ISSUE SIX | FREE
EXPOSURE Behind the scenes in the Arctic Circle at the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most northerly distillery
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Opening The Door To A World Of Scottish Whisky The Carnegie Whisky Cellars is a new, award winning independent whisky retailer situated in the Highlands of Scotland. Hello and a Warm Highland Welcome, The team and I opened the doors to The Carnegie Whisky Cellars in 2016. Situated in the historic Carnegie Courthouse in Dornoch, we have already become a destination for whisky enthusiasts from the UK and aboard. We sell whiskies from all of the local Highland Distilleries including all of the latest releases, rare and collectable bottles and a unique range of malt whiskies from across the rest of Scotland. We pride ourselves on offering classic customer service, using our extensive knowledge and listening to the needs of our customers to make the best recommendations and suggestions. Join us in our vaulted tasting room for a tasting experience, browse our vast selection or just pop in for a chat about Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous export. We look forward to welcoming you.
CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with events and new releases
Call us on | 01862 811791 Email | email@example.com
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Cask & Still Magazine | 3 cask and still
A horrible thing recently happened to me on the way to the bottle bank at our local cowp. As I threw assorted glassware into the bin to be recycled, I started coming across numerous empty bottles whose contents I couldn’t remember having consumed. Nothing particularly surprising there, you might think, but these were particularly fancy miniatures that I’d been saving for a rainy day. There were some amazing drams there, including a 1967 Strathisla for which I had big plans. I was, as you can imagine, one part bemused, three parts volcanically unamused. The culprit, it turns out, was my youngest son. It’s always been a blessing that on their regular ‘gatherings’ at my house, my three children and their friends have shown zero interest in whisky. Everything else, from beer and wine to all spirits, has to be moved or put under lock and key, but my whisky was always safe. No longer. Now the wee yin has a girlfriend who likes whisky
and my world’s been turned upside down. I have, however, come up with a cunning solution. I was recently given a whisky so egregrious that I (momentarily) considered pouring it down the sink. Instead, I’ve donated it to the young scallywag and his belle, ridding me of my conundrum and hopefully his new-found taste for whisky. A rare win-win I’d say.
EDITOR Richard Bath
BROOKE MAGNANTI Our resident spirit whisperer swaps her usual drop of the hard stuff to talk cider and reveal a little-known fact – that she, a Yank. is singlehandedly responsible for the recent explosion in cider’s popularity in Blighty.
ISSUE SIX | FREE
EXPOSURE Behind the scenes in the Arctic Circle at the world’s most northerly distillery
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CHRIS CUSITER The former Scotland and British Lions scrum-half has swapped rugby for whisky and opened up an emporium of the amber nectar in Los Angeles. He talks us through his damascene conversion to uisge beatha.
4 | What’s inside
ISSUE 26 38 10
Cover line 38 NORTH STAR
The world’s most northerly distillery, Aurora Spirit, is situated deep in the stunning Arctic Circle
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S NOV 2017 ISSUE SIX cask and still
DESIGN & EDITORIAL Editor: Richard Bath
Creatives: Heddy Forrest, Amanda Richardson
06 NEWS Remember, you heard it here first... 08 BAR SNAPS
A dizzying selection of drams at the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in DC
10 ME AND MY DRAM Scottish rugby player turned US-based whisky guru Chris Cusiter talks us through his top nips
12 GOING COMMANDO
Behind the scenes at the whisky bar at 45 Commando’s Arbroath HQ
18 THE RANT
Blair Bowman takes whisky snobs to task
20 THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW Whisky has
been the tipple of choice for many Prime Ministers
26 SIX OF THE BEST Whisky
cocktails mixed by Fabio De Sivestro at Epicurean Bar at G&V Hotel in Edinburgh
28 A DROP OF IRISH The rise of Irish whiskey could be hampered by a lack of regulation
34 WHISKY BY NUMBERS The latest
facts and figures
36 THE BLUFFER’S GUIDE TO SETTING UP A DISTILLERY 41 CONNOISSEUR’S SELECTION Our experts
choose their top drams
Photographer: Angus Blackburn Staff Writers: Morag Bootland, Fiona Hendrie, Crystal Chesters Contributing Editor: Blair Bowman Contributors: Dr Brooke Magnanti, David Austin, Ruth A. Symes Email: editor@caskandstill magazine.co.uk
ADVERTISING Sales Director: Brian Cameron Special Projects Manager: Janice Johnston Sales assistants: Katie Hogg
60 WILD WEST OF GIN Have we reached
Publisher: Alister Bennett
68 CONNOISSEUR’S SELECTION Our experts
Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh EH5 2DL
choose their favourite gins
Tel: 0131 551 1000
74 SPIRIT LEVEL
Dr Brooke Magnanti on the part that cider played in her misspent youth
77 OVER A BARREL The craft beer industry shows no sign of abating
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.
81 WHISKY EVENTS 82 WHISKY IN THE USA with Tom Fischer
6 | News feed
S Art in Whisky is a new limited edition book by Jon Purcell. The culmination of three years of travelling, the book provides stunning photography from distilleries across the world as well as information on each one. The book comes in two editions, the black edition is priced at £450 and the copper edition is £1,250. Available to buy from www.spioradpublishing.com
ART IN WHISKY
MARKING A MILESTONE The Dalmore’s Master Distiller Richard Paterson has completed the final leg of his world tour celebrating 50 years in the whisky industry. Richard’s milestone was celebrated with a series of tasting events around the world. The global tour provided an opportunity for a selection of customers and people with whom Richard has worked over the years, a chance to celebrate his special milestone with an exclusive tasting of the exceptionally rare, champagne-finished The Dalmore 50. All 50 bottles of the Domaine Henri Giraud champagne-finished 50-year-old single malt, which were prepared to order, have now sold out.
FOLLOW US FOR ALL THE LATEST NEWS:
The chairman of the Spirit of Speyside
FLIGHT OF FANCY
If you’re struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift for your favourite whisky lover then J Boult Designs’ handmade fallow deer whisky flight might be the answer. Handmade in Scotland, the up-cycled antler
Whisky Festival has been honoured for his outstanding commitment to promoting Scotland’s national drink. James Campbell, a volunteer who has been chairman of the Festival for the past five years, has been inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich – one of the industry’s top honours. Mr
with four Glencairn glasses is
Campbell was one of very few
priced at £150.
inductees at the ceremony not to
be employed by a distiller.
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The Glenglassaugh distillery in Portsoy has released a new series of contemporary Highland single malt Scotch whiskies, including its first ever wood finish expressions. These include a Port Wood Finish, a Peated Port Wood Finish, a Pedro Ximinez Sherry Wood Finish and a Peated Virgin
GLEN SCOTIA 18 YO
Oak Wood Finish. www.glenglassaugh.com
Campbeltown single malt 46% ABV, RRP £84.95
The latest expression in the Glen Scotia collection imparts deep vanilla fruit flavours with a warming spicy finish that makes it the perfect tipple for a cold winter evening.
THE DALMORE KING ALEXANDER III Highland single malt 40% ABV, RRP £165
Named after the 13th century King of Scotland, this is the world’s only six cask whisky, matured in ex-bourbon casks, Matusalem oloroso butts, Madeira barrels, Marsala cask, Port pipes and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques.
ARDBEG TWENTY SOMETHING
Rare 23-year-old whisky 46.3% ABV, RRP £430
Non chill-filtered, this expression gives sweet wood smoke, with vanilla and sherry on the nose, flavours of rich chocolate, dried fruits and fennel finish with just a hint of spice.
GLENLIVET 1943 BY GORDON & MACPHAIL Rare single malt whisky 49.1% ABV, RRP £30,000
This addition to G&M’s Private Collection range is limited to 40 decanters of this exclusive 70-year-old whisky which was laid down during WW2. Rich chestnut in colour with flavours of dark chocolate, oranges and oak.
ON YER BIKE!
In honour of the wood that shapes The Original, Glenmorangie has formed a collaboration with bicycle pioneer Renovo to create a bicycle from the whisky’s casks. Renovo shares Glenmorangie’s passion for wood – its founder was so inspired by the material’s superior abilities to create a smoother ride that he designed the first engineered wooden bicycle a decade ago. When the casks’ work at the distillery is done, their staves are shipped from Scotland to Renovo’s workshop in Oregon, in the US. There they are crafted into Glenmorangie Original bicycles. Each contains about 15 staves in a frame which reflects the curvature of the casks. The bike is priced at £5,400. www.renovobikes.com
IN RARE FORM
One of the world’s rarest single malt Scotch whiskies has been sold at auction for £9,375 – nearly double the estimate. The 1981 Port Ellen went under the hammer at Bonhams’ Whisky Sale in Edinburgh and was purchased by an unnamed buyer. The 36-yearold is the first bottle drawn from a privately-owned cask. The distillery closed in 1983 and will reopen in 2020.
8 | Whisky bars of the world
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JACK ROSE DINING SALOON, WASHINGTON DC Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about the whisk(e)y at this high-class bar and restaurant with themed dining rooms and an open air terrace. Although why anyone would want to go outside when there are 2,687 bottles of whisky lining the walls is surely one of lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great mysteries. www.jackrosediningsaloon.com
10 | Me and my dram
Image: Ex-Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter loves to talk whisky.
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Me & my
How did you make the transition from Scottish rugby to the American whisky industry? A friend who works in whisky in California planted the seed when my wife and I were on holiday there in 2014. I spent the next couple of years in Scotland learning all about the industry, visiting distilleries and tasting whisky and it just took hold. Now I have a retail business in Los Angeles and a website, lovescotch.com. There’s something fantastic about the way Scotch whisky is viewed around the world; it’s held in such high esteem. People from all over the world are fans of this product that is, by and large, produced by small distilleries being run the same way they were fifty, a hundred, or two hundred years ago. Have you always enjoyed whisky? No, I didn’t really drink it until I was 31 or 32. I think, like most people, I probably had a shot of blended whisky when I was 18 and it made me feel sick so I never wanted to drink it again. It always seemed like something I would do when I was older, but once I’d educated myself and discovered the nuances of flavour it opened up a whole new world and I started to enjoy it.
Former Scotland and Lions rugby player Chris Cusiter has put his love of whisky to the fore with a new life and career in California Interview by Richard Bath
Do you have a favourite dram? I’ve tasted a lot of amazing whiskies, but I do like Glenfaclas. I like some peated ones too – Lagavulin 16 is a classic example.
There’s something fantastic about the way Scotch whisky is viewed around the world. It’s held in such high esteem Where’s the best place you’ve ever had a dram? I visited Speyside in 2015 for a wee tour on my own. I stayed at a place called Dowans Hotel and I met an American guy. We just sat and drank whisky all night and it was so much fun. We drank some amazing whiskies, including a 40-year-old Macallan. It just felt right to be in Speyside drinking amazing whisky. I think the context of where you drink whisky is hugely important. I remember the first time I tasted Lagavulin 16. I was staying at a really nice B&B in the Lake District with my wife, it was winter and we were in front of a roaring fire. Perfect.
How do you drink whisky? I like it neat. I might add a touch of water but only if it needs it. I don’t add ice. What is the American attitude to Scotch whisky? There’s a huge passion for it and people really know their stuff. I’ve met lots of people who have travelled to Scotland and visited distilleries, and I’ve also met many who haven’t, but they still know so much. There are lots of Scotch clubs in LA; it’s fascinating that they’re so enthusiastic about this liquid that comes all the way from Scotland. The thing about Scotch whisky is that it’s expensive here, but there’s a rise in craft distilleries in the US and they’re making relatively inexpensive whiskey. They’re not restricted by the rules that Scotch whisky makers must stick to. They can be experimental and produce a younger spirit, which they can sell more cheaply. I think it will be a challenge for the Scottish whisky industry over the next few years. Do you have a favourite distillery? Bruichladdich is one of my favourites. I went to the Islay Festival last year and they stood out to me as doing the right things. They never add caramel colouring to their whisky and they are the biggest employer on Islay.
12 | Going Commando Pictured: Two of the bottles in 45 Commandoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collection: their own Singleton and an English whisky from the St Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Distillery.
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Going COMMANDO The whisky bar in the officers’ mess at 45 Commando’s Arbroath headquarters is one of the whisky world’s hidden gems
Written by Richard Bath
rom the outside, the oﬃcers’ mess of 45 Commando looks like a fairly utilitarian modern building. In fact, the single-storey building at RM Condor near Arbroath looks like a supersized suburban bungalow. Step inside though, and all that changes, because this is the home of one of the most remarkable whisky bars in the world. There, lined up along three long shelves of dark mahogany, are well over 200 different bottles of the amber nectar. The range is dizzying, with everything from run-of-the-mill malts to collector’s items from America, Japan, India, Ireland, Bhutan, Belgium, England and Zimbabwe. There’s even a gold blend from the Eastern Highlands distillery in Zimbabwe and a bottle of Mekhong rice whisky from Thailand.
14 | Going Commando Opposite page (clockwise from top left): At Ballindalloch; the mess’s ‘house’ blend is kept in a used 105 shell casing; assistant mess manager Tracey; at Ballindalloch; Capt Gaz Stevens fills the cask.
‘Back in 1980 a tradition was established where every oﬃcer who leaves presents the mess with a single malt that the mess doesn’t already have,’ says 45 Commando’s second-in-command, Major Simon Giles. ‘If they want to purchase a more expensive whisky, it’s okay for two or three oﬃcers to club together. That’s how we build and then fund our collection. As each bottle is emptied, we buy a new one of the same whisky. There are some quite expensive bottles up there.’ With every oﬃcer who leaves and every overseas visitor who wishes to add to the gaiety of nations, the collection grows by a bottle of single malt, with 15-20 oﬃcers contributing each year. Every new entry is lovingly recorded in the battered leather mess book, which looks more like a whisky-themed visitor’s book. It’s a fascinating record that provides an unorthodox history of the regiment since 1981. The ﬁrst entry is from Lt Andy Canning in January 1981, who on his departure left a bottle of Dufftown Glenlivet eight-year-old. The second entry is from Capt Scott MacKenzie of the US Marine Corps, whose parting gift was a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Sour Mash Whiskey, and a note that this is a bourbon which, like the USMC, is ‘once tasted, never forgotten’. Indeed, closer inspection shows that the book is peppered with bourbons. ‘The most recent US Marine over was Major General Niel E Nelson, the former commander of US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, so a very senior US Marine Corps general,’ said Giles. ‘A lot of US Marines have connections to Scotland and absolutely love the area so when they come to a unit like this which embraces being in Scotland as fully as we can, they love it. He was so impressed with our traditions that he decided to leave a really nice bottle of Talisker. ‘More recently we had General Laster, who is commandant of the Marine staffs, so second only to the commandant of the US Marine Corps, and he was holidaying in Scotland so we hijacked him for a day and got him to come and stay, and he
loved the whole experience.’ The most recent bottle recorded in the book is a 16-year-old Royal Brackla, the gift of outgoing Commanding Oﬃcer Lieutenant Colonel Tony Turner RM. As is traditional, Turner presented the whisky at his leaver’s dinner, at which stage it went straight behind the bar and was available to buy immediately. ‘As most leavers ﬁnd, there’s not much left by the end of the evening,’ laughs Turner. ‘I bought the whisky and then bought drinks for everyone present, so I paid twice, but it was worth it. Our whisky collection is a tradition we’re really keen to sustain because it adds character to the organisation and is a tangible memory of all those who have gone before.’ Although there is a huge array of drams on offer, there’s a deﬁnite emphasis on quality over quantity. The more expensive whiskies costing £4 a dram are popular, as is the Corps’ own single malt – a 12-year-old The Singleton from Dufftown. The vast majority of whiskies come in at £2 a nip with the ‘house’ blended whisky available for no charge but consumed sparingly because the unlucky oﬃcer who ﬁnishes the bottle (which is hidden within a used 105 shell casing with only the optic protruding) has to replace the whole two-litre bottle. The charges are designed to allow all the whiskies to be replaced as they are drunk, and if the whisky consumed is no longer available, the nearest option will be used. But the collection is about far more than mere alcohol. ‘Whisky anchors us in Scotland, gives us a greater sense of where we are, and makes oﬃcers from outside Scotland think more about Scottish culture,’ says Major Michael ‘Dinger’ Bell from Dumfries. Whisky is also being used as a means to strengthen the enduring bonds shared by the oﬃcers who have served in 45 Commando, an elite unit, which was formed in 1943 in the days leading up to D-Day. Simon Giles, the president of the mess committee who leaves
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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Whisky anchors us in Scotland and gives us a greater sense of who we areâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
16 | Going Commando
Arbroath shortly to continue his 30-year career in the Marines with 43 Commando, is a whisky collector with a penchant for Macallan. He had the idea of using uisge beatha as a way of cementing the shared experience of men who had passed through RM Condor. ‘We’ve also just bought a barrel of Ballindalloch whisky last year, which cost us £5,000,’ he said. ‘We thought it would be a bit of fun so we’ve split it into 25 shares – we photocopied the certiﬁcate of ownership, the CO stamped it and we’ve each been given our own number. It was ﬁlled last year on the 332nd birthday of the corps, 28 October [the Marines were formed on 28.10.1664]. We’ll leave it for at least 12 years; if we bottle it then we’ll get 12 bottles each. ‘The idea is that every year, on or around the corps birthday in October, anyone who is available meets up in Dufftown and we all have our AGM. It’s not just about the whisky, it’s about the journey, about giving a group of friends who served together a reason for coming together.
It’s all about that camaraderie – I’m sure the whisky will be great, but it’s much more about maintaining that link to 45 Commando and to whisky country because the two are inextricably linked. It captures that moment in time when we all served here together.’ The Ballindalloch syndicate is simply an extension of the oﬃcers’ mess at 45 Commando, where whisky is used in the way it was intended, as a means of hefting its drinker to Scotland, and of strengthening the bonds between those who share drams. Or, as the great Colin Donald Snr once memorably said: ‘Whisky should be a lubricant for life, not a fuel’. That perfectly sums up the oﬃcers’ mess whisky bar at 45 Commando, one of the spirit’s most welcome surprises. Below (clockwise from top left): Every whisky left by a departing officer is logged; Major ‘Dinger’ Bell in the Garden of Remembrance, which lists all members of 45 Commando who have fallen since they moved to RM Condor in 1971; the remembrance stone; some of the 200-plus whiskies on offer in the officers’ mess.
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18 | The Rant
WHISKY SNOBS There’s something about whisky that brings out the snob in many of its biggest fans, so keep broadening your horizons and enjoy trying new drams to ensure you don’t become a dreadful whisky Written by Blair Bowman
ome people are just way too obsessed with ‘natural’ whisky. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to taste whisky in its natural form, but some people are just way too concerned and precious about this. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people (read snobs) say, ‘I only drink cask-strength, naturally-coloured, non-chillfiltered whiskies that have an age statement.’ I say, stop being such a bore. Don’t be such a pedant when it comes to whisky because you are missing out on a whole host of whisky goodness. I can say with great certainty that when these kinds of people started out drinking whisky, they would not have known what E150a, NCF, NAS and cask strength meant, they would have just been drinking whiskies and enjoying them for what they were. For some reason, a minority of people seem to, for want of a better expression, become ‘whisky snobs’ at some point in their whisky journey. They have this irritating holier-than-thou elitist air, a self-imposed whisky drinking criteria and are ridiculously stubborn if challenged to change their ways. In short, they are the worst kind of whisky drinker. So why are they so hung up when it comes to these acronyms mentioned above? The use of plain caramel colouring in whisky has long been debated. E150a, the
Pictured: Drinking whisky should be a pleasurable experience, however you choose to do it.
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SUPERMARKET WHISKY TO TRY
technical term for the specific permitted type of plain caramel colouring, is used to create consistency of colour in whisky from batch to batch. Whisky is a natural product and each cask is unique meaning that the colour will probably vary from cask to cask. Whisky has its current status in the world because it has been able to produce a consistent and high quality product for decades, partly because of the use of plain caramel colouring. If a brand, like Johnnie Walker, varied in colour massively it would lead to consumers thinking its quality was inconsistent. Can you see why it is important now? The plain caramel colouring purely acts as a colour adjusting tool for the master blender making the whisky, it does not impart any flavour or taint the whisky’s taste. Another thing some elitist whisky snobs obsess over is chill-filtration of whisky. Again, the reason for this stems back to whisky being consistent and of a high quality around the world. If a whisky is non-chill-filtered it may become cloudy or hazy if it gets cold. This haziness could be seen by consumers as the whisky going bad or spoiling. To prevent consumers thinking something has gone wrong with their whisky, a lot of the whisky industry will chill-filter their whisky, which prevents the haziness from occurring. Chill-filtering a whisky removes the fatty acids in the whisky which cause the cloudiness. By removing these, a whisky will remain bright and clean looking even if ice or water are added. Many of these snobs also limit themselves to only drinking cask strength whiskies for some strange reason. They feel that whiskies less than around 55% alcohol by volume are too diluted. Many of them refuse outright to add water, which is mad and alco-masochistic. I for one can’t see how anyone can enjoy blowing their face off drinking 55% or higher alcohol.
It is nigh on impossible to pick up any nuanced flavours or aromas when the alcohol strength is so high. So this is why, as a general rule, most whiskies are bottled at 40% alcohol by volume, as they have been blended to taste their best at this strength. Also, if you want to enjoy your whisky neat you’ll actually be able to taste some interesting flavours at this kind of strength. Finally, the other thing that boring snobs seem particularly hung up on the moment is the introduction of no age statement (NAS) whiskies. This is a whisky that does not give an age statement for the whisky in the bottle. By law, if a whisky has an age on the bottle it must give the age of the youngest whisky in the recipe of that particular whisky. Meaning that a 10-year-old single malt might contain some 12-year-old or even 15-year-old single malt to add depth of flavour but the age on the bottle would have to say 10-year-old. The irony of the snobs not liking this is that historically whisky was all sold without age statements. The use of age statements on whisky is a relatively new thing. By removing the age statement from a whisky, it gives the master blender a much wider palate of flavours to work with. Personally, I think a lot of the new NAS whiskies are cracking and much more interesting because the people creating them can work with more unique or unusual casks because they are not having to worry about getting a particular age on the bottle. So, my advice is to avoid the whisky snobs and bores. You only live once, so don’t bother limiting your enjoyment of whisky based on an uber-geek’s rulebook of which whiskies you should and shouldn’t drink. It’s all good stuff and we (more precisely, the whisky snobs) need to chill out with a dram of supermarket own-label single malt.
You only live once, so don’t bother limiting your enjoyment of whisky based on an uber-geek’s rulebook
BEN BRACKEN, 22 YEAR OLD ISLAY SINGLE MALT WHISKY From Lidl, £39.99 Awards: Best Islay Single Malt at World Whisky Awards
GLEN MARNOCH, SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT WHISKY From Aldi, £17.49 Awards: Gold Medal at Spirits Business Masters
GLEN ALBA, 22 YEAR OLD, SHERRY CASK FINISH, BLENDED WHISKY From Lidl, £29.99 Awards: World’s Best Blended Limited Release Whisky at World Whisky Awards & Best 21 Year and Over at World Whisky Awards
20 | Prime ministers and whisky
Spirit of the
Law Margaret Thatcher was well known for her love of whisky but the spirit has played a vital role in Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s political life for centuries Written by Ruth A Symes
This page: Margaret Thatcher delighted in a dram. Overleaf (clockwise from top left): Famously whisky-loving Prime Ministers William Pitt The Younger, the Earl of Liverpool, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, .
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22 | Prime ministers and whisky
T During the early 1820s, the taxes had increased to such an extent that it was almost impossible for Scottish producers to make a profit legally
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ales of late-night whisky drinking are very much part of the mythology of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (PM: 1979-1990), but what is perhaps less well-known is that many of her political forebears long had a signiﬁcant relationship with the amber ﬂuid. In fact, whisky has played a crucial part in the economic life of Britain and – by extension – in its political life for centuries. Most of our greatest premiers have debated excise duties, tinkered with licensing laws and hours, and ruled on export regulations affecting the whisky industry. And some of them, like the redoubtable Mrs T, have personally beneﬁtted from a wee dram in their efforts to cope with the demands of Britain’s top job. Take William Pitt the Younger (PM: 17831801 and 1804-1806), for instance. He became prime minister at the tender age of 24 and found himself faced with an enormous national debt of £243 million due largely to the American War of Independence 1775-1783. To replenish the coffers, Pitt sought to raise taxes by any means possible. His Wash Act (of 1784, amended 1786) divided Scotland into Highland and Lowland areas. It was deemed that north of the line producers could make only malts (whisky made from malted barley) and they would be taxed on the capacity of their whisky stills. South of the line, in the Lowlands and England, on the other hand, producers would be allowed to make whisky from any type of grain, and it would be the fermented ‘wash’ itself (the liquid from which the whisky was distilled) that was taxed (at a rate per gallon). This ‘Highland Line’, as it became known, was drawn as a means of lowering duties on whisky in the Lowlands and England to stimulate more legal distilling there and ultimately to raise funds for the government.
Pitt himself was a notorious heavy drinker who favoured port and became known as a ‘three-bottle man’ because it was said that he could drink three (350ml) bottles a day. Suffering from chronic ill-health he was advised to drink whisky by his doctors and developed a real taste for the stuff. Unfortunately, such ‘medicine’ on top of his regular intake of alcohol caused him to suffer even more greatly from gout and biliousness and he eventually died at the still relatively young age of 46. The next signiﬁcant moment in the political history of whisky came in 1823 under the premiership of Lord Liverpool (Robert Banks Jenkinson, PM: 1812-1827). Whether Liverpool himself particularly enjoyed whisky is not known, but his dinner parties were deemed to be ‘sober’ occasions, and his character has been described as ‘careful’ if not ‘mediocre,’ so perhaps it is unlikely. Nevertheless, Liverpool was to grant a boon to whisky producers in the last years of his oﬃce. During the early 1820s, the taxes payable on whisky had increased to such an extent that it was almost impossible for Scottish producers to make a proﬁt legally and thousands of illegal stills were in operation. To attempt to rectify these problems, the Excise Act of 1823 sanctioned the distilling of whisky for a licence fee of £10 and a set payment per gallon of proof spirit. In effect, this meant that the rate of duty payable on whisky by the producers had been cut, large-scale production now became viable, and illicit stills were all but wiped out. The 19th century saw repeated political moves to tighten and relax the licensing laws, legislation which affected how alcohol of all kinds was consumed in Britain. But during the First World War, whisky was again singled out for particular attention. Prime Minister David Lloyd George (PM: 1916-1922) had been accused of trying to break the whisky industry. He was, in fact, a teetotaller and it is possible that his personal renunciation of alcohol affected his policies to some degree. Certainly, it was on his watch that the Immature Spirits Restriction Act
24 | Prime ministers and whisky
COMMON GROUND Whisky, it seems, is still very much oiling the wheels of political discourse in Britain’s Parliament, where nine different bars and several shops sell alcohol to MPs and further outlets supply the Lords. In recent years 3,600 bottles of ‘Commons Blended Whisky’ were sold per annum in the Lower House alone – to be drunk on the premises or at home – as well as many other single malts, such as 2,100 bottles of the much-praised ‘Speaker John Bercow’s whisky’.
of 1915 was passed. This extended the amount of time for which whisky had to be aged in oak casks to two (and later to three) years. These changes coupled with restrictions in licensing hours during World War One forced many whisky distilleries to close, although ironically the longer maturation period had the effect of improving the remaining product. Our prime minister during the Second World War had rather a different attitude to whisky both professionally and personally. Winston Churchill (PM: 1940-1945 and 19501955) saw the potential for whisky to make Britain money in the early years of the war, and purposefully diverted shiploads of Scotch to America in part payment for the war materials that Britain badly needed. As the war progressed, however, the national shortage of barley meant that many Scottish distilleries were forced to close and the ruination of the industry seemed likely. In January 1945, however, Churchill thankfully came to its rescue, making limited supplies of grain available for whisky distilling with a view to replacing stocks and also to supplying America and other foreign markets into the future. There was a spectacular expansion in output and export of whisky in the 1950s when Churchill took oﬃce as prime minister for the second time. American businesses invested heavily in Scotland, buying whisky stocks, warehouses, bottling plants and brands and many old distilleries were refurbished and new ones acquired. Churchill himself had disdained whisky as a young man, preferring brandy. But as a young army oﬃcer ﬁghting in Afghanistan in 1897 he found the combination of whisky and water the most appealing of drinks on offer to the military. He remarked that once he ‘got the knack of it, the very repulsion from the ﬂavour developed an attraction of its own’. There are many tales of his latter fondness for whisky, including the
one about his travels to South Africa as a war correspondent in 1899 when he apparently took 18 bottles of a 10-year old Scotch in his luggage. Churchill’s favourite whisky was Johnnie Walker Red Label which was to be found in a glass mixed with water by his side all day long. He was no drunkard, however, and used the tipple as a mouthwash rather than a drink according to his Private Secretary Jock Colville. In the ﬁnal decades of the 20th century, whisky sales saw a severe downturn. This was partly due to the over-production of whisky in the 1970s when, some say, the industry had over-invested in bringing old distilleries back into use. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a great lover of whisky. Although she had been brought up as a strict Methodist – and therefore without exposure to alcohol – she had been encouraged to drink by her husband Dennis, and was often, it is said, to be found quaﬃng a blended whisky (usually Bell’s) and soda (without ice) in the Bar of the Commons. Her drink of choice was partly borne out of her desire to keep control of her weight; she believed whisky and soda to be less fattening than gin and tonic. Unfortunately Thatcher’s personal predilections did little for the whisky industry. She did sanction the Liquor Licensing Act of 1985, which brought in less restrictive licensing hours with a view to increasing revenue from alcohol sales, but national consumption of whisky did not increase as a result of this. Current Prime Minister Theresa May’s feelings about whisky are not common knowledge but, perhaps her gift to Donald Trump when she met him at the White House in January 2017 speaks for itself. She presented him with an engraved Scottish quaich or whisky cup, a token of hospitality and a symbol of kinship, as testimony to his Scottish roots. The whisky industry is booming and the role of the drink in our national politics is far from over.
Thatcher’s drink of choice was borne out of her desire to control her weight
SHERRY CASK CONNOISSEURS SINCE 1826 Nestled deep in the east Highland hills, The GlenDronach Distillery has been quietly mastering the art of sherry cask maturation since 1826. Here, in the valley of Forgue, the ﬁnest Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks hold our spirit. After years in the quiet darkness of our dunnage warehouses, these casks are rolled into the light, a dram poured from their depths. Every cask will have its moment; it takes patience and skill to recognise it. Each GlenDronach Highland Single Malt bears the inﬂuence of long years in the ﬁnest sherry casks: complex, elegant single malts of remarkable intensity, with rich depth and a lasting ﬁnish.
Savour with time, drink responsibly. © 2017 The GlenDronach is a registered trademark, all rights reserved.
GlenDronach 200x245mm 271017.indd 1 BenRiach 2.inddCask&Still 25
27/10/2017 10:08 09/11/2017 10:13:08
26 | Whisky Cocktails
Feel like mixing it up? Six of the best whisky cocktails to wet your whistle
WEST MIST 40ml Auchentoshan 12 yo
40ml Haig Club
20ml Antica Formula
40ml Auchentoshan Three Wood
A few dashes Angostura Bitter
20ml maple and rosemary syrup
10ml Lime juice
Spray of Lagavulin mist
10ml Pedro Ximenez
15ml CrĂ¨me de Cassis
2 teaspoons pear and vanilla jam Dandelion and burdock soda
GLASGOW SCHOOL A few dashes chocolate bitter and
METHOD: Stir all ingredients
Innis & Gunn and Orgeat foam
except Lagavulin mist over a large METHOD: Shake all the ingredients
cube of ice to dilute to desired
METHOD: In a mixing glass, stir all
but the soda and double strain into
strength. Strain into a chilled
the ingredients but the foam. Once
a chilled glass. Top with the soda.
Martini glass and garnish with
diluted to perfection, strain over
an ice sphere, finishing with foam using a cream syphon.
Cask and Still Magazine | 27
HOPPED & TOPPED
REVERSE NY SOUR
35ml Johnnie Walker Gold Label
50ml Makerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mark
50ml Makerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mark
25ml Lemon juice
15ml Lemon juice
25ml Lemon juice
25ml Gomme with 15ml Pedro
50ml Coriander and G&V Rooftop
30ml G&V Rooftop Honey syrup and
20ml egg white
METHOD: Shake all ingredients
METHOD: Rinse the glass with
with cubed ice. Strain into a chilled
Pedro Ximenes. In a shaker, add all
together apart from the IPA.
Whisky glass and garnish with a
ingredients and dry shake (without
Double strain into a tall highball
slice of ginger.
ice) to aerate the egg. Add ice and
Caledonian 3 hops IPA METHOD: Shake all ingredients
glass over cubed ice. Top with
shake again to mix well. Double
strain over ice.
Our cocktails were mixed by Fabio Di Silvestro, Bar Manager at Epicurean Bar at G&V Royal Mile. www.quorvuscollection.com/en/gandv-hotel-edinburgh
28 | Whiskey in Ireland
A drop of Irish The Irish whiskey industry is growing rapidly, but could the lack of rules and regulations surrounding the spiritâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s provenance once again prove its undoing?
Written by Blair Bowman
decade ago there were only four distilleries in Ireland. Fast forward ten years to today and in total there are eighteen, with another sixteen or so in the planning stages or already under construction. Irish whiskey is now the fastest-growing spirits category in the world. Of the dozens of new Irish whiskey brands appearing in the marketplace, many are produced from sourced whiskey, meaning that they are made under contract for a brand. This brings with it slightly dubious and questionable provenance. For example, some bottles from new distilleries have an age statement that outdates the age of the new distillery, some independently-bottled whiskey purports to be from a distillery that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist or claims to have been made by a master distiller who is yet to own a distillery. One brand that is particularly guilty of the above is Hyde Irish Whiskey, which despite their marketing, the labelling on their bottles and news coverage, do not own a distillery in West Cork, or any warehousing, and do not
Cask and Still Magazine | 29 >>>
30 | Whiskey in Ireland
have a master distiller (an impossible feat without actually owning a distillery) despite each bottle being signed by a master distiller. In fact they’ve been getting their whiskey from Cooley distillery – one of the big four distilleries some 120 miles north of West Cork. In part, this has come about because of a lack of guidelines for the Irish whiskey industry. While Scotch whisky has the oﬃcial guidelines of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) on how to market and label the spirit in order to protect the Scotch whisky name and its consumers, the same thing simply does not exist for Irish whiskey. The Irish Whiskey Association is not a mirror image of the SWA. The SWA can trace its origins back to 1912 and is a stand-alone trade body, while the Irish Whiskey Association was only established in 2014 and is one of ﬁve sub-groups of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, which is part of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation. The head of the Irish Whiskey Association is also head of the Irish Wine Association and the Irish Spirits Association. So, you can understand that little time or focus has been given to Irish whiskey. In the eyes of the Irish Whiskey Association, they have done their job because the Irish Whiskey Technical File protects the name of Irish whiskey and the way it is produced. However, this has nothing to do with how it is marketed, labelled or presented to consumers. On the Irish Whiskey Association website, it states: ‘Irish whiskey’s reputation was almost irrevocably damaged in the early 1900s when bootleggers sold fake Irish whiskey during Prohibition in the USA. Consumers’ perception of Irish whiskey suffered due to low quality product being sold as Irish, and many switched to Scotch and bourbon. We don’t want this mistake to be repeated.’
Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category in the world right now One person championing the need for a change in the rules in the way Irish whiskey is marketed is Mark Reynier of Waterford Distillery, one of the new wave of Irish Distillers. Reynier is well known for having resurrected Bruichladdich distillery on Islay in 2000. He was CEO of Bruichladdich up until 2012 when, against his wishes, the company was sold to Remy Cointreau for £58 million. During his days at Bruichladdich he would get into regular and heated spats with the SWA – he is no stranger to being outspoken and ruﬄing feathers. In 2014, Reynier set up Waterford Distillery in a former Guinness Brewery site. In 2004, Diageo, who own Guinness, spent some €40 million upgrading the facility but in 2013, took the decision to close the site. Reynier, along with a group of investors, acquired it at a fraction of the cost, buying the facility for around €7.2 million, and spending a further €2.4 million on converting it from a brewery into a distillery. In fact, they have actually had to strip back a lot of the equipment in an attempt to simplify the production process for the distillery. Waterford produced its ﬁrst spirit in early 2016 and already has one million litres of spirit maturing. What is particularly interesting and exciting about Waterford is their approach to barley. While most whisky distilleries use whichever barley variety they believe will give
Cask and Still Magazine | 31 >>>
Clockwise from left: Polished condensers at Waterford Distillery; a mural celebrating Waterfordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural and fishing heritage; barrels in Ballygarran warehouse; Mark Reynier considers the future of Irish whiskey; Waterfordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s distiller James Ellickison.
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Diageo Distilleries Visitor Centres.indd 32
Cask and Still Magazine | 33
Irish whiskey is in a very interesting place at the moment with distilleries opening up left, right and centre them the greatest yield, not much more thought is put into the inﬂuence of barley. However, at Waterford the strapline is ‘Barley is King. Provenance is all’. Taking principles Reynier championed at Bruichladdich, Waterford have sourced 61 Irish farms that grow organic barley on 19 different soil types. Each farmer’s crop is harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately with an advanced digital logistics system. Every week, a different farm’s barley is milled, mashed and distilled. The only variable is the barley, with every other part of the production process being identical. As part of a wider study into the terroir of whisky – something Reynier has championed since his days at Bruichladdich – he is working with the Irish Department of Agriculture to produce hard scientiﬁc evidence that will prove once and for all that the concept of terroir exists in whiskey as it does in wine. The end result, after maturation, will be a unique series of ‘single’ single malt whiskeys. Reynier believes that now is the time to sort out the rules surrounding the labelling and marketing of Irish whiskey. Considering his track record with the SWA, he can’t believe that he is championing the need for more regulations. In his mind, it is the simplest thing to sort out; all that is needed is the equivalent of the SWA labelling requirements checklist. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 clause 9.4 makes it illegal to ‘label, package, advertise or promote any Scotch Whisky in a way which is likely to deceive the public into thinking it has been distilled at any distillery other than the true distillery.’ Perhaps a clause like this is needed in Ireland too. Obviously, Reynier is keen to tap into the growing demand for Irish whiskey. In the ﬁrst six months of 2017, exports of Irish whiskey increased by 18.5% year-on-year. In 2014, the Irish Whiskey Association set a goal of doubling exports from 72 million bottles to 144 million bottles by 2020 and it looks like they are well on their way to doing this. Irish whiskey sales broke the 100 million bottle mark for the ﬁrst time in 2016 (over 1.2 billion bottles of Scotch whisky were exported in the same period). It looks like Irish whiskey is in a very interesting place at the moment, with new distilleries opening left, right and centre as well as new, independently-bottled brands appearing all the time. As Reynier says, it is important to get everything in order, as it’s for the greater good of the Irish whiskey industry, but only time will tell whether or not the Irish Whiskey Association wake up to the facts. If they don’t, the future of Irish whiskey could be at risk of repeating history and damaging the image of Irish whiskey once again.
IRISH DISTILLERIES In 2013, there were four distilleries in operation and five visitor centres on the island. By 2016 there were 16 working distilleries and another 13 with planning permission and many more projects at various stages of planning. Distilleries are planned for 18 counties across Ireland, including: Antrim, Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wicklow. With national and local government support, Irish whiskey tourism has the potential to grow from 653,277 visitors per annum to 1.9 million visitors by 2025, spending an estimated €1.3 billion. One quarter of visitors to Irish distilleries are American – Ireland’s highest spending tourists. Irish distilleries also attract significant numbers of German, British, French and other international visitors from its biggest export markets. Irish whiskey tourism is growing significantly faster than total overseas tourism in Ireland, increasing by two thirds since 2010. At one time Irish whiskey was the most popular spirit in the world. In 1779, there were 1,228 registered distilleries in Ireland – though this was slashed after an act of parliament was introduced to reform how the taxes payable on whiskey production were calculated. As a result, by 1790, this number had fallen to 246, and by 1821, there were just 32 licensed distilleries in operation.
34 | Whisky by numbers
whisky by numbers Impress your friends with these facts and figures
Scotch is Britain’s biggest food and drink export, making up over a fifth of the sector’s overseas shipments
In the USA, Scotch exports were up 8.6% to £388 million and single malts jumped 14% to £123 million
There was a return to growth in China with exports up 45% to £27 million
Exports of single malts were up 7% to £479 million in the first six months of 2017
3.4% Scotch whisky exports increased in value by 3.4% in the first half of 2017 to £1.8 billion
£27m The volume of whisky shipped overseas was down 2% to 528 million bottles. The lower volume and higher value was partly the result of a shift to single malts
The EU remains the biggest regional destination for Scotch with the value of exports up 4% to £559 million
Source: Scotch Whisky Association report on the value of Scotch whisky exports in the first half of 2017
Jeffrey St Whisky & Tobacco, 12-14 Jeffrey St, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1DT. 0131 556 9930.
36 | A bluffer’s guide to...
Written by: Blair Bowman
A BLUFFER ’S GUI D E TO..
Launching a distillery
Success requires nerves of steel and strong cash flow It takes guts, patience and a lot of cash to get a
sure that there is a decent and reliable water
whisky distillery up and running. However, unlike
source. Make sure you know who owns the
many other investments, at least if it all goes tits-up you can drown your sorrows with your whisky, assuming you managed to make some before the plug was pulled.
INVESTMENT You’ll need considerable investment to get off the ground — at least £5 million for the initial build and set-up and around £250,000 per year for overheads such as salaries, raw ingredients, and casks.
Copper stills are likely to be one of your major expenses in the initial set-up cost
water source, since land disputes and litigation could quickly eat into your funds. You’ll also need to be certain that the water supply is consistent all year round. In 2013, Tobermory Distillery had to suspend production due to a drought on the island – the loch that supplied the distillery got only a fifth of the average rainfall that year. Location is also key as you will want to build a visitor centre. If you choose a city centre location make sure that your distillery has enough space to become a top class tourist attraction. If you choose
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
a completely remote location then consider
Before you start to even think of where your
whether you will get the footfall that you would
dream distillery would be, you’ll need to make
require to make money from tourists.
Cask and Still Magazine | 37
TIME WILL TELL
Stills are likely to be one of your major expenses.
Your whisky is finally in a cask and you now need
The go-to place for copper pot stills is Forsyth’s in
to decide how long you’ll wait. This must be a
Rothes, who have made stills for pretty much every
minimum of three years, but you will probably
distillery in Scotland, although Patron in Mexico,
wish to wait longer. Will you bottle sooner due to
Woodford in Kentucky and Yamazaki in Japan are
a rapidly dwindling bank balance? Or will you hold
viable alternatives. Forsyth stills are so popular
off until you have hit the sweet spot?
that there is supposedly a five-year waiting list. You could take the plunge by putting down a
deposit to get on the waiting list, and then you’ll
This will make or break you. You could make gin,
have around five years to raise the rest of your
which can be sold unaged as a good source of
investment and build the distillery. By the time you have finished, the stills will be ready to slot in. The size and shape of the stills can make an impact on the spirit: a short still will give a heavier, oilier spirit, while a tall and slender still will produce a softer, lighter spirit. You’ll also need to decide whether you want wooden or stainless steel washbacks.
WI L L YOU BOTTLE SOONER DUE TO A RAPI D LY DWI N DLI N G BANK BALANCE?
income, or perhaps given the already saturated gin market an alternative spirit might be the answer. You need to consider whether you want to make cash from tourism while you can’t make any from your whisky. Will you build a visitor centre and will it be open to the public while your whisky matures? Whatever you do, you’ll need nerves of steel and a bank balance to match.
What type of barley will you use? Will it be
BOTTLING AND SELLING
supplied by a local farmer? Will you malt it on-
You’ve decided to bottle your first whisky —
site or have it malted by a commercial maltster?
congratulations! You’ll need to think about
Or will you cut this out altogether and buy it
bottle design, size, branding and strength. Will
directly from a commercial maltster? You’ll also
you go for a standard 40% alcohol by volume
need to think about whether or not you want
to get as much as you can from a cask, or will
the malt to be peated. Will you use distillers
you bottle at a higher ABV, bearing in mind
yeast? Will it be liquid or powdered?
you’ll have more duty to pay? You’ll need to
DISTILLING AND FILLING
find wholesalers and distributors and you may wish to hire brand ambassadors and attend
Let’s assume everything has gone to plan and
whisky festivals. If you’ve been sensible with
you are now the proud owner of a working
your overheads, you could be looking at around
distillery. You’ll need to spend a wee while
£15 profit on a whisky that costs £45. Once your
tweaking things such as the ratios of husks,
whisky takes off and starts selling out, you’ve
grits and flours in your grist, the temperature of
hit the jackpot. Good luck!
your mashing water, the length of fermentation and the cut points in your distillation. Then you’ll
need to decide what type of casks you want
The Author and Publication accept no liability for
— bourbon, sherry, wine or other. All of these
losses or damages if you try to set up your own
factors will impact your bank balance.
distillery based on the information above.
38 | Whisky Hero
Cask and Still Magazine | 39
Creating whisky, gin, vodka and aquavit in the Arctic Circle is all in a day’s work for Colin Houston at Aurora Spirit Written by Blair Bowman
urora Spirit is the northernmost distillery in the world. Set deep within the Arctic Circle at 69.39°N, the distillery and visitors centre is at Årøybukt in Lyngen, northern Norway, which during the Cold War was a NATO coastal fort. The distillery was built in 2015 and opened as a visitor attraction in summer 2016. It is set in the beautiful surroundings of the impressive Lyngen Alps and next to the Arctic Lyngen fjord. The distillery’s water source is ﬁltered, glacial water from the Lyngen Alps. These glaciers were frozen more than 5,000 years ago and have gradually started to melt in the last 100 years or so. Colin Houston, managing director of Aurora Spirit, is understandably excited by the project. ‘Our distillery is set in the most beautiful location, with magniﬁcent displays of the Aurora Borealis overhead in the winter and the midnight sun in summer,’ he says. ‘We offer visitors unique experiences that make the most of our fantastic location.’ Colin grew up in Oban, and has helped establish a link between Aurora Spirit distillery and Glenturret distillery in Crieff in Perthshire. In 2015, Aurora’s
head distiller Gjermund Stensrud visited Glenturret for a week. ‘There’s no more traditional way of making whisky than the way they make it at Glenturret,’ says Colin. ‘So it really has been a fantastic opportunity for us to come over and share skills with the team there.’ The Aurora Spirit distillery itself is state-of-the-art and energy eﬃcient. It is one of the most modern in Europe as it is iPad-controlled with everything connected to the internet.
The distillery’s water source is filtered glacial water from the Lyngen Alps Their products are bottled under the brand name Bivrost, which is the old Viking word for the Northern Lights. So far, they have produced Bivrost Gin with Arctic berries, juniper, roots and spices, Bivrost Vodka, Bivrost Aquavit and in November 2019, the ﬁrst Bivrost Whisky will reach three years of maturation. They get the mash for their whisky from the northernmost brewery in the world, Mack Brewery in Nordkjosbotn, which is then distilled at Aurora Spirit
distillery some 70km further north. Due to the very low temperatures, the whisky will take longer to mature. To speed things up, they have been maturing their spirit in smaller casks, allowing for more contact with the wood. The distillery source their casks from the Speyside Cooperage in Craigellachie and store them in the secret, abandoned NATO tunnels deep underground in an attempt to reduce the angels’ share (or Odin’s share as they prefer to call it). The temperature variation of around 40 degrees between winter (-20°C) and summer (+20°C) will create interesting and unique interactions with the maturing spirit. The rise in temperature will increase the pressure in the cask, allowing the spirit to penetrate deeper into the wood. The owners are conﬁdent that Nordic drinks, namely aquavit, will be the next big trend. In 2016, ‘hygge’, the Scandinavian concept of cosiness, became popular, and Aurora Spirit believe that they are perfectly placed to tap into the growing interest in Scandinavian products. Skål to that! Clockwise from top left: Aurora‘s state-of-the-art distillery; Hans, Tor, and Anne-Lise founded Aurora; copper stills; Viking advertising; Aurora borealis over Aurora; Bivrost vodka.
#TIMEFORSHARING 040_CS06.indd 40
AVAILABLE NOW: EDENMILL.COM 09/11/2017 10:26:30
Cask and Still Magazine | 41 >>>
s â&#x20AC;&#x2122; r u e s s i nno
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 12-page guide to what the real experts drink
42 | Connoisseur’s Selection
Speyside PLATINUM OLD AND RARE TAMDHU 30YO
NATIONAL RETAIL MANAGER, THE WHISKY SHOP
www.whiskyshop.com Darren is the National Retail Manager of The Whisky Shop: the largest independent specialist retailer of whisky in the UK. He is also a senior judge for the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge. Darren’s three favourite Speyside drams can be found here...
SELECTED BY DARREN
Bottled by Hunter Laing, this whisky is limited to only 533 bottles. NOSE: Aromas of fleshy fruits such as yellow plum, mango and Physalis, then honey, heather and floral notes add to the mix. PALATE: Crisp with some warming spice and ginger snap biscuits, warm honey and cinnamon – like a hot toddy. FINISH: The finish is light with sweet syrup and with gentle spice, a pleasant winter’s dram. Perfect for a 30th birthday or anniversary.
OLD MALT CASK MORTLACH 8YO 31
Another bottling by Hunter Laing, a 20cl bottle is priced at £31. NOSE: Light and fresh aromas,
MANAGER, LUVIANS BOTTLE SHOP, ST ANDREWS
www.luvians.com Luvians opened its St Andrews store in 1996 and has been at the forefront of promoting craft beer, wines and spirits in Fife ever since. Archie runs the shop’s constantly evolving list, which includes a broad selection of whiskies. Here are his pick of Speyside whiskies...
SELECTED BY DARREN
plenty of oak with pleasant summer cut grass, vanilla, green apple and a candied sweetness. PALATE: Vanilla dominates the palate initially followed by rich butter toffees, delicate honey, lychee and sweet green tea. FINISH: Perfect balance as it leads onto a soft, creamy chocolatey finish with marshmallow. Smooth and comforting.
Cask and Still Magazine | 43
MORTLACH 1984 240
BALVENIE 2002 PEAT WEEK 14YO 59.99
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
A wonderful bottling by G&M
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
of this cult distillery. Matured
Since 2001 Balvenie have dedicated
in first fill sherry casks for 30
a full week each year to drying with
years, it represents extraordinary
100 per cent Highland peat, which is
value whether you are drinking or
more floral and less medicinal than
its Islay counterpart.
NOSE: Lots of rich Christmas cake, a
NOSE: Tropical fruit in syrup.
touch of waxy red apples and a hint of
Butterscotch leading into a softer
smoke than you would expect.
PALATE: The classic flavours of Dundee –
PALATE: It’s peat Jim, but not as we
fruitcake and marmalade in spades. With a touch
know it! Peach ice cream with a vanilla
of water you get more cinnamon and mulling
wafer with a gentle, floral smokiness.
spices alongside some milk chocolate.
FINISH: The smoke might be gentle,
FINISH: As lengthy as you’d expect with a nicely drying tannic edge.
but it fair hangs around, mixing with that cream sweetness to produce a super smooth, delicately smoked lingering close.
BENROMACH TRIPLE DISTILLED 44.99
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
Triple, rather than the traditionally double distilled, back in 2009. Matured exclusively in first fill bourbon casks and limited to just 15,000 bottles. NOSE: Very fresh – almost a lemon meringue pie note up front, giving way to elderflower cordial and sweet floralness. PALATE: Way more dark chocolate than you would expect with a lovely vanilla
LOCH FYNE WHISKIES GLENTAUCHERS 8YO 55
SELECTED BY DARREN
Bottled by Loch Fyne Whiskies, only 1,100 50cl bottles are available. NOSE: Rich sherry aromas of fruitcake, walnuts, dried dates, sultanas and
sweetness stopping the
treacle toffee. Layer
cracked black pepper spiciness overwhelming proceedings. FINISH: A nice long finish with the lemon citrus notes returning as the chocolate softens and fades.
upon layer, you could nose all day. PALATE: Rich and full-bodied with a silky mouth coating offering dark chocolate and coffee bean flavours, then cinnamon and clove. FINISH: A long lasting finish. Sherry notes perfectly balanced with oak and eastern spice, dark chocolate and spiced fruits as it drys.
CONVENTION TOLD US WE SHOULD EITHER MAKE PEATED OR UNPEATED SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY. WE IGNORED IT.
UNCONVENTIONALLY SPEYSIDE Choose to drink responsibly. Â© 2017 The BenRiach is a registered trademark, all rights reserved. *Category winning products in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017
BenRiach 1.indd 44
Cask and Still Magazine | 45
Islay ISLAY MIST DELUXE 25
LAGAVULIN DISTILLER’S EDITION 2015
Laphroaig whisky lies at the
This whisky underwent a second maturation in Pedro
heart of this blend, which was
Ximenez sherry casks, which is a wonderful complement
originally created in the early
to Lagavulin’s rich and full character.
1920s for the guests of a
NOSE: Rich raisins and sultanas, heavy, dense peat
21st birthday party.
smoke, and chocolate orange.
NOSE: Salt, sea air, soft earth,
PALATE: Blackberry jam, cinnamon, bacon, and
and sweet vanilla.
PALATE: Sweet and juicy malt,
FINISH: Peat influence grows and eventually
smoked fish, seaweed, and
clears away the sticky sweetness of the
FINISH: Ends with the subtle emergence of iodine and medicinal notes.
KILCHOMAN MACHIR BAY 48.50
This is the cornerstone of Kilchoman’s core range. It is a young but excellent whisky that was matured in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and oloroso sherry casks. NOSE: Stewed fruits, black pepper, soot, olive oil, and thick, ashy smoke. PALATE: Oily mouthfeel, heavy and sweet peat smoke, and sharp, tangy citrus fruits. FINISH: Long and smoky, the sweetness continues alongside chilli and black pepper.
Josh Breckenridge SALES AT WM CADENHEAD, EDINBURGH
Josh joined the Cadenhead’s team last year. He has worked in the whisky industry for two years and is particularly enjoying access to many interesting and unusual single cask bottlings.
46 | Connoisseur’s Selection
MORRISON & MACKAY CARN MOR STRICTLY LIMITED FETTERCAIRN 7 YEAR OLD 39
SELECTED BY SHANE
From a freshly used de-char re-char cask which produces a whisky with a heavy balance of vanilla derived aromas and flavours. NOSE: Gentle, lingering nutty spices and butterscotch. PALATE: Homemade tablet, vanilla and fudge. Delicious rancio flavours combine with a sweetness and herbaceous edge that makes for a really interesting dram.
CLYNELISH 14 YEAR OLD 49.95
FINISH: A gentle, peppery finish.
SELECTED BY MIKE
Imagine Bruno Tonioli shouting ‘you waxy little thing me dear’. That goes somewhere to summing up this classic. Never forget your old favourites in the rush of new releases – this is a great whisky. NOSE: Soft leather, candid lemon, banana flavoured chewy sweets. Sweet, with a distinct mustard fizz. PALATE: Beeswax in the mouth, soft wood notes, black pepper and caramel. Very refreshing. FINISH: Drying with hot English mustard. Excellent.
TOMATIN EARTH 49
SELECTED BY SHANE
A delicious and peated Tomatin, the third release in their Five Virtues limited edition range. NOSE: Soft wisps of smoke play gently over stewed fruits and cream. PALATE: Earthy peat is really well integrated with cereal and apple crumble notes. FINISH: Umami roundness and texture.
Cask and Still Magazine | 47
OLD PARTICULAR BLAIR ATHOL 1998 18 YEAR OLD 87.95
SELECTED BY MIKE
This is a great independent bottling of Blair Athol from a single ex-sherry butt. Like any independent bottling, get it while you can because when they are gone, they are gone.
NOSE: It leaves you in no doubt what type of cask this whisky has been
OWNER, THE WHISKY
matured in. Lots of dried fruit, fruitcake
and a touch of char.
PALATE: The palate is very fruity. Plum brandy over more fruitcake with a touch of
Based in the heart of Speyside, The Whisky Shop Dufftown offers an exceptional selection of over 600 whiskies. Owner Mike Lord takes us on a tasting tour of his three favourite Highland whiskies.
lemon peel. FINISH: Wonderfully long, rich and spiced.
BLAIR ATHOL 23 YEAR OLD 400
SELECTED BY SHANE
From the 2017 Special Releases and with only 5,500 bottles produced, it is rare stuff. NOSE: Big and sweet initially with plenty of rich fruitcake. Floral aromas start to show after a few minutes. PALATE: Toasty sweet almonds and loads of oak character melting
GLENDRONACH 18 YEAR OLD 78.50
SELECTED BY MIKE
If you are considering Highland whiskies for recommendations, how
seamlessly into sweeter flavours. Toffee, Seville oranges and winter spices. FINISH: Balanced and grassy fresh – superb.
need to catch it while you can as well!
WHISKY AND SPIRITS BUYER, WOODWINTERS WINES AND WHISKIES,
NOSE: Macerated raisins and sultanas
can you avoid this sherry cracker? A true classic of its genre. Maybe you
with slight notes of nuts. Heavy sherry trifle. Waves of rum and raisin chocolate. PALATE: Dry Oloroso sherry notes – there is no other way to describe it. Blackcurrant jam, then it is all about chocolate coated hazelnuts. FINISH: Dryness, nuts and Oloroso sherry.
BRIDGE OF ALLAN
As well as being a whisky and spirits buyer for Woodwinters, Shane also undertakes private sales of whisky and fine wines for the company. Shane highlights three of his favourite Highland drams.
48 | Connoisseurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Selection
DEWARS 12 YEAR OLD 41.49
SELECTED BY MARK
A cracking double aged 12-year-old blend, which is given an additional six months to allow the flavours to marry together after blending. NOSE: Sweet honey notes dominate, turning fresh and fruity. PALATE: Rich, spicy and fruity with hints
COMPASS BOX, GREAT KING STREET, GLASGOW BLEND 32
of creamy butterscotch and malt.
FINISH: A long lingering finish with subtle
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
hints of spice, prevailing through to rich
This has all the hallmarks of a Compass
fruity, malty flavours.
Box blend: elegant, smooth and decidedly modern. NOSE: Light and elegant, a waft of smoke hits you first before the grainy notes move through into a touch of malt. PALATE: Mid-weight, with a nice mouthfeel and spicy malt. FINISH: The light smoke lingers gently on the finish.
BLACK BOTTLE 22.99
SELECTED BY MARK
A great traditional blended whisky. NOSE: Fresh and floral, with oak and caramel. PALATE: Milk chocolate, ginger, lots of woody spice, brown sugar, sour apple hints and golden syrup behind. FINISH: A soft, elegant finish and a gentle reminder of the Islay smokiness.
Cask and Still Magazine | 49
MONKEY SHOULDER 33.75
SELECTED BY MARK
A spectacular example of a Speyside blended malt from William Grant & Sons. Comprised of whiskies from three Dufftown distilleries; Glenfiddich, Balvenie and the lesser known Kininvie. NOSE: A rich, sweet nose, with notes of
caramel, orange peel and vanilla. PALATE: Lots of malt, with the sweetness of
RETAIL SALES MANAGER,
mixed spice. A subtle, creamy fruitiness develops.
GORDON & MACPHAIL,
FINISH: A medium to light finish with lots of
vanilla and a hint of oak.
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.
OLD PERTH ‘PEATY’ BLENDED MALT 31.50
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
This is a youthful, expressive and extremely drinkable dram. NOSE: Fruity and malty with coastal notes, tar and smoke. PALATE: Sweet vanilla notes. FINISH: The palate leads onto peppery, smoky malt notes.
ADELPHI’S GLENBORRODALE 7YO BLENDED MALT BATCH 4 49.50
CO-OWNER, THE GOOD SPIRITS CO., GLASGOW
SELECTED BY MATTHEW
Adelphi bottle some great whiskies – this is a great introduction to their excellent range. NOSE: Rich and malty with youthful notes of fennel and some plummy fruit. PALATE: Rich and spicy, plums and some dried fruit coming through. FINISH: A long, clean finish.
Matthew McFadyen www.thegoodspiritsco.com 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. Discover Matt’s three favourite blends...
Highlander Inn at the epicentre of the ‘Malt Whisky Universe’
Popular throughout the year with local Speyside residents and international visitors. With more than 400 different, and interesting whiskies, including a large number of Single Cask Malt whiskies, and real ales & lagers on draft. Bar lunches and dinners are available every day from 12 noon till 1:45pm and 5:30 to 9:00pm, food all day Sat & Sun from 12 noon till 9:00pm.
Popular throughout the year with local Speyside residents and international visitors.
With around 300 different, and interesting whiskies, including a large number of Single Cask Malt whiskies, and real ales & lagers on draft. www.whiskyinn.com 01340881446 email@example.com
10 Victoria Craigellachie, Banffshire AB38day 9SR from Bar lunches andStreet, dinners are Aberlour, available every 12 noon till 2:00pm and 5:30 to 9:00pm, food all day Sat & Sun from 12 noon till 9:00pm.
Highlander Inn at the epicentre of the ‘Malt
PLEASE VIEW OUR WEBSITE TO SEE DETAILS OF OUR WINTER WHISKY DEAL Whisky Universe’ & OUR FESTIVE MENUS.
Popular throughout the year with local Speyside residents and international visitors. With more than 400 different, and interesting whiskies, including a large number of Single Cask Malt whiskies, and real ales & lagers on draft. Bar lunches and dinners are available every day from 12 noon till 1:45pm and 5:30 to 9:00pm, food all day Sat & Sun from 12 noon till 9:00pm. 10 Victoria Street, Craigellachie, Aberlour, Banffshire AB38 9SR
www.whiskyinn.com 01340881446 firstname.lastname@example.org 01340881446 email@example.com 10 Victoria Street, Craigellachie, Aberlour, Banffshire AB38 9SR www.whiskyinn.com
Cask and Still Magazine | 51
ARDBEG AN OA
CAOL ILA 17YO UNPEATED (SPECIAL RELEASE 2015) 100
Renowned for their big mouthfeel and rich
flavours, Ardbeg’s new addition to their ‘Ultimate’
Another favourite of
range is no exception.
mine, Caol Ila is slightly less peated than many
NOSE: Subtle levels of smoke mixed
of its counterparts on
with creamy toffee and white stone fruits,
Islay. This particular
peach in particular, with a touch of aniseed and
PALATE: Sweet and smoky. A creamy texture with hints
NOSE: Fruity, zesty
of milk chocolate and spices. Tobacco smoke is evident.
FINISH: Sweet, smoky and lingering.
with Madagascar brown sugar. There is a mineral note alongside vanilla. PALATE: Citrus notes
ARRAN ‘THE BOTHY’ BATCH 2
and creamy, buttery vanilla. Sweet smoke is prominent alongside
spice and light floral notes.
fill bourbon casks before being
FINISH: Smoke on the finish, but not heavy. It’s light and more sooty than smoking embers. Soft fruit and spice notes linger on.
This whisky is matured in first transferred for secondary maturation into smaller casks, also made from American oak. NOSE: Familiar Arran notes of citrus welcome you as you nose this whisky. Vanilla and cinnamon follow swiftly to entice you. Sandalwood spice and damp oak. PALATE: Fresh and fruity to taste with pineapple and apple. Apple pie and cream follow with a wonderfully round quality. FINISH: Mouth-watering citrus notes linger and entice you to take another sip.
Ewan McIlwraith OWNER, ROBERTSONS OF PITLOCHRY
Ewan took over the running of Robertsons of Pitlochry in January 2013. His extensive background in drinks retail has led him to discover some top-class whiskies, including these Island drams...
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Cask and Still Magazine | 53
Lowland AUCHENTOSHAN AMERICAN OAK 33.95
GLENKINCHIE DISTILLER EDITION 2003
The only distillery in Scotland to
The Edinburgh malt finished in an Amontillado
triple distill all their whiskies.
NOSE: Toffee cheesecake with
NOSE: Strawberries and cream that develops
into rich dark chocolate and gentle spices.
PALATE: Tropical fruits with
PALATE: Marzipan and cherry flavours start to
sweet popcorn and nutty
give way to more cinnamon and nutmeg.
FINISH: Mocha coffee with hints of oak and
FINISH: Lingering citrus finish
toasted barley. A memorable whisky from my
with hints of vanilla. A lovely,
BLADNOCH ADELA 15 100
Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most southerly distillery is a treat for the palate and a great day out. This is a dram of whisky to celebrate 200 years of Bladnoch. NOSE: The influence of the Oloroso cask leads to lots of Christmas cake and dried fruits. Toffee apples and a slight ginger edge. PALATE: Dried fruit flavours make way for a lovely mixture of nuts and sweet toffee sauce. FINISH: A warm,silky, long finish.
Michael Hanratty MANAGER, THE CARNEGIE
WHISKY CELLARS AT DORNOCH WWW.THECARNEGIECOURTHOUSE. CO.UK/WHISKY-CELLARS
Michael worked for 10 years in the industry in the Lowlands, before heading north last year to manage the new Carnegie Whisky Cellars in Dornoch. His three favourite Lowland drams can be found here...
L E G E N DA RY
H O S P I TA L I T Y
L E G EL ENG D A RY H O S P I TA L I T Y E N DA RY H O S P I TA L I T Y TM TM TM
L E G E N DA RY
H O S P I TA L I T Y
• Whisky from every Scottish Distillery • Whisky from every Scottish Distillery • Whisky every Scottish Distillery • Over• Over 120from Malts 120 Malts •Prime Over 160 Malts • Prime locationon on George Square location George Square ••Whisky from every Scottish Distillery • Live music every • Prime location onweek George Square • Live music every week GreatMalts food including Scottish Tapas • Over • Live••120 music every week Whisky from every Scottish Distillery • Great food including Scottish Tapas • Prime location on George Square • Over 120 including Malts • Great food Scottish Tapas • Prime location George Square • Live music everyonweek • Live music every week • Great• food including Scottish Great food including Scottish Tapas Tapas
Shuttle Shuttle Bus Bus from Edinburgh from Edinburgh Shuttle Bus
Glenkinchie operates daily minibus Glenkinchie operates daily Glenkinchie daily minibus minibus servicesoperates from Edinburgh. services from from Edinburgh. Edinburgh. services Glenkinchie operates daily£22.00 minibus Transport and Tour from Transport andfrom TourEdinburgh. from £22.00 £22.00 services Transport and Tour from Call the distillery now on Call the distillery now on Transport and012 Tourtofrom £22.00 Call the342 distillery now on 01875 book. Glenkinchie operates daily minibus 01875 342 342 012 to book. book. 01875 012 to
from Edinburgh Shuttle Bus from Edinburgh
services from Edinburgh. Call the distillery now on 01875 342 012 to book. Transport and Tour from £22.00 Home Call the distillery now on 01875 342 012 to book.
Shuttle Bus Shuttle from Bus Edinburgh from Edinburgh Glenkinchie operates daily minibus
servicesdaily fromminibus Edinburgh. Glenkinchie operates services from Edinburgh. Transport and Tour from £22.00
Transport and Tour £22.00 Call thefrom distillery now on 01875 342 012 to book.
Call the distillery now on 01875 342 012 to book.
of the Edinburgh Malt. Enjoy our exceptional exhibition with its renowned model distillery, followed by a guided tour through our production area and the observation room inside our warehouse to experience ‘the angels’ share’, JANUARY - FEBRUARY finishing in our tasting JANUARY FEBRUARY JANUARY -- FEBRUARY Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm JANUARY - FEBRUARY room for a dram. Mon -- Sun: 10am Last Mon tour: Sun:3pm 10am -- 4pm 4pm
Home of the Edinburgh Home of of the the Edinburgh Edinburgh Home Malt. Enjoy ourEdinburgh Home of the Malt. our Malt. Enjoy Enjoy exhibition our exceptional Mon tour: - Sun:3pm 10am - 4pm Malt. Enjoy our Last Last 3pm exceptional exhibition exceptional exhibition Last tour: tour: 3pm with its renowned model exceptional exhibition MARCH - OCTOBER with its its renowned renowned model model MARCH -10am OCTOBER with MARCH OCTOBER distillery, followed by Mon Sun: - 5pm with its renowned model MARCH -10am OCTOBER Home of the Edinburgh JANUARY - FEBRUARY distillery, followed by Mon -- Sun: 5pm Last tour: 4pm followed byby Mon 10am---5pm 5pm distillery, followed Mon - Sun: Sun: 10am adistillery, guided through Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm Malt. Enjoy our tour Last tour: 4pm a guided guided tour through Last tour: 4pm Last tour: 4pm Please note: We will be unable to offer Last tour: 3pm a tour through a guided tour through our production exceptional exhibition area and NOVEMBER Please note: We will be unable to offer tours of the distillery inunable January our Please note: We will be unable totooffer our production area and Please note: We will be to due offer NOVEMBER our production our production areaand and tours of the distillery in January due to our annual however with itsthe renowned modelarea observation room NOVEMBER NOVEMBER & DECEMBER tours of the distillery in January due to our tours ofmaintenance the distillery inprogramme, January due to our MARCH OCTOBER annual maintenance programme, however please call to book one of ourhowever special options thethe observation room & DECEMBER annual maintenance programme, annual maintenance programme, however observation room & DECEMBER the observation room & DECEMBER Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm distillery, followed by Mon 10am - 5pm inside our warehouse to - Sun: please call to book one ofspecial our special options for January (Manager’s Tasting, Warehouse please callcall to book one one of our options please to book of our special options Mon Sun: 10am 4pm inside our warehouse toto tour:Last Mon Sun:3pm 10am for January (Manager’s Tasting, Warehouse Last 4pm tour: WhiskyTasting, & Food Matching) inside our warehouse Mon -- Sun: 10am--4pm 4pm forExperience, January (Manager’s Warehouse inside our warehouse to a guided tour through for January (Manager’s Tasting, Warehouse experience ‘the angels’ Experience, Whisky & Food Matching) Last tour: 3pm Experience, Whisky & Food Matching) Last tour: tour: 3pm Experience, Whisky & Food Matching) Last 3pm Please note: We will be unable to offer experience ‘the angels’ experience ‘the angels’ our production area‘the andangels’ experience NOVEMBER share’, finishing in our tours of the distillery in January due to our Pencaitland, Tranent, share’, finishing our share’, finishing ininour our annual maintenance programme, however the observation room & DECEMBER share’, finishing tasting room for in a dram. Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET please call to book one of our special options East Lothian EH34 5ET tasting room dram. Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm tasting room for a Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET inside our warehouse tofor Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ETWarehouse for January (Manager’s Tasting, tasting room for a adram. dram. 01875 342012 Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET experience ‘the angels’ share’, finishing in our tasting room for a dram. 216W x216W 303HxGLK.indd 1 303H GLK.indd 1
216W x 303H GLK.indd 1 Home of the Edinburgh JANUARY -216W FEBRUARY x 303H GLK.indd 1 Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm Malt. Enjoy our Last -tour: 3pm Home of exceptional the Edinburgh JANUARY FEBRUARY exhibition Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm Malt. Enjoy our with its renowned model 216W x 303H GLK.indd 1 MARCH - OCTOBER Last tour: 3pm exceptional exhibition distillery, followed by Mon - Sun: 10am - 5pm Last tour: 4pm with its renowned model a guided tour through MARCH - OCTOBER distillery,our followed by area and Mon - Sun: 10am - 5pm production NOVEMBER a guided tour through roomLast tour: 4pm the observation
& DECEMBER Mon - Sun: 10am our production and inside area our warehouse to NOVEMBER Last tour: 3pm the observation room & DECEMBER experience ‘the angels’
Last tour: 3pm 01875 342012 342012 01875 01875 342012 Experience, Whisky & Food Matching) firstname.lastname@example.org 01875 342012 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET 01875 342012 email@example.com
57 Cochrane Street, George Square, Glasgow G1 1HL
Tel:Street, 0141 552 George 1740 | www.thepiperbar.com 57 Cochrane Square, Glasgow G1 1HL Tel: 0141 552 1740 | www.thepiperbar.com 18/11/2016 18/11/2016 15:56 15:56
18/11/2016 15:56 18/11/2016 15:56
Please note: We will be unable to offer tours of the distillery in January due to our annual maintenance programme, however please callbe to book our special options note: We will unableone to of offer 4pm Please for January (Manager’s tours of the distillery in January due Tasting, to our Warehouse Experience, Whisky & however Food Matching) annual maintenance programme, please call to book one of our special options for January (Manager’s Tasting, Warehouse Experience, Whisky & Food Matching)
57 Cochrane Street, George Square, Glasgow G1 1HL Tel: 0141 552 1740 | www.thepiperbar.com
THE BOW BAR
57 Cochrane Street, George Square, Glasgow G1 1HL Tel: of 0141 552 1740 | Pub www.thepiperbar.com Winner the AA Hospitality of the Year Scotland 2017/18
Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm inside ourshare’, warehouse to in our finishing Last tour: 3pm experience ‘the angels’ tasting room for a dram. Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET 01875 342012 share’, finishing in our firstname.lastname@example.org tasting room for a dram. Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET 01875 342012 email@example.com
216W x 303H GLK.indd 1
216W x 303H GLK.indd 1
Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Bow Bar has 370 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 Steak Pies or Haggis Pies. 80 West Bow, Edinburgh, Tel: 0131 226 7667 www.thebowbar.co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 55
Worldwide FEW BOURBON 56
Established in Evanston, once a dry town and now a suburb of Chicago. FEW is named after Francis Elisabeth Willard who was at the forefront of the Temperance movement and campaigned to keep Evanston a dry town. NOSE: Intense and spicy with cloves, toffee and earthy spice. PALATE: The palate is spicy with a rich mouthfeel that leads through to a warm, clove-filled finish. FINISH: This is a really exciting bourbon from one of a new crop of small-scale American distillers. Rich, spicy and delicious.
MACKMYRA 10 YEAR OLD 72
Relatively new on the whisky scene is Sweden’s Mackmyra – they have made waves since they were founded in 1999. This is their first 10-year-old. NOSE: Fruity and elegant with subtle fennel notes alongside some delicate cask character. PALATE: The palate is round and textured with lovely honey and apple notes that give way to a finish that has delicate crème brûlée notes and subtle pepperiness. FINISH: Sophisticated, complex and long. This is an outstanding whisky from a distillery that keeps going from strength to strength.
NIKKA TAKETSURU 17 YEAR OLD 175
Japanese whisky has justifiably been making headlines over the last few years. They can be hard to find, but are well-worth the effort. The key here is balance and elegance. NOSE: Barley sugar and baked apple combine with subtle spice, then a slight waft of distant smoke. PALATE: Round and balanced. Honey and malty notes dominate before some creamy notes develop, then the faintest whisper of smoke makes an appearance. FINISH: This is all about balance; everything is where it should be. A real masterclass.
Matthew McFadyen 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 favourite worldwide whiskies...
Spencerfield Spirits FP 245x200.indd 1
Cask and Still Magazine | 57
Investments GLENDRONACH KINGSMAN EDITION 1991 VINTAGE 25 YEAR OLD 550
A unique collaboration with Marv Films and 20th Century Fox to mark the release of the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Limited to 2,000 hand-numbered bottles worldwide. NOSE: Waves of black grapes on a woody vine combine with antique leather and maple leaf tobacco. PALATE: Ripe Victoria plum and Seville orange give way to old Jamaican ginger cake and sticky black treacle. FINISH: Lingering and warm, with ground coffee, dark chocolate and walnut raisin cake.
GORDON AND MACPHAIL IMPERIAL 1997 99.99
A lovely, independent bottling of the now-demolished Imperial distillery, which stopped
production for the final time in
A highly sought-after 2017 release from Springbank.
Matured in fresh and refill bourbon barrels, bottled at
NOSE: Sweet sherry influence
cask strength and limited to 9,000 bottles worldwide.
with apricot and subtle spices.
NOSE: Cream, vanilla extract, salted popcorn, toffee
PALATE: Peppery with
stewed plums, orange and
PALATE: Creamy with an introduction of honey,
syrup and liquorice and gentle notes of sweet apples,
almonds and dried bananas.
sweetness with a touch of
FINISH: A touch of smoke and dried peat with a light
Nick Sullivan OWNER & MANAGER,
ABERDEEN WHISKY SHOP
SPRINGBANK 14 YEAR OLD BOURBON WOOD
Nick oversees the smooth running of the Aberdeen Whisky Shop on the west end of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Union Street. His top three investment picks can be found among an enormous range of whiskies, including several highly collectable bottles.
Passionate About Whisky For that special gift... We have a wide selection of single malt Scotch whiskies, many of which are very old and extremely rare.
Visit us on our website or in the Malt Whisky Capital of the World. We send orders around the globe.
GORDON & MACPHAIL RETAIL SHOP 58-60 SOUTH STREET, ELGIN, SCOTLAND IV30 1JX T | + 44(0)1343 545110 E | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2018 27 Sep to 1 Oct 1 Fife Street, Dufftown, Scotland, AB55 4AL 01340 821 097 email@example.com
By test the best Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oldest Independent Bottler Whisky, Gin, Rum & Cognac Individually selected casks non chill-filtered and natural colour
172 Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh EH8 8BN
Tel: 0131 556 5864
Cask and Still Magazine | 59
Irish whiskey ROE & CO 29.99
Inspired by the original George Roe & Co Distillery, once Ireland’s largest, Roe & Co was launched in 2017, marking Diageo’s return to Irish whiskey. A blend of single malt and grain whiskeys matured exclusively in predominantly first fill bourbon casks. NOSE: Lightly fragrant with
TULLAMORE DEW 23.99
Tullamore Dew is one of the oldest whiskey brands with roots dating back to the 1820s. Triple distilled and aged in a combination
honeycomb and spice.
of ex-bourbon and sherry casks.
PALATE: Well-balanced with red
NOSE: Sharp apple, pink grapefruit and vanilla.
apple and ripe pear, Madagascan vanilla, ginger nut biscuit and a twist of citrus wrapped in luxurious cream. FINISH: Long, smooth and creamy.
PALATE: Apple pie, vanilla custard, almond and light spice marry together creating a lovely quaffing whiskey. FINISH: Creamy with a slight nut influence.
TEELING 24 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT WHISKEY 265
Recently awarded the title of World’s Best Irish Single Malt, this is a whiskey to be enjoyed with friends. This cracking Irish whiskey was first distilled in 1991 and matured in bourbon casks then allowed to merge in Sauternes wine casks, producing a wholly unique taste experience. NOSE: Fruity aromas on the nose. PALATE: The unique dual maturation imparts an extra depth of fruit flavours that perfectly complement the hint of smoke derived from the inclusion of a small portion of peated malt as part of the original ingredients used in production. FINISH: A long finish.
PROPRIETOR, 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. Robin selects his favourite bottles of Irish whiskey on the market.
60 | Have We Reached Peak Gin?
Written by Blair Bowman
K PEAG IN?
Cask and Still Magazine | 61 >>>
Producers are scrambling on the bandwagon, but has the Scottish gin scene reached its peak? n the last issue of Cask & Still Magazine, published in May 2017, my article ‘The Great Gin Scandal’ opened a can of worms. Since then I have hosted two panel discussions titled ‘The Great Gin Debate’, one at Juniper Festival in Edinburgh’s Summerhall and the other at the Edinburgh Food Festival. The panels were made up of Scottish gin industry producers and experts and the debates were positive. Feedback from members of the public who attended the debates showed, once again, that most people don’t realise that just because a gin is named after a speciﬁc location, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is from that location. Following on from this, I’ve also received
Pictured: Just because a gin is named after a location, it doesn’t mean it’s from that location.
62 | Have We Reached Peak Gin? Pictured: Many producers have entered disputes over gin trademarks.
phone calls from Food Standards Scotland who are waking up to the idea that consumers are potentially being misled. In the months following, dozens of new gins have appeared on the market. It seems as if every man and his dog are trying to make a gin, whether rectifying or compounding themselves, or more likely having them made under contract elsewhere in order to get on the gin bandwagon faster. This leads me to the question: have we reached peak gin? To me, it certainly seems like summer 2017 was when we reached peak gin once and for all. It appears that nearly every town and city in Scotland has a gin named after it – but whether or not the gin is actually made there is another question. A prediction I made in early 2017 was that once every major city has a namesake gin, à la Edinburgh Gin, other brands with more localised names would eventually appear. Well, in July 2017, Leith Gin was released. How long until we see Morningside Gin or EH1 Gin, I wonder? Down south, there was even a WimbleGin announced in advance of the Wimbledon Tennis tournament. One issue with naming gins after somewhere they are not necessarily from, is that producers can be led into disputes. This highlights my point from the ﬁrst article – that this really is a Wild West of gin.
Every man and his dog is trying to make a gin Through the grapevine, I have heard of cease and desists being sent out left, right and centre by individuals who have taken out trademark applications for brand names that are already being traded. On the one hand, it is laughable as they clearly don’t understand the basics of intellectual property law. On the other hand, it is very upsetting that a few individuals feel the need to do this in what is a very small industry. It is unfortunate, but this internal cannibalising will only lead to more confusion for consumers. One producer in particular – Dave Robertson, of the famed Oban Gin ﬁasco – seems set on making enemies in the industry. He is yet to make any gin, despite moving his operation to Edinburgh, yet during the summer he ﬁled around 50 trademark applications. Many of them are pending or have been withdrawn, including trademarks like ‘Fringe Gin’, despite Pickering’s Gin from Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe company releasing a gin in
Cask and Still Magazine | 63 >>>
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CaskCas Cask and Still Magazine | 65
partnership earlier this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was also so bold as to get into a public spat about these trademarks on Facebook. All of this is bizarre considering that, at the time of writing, he has not made any gin yet. When I posed the question, ‘have we reached peak gin?’ to my contacts in the gin world, I was surprised that they more or less unanimously agreed that it still had a long way to go. Alan Wolstenholme, chairman of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association, believes that we are nowhere near peak gin yet, and that there is a long way to go. Stephen White of the Scottish Gin Society agrees but thinks it all depends on the continuation of the premiumisation of gin. ‘If the price-point of our premium and craft gins drops suddenly, it would decimate the business models of a lot of distilleries – particularly the smaller ones,’ he says. In June 2017 a brand called Ginny McGinFace – yes that’s its real name – was released. If that doesn’t reek of peak gin then I don’t know what does. Perhaps I should have a glass of Unicorn Tears Gin liqueur – yes this exists too – to calm me down a bit. As well as strange brand names, the USPs of gins are also becoming stranger. For example, the Boutiquey Gin Company recently released a gin called Moon Shot. They had sent every gram of the botanicals used to make the gin into near space, to an altitude of nearly 79,000 feet – supposedly the lower air pressure did something to them. All of this may give be giving me stress-related wrinkles too, so perhaps a wee CollaGin martini, made with the addition of pure collagen would keep me feeling young. This September the ﬁrst ever Scottish Gin Awards were held and in the fortnight after the awards, some seven new Scottish gin brands were released. I strongly hope that the Scottish gin scene can stay positive and work closely together for the greater good of the category. I am also encouraged that discussions are starting around the idea of creating a Scottish Gin GI (Geographical Indicator). So perhaps my thought that we’d reached peak gin in the summer of 2017 is wrong. Perhaps we do have a long way to go after all.
Perhaps we have a long way to go after all
Pictured: As well as brand names, the unique selling points of gins are becoming stranger.
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Cask and Still Magazine | 67
GIN AISSANCE The recent revival of Scottish gin is causing quite a stir Written by Katie Hogg
eat, ﬂavoured, with tonic... How you drink your gin is as variable as the different types of the spirit on offer. We’re in the middle of a 21st century gin craze and the boom does not look likely to slow down any time soon. No longer known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’ but seen as a trendy tipple, gin could not be more at the forefront of today’s drinks industry. While gin palaces and bars pop up on streets up and down the UK, new craft distillers set up shop in every nook and cranny of the country – with handfuls of shiny new bottles brought to the table at record speed. Ordering a G&T is no longer a simple affair. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association now estimates that around 70 per cent of the UK’s gin comes from Scotland alone. Although Diageo relocating production of Gordon’s and Tanquery to Fife in 1998 has largely contributed to this number, the sheer volume of small craft distilleries and whisky companies breaking into the gin market has helped to shake off the reputation of the spirit as an ‘English drink’. Noticing this trend, Scottish Field magazine launched its ﬁrst ever Gin
Ordering a G&T is no longer a simple affair
Challenge in the August 2017 issue. Sitting on the judging panel were Chrissie Fairclough, tastings director at Gin Club Scotland, Douglas Wood of Woodwinters Wines and Whiskies, Robin Russell of Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants, Matthew McFadyen of The Good Spirits Company and Iain Pert of The Jolly Botanist bar. With 60 gins entered into four categories in the challenge, competition was tough. However, Esker Gin triumphed over the rest to be crowned Scottish Field Gin of the Year. Soft and ﬂoral on the nose, the Aberdeenshire-based spirit is a prime example of a classic, artisan gin that can be used in a multitude of fashions – neat or mixed. Other Gold winners in the challenge included Persie Zesty Citrus, which picked up the Gold Under £35, and Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur – the judges’ favourite gin liqueur. With Christmas around the corner, these bottles would be just the tonic for a gin lover’s stocking. For more gin-spiration, turn to our gift guide to ﬁnd your festive tipple. From left to right: Persie Zesty Citrus; Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur; Esker Gin.
68 | Connoisseurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Selection
Gin WILD ISLAND BOTANIC GIN 39.50
SELECTED BY EWAN
Enjoy with Fevertree tonic and a sprig of fresh mint. NOSE: Fresh, summery and citrus. PALATE: Floral and sweet notes with a little sour sharpness, a lightness that is very refreshing. FINISH: Refreshing citrus and very clean. An ideal sipping gin.
SELECTED BY RACHEL
This is a completely unique gin
MISTY ISLE GIN 39.95
in that it is not only distilled five
SELECTED BY EWAN
times giving an extremely smooth
Enjoy with Mediterranean Fevertree
drink, but it is made with single malt barley unlike the usual grainneutral spirit. NOSE: Very creamy with vanilla and orange notes. PALATE: Smooth and velvety with a rich whisky-like texture. Another gin you can drink neat with just a spot of ice. FINISH: Warming and
and fresh orange peel. NOSE: Juniper is dominant but not overpowering. PALATE: Full, quite rich, damp earthy notes with subtle spices and citrus. FINISH: Very refreshing with a citrus lift.
juniper-y, with some spice.
Cask and Still Magazine | 69
KIRKJUVAGR ORKNEY GIN 45.95
SELECTED BY EWAN
Enjoy with Fevertree tonic and fresh orange peel. NOSE: Pine is the first aroma you find then fresh, clean, citrus notes with a subtle hint of sea breeze and sea spray. PALATE: Sweet initially, floral notes from the rose and sweetness from the borage and a lift of orange mid-sip. FINISH: Long and satisfying.
MCQUEEN SMOKEY CHILLI GIN 34
SELECTED BY RACHEL
This is our nearest and dearest gin distillery in our hometown of Callander.
Ewan McIlwraith OWNER, ROBERTSONS OF PITLOCHRY
www.robertsonsofpitlochry.co.uk Ewan took over the running of Robertsons of Pitlochry in January 2013. His extensive background in drinks retail has led him to discover some top-class whiskies, and some of the finest gins.
McQueen have a number of quirky gins ranging from this Smokey Chilli to Chocolate Mint and are great for a taste of something a little different. NOSE: The aroma of smoky, woody chilli does not compromise the juniper but is very prominent. PALATE: Strong coriander flavours as well as chipotle and smoked chilli flavours. Suggested serve is with ginger beer but I love it with a lemon tonic to enhance the already-present lime. FINISH: I’m a big fan of all things chilli and the spicy chilli hangs around the palate, which I love!
KINTYRE GIN 42
SELECTED BY RACHEL
Kintyre Gin originates from a brand new distillery named after the hill where they source their water, ‘Beinn an Tuirc’. This new distillery not only produces a tasty gin but is concentrating on sustainability and responsible business whilst supporting the local community. NOSE: Kintyre uses 10 commonly used gin botanicals and two unique botanicals, which give it a full, fresh and sweet nose. PALATE: A very moreish and smooth gin that leads with juniper but settles with a very well-balanced range of flavours, making it one of the few I can drink neat. FINISH: Light and refreshing citrus, just as a gin should be.
SALES ASSISTANT, SPIRIT OF CALLANDER
Rachel works in the Spirit of Callander, a newly opened shop specialising in Scottish spirits. The shop’s team pride themselves on their knowledge of their products. Through her recently discovered love for gin, Rachel recommends her top three bottles...
70 | It’s a Gift
Christmas ideas for those who love a tipple or two
#1 THE WHISKY ANGEL
#3 SEA GLASS GIN
The ultimate gift for a whisky
Deerness Distillery’s award-
lover, single cask Scotch whisky
winning ‘Sea Glass Gin’,
personalised with their name.
Orkney’s only distilled gin,
Each bottle is hand-filled at cask
is carefully crafted by hand
strength, sealed in wax and
to produce an artisan spirit
completed with a handwritten personalised label.
to tempt your senses with this
www.thewhiskyangel.com #2 BENRIACH 10 YEAR OLD
Christmas. Priced at £34 for a 70cl bottle, buy now at: www.deernessdistillery.com
This fresh, smooth single malt is
#4 LEITH GIN
a classic Speyside, unpeated and
A deliciously well-made, citrus style gin that reflects
fruity in style. Matured in a mix of
the history of Leith, with botanicals coming from the
American oak, virgin oak, and sherry
four corners of the world. Perfect for enjoying with
wood, it is balanced and rich. The
your favourite tonic or as the base for a cocktail.
10-year-old truly portrays the classic
£29.95 for a 700ml bottle. www.leithgin.com
Speyside character. www.benriachdistillery.co.uk
#5 GORDON CASTLE GIN Award-winning Gordon Castle Gin has launched a triple tipple this Christmas. Boasting three flavours crafted using botanicals grown at Gordon Castle
Walled Garden, the collection, £17.95, includes Gordon Castle Botanical Gin, Plum Gin Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur. www.gordoncastlescotland.com
5 070-072_CS06.indd 70
Cask and Still Magazine | 71
#6 ISLAY STORM
#10 AVVA SCOTTISH GIN
This award-winning dram has all the hallmarks
Matured for six months in a first fill bourbon
of the best Islay whiskies – pungent smoke on
cask, this unique gin, priced at £50, is the first
the nose and waves of sweet peat. Drop it down your chimney for a Christmas treat! www.vintagemaltwhisky.com
cask finish from within the Avva Scottish
Gin range and will go down an absolute treat with both gin and whisky drinkers alike. Be sure to be quick to
#7 DUNCAN TAYLOR SCOTCH
order in time for Christmas as stocks
WHISKY’S BLACK BULL COLLECTION
are limited. www.moraydistilleryltd.
Multi-award-winning Duncan Taylor
Scotch Whisky’s Black Bull Collection #11 BARTELS WHISKY
is a fine portfolio of blended Scotch. Their 21-year-old, £75, will put sizzle back
Just 143 bottles were produced from
into your life. It packs a punch full of zest
this single cask of Glentauchers 1996.
and has a lust for the good times!
Bartels Whisky bottled it at 20 years old and
at cask strength of 53.2% ABV. Get your ‘Highland Laird – Glentauchers’ now for £79
#8 BLACK TARTAN WHISKY
with free delivery from www.bartelswhisky.com
Black Tartan is a super-premium blended malt Scotch whisky made in Edinburgh by Black Tartan Whisky. The malts are matured in highly charred casks for a smooth, delicious
#12 GLENGOYNE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY The perfect Christmas gift,
flavour. Available at Jeffrey Street
Glengoyne Highland Single Malt
Whisky & Tobacco for £25.20.
Scotch Whisky has revealed the
second in a series of limited edition tins in partnership with revered Scottish
#9 WHITETAIL GIN
artist, John Lowrie Morrison. Proceeds from the original painting, and a donation from
The perfect gift for the most discerning of gin lovers. Whitetail is high in strength at 47% ABV
Glengoyne, will go towards The Mackintosh Campus
with a smooth finish, like a feather falling from high
Appeal. Tins retail at £35.49 each.
in the sky. Priced at £38. www.whitetailgin.com
72 | It’s a Gift
#13 PERSIE DISTILLERY Persie Gin’s Christmas Essentials Gift Set makes festive shopping a breeze. With socks, pants and 200ml of gin,
it’s what you’ve always wanted meets what you always get! Choose from Zesty, Herby or Sweet & Nutty gins. Priced at £28. www.persiedistillery.com #14 GLENDRONACH 12 YEAR OLD This malt whisky is matured in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks, following a first maturation in American bourbon casks. This long maturation lends the GlenDronach 12 a full-bodied, depth of taste, far beyond its years. www.glendronachdistillery.co.uk #15 TULLIBARDINE – THE MURRAY (2005) The Perthshire-based craft distillery has released The
#16 THE WHISKY BARREL
Murray (2005) in time for Christmas. The 12-year-old,
cask strength single malt boasts delicious notes of vanilla, syrupy pineapple and butter biscuits.
Priced at £49. www.tullibardine.com
The barrel top stave set is £64.50 without glassware or £94.50 with glasses and jug. This includes the special Christmas offer of a free whisky glass worth £6 with every product on the website larger than a
single glass stave. www. thewhiskybarrelco.com
17 #17 VESPERIS Treat your craft spirit connoisseur to Vesperis. Premium, award-winning botanical vodka or Pictish gin. Handcrafted and distilled in Scotland and inspired by the landscape and Aberdeenshire’s prehistoric past. Priced at £38. www. blackfordcraftdistillery. co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 73
R&B Distillers have officially opened the Isle of Raasay Distillery, the first (legal) whisky distillery on the small Scottish island. The distillery was opened by renowned spirits writer and whisky expert Dave Broom, who was joined by co-founders of R&B Distillers, Alasdair Day and Bill Dobbie, along with friends, family and islanders. Visitors can now experience Raasay’s proud Hebridean heritage though a range of fascinating tours around the unique distillery, where
they will learn about the unusual geology that influences the flavour
The Carnegie Whisky Cellars in Dornoch have
of Raasay Scotch; spot the resident
been shortlisted as a finalist in the category of
bat population in the ‘Bat Hotel’ and
Newcomer of the Year at the Drinks Retailing
visit the Celtic Well that provides
Awards 2018. This follows on from their award win
water to the distillery. Find out more
for Off License of the Year at the Independent
about the Isle of Raasay Distillery
Retailer Awards earlier this year. The shop offers
a relaxed and personalised take on classic customer service, offering a specialist knowledge of all things Scotch. Carnegie Whisky Cellars also go out of their way to source rare and collectable bottles for customers, which generally are no longer available in the trade, offering a best rate guarantee. www.thecarnegiecourthouse.co.uk
NEW MASTER OF MALT
Keith Geddes has been appointed to the role of Master Blender for Tullibardine Whisky. He joins the distillery with considerable experience, having learned his craft in the role of Assistant Blender at John Dewar and Sons since 2008, and prior to this, working at Chivas Brothers and Carlsberg Tetley. Geddes will also be working on new product development, with trials and experiments taking place in the Tullibardine lab at the working distillery in Blackford, Perthshire. www.tullibardine.com
74 | Spirit Level
how bout them apples? Cider broke into the mainstream in the mid-2000s but Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in the industry remains relatively unknown, says Brooke Magnanti
Above: Brooke and her bevy of lovely Scottish ciders.
Cask and Still Magazine | 75 WORTH A LOOK
ime for a confession. I am to blame for the cider revolution. Well, maybe not to blame exactly – the amount of blame being, I suppose, inversely proportional to how much you love cider – but maybe a cog in the wheel that brought the oncemaligned drink roaring back to our pubs and bars in the mid-2000s. Picture it: I’m in Sheﬃeld, browsing the semi-annual Continental Market for meaty treats, as one does. A nice lady with a clipboard taps me on the shoulder. She’d like to ask a few questions about my drinking habits (heavy, frequent). The ﬁrst point of enquiry being, do I like cider? Do I like cider? Do I! I rustle in my bags for the cork-topped bottles of French cidre I’ve just scored from a stallholder with booze on his breath and a sparkle in his eye. I wax lyrical about a friend’s house in Banham, Norfolk, where the Cider Shed reigns supreme (bring your own containers for ﬁlling). And just as I’m about to ﬁnish, a Scottish friend comes along, and the whole conversation starts again. Does he like cider? Does he! Long story short, within six months, Bulmers and its like are gracing hip young drinkers’ pub tables everywhere. All of a sudden, the country went from sneering at Strongbow and Scrumpy Jack to tall, ice-ﬁlled glasses brimming with Herefordshire’s ﬁnest. By that time I’m living in Bristol, not Sheﬃeld, and the South-West and cider go together like a wink and a smile. I cut a swathe through the pubs as I’m sure you can imagine. Scotland has had a hand in the trade for far longer than most people know. ‘Apples in Scotland?’ you might say. ‘What kind of witchery?’ But for centuries a wide variety of hardy types were cultivated north of
the border, with names like Bloody Ploughman, Coul Blush, and Lass o’ Gowrie. Glasgow’s Merchant City, some say, was built on the site of a monastery’s orchard, while Jedburgh was famed for its remarkable variety of orchards. The slow and sweeter varieties that grew in Scotland’s cooler climate proved perfect for the public’s taste, and exporting Scottish apples was a major industry in the 1800s that died down once cheaply shipped Granny Smith and Golden Delicious started to crop up on these shores. While a survey of farmlands in the last few decades shows orchards on over 90% of Scottish regions, most of the fruit was used locally, given away, or fed to livestock. But in the last few years you’ll have noticed Thistly Cross from Dunbar springing up absolutely everywhere, and their range expanding to whisky-casked offerings as well as apple brandy. Their ﬂagship cider is naturally carbonated and semi-sweet, both a challenge and a contrast to the sickly-sweet drink many of us remember from ﬁrst teenage experiments with booze – something that is especially important since Thistly’s biggest market is exporting to the US. But for those who like an in-your-face tart, tannin-rich experience, there are other Scottish options too. Smaller craft brewers, such as Drygate in Glasgow, are turning their hand to the drink. Waulkmill cider sources its apples from Dumfries & Galloway, with offerings ranging from their dry and crisp Muckle Toon Rosie to the sweet and rich Black Betty. Clyde Cider leans heavily on the old Glasgow apple traditions with locally-sourced varieties and proﬁts go to helping establish new orchards of Scottish apples. And unlike the big boys, the variation from batch to batch is a feature not a bug. You might get whacked with loads of fresh apple aroma in one batch, or be sucking your cheeks from the dry tang in another. Truly, with Scottish cider on the up and up, it behoves us all to crack a bottle and glory in the ﬁne fruit of the tree.
THISTLY CROSS ‘WHISKY CASK’ CIDER 6.9% Matured in ex-Glen Moray whisky casks for at least six months, this is a dry and subtle cider infused with mellow vanilla oak.
Combining Waulkmill’s Muckle Toon Rosie cider and blended dark stout from Five Kingdoms microbrewery in Wigtownshire, Black Betty is slightly sweet with a rich taste.
A fine craft cider with an ABV of 5% and made with the best Glasgow and Clyde apples. The profits are used to encourage more community orchards to be planted with Scottish heritage apple trees.
Decanter Retailer of the Year 2017 An unprecedented selection of whiskies and wines from the everyday to the fine and rare
Scottish Field Triple Gold WoodWinters THE FOUR ‘Isle Solera’ Bowmore 16yo Scottish Field Whisky of the Year 2017
Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2018 WoodWinters THE TWO ‘Northern Star’ Highland Park 21 yo ‘A stunning bottle’ 96.5pts WoodWinters THE ONE ‘Fiadhaich’ Longmorn 27 yo ‘Exemplary’ 95pts
So do we!
Bridge of Allan - Edinburgh - Stirling - Inverness www.woodwinters.com
Cask and Still Magazine | 77
BARREL Scotland’s craft beer revolution shows no sign of abating Written by David Austin
armers’ markets, craft fairs and food festivals were, for a long time, the only places where microbreweries and locally-made ales had the opportunity to be showcased. Always seen as something quirky and different, but not often taken seriously, they were great beers to buy in a gift pack or as a one-off impulse buy. Rarely, if ever, would you see these beers served in your local pub. Commonly, pubs and bars were dominated by the omnipresent international brands; so too were the supermarkets and wholesalers, which all made for a rather depressing ale landscape. Your local pub would more likely have a typecast Australian lager on draught or a Mexican bottled beer with a wedge of lime thrust down its neck than a local ale, and we kind-of got used to that, despite having a long history of drinking local beers. So we lost our way as consumers and as producers. Fortunately, the rise in interest of craft and local products, whether it be eggs, bread, meat, jam or gin, has also been good for beer. As consumers, our desire to support our local communities, farmers, growers and manufacturers has returned and it means we have an appetite for locally produced, often small-scale ventures, and brewers have been quick to capitalise. Where once the malty mists of large-scale breweries loomed over our historic brewing
Your local pub would more likely have a typecast Australian lager than a local ale and we got used to that
centres of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Alloa, now a proliferation of provenance-loving, style-hungry, small, independent breweries are eagerly mashing, fermenting and conditioning locally-produced ales, tapping into the craft ale revolution. Why though, are we so readily beating a path to the doors of these breweries and the pubs, bars and bottle shops that admirably promote them? Firstly, since we entered the recession in 2008, consumers have been much more careful how they spend their pennies. We have largely turned away from the mass-produced in search of the artisan and we place more value on locally-sourced goods. Add to that the duty escalator, which the chancellor believed in despite widespread opposition from the brewing industry. Why wouldn’t he, when ever-increasing duty swelled the coffers of the chancellery by 42% between 2008-2013, yet beer sales dropped and pubs closed. Thankfully, this escalator was scrapped in 2013 in direct recognition of the need to support our brewing industry. Since then, we have seen the birth of craft beer, a new manufacturing industry in the UK – how often can we say that? Last year, Scotland counted 93 craft breweries and the numbers continue to rise with an estimated 12-15 new ones opening each year. There seems no let-up in the emergence of new breweries, which can only be good for quality as the ﬁttest and ﬁnest will set the benchmark for the rest.
Lying on the west coast of Scotland, Islay is at the mercy of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, whose treacherous storms have been shaping the landscape for thousands of years. Islay malts are unlike any other malt whiskies – they are robust, smoky and peaty, with hints of the sea and spicy sweetness.
Islay Storm - the essence of Islay
Award winning whisky bar with over 700 whiskies. Restaurant offering Scottish food made from the best regional ingredients. Whisky tastings and food matching arranged. Kilkerran Road, Campbeltown, Argyll PA28 6JL
01586 552133 firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/ardshielhotel
“Silver – Outstanding” IWSC 2017 Award Winner
Available in all good independent Scotch whisky retailers
Bottled for CS James & Sons Ltd by The Vintage Malt Whisky Company, Glasgow, G62 Tel: +44(0)141 955 1700 Contact: email@example.com Pantone 428
Vintage whisky co Half78Page Portrait.indd 21 078_CS06.indd
Luxor Foil 396
Cask and Still Magazine | 79
Beers CAMPERVAN BREWERY – WHEAT REVENGE 2.70
As the name implies, Campervan started as a travelling brewery. Founder Paul Gibson started brewing in his garage and his beers proved popular. This is a hidden gem in the Scottish Beer world – it shows perfectly what a wheat beer should be. It will attack your senses with Japanese Sorachi Ace hop flavours, then hit your mind with a hint of coconut coated with some sweetness. It can be enjoyed all year round and it’s delicious during the warmer months.
UERIGE – ALTBIER 3.39
Produced at Uerige Obergarige Hausbrauerei since 1862, this beer is brewed today following the same 19th century recipe. It is fermented at regular temperatures and conditioned at cooler temperatures for a clean palate. Uerige Alt is Germany’s richest bitter beer and also one of the finest German beers I’ve tried (there have been more than a few). It represents all the qualities that one should expect from a good German beer. It always earns top awards at beer competitions worldwide.
EXILED INOLVIDABLE STOUT 2.95
This brewery was founded by four partners from different parts of the world. Their beers are permeated by a passion for brewing and fine beer. They focus on using German and British malts to get the best of both worlds. This is my definition of a great stout. It has a palate of dark chocolate, dusty cocoa, dark fruits and a lingering coffee and caramel aftertaste. The beer has a silky palate and a long finish. Perfect for the cooler months.
CO-OWNER, JEFFREY ST WHISKY & TOBACCO, EDINBURGH
Joanna co-owns Jeffrey St Whisky & Tobacco in Edinburgh – an independent purveyor of the finest beer, whisky and tobacco. Joanna and her team also offer regular whisky tastings for customers.
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ER – E t) OV IC ebi VE PR t D SA R irec VE (D CO 96 E 39. TH £ N Y O NL O
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Iona Buchanan is an artist and illustrator whose original watercolours have been in constant demand since she gave up work in a commercial art gallery 20 years ago to create paintings rather than to sell them. Based in rural Stirlingshire, her subjects are taken from the natural world around her or close by. All of the birds on this delightful cushion are regular and welcome visitors to her garden. Indeed, much of her garden is given over to wild flower meadows and other uncultivated areas to provide a habitat for wildlife of all sorts. A botanical illustrator by training, Iona’s keen eye for detail and affection for her subjects ensures that these birds will be instantly recognisable to everyone. The cushion cover is made from a blend of 50/50 linen and cotton. The duck feather and down pad is concealed behind an invisible zip and can be easily removed for washing. As well as cushions, Iona makes tea towels, aprons, mugs and a range of charming household items. You can find out more at: ionabuchanan.com
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Cask and Still Magazine | 81
There’s plenty going on to keep whisky fans happy and busy this winter, so fill up your diary and your glass Douglas Laing Whisky Dinner
Britannia Burns’ Supper
The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
30 NOVEMBER 2017
26 & 27 JANUARY 2018
Join host Rick Drysdale from Douglas Laing
Celebrate the birth of the bard on board The
for a Scottish-themed meal and interactive
Royal Yacht Britannia. The Address to the
whisky masterclass. www.facebook.com/
Haggis will be followed by a whisky tasting.
The evening includes a red carpet welcome, drinks, canapes and a tour of the yacht.
Tomatin Christmas Fair
Tomatin Distillery, Inverness
2 DECEMBER 2017 Held in the distillery’s visitor centre
Fife Whisky Festival
between 10am and 4pm, the fair will bring
The Corn Exchange, Cupar
together some of the best independent
10 MARCH 2018
retailers and specialist brands in Scotland.
The Fife Whisky Festival brings distilleries
Visitors will be in for a day of festive cheer,
and independent bottlers from all over
with free distillery tours, refreshments and
Scotland to showcase their whisky wares.
some unique Christmas gifts.
www.tomatin.com/events Whisky Social Dundee
The National Whisky Festival
Bonar Hall, Dundee
24 MARCH 2018
20 JANUARY 2018
After two successful years in Falkirk, The
Enjoy everything good about whisky during
Whisky Social is expanding into Dundee.
the 25th birthday celebrations of Celtic
Meet brand ambassadors and sample drams
Connections. Over 30 tasting stands,
from some of the best distilleries in Scotland
masterclasses, live music, food and seminars.
and around the world. www.facebook.com/
82 | Kentucky bourbon
journalist. This ultimately resulted in me shooting a documentary on bourbon. At that time, there were very few websites and media outlets reporting solely on whiskey. Using video content from the documentary helped my team and I to begin telling the story of the rebirth of bourbon and the craft spirits revolution on BourbonBlog.com. We became the ﬁrst to report on products like Maker’s 46 and Angel’s Envy bourbon.
Kentucky native Tom Fischer is founder of BourbonBlog.com and co-founder of the first whisk(e)y marketing school and sommelier programme The growth of bourbon has been massive in the last few years. We went from seeing only a few released every month or two, to a bourbon being made in every US state, with new releases happening all the time. I don’t expect it to slow down any time soon, which is good news for all of us. Growing up in Kentucky and near the heart of the Kentucky bourbon producing region, I had relatives that sipped on Kentucky bourbon. I have fond memories of my Uncle Glenn, who enjoyed Yellowstone bourbon while smoking a pipe. One of the decisions that led me to start BourbonBlog. com was an experience I had while sipping Kentucky bourbon in a bar in Bardstown, Kentucky. The bar was called The Bourbon Bar and had hundreds of bourbons and American whiskeys on the wall.
A little over two years ago, I co-founded the ﬁrst ever whiskey sommelier programme in Austin, Texas. You can learn more about it at www. WhiskyMarketing.org. I worked with a great selection of whiskies on my recent educational tour. It took me to bars and hotels across the globe to teach about American whiskey. I only work with whiskies that I love. I enjoy tasting all whiskey. I am looking for ﬂavours that are balanced and work well together. Additionally, I want to be surprised with new ﬂavours so I don’t feel like I am tasting the same thing over and over. I like to encourage whiskey drinkers to try new categories.
A few people who worked with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival were sitting at the bar that evening and invited me to return to cover the festival as a
Part of our family of fine spirits.
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