in the footsteps of whiskies such as Taiwan’s Kavalan, which has been wowing the whisky world since its launch in 2008, this new single malt from Israel has joined the ever growing category of so-called ‘new world single malt whiskies’ that are on a par with a Scottish single malt whisky, in both quality and taste. Israel has been home to an increasing number of whisky aficionados over the last few decades. In 2018 it imported some 4.9 million bottles of whisky from Scotland and it is currently ranked 39th by value according to the
32 | Whisky in Israel
Scotch Whisky Association’s latest ﬁgures. The Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv is the largest of the new wave of start-up distilleries in Israel producing around 170,000 litres of pure spirit per year. Other new distilleries include Golan Heights Distillery, Pelter Distillery and Edrei Distillery. In early 2018 Legends Distillery launched an Indie-GoGo to crowdfund Israel’s ﬁrst ‘American-style Whiskey’ distillery – unfortunately they failed to secure more than 2% of their target but as interest in whisky ﬂourishes, inevitably there will be others planned or under construction soon. While Golan Heights were the ﬁrst to release an ‘Israeli whisky’ in 2016, made from both wheat and barley, since there are no legal obligations to age whisky in Israel The Whiskey Wash website reports that it actually may have been aged for no more than a year. Golan Heights have also released some unique and more experimental products including a ‘Spicy Hummus’ whisky distilled from an Israeli chickpea malt ale made at a nearby brewery. In contrast, Milk & Honey Distillery have decided to follow the Scotch Whisky Association’s deﬁnition of whisky making and as such are making single malt whisky and maturing it for a minimum of three years. Founded by a group of whisky-loving entrepreneurs in 2012, the construction of Milk & Honey Distillery began in 2014 and was guided by the late Dr. Jim Swan. Dr Swan, who died in 2017, was the foremost whisky distilling consultant and also worked with Kavalan Distillery in Taiwan and Penderyn Distillery in Wales, not to mention myriad new distilleries in Scotland. Since their ﬁrst distillation took place in 2015, Milk & Honey Distillery have led the wave of a craft distilling revolution in Israel.
Cask and Still Magazine | 33
The team have been driven to produce world-class whisky
Opposite top: Tel Aviv, the home of Milk & Honey Distillery, Israel’s first single malt whisky producer. Opposite bottom: The Milk & Honey team. Above: A couple of the products on offer at Milk & Honey.
One of the challenges for the team at Milk & Honey was the extreme temperatures and humidity in Tel Aviv that would affect the maturation of their spirit. From an average temperature in January of 13°C to 26°C in July with humidity of between 50%-90%, they estimate that it will speed up their maturation by around 2.5 times, meaning a three-year-old whisky would be the equivalent to a six to eight-year-old whisky if matured in Scotland’s climate. It is estimated that their Angel’s Share is around 8-10% evaporation per year. In 1971 a group of charlatans in Israel tried to launch a product called Ascot Special Deluxe Blended Scotch, which they dubbed as ‘Scotch whisky made in Israel’. However, in 1972 a lawsuit was ﬁled by the Scotch Whisky Association claiming the product was misleading and the operation was quickly shut down. Unlike that failed attempt in the 1970s the team at Milk & Honey have been driven to produce a truly world-class whisky. They were so happy with how their spirit was maturing they released a series of products in advance of their main releases, coming in 2020, which have certainly generated a universally positive buzz about the whole venture. They released an Unaged Single Malt New Make Spirit at 50% ABV. It is incredibly smooth, clean and deliciously complex, with layers of ﬂavour despite being unaged. After trying their new make spirit I was very excited to taste their so called ‘Young Single Malt’, aged for between 12 and 18 months and matured in a combination of ex-red wine (kosher, of course), ex-bourbon and ex-Islay casks. I was, to put it lightly, blown away by how good their Young Single Malt tasted. Despite its infancy in terms of age there are no signs of immaturity or any off notes at all. It has a chewy and juicy mouthfeel with oodles of complex ﬂavours from sweet ﬂoral notes to juicy tangerine peels, with hints of the smoky salty Islay cask notes appearing too. From what I have sampled so far it is very promising indeed. The fact that the world is becoming more accustomed to the idea of drinking whisky that isn’t from a traditional whisky producing country will certainly make their job a lot easier. They have big plans and big ambitions, with their initial general release bottling due to come in January 2020. I can anticipate that Milk & Honey releases will follow the trajectory of Kavalan and you’ll be seeing top-quality top-shelf bottles of Milk & Honey Israeli whisky alongside the big name whiskies in specialist bars and shops around the world in the years to come. L’chaim!
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Cask and Still Magazine | 35
Whisky by numbers Impress your friends with these facts and figures The value of Scotch whisky exports increased by 10.8% in the first half of 2019
Single malts now make up 30% of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas
£2,190,000,000 The value of Scotch whisky exports is £2.19 billion
Exports of single malts rose 18.8% to £652m in the first six months of 2019
7.5% Exports of blended Scotch whisky also grew, rising 7.5% to a value of £1.35bn
598m – the total number of bottles of Scotch whisky exported
Source: Scotch Whisky Association analysis of HMRC for the first half of 2019.
36 | A bluffer’s guide to...
Written by: Federica Stefani
A BLUFFER ’S GUIDE TO..
Caramel colouring Whatever shade of amber you prefer your nectar to be, there’s no way of knowing for sure if that hue has been influenced by cask maturation or an artificial colourant
e are repeatedly told during distillery tours that our
substance to alter the colour of whisky is not
favourite drop of liquid happiness takes its colour entirely
new to the industry and has likely been going
from the wood of the cask that it was matured in. Which, in
on since the early 20th century. According to
turn gets its hue from its prior inhabitant, be it wine or spirit. Other
the European Technical Caramel Association
aspects, such as flavour compounds, can be affected by each of
(Euteca), Caramel Colour or E150 is a ‘light to
the different stages of the production process. And this would
dark brown liquid or solid which is obtained from
be true if manufacturers stuck to the basic ingredients of whisky:
controlled heating of sugars with the help of
water, barley and yeast.
However, not all whisky drinkers know that even Scotch whisky,
the use of said chemical reactants such as
its tone. In fact, the vast majority of whisky on shelves around the
acids, alkalis and salts. Secondly, but most
world, especially as far as blends are concerned, have had their
importantly, it does not have a perceptible
colour enhanced – perfectly legally – by spirit caramel.
difference in taste, especially given the
CARAMEL AND SPIRIT
It is distinguished from burnt sugar by
an extremely strictly-regulated spirit, can receive a little boost to
extremely low percentages that are used in Scotch whisky production.
Spirit caramel, also known as E150 in Europe or caramel colour, is
There are four different types of spirit
a food additive that is used as a colouring agent. The use of this
caramel: the only one allowed in the Scotch
Cask and Still Magazine | 37
whisky industry is called E150a (or Class I) or
wheat whiskies will have to follow the same rule if
plain caramel, which is created without the use
of sulphites or ammonium; E150b (Class II) will be produced with sulphites but without ammonium;
the E150c (Class III) has ammonium but no
The E150a question is very often one of those
sulphites and, finally E150d (Class IV), which has
that dramatically polarises opinion in the
both ammonium and sulphites. These ratings
production and drinking world. Essentially, spirit caramel is used to create
show the progression in the strength of the
consistency in expressions – the most popular
flavour impact of these additives.
blends will have some added and that is,
BREAKING (DOWN) THE LAW
according to the producers who use it, to ensure
One might wonder why adding colour to whisky
that they are able to give the same product
is allowed by the famously strict regulations of
to their consumers time and again, creating a
the Scotch Whisky Association?
standard and attending to the expectations that established brands want to keep.
The Scotch Whisky Order 1990 allowed the
However, the line between using an additive
use of ‘spirit caramel’ in whisky. The ruling was tightened in Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 which stated that only the use of ‘plain caramel colouring’ is allowed – namely E150a. This remains the only thing that distilleries can add to whisky, other than water. What is often seen as controversial is that producers are not obliged by law to disclose the presence of caramel on their labels. Most producers who do not add colouring will state that their product is its ‘natural colour’ on the
the use of spirit caramel to alter the colour of whisky is not new
to maintain a certain colour and using it to make the whisky look more appealing is very thin. This is especially true when we think of the widespread preconception among less experienced whisky drinkers that darker equates to older or in general to better, richer whisky. A bottle containing a deep amber, or mahogany liquid will be expected to be older and can therefore be marketed with a higher price tag. The case made by some in the whisky
bottle, but some may prefer not to include any
industry who are championing natural colour
information in order to keep their options open.
labelling is that adding colour to whisky is
And what about whiskies that come from
deceptive and doesn’t reflect the variable nature
outside Scotland? German and Danish whiskies
of the product. No two casks will look exactly the
require that manufacturers state on the label
same, even if the production method, maturation
whether colourant has been added to the
and cask types are identical. Others advocate
product. Irish, Canadian and Japanese whiskies
the requirement to disclose the presence of
all allow the use of spirit colouring.
spirit caramel in a whisky.
In the U.S. it gets a bit more complicated:
In any case, it’s important not to judge a book
according to the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and
by its cover – if a whisky has colourant in it, it may
Trade Bureau, up to 2.5% caramel colouring in
not be a lesser whisky. There are some pretty
total production can be used in certain whiskies
awesome expressions that have E150 in them.
and E150b can be used. This rule, however,
As it should always be with whisky, trust your
does not apply to bourbon, which must get its
nose and palate, pick what you like and you won’t
colour uniquely from the barrel. Corn, rye or
38 | Whisky Hero
A SYMPHONY OF DRAMS Adding a new dimension to whisky tasting, Danish duo Niels Dalum and Nikolaj Kynde compose music to enhance each and every dram
here was this poem of taste growing in the mouth. It was as if the whisky was telling a story.’ For those who have experienced the notes of such sensational drams, this will sound familiar; with just a drop of liquid gold, memories and senses come flooding back. And no one knows this better than Danish duo Whisky Sound – Niels Dalum, who plays viola, and Nikolaj Kynde, who’s an expert in electronic music. Together they have found a new way of communicating tasting notes. The two musicians, both from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, have created a sensory whisky tasting experience with music – an idea they invented while sitting in a bar in Brooklyn, New York. ‘We had previously been involved in projects relating to food and music, and were talking about what is a good comparison between taste and sound. We thought, “What about whisky?” It lasts such a long time and often features an epic development,’ said Niels. Quickly realising the potential to produce music based on tasting notes, Whisky Sound set about composing their first piece via Skype. ‘Nikolaj
Written by Federica Stefani
was sitting in Amsterdam, and I was in Copenhagen, both drinking a Mortlach 15,’ says Niels. ‘I composed something, recorded it and sent it over to him, then we developed the idea together. We wanted to create a concept that could be a bridge for the gap between taste and sound.’ After tasting the whisky, the duo draw a graph – the x-axis represents time, the y-axis is the intensity of taste. Depending on the whisky’s notes, they break it down into sweetness, bitterness and smokiness, creating themes for each piece of music. ‘Much like the soundtrack to a film, a scene can be happy or sad according to the music,’ explains Nikolaj. ‘In the same way, what you hear can interact with what you taste, so you can have music that supports a particular taste. You can work with people’s emotional experience.’ Whisky Sound’s compositions are made to accompany guided tastings, and to help the audience focus on particular tastes, allowing them to linger on each element and explore the whisky more intensely. Coordination is, of course, essential – as every gesture, sound and sip needs to come at the right time in the
tasting. Choosing a whisky that has the potential to be transposed musically is also a tough task, so Nikolaj and Niels look for whiskies that have strong, distinct qualities that can be captured. They also look for qualities that change over time, that can surprise, and frequently work with single cask and cask strength whiskies which are more ‘musical’ than others. ‘There are whiskies that can be used for a pedagogical task, like the Balvenie 12 – you can easily separate the elements, starting from the base, taking three sips and adding a new layer each time,’ says Niels, explaining that it’s a great way of involving people in the whole concept of each whisky. Whisky Sound have performed around the world, touring from Scotland to Australia, and more recently to the avant-garde music festival Klang Festival and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. The duo will also be at the Danish whisky festival and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society 2020 Festival in Vejle. Neither Niels nor Nikolaj can enjoy a dram without sounds developing in their minds now – but they admit that’s a small price to pay for a wonderful drinking experience.
Cask and Still Magazine | 39
Clockwise from top: Whisky Sound; the duo compose music to enhance whisky tastings; a musical dram. Photography: Katherine Cordwell
Single cask and cask strength whiskies are more musical
CASK AND STILL ARE DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF OUR MOBILE WHISKY APP
At the push of a button, you’ll be able to uncover Scotland’s bottle shops, distilleries, visitor experiences and places to enjoy a tipple or two. It will give you access to in-depth knowledge, images and video content about your nearest local attractions, all while you’re on the go. Available soon to download on the Apple and Google Play stores.
If you want to market your business within the app, contact John Boyle 01315517911, jboyle@scottishﬁeld.co.uk Drinks App - House Ad.indd 40
Cask and Still Magazine | 41 >>>
s â€™ r u e s s i o n on
N O I T EC
L E S Befuddled by the dizzying range of
drinks on offer? Feel the fog of confusion lift with our 13-page guide to what the real experts drink
WhiskyRow A4 SCotField Ad RetailerVersion 245x200mm 271119.pdf
putting whisky row back on the map whisky row - history in a bottle
Leith was once the beating heart of Edinburgh’s whisky district, with its 100 warehouses boasting the world’s largest stock of whisky, including the forefathers of many of today’s famous brands. However, after the industry and port declined, even Leith’s whisky-inspired street names vanished – until now. Today, whisky row has been resurrected and gives its name to the home-coming of blended whisky to Leith, putting Edinburgh back on the whisky map. And with three distinctive flavour profiles, we guarantee there’s a Whisky Row to please any palate or occasion.
RICH AND SPICY ON THE NOSE Rich dried fruit, with pronounced sherry aromas and sweet gentle spices. IN THE MOUTH Warm, rich dark fruits; toffee, melted chocolate developing into a nice nutty finish.
SMOOTH AND SWEET ON THE NOSE Fresh, soft and very fruity; honey and mellow vanilla. IN THE MOUTH Caramel, vanilla, baked apple, soft spiced oak with a smooth toasty finish.
SMOKE AND PEAT ON THE NOSE Clean and youthful with lots of smoke, gentle peat and soft fruitiness. IN THE MOUTH Dry, medium bodied with lots of Islay style smoke and peat. A very long finish with the peat and charcoal flavours lingering.
available at selected retailers and online at www.whiskyrow.co.uk PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Glen Mor.indd 80
Cask and Still Magazine | 43 >>>
GLENALLACHIE 15 YO 59.99
Introducing the most recent release from this fast moving distillery. GlenAllachie 15 year old, the jewel in the crown according to master distiller, Billy Walker. Matured in Pedro Ximénez Puncheons & Oloroso Puncheons. NOSE: Overflowing with raisins, butterscotch and sweet spices. PALATE: The rainbow of sweet spices, raisins and butterscotch develops to
Speyside TAMDHU 15 YO 84.99
Wonderful presentation, complimenting the fluid interior. An exciting new 15-year-old expression, fully appreciating the time maturing exclusively in the finest sherry oak casks. NOSE: An aromatic array of apple pastry, spiced currants and orange zest, with exotic notes of pineapple and fennel. PALATE: Bursts of juicy apricot and vibrant raspberry, lemon tart and creamy almonds on the palate.
banana, orange peel and dark chocolate.
FINISH: A long journey through
FINISH: Long and smooth with tropical
warming malt biscuit, cream
fruits and mixed spice.
sherry and vanilla.
TOMINTOUL 18 YO 84.99
The award-winning Tomintoul Distillery have released their first 18 year old single malt as part of the core range, incorporating this excellent whisky into a gift pack with branded glass tumblers. NOSE: Elegant and fruity with aromas of cooked apples, vanilla sponge cake and sultanas. PALATE: Creamy and textured, crème anglaise with amaretto biscuits, beeswax bound with cigar box spice. FINISH: Warming and sweet with nutmeg, butter pastry, heather honey and vanilla toffee.
OWNER, ROBBIE’S DRAMS WHISKY MERCHANTS, AYR
Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants is a familyrun business, situated in the seaside town of Ayr. Fine character, great whisky, since 1984. Here Robin selects some of his favourite single malts on the market.
The Taste of Scotlandâ€¦ SCOTCH AND WORLD
Champagne, Wines, Spirits, Liqueurs, Havana Cigars, Collectables, Rarities, Limited Editions, Gift Vouchers robbieswhiskymerchants.com
+44 (0) 1292 262135 email@example.com
3 Sandgate, Ayr, South Ayrshire KA7 1BG
Please contact us for further information on hours of opening
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm & Sunday 12noon-6pm (Seasonal)
FREE click and collect available
J & G GRANT, GLENFARCLAS DISTILLERY, BALLINDALLOCH, BANFFSHIRE, SCOTLAND AB37 9BD TEL +44 (0)1807 500257 INFO@GLENFARCLAS.COM WWW.GLENFARCLAS.COM J & G GRANT, GLENFARCLAS DISTILLERY, BALLINDALLOCH, BANFFSHIRE, SCOTLAND AB37 9BD Glenfarclas encourages responsible drinking. TEL +44 (0)1807 500257 INFO@GLENFARCLAS.COM WWW.GLENFARCLAS.COM Glenfarclas encourages responsible drinking.
Cask and Still Magazine | 45 >>>
ARDBEG DRUM 99
Ardbeg have added a dash of colour, releasing a limited edition
BRUICHLADDICH BERE BARLEY 2010 69.99
Bere Barley is a six-row heritage variety,
bottling imbued with carnival
long forgotten from the modern world
spirit, rum. Whisky from ex-
of whisky making. Distilled in 2010 on
Bourbon casks is rested in
the Isle of Islay, it’s growth in 2009 on
ex-rum casks before bottling this
Orkney has produced a single malt with
sweet, peaty treat. NOSE: Fragrant pine resin and wood smoke dance alongside pineapple.
distinctive character. NOSE: Porridge oats, followed by intense fruit, ripe pear and peaches in syrup. PALATE: Incredibly viscous honey. Sweet fruit
PALATE: Clove, liquorice and
and oak notes, cinder toffee and apricot jam.
ginger strut towards rich notes
FINISH: Soft pear and apple with peach notes.
of dark chocolate and smoked vanilla. FINISH: Intense smoke, roasted coffee liqueur and a treasure trove of sweet spice.
KILCHOMAN 2010 VINTAGE 72.99
Kilchoman, Islay’s Farm Distillery, have released their new single vintage 9 year old single malt. The Limited Edition 2010 Vintage is a vatting of 45 casks filled in 2010. It consists of 42 fresh bourbon barrels and 3 oloroso sherry butts. NOSE: Lemon zest, spiced butter and peat smoke. PALATE: Dried seaweed, Chimney smoke, cloves and banana. FINISH: Dried apricot, vanilla and rounded peat smoke.
OWNER, ROBBIE’S DRAMS WHISKY MERCHANTS, AYR
Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants is a family-run business, situated in the seaside town of Ayr. Fine character, great whisky, since 1984. Here Robin selects some of his favourite blends on the market.
RARE AGED SINGLE CASKS & RARE OLD
IF YOU’VE A PROBLEM WITH US BEING TRADITIONAL, FAX US.
THAT’S THE GLENGOYNE WAY. firstname.lastname@example.org +44 07384 583850 or +44 07988 286346
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00651774_IMD_Glengoyne A5 file resize 210x148 12 YEAR OLD.indd 1
Discovered BY OUR Malt Master STEPHANIE MACLEOD. Hand-filled by you. Having slumbered through 40 years of history, our newest, oldest release can now be purchased exclusively through Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery, and can be hand-filled, labelled and wax dipped in our historic warehouse. Discover Aberfeldy 40 and browse the entire range on our website. Please enjoy our whiskies responsibly
Cask and Still Magazine | 47 >>>
Highland GLENCADAM 10YO 39.95
ARDMORE 1998 21YO 129.95
The finest casks are selected for bottling as part of
Glencadam distillery in the town of Brechin in the
the A D Rattray Cask Collection. Ardmore produces
South Highlands has been producing this ‘rather
this distinctive sweet peat whisky near the small
delicate’ and elegant single malt since 1825. This
village of Kennethmont in Aberdeenshire, and
expression is uncoloured, unchillfiltered and bottled
has been doing so since 1898.
NOSE: Mellow medley of fragrant heather and
NOSE: Gently aromatic, reminiscent of fresh cut hay,
with a subtle touch of vanilla.
PALATE: A full and oily palate, undeniably well
PALATE: Wonderfully balanced with more fresh cut
balanced with that Highland peat and a touch of
hay and orchard fruits. Gentle oak and vanilla notes.
FINISH: Long and fades gently with sweet barley.
FINISH: Long finish with the same Highland peat and saltiness.
WOLFBURN HELP FOR HEROES 79
Raising money for Help for Heroes, Scotland’s northernmost mainland distillery Wolfburn have released this limited edition of 1939 bottles. A combination of first-fill bourbon and oloroso hogsheads, bottled at 46%. NOSE: Floral loral honey and heather with sweet spices of cardamom and nutmeg. PALATE: A burst of butterscotch and bourbon vanilla, sherry wood sweetness, dried fruits and a hint of oak smoke. FINISH: Wild flower honey, banana toffee and the merest suggestion of smoke.
SALES SUPERVISOR, THE CARNEGIE WHISKY CELLARS AT DORNOCH
Lorna opened the Carnegie Whisky Cellars with general manager Michael Hanratty. This award-winning shop is in its third year now, and was named Off License of the Year at the 2019 Scottish Independent Retail Awards.
48 | Connoisseurs’ Selection
HIGHLAND QUEEN 12YO 29.49
SELECTED BY MARK
Another blend which proves you don’t have to pay ‘big bucks’ for quality! NOSE: An immediate hint of cracked black pepper, followed by some tropical fruit notes and a sparkle of vanilla sweetness. PALATE: Balanced spice, a full-bodied, malty mouthfeel, and a hint of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. FINISH: A satisfying finish of spice and more nutty praline.
GLEN CALDER 18.75
SELECTED BY MARK
WHISKY WORKS KING OF TREES 10YO BLENDED MALT WHISKY 75
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
This is the new project from White and Mackay’s Greg Glass. Here he partially finishes the whisky in Scottish Oak. NOSE: Malty with a touch of honey and some woody spice.
An excellent value blend, one of the few bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. Longstanding relationships with local distilleries mean a high proportion of quality Speyside malts. NOSE: A balanced whisky, it’s delicate with some rich muscovado sugar and subtle malt. PALATE: A smooth palate of toffee, gentle spice and stewed apple. FINISH: A short yet rewarding finish.
PALATE: The palate is smooth, honeyed and beautifully balanced. FINISH: The finish goes on and on building with some lovely vanilla spice.
Cask and Still Magazine | 49 >>>
MACDONALD’S GLENCOE 8YO BLENDED MALT WHISKY 43
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
This is a youthful, robust and powerful blended malt. NOSE: The nose is green malt and toffee pennies, with a waft of dunnage warehouse. PALATE: Sweet, powerful and intense, with green malt and green apple bursting through on the palate. FINISH: The finish is long and intense. A robust old fashioned whisky.
TWEEDDALE EVOLUTION 28YO 175
SELECTED BY MARK
Here’s one if you want a touch of luxury. A multi-award-winning, impressively aged blend, rumour has it that even the youngest component is only 28 years old. Centred on Speyside malts. NOSE: A hit of blackcurrant tart and vanilla sweetness, leading into beautifully waxy, apricot.
RETAIL SALES MANAGER, GORDON & MACPHAIL, ELGIN
www.gordonandmacphail.com Responsible for running Elgin’s flagship whisky shop, Mark selects the G&M Retail Exclusive range, organises Spirit of Speyside tastings and judges the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.
COMPASS BOX ‘MYTHS & LEGENDS III’ 133.50
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
Myths & Legends are a series of whiskies the 3rd and final being a blend. There is a cleanness to Compass Box whiskies, a purity, always great casks. NOSE: Toffee, pineapple and spice lead onto subtle traces of peat
PALATE: Lightly spiced.
and just a hint of sea air.
FINISH: A rewardingly oaky finish with
PALATE: Bright and
juicy on the wonderfully oily palate, with vanilla and toffee, then the nearest hint of peat dries out the finish. FINISH: Long, complex and beautifully balanced. A very classy dram.
Matthew c M Fadyen
CO-OWNER, THE GOOD SPIRITS CO., GLASGOW
Matt can usually be found at the helm of The Good Spirits Company on Glasgow’s Bath Street, hosting monthly whisky, gin and cocktail tastings.
The Ultimate Festive Dram
Exclusively Matured in Sherry Casks for the Ultimate Festive Dram.
www.theglenturret.com Glenturret Distillery, Perthshire PH7 4HA
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY â€¢ drinkaware.co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 51 >>>
Worldwide WESTLAND DISTILLERY AMERICAN OAK 70
From Seattle and brand new to the UK market. NOSE: Lemon and orange custard backed by freshly produced waffle cone, followed by brûlée and chocolate with a hint of jasmine. PALATE: Creamy ripe fruits, especially cherries. Nutty chocolate. FINISH: Bananas and cream with Turkish coffee.
KAVALAN DISTILLERY SELECT 49
A new release from Taiwan’s oldest whisky distillery. NOSE: Aroma of ripe tropical fruits, floral notes, and warm vanilla.
J.J. CORRY THE GAEL 80
A blended malt of mature Irish whiskies. NOSE: An initial hit of ripe bananas, orange marmalade, lime cordial and
PALATE: Sweet, mellow and smooth in the mouth, sharper fruit notes develop: more apple, unripe mango and poached pear. FINISH: Sharp fruit fades to leave spiced pastry.
lemon meringue, with pencil shavings and a touch of coconut. PALATE: A slightly oily texture, with a burst of pepper and then tinned mandarin, lime juice, lemon bonbons and gooseberry. FINISH: Chocolate raisins with more fruity sweetness and a slightly drying effect.
OWNER, WOODWINTERS WINES AND WHISKIES, BRIDGE OF ALLAN
With shops in Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh, WoodWinters was born from owner Douglas’ desire to share the magic of great wine – not the mystery. The same can be said for whisky, as Douglas talks us through his favourites from across the globe.
Speyside Distillery Speyside Distillery, set in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains in Glen Tromie. Still hand distilling in time-honoured, artisan tradition.
Award Winning Single Malt Whiskies.
CRAFT SPIRITS & ART
Speyside Distilleryâ€™s Visitor Centre in the heart of Aviemore. Open Daily - Whisky & Gin Tastings; Bookings for Distillery Visits @speythesnug
Aviemore Retail Park, PH22 1AF T: 01479 810126. E: email@example.com
Cask and Still Magazine | 53 >>>
Bourbon 1792 SINGLE BARREL 60
COLONAL E.H TAYLOR STRAIGHT RYE 99
From the Barton Distillery, a version of this particular
bourbon was named Jim Murray’s Whisky of the Year
The E.H. Taylor is a rye whiskey made at the
in his 2020 Whisky Bible, at a fraction of the price and
Buffalo Trace Distillery.
more widely available.
NOSE: Sweet caramel, vanilla and marshmallow
NOSE: Rich aromas of hedgerow fruits, brown sugar
aromas followed by a touch of mint, vanilla, coconut, cucumber and dried flowers.
and a touch of rose. PALATE: The flavours are very mellow across the palate with coffee, bitter chocolate, liquorice and
PALATE: The flavours open with pleasant spices of clove and the sweetness of rhubarb rock. A splash of water releases more herbal and pine needle notes.
aniseed. FINISH: Dry tannin and charcoal on the finish. I preferred this at full
FINISH: The finish is gingery with burnt orange and some coal tar then carries on with fading spices. Give this type
of whiskey a go with Indian food, they should work quite well together.
STAGG JR 86
Quite a mature bourbon from Buffalo Trace and at over 66%, certainly not for the faint hearted, this bottle only arrives into the UK in small batches so it’s often difficult to track down. NOSE: It has aromas of charred oak, black pepper, roasting chestnuts and a distinctive smokiness. PALATE: It hits your taste buds at full force then eases off with some powdered cocoa, leather and Havana cigars. Add water to release treacle toffee and sour cherry. FINISH: The finish has sarsaparilla berry and liquorice.
NATIONAL RETAIL MANAGER, THE WHISKY SHOP
The whisky shop is the largest independent specialist retailer of whisky in the UK. The website enables the company to meet an even greater global demand for Scotch whiskies. Darren is a senior judge on the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.
WARM, FRIENDLY AND PERSONAL SERVICE
Over-looking the picturesque and world famous Spey Valley, the Dowans Hotel is a family-run establishment which focuses on friendly, passionate and professional service, great local and seasonal produce from Scotland’s bountiful larder, fabulous whiskies from home and abroad all served in a lovingly rejuvenated Baronial mansion. The Dowans has become a destination of choice in its own right to both local and international clientele as a part of the larger Speyside offer.
The Dowans Hotel, Dowans Road, Aberlour, AB38 9LS 01340 871488 @TheDowansHotel /TheDowansHotel
The ultimate reward for a whisky enthusiast A private cask of single malt Scotch Whisky
The Borders Distillery is the first single malt distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837. To celebrate, the Directors are releasing 1,837 casks for private ownership. Filled on the date of the owner’s choosing, each individually numbered cask is stored under bond and bottled when the owner wishes
Each cask is £1,995 Visit thebordersdistillery.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Cask and Still Magazine | 55 >>>
DAFTMILL 2019 SUMMER BATCH RELEASE 95
This is the latest release from Daftmill. Only 1760 were released and demand is growing quickly for their bottlings. With bottles from the inaugural release hitting between £500-£1,000 at auction, which when you consider the RRP was £100 when released, is a good and relatively quick return on investment. NOSE: Sweet barley and fresh orange juice with maple syrup. PALATE: Vanilla and almond oil, rich mouth feel and a touch of orange remains. FINISH: Soft, buttery. Slight sweetness with hints of cut grass.
MACALLAN EDITION NO.5 100
There is a lot of talk about Macallan prices beginning to slow and even drop due to the number of releases recently, however, the Edition series is still showing solid growth. No.5 was released at £100 and is now sitting at around £130 to £150 at auction. For a whisky that was released this autumn, that isn’t a bad return at all. NOSE: Toffee, caramel and vanilla with hints of orange peel. PALATE: Toffee again with vanilla and a little spice, cloves, creamy with orange peel notes.
SPRINGBANK 15YO RUM WOOD WHISKY 70-80
FINISH: Sweet with wood spice. Long and lingering.
Springbank as a distillery is showing good investment returns at the moment with this particular bottling reaching £160 at auction at the end of September. Springbank whiskies are slightly harder to get hold of with this particular bottling selling very quickly. NOSE: Sweet pineapple and banana, caramel and a touch of peat. PALATE: Rum and raisin ice cream, sweet toffee, crème brûlée. Very smooth with a rich mouth feel. FINISH: Gentle and drying with a good length.
c Ewan M Ilwraith
OWNER, ROBERTSONS OF PITLOCHRY
Ewan took over the running of Robertsons in 2013. Since then he has built up this award-winning business to be one of Scotland’s best independent whisky retailers. Ewan recently opened ‘The Bothy’ tasting room and bar within the shop and has launched his own range of independent whisky bottlings.
Retail - Wholesale Private Clients - Events 2019 Scottish Merchant of the Year 8 Time Winner A selection of over 450 whiskies from the everyday to the fine, rare and collectable. 2000+ Wines & 200+ artisan spirits.
Bridge of Allan · Edinburgh Stirling · Inverness · London www.woodwinters.com
THE BOW BAR
Winner of the AA Hospitality Pub of the Year Scotland 2017/18
Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Bow Bar has 400 whiskies to choose from and 8 real ales from across the UK. Independent whisky bottlers are well represented and up to 40 international bottle beers can be found here. Food is limited to lunch only including hand made pies by Jarvis Pickle Kitchen. 80 West Bow, Edinburgh, Tel: 0131 226 7667 www.thebowbar.co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 57
CASE PAOLIN PROSECCO ASOLO DOCG 16
This organic and cultured single-vineyard fizz is the antithesis of the mass production efforts that saturate the market. NOSE: Ripe orchard fruits, peach fuzz and traces of hawthorn and elder. PALATE: Full and balanced with the weight of mature fruits carried on a gossamer structure with very low sugar. FINISH: Refreshing, clean and pure, warm meadow and harvest tones.
TELMO RODRIGUEZ AL-MUVEDRE 2017 11.50
Southern Mediterranean juice bomb from one of Spain’s greatest wine craftsmen. NOSE: Vibrant and powerful black fruits,
DOMAINE DE LA RABLAIS, TOURAINE SAUVIGNON 2018 9.75
This really shows up other more expensive rivals from the Loire and beyond. NOSE: Pitch perfect, tropicality and
olive crumble and spicy tang. PALATE: Fresh-fruited and crunchy, deep but not plodding. This is a fresh and cool Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) from Alicante. FINISH: Notes of dried spice and ripe berries, dry and gregarious that gets you ready for more.
cracked stone tingle. PALATE: Gooseberry fool with kiwi and mango sorbet, river-rapid textures of juicy refreshment. FINISH: Lip-smacking and pleasing core of tart fruits & um-bongo.
OWNER, WOODWINTERS WINES AND WHISKIES, BRIDGE OF ALLAN
With shops in Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh, WoodWinters was born from owner Douglas’ desire to share the magic of great wine – not the mystery. The same can be said for whisky, as Douglas talks us through his favourite blends.
58 | Off the shelf
What takes your fancy? #1 DEERNESS DISTILLERY
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#2 THE THREE STILLS
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The Borders Distillery is the first whisky
distillery in the region since 1837. To celebrate, they are releasing 1,837 casks for private
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The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is the world’s leading
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#3 TOMATIN 12 YEAR OLD The Tomatin 12 Year Old is smooth and silky, having been matured in traditional Scotch Whisky, ex-Bourbon and ex-Spanish Sherry casks. A rich, fruity aroma is the prelude to sweet flavours of ripe apples, pears and a
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Cask and Still Magazine | 59
#10 A. D. RATTRAY Cask Speyside, Cask Orkney and Cask Islay are award-winning single malts from A. D. Rattray. Every bottle has a story to tell, with its own distinctive
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12 058-059_CS11.indd 59
60 | Flavoured gin
Flavour of the month Flavoured gin liqueurs are all the rage and there seems to be no ingredient that we wonâ€™t pop in a cocktail in the name of experimentation
Written by Geraldine Coates
Written by Geraldine Coates
Cask and Still Magazine | 61 >>>
iqueurs are one of the most interesting spirit categories around, largely because there’s always something new going on, whether that be weird and wacky new flavours emerging or ongoing experimentation with different ways to drink them. One thing is for sure – they have well and truly broken out of the pigeonhole of aperitif/digestif drinking occasions and are no longer left to languish on dusty old shelves with occasional forays out at Christmas. It’s all down to cocktails of course and gin producers have not been slow to capitalise on the nation’s obsession with gin to come up with new toys for professional and amateur bartenders to play with. Gin producers have also been further incentivised by the fact that flavoured gins and gin liqueurs are very popular with women, and perhaps even more importantly because they are usually more profitable than standard gins given that all alcohol is taxed on its ABV. Edinburgh Gin’s profitability, for example, has been revolutionised by its range of flavoured gin liqueurs. Most gin liqueurs are made by infusing or
macerating standard gin with fruit and other natural flavourings, adding sugar and bottling the resulting liquid at somewhere between 20% and 30% ABV. Naughty producers are increasingly forgetting to include that all-important qualifier ‘Gin Liqueur’ on their bottles and instead selling flavoured ‘gin’ despite the fact that it falls below the legal requirement of 37.5% ABV. At this strength please note that it’s not legally gin and can be reported to Trading Standards. The granddaddy of all gin liqueurs is of course Sloe Gin, which has been commercially produced since Victorian times. Thanks to the cocktail revival it made the leap from the hipflasks of the huntin’ fishin’ shootin’ set to the back of all the best bars some time ago. Now it’s equally enjoyed neat or in a delicious and easy to make cocktail such as the Sloe Gin Fizz (see panel). I find that the best sloe gins are on the tart side, allowing the plummy, astringent flavours of sloe berries full reign, so on that basis I really rate Plymouth Sloe and Sipsmith Sloe. It’s all a matter of taste. There may well be hordes of people getting
62 | Flavoured gin
They are delicious drunk neat or in a glass of prosecco
Above: Just a few of the ingredients used to flavour gin liqueurs.
stuck into Morrison’s recently launched Chocolate Orange shimmery gin liqueur or the new M&S Unicorn Snow Globe Pink Gin Liqueur with gold ﬂakes (yes really), but oversweet drinks won’t be my choice. Instead, I was delighted to see that the Hedgepig range of fruit gin liqueurs has expanded to include Cambridge Gage, Glorious Gooseberry and Zesty Elderﬂower as well as the original Wild Bullace and Quince. They’re made with fresh fruit grown in local orchards or foraged from the East Anglian hedgerows. Sugar levels are lower than in many other fruit gin liqueurs, while the alcoholic strength is generally higher at almost 30% ABV. They are absolutely delicious when drunk neat with a cheese course or as a shot in a glass of Prosecco for a very sophisticated cocktail. Another very welcome addition too is The Braemble, a blackberry-infused gin liqueur from the expert team behind the multi-awardwinning Bramble Bar in Edinburgh. Once again the emphasis here is on natural ﬂavour with wild blackberries macerated in fullstrength London Dry Gin, producing rich, fruity, almost citrus aromas. Bottled at 24% ABV it’s designed to be drunk on its own as
an aperitif or in cocktails such as the Tropical Bramble developed with Aberdeen-based Porter’s Gin (see panel for recipe). The classic ﬂavour pairing of rhubarb and ginger has found its way into the drinks cabinet with a vengeance and many companies produce a version of this ever popular gin liqueur with perhaps Edinburgh Gin and Belfast’s Jawbox Gin the standout products. Many consumers treat gin liqueurs as they would standard gin and serve them with tonic water or other mixers such as ginger ale. Because of their lower strength they can act as a gentle introduction to gin itself and encourage people to explore different ﬂavours. Canny gin producers have also found that carefully timed seasonal launches promoting new ﬂavours are another good way to tempt newbies into the category. The past year has witnessed a raft of interesting new gins including Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice, a limited edition ﬂoral gin with plenty of summery ﬂavours designed for summer drinking. New to market too this summer was a gin made with CBD, cannabidiol, an ingredient found in cannabis and hemp plants but without any psychoactive properties. CBD
Cask and Still Magazine | 63
FLAVOURED GIN COCKTAILS
has become the latest buzz ingredient in functional food and is reputed to have a number of health beneﬁts. Top Beverages has also just released their Super Gin, with fresh blueberries, goji berries and açaí berries as well as a Bloody Mary Gin with fresh tomatoes. All are bottled at the Navy Strength of 54.5 % ABV and all contain 50mg of pure cannabidiol. But that’s not the most unusual gin you’ll encounter. That honour goes to Edinburghbased Pickering’s Gin who have owned Christmas gin for quite some time as the ﬁrst to invent gin-ﬁlled baubles to hang on the Christmas tree. This year they’ve come up with six new classic Christmas ﬂavours for the baubles – clementine, festive cranberry, spiced pear and cinnamon, ﬁggy pudding, plum and ginger and, wait for it, Brussels sprouts. In a world ﬁrst, they have used 10,000 (100kg) Brussels sprouts (enough for 2,000 Christmas dinners) to distil this unique ﬂavoured gin. It’s all a bit of fun really but with a serious purpose in that a percentage of sales go towards the Elderly’s Community Christmas campaign. And, weirdly, served with Elderﬂower tonic and a slice of cucumber as recommended it doesn’t taste half bad.
SLOE GIN FIZZ
LOVE IT HATE IT
50ml sloe gin 20ml lemon juice 15ml syrup A few rosemary sprigs 20ml egg white
50ml Pickering’s Brussels sprout gin 1 ‘thumb’ fresh cucumber 20ml fresh lime 20ml simple syrup 2 dashes orange bitters Elderflower tonic Brussels sprout and cucumber ‘rose’
Shake together the sloe gin, lemon, sugar syrup, a rosemary sprig and the fresh egg white with ice. Then shake without the ice to ensure maximum frothage. Serve straight up with a slapped rosemary sprig aloft.
THE RHUBARB AND GINGER 50ml Jawbox rhubarb and ginger gin liqueur 100ml ginger ale 1 lime wedge Ice Pour the liqueur into an ice-filled glass. Top up with ginger ale. Squeeze and drop in a lime wedge.
Muddle the cucumber in a shaker, add ice and all other ingredients except the elderflower tonic and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Pour into a chilled high-ball glass, top with elderflower tonic and garnish with a sprout and a cucumber ‘rose’.
TROPICAL BRAMBLE 50ml Porter’s tropical Old Tom gin 20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice 10ml sugar syrup (to taste) 20ml Braemble gin liqueur Build ingredients over crushed ice, drizzling Braemble Gin Liqueur over last. Serve in a small high-ball glass with a bramble garnish.
64 | Connoisseurs’ Selection
Gin RED DOOR 29.99
RETAIL SALES MANAGER, GORDON & MACPHAIL, ELGIN
www.gordonandmacphail.com Responsible for running Elgin’s flagship whisky shop, Mark selects the G&M Retail Exclusive range, organises Spirit of Speyside tastings and judges the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.
SELECTED BY MARK
A small-batch Speyside gin handcrafted by the team behind Benromach whisky. A classic London Dry Gin and the perfect base for a Martini or Negroni. NOSE: Fresh and piney, with the mellow, earthy, fruitiness of buckthorn and rowanberries providing the canvas against which the juniper and angelica shine through. PALATE: Resinous pine and warm fruitiness are met by subtle coriander spice before tangy citrus leaps out. FINISH: Herbaceous notes, lingering berry sweetness and a long finish.
ROCK ROSE CLASSIC 33.99
SELECTED BY MARK
Award-winning Rock Rose Gin is one of the most northerly gins on the Scottish mainland, and, as its name suggests, one of the main botanicals
BEER & SPIRITS BUYER AT LUVIANS BOTTLE SHOP, ST ANDREWS
www.luvians.com Anna has handled all the beer buying at Luvians since 2018, but more recently has also been bringing in more delicious finds in the world of spirits, including these cracking craft gins...
is the floral ‘rose root’ which grows on local cliffs. An otherwise juniper-led gin, the 18 botanicals include fruity, tart blaeberries and lemony verbena. NOSE: Flavoursome and fresh with citrus peel on the nose followed by juniper coming to the fore. PALATE: The botanical of its name – rose root – gives this a pleasing floral taste. An otherwise juniper-led gin, there’s a fruity tartness from blaeberries and some lovely lemony verbena. FINISH: Blueberries sit nicely for a long smooth finish. Ideal in a G&T served with a sprig of aromatic rosemary.
Cask and Still Magazine | 65
KINTYRE BOTANICAL GIN CANAïMA AMAZONIAN GIN CANA 37.99
SELECTED BY ANNA
Another ‘gin for good’ but closer to home than
SELECTED BY ANNA
the Amazon. Made with 100% on-site renewable
Distilled at the legendary Diplomatico rum
energy and a native tree is planted for every
distillery in Venezuela, 10% of all sales are
donated to foundations working in the Amazon.
NOSE: Big, earthy & juniper led, but beyond
NOSE: Lovely blend of citrus and tropical
that there are lovely, slightly sweet floral notes, presumably from the locally foraged
fruit hints at the Amazonian botanicals (acai berry, palm fruit & túpiro among others).
PALATE: The citrus fruit still dominates, but
PALATE: Despite that earthy nose, it is quite soft and dangerously drinkable, with a green
there is a lovely peppery note adding some
apple freshness coming though.
weight and depth.
PERFECT SERVE: Earthy but fresh, Kintyre
PERFECT SERVE: All that citrus is just crying
makes a brilliant Basil Smash. Gin, lemon, basil
out to be put into a really fresh G&T, just add a
and sugar syrup to your taste then shake over ice.
generous splash of Fentiman’s Pink Grapefruit tonic.
RED DOOR WINTER BOBBY’S SCHIEDAM DRY GIN 39.99
SELECTED BY ANNA
Probably my favourite gin in the world, made in Holland, inspired by the Indonesian homeland, enjoyed all over the world. NOSE: Fragrant, like putting your nose is a spice cupboard – rosehips, lemongrass & coriander seed jump out. PALATE: Stunningly smooth, but bursts of flavour in every camp – citrus, spice, floral & herbal all manage to speak without shouting each other down.
SELECTED BY MARK
A new seasonal twist from the Red Door Gin team in Forres, this gin makes the ideal base for a Christmas party punch, or in a wintery G&T. Juniper, sea buckthorn, coriander seed and orange peel, among others, are built on with allspice, tart blood orange and sultanas. NOSE: Warm mincemeat and candied citrus. The piney top note from the juniper reminiscent of Christmas trees and hop blossom lends a subtle lemony hint. PALATE: Clean juniper and warming allspice balanced by fruity sultanas. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and oily. FINISH: Clovey spice wanes as dry pine needles wax. Bitter and tart citrus zest lingers.
PERFECT SERVE: Wonderful over ice, but also excellent with Fever Tree Ginger Ale and an orange slice studded with clove.
Specialising in a huge range of
Whisky, Gin, Rum, Bourbon, Tequila Vodka, Cigars , & More!
105 West Nile St, G1 2SD
23 Bath Street, G2 1HW
21 Clarence Drive, G12 9QN
0141 332 4481
0141 258 8427
0141 334 4312
Award-winning Lowland Single Malt from Kingsbarns
Available now! www.kingsbarnsdistillery.com
Cask and Still Magazine | 67
PERSIE SPANIEL 29.00
An award-winning gin (winning silver at the Scottish Gin Awards 2019 for
contemporary flavoured gin) created for the
A small batch gin distilled at the Tobermory
three distillery dogs (Dachshund, Labrador
Distillery on the Isle of Mull. A distillery
and Spaniel), with a charity partnership with
that is well known for its whiskies. This gin
PADS (Perthshire Abandoned Dogs Society). For
features local botanicals and the distilleries
every bottle sold £1 is donated to PADS.
very own New Make spirit.
NOSE: A very gentle style of gin with
NOSE: A unique gin, on the nose you can
an array of juniper and spices.
smell the new make alongside plenty of
PALATE: Lovely silk mouthfeel
citrus and floral notes.
accompanied by a Christmassy flavour
PALATE: Sharp on first taste but mellows
created by the balance of spices.
into a sweet creaminess with more citrus
FINISH: A great gin with a warming finish.
and a faint taste of malt. FINISH: Short, but clean and refreshing finish.
THOMPSON BROS JUNIPER CASK AGED HIGHLAND GIN 32.50
Thompson Bros gin is distilled at the Dornoch Distillery in small batches. Their gins are full of different flavours but this particular one is a very interesting spirit, blended with Hiroshima lemons and oranges, then aged in juniper casks for two years. NOSE: A very intriguing start on the nose with lots of clove and aniseed. Just from the smell you know it’s going to be interesting. PALATE: An explosion of flavours, with so many levels of spices. A very complex and different style of liquid. FINISH: A pleasantly long finish that’s full of cinnamon, more clove and a bit of citrus at the end.
SALES ASSISTANT, THE CARNEGIE WHISKY CELLARS AT DORNOCH
David joined The Carnegie Whisky Cellars in summer 2017, having always had a keen interest in the drinks industry. He has since grown his knowledge of both whisky and gin. These are three of his current favourites.
68 | Spirit Level
Tariff gate Thanks to the new 25% tariff in the US, Scotch whisky producers on this side of The Pond are set to pay a whopping price, says Brooke Magnanti
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cotch whisky. Italian Parmesan. Spanish olives. If you thought you were looking at my weekly shopping list, you’d only be partly right. These are also products on the list of European exports that have just been slapped with a 25% tariff in the US, thanks to the current president. As the result of a Boeing lawsuit that accused European imports of unfair subsidy, a large number of items from European nations will now be taxed at a higher rate when imported into the US. The UK won’t duck the obligation post-Brexit, either. (Or post-Independence should another referendum happen in Scotland and the Nats win.) Speciﬁc countries and products, rather than the EU as an entity, are named in the list of luxuries. These also include German books, French wine, English clothing and bed linen. The American argument is that $7.5 billion was lost in revenue from, uh, planes during the Cold War or something. They plan to recoup this by adding more burdens to the retailers and consumers who enjoy European imports. Some journalists predict the effect on whisky bought in the US will be minimal, about 3%, while others fear the full cost will be pushed onto the end buyer. The impacts will vary across a very diverse North American market. On a ﬂagship single malt that might top $75 in a wine merchant that could be a price premium buyers are willing to pay. When applied to the 1.75 litre supermarket ‘handles’ the vast majority of Scotch drinkers in the States enjoy, it could push them towards other products. A surprising sight in the US is walking into a chemist’s such as CVS or Walgreens and seeing enormous bottles of blended Scotch placed near the door. You might question the wisdom, but it certainly moves product, and even if they are branded with names you’re unlikely to have heard of, they are much beloved here. While Trump may not have started this ﬁght, he is happy to continue it, calling the WTO judgement approving these measures a ‘nice victory’. Indeed, President Petty may see this as a natural outcome for a country whose leaders mostly disapprove of his tenure, in spite of his mother’s Lewis heritage and ownership of a couple of
Scotland’s ﬁnest golf courses. Payback, perhaps, for all Scottish party leaders declining to endorse his candidacy in 2016? As former assistant Sebastian Gorky noted, Trump found that rejection ‘unseemly’ and commented ‘he doesn’t forget stuff’. Perhaps his mother wouldn’t have approved but his ego certainly will. Added to which, Trump supporters love a boycott, and won’t hesitate to drop beloved products as a demonstration of their commitment to Making America Great Again. Trump himself won’t care about price hikes. He is famously teetotal and his taste in food runs to well-done steaks smothered in ketchup. The rest of us, though? I live in the US now so can compare their best against Europe’s. The results are uneven to say the least. While America has some standout offerings, other things simply cannot be duplicated. Wisconsin’s Parmesan dupes lack the cherry tang and nutty notes of real Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the less said of ‘cheddar-style cheese’ here, the better. Spanish olives are streets ahead of the waxy California spheres that are sold in tins. As any spirits aﬁcionado can conﬁrm, Bourbon is a wonderful drink... but a different beast from Scotch. That said, whatever the cost, there will always be people prepared to pay it. Even if Trump himself does not partake it’s hard to imagine the luxury brand-in-chief’s drinks cupboard will go short of bottles for his friends. The status inﬂation in Scotch will only go up and up. No, the real losers will be the producers in Scotland, who ship 137 million bottles annually to the US, and the independent distillers who depend on international press to gain traction in an industry dominated by multinationals. Finally, spare a thought for the less well-heeled people soon to be forced to put up with the gustatory equivalent of a border wall: expensive, pointless, and easily circumvented by those with more money to spend.
70 | Vermouth
Ground to glass With a little help from his Hungarian pigs, Michael Kaplan has made Scotland’s first vermouth – a celebration of the local larder
Written by Rosie Morton
ake a trip to any swanky cocktail bar and you’ll be hard pushed to see past the vistas of London Dry, Navy Strength, Old Tom and craft gins that adorn every inch of the counter. But there’s a revolution brewing, and a new kid on the block – a floral, aromatic beauty with sustainability at its heart, which has the potential to buck the booming gin trend by taking an Old English classic back to its natural roots. Great British Vermouth, whose first batch of production won Gold at the 2018 World Vermouth Awards, has already earned its place in some of the UK’s most illustrious bars, including, says
Massachusetts-born founder Michael Kaplan, ‘the Vatican of cocktails’, the Savoy Hotel. Bottling up the essence of South Queensferry’s countryside and producing Scotland’s first ever ‘wermod’ using local botanicals, Michael and his wife Lady Jane launched their project on the banks of the Forth at their home on Dalmeny Estate. With the estate’s herbal heritage going back nearly 1,000 years to Queen Margaret’s era, the couple wished to share the natural riches at their feet. ‘When you’re looking after a place like this, it’s not that it needs to be made use of; it’s about finding a way of celebrating it,’ explains Michael.
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Great British Vermouth has already earned its place in some of the most illustrious bars
Pretty as a pig-ture: Michaelâ€™s Hungarian mangalitsas lend a hand in the vermouth production process.
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Introducing an exciting new addition to our Finlaggan family of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, this malt has been matured in Rioja red wine hogsheads to give a delicious smoky dram bursting with peat and sweet red berry fruits
ISLAY SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
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Made according to tradition – by infusing wine with an array of botanicals, including the all-important wormwood – Michael foraged for 24 ‘parent’ ﬂowers and herbs from the land. He now grows them sustainably in their 200-year-old Walled Garden, but not without a helping hand from some rather endearing creatures, Hungarian mangalitsa pigs. ‘The Walled Garden had had very little attention and was needing to be cleared of overgrown weeds,’ says Michael. ‘We didn’t just want to spray herbicide everywhere so luckily we found these wonderful pigs to help us. They have lovely little characters. They bark like dogs and look like sheep. The breeding sows are named after the Gábor sisters.’ Of course, the precise vermouth recipe is known only to Michael and Lady Jane, but a mere peek behind the scenes shows the abundance of natural treasures they use. ‘There’s juniper, coriander, oris root,’ begins Michael. ‘Then we look to build the ﬂavour proﬁle because the British wine we use is so neutral. We add things that add ﬂoral notes and acidity, like elderﬂower, heather ﬂower and lemon balm. ‘Then you want something that’s like going for a walk in the hills in the springtime; that crisp, freshness. A lot of that comes from weeds, nettles and even sticky willy – so it’s not just for throwing at your younger brother!’ The Compounding House, which is watched over by
Michael’s topiary ‘Vermouth Gods’, can only be described as a ﬂoral paradise – stacked ﬂoor to ceiling with glass vessels of infusions, with a heavenly scent permeating the air. ‘That’s one of the nice things about making vermouth,’ says Michael. ‘If you run a brewery it smells like a brewery, if you make wine it smells like vinegar, but this is like a ﬂower shop.’ The ﬂowers and herbs are dried without heat and are infused with no agitation to maintain as much of their delicate ﬂoral notes as possible. No sweeteners or additives are included, allowing the botanicals to sing through. ‘A bottle lasts two weeks in the fridge when open,’ says Michael, before explaining the best way to enjoy a vermouth martini is by ignoring James Bond’s advice – ‘Swirled, not stirred,’ he says. Thereafter you can cook with it to make risottos, ﬁsh sauces or even to roast lamb or poach pears. From ground to glass, Michael has taken a timeless classic back to basics. Perhaps the start of a new drinks revolution? ‘If the Vermouth Gods are happy, the vermouth is good,’ he says. And as far as I can see, they seem to have their beaming red eyes on the prize. great-british-vermouth.com Clockwise from top left: Vermouth spritzer; Michael casts an eye over his infusions and makes plans to launch a sweet red vermouth and a quarter-bottle size dry vermouth; ‘Vermouth Gods’ keep a watchful eye on proceedings; pigs clearing the way for botanicals.
74 | Rum revolution
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Step aside, gin and tonic – there’s a new rum-bunctious kid on the block, and it’s finally ready to take the swankiest bars in town by storm Written by Ian Buxton
f you’ve been living on the far side of the moon in recent years, the surge of interest in gin may have passed you by. It’s everywhere – in gin-soaked chocolates and preserves, on items of clothing, in lip balm and in candles galore. You can even buy gin-filled baubles to adorn your Christmas tree with. What we are experiencing is the 21st century equivalent of London’s notorious Gin Craze, except this time the whole country has flocked to the party. But for some time now, the global drinks industry has been waiting for that glorious gin bubble to burst, making way for the next big thing – a rum revolution. According to recent research at GlobalData, worldwide rum sales grew by 7.5% last year, smashing gin’s comparatively meagre 3.8% increase. Here in the UK, rum sales jumped to over £1bn at retail prices for the first time ever (by comparison, gin recorded a £1.9bn total and
whisky saw £2.3bn – we’re a thirsty lot). So it’s a mixed picture here – while the sales data and a glance at any bar or off-license would convince you there’s plenty of steam yet in gin, the drinks trade increasingly touts the idea that rum is where real money is to be had. According to Dawn Davies, buyer for leading online retailer Speciality Drinks, there has been a dramatic increase in their rum sales over the last six months. ‘We are seeing an increase in value and in volume, pointing to long-term growth, not a short-term “spiced rum” spike,’ she explains. Another influential web-based retailer, Master of Malt, reported that last month their rum sales ‘soared by a whopping 106% over October 2018’, and speculate that consumers will soon be ‘looking beyond the spiced and flavoured offerings, getting excited about the category as a whole’. Here in Scotland, it’s much the same story, with rums from long-established shippers and retailers
76 | Rum revolution
Wm Cadenheads continuing to enjoy a solid reputation. Other retailers like Waitrose are quietly increasing their rum ranges and promoting it in their newsletters. So why this rum revolution? For starters, rum distillers are releasing a host of innovative new products, backing these with better packaging, trade education and carefullytargeted marketing. Much to the rum producers’ beneﬁt, whisky inﬂuencers and bloggers are resisting the increasingly elaborate packaging and soaring price tags of many drams, drawing them to rum as an alternative. What’s more, a growing interest in classic cocktails has helped the rum revolution along, seeing it land a spot in the most fashionable and inﬂuential bars. While this has been going on, the burgeoning craft distilling sector has been busy creating new rums and, given the appeal of small-batch craft gin, this will surely boost rum’s appeal to the collector and more curious and adventurous drinkers. Scottish boutique distillers have moved swiftly to exploit the trend and Dawn Davies even highlighted the fact that ‘producers such as Ninefold in Scotland are making white rum from pot still from scratch’. If they’re on the radar of the important independent retailers who lead bar and consumer opinion their prospects must be good. However, there are some challenges and I am yet to be fully convinced that rum can make the breakthrough that many foresee. For one thing, whisky drinkers are quite loyal and well entrenched so it will take some years of consistent marketing to win them over, while the legions of new gin drinkers seem to be having too much fun to look around at alternatives. They may not even see rum as an option: while gin enjoys a light, even frivolous image, rum looks heavy, rather sweet to taste and its piratical yo-ho-ho image is less appealing to younger drinkers, especially the increasingly important female market. What’s more, cautions Davies, ‘the market needs to be careful as it is starting to be ﬂooded with poor quality spiced rums and blended rums with little or no provenance’.
Ah, provenance. Here’s where carefullyregulated spirits like Scotch can prosper and drinkers concerned with transparency in production may shy away from rum. Being produced in so many countries around the world there are no over-riding regulations or guarantees of quality: some producers are allowed to add sugar to the ﬁnal product, for example, where elsewhere this is strictly forbidden. Then there are questions over ﬂavourings and, as for colour, that dark rum that you imagine to be the product of long and careful ageing in an oak barrel may owe more to caramel colouring than you realise. For even more geeky consumers – and they can be important trend-setters – the distillation method can be critical and again rum can disappoint with a lack of transparency and an apparently cavalier indifference to the subtleties of pot, traditional column and multi-column distillation that alienates the hard-core enthusiast. But it’s not all bad news. Smaller producers such as Plantation and Foursquare are stepping up the pressure for clearer rules and working with the bar trade and leading retailers to spread their message through education and transparency about their own production and blending techniques. Not all rums are sweet and cloying and the better aged rums can provide a valuefor-money alternative to single malts (sorry, Scotland) with all the compelling backstory, heritage and product complexity sought by discerning drinkers. It just requires a little bit of research; you may be pleasantly surprised by the results and your wallet will thank you, as genuinely aged Jamaican or Guyanese rum still represent something of a bargain in the world of spirits. And, ﬁnally, something as simple as a hard winter might help. It can’t be denied that there’s a reassuringly comforting quality to a traditional dark rum that can’t quite be equalled and a generous splash works wonders in your Christmas cake or homemade mincemeat. After all, as Byron reminds us, ‘There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion’.
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Scottish craft distillers have embraced the rum revolution with energy and enthusiasm. Here are eight to look out for.
Dark Matter Distillers, based in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, spent two years perfecting the recipe for Scotland’s first rum, which was launched in 2015.
An innovative offering from the team behind Edinburgh’s fashionable Bramble Bar. Ogilvy Spirits in Angus distill the spirit from cane molasses to create Scotland’s original white rum.
Crowd-funded Matugga Beverages is run by husband and wife team Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, who produce a Golden Rum, Spiced Rum and the limited edition Matugga Mavuno.
The North Berwick-based distillers may be better known for their awardwinning gin but moved into rum production in July 2017 with their Light Fruity and Full Bodied rums.
This rum’s namesake was a particularly unpleasant pirate executed in 1725, but today Orkney’s VS Distillers offer spiced rum and their Fading Light, produced on Lamb Holm island.
This tiny distillery is tucked away near Lockerbie in converted farm buildings housing a purpose-built Scottish pot still to produce their signature un-aged white rum.
While the base spirit hails from Madeira, it spends 12 months maturing in oak casks then spiced with pineapple, orange, cacao and allspice – courtesy of the Glasgow Distillery Co.
Glasgow’s Wester Spirit Distillery are making waves with their Spiced Rum. Special editions such as their Pineapple Rum are proving a hit with hip bartenders.
78 | Connoisseurs’ Selection
DOORLY’S 12YO BARBADOS RUM 42
Produced at Foursquare Distillery, who consistently produce some of the best rums available. NOSE: The nose is powerful and intense with overripe banana, molasses and spice. PALATE: The palate is dry with rich molasses, a hint of treacle and dried fruit. FINISH: The finish starts with brown sugar then develops into treacle and spice. A great example of a well-aged rum.
BLACK TOT RUM 40
A modern take on a classic style, combining rum from Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica. NOSE: This is rich and complex, pulling together the differing styles of these classic rum producing nations. PALATE: On the palate there is again complexity, the weight from Guyana, the funk of Jamaican Rum and the fruit of Bajan Rum. FINISH: It leaves your palate invigorated, there is loads of intensity and fun to be had here.
BANDITTI CLUB, GLASGOW SPICED RUM 25
The rum is sourced from Madeira then spiced and bottled in Glasgow. NOSE: The nose has cloves and oranges dominating. PALATE: The palate is again packed with citrus, more spice comes through, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. FINISH: A good drier style of spiced rum, loads of intensity and nicely made.
c Matthew M Fadyen CO-OWNER, THE GOOD SPIRITS CO., GLASGOW
Matt can usually be found at the helm of The Good Spirits Company on Glasgow’s Bath Street, hosting monthly whisky, gin and cocktail tastings. Here are three of Matt’s top rums....
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BARREL Brewgooder is changing the world – one can at a time – by donating all its profits to clean water projects in Africa Written by Peter Ranscombe
s you walk along the gantry that connects phase two and phase three of BrewDog’s massive beer factory in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, you trip a sensor that starts playing the Imperial March from Star Wars. Perhaps the Lego model of the brewery in reception – complete with a Cantina-style bar – should have been a clue as to the movie references dotted around the site. Hearing Darth Vader’s theme tune as you stride along the walkway is enough to raise a wry smile. Despite its punk ethos and dedication to craft beer, it’s not hard to paint BrewDog in the style of the evil galactic empire, with breweries in Scotland, Australia, Germany and the United States, plus nearly 50 bars in the UK and a further 25 around the world – though perhaps with fewer stormtroopers inside. Yet maybe BrewDog’s galactic empire isn’t an evil one after all. A little-known fact about the company is that it also produces lager at zero margin for Brewgooder, a fellow Scottish brand that donates all its proﬁts to clean water projects in Africa. Brewgooder was the brainchild of Alan Mahon, one of the most energetic Irishmen you could meet. Mahon founded the brand in 2016 with business partner Josh Littlejohn. The pair has previous form in this area. Mahon worked with Littlejohn at Social Bite, the sandwich shop chain that not only provides food for homeless people but also jobs for
‘BrewDog also produces lager at zero margin for Brewgooder’
people who have lived on the streets, as part of a wider programme to eradicate homelessness. It’s hard to forget the media scrum that ensued when Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney visited a branch of Social Bite in Edinburgh back in 2015. Clooney was in town that day to speak at one of Littlejohn and Mahon’s other projects – the Scottish Business Awards, the largest competition of its kind in the UK and the biggest dinner held in Scotland since James VI’s coronation. Brewgooder is on a mission to give one million people access to clean drinking water by 2025. It has already sold more than 1.2 million cans and 600,000 pints through 2,000 stockists – including Aldi, Asda, the Co-op and Tesco – which has in turn contributed to more than 130 projects that have helped in excess of 64,000 people. And the beer? It’s made with a blend of Saaz and Sorachi Ace hops and wheat, and was developed by Stephen Allerston, hailed as BrewDog’s ‘most experimental brewer’. It’s crisp and refreshing – I ﬁnd it’s a good way to start a night out, but a wee bit tart to have after richer lagers like Helles. Yet that’s a small niggle – and simply down to personal taste. What’s just as impressive as BrewDog’s involvement in the project is the creative way that Mahon and his team promote their beer. Over the past months, Brewgooder has teamed up with partners as diverse as the Glasgow Jazz Festival and the Co-op to support speciﬁc villages in Malawi – and I’ll deﬁnitely drink to that.
80 | Whisky events guide
Check out Cask and Still’s whisky events guide to ensure that you know where to be and what to do to enjoy a fun-filled, whisky-fuelled six months
Scotch Whisky Training School 10 DECEMBER 2019 Spend a day immersed in the world of Scotch whisky with this whisky course at Amber Restaurant at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh and gain the Certificate of Expertise recognised by the Scotch whisky industry. Ideal for both whisky enthusiasts and hospitality, licensed retail, and whisky tourism professionals. Monthly dates throughout 2020. scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk The Rare & Fine Whisky Auction 18 DECEMBER 2019, 17 JANUARY 2020, 28 FEBRUARY 2020 Buy and sell whisky at these specialised live auctions at McTear’s auctioneers in Glasgow. Among the bottles for sale are rare and desirable Macallans, such as a 1970s 15 year old bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, and a 1964 25 year old Anniversary Malt. mctears.co.uk Shipyard Bards, Tall Tales and Whisky 17, 24 & 31 JANUARY 2020 Hear the folk songs and tall tales of Glasgow’s famous shipyards with these storytelling sessions in Glasgow’s Mharsanta restaurant, accompanied by live music and a whisky tasting flight from independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co. An enchanting mix of music, social history and laughter. mharsanta.co.uk
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The National Whisky Festival 25 JANUARY 2020 Head to Studio Warehouse on Glasgow’s 100 Eastvale Place to sample some of the most exciting names in whisky. With 30-50 exhibitors there is sure to be something to suit whisky enthusiasts and those who are yet to be converted to the amber nectar. A real celebration of Scotland’s national drink. nationalwhiskyfestival.scot Burns Night at Holyrood Distillery 25 JANUARY 2020 A Burns Supper and whisky pairing, followed by live traditional Scots music with views of Arthur’s Seat. holyrooddistillery.co.uk Arran Whisky Masterclass TOP LEFT: KEN MCARTHUR FOR MCTEAR’S, BOTTOM RIGHT TWO: DAN MOSLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
28 FEBRUARY 2020 Arran’s Lochranza Distillery turns 25 in 2020 and you can join in the celebrations. Hosted by Global Brand Ambassador, Mariella Romano, you’ll sample six Arran drams as you celebrate. geraldos.co.uk/blogs/events The Rhythm & Booze Project Edinburgh Party 28 FEBRUARY 2020 Taking place in the intimate basement of the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh this is a combination gig and whisky tasting, featuring an open whisky bar boasting a large selection of premium Scottish single malts as well as other whiskies from around the world. therhythmandboozeproject.com Fife Whisky Festival 6-8 MARCH 2020 The three-day event opens with a whisky-themed dinner at Lindores Abbey before continuing with tasting sessions at the Corn Exchange in Cupar, and finishing with a special event at Kingsbarns Distillery. fifewhiskyfestival.com
82 | Whisky in New Zealand
A lot of cheap bourbon mixed with cola is drunk in New Zealand. The knowledge and appreciation of taste is still quite niche and only a small amount of the population looks into how the whisky is made and where it comes from.
Ash Parmar moved to New Zealand in 2001, where his love of whisky developed into blogging and retail Years of selling liquor and seeing customers attracted by mass-produced and low-quality whiskies made me want to learn more about whisky and educate people, so I started studying and travelling to Scotland. Two and a half years ago I started blogging and eventually opened my online whisky shop Eight PM, which celebrates two years this November, and started running whisky tastings. The unique thing about New Zealand is that it’s so far away from everything else. This means that we travel a lot, so people go to the US or Australia to visit distilleries and we have a special affection for the UK. So I would like to think that people are quite exposed to whisky. One of the issues of being so far away is that some releases take months to get here, so there’s a delay in comparison to other parts of the world. There are many people educating and doing tastings, and we see more and more young professionals and more women getting involved in the whisky world.
There are two relevant distilleries in the country, and they have very different approaches to whisky making. On one side there is Thomson, in Auckland, which was founded in 2014. They are a very small distillery at the back of a craft brewing plant and are quite experimental and very focused on making a Kiwi spirit: this results in the use of 100% New Zealand barley and of manuka wood, which grows locally, to peat the barley in some expressions. The other is Cardrona, in Queenstown, which is designed to replicate a Scottish distillery in aspect and ﬂavours. The building is impressive, and they use stills and ingredients imported from Scotland. They started production in 2015. In New Zealand we have one of the biggest whisky festivals in the southern hemisphere. DramFest in Christchurch is run by the company Whisky Galore, and its seventh festival will take place in March 2020. You might think that we would import a lot of whiskey from Australia, but that’s not the case – the quantity they produce is not huge and most of it has to cover the demands of other countries. Importing is also quite expensive and, as one of the taxes we pay on whisky is related to alcohol percentage, cask strength whisky is penalised here, so people tend to get less of it. Although we still don’t have regulations on local whisky, I believe that the distiller’s association is working to try and establish them. This will help tackle bad behaviour in the industry and give protection to good products.
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WATER OF LIFE The three brothers who pillaged 16 West Coast distilleries THE LAND OF MILK & HONEY Israel joins the whisky boom FLAVOUR OF...
Published on Dec 9, 2019
WATER OF LIFE The three brothers who pillaged 16 West Coast distilleries THE LAND OF MILK & HONEY Israel joins the whisky boom FLAVOUR OF...