ISSUE EIGHT | FREE
007 S DRAMS Ian Flemingâ€™s favourite whisky cocktails
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A GIANT ROUSED FROM ITS SLUMBERS. For 15 years, this monumental malt slumbers in the finest Pedro XimĂŠnez and Oloroso sherry casks, quietly growing in stature in the darkness of our dunnage warehouses. Roused from its luxurious resting place, it is a whisky of unsurpassed elegance and complexity, with notes of dark fruits, manuka honey, rich chocolate and an enveloping velvet finish. THE GLENDRONACH. SHERRY CASK CONNOISSEURS SINCE 1826. The Glendronach is a registered trademark. ÂŠ2018 BenRiach. All rights reserved Savour with time, drink responsibly. Drinkaware.co.uk for the facts.
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09/10/2018 10:47 08/11/2018 09:12:33
Cask & Still Magazine | 3 cask and still
The last few months have been a busy time at Cask & Still. In conjunction with our sister publication Scottish Field, we’ve launched a series of videoed whisky reviews called ‘60 Second Dram’ which have seen us review 24 whiskies so far, all of which will be making their way onto YouTube and our website (www.scottishfield.co.uk) over the coming weeks and months. What this process has brought home to me is the remarkable variety of drams out there. We’ve tried everything from Swiss, Welsh, English, South African and American whiskies, and plenty more besides. Some have been disappointing and a couple were genuinely filthy, but the majority have been of a surprisingly high quality. That bar just keeps getting higher and higher. One of those whiskies, the South African dram Bains, is profiled by my colleague Blair Bowman in these pages, and we’ve
got lots more content besides. Rugby legend Finlay Calder talks about his days taking a snifter before internationals, while we also reveal the top whisky bloggers, 007’s favourite whisky cocktails and the most influential women in whisky, not to mention our experts highlighting their favourite whiskies. Enjoy! Yours Aye,
EDITOR Richard Bath
CASK & STILL MAGAZINE
BROOKE MAGNANTI Our resident spirits guru takes a slurp on the wild side in this issue, looking at the ‘green devil’ absinthe, a spirit with a chequered past which is making a comeback.
ISSUE EIGHT | FREE
FEDERICA STEFANI A new addition to our writing team, the Italian whisky obsessive from Milan works for the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh by day, and samples drams by night.
007 S DRAMS Ian Fleming’s favourite whisky cocktails
4 | What’s inside
Cover line 28 007’S DRAMS
Channel your inner James Bond with these top cocktails
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S NOV 2018 ISSUE EIGHT cask and still
DESIGN & EDITORIAL Editor: Richard Bath
Creative: Amanda Richardson
06 NEWS Remember,
35 WHISKY BY NUMBERS
08 BAR SNAPS A
discreet retro hideaway at The Spirit in Milan
36 A BLUFFER’S GUIDE TO COOPERING
10 ME AND MY DRAM Ex-Scotland and
38 GLASS HALF FULL Raymond Davidson
you heard it here first...
British Lions rugby captain Finlay Calder joins us for a dram
12 VIVA LAS VEGAS
The Nth: Ultimate whisky experience brings the high rollers of whisky together
18 KEEP ON TROOPING Online
whisky influencers come under fire from the big guns
20 WOMEN OF WHISKY The trailblazing ladies who are changing the face of whisky
28 SIX OF THE BEST Cocktails with a license to kill
30 OUT OF AFRICA South
Africa is making waves in the whisky world
shares the story of the Glencairn glass
41 CONNOISSEURS SELECTION 62 ONCE UPON A TONIC How tonic became
gin’s best friend
68 THE LOVABLE ROGUE Dr Brooke Magnanti explores the revival of Absinthe
70 DIGITAL DRAMS The best vloggers and bloggers on the whisky scene
77 OVER A BARREL
The north east is at the forefront of Scotland’s craft beer industry
80 WHISKY EVENTS
Production: Andrew Balahura Madeleine Smith Photographer: Angus Blackburn Staff Writers: Morag Bootland, Stephanie Abbot, Rosie Morton Contributing Editor: Blair Bowman Contributors: Federica Stefani, Dr Brooke Magnanti, David Austin Email: editor@caskandstill magazine.co.uk
ADVERTISING Sales Director: Brian Cameron Special Projects Manager: Janice Johnston Sales assistants: Alasdair Peoples
PUBLISHING Publisher: Alister Bennett Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh EH5 2DL Tel: 0131 551 1000 Published by Wyvex Media Ltd. While Cask & Still is prepared to consider unsolicited articles, transparencies and artwork, it only accepts such material on the strict understanding that it incurs no liability for its safe custody or return. The views and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of Wyvex Media Ltd.
82 WORLD OF WHISKY Italian whisky writer Davide Terziotti
6 | News feed
Isle of Arran Distillers have launched an exclusive whisky bottling Royal Mile Whiskies and Edinburgh bar Nauticus. The new expression from the island distillers is a limited edition with just 900 bottles being made available. Only three French oak casks, which previously held Sassicaia red wine, were filled with Arran spirit in 2008 to create the malt which is available through Royal Mile Whiskies, retailing at £64.95 in their Edinburgh and London shops and online. www.royalmilewhiskies.com
in collaboration with
Talisker, Diageo Reserve’s premium Scotch whisky, has crowned Stefanie Anderson of Bon Vivant in Edinburgh as the first female winner of the UK-wide Race to Skye bartender competition. Stefanie beat finalists from Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and London to create a cocktail that embodied Talisker’s ‘Made by the Sea’ campaign. The top ten competitors from each region were selected to compete in a series of highly competitive semi-finals including a ‘Mystery Challenge’ designed to test the skills of each competitor’s discerning nose, palate and core distillery knowledge. Seven competitors went on to the finals held on 13-15 August on Skye.
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YOUNG AND WILD A NEW LOOK
Single malt whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled a brand new look for its ‘Private Collection’ range with the launch of two new releases – a rare whisky from Inverleven Distillery and a 44-year old single malt distilled at Glenrothes Distillery. The range encompasses rare and exclusive single malts personally selected by the Urquhart family, owners of the company for four generations. www.gordonandmacphail.com
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New distillery Highland Boundary have launched Birch and Elderflower Wild Scottish Spirit, their first ever release. Inspired by Scandinavia, birch buds and elderflowers are sourced from the spring woodlands near the on-farm distillery. Highland Boundary was the idea of Marian Simon, who lives and works near the pretty market town of Alyth in Perthshire. To purchase a bottle or find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org
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CHEERS TO THE ORIGINAL
To celebrate the 2018 festive season, Glenmorangie’s gift edition will focus on its signature single malt whisky, The Original. The set contains two Glenmorangie tumblers and a bottle of The Original which all feature the Signet icon. It explores the ancient provenance which inspires this
SMOKEHEAD SHERRY BOMB
whisky’s creation and invites discerning drinkers to explore its heritage. RRP £36.
Islay single malt 48% ABV, RRP £64.99
A peaty whisky that’s heavily influenced by Oloroso Sherry casks to create a smoky, spicy and rich flavour with a sweet taste of barbecued banana.
BUSHMILLS IRISH WHISKEY RUM CASK RESERVE Irish single malt 40% ABV, RRP £99
Inspired by the SS Bushmill’s homewardbound journey that included a stop in the Caribbean where she stocked her hold with rum. Toffee and light oak with tropical fruit notes, vanilla pod and subtle spice.
TAMDHU 12 YEAR OLD Speyside single malt 43% ABV, RRP from £45
Available in the UK from early 2019, this is the latest addition to Tamdhu’s exclusively sherry oak matured range, replacing the existing ten year old. Silky texture that coats the mouth with banana, berry jam, malt biscuit and classic sherry oak.
TWEEDDALE GRAIN OF TRUTH
Single grain Scotch whisky 46% ABV, RRP £49.99
Made from an unusual composition of 50% wheat and 50% malted barley, notes on the nose feature honey and orange, along with a touch of dark chocolate and cognac on the palate. Matured in bourbon barrels.
A TASTE OF THE SIXTIES
The North British distillery has joined forces with Scotch Whisky specialist Douglas Laing & Co to release a remarkable one-off 58-year-old limited edition of only 222 bottles, distilled in July 1960. This is the first ever commercial North British release and each bottle is accompanied by a stitched booklet which has been hand signed and individually numbered by Alan Kilpatrick, the distillery’s Managing Director. It will be available at specialist retailers from November with an RRP of £1,700.
DIGITAL DISTILLING High-tech distillery Ailsa Bay are breaking down the science behind whisky through their new ‘Whisky Hacked’ range which reinterprets data harvested from the distillery – like distillation temperatures and peating levels – as geometric patterns for a new tech-savvy audience. The generative art is a collaboration with digital specialists Field.
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8 | Whisky bars of the world
THE SPIRIT, MILAN Behind a pitch black door, with dim lights filtering through three portholes, hides an elegant cocktail paradise. With its retro vibes and a wall enriched by amber spirits and bottles of all kinds, The Spirit is the perfect place to find rarities and enjoy a precious dram in the middle of this vibrant city. www.thespirit.it
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10 | Me and my dram
Me & my
When were you first introduced to whisky? My mother and father would always have a whisky in the evening. They weren’t big drinkers but that one dram was a staple at the end of each day. Have you always enjoyed whisky then? I’ve always said that there are two things that every child dislikes – one is pepper and the other is whisky. These days, I have pepper with everything. That’s not to say I have whisky with everything, but I do love a whisky now. Do you have a favourite dram? It’s Kilchoman Machir Bay. It’s my favourite because I’ve been to Islay and I’ve been to Kilchoman. I’ve heard all about the distillery’s struggles and travails so when I drink it I can picture the place. My dear friend Willie Phillips, who is with Macallan, used to say, ‘when you hold a glass of whisky in your hand it evokes a memory’, and that’s true. Drinking malt whisky is a very personal experience. Any other favourites? Looking along the bar here I see a Dalwhinnie. I know Dr Alan Rutherford, the guy who saved Dalwhinnie when it was earmarked
Cask & Still enjoys a dram with ex-Scotland and British Lions rugby captain Finlay Calder
Interview by Angus Blackburn
for closure in the 1980s. There’s a Glengoyne, they’ve been so generous to the Doddie Weir Foundation. They donated a cask and 600 bottles of whisky to the Motor Neurone Disease Charity which is extraordinarily generous. I always tend to gravitate to the ones that have a story.
There were three of us who would have a dram to settle our nerves before an international match
Do you have any special bottles that you are saving? No, to me they are for drinking. I am a Scotsman after all and if a bottle starts to cost upwards of £40 I begin to baulk. How do you take your whisky? Paradise for me is a Saturday night in watching Match of the Day with a dram that I’ve poured over ice five minutes earlier.
Did you drink whisky when you played rugby? While I was playing for Scotland The Famous Grouse sponsored Scottish Rugby. We had some crazy nights! There were always three of us who would have a dram to settle our nerves on a Saturday before an international match. I won’t mention who the other participants were, but I will tell you that we all played in the back row. We had great fun, but I’m sure you wouldn’t get away with it now. Are you involved in the whisky industry? Yes, I became project manager at Torabhaig Distillery on the Isle of Skye by default. I had no experience but lots of enthusiasm. It’s been a bit of a busman’s holiday but hard work too. The whisky industry is full of lovely people, everyone is very helpful and gentlemanly, until the point of sale when the gloves come off. Are there any other rugby playing whisky aficionados? David Sole is a brand ambassador for Balvenie. Although it’s such a fantastic brand that it’s a bit like taking coals to Newcastle. It doesn’t appeal to everyone but being in the whisky industry is a great thing.
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Slainte: Finlay Calder enjoys a dram in Kays Bar in Edinburgh.
12 | Whisky in Las Vegas
Written by Stephanie Abbot
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Exclusive, rare and extravagent The Nth in Las Vegas is the ultimate playground for the world’s biggest whisky collectors as Vegas is the epitome of indulgence, a place for throwing caution to the wind and a bona ﬁde destination for decadence. While gambling sits at the top of most people’s agenda when they reach Nevada’s own city of lights, there is an event which draws the big boys (and girls) of the whisky collecting world to the party capital promising an experience so high end that it might just induce vertigo. Created in 2011 by Mahesh Patel, a renowned whisky collector and connoisseur, The Nth: The Ultimate Whisky Experience is a two-day affair that takes place in the grand surroundings of The Wynn hotel on the Vegas strip. The event brings over 60 different distillers and brand ambassadors from across the globe, complete with a selection
14 | Whisky in Las Vegas
of their ﬁnest and rarest whiskies. The bottles – which can cost up to $70,000 – aren’t mere novelty items. Attending clients can actually sample a dram or two and, hopefully for the distiller, buy a full bottle. Given the kind of clientele who come to this event, that’s not an uncommon occurrence. The high rollers of this whisky experience are akin to the ‘whales’ of the casino ﬂoors; known for paying and playing big – they arrive with the intention to spend. This year, one couple ﬂew in from China, visited the 3½ hour long show, spent a ﬁve-ﬁgure sum purchasing a few select bottles and then headed home. Talk about dedication to a hobby. Mahesh hosts whisky experiences all over the world, including tastings in the Grand Canyon and drams of some of the rarest whisky in the world in Scotland’s oldest castles. However, when it came to creating a new whisky show, he wanted to sizably elevate the bar for whisky enthusiasts like himself. ‘The Nth is something that was created because I could not get that kind of tasting anywhere else, he says. ‘Having frequently been to whisky shows and whisky tastings, I wanted to do something that basically wasn’t like a big trade show where there are 4,000 people in one room and they’re all pushing and shoving to get a dram of a 12-year-old or just an ordinary whisky. I wanted to bring people to a really great
one couple flew in from china, attended a 3- hour show, bought some bottles – then flew home
venue, make it like a convention for two or three days and bring luxury to the whisky experience with high-end whisky.’ For those keen to attend, there are two different ticket packages available: the connoisseur package which grants entry into the main show, two drams per ‘super pour’ (bottles costing $5,000 and up) and will set you back $545. While the VIP option, aptly named ‘the high roller package’ grants clients access to exclusive master classes, the high roller lounge and a dinner after the main show, along with unlimited samples of the most expensive whiskies. You won’t get much change from $3,000 for a ticket. Dram after dram in the city of sin might sound like a recipe for disaster (or a remake of The Hangover) but rather than just a glamorous upscale knees up, organisers say that the clients keep things sensible and civilised. ‘We don’t experience anyone that gets out of control. You can imagine how much alcohol there is, especially on that one night, but people often take a sip, taste, then throw it away and repeat. Everyone is very well behaved. People know that about this event and that’s why they come.’ Another way The Nth works to maintain the right kind of atmosphere and give clients the level of quality the event is famous for is by capping ticket numbers. There are only 100
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available for the high roller package and 400 for the connoisseur package. This also provides an opportunity for collectors to speak to the people behind the whisky, ask questions and learn. To add that extra layer of extravagance, the event is also peppered with bottles of whisky so expensive that even the high rollers can’t taste a drop. Why buy a family home when you could get the most expensive bottle ever showcased so far – The Macallan Lalique – for $500,000? So what about the distillers who travel
Above: A glamorous affair of networking, tasting and learning.
thousands of miles to come to Las Vegas for a weekend? Despite the glamorous and enticing setting, for Neil Boyd – UK sales manager with Ian Macleod Distillers – there’s still a job to be done. ‘For us it’s work, we are going to meet some of the richest whisky collectors in the United States, so it’s an opportunity for us to put our products in front of these guys, have private one to ones, and for them to potentially buy them. There are not many shows like this.’ The Nth has managed to rack up a loyal following of high rollers who attend the event
16 | Whisky in Las Vegas
year on year, with organisers being surprised by the range of ages and backgrounds of VIPs. ‘We actually have a lot of young people that are just venturing out and they think “well if I’m going to try something then I’m going to try the best” so they buy a high roller package. The assumption was it would be exclusively older gentleman who have perhaps been a connoisseur or collector for a good 20 years and are now looking to go the extra mile,’ says Mahesh. Dewayne, a 55-year old heart surgeon from Oklahoma who has attended all eight previous Nth experiences describes the event as ‘one you do not want to miss’. ‘The Nth is the highest quality tasting and educational event I have attended,’ says Dewayne. ‘You not only taste some of the rarest whiskies but each year there is a highlight that is unique
bottles can cost up to $70 000 each
to the event. Where else can you golf with the whisky masters, have a whisky ‘speed date’ with the whisky masters, helicopter to the ﬂoor of the Grand Canyon for a whisky tasting or attend a French food and Scotch pairing with Dr Bill Lumdsen of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg or with Ian Logan of The Glenﬁddich?’ When it comes to The Nth 2019 it seems you don’t need luck to win big, you just need to get your hands on a ticket. THE NTH 2019 • Takes place on 26-27 April • Clients are eligible for exclusive discounts on their stay at The Wynn • Tickets will be available from the end of November at www.universalwhisky experience.com/the-nth-2019/
Clockwise from top: A brand ambassador for Single Pot Still whisky from Ireland; Exclusive tastings in the high roller suites; Examples of the whisky on offer; All clients can enjoy the main show.
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18 | The Rant
TROOPING Online whisky influencers are receiving legal writs aimed at shutting down independent voices. What’s going on? asks Blair Bowman
wo well-known ﬁgures of the online whisky sphere have both been the subject of a legal challenge, presumably by ‘big alcohol’, objecting to the content they have been posting online. The strange thing about both cases is that the initial reports have been ﬁled anonymously. The thing that really irks me about this is that the complainants obviously felt threatened and have instigated legal action to make sure the commentators’ voices were shut out. It’s not clear whether these challenges were ﬁled by a jealous individual or a miffed multinational drinks company but reading between the lines my hunch is that it is the latter, although of course I could be wrong. Let’s go back to the beginning. The wonderfully absurd instagram account @Scotch_Trooper was set up by Brett Ferencz, from Atlanta, in 2014 after having his ﬁrst ‘whisky experience’ that summer. The images that Brett posts follow a simple formula: essentially they involve a Star Wars action ﬁgure posing next to bottles of whisky. This might sound a mildly weird but each image usually involved a great deal of setting up and camera trickery in order to make it look like a Darth Vader ﬁgurine was light-sabering the stopper from the whisky bottle. This idea took hold once he saw the ‘likes’ roll in when he posted a photo of a Stormtrooper ﬁgure next to two bottles of whisky. Not long after he started to exclusively post pictures of
these Star Wars action ﬁgures plus whisky bottles, and in a few months his posts were featured in Huﬃngton Post. In no time his account had over 65,000 likes and he started to be courted by whisky brands who would pay him to feature their bottles in his posts. In 2017, he quit his job to set up his own drinks marketing consultancy. This was essentially a way for him to concentrate fully on monetising his instagram account to the point where it was a full-time job. Then earlier this year he was suddenly served a cease and desist. Rather than coming from Disney or Lucas Arts who own the Star Wars franchise it actually came from the Distilled Spirits Council (the US equivalent of the Portman Group). In an article from The Hollywood Reporter about this debacle a spokesperson from the Distilled Spirits Council said that ‘the Code Review Board concluded the use of Star Wars action ﬁgures is inappropriate for distilled spirits marketing materials’ and they highlighted that ‘it was the use of these action ﬁgures, rather than any business relations with the Scotch Trooper himself, that was found in violation of the Code’. Brett Ferencz explained that ‘someone anonymously submitted a 26-page complaint to the Distilled Spirits Council stating that I, and all the brands I have worked with over the last few years, are advertising to minors by using toys in my photos’. Within days he had received cease and desists from all the whisky brands he had been working with, as well a demand to remove old posts by these brands. Since this all kicked off earlier in 2018 Brett has received many more cease and desists from whisky companies. Ferencz told Cask & Still that the Distilled Spirits Council was meant to release their Code Review Decision months ago but nothing has appeared yet. Meanwhile, dozens
What has happened to Brett and Ralfy is truly bizarre and not a little sinister
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of copy-cat instagram accounts are continuing to post the same kind of content with zero resistance from the same brands that have sent him cease and desist letters. For some reason it appears that Brett’s account has been singled out. Brett is still posting explicitly Stars Wars action ﬁgurine posts, sans whisky bottles. Now may I draw your attention to the news that Diageo has announced a multi-million dollar partnership with HBO, producers of Game of Thrones. They have announced a series of new bottlings, each designed to look like one of the ‘houses’ of the Game of Thrones series. They have even gone as far as rebranding a Johnnie Walker release as the White Walker, named after monstrous humanoids in the TV show. I ﬁnd it very hard to ﬁnd any difference between an association with whisky and Star Wars and whisky and Game of Thrones. According to the British Board of Film Classiﬁcations (BBFC) the age classiﬁcation for episodes of Games of Thrones varies between 12A and 18, but the average classiﬁcation is 15. Oﬃcially the DVD box sets are classiﬁed as 18 but it seems reasonable to assume that 16 and 17-year-olds might have watched Game of Thrones, which is why I ﬁnd the association between Diageo and Game of Thrones so surprising. Most agree that the original book series of Game of Thrones is suitable for young adult readers, which is generally deﬁned as 12 to 18 years old. The Portman Group and Distilled Spirits Council typically rule with an iron ﬁst so how was this campaign approved? Closer to home whisky reviewer Ralfy has revealed that a determined effort is being made
to shut down his much-loved YouTube channel. Ralfy ﬁrst started posting reviews on YouTube in 2009 when YouTube had only been around for four years and was in its infancy. One of the ﬁrst to use YouTube to review whiskies, he has amassed a loyal following of over 111,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and racked up over 27.3 million views of his 750 plus videos. Earlier this year he learned that someone had commissioned a company to put together a report against him that would be submitted to YouTube. This company supposedly check the content against a number of criteria in order to build a case as to why someone should be shut down (for example, promoting irresponsible drinking). He learned that it cost over $25,000 to have this report compiled. While he says he is ﬂattered that someone would spend this amount of money on him it is still unsettling that they are allowed to do so anonymously. In a video post from late-October 2018 he explained the situation in case his channel was suddenly shut down. Again it seems very odd that Ralfy, who will soon have been ‘vlogging’ for ten years, is suddenly the target of a campaign to shut him down. I can’t imagine why an individual would go to such extreme lengths in either case, even if they were bitterly jealous of the other’s success. Why would an individual prepare a 25-page report or spend $25,000 to shut down a YouTube channel? My suspicions of a stitch-up are deepened by the fact that in both cases the rulings appear completely arbitrary and are not supported by any real evidence of wrongdoing. For both @Scotch_Trooper and Ralfy, what started as a hobby suddenly grew arms and legs, becoming far bigger than they probably could have imagined when they ﬁrst started. But quite why another commercial enterprise – or enterprises – has decided to try and shut them down is diﬃcult to fathom. What has happened is truly bizarre and not a little sinister. Big money appears to be seeking to control every aspect of the whisky experience, and that is a fate we must do everything to avoid.
TOP WHISKY INSTAGRAMMERS
MARK THOMSON @singlemaltmark As an ambassador for Glenfiddich single malt, Mark knows a thing or two about the best whisky out there.
WHISKY NATION @whiskynation Aiming to unite whisky enthusiasts from all over the globe, follow this account to see some amazing snaps of top tipples.
WOMEN & WHISKIES @womenandwhiskies One for the ladies! Bringing together women over a glass of whisky, this feminine Instagram page is full of inspiration for your next night in with the girls.
@Scotch_Trooper: The whisky enthusiast’s images on his popular Instagram account have caused controversy.
20 | Women of whisky
W men OF WHISKY When it comes to creating the water of life, it’s no longer a man’s world Written by Federica Stefani
Hot prospect: Teenager Rebecca Weir is the industry’s first female coppersmith apprentice.
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22 | Women of whisky
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veryone knows ANNABEL MEIKLE – DIRECTOR, KEEPERS OF THE that the recipe QUAICH for whisky is From running a pottery business to heading up the exclusive whisky extremely simple: society Keepers of the Quaich, Annabel Meikle’s path into whisky was as barley, water and surprising as it was unexpected. a touch of yeast. While she was working in hospitality, she was introduced by a friend However, it is how to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which she later joined when she these ingredients combine began working behind the Vaults’ bar. It was at a Whisky School session that make it so special. Each run by Dr Jim Swan and Charles MacLean where the latter picked up one contributes in its own way, interacting her good sense of smell and encouraged her to join the Society’s tasting with the others throughout each step of the panel. She is responsible for the second branch in Queen Street. After whisky-making process, creating those tasting travelling as global brand ambassador for Glenmorangie, coming back notes we are so fond of. to the society and setting up her own consultancy as The Whisky But there is more to it than just Belle, she was appointed as the director of the Keepers of the flavour. What we often forget Quaich back in 2015. The about is the work that goes on She sees a lot of potential in the new faces involved whisky behind the scenes – the work in whisky. ‘At our last banquet a quarter of the new industry is of both men and women in keepers were women, but we have a spread of people becoming producing each and every coming in from very different backgrounds,’ she says. increasingly dram. Though whisky has ‘What is fascinating is the increasing diversity inclusive and historically been a malewe now have in the whisky world. There are many diverse dominated sphere, women young people from all over the world and from all are making their mark on the walks of life, and this reflects in the composition of our whisky scene. membership at Keepers.’ The whisky industry has been improving in terms of equality and MAUREEN ROBINSON – DIAGEO MASTER more positions are being filled by BLENDER women. The increasing number of A true pioneer in the industry, Glasgow-born Maureen females – both young and experienced – Robinson, master blender for Diageo, has recently celebrated her in leading roles has helped reassure the fortieth year as an active member in the whisky industry. ladies out there that yes, whisky is dram good, She drifted into whisky from her pharmaceutical background, taking and the spirits industry is a compelling and a chemistry job at Distillers Company Limited, which later evolved into fascinating world to be involved in. Diageo in 1986. During her first years in this department she discovered Despite the male to female ratio still being flavours and notes through tasting panels and found this aspect of skewed – especially where more physical and whisky fascinating. manual jobs are involved – the industry is She discovered more about the production process and made the becoming increasingly inclusive and diverse. shift towards blending. There were not many women in the whisky Taking the whisky industry by storm, here industry when she first started and Maureen was probably the only are some of the most influential women female master blender at the time. shaping our much-loved drams. ‘Now there are so many possibilities,’ she says. ‘Women, who were
Clockwise from top left: Two drams of liquid gold; Annabel Meikle; Kelsey McKechnie; Julie TrevisanHunter; Maureen Robinson; Becky Paskin.
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mainly involved in public relations roles, became more active in the production side, and now we have a lot of female master blenders and women in managing positions. It’s about having fun and enjoying whisky – women nowadays enjoy it more and want to understand it better.’
24 | Women of whisky
JULIE TREVISAN-HUNTER – HEAD OF MARKETING AT THE SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE The youngest woman to be appointed Master of the Quaich and the current marketing director at the world-renowned attraction The Scotch Whisky Experience, Julie started her path in the whisky industry while working in the hospitality sector. After graduating in foreign languages (French and Italian) in Edinburgh, she wanted to utilise her linguistic skills and so approached the Scotch Whisky Experience, for whom she has now been working for more than 20 years. She now runs the attraction with CEO Susan Morrison and deputy general manager Angela Dineen. This year the Experience, which was founded in 1988, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary amid a backdrop of steadily rising visitor numbers. ‘We have an increasing number of people visiting us, and now half of them are women so it’s equally split,’ she says. ‘There are more groups of friends and families who come so there is a big change in terms of demographics. We see this nice, equal interest in whisky, which is related to finding out more about Scotland, the flavour and the notes, but it is also about the science and the cultural elements behind it – this aspect makes it more accessible rather than an exclusive product.’
RISING STARS Besides those women who have been in the industry for several years, many others are injecting new life into the world of whisky.
KELSEY MCKECHNIE – BALVENIE APPRENTICE MALT MASTER Aged 25, Kelsey was appointed as apprentice to much-acclaimed Balvenie Master Blender David Stewart. Coming from a scientific background in biology, she enrolled on an MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. During her studies she joined the team at William Grant & Sons as a technical graduate and whisky technologist, and has been working with them for four years. She formerly worked alongside Lesley Gracie, creator and master distiller of Hendrick’s Gin, and Master Blender Brian Kinsman on brands such as Glenfiddich and Monkey Shoulder. She eventually started shadowing David Stewart at Balvenie and helped with the I don’t development and creation of think gender The Balvenie Peat Week Aged stereotypes 14 Years (2003 Vintage), and should stop The Balvenie DoubleWood anyone doing Aged 25 Years.
BECKY PASKIN – EDITOR, SCOTCHWHISKY.COM Scotchwhisky.com editor Becky Paskin started her journalistic career as a film critic. However, unexpectedly finding herself writing about food and drink, she ‘stumbled across’ the golden spirit, and what they completely fell in love with it. want to do REBECCA WEIR In tandem with Bacardi Global Malt Ambassador Georgie Bell, she recently started a campaign called – COPPERSMITH Our Whisky, which aims to show all the different faces of APPRENTICE FOR DIAGEO modern whisky lovers all over the world. ABERCROMBIE ‘#Ourwhisky means inclusiveness – it’s not just about men Rebecca Weir became the first female or women,’ she says. ‘What we wanted to do was to create coppersmith apprentice in Scotland different approaches to show consumers that women drink last year. The 18-year-old former Alloa whisky too, that people from different ethnic backgrounds Academy pupil was recruited by Diageo drink whisky too. We are trying to update the whisky industry and Abercrombie within their apprenticeship show the world that whisky is for everybody. scheme to take up the torch and hammer to be ‘There are lots of women working within whisky communications, a part of what is a vital profession within the but we’d like to encourage more ladies to consider working in whisky industry. She is currently being taught whisky from a production perspective. As far as I understand there how to hand-beat copper sheets and the process are not enough women who think of whisky as a career path, but we of welding them into whisky stills, as well as would like to show that there are many possibilities within what is a being trained in computer design techniques. wonderful and welcoming industry to work in.’ ‘I wasn’t put off by gender stereotypes,’ she Becky was appointed Keeper of the Quaich and holds a General said. ‘I don’t think that should stop anyone Certificate in Distilling. from doing what they want to do.’
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HEATHER NELSON - FOUNDER OF TOULVADDIE DISTILLERY Although the distillery has yet to open to the public, Heather Nelson has embarked upon the project of building a new distillery up in the Northern Highlands in Fearn – a former Royal Naval Air Base that was once an RAF Airfield – and is the first woman to do so in 200 years. Heather grew up in rural Ross-shire and her family has always been involved in agriculture. ‘Whisky has always been perceived as a man’s drink, and it really isn’t,’ she says. ‘I am pleased to say that this incorrect perception is dying, slowly, and by starting my own distillery I hope to help break down the barriers.’ ALSO… CARA LAING – THE DIRECTOR After a 10-year career in whisky, the granddaughter of Fred Douglas Laing became director of whisky at Douglas Laing & Co. GEORGIE BELL - THE AMBASSADOR Now Global Malt Ambassador for Bacardi, she has been international ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and is the co-founder of the campaign Our Whisky. JOHANNA NGOH – SPIRIT OF TORONTO EXECUTIVE PRODUCER The executive producer and co-founder of the Spirit of Toronto Annual Whisky Gala also published Single Minded 2014: A Modest Guide to Really Good Whisky and Distilled magazine. JOHANNA MCINNIS – THE WHISKY LASSIE The journalist and blogger writes about her passion for whisky on The Whisky Lassie blog.
Clockwise from top left: Rececca Weir; Cara Laing; Georgie Bell.
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26 | Women of whisky
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Manager of Laphroaig, becoming the only woman to manage a distillery in 20th century Scotland. She ran the flourishing business until her retirement in 1972.
ELIZABETH CUMMING – THE WHISKY DEALER RITA TAKETSURU – THE MOTHER OF JAPANESE In a time when business was inaccessible to WHISKY women, Elizabeth Cumming was pro-actively shaping the whisky industry. Her own mother, Born Jessie Roberta Cowan, this lady from East Dunbartonshire played a vital role in the introduction of whisky to the Japanese market. Helen, used to walk barefoot to Elgin to sell While the family was facing financial hardship after her father’s the whisky illegally produced on the family death, she met her future husband Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of farm. Nikka whisky, when he started attending the Cowans’ house to teach Elizabeth ran Cardhu distillery after the martial arts to Rita’s younger brother, eventually becoming a lodger in death of her husband Lewis in 1872. While the house. They married in 1920 – despite the risk of strong raising four children, she transformed disapproval from society – and went to live in Osaka. the place by purchasing four Her support and links to Scotland were acres of land and investing in Her fundamental to the growing exports of Scotch to completely new buildings own mother Japan, and led to the indigenous Japanese whisky in order to meet the walked industry, which today is in rude health. blenders’ demand. barefoot to Elgin When she later had to to sell whisky sell the distillery to John QUEEN VICTORIA – THE WHISKY illegally Walker & Sons in 1893, QUEEN produced owwn she made sure that her son The passion of Her Majesty for Scotch whisky made the family was appointed a member of the drink surpass cognac as the favourite tipple of the farm the board. aristocracy. Records show a number of orders made from Balmoral and Buckingham Castle to Islay distilleries, BESSIE WILLIAMSON - THE to source a cask of the best malt for the Queen. With her favourite combination being half claret and half whisky, LADY OF LAPHROAIG the stern-faced monarch supported many distilleries, while When she accepted what should awarding Chivas Regal, The Famous Grouse and Lochnagar have been a temporary job at with a Royal Warrant. Her personal attendant John Brown, Laphroaig in 1932, Glasgow-born a whisky lover himself, made sure never to leave his Queen with an Bessie probably didn’t expect that she empty glass. would have become its managing director a few years later. However, her ambitions to become a teacher took a different path when GERTRUDE ‘CLEO’ LYTHGOE – THE BOOTLEGGER owner Ian Hunter saw her potential. Stepping overseas, a famous figure that helped whisky’s distribution When Hunter suffered a stroke in 1938, back in Prohibitionist America was Gertrude Lythgoe. She was, in fact, Bessie was asked to accompany him on his one of the most famous smugglers in the game. She moved from New trip to the US. York to The Bahamas while working for Haig and McTavish’s Scotch The distillery was kept safe from theft whisky, and then saw the opportunity to enter the illicit business of during the Second World War and, at the end supplying liquor. of the conflict, she was appointed Distillery It didn’t take long for her to set up her own company and enter into the world of contraband. Named ‘Cleo’ because of her resemblance Clockwise from top left: Elizabeth Cumming; to Queen Cleopatra, she was a fierce woman who gained respect in a Rita Taketsuru; cheers to the ladies; Bessie Williamson; Queen Victoria; Gertrude ‘Cleo’ male-only club thanks to her feisty temperament. She was later arrested Lythgoe. for importing 1,000 casks to New Orleans, but was released soon after.
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28 | Whisky Cocktails
Channel your inner 007 with these glamorously cool cocktails
40ml American rye whiskey,
60ml Johnnie Walker Gold Label,
other Japanese whisky)
20ml rooibos syrup, 1 tspn Suze (or
Reserve (or other Scotch)
2 tspn Campari
other gentian liqueur), 5 dashes of
25ml Martini Bianco
2 tspn crème de cassis
Peychaud’s bitters, 15ml lemon juice,
2 tspn Briottet Liqueur de Melon (or
25ml Martini Riserva Speciale,
20ml German weissbier
other melon liqueur)
Rubino (or other red vermouth)
FOR ROOIBOS SYRUP (makes 150ml):
1 tspn Fernet Branca (or other amaro)
Pinch of salt
100ml water, 85g white sugar,
Strip of lemon peel
TO GARNISH: 2 fresh cherries
2 tspn honey, 3 rooibos teabags, ¼
40ml Nikka Whisky, From the Barrel (or
METHOD: Measure the ingredients
cinnamon stick, 2 black peppercorns,
METHOD: Measure the liquid
½ star anise
ingredients into a frosted mixing glass and top up with ice. Stir until
into a frosted mixing glass and top up with ice. Stir until very cold, then
METHOD: To make the rooibos syrup,
very cold, then strain into a frosted
strain into a frosted Old Fashioned
combine the ingredients in a large
coupette. Spritz the lemon peel
glass over large ice cubes. Garnish
saucepan and stir over a low heat until
over the glass to express the oils
with two fresh cherries.
the sugar has dissolved. Increase the
heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain NOTE: if fresh cherries are
and allow to cool. To make the cocktail,
not available, use Luxardo
measure the ingredients, except the
weissbier, into a cocktail shaker and top up to the brim with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a frosted metal or glass
PHOTOS: JOHN CAREY
Martini vessel. Top with the weissbier.
Cask and Still Magazine | 29
TIGER TANAKA TRIGGER FINGER
100ml Akashi-Tai Junmai Daiginjo sake
50ml Glenfiddich 12 Year Old (or other
25ml Timorous Beastie
(or other sake),
single malt whisky)
25ml coconut palm sugar syrup
30ml Noilly Prat
20ml Coco Lopez
1 flowering jasmine tea ball
1 Â˝ tspns simple syrup
2 tspns salted caramel syrup,
150ml boiling water.
1 tspn parfait amour
1 whole egg
FOR COCONUT PALM SUGAR SYRUP
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
FOR SALTED CARAMEL SYRUP
2 dashes of absinthe
50g coconut palm sugar
strip of lemon peel
100ml caramel or dulce de leche
TO GARNISH: primrose flower
50ml Suntory Chita whisky (or other Japanese whisky)
TO GARNISH: 2 makrut lime leaves METHOD: To make the coconut palm
25ml Appleton Estate Reserve Blend rum (or otherJamaican rum)
Pinch of salt METHOD: Measure the liquid
TO GARNISH: freshly grated nutmeg
ingredients into a frosted mixing
sugar syrup, mix equal quantities by
glass and top up with ice. Stir until
METHOD: To make the salted
volume of water and coconut palm
very cold, then strain into a frosted
caramel syrup, combine all the
sugar and stir until the sugar has
Martini glass. Spritz the lemon peel
ingredients in a small, heavy
dissolved. Measure the whisky, sake
over the glass to express the oils
saucepan over a low heat, stirring
and sugar syrup into a glass tea pot
and discard, then garnish with a
until fully blended. Allow to cool
and stir. Add the jasmine blossom
completely. To make the cocktail,
teabag and boiling water and stir
measure the ingredients into a
again. Allow to infuse for one minute,
cocktail shaker and top up with ice
then serve garnished with a couple of
to the brim. Shake vigorously, then
makrut lime leaves.
strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Shaken: Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming, the official cocktail book in collaboration with Ian Fleming Publications and The Ian Fleming Estate and Bar Swift, foreword by Fergus Fleming published by Mitchell Beazley, hardback ÂŁ15. www.octopusbooks.co.uk
30 | Whisky in South Africa
Outof Africa The home of safari’s big five, Table Mountain, the Springboks and fantastic wine has added award-winning whisky to its list of attractions Written by Blair Bowman
outh Africa is widely known for producing world-class wines, but less well known is that the country is also producing world-class whiskies and has been on a bit of an award-winning blitz recently. The days when the only whisky worth drinking was Scotch are long gone, and in countries like South Africa, the whiskies being produced include some exceptional drams. South Africans have long had a love of whisky and are currently the tenth largest consumers of Scotch whisky by volume. However, there has been a sudden decline in the amount of uisge beatha imported by the South Africans. In the latest results from the Scotch Whisky Association, imports of Scotch whisky are down by 10%. This might be due to the fact that South Africans are now switching their loyalty to the locallymade whisky from the James Sedgwick Distillery, which has seen growth in the last ten years of over 130%. Although South Africa’s economy has slumped in recent years, this hasn’t put a damper on domestic demand for the distillery’s produce, with 99% of the whisky produced by the James Sedgwick
Cask and Still Magazine | 31 >>>
Pictured: The James Sedgwick Distillery and a bottle of their highly rated Three Ships whisky.
32 | Whisky in South Africa
Distillery being sold in South Africa. The historically high levels of interest in Scotch whisky has paved the way for the success of South African whiskies. The James Sedgwick Distillery is in Wellington and has only been producing whisky on a commercial scale for the last 20 years. Initially the product was only sold in the local market and flew under the radar globally, but it is now picking up awards left, right and centre. The James Sedgwick Distillery makes two brands. The first of them is Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, which is the first ever single grain whisky made in Africa. First released in 2009, it is matured in bourbon casks for three years and then spends two years in first fill bourbon casks. As my colleague James Robertson and I found when we did a blind review of it for Scottish Field’s ‘60 Second Dram’ (which you can see on YouTube or on www.scottishfield.co.uk), for a five-year-old whisky it is incredibly mellow and doesn’t have the acetone or airfix glue notes you often get from young grain whisky. The company’s other brand is Three Ships, a range of single malts and blended whiskies. Both whisky brands are multi-awardwinning and rightly so. This year Bain’s Cape Mountain was awarded World’s Best Grain Whisky at the 2018 World Whisky Awards. Nor is it the distillery’s only accolade. This year Andy Watts, the master distiller at James Sedgwick Distillery, picked up the top gong at the World Whisky Awards when he won the Global Icon of Whisky Master Distiller/Master Blender award. This prestigious award puts him on par with previous winners like Dr Bill Lumsden of Glenmorangie and Ian Chang of Kavalan Distillery in Taiwan. Indeed, it is really Andy Watts who must get the credit for putting his brands of South African whisky on the world whisky map. The distillery has undergone some recent renovation and expansion, meaning
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The average angels’ share in South Africa is between 3-5% evaporation during maturation
that the capacity for export is now much larger. If you follow Andy Watts on twitter (@TheWhiskyMaker) it seems like he is constantly travelling. Andy, using his brands Bains and Three Ships, is paving the way for the future of African whisky. The James Sedgwick Distillery is owned by South African drinks conglomerate Distell, who are mostly known for owning large South African wine brands but who also own three Scottish whisky distilleries. In 2013, Distill purchased Burns Stewart, owners of Deanston Distillery, Tobermory Distillery, Bunnahabhain Distillery and Black Bottle Blended whisky, for £160m and absorbed the distilleries into its portfolio. However, making whisky in South Africa is quite a different experience than making whisky in Scotland. For one thing the climate makes a significant difference. As with warmer whisky-making climates in places like India, the average angels’ share in South Africa is between 3-5% evaporation during maturation, while in Scotland the average is just 1.5%. There are also complexities relating to ambient temperature during production, especially fermentation. Temperatures can fluctuate between
Making whisky in Africa is different to making whisky in Scotland low single figures in their winter (our summer) and 35 degrees centigrade in their summer (our winter). The first Whisky Live Festival was held in 2002 in Cape Town and had around 600 attendees. The organisers now deliver four Whisky Live Festivals annually across Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg with each show receiving over 10,000 visitors. Until recently the James Sedgwick Distillery was the only commercial whisky distillery on the African continent. There are a few new entrants appearing in the South African market though. Other locally-made South African single malt whiskies include Drayman’s and Black Horse. There are small-scale operations producing whisky in other parts of Africa, such as African Distillers in Zimbabwe, who produce Gold Blend and Harrier Whisky. There are other signs of the burgeoning whisky culture across the southern half of the continent, with the recently announced whisky festival in Gabarone in Botswana. The growing demand for whisky among the emerging middle-class on the African continent is producing a local market for high quality whisky coming from South Africa. This is a huge potential market for ambitious producers like the James Sedgwick Distillery. I would encourage you to seek out Bain’s and Three Ships, available in the UK from specialist retailers and online. You won’t be disappointed. Clockwise from top left: The colourful South African flag; Andy Watts samples a dram; The port city of Cape Town; A bottle of Bains, the first ever single grain whisky made in Africa.
Glencairn Crystal Studio.indd 34
Cask and Still Magazine | 35
whisky by numbers Impress your friends with these facts and figures
558M The volume of exports increased by 5.6% to 558 million bottles
28% Single malts make up 28% of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas
Exports of blended Scotch whisky grew by 8.9% to an export value of £1.26 billion
Scotch whisky exports increased to £1.97 billion. A 10.8% rise compared to last year
£1.97 BILLION The US remains the largest export market by value at over £400 million
£550M 90 Exports of single malts are up 14.4% to £550 million
MILLION France is the largest market by volume at almost 90 million bottles
Source: Scotch Whisky Association figures for the first half of 2018. www.scotch-whisky.org.uk
36 | A bluffer’s guide to...
Written by: Federica Stefani
A BLUFFER ’S GUI D E TO..
Bilge Bilge hoop Quarter hoop Head hoop
Bung hole Rivet
Cant Head Stave
Coopering The cask maker’s craft has remained virtually unchanged for 2000 years
The cooper’s adze is a specific type of axe characterised by an offset blade at a right angle to the handle to prevent the cooper from grazing his knuckles. It’s used to chop off excess wood and irregularities in the staves, especially around the top, and to create a bevel (called a chime) on the inside top of the staves after they have been assembled. Its shape allows the blade to swing inside the mouth of the barrel. It can be used also for general trimming
Whisky-making involves a good deal of manual and technical skills.
before using the knives for more precise details.
From malting to bottling, there are many steps and professions involved throughout the whole journey undertaken by each drop of liquid gold. A great part of whisky’s charm and artisan appeal lies in its
2) BUZZ (OR PLUCKER): A chisel made of wood and steel (or, increasingly,
interconnection with a variety of techniques and crafts whose origins
entirely with the latter) the plucker is used to shave
are lost in the centuries and millenniums before us.
the joints on the outside of the cask, allowing the
This is especially true when it comes to the art of cooperage. The heirs of an art born more than 2000 years ago, coopers are key figures
cooper to clean up the external part from excess wood and to obtain the finer angles.
in the production of what is a pillar in the whisky chain: the cask. The ability to transform a piece of wood into a watertight container,
without the use of any kind of glue but only by the expert hands of the
The compass is used by the cooper to measure
craftsman giving the exact pressure, is impressive. Coopers produce the
inside the mouth of the assembled staves in order
containers in which the distilled spirit will rest and gain the vast majority
to cut the right shape for the heads, which are
of its flavours by interacting with the oak.
the wooden discs that close each end of the cask.
Despite the introduction of new technologies in a great part of the
The heads are generally oval, rather than perfectly
industry, however, coopering remains a manual job with its very own
round, as they have to allow expansion within the
specific tools on which time has exercised only a moderate effect. Here
wood and to fit the croze (the groove at the end of a
are a few of the most commonly used cooperage tools.
cask or barrel to receive the edge of the head).
Cask and Still Magazine | 37
4) COOPER’S CROZE BOARD:
the staves while dressing the cask (which means
The croze plate or cooper’s router is used to create
assembling the staves in the hoops).
the grooves into which each head of the cask is fitted, normally about an inch and a half below the
rim. The board is positioned on the top and the
This long plane is used by coopers to give the
cooper carves the groove in.
angle (or shot) on the shape of the stave – this will correspond to the radius of the cask. Jointing is
essential to make the cask leak-proof even under
Quite similar in its use to the croze board, the chiv
is used to shave the inside of the chime to make it
perfectly curved so that a groove can be cut into it, allowing the insertion of the head at the end of the process.
6) HOOP DRIVER: A wedge-shaped steel shoe allowing the cooper to position the metal hoops around the staves, hence providing shape and stability to the cask. The driver is held on to the cask while being struck with the hammer, forcing the hoops into place and holding the staves together. The groove at the nose prevents the driver slipping off the hoop and its
coopers are key figures in the production of what is a pillar in the whisky chain: the cask
There are a number of different knives that are specific to different tasks. The heading knife is used to shape the heads by cutting an outer basil which will make the head fit in the groove, whereas the hollowing knife allows the cooper to give the curved shape by cutting inside the cask. The backing knife, a two-handled drawknife, is used to round the external part and shape straight staves.
10) BUNG HOLE AUGER AND SKILLOP:
wooden handle ringed with iron to prevent splitting
Once the cask is ready to be used, the cooper uses
under the heavy blows from the cooper’s hammer.
an auger to perforate one of the main staves on the middle, larger part – the bilge – and creates a bung
that will allow liquid to be to poured in or taken out
The cooper’s hammer is a specialised tool used to
of the newly made cask. To regulate the width of
drive the hoops onto barrels. It is used with a shaft
the bung the tool used is the skillop, which is forced
or a driver and it can be used also to reposition
down to create a wider hole.
38 | Whisky Hero
Spirit of Enterprise: Davidson is one of the whisky worldâ€™s great innovators.
he seized the opportunity and plugged the gap in the market
Cask and Still Magazine | 39
Whisky enthusiast Raymond Davidson created the iconic Glencairn glass, filling an almighty gap in the whisky market Written by Federica Stefani
hen he first started his own venture in the crystal world, placing a compressed air machine in his sons’ room, Raymond Davidson didn’t foresee he would change the way people indulge in their drams. The Airdrie man is the mastermind behind the iconic glass into which we pour our amber nectar. After noticing that, unlike champagne, whisky had no emblematic glass to call its own, he seized the opportunity and plugged a gaping gap in the market. ‘When I was going to a bar and I would have, let’s say, a Talisker, I would always ask the barman, “Would you kindly put it into a wine glass?” I was doing this for ages, then I thought: “This is crazy, I run a crystal business, I should do something about it!” ‘Most people thought that the whisky glass was the tumbler, but the tumbler is made for the use of ice or soda. There was never a glass for consumers to really appreciate whisky, take their time to savour it, to nose it. And so the Glencairn Glass is designed to encourage you to nose before you drink.’ The model of the glass was adapted from the nosing copitas used by master blenders. However these were designed for one specific purpose, and as such are characterised by a small aperture which was not ideal to sip the liquid. For this reason, Raymond opened up the top of the glass and got rid of the stem. The glass invites the drinker to indulge in the aromas of their dram, which are gathered and channelled up thanks to its
aperture. It also allows you to add water to enhance the dram’s flavours. However, the idea didn’t take off until the master blenders were involved. After a while, Glencairn presented its idea to Robert McElroy from Diageo, David Stewart from William Grant & Sons, Robert Hicks from Allied Distillers, Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay and John Ramsey of the Edrington group. Their contribution kick-started manufacturing and in 2001 the Glencairn glass was released. Its use has since spread all over the whisky world. ‘Now I cannot think of a distillery, at least in Scotland, that we haven’t supplied,’ says Raymond. A long series of awards for innovation decorates the walls of the Glencairn factory in East Kilbride, including the Queen’s Award for International Enterprise, which they received in 2006. Glencairn is also famous for its high-end packaging, with its handmade, engraved bottles and decanters purchased by spirit companies worldwide. Raymond, who founded the company in 1980, was invited to join the Keepers of the Quaich in 2016. Despite quickly rising to fame in the whisky industry, the factory retains a family-like atmosphere with an attentive eye on quality. ‘We would like to think we would always stay here, in East Kilbride, with all the staff we have,’ said Raymond. ‘It’s most important to keep this unit together and keep growing this way.’ www.glencairn.co.uk
One of Edinburghâ€™s finest whisky bars with over 300 whiskies from home and abroad. Open for breakfast from 8.30am daily and serving food through to 10pm
Online Reservations @ www.abbeybar.co.uk 65 South Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9PP 0131 668 4862 TheAbbeyBarEdinburgh
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 email@example.com facebook.com/ardshielhotel
THE BOW BAR
Winner of the AA Hospitality Pub of the Year Scotland 2017/18
Located in the heart of Edinburghâ€™s Old Town, the Bow Bar has 400 whiskies to choose from and 8 real ales from across the UK. Independent whisky bottlers are well represented and up to 40 international bottle beers can be found here. Food is limited to lunch only including hand made pies by Jarvis Pickle Kitchen. 80 West Bow, Edinburgh, Tel: 0131 226 7667 www.thebowbar.co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 41 >>>
s â€™ 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 15-page guide to what the real experts drink
42 | Connoisseur’s Selection
Speyside Joanna Santiago
CO-OWNER, JEFFREY ST WHISKY & TOBACCO, EDINBURGH
www.jeffreyst.com Joanna co-owns Jeffrey St Whisky & Tobacco in Edinburgh – an independent purveyor of the finest whisky and tobacco. Joanna and her team also offer whisky tastings for customers.
BERRY BROS & RUDD SPEYSIDE BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY 32
SELECTED BY JOANNA
An area of Scotland known for its approachable, fruity and sweet style of whiskies and this expression by the oldest Wine Merchant in Britain captures the very essence of Speyside Region. NOSE: Honeycomb, sweet yellow fruit and soft oak. PALATE: Acacia honey, gentle citrus, wonderful oiliness. FINISH: Warming soft fruit, mid-lasting.
GLENALLACHIE 18 96
SALES AT WM CADENHEAD EDINBURGH
www.wmcadenhead. com Josh joined Cadenhead’s team in 2016. He has worked in the whisky industry for several years now and is particularly enjoying access to many interesting and unusual single cask bottlings.
SELECTED BY JOANNA
A ‘new kid on the block’ the Glenallachie range was released following Billy Walker’s (formerly of BenRiach) purchasing of the distillery in 2017. This exceptional single malt was matured in combination of American Oak, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. NOSE: Cinnamon bun, rhubarb pie, dried red fruits. PALATE: Whisky soaked sultanas, sweet croissant and custard cream. FINISH: Dried candied fruits, long lasting.
Cask and Still Magazine | 43
ABERLOUR A’BUNADH 70
TOMINTOUL 14 YEARS OLD
SELECTED BY JOSH
SELECTED BY JOSH
This is a cult classic that delivers everything desirable in a
Tomintoul is known to produce some of the gentlest whisky
heavily sherried, cask strength whisky.
in Speyside. This un-chillfiltered, natural colour bottling highlights this excellently!
NOSE: Chocolate gateaux, cherry jam and Dundee cake.
NOSE: Wonderful mixture of vanilla custard and ice cream.
PALATE: Rich, juicy sherry, dates, and cinnamon.
PALATE: Delicate barley sweetness, which is followed by
FINISH: The finish is rich and long with a lingering
chewy Highland fudge.
FINISH: A slight, woody dryness emerges, but it never overpowers the soft spirit.
MACPHAIL’S 40 YEARS OLD 395
SELECTED BY JOSH
The distillery of origin for this 40 year-old Speyside whisky is a closely guarded secret. Its outstanding quality, on the other hand, is not! This was matured in a combination of refill hogsheads and first fill sherry casks. NOSE: Dark chocolate, sultanas and maple syrup. PALATE: A mellow delivery and a silky mouth-feel – caramel, milk chocolate, and coconut.
GLENROTHES 25 YEARS OLD 330
SELECTED BY JOANNA
New appearance - the same superb whisky. Matured in predominantly first fill
FINISH: Luxurious and complex finish – chocolate truffles, almonds, and a slight hint of Tabasco sauce.
sherry seasoned oak casks and bottled at natural colour, this expression delivers heady notes with a character defined by dried dark fruits, brandy butter and touch of salted caramel. NOSE: Brandy butter, Christmas cake, soft wood. PALATE: Caramelized dates, maraschino cherry, cinnamon bun. FINISH: Long lasting and warming – a proper winter dram.
COMPANY LIMITED THE
Luxor Foil 396
Luxor Foil 396
We are Edinburgh’s premier Whisky Bar with an unrivalled selection of Single Malt Scottish Whisky. With over 400 drams we have a whisky to please anyone’s palate.
ISLAY SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Now available at MARKS & SPENCERS and MAJESTIC WINES OR online at www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/finlaggan-old-reserve-whisky
Find out more about us at www.vintagemaltwhisky.com
Usquabae is the perfect place to find the finest selection of whisky, local craft beer & fine Scottish fayre all within a relaxed and chic setting. Whatever the occasion we at Usquabae are happy to accommodate. 2-4 Hope Street Edinburgh 0131 290 2284 www.usquabae.co.uk
Cask and Still Magazine | 45
Islands HIGHLAND PARK 18 YEARS OLD VIKING PRIDE 110
The Highland Park 18 is pure class. Gentle smoke from the traditional floor maltings and huge influence from sherry-seasoned European oak casks. NOSE: Lots of dried fruits on the nose.
BERRYâ€™S OWN ORKNEY SINGLE MALT 2002 15 YEARS OLD CASK #2
Rum and raisin ice cream on freshly baked Christmas cake.
PALATE: Sweet. The raisins are now smoked and coated in chocolate.
A very classy sherry cask single malt from Orkney. The distillery
FINISH: The sweetness continues
is not identified but it is pretty clear which one of the two Orkney distilleries this whisky is from. Knowing that, it
and the unique Highland Park floral
makes it an excellent price as well as an excellent
whisky. NOSE: Sweet. Icing sugar coated raisins. Then soft smoke comes through with a touch of cinder toffee and old leather.
JURA 10 YEARS OLD
PALATE: Bonfire ash and lots of dried fruits. Rum
and raisin chocolate
bars melting on the fire.
Part of the new
range of whiskies
finish is long
from Jura which show a
definite increase in the quality
of the liquid. The 10 years old is a well-balanced whisky with subtle smoke and benefits from a sherry finish. NOSE: The nose is silky smooth with a touch of smoke. Dark treacle toffee biscuits. PALATE: Toffee apple on the palate. Red apple skins. Smoked chocolate eclairs. FINISH: Touches of coffee and cracked pepper.
OWNER, THE WHISKY SHOP DUFFTOWN
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 three of his favourite Island whiskies...
46 | Connoisseurâ€™s Selection
Highland OLD PULTENEY 18 YEAR OLD 115
SELECTED BY ROBIN
This is a brand new age statement from the Old Pulteney Distillery, still retaining all those maritime traits that we all expect and enjoy. NOSE: An aroma explosion of creamy chocolate, citrus and apple strudel with warm honey and cinnamon. PALATE: White chocolate covered dried fruit with candied peel, orange and poached pears in
TOMATIN 15 YEAR OLD MOSCATEL FINISH
spicy syrup. FINISH: Long and satisfying
with its maritime heritage rising.
SELECTED BY ROBIN
A cracking Tomatin 15 year old distilled in 2003, this whisky has spent the first ten years of its life in traditional Scotch whisky oak casks before being transferred to Portuguese Moscatel wine barriques. NOSE: Tropical fruit with honey, sultanas and creamy chocolate. PALATE: Toasted almonds, orange peel, figs and chocolate honeycomb. FINISH: Long with a sweet intensity.
BENROMACH 15 YEAR OLD 56.75
SELECTED BY MARK
NOSE: Sherry, very light with notes of coffee and sulphur. PALATE: Attack with light spices, some notes of chocolate mingle with the dance. FINISH: A long finish mainly on spices and cocoa.
Cask and Still Magazine | 47
GLENCADAM 13 YEAR OLD 50
SELECTED BY ROBIN
An elegant whisky celebrating the reopening of the distillery in 2003 and the start of the distillation process once more. Thank goodness! NOSE: Floral and malty with soft fruit, honey and vanilla. PALATE: Delicately balanced with summer fruits, caramel, chocolate digestives and rich vanilla custard.
GLENCADAM 18 YEAR OLD 101
SELECTED BY MARK
NOSE: Pineapple and banana bond with malty spice. PALATE: Wafts of cigar box and white-pepper spice complete the mélange of elegant and complex
FINISH: Deep, rich and spicy.
RETAIL SALES MANAGAER, GORDON & MACPHAIL, ELGIN
Responsible for 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.
aromas. FINISH: Floral and spicy with a mix of fruits, nutmeg and sweet maltiness.
OWNER, ROBBIE’S DRAMS WHISKY MERCHANTS, AYR
TULLIBARDINE SOVEREIGN 36.75
SELECTED BY MARK
NOSE: Cereal malt, orange, vanilla, and coconut on the nose. PALATE: Oozes white chocolate, peaches and cream, spice cake, toasted coconut, and a hint of cinnamon. FINISH: It has a medium finish full of spice, vanilla cream, and
www.robbieswhiskymerchants.com Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants is a family-run business, situated in the seaside town of Ayr. Fine character, great whisky, since 1984. Here Robin selects some cracking Highland drams.
48 | Connoisseurâ€™s Selection
Blends CHIVAS REGAL 18 YEARS OLD 59.95
SELECTED BY EWAN
Personally created by Master Blender Colin Scott, this award-winning blend has over 20 single malts in it. NOSE: Complex yet well balanced it is spicy with orange and cinnamon notes. Malt and creamy toffee notes can be detected. PALATE: Bitter orange and dark chocolate to taste. Great mouth feel and good body. Woody notes come in at the end. FINISH: This has a satisfyingly long and spicy finish. Still well balanced with a hint of oak as the last few notes drift away.
HANKEY BANNISTER 18.50
SELECTED BY EWAN
One of Winston Churchillâ€™s favourite whiskies. Created by Mr Hankey and Mr Bannister. This is made from whisky from all five distilleries owned by
ANTIQUARY 12 YO 28.99
SELECTED BY EWAN
Relaunched a couple of years ago by Tomatin distillery this particular blend has a high malt
to grain content.
NOSE: Spicy with hints of caramel
NOSE: Fresh citrus notes with
coming through initially, although the nose is quite light and has hints of
a contrasting earthy peatyness. Well rounded with the malt
character showing through.
PALATE: Digestive biscuit and toffee
PALATE: The light citrus comes
fudge come through on the taste which are supported by a lovely creamy mouth feel. FINISH: Spices linger with hints of honey and toffee fudge to finish. Very enjoyable.
though initially followed by a confident, but not overpowering, peaty taste. Once again the malt character makes an appearance. FINISH: Light, well rounded with lingering peat. Very pleasant and very moreish.
Cask and Still Magazine | 49
THE TWEEDDALE EVOLUTION 28 YEARS OLD 135
SELECTED BY NICK
A well-aged blend created using Speyside single malts and Lowland
OWNER, ROBERTSONS OF PITLOCHRY
grain. NOSE: Dark chocolate, hazelnut, black cherry
and blackcurrant. PALATE: Caramel, more dark chocolate. Mocca and
Ewan took over Robertsons of Pitlochry in January 2013. His extensive background in drinks retail has led him to discover some top-class blends, including these!
soft oak. FINISH: A rich, long finish with a dash of charcoal.
BIG PEAT FEIS ILE 2018 50
SELECTED BY NICK
A limited release Islay blend bottled by Douglas Laing. NOSE: Dried seaweed, barbecued meats and golden syrup. PALATE: Smoked barley with damp leather, chimney soot and a hint of lemon rind. FINISH: Long and moreish with a sea salt tang plus streaky bacon and charred oak.
BLACK BULL 10 YEARS RUM FINISH 29.99
SELECTED BY NICK
A beautiful 10 year old blend finished in ex-rum casks bottled by the indie bottler Duncan Taylor. NOSE: Dried fruit, toffee, brown sugar. PALATE: Red apples, peaches followed by honey and a warming spice. FINISH: Ginger and nutmeg with a balanced
OWNER & MANAGER, THE ABERDEEN WHISKY SHOP
Nick oversees the smooth running of The Aberdeen Whisky Shop at the west end of the cityâ€™s Union Street. His top blends can be found among an enormous range of whiskies, including several collectable bottles.
50 | Connoisseur’s Selection
Lowland AILSA BAY 55
Smoke and sweetness are balanced with exacting precision in this micro-matured lowland whisky. NOSE: Cereal notes with a hint of
BLADNOCH ADELA 15YO 92
Dating back to 1817, Bladnoch pays homage to rare Lowland malt whisky. Recently refurbished. Patience is a virtue.
smoke, almost teasing the
NOSE: Sherry! Warming and inviting.
PALATE: Christmas cake! Figs and
PALATE: More pronounced peat, with hints of confectionery. FINISH: Smoke, precisely balanced with
raisins. Delicious. FINISH: Long finish, with a sweet taste of lingering sherry notes. Yum.
sweetness – refreshing.
AUCHENTOSHAN AMERICAN OAK 36
Scotland’s only remaining distillery to triple distil every drop. Translated from the Gaelic, it means ‘corner of the field’. NOSE: Bourbon vanilla and coconut with layers of zesty citrus fruit. PALATE: Refreshingly smooth yet lively with vanilla cream, coconut and white peach. FINISH: Crisp, with sugared grapefruit and a hint of spice.
DIRECTOR, T.B WATSON, DUMFRIES WWW.DRAMBUSTERS.COM
T.B Watson Ltd. has been trading in Dumfries since 1909, and now runs The Drambusters website and whisky club, with more than 300 members. Company director Brian, a Keeper of The Quaich, selects some of his favourite Lowland whiskies...
Cask and Still Magazine | 51
Worldwide MACKMYRA SVENSK EK 45
Svensk Ek or ‘Swedish Oak’, is matured in barrels made from oak trees planted on the island of Visingsö and previously containing Bourbon. The result is a fresh and fruity whisky with spicy undertones. NOSE: Fruity and spicy with a light oakiness leading to Madeira cake and custard. PALATE: Ginger bread, cracked black pepper, earthier spices, nougat and caramel with a
hint of summer fruits.
An interesting blend from the
FINISH: Well balanced with
Land of the Rising Sun it gets its name
a lengthy bitter chocolate and mint finale.
from two Japanese symbols. Yama is the Japanese term for mountain, while sakura refers to cherry trees. NOSE: Orange Blossom, summer fruit and light oak. PALATE: Salted caramel, poached plums, vanilla custard and sharp green apple. FINISH: Medium and oaky.
PAUL JOHN BOLD 45
From the beautiful island of Goa, Bold is a fairly recent addition to the core range. Made entirely with Indian barley smoked using Islay peat. NOSE: A slight whiff of smoke, citrus peel, candied apple and toasted barley. PALATE: Sweet initially with peaches honey and roasted coffee beans followed by kippers in rich salty, spicy butter. FINISH: Long and oaky with coastal peat.
OWNER, ROBBIE’S DRAMS WHISKY MERCHANTS, AYR
Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants is a familyrun business, situated in the seaside town of Ayr. Fine character, great whisky, since 1984. Here Robin selects some exciting whiskies from around the world.
TFGE010187 Cask & Still Ad_V1.2_Print.pdf
Cask and Still Magazine | 53
Bourbon WILLIAM LARUE WELLER 500
MICHTERS NO1 BOURBON 60
A rollercoaster ride of a bourbon, hold on tight, this is part
A Scotch drinkers bourbon, originally produced
of the annual Antiques Collection from Buffalo Trace, much
in Pennsylvania but now all production takes
sought after and very scarce in the UK.
place over two sites in Louisville, Kentucky.
NOSE: Treacle, liquorice, burnt shortbread and a little herby
NOSE: Quite a shy aroma with toffee and
warm fresh croissants with a touch of
PALATE: Orchard fruits, caramelised banana and fresh
bandages and germolene.
PALATE: Maple syrup, sugar puffs (honeyed).
FINISH: Charcoal and robust cigar leaf on the finish.
FINISH: A big oaky backbone and earthy finish.
BULLEIT BOURBON 10 YO 49
Proper cowboy bourbon, perfect for sipping around a cool autumn or winters camp fire. Bulleit is being made once more at its own distillery but most of what is in the bottle today was made at Four Roses. NOSE: Chocolate, marzipan and caramell. Sweet aroma. PALATE: Powdered coco, peanut brittle and digestive biscuit flavours. FINISH: Spiced with a touch of white pepper.
NATIONAL RETAIL MANAGER, THE WHISKY SHOP
The whisky shop is the largest independent specialist retailer of whisky in the UK. The website – www.whiskyshop.com – enables the company to meet an even greater global demand for Scotch whiskies. Darren is a senior judge on the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.
Passionate About Whisky
Visit us on our website or in the Malt Whisky Capital of the World. We ship internationally!
Award Winning Whisky retailer, Broker & Bottler
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival September 2019
An unprecedented selection of Whiskies from the everyday to the fine and rare and over 2000 wines, beers and spirits from around the world.
1 Fife Street, Dufftown, Scotland, AB55 4AL 01340 821 097 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cask and Still Magazine | 55
Investments XOP PORT ELLEN 1982 34 YEAR OLD 1497
GLENFIDDICH WINTER STORM 2ND RELEASE
Douglas Laing have built an amazing reputation for being
able to access some great stocks of the now very rare
This is the second release of
Port Ellen. This distillery that closed back in 1983 and is
a 21yo Glenfiddich finished in
set to re-open has quickened the pulses of many whisky
sweet Ice Wine casks. The first
fans over the years.
was massively sought after, we are
NOSE: Classically Islay, with peat smoke, ripe fruity notes
sure the next edition will be another hit.
leading to mature notes of leather.
NOSE: The nose is packed with sweet
PALATE: Smoky and salty, sea air and seaweed combine
fruity notes and very light spice.
with fruit and a sweet edge.
PALATE: The palate is rich, elegant
FINISH: Long and elegant, this whisky shows lovely
and beautifully balanced, with
maturity, with leather notes, peat and a
flavours of candied fruit and light
touch of sweetness.
spice again. FINISH: Dangerously drinkable, this is a great example of a wine finished whisky.
KILCHOMAN MACHIR BAY CASK STRENGTH 2018 LAND ROVER TOUR 65
This is a limited edition whisky produced by Kilchoman and only available through the venues of their 2018 tour. NOSE: The nose is young and intense, unmistakably Islay, loads of peat and nail varnish. PALATE: Young and peppered, there is a lot of eagerness around this distinctly coastal malt. Water brings out a lovely syrupy sweetness. FINISH: This whisky takes no prisoners, if you like Islay drams that pull no punches, this is the dram for you.
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 top investment whiskies...
66 Market Street, St. Andrews, KY16 9NU Tel: 01334 477 752
RARE AGED SINGLE CASKS & RARE OLD
STOCKING FILLER 50 ML £4.00
SECRET SANTA 200 ML £14.00
BEST FRIEND 500 ML £26.00
DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY SIZE 4.5 LTR £270.00
email@example.com +44 07384 583850 or +44 07988 286346
Cask and Still Magazine | 57
Other spirits WOODFORD RESERVE KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY 47.95
A very smooth and rich rye whisky. Easy drinking on its own or with ice. My guilty pleasure is using it to make a Manhattan. NOSE: Very creamy. Crunchy nut cornflakes. Spiced treacle toffee. Roasted oats and baked peach cobbler. Ready to pour over your pancakes. PALATE: Orange crème brûlée. Orange peel and orange bitters. Savoury. FINISH: Quite drying. Walnut husks.
JEAN FILLIOUX STAR GOURMET COGNAC 81.25
An exceptional cognac from a family owned business showing all the passion and care that putting your family reputation to the test with every bottle brings. NOSE: Dried apricots at first which becomes apricot jam tarts. Underpinned by demerara sugar. PALATE: Very smooth and rich. Very jammy. Blackcurrant boiled sweets and flapjacks. Kick back and relax. FINISH: Very long with a dusting of cocoa.
Then then orange bitters come back.
CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA 58
Peaches and cream corn is distilled four times into a neutral grain spirit. The liquid is then filtered seven times, of which three are through layers of semi-precious crystals known as Herkimer diamonds. NOSE: The nose is extremely clean with hints of spice. PALATE: The taste is sweet with some grainy notes and white pepper. FINISH: Extremely smooth and clean.
OWNER, THE WHISKY SHOP DUFFTOWN
Baesd in the heart of Speyside, The Whisky Shop Dufftown offers an exceptional selction of over 600 whiskies. Here owner Mike Lord takes a look at other spirits from around the world.
58 | Advertising feature
Nothing beats travelling Scotland’s Adventure Coast to experience a real flavour of the heart and soul of Scotland.
rgyll & The Isles is famed for its whiskies, producing some of the most popular and unique single malts in the world. But whisky isn’t the only drink produced here; craft breweries and gin distilleries are dotted along our coastline and on our islands. Nothing beats travelling Scotland’s Adventure Coast to experience a real flavour of the heart and soul of Scotland. Enjoy foraging for botanicals and a gin tasting or make a weekend of it at one of our beer, gin and whisky festivals. Visit, or better still, stay at one of our award winning hotels and pubs that serve up a true taste of Argyll. Place your order at the Oban Inn, The George in Inveraray, the Ardhshiel in Campbeltown, or the Ballygrant Inn on Islay.
Gin Craft gin is the new spirit on the block and it’s proving quite a tonic in Argyll. With more than ten gins linked to Argyll and the Isles there are lots of ways to experience gin as you travel through this stunning part of Scotland. Some of these new distilleries, notably Kintyre Gin, offer tours and tastings, and Colonsay Gin run a Gin Lovers’ Retreat on the island. The foraging of local botanicals is key to the unique flavor of Argyll gins and the distilleries are keen to tell their individual story. Bruichladdich’s The Botanist is the original Argyll gin. Twenty-two botanicals for the gin are hand picked on the island. Lussa Gin is made by hand in small batches by three local women on the island of Jura. This all-woman gin team grow and gather the botanicals. Whitetail Gin uses botanicals native to Mull, including sea-kelp collected from the shoreline.
Cask and Still Magazine | 59
In Argyll and the Isles you’re never far from a good local beer. There’s a fantastic variety of beer and ale being produced by craft breweries and available in local pubs and hotels. What’s more there’s plenty of opportunity to experience more with brewery tours and tastings. You can enjoy a brewery tour at Islay Ales. Try the Kilchoman Dark or Kilchoman Pale, which both use malted barley direct from Kilchoman Distillery to give the beer a smoky, peaty taste, just like Islay’s single malts. You can also take a brewery tour at Fyne Ales up Glen Fyne. Pull up a stool at the bar and sample then savour a pint of your favourite beer and a steak pie, made with beef from the estate’s Highland cattle. Or how about making a date with FyneFest, one of Scotland’s best beer festivals.
There are some refreshing new ways to experience whisky in Argyll. Laphroaig’s Water to Whisky Experience includes a visit to Laphroaig’s water source and a chance to cut peat at the peat beds. Or how about the Ardbeg Bog Off Walk? Hike over the hills, drink in the views, have a picnic and enjoy some drams in the great outdoors. Other unique options on Islay include the Vaults Secret Tasting Tour at Bowmore and the Blenders Masterclass at Caol Ila where you can create your very own blend. At Springbank In Campbeltown book a Frank McHardy Tour and spend time in the company of the whisky legend himself. Frank will take you on a whisky history tour of Campbeltown. For a heady mix of spirit and song, don’t miss the Islay Festival of Music and Malt (Feis Ile) which offers a huge range of whisky events, tastings and experiences.
Opposite page top: The stills at Caol Ila on Islay overlooking the stunning Paps of Jura. Opposite page bottom: The ladies at Lussa Gin Distillery on Jura. Below: The Glen Scotia barrel cellar in Campbeltown. Bottom: FyneFest every June on the banks of Loch Fyne.
WHISKY, GIN AND BEER EXPERIENCES IN ARGYLL & THE ISLES WHISKY
Ardbeg Distillery, Islay www.ardbeg.com Ardnahoe Distillery, Islay www.ardnahoedistillery.com Bowmore Distillery, Islay www.bowmore.com Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay www.bruichladdich.com Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay www.bunnahabhain.com Caol Ila Distillery, Islay www.caoliladistillery.com Jura Distillery, Jura www.jurawhisky.com Kilchoman Distillery, Islay www.kilchomandistillery.com Lagavulin Laphroaig, Islay www.laphroaig.com Oban Distillery, Oban www.malts.com/en-us/distilleries/oban/ Tobermory Distillerym Mull www.tobermorydistillery.com Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown www.glenscotia.com Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown www.springbank.scot
Colonsay Gin, Colonsay www.wildthymespirits.com Lussa Gin, Jura www.lussagin.com Kintyre Gin, Kintyre www.kintyregin.com The Botanist, Islay www.bruichladdich.com Wild Island Gin, Colonsay www.wildislandgin.com White Tail Gin, Mull www.whitetailgin.com
Colonsay Brewery www.colonsaybrewery.co.uk Fyne Ales, Loch Fyne www.fyneales.com Islay Ales, Islay www.islayales.co.uk
The Whisky Shop, Oban www.whiskyshop.com Loch Fyne Whiskies, Inveraray www.lochfynewhiskies.com Argyll Vintners, Dunoon www.argyllvintners.com Fyne Malts of Inveraray www.fynemaltsofinverary.com Whisky West Coast, Tarbert www.whiskywestcoast.com The Whisky Tasting Room, Campbeltown www.whiskytastingroom.com To find out about all our whisky, gin and beer and many other festivals visit www.wildaboutargyll.co.uk/events-and-festivals WWW.KIERANJDUNCAN.COM, STEVIE MCKENNA AND LUSSA GIN
60 | It’s a Gift
Christmas ideas for those who love a tipple or two #1 BIRKEN TREE
#4 DEERNESS DISTILLERY
Pure Birchwater collected from the spring
Commence your sensory journey
sap of Scottish Highland birch trees. With
this Christmas with multi-award
a delicate softness, it enhances your spirit
winning handcrafted spirits from Orkney’s Deerness
whilst retaining the flavour and integrity of
your drink. Taste the purity of Birchwater and enjoy a traditional yet unique twist on mixers
#5 ROBERTSONS OF PITLOCHRY
for spirits. www.birkentree.co.uk
Bottled under the Robertsons brand, two Grand Final
#2 SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY
bottlings, Tobermory 9yo and
Join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and start
58.97° Latitude 9yo, are both
sharing your experiences with world’s largest
from single casks, are natural
whisky community. Membership starts from
colour, non-chill filtered and
£65 at www.smws.com
cask strength. Experience the pure taste of Scotland in
their fabulous tasting room at
Design your own whisky hamper with Dewar’s
Robertsons of Pitlochry.
Aberfeldy Distillery. Deliveries (UK only) until 19
December. Shop open until 21 December. Over
18s only. Tel: 01887 822010. www.dewarsaberfeldydistillery.com
Cask and Still Magazine | 61
#6 AMBER GLEN
winning Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has a fine
Acclaimed by some of the most influential drinks
portfolio of blended scotch which was first released
trade specialists and connoisseurs, multi-award-
to discerning drinkers as far back as 1864. Their
winning, mellow and aromatic Amber Glen Blended
21-year old Black Bull picked up a Gold at this year’s
Scotch Whisky is also accredited to be gluten-free.
prestigious World Whisky Awards. Available from The
Available at www.amberglen.co.uk
Spirits Embassy, priced at £59.50. www.thespiritsembassy.com
#7 AD RATTRAY Exclusive Scotch whiskies from A. D. Rattray,
bottled straight from the cask, sealed in wax and
The flagship of the BenRiach range. The 10 years
personalised with your handwritten message.
old is the tree cask matured in a combination
of bourbon, sherry and virgin oak. Aged
#8 THE GLENALLACHIE Scottish owned and managed,
for a minimum 10 years, this awardwinning Speyside single malt is fruity in style and brings a taste of toasted oak
GlenAllachie is a hidden gem nestled in
spices, green apple and dried apricots.
the heart of Speyside. The 12yo is bursting
with butterscotch, honey and raisins; the perfect dram to warm you this winter.
#12 THE VINTAGE MALT WHISKY CO
Finlaggan Old Reserve Islay Single Malt. Rich peat smoke on the nose with delicious
#9 PERSIE GIN
sweet malt and bonfire embers to swamp the tastebuds! Available in Marks & Spencers
Persie Labrador Gin is just like the breed:
and Majestic. www.vintagemaltwhisky.com
traditional, soft and warming. Fresh and playful up front with piney juniper, it settles comfortably with a long cardamom finish. £1 per bottle goes to PADS
#13 TB WATSON LTD
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Arran 10yo Gift Pack with glasses. A special edition gift pack with two nosing glasses from the award-
#10 DUNCAN TAYLOR
winning Isle of Arran Distillery. Non-chill filtered and
Based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, multi-award
natural colour. www.drambusters.com
A GIANT ROUSED FROM ITS SLUMBERS. For 15 years, this monumental malt slumbers in the finest Pedro XimĂŠnez and Oloroso sherry casks, quietly growing in stature in the darkness of our dunnage warehouses. Roused from its luxurious resting place, it is a whisky of unsurpassed elegance and complexity, with notes of dark fruits, manuka honey, rich chocolate and an enveloping velvet finish. THE GLENDRONACH. SHERRY CASK CONNOISSEURS SINCE 1826. The Glendronach is a registered trademark. ÂŠ2018 BenRiach. All rights reserved Savour with time, drink responsibly. Drinkaware.co.uk for the facts.
GlenDronach 15yo 200x245mm Ad 091018.indd 1 The BenRiach Distillery.indd 2
09/10/2018 10:47 08/11/2018 09:12:33
Loch Lomond Whiskies, The Official Spirit of The Open, has agreed a high-profile partnership with 2011 Open Champion, Darren Clarke, to promote the brand’s range of award-winning single malts across the world. Ahead of the 148th Open, when the world’s original Major returns to Northern Ireland next year, Clarke will work with Loch Lomond Whiskies’ Master Blender, Michael Henry, to create The Open Course Collection: Royal Portrush Edition. The Royal Portrush Edition will be a 19-year old Single Malt and
ARDSHIEL HOTEL A perfect location whether you are golfing, visiting local distilleries or exploring Kintyre
will go on sale in early 2019. www.lochlomondwhiskies.com
and the surrounding islands. Ardshiel’s restaurant and bar are open daily to nonresidents. They serve teas, coffees, lunch and dinner. You’ll find over 700 whiskies and a great range of Scottish gins, wines, ales and craft beers. www.ardshiel.co.uk
WESTER SPIRIT CO.
This November, Wester Spirit Co. are thrilled to announce the opening of a brand new, innovative rum distillery combining the latest technology with the timelessness of a quality rum. Wester Spirit Co. are rekindling traditional rum distillation in Glasgow to create a truly unique premium spirit elevated through adventurous and modern techniques. The first rum distillery to open in the city of Glasgow in over 300 years, Wester Spirit Distillery is located in the hive of Partick, a natural home for a distinctive and creative brand to reside amongst the vibrant eclectic mix of bars and eateries, further enhancing the city’s night-time offering. www.westerspirit.com
CS08 Janice News.indd 59
62 | The tale of tonic
In the beginning: Our story starts in 17th century Peru.
Written by Federica Stefani
CS08 Gin Feature Tonic.indd 62
Cask and Still Magazine | 63 >>>
quinine was first discovered by spanish settlers in 17th century peru
The perfect accompaniment to mother’s ruin, we look back at how tonic became gin’s best friend
ith a gin revival taking hold of pubs and retailers all across the UK, it is little wonder that the spotlight is now shining brightly on its closest friend, namely tonic water. If you are going to spend in excess of £40 on a bottle of lovingly-produced small-batch gin, what accompanies it is suddenly assuming a far greater importance. The origins of this quintessentially British drink, the G&T (aka the Highball) go back to the Age of Empire, when Europe was slicing up the world, and speciﬁcally to when the Spanish Conquistadors took over South America. Quinine – tonic water’s main component and the one
CS08 Gin Feature Tonic.indd 63
providing the characteristic bitter ﬂavour – was ﬁrst discovered by Spanish settlers in 17th century Peru, when a remedy to malaria was found from extracting the bark of the quinaquina tree. There are different stories on how the cure was brought back to the Old Continent, one suggesting that it was the Countess of Chinchon, the wife of the Peruvian viceroy, who brought the precious tree, which, in honour of the countess, took the name of chinchona tree in Europe. Another version ascribes the discovery to a Jesuite expedition. The exact truth is lost in the mists of time, but there’s little doubt that tonic water came from Peru. About a century after the introduction of quinaquina on the European marketplace,
64 | The tale of tonic TONIC WATER BRANDS
Fever Tree produces six different variants of tonic water, each one made with ingredients coming from different and often remote corners of the world.
A historic English brand which started its business over 100 years ago producing ginger beer. They now offer five different variants of tonic water.
two French scientists managed to isolate the most effective medical compound, quinine, eventually starting up a factory to produce the drug and sell it across the globe. This remedy became particularly popular in the British colonies in India, although its bitter taste remained a barrier to its wide spread adoption. As ever, this is where – as in so many spheres – the ingenuity of military men proved decisive. A group of oﬃcers of the British Army in India decided to try and mix quinine with gin, sugar, water, and lime – et voila, the gin and tonic was (almost) born. The drink quickly evolved, with sweetened tonic water and the introduction of carbonated water creating the popular drink we know today. With India in fashion, as the Nabobs and army oﬃcers started returning from the billets in the Raj, the cult of the G&T spread ﬁrst to Britain and from there to the rest of the Empire.. Tonic water lost its medicinal role long ago, due in part to the fact that its side effects led to a ban of quinine doses of more than 0.01grams per litre of liquid. Although it still might be useful for speeding up the metabolism and easing cramps, there are now more effective remedies to
malaria, the disease whose effects on Colonists kick-started its popularity. Despite the loss of its status as a healthperpetuating elixir, tonic water has continued to go from strength to strength through its partnership with gin. There have, however, been increasing efforts to adapt it to the modern palate. At ﬁrst, in order to soothe the bitterness of quinine, the main brands started adding artiﬁcial sweeteners to try and make it more appealing. The strong taste given to tonic water had the result of overpowering gin, which was not a huge loss when what was being served up was a particularly low-quality spirit. But with the gin industry developing a stronger sensibility towards the product and customers now taking a far greater interest in the nuances of their expensive artisan gin’s ﬂavouring, demand has grown for tonics that enhance rather than swamp the properties of the spirit. More and more brands have been trying to create a more neutral, natural tonic water to better match boutique gins, and with two thirds of the world’s gin now made in Scotland it is no surprise that several Scottish companies have been in the vanguard. One such company is Summerhouse Drinks, a farm diversiﬁcation
In the beginning: Quinine was originally administered to prevent malaria.
Formerly known as Robb Brothers, this family-run business sells a simple, clean tonic water with a hint of vanilla and citrus that allows the gin’s flavour to remain the star in the glass.
CS08 Gin Feature Tonic.indd 64
Cask and Still Magazine | 65 >>>
The go-to: Many people opt for Indian tonic water.
TONIC WATER BRANDS
SUMMERHOUSE WALTER GREGOR’S Based on a farm, Summerhouse drinks sources ingredients locally and keeps hold of the whole production process.
located in Pitsligo on the Moray Firth. They released their Walter Gregor Tonic Water, an all-natural, handmade product, in 2015. ‘Walter was the Victorian minister in our parish, and many of the herbs we used to create our tonic water were grown in his old garden’, said Claire Rennie, Summerhouse’s Head of Fizz. ‘What is special about the tonic is that we do everything ourselves from making to bottling. We use Scottish water, British sugar and all the botanicals are as local as possible. All the ﬂavours come from those fresh botanicals, there are no essences or other artiﬁcial components to it. ‘We also use natural quinine that we purchase from Germany, as there are few factories in the world that extract it and sell it.’ With its carbonation levels and speciﬁc botanic composition, Walter Gregor is a loyal companion to a coastal or dry gin, but Summerhouse are not alone in the quest for ﬂavours enhancing the spirit in the drink. Fever Tree and Fentiman’s, the ﬁrst brands to challenge the ubiquitous Schweppes, have been outrageously successful, with the Fever Tree brand now worth £600m despite
only launching in 2004, but now Scottish brands such as Bon Accord, Cooshie Doo and Just The Tonic are joining Summerhouse in producing tonics that better harmonise with gin’s notes. There are huge variations: Cooshie Doo, for example, contains no quinine at all, while Fever Tree has so much sugar in it that it is far less strident than most tonics. ‘Different gins have different botanical aspects coming through, so different gins work better with different ﬂavours,’ said Nicole Richardson, of Edinburgh gin bar Heads and Tails. ‘Ideally, you should do it with one part gin to two parts tonic. Sometimes it does overpower it a little bit, but the tonics that are more natural and don’t have that much added sweetness to them work really well because they are nice, clean and crisp – you don’t need that artiﬁcial sweetness in your tonic.’ It’s easy then to spot the difference between a highly sugary tonic and a natural one: your gin will thank you, and so will your taste buds. But, in the end, practice makes perfect: keep sampling different combos and eventually you will ﬁnd the ideal T to your G.
ideally you should mix one part gin to two parts tonic
CS08 Gin Feature Tonic.indd 65
BTW’s aim is to reproduce as much as possible the original taste of tonic, therefore giving space for all of the gin’s flavours to open up in the glass.
A venture of Japanese spirit giant Suntory. The resulting product is a range of seven different tonic waters, created to be paired with aged spirits.
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Cask and Still Magazine | 67
New for 2018 a London Dry gin from Whyte & MacKay. NOSE: Super-crisp, fresh and very dry, making for an ideal G&T gin. PALATE: Citrus fruits upfront
HILLS & HARBOUR 39
complimented by juniper.
FINISH: Plenty of lovely
This is a small batch gin that really is all about
rooty notes and soft
provenance and quality.
peppery notes with just a hint
NOSE: Soft coastal aromas mixing seamlessly with the
resinous notes of fir trees. PALATE: The palate is full-flavoured with tropical fruit flavours. FINISH: Key botanicals are bladderwrack seaweed from the Galloway coast, noble fir from the hills surrounding the distillery, mango to add a depth and sweetness, and peppercorns to tie everything together beautifully.
KINRARA GIN 40
A classical juniperled gin from the heart of the Cairngorms. NOSE: Initially floral on the nose and then opening up into sweeter notes of rosehip, rosemary and heather. PALATE: The palate is dry and so very fresh with juniper, thyme, sweet pear and a hint of quince. FINISH: Fresh oranges and a suggestion of fresh mint leaves on the finish.
WHISKY AND SPIRITS BUYER, WOODWINTERS WINES AND WHISKIES, 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. Here Shane recommends three delicious gins...
68 | Spirit Level
the lovable rogue A spirit once shrouded in notoriety, absinthe has staged a remarkable comeback, says Brooke Magnanti
LOCH NESS DISTILLERY PHOTO: SCOTT-MOONEY
Cask and Still Magazine | 69 WORTH A LOOK
he lady with the wild black hair and eyeliner to match sidled up to me as I shelved books. ‘I hear you’re going to Europe,’ she hissed in my ear. It was the late1990s, I was working part-time in an independent bookshop in Santa Fe, and she had heard correctly. ‘Bring me back a bottle of absinthe and I’ll give you enough money to keep one for yourself.’ Who was I to refuse? After all, I was then but an aspiring writer. How could anyone resist a drink beloved of Byron, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Proust, and Hemingway? Back then it still had the frisson of danger. Markets in Eastern Europe had begun importing a Bohemian version of the notorious spirit via Scotland to the wider UK. Hollywood stars waxed lyrical about its mind-altering properties in the pages of glossy magazines. And I’ve never been one to turn down a drink. So the lady got her bottle, and I got mine. Absinthe takes its allegedly hallucinogenic properties (for these have never been conclusively proven) from Artemisia absinthium, the grand wormwood, itself named for the Greek goddess of the hunt, among whose talents were the relief of menstrual and childbirth pain. The ﬁrst recorded use of wormwood as a medicine is in the Ebers Papyrus, which dates from 1500 BC and contains some 700 known remedies of the time. In the 1st century BC Lucretius notes it was given with honey to children, the honey being necessary to make the drink palatable. That, as much as its purported effect, is what beguiles about this (usually faintly green) drink. The ritual. The mixing with sugar and iced water, dripping from an elegant Art Nouveau
fountain. The burning of sugar on a dedicated, slotted spoon. The lamp-like bulb of the bottom of an absinthe glass, tapered to ﬁt between the ﬁngers. We have Dr Pierre Ordinaire and his son-in-law Henry-Louis Pernod to thank for bringing the drink to wider 19th century Europe. Marketed to French troops as a malaria remedy, it later spread as a popular libation. Perhaps the most famous, and one of the earliest, modern cocktails – the classic New Orleans cocktail Sazerac – included absinthe in its recipe until the drink was banned in the US in 1912. (Herbsaint liqueur is now more often substituted.) America was far from the only country gripped by a moral panic over la Fee Verte. The Netherlands and Switzerland had already declared the spirit illegal; France followed suit in 1914. In Scotland, Spain, and Portugal absinthe was never banned, but the widespread hysteria stamped down on both demand and production for almost a century until the 1990s, and the inﬂux from the East. This was rapidly followed by new distilleries in France and elsewhere, and by the mid-Noughties, absinthe was literally and ﬁguratively everywhere. So it is ﬁtting perhaps that Scotland now sees its own absinthe verte production in the form of Murmichan, named for ‘a wicked faerie’ of Cairngorm legend and ﬂavoured with local botanicals. Not to be outdone, Loch Ness distillery has released an elegant absinthe blanche in a limited edition bottling. As has been shown in the vigorous gin sector, Scotland’s cultivated and foraged herbs are world-class additions to many spirits. Whether imbibing either will summon spirits from the netherworld is yet to be determined – these days, I am satisﬁed enough to summon spirits from my trusty booze cupboard. Slàinte!
TWO BIRDS ABSINTHE
Produced in Market Harborough in Leicestershire. If you’re feeling brave you can sip this neat, or add iced spring water and a sugar cube. Add it to a glass of bubbles for an attractive green fizzy treat.
This amber-coloured absinthe is made from rose petals in Dorking. The flavour profile is anise, followed by woodland meadow with a delicate rose finish.
ADNAMS ABSINTHE VERTE
Made by Southwoldbased brewer and distiller this absinthe is made to a classic French recipe and is the ideal cocktail ingredient. Or stick with the classic water and sugar.
70 | Digital drams
3.THE WHISKY VAULT
Ralfy is a veteran of whisky
A Dutch couple with a serious
Two Austin-based vloggers
vlogging. His YouTube channel
thirst for drams and travels,
going through the boozy
is loaded with more than 700
Thomas and Ansgar Speller
treasures hidden inside the
reviews on whisky and other
run a colourful blog full of
Vaults (a collection originally
spirits with some thematic
engaging stories and beautiful
gathered for the use of
insights. Have a look here for
pictures. The perfect blend for
sommelier students from the
some amusing and
wanderers and whisky lovers.
local Whisky Marketing School).
Fresh, fun and insightful. AUSTINWHISKYVAULT.COM
DRAMS Find plenty of inspiration for your next dram by taking a look at these vloggers and bloggers Written by Federica Stefani
Cask and Still Magazine | 71 >>>
Who said that whisky has to be
Not a blog but a project on
totally serious?Many fans of the
Twitter and Instagram started by
drink are keen to maximise the
whisky journalist Becky Paskin
enjoyment factor. Blogger Serge
and malt ambassador Georgie
sure knows how to have fun
Bell to overcome the â€˜whisky-
with his drams. Take a look at
drinkerâ€™ stereotype. An inspiring
his latest posts for some
collection of photos, quotes and
bloggerserge knowshow tohavefun withhis drams
72 | Digital Drams-
Who would have guessed that
From Austria with malt – this is
storm troopers loved Scotch
an entertaining miscellany of
too? This Star Wars geek found
tasting notes, travels and other
out that action figures and malt
interesting features that has
bottles make for great images
recently celebrated its
when coupled together.
ahilariousand irreverenttake ontheworldof whisky
9.WHISKY WEDNESDAY Every Wednesday brings a new review. If you fancy some jazzy vibes while sipping a new dram, then this is the vlog for you. Good picks in a good bar. @WHISKYTUBE
8.SPIRITED MATTERS Whisky writer Billy Abbott talks about whisky, beer and spirits. Reviews, tasting notes and experiments. SPIRITEDMATTERS.COM
10.AMATEUR DRAMMER A match made in heaven, whisky and cigars have had a long, happy relationship. Amateur drammer serves news and tips on both parties. Check out his blog for reviews and musings. AMATEURDRAMMER.COM
Cask and Still Magazine | 73 >>>
11.BEST SHOT WHISKY REVIEWS A proudly independent whisky reviewer, focused on honesty and personal experiences with detailed tasting notes.
12.WHISKY ARCH This blog would bring joy to any design enthusiast. Peat, Finn and Neat have combined architecture and design with whisky reviews, facts and stories.
An independent blog for those who enjoy having a wee laugh with their glass. A hilarious and irreverent take on the world of whisky and all those involved in it. WHISKYSPONGE.COM
Canadian blogger Alwynne Gwilt started Miss Whisky to unveil the unexpected female contribution to the world of whisky, both in producing and consuming the amber nectar. Whisky ain’t a boy’s game anymore. MISSWHISKY.COM
15.WHISKY GEEKS A bridge between Scotland and whisky-loving Singapore, Whisky Geeks was born to share the love for malt and explain the infinite knowledge to newcomers, with cross-continental appeal. WHISKYGEEKS.SG
Whisky? See the latest issue of Cask & Still magazine and previous issues for free at issuu.com/caskstillmagazine
Visit our website: www.caskandstillmagazine.co.uk C&S House Ad.indd 74
Cask and Still Magazine | 75
16.THE WHISKEY JUG This blog is a journey through whiskies from all across the world, providing quite a few fancy cocktail recipes too. Good for travel addicts and taking the fun beyond plain drams. THEWHISKEYJUG.COM
19.THE WHISKY CORNER Kirsty Clarke and Stewart Craigon met through a whisky club before setting up their own blog featuring an explanatory section on whisky distilling, interviews, reviews and awards. WHISKYCORNER.CO.UK
17.WHISKEY ENTHUSIASTS A good combo of online articles and video reviews, born from a group of friends and whisky aficionados offering different angles on the world of whisky. WHISKEYENTHUSIASTS.COM
18.SCOTCH NOOB What was once the window for a newbie to the malts world has turned into a rich bank of reviews. Scotch Noob uses an interesting scoring system to navigate the various entries, ranging from Avoid to Must Haves. SCOTCHNOOB.COM
Scotchnoobuses aninteresting scoringsystem tonavigatethe whiskies
Finnish writer and whisky lover Johannes Lindblom pairs his reviews with a healthy amount of movie references, so if you are a cinephile then this is the page for you. Beer also has its own wee space in the blog. WHISKYRANT.COM
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n Cask and Still Magazine | 77
BARREL The north east of Scotland has become the epi-centre of Scotland’s burgeoning craft beer industry Written by David Austin
verywhere you go there are new craft breweries offering everything from classically brewed ales re-incarnated for the here and now to headthumping brews with big ABVs and heavy hops. Our palates have expanded to accommodate them and our beer horizons widened in salute. More and more retailers are expanding their range, picking up on new beers and producers, hoping to unearth the next Brewdog. These punk producers’ groundbreaking approach to beer production and marketing has seen them grow at such a rate it’s diﬃcult to see anyone else getting anywhere near. But that never stopped anyone trying did it? I recently took a trip to Aberdeen to check out the craft beer scene and see what effect the presence of Brewdog and others has had on the north east. After all this is where it all started and where Brewdog established their ﬁrst bar on the Gallowgate in 2010, not far from their Fraserburgh brewery. The bar is still going strong and was recently joined by a second on Castlegate at the end of Union Street, complete with craft beer shop. With Aberdeen’s large student population it’s easy to see why it was such an immediate hit. Six Degrees North, who originally began brewing in Stonehaven, opened their bar on Littlejohn Street and boast a jaw-dropping range of beers on tap and bottle, approximately 350 if you ﬁnd yourself with a thirst. Inspired by Belgian beers they also have a tasting room if you want
Our palates have now expanded to accommodate headthumping brews with big ABVs and heavy hops
to get really serious. Their success has meant a move to Laurencekirk, where the beers are now produced, but their bars can also be found in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as in their spiritual home of Stonehaven. CASC on Stirling Street have the answer. They combine a great range of ales with a walk-in humidor full of Cuban cigars, great siphon-brewed coffee and perhaps the best range of malt whiskies anywhere in the granite city. Recently opened is the Craftsman Company on Guild Street, who specialise in promoting local beers, which they serve up alongside great coffee and quirky artisan products. Brewdog was no doubt the catalyst but now the new kids on the block are making a splash. Fierce brewery opened in 2016 and has gone on to quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Boasting a range of intensely ﬂavoured hopped beers to fruit beers and daring ﬂavours such as Thai curry and coconut porter these radical brewers are stretching the beer boundaries with style. The latest brewer is Stoatcraft Revolutionary Beers run by Kieran Wall, who has abandoned the oil industry in favour of craft beer. Like most craft brewers, Kieran began with a homebrew kit, busily honing his craft and experimenting with ﬂavours, hops and malts to create his own style. The north east has much to draw the craft beer hunter and surely has many more great beers to come.
78 | Connoisseurâ€™s Selection
Beers WINDSWEPT BLONDE PALE ALE 2.85
SELECTED BY MARK
A light, refreshing easy drinking ale with citrus, fruity notes and a crisp bitter finish. Incredibly smooth, this is an ideal thirst quencher. Enjoy with fish and chips, chicken, BBQs, and sharp cheddars.
SPEY VALLEY LAGER 1814 2.25
SELECTED BY MARK
Homage to the famous Thomas Telford bridge in Craigellachie, which bridged the divide across the River Spey from 1814. Pilsner-style lager made with Speyside water, Pilsner yeast strain, light floral hop character, faint lemon, light and sweet.
KEEPER OF THE LYCHEES, WANDER BEYOND BREWING 6
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
This Manchester-based brewery continues to excite with this sour IPA. Dry hopped with a generous amount of spicy Chinook and fermented on lychees, all wrapped up in original, quirky artwork.
Cask and Still Magazine | 79
MANGO LASSI HEATHEN, NORTHERN MONK 5.60
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
Sour IPA from the folks at Northern Monk, this is an even fruitier twist on their original Heathen IPA, infused with mangos and lactose to create a mellow, creamy brew livened up by tangy pineapple notes.
RETAIL SALES MANAGAER, GORDON & MACPHAIL, ELGIN
WINDSWEPT WEIZEN BEER 2.85
Responsible for running Elgin’s flagship whisky shop, Mark selects the G&M Retail Exclusive range, organises Spirit of Speyside tastings and judges the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.
SELECTED BY MARK
A cloudy wheat beer, bursting with gentle notes of bananas and caramel. Banana flavours in beer are caused by a class of chemical compounds called esters, in this case, isoamyl acetate which is produced by the yeast used to ferment the beer.
SWIMMING GIANTS, BURNT MILL 5.85
SELECTED BY ARCHIE
Unfiltered and bold from rural Suffolk and brewed in collaboration with Finback Brewery, NYC, this DIPA is heavily hopped, deep hazy peach and well balanced with tropical fruit and pine notes and a creamy, smooth finish.
MANAGER, LUVIANS BOTTLE SHOP, ST ANDREWS
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 he chooses beers...
80 | Whisky events guide
Warm up your winter and celebrate the water of life at one or more of these whisky events
Maker’s Mark Masterclass 21 NOVEMBER 2018 Celebrate the launch of Private Select, a new cask strength bourbon by Maker’s Mark in the Forth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. www.harveynichols.com Spirit of North Hop 24 NOVEMBER 2018 Get into the spirit at the City Quay Suite and Marquee at Dundee’s Apex Hotel. Sample some whiskies, cocktails and buy a bottle to take home. www.northhop.co.uk Drambusters Whisky Festival 24 NOVEMBER 2018 Celebrate the water of life by meeting the makers and learning all about whisky at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries. www.drambusters.com Tomatin Christmas Fair 1 DECEMBER 2018 Visit the Tomatin distillery, just north of Inverness for a day of festive cheer, with free tours and the chance to buy a range of gifts from the distillery as well as from a range of craft and food suppliers. www.tomatin.com
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Open Heart, Open House Societyâ€™s Christmas Market 9 DECEMBER 2018 Enjoy a dram on arrival and whisky masterclasses at the SMWS at 28 Queen Street in Edinburgh. The perfect opportunity to pick up a gift for the whisky lover in your life. www.smws.com Britannia Burns Supper 25 & 26 JANUARY 2019 Celebrate our bard in style on the Royal Yacht in Leith. Enjoy an unforgettable Scottish experience with a traditional supper, Scottish music and a whisky tasting in the State Drawing Room. www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk The National Whisky Festival 26 JANUARY 2019 Head to Studio Warehouse at 100 Eastvale Place in Paisley to enjoy 40 stands offering drams from around the world as well as food from local restaurants and live music. www.nationalwhiskyfestival.scot Fife Whisky Festival 8 - 10 MARCH 2019 Over 30 distilleries and independent bottlers all under one roof in the Cupar Corn Exchange. www.fifewhiskyfestival.com Whisky Live London 29 - 30 MARCH 2019 An international whisky experience at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of London. www.whiskylive.com Inverness Whisky & Gin Festival Big Day Out 13 APRIL 2019 Discover the spirit of Scotland at Bogbain Farm near Inverness. Food, music, tastings and a good helping of craic are on the menu. www.invernesswhiskygin.com
82 | Whisky in Italy
named Edoardo Giaccone – also known as ‘Il Baffo’ or The Moustache – opened a new whisky bar and it was a success. After him, many other people started collecting special bottlings of whisky, which really brought single malt under the spotlight. Prior to this it had been all about blended whisky.
Whisky writer, author and Milano Whisky Festival co-founder Davide Terziotti shares the Italian passion for single malt My ﬁrst encounter with whisky was more than 25 years ago when I was travelling around Europe by train. When I visited my ﬁrst distillery, Glen Ord, I fell in love with whisky and I tried to learn more about it and started looking for particular bottlings. Almost ten years ago, I created the ﬁrst Italian blog about whisky and spirits, angelshare.it, because at that time there was no information available on the web in Italian. From there, I started meeting other people within the whisky community and, through the communication channels opened up by the web and social media, I found out that Italy, surprisingly, is one of the most important markets for whisky in the world, especially for single malt. We discovered a long tradition surrounding whisky in Italy with some very important collectors and bottlers, like Giorgio D’Ambrosio and Nadi Fiori, and eventually I realised that we had a treasure in our own backyard. The ﬁrst whisky bar in Italy opened in 1958, not long after the Second World War, so the country was still struggling. But a guy from Lake Garda
There was a break during the 1980s when people stopped drinking whisky socially and different spirits were served in bars. It gained a reputation as a spirit for old men. But times have changed since then. Now the whisky scene is booming and as well as historical places we have lots of new venues which are increasing the number of expressions on the menu. With my friend Claudio we founded Whisky Club Italia about four years ago. It’s not the classic whisky club with leather sofas, but more of a modern way to bring people together. We now have about 7,000 members around Italy. I co-founded the Milan Whisky Festival which is now in its 13th year. I remember when we ﬁrst started, and we had around 30 or 40 people attend. Now the numbers are more than 5,000 and it’s still growing every year. Around 70% of the people attending the festival are under 35, so I think we are in a good period for the festival and for whisky in Italy.
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Ian Fleming's favourite whisky cocktails