Home‎ > ‎

Whiskies

Whiskies Ours and of our Hearts

Here are few favourites of ours. Of course, it’s all individual, so make your own judgment. By the way, we try to stay within a fair budget with our whisky affair …

So far, we have been happy with one limited edition under our belt. We have no large aspirations, yet we get older by a minute and number 55 offers itself. First thoughts are being bounced with Scotland … Hence, watch the space!

Our whiskies so far:
Kilchoman «50OF5» Single Cask 
Springbank «50OF5» Private Cask - Edition «55»

In between, however, we now and then will post some notes about official bottlings that are close to our tastes and our activities.



Springbank 25yo «50OF5» Private Cask 
[updated May-27, 2016]

Preparation for «Edition 55», more info coming soon ...

Springbank 50OF5  
  Kerry and Ian

Secondary Market Prices
[posted Apr-25,  2017]

Just now, first bits of information leaked about this year's edition: Every autumn, Diageo's Special Releases are carefully awaited by whisky community. It's usually somewhere between eight to ten different special bottling from Diageo's huge stable of distilleries, by any measure fantastic whiskies. Some are issued repeatedly, like Lagavulin 12yo CS, Brora, or Port Ellen. Some are one-offs (such this year's Port Dundas 52yo or Teannich 17yo).

Some of the expressions are priced fairly, like already mentioned Lagavulin or unpeated Caol Ila. Some were priced fairly - but not any longer! Diageo's Nick Morgan came with the smart idea: If some guys can flip the bottlews and charge double the sum on the secondary market, why don't we keep the margin for ourselves? Hence the incredible price hike of Broras and Port Ellens year after year. 
But why do we see these bottles on the retailers' shelves now? Port Ellen 15th or 16th edition - you can get them almost in any supermarket now!

The trouble is, that a few bottles that are flipped as described above, are just a fraction of the few thousands bottles produced. And customers, who would have bought a bottle of Brora 34yo (coming this autumn) if it were priced reasonably, will not do so when it's priced £3000.

Until now, Diageo is still congratulating themselves for a super smart idea, since the retailers have bought all the stock. It's just a matter of time, however, when the only guy buying it from Diageo will be Mr. Singh...

Note: A complete list of Special Releases introduced so far can be found here.

Diageo Special Releases 2016
Photo courtesy Diageo (Special Releases 2016)


Limited Web, Lotteries and Payments 
[posted Apr-22, 2017]

And there's one more trends [COMING SOON] 


Series en vogue
[posted Apr-21, 2017]

If you are a distillery and do not have a running series, it's like you do not exist! That's at least the impression the latest 

Glenfarclas Six Generations; Tomatin Warehouse 6 Collection and Five Virtues; Glenmorangie The Bond House No.1 Collection; Glen Garioch Renaissance; Ardbeg Day with Kelpie this year; HP Valhalla, Elements and now Keystones; ... 

Also, Glenfarclas was happy to repackage the top of their main line up, the 30 and 40yo expressions, hiding the bottles in wooden crates. And they didn't forget to almost double the price on the way.


HP Fire  Glenmo 1990, Bacalta
[PHOTOS  KELPIE COMMITTEE, FIVE VIRTUES COMING SOON]

Big Peat Family
[posted Apr-21, 2017]

Douglas Laing's range of various Remarkable Regional Malts started a few years ago with the Islay blended malt called Big Peat. The yearly cask strength batches produced for Xmas  have recently been complemented by a long list of expressions aimed at various regions or events. We' have seen a version for Taiwan, Mediterranean, or Edinburgh. And we have seen expressions for Big Market in "Bärlin", for Whisky Festival Messen, for La Maision du Whisky or for the Year of Rooster.

[PHOTO XMAS 2016, MEDITERRANEAN  COMING SOON]

Spring is in the Air
[posted Apr-20, 2017]

Spring is slowly getting the upper hand, and a handful of new expressions have been introduced as well.

Sprinbank Local Barley 2017, Hazelburn 9yo Barolo and 13yo Sherry, Spice Tree Extravaganza with fresh oak inner staves cask tops, Lagavulin 1991 for charity, Kilchoman Loch Gorm and 100% Islay 2017, Wolfburn Kylver 2, Ardbeg Kelpie Committee, Arran 21st Anniversary, Kininvie 17yo Batch 2, etc. etc.
We also succeeded to swap a bottle of single cask Bruichladdich 12 yo with one of the Malt Maniacs living in the other part of the world.



Bruichladdich 12yo Kingfisher  HP Fire
[PHOTOS KILCHOMAN COMIN SOON]



BenRiach Sherry - Grab it Fast!
[posted Mar-19, 2017]

You have also been impressed by the price/performance ratio of the BenRiach 12yo Sherry, and possibly also by their older siblings 15 and 17yo?
Well, while the older two have been announced as limited editions right from the beginning, the 12yo seemed to be a stalwart in the distillery's core range.
Well, forget that! As usual after acquisitions by larger companies, many products get culled, and the 12yo Sherry cash has become one of the victims.
So, grab the remaining bottles fast! 

BenRiach Sherry


Weird Lagavulin Math
[posted Mar-10, 2017]

For many eras, distillers made to believe us that age is essential for the quality of the whisky, so that they could charge high prices.
In recent years, as the profile of their warehouse content changed, the age - suddenly - became of no importance.
When Lagavulin, celebrating 200th distillery anniversary in 2016, introduced the 8yo Limited Edition, Diageo set the price above the Lagavulin 16 - specific rounded prices at whisky.de: 54€ for the 8yo and 50€ for the 16yo.
Yupiie! Older whisky cheaper than younger one! And we expected Lagavulin to their word and
 direction. 

So, when the 25yo Limited Edition was announced, we did a quick math:

Expression Age Price [€]
Lagavulin 8yo 8 54
Lagavulin 16yo 16 50
Lagavulin 25yo 25 ??

The 16yo is by eight years older and the price is down by 4€. The 25yo is by further nine years older, so the price should land somewhere between 45-46€.
But, as you know, the price was set to 1100€!

What is the conclusion: It's all marketing bull*#%! The age will go down, often times also the quality of the liquid, yet the prices will grow!! Take it or leave it!

[PHOTO 8yo, 25yo]

Laddie Eruption
[posted Mar-8, 2017]

After Remy Cointreu had acquired Bruichladdich, and later on Jim McEwan left the distillery, we have seen a period of a merciless portfolio consolidation. A few standard editions for specialist shops, handful expressions for travel retail - and let's pump the volume up!
Hence, it may have come as a real surprise to many, when Adam Hannett announced a whole series of new expressions. Starting with the EIGHT, SECOND EDITION family (Bruichladdich TEN, PC 10yo, Octomore 10yo), Bruichladdich Sherry 25yo, Black Art 5.1, Octomore OBA, Islay Barley 2010. And we hear about Octomore 8.1 ... 

Also - and that is a great news - Bruichladdich expand their transparency crusade and after publishing the Classic Laddie recipe back in April 2016, the components of PC Scottish Barley are now disclosed as well!


Bruichalddich SECOND and [FIRST] series   Bruichladdich SECOND and [FIRST] series   Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1, 25yo Sherry

[PHOTOS OBA, IB 2010 COMING SOON]

Star Wars
[posted Mar-2, 2017]

Danish GlenDronach fans will try to convince you that there are only three bottles in their Star Wars country collection - Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda.
Fact is, the collection is complete only with the intruder from Taiwan (sorry, from Haruun Kal),
Mace Windu!

               Star Wars - Complete

Taiwan Calling
[posted Oct-21, 2016]

Taiwan has become darling of Scotch distilleries. Very large domestic market (unlike Singapore where most whisky is exported), we see more and more bottlings aimed exclusively at this country.
Besides the Balvenie Tun 1848 (complete list), we have seen this year the Highland Park Ingvar as part of the Warrior Series and the NAS entry-level The Doric by Gendronach (an alternative entry-bottling to European Hielan). 
One of the dedicated
Big Peat batches by Douglas Laing is also going to Taiwan this year.

HP Ingvar, Glendronach the Doric   [BIG PEAT/Taiwan]

Ingvar and Jim
[posted Oct-21, 2016]

Like a Swiss watch,  Ingvar Ronde and Jim Murray published their autumn must-read encyclopedias . Tons of information in the former book, and - as usually - some surprises in the latter :-)

Malt Whisky yearbook 2016, Whisky Bible 2017  Whisky Bible 2017 - 50OF5

Kilkerran Single Cask Series
[posted Apr-18, 2017]

In 2015, Kilkerran produced a series of single cask bottlings with different wood finishes, and distributed them across the globe. We succeeded to get hold of some of them.
You can find the complete list here.

Kilkerran SC - front                 Kilkerran SC - back


Busy Autumn Here Again
[updated Oct-21, 2016]

The weather is still very nice, yet the stream of new whiskies says it clearly: The season has arrived! Among the first to show up have been the small-cask experiment by Glenglassaugh/BenRiach, out-of-age Kilkerran rounding up the multiple-year WIP journey, new babies from Tomatin, Glenfiddich's experiments, yearly Special Releases by Diageo, usual Xmas Big Peat, or Nadurra in peated version.

We succeeded to get hold a bottle of Ardbeg Twenty One (waiting for us in Germany :-). And we are also waiting for the Lagavulin 25yo, first Kilchoman in Sauternes cask and second Cask Strength edition - this time in quarter casks, first rum-casked Kilchoman bottled for LMDW, etc, etc.  Very busy autumn, indeed.

So let's have a look at some:

Glenglassaugh Octaves    Kilkerran 12yo + SC  Kilkerran - WIP Journey  Tomatin 
 Glenfiddich  Special Releases 2016  Big Peat Xmas 2016  Nadurra Peated


 [ARDBEG 21,  Arran Smugglers II, Arran 21st Anniv, MACALLN No.2, MACALLAN DOBLE CASK..]


Back to Our Roots
[posted Sep-4, 2016]

Our Whisky Club started by acquiring our first own bottling, which was a five year old Kilchoman Single Cask.
Naturally, we have been following the distillery development very carefully. And, of course, we did not miss the fact that the distillery celebrated their
ten years of operation, with first casks reaching this round age back in December 2015. We did not win the one bottle auctioned on Dec-7, and have been watching carefully since, when other bottles over ten years might hit the market. 

10yo
The Feis Ile 2016 bottling was just six months short of it (big thanks to George to get one for us). 
However, the single cask bottled  for "Pedigree Chums of Durham" made it! And thanks to John and Derek, we finally could get a bottle :-)
10yo was also Stuart Wilson's stolen private cask; no, we do not have those bottles. 
And 10yo was the one bottle from the CAsk No.1 auctioned in December 2015.

If the distillery keep their pattern of producing the Vintage releases, we should see an official 10yo in 2021 with the Vintage 2011.

Kilchoman bottles

Woods
On the wood side, we have seen some 'firsts' in terms of barrels not used before with Kilchoman. 
After the Club bottling in 2015, we have seen a full-scale edition of the Sauternes cask (also bringing first time Robert Bignal's signature on the bottle's label).
A Quarter Cask expression (in cask strength) has been brought to marekt.
The Wine Boutique Franks on Malta got Guze and Primus casks, both types of local fortified wine by Marsovin).
La Maison du Whisky got Caroni rum finish (see below).

Kilchoman     Kilchoman Guze  [PHOTO PRIMUS]

LMDW 60
[posted Apr-18, 2017]

La Maison du Whisky celebrates its 60th Anniversary. And it does so in great style, using it's unique position on the largest single malt whisky market in the world (yes, France). 
LMDW has arranged for single cask bottlings from many different distilleries across the globe to mark this occasion. And it also published a beautiful catalog of all those - some of them extremely rare - bottles.
Here are photos of a few of them. Some bottles might be avail;able yet, check LMDW's website.


CB  Whisky de Table  Kilchoman Caroni  Amrut 12yo, Rye

[PHOTO WOLFBURN COMING SOON]

Amrut 12yo Greedy Angels is so far the oldest expression produced by this Bangalore-based distillery that suffers from as much as 12% angel's share every year. It follows after the 8yo and 10yo versions produced in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Just 100 numbered bottles have been produced, nrs 1-60 going to LMDW (who engraved the additional 60th Anniversary logo onto the bottles)



LMDW 60 Catalog   
Note: The catalog is - in our humble opinion - 
one of the most beautiful whisky tomes (numbered!) ever published. 
Make sure you at least browse through the online version.

ATALOG]



Six Pillars, Five Keystones
[posted Sep-4, 2016]

Not sure how creative is the Edrington's marketing department: Having developed the Macallan - Six Pillars story for Macallan, they now come with Five Keystones for Highland Park. And to support the story, five corresponding limited editions have been announced. The first edition celebrating the Hobbister Moor, which provides HP's 4000 year old peat, was introduced on August 15 in distillery's web shop, and sold within half an hour. We were lucky to get thru the crashing webshop and get hold of a bottle :-)

HP Hobbister

Tun, Tun, Tun
[posted Aug-14, 2016]

The Tun show by David Stewart goes on, these are first releases after he was awarded the MBE! Almost simultaneously, Batch 3 of the globally distributed Balvenie Tun 1509 and Batch 5 of the Tun 1848 for Taiwan were made available. And the Tun 1509 comes again with a wealth of visualized information about the selected casks.

You can view the complete list of the Tun releases here.
Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 3 + BalvenieTun 1848 Batch 3

Profiles of the first three batches from the Tun 1509:
Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 1,2,3

Ten Whiskies to Try before You --- Marry!
[posted Aug-01, 2016]

There's thousands and thousands of different types of whiskies on the market. And you have just a few months (or maybe only weeks) to decide which ones not to miss! Here is our completely subjective (alphabetical) list what to look for, while staying within your wedding budget :-)
If you cannot get the very expression, ask the barman for the Alternative. And we allowed the list to grow a bit to give you some flexibility :-)
Slàinte mhath!
  • Amrut Fusion  - what a richness you can get with a fast maturation (in Bangalore) 
  • Ardbeg Supernova – the first one in 2009 – one of most peated whiskies, A: Octomore - any expression (Orpheus is phenomenal)
  • Balvenie 12yo DoubleWood - first double matured whisky ever (by David Stewart), it keeps on satisfying! A: 17yo DoubleWood
  • BenRiach 12yo Sherry Matured – you like sherried whiskies -- here you go with a very fair price; A: GlenDronach 15yo, 16yo or 18yo 
  • Big Peat – great vat of Islay peaty whiskies; and if 46% is not enough for you, go for the Cask Strength version produced for Xmas (V)
  • Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten  - balanced, great price/performance, A: Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie
  • Chivas Revolve - who said whisky cannot taste like a great cognac? A: Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask (with rum finish)
  • Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary – for all those who believe Glenfiddich is boring (because it is ubiquitous?); A: Glenfiddich 18yo
  • Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or – best combination with sweet Sauternes casks; A: Glenmorangie 18yo
  • Grant’s Ale Cask - for all beer lovers, this is it!
  • Highland Park 18yo - stunning richness. A: HP 15yo or 21yo
  • Kilchoman Loch Gorm - double-maturing peated whiskies is a tricky endeavour - this one works beautifully
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition – amazing art of maturation finish in a different cask; A: Talisker Distillers Edition
  • Redbreast 12yo – mellow, balanced, smooth, rich – forget Jameson, forget Tullamore! A: Readbrest Cask Strength, Redbreast 15yo
  • Talisker 18yo - peated whisky in its best; A: Talisker 57° North, Lagavulin 16yo
  • Tomatin 14yo Port - probably the best port-finished whisky; A: Balvenie 21yo Portwood (more expensive!)
  • Wolfburn - first official release by a new distillery (will be called Northland later) - try how a 3yo whisky can taste

Brexit by W.Grant
[posted Aug-14, 2016]

The Brexit referendum took place on June 23, 2016. However, there are strong indications that W.Grant and Sons knew about what was coming almost a year earlier!
Hence, when faced with the challenge how to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Kininvie distillery, the youngest and smallest in their stable, they decided to bottle a separate cask for UK and a different one for "the Continent". We talk about the liquid distilled on the very first day of distillery's operation on July 4, 1990. And the casks selected are #20 for Europe without UK, and #21 for UK.
And to round the things up, a third cask was bottled and shipped to Taiwan, Scotch whisky industry's darling on the Asian market. 

After some real effort, we succeeded to bring one of the Taiwanese bottles back to EU :-)
(Out initial note about Kininvie 'the first drops' here.)
Kininvie 25yo Cask #8   Kinivie 25yo Cask #8

And for reference, here are all the three casks of 'the first drops' edition:
Kininvie 25yo - 3 casks


Find Ten Tricks

[posted Jul-26, 2016]

The Find Ten Differences section below inspired a discussion about what tricks distillers use to get improve their margin. We idealize the whisky industry for we like the product, yet it is a cut-throat industry like any other part of the food and beverages branch. As first food for thought, we position the replacement - so far in Travel Retail only - of the Glenmorangie's 12yo cask-finish line up (Lasanta, Nectar d'Or, Quinta Ruban) with The Legends series. 

Let us know your thoughts via the Contact page.


First pieces of feedback are here: 
  • NAS (vs 12yo) - lower production costs 
  • yet -- higher prices than the previous range
  • NAS - "ignorance is strength" - keeping customers in the dark is what has been deployed by financial industry very successfully
  • Tarlogan bottle is just 0.7 liter (vs. 1 litre)
  • Virgin Oak applied to speed up maturation
  • ...

Glenmorangie The Legends      Glenmorangie DuthacGlenmorangie TayneGlenmorangie Tarlogan

Elusive Malt
[posted Jul-28, 2016]

It's not a new edition!
It probably even is it any special bottling!  (Even if, four our Club, every Kilchoman bottling is special ;-)
Yet we decided to give it a separate chapter in our list.

We talk about Saligo Bay. It was introduced about in 2015 as second Kilchoman bottling for Travel retail, primarily for Scandinavia. And despite travelling ourselves and bribing friends to look for it, we simply could not get hold of it. We event started to believe it's a marketing trick by the Wills clan!

Now, we are happy to confirm it exists! 
Kilchoman Saligo Bay   Kilchoman Saligo Bay - cartons

Summer is here
[posted Jun-21, 2016]

The longest day (on the northern hemisphere) has arrived, and with it a few new whiskies.

The newest NAS from Talisker, Neist Point, is priced very aggressively (prices range widely, so beware where you buy).  The replacement of Glenmo's 12yo range has been completed with The Legends Trio, at least in the Travel Retail.

Glengyle Distillery repeated last yer's Open Day bottling (this time a full-size 0.7l bottle). 
And Glenlivet decided to repeat the clandestine Alpha story with the Cipher bottling (apparently from the Da Vinci Code novel!)

Neist Point, Tayne  Kilkerran open Day 2016  Cipher
With the delay of our Innaugural bottling, we could pronounce July 17 our Wolfburn day! Both the Innaugural and the Kylver hit our mailbox!
(The first standard edition - 
see below - will be renamed to Northland in autumn, to differentiate it clearly from the upcoming sibling called Aurora!)

Wolfburn range   Wolfburn - bottles

Accompanied by Burgundy relase from Springbank, John Glaser's Enlightenment (apparently a reference to his Transparency campaign), first of the Selected Casks in the new Johnnie Walker series, and second - also limited release of Scallywag Cask Stregth.
And we also decided to get a hold of the
Trestarig, one of Jim McEwan's experiment with multiple distillations.

Springbank Burgundy  
Enlightenment & Trestarig  
J.W. Rye & Scallywag CS2  

On the way also are
Ailsa Bay Batch 2; Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 3; and - hopefully - the long sought for Taiwanese editions of our favourite editions! 

Find Ten Differences
[updated Jul-26, 2016]

Dark Cove is the name of this year's Ardbeg bottling for the Feis Ile 2016. Once again, we would like to credit the distillery to make this bottling available across the globe (while other Islay producers force you to come over).
Besides the standard edition released at Ardbeg Night, Ardbeg also made available a cask strength version available for the Ardbeg Committee members. We are looking forward to crack the bottles open and have a chance to find the ten differences :-)

Ardbeg Dark Cove  Ardbeg Dark Cove cartons

In 2015, Kilchoman offered in a few countries a new expression called Sanaig. Now, it has been re-introduced across the globe, as it should become a companion to Machir Bay into the distillery's core range. Try and find the differences between the 2015 and 2016 bottlings :-)

Sanaig 2015 x 2016  Sanaig 205 x 2016

Spoiler: Besides cosmetic changes on the paper carton, the  major difference lies in the production process. The first, 2015 expression was a blend whiskies from bourbon and sherry casks. The 2016 version gained the sherry tones from sherry-cask finish! For 2016, the guys at Kilchoman may consider yet a different process as applied by Amrut

Ailsa Bay, the new kid on W.Grant's distillery block, has seen the issue of its second batch. You may try and find some differences to the first batch (and, regarding the stone caps, to the pre-release in Scandinavia in 2015)
Ailsa Bay Batch 1 + 2   Ailsa Bay Cap - Bacth 0,1,2


Another surprise has come from Balvenie: The 21yo PortWood expression has been a stalwart in the distillery's range, and in our opinion one of the best whiskies ever. And we still remember buying a bottle for €65. No, it wasn't in the last century. It was in 2007!! 
Now, it has been surrounded by a sibling from the Madeira world (which has been priced princely over €200). Again, you may try to find ten differences  between them :-)

Balvenie 21yo Port x Madeira

And we finally got hold of both the Travel retail and Specialists' versions of the new Glenlivet Nàdurra bottlings, the Oloroso and First Fill (NAS, course ;-).
A few months later, the same approach has been applied to the 
Nàdurra Peated.

Glenliver Nadurra  Glenlivet Nadurra Peated

Spring whiskies coming
[updated May-16, 2016]

Douglas Laing is - after the brotherly split - getting very creative with their regional vatted (sorry, blended!) malts! After the original Big Peat (including the regular Xmas Editions) made of Islay whiskies, they branched out to other islands (Rock Oyster), Speyside (Scallywag), and Highlands (Timorous Beastie). Now, they are coming with cask strength versions and with a Lowland vat as well (called The Epicurean). And a very smart marketing idea: This year we will also see Big Peat Feis Ile Edition! Now, Whisky Magazine selected them for the Brand Innovator Award 2016 ... 
Note: The Rock Qyster was created in close cooperation with the City of Doha (and its Pearl Island); the logo of the blend pay tribute to this unusual link.

Bruichladdich is coming with their usual refreshes: Islay Barley 2009, Octomore 7.4 (first virgin oak!), PC 2007 CC:01, and Laddie Eight (another aqua tin :-), expected later this year is Bere Barley 2009.
(BTW, Adam Hannett supports openly John Glaser's Transparency campaign by publishing the cask composition of the individual The Classic Laddie batches - see Laddie Recipe. We applaud this move!) 

Ailsa Bay got available in UK, too (after the initial November intro in Scandinavia - see below); 21 ppm after distillation is a real beast!



The Epicurean, Big Peat Feis Ile 2016   Rock Oyster CS  Bruichladdich Islay 2009 + Octomore 7.4 Bruich8 + PC CC:01   

Our favourite new distillery, located right out of St. Andrews, Kingsbarn, have come with their first new spirit little baby.
We also tasted the first expression from Wolfburn, and first Kilchomans of this year have arrived -  Loch Gorm, 100% Islay, and Sanaig into core range (after the last year's test).

Diageo has brought a new Lagavulin - this time unexpectedly (after the experience with Oban, Dalwhinnie or Talisker) with age statement! And the other "L" on Islay has produced a blend of variuos casks called Lore.
Completely unexpected encounter: Balvenie 21yo - but Madeira instead of Port wood!


Kingsbarn New Spirit   Kilchoman LG 2016, 100% Islay 2016  Wolfsburn  Lagavulin 8yo, Laphroaig Lore Balvenie 21yo Madeira  

The HP Valhala series has got a sibling: The first entry of the new family is Ice Age (oh, sorry - Ice Edition). Next year, it will be followed by the gift of Prometheus, Fire Edition. Then we expect Water Edition (which the bottle will also contain, and it will cost €400 a bottle). And the series will be closed in 2019 with Air Edition priced at €500. And Edrington's Marketing department will laugh their socks off! 

After the Scots and Japanese, Americans also have caught the NAS disease. Forget Elijah Craig 12yo, learn to love NAS!

Remember the Peter Arkle series of anCnoc packaging? In its footsteps comes the anCnoc blas.
HP Ice Edition  Elijah Craig 12yo  anCnoc blas

Whisky Breeding II
[posted Mar-26, 2016]

We keep on our efforts to come up with new whisky species. After the Canto Cask strain, we succeeded with another Compass Box liquid.
This time, we took another favourite from John Glaser's stable, the first in the GKS (Great King Street) blend family, the Artist's Blend. Our utmost objective is to turn the original 0.5l bottle into a full gallon! So far, we have made a small step and we will keep you informed about our progress.

GKS Artist's Blend



Discount retailer going whisky
[posted Mar-14, 2016; updated Jun-05, 2016]

After standard Clynelish 14yo offered in 2015, German retailer Hofer came with their own bottling of single cask Caol Ila, sold in Austria only! Our club members succeeded to get hold of bottles from three different casks, 311050, 311052 and 311054. The official name Gems of Scotland - Islay Single Cask gives hope that this could be a start of a new family. 
And what makes it attractive to buy whisky in such a shop? Of course price. To get a single cask Caol Ila on Austrian market, you need to shelve some 90 euro. The price tag of the Gem of Scotland was mere 40 euro!

Beginning June, surprise surprise, one more cask popped up in Hofer shop close to us. And - it was Cask 311053! hence, we will have four different casks to compare :-) 
BTW, also notice the RFID chip hidden under the label :-)

Hofer - Caol Ila
  Hofer - Caol Ila - Cask ...3    Hofer- RFID

Rainbow Cask
[posted Mar-27, 2016]

You also believe the statement that whisky is made of barley, water and yeast only? Nonsense! You can add almost whatever you want, but you have to do it through the wood!
Recently, we have seen many different ways to exploit this "loophole" in the Scotch Whisky law. You can finish your whisky in another cask; you can blend whiskies that have matured in different wood (and it doesn't stop with two types), etc., etc.

However, the Nobel Prize for creativity goes to - Amrut! Their newest expression, Spectrum, takes a very innovative approach. Why to bother with different casks, with recasking, with blending!? Let's construct a "rainbow" cask that already contains all those flavours! 
Phenomenal idea which results in a barrel assembled with staves from five different origins: Oloroso sherry, new French oak, new American oak, new Spanish oak, and PX sherry.
And, yes, the whisky started in a traditional Bourbon cask before transferred to this unique colourful vessel!

Amrut Spectrum   Amrut Spectrum - Label


Our Bragging Rights (2016 Year Start Bottles)
[updated Feb-14, 2016]

First things first: Glenfiddich brought to market - first in US, than in Europe - Brian Kinsman's attempt to mimic the original single malt. The packaging clearly states the year of introduction 1963! Which means it took William Grant's decades and decades to figure out that not blends, but single malts make whisky drinker's heart to pounce fast! 

We had this clear right from the launch of our Club, i.e. 1962And we are proud to be ahead of a company that is credited for the renaissance of single malts!

Glenfiddich The Original   Glenfiddich The Original  Glenfiddich the Original   Glenfiddich The Original  



We also got into our hands some other new expressions:
At last we got hold of the pre-Xmas Glenmorangie called A Midwinter Night's Dream available in UK only. We hear this December expression should become a tradition ...
And right afterwards, this year's Private Edition called Milsean hit the market and looks like from a sweet shop - Re-Toasted Portugese Red Wine casks sounds like a real  Lumsden alchemy!

Tomatin Contrast provides a different sort of comparison (after Tomatin Quatro and the Cu Bocan cask series). The first bottle contains whiskies out of bourbon casks from various years going back to 1970s. The other is a similar story with sherry casks. Hence, the concept sounds like Tomatin Decades.


And we also tasted one of Diageo's attempts to lure young drinkers - we chose the Boxing Hares due to the hops content (yes, we like beer :-)
We leave the verdict to you ...

Glenmorangie Midwinter    Glenmorangie Milsean    Tomatin Contrast & Boxing Hares  


Another bad news regarding NAS: Longmorn (long live the old good 15yo !) introduce a NAS version called attractively Distiller's Choice.
The 16yo should allegedly be made available later this year, but repackaged and only in some markets. And - we are keen to watch the price tag!

Our Cask Master Again
[posted Feb-13, 2016]

Last year, we reported about the fact that our club's Cask Master got "busy" with BenRiach distillery.

Again we are happy and upset at the same moment, as he also popped up on the latest Single Cask Batch (#12) introduced recently.
We appreciate his popularity, yet have protect his image. hence, we are taking necessary legal steps - and will keep you informed.

BenRiach SC   50OF5 Cask MasterBenRiach CS - Cask master

W. Grant's New Kids
[posted Dec-11, 2015]

The First Drops from the least known malt distillery owned by W.Grant are released as we speak. It really is just a few drops - cask #21 for UK; #20 for Europe (see picture), and #8 for Taiwan. The Kininvie distillery started it's operation in 1990, which means these drops are 25 years old! Unfortunately in 0.35l mini-bottles again, and quite highly priced!


Kininvie 25yo SC #20

Another news from this family business: First single malt from their industrial distillery Ailsa Bay also popped up: No Age Statement, unusual bottle shape.
And we could make one of our friends happy with this finding :-)


Ailsa Bay NAS         Ailsa Bay - V.R.


Hot Autumn
[updated Nov-29, 2015]

Many interesting new bottles popping up in 2015 autumn as we speak:
  • BenRiach Albariza and Dunder being accompanied by Latada to round up the one-off 18yo Peated trio (the most limited of them is the Dunder with just 1888 bottles)
  • Ardbeg Supernova 2015 - Dr. Lumsden's White Paper on microgravity is a must read for any young whisky connoisseur to understand how whisky wherehouses orbiting Earth will influence the final liquid in an unexpected manner - expect ...
  • Glenmorangie Microgravity Finish coming soon! (of course, No Age Statement ;-)
  • Kilchoman European Tour 2015 (bloody difficult to get, arrgh!); Vintage 2008; Madeira
  • Kilchoman Trilogy of single casks by La Maison du Whisky in Paris
  • Benromach Hermitage and Sassicaia Wood Finishes
  • Kininvie Single Casks - another upcoming trio on the block (we should have a chance to taste the European version at Whisky Life Prague in Novemeber)
  • Tomatin "Peated Quatro" - we invented this term, sorry. It reminds us of the original Tomatin Cuatro, just in the peaty disguise.
    We decided to buy the 
    Cù Bòcan quartet of Bourbon, Sherry, Virgin and the final bottling.
  • Glenfarclas 511.19s.0d - anniversary bottling to remember the price that Grants family paid for the distillery !
  • Jameson Caskmates - finished in cask after stout beer from a Cork-based brewery (sounds like Grant's Ales cask)
  • Cask strength edition of Big Peat Xmas 2015
  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked - this is "virgin oak" on steriods!
  • Octomore 7.3, aka Octomore of Octomore - Bruichladdich stick to their three-versions-a-year approach

And we grabbed a few bottles of GlenDronach 15yo Revival before it disappears, same like Laphroaig 15yo and 18yo.
We strongly recommend Potstill's 2004 Single Cask of Tomatin - just fantastic!
And - Milsean should be the name of the next baby in Glenmorangie's Private Edition line up, followoing this years' Túsail. 

Glenfarclas Potstill & £511.19s.0d  Jameson Caskmates Kilchoman European Tour 2015  Big Peat Xmas 2015  Kilchoman LMDW Trilogy  Woodford reserve Double Oaked  
BenRiach 18yo Peated Trio   Peat Monsters - Octomore 7.3 + Supernova 2015   Tomatin Cu Bocan casks


Also - let's not forget the two autumn fixtures in the whisky library plus an unusual tome from Arran:
  • Malt Whisky Yearbook (already announced for Oct-1 shipping)
  • Whisky Bible by Jim Murray
  • Arran Illicit Distillers (first book ever by Arran ever :-)
Malt Year Whisky 2016    Arran Illicit Stills I


For the events we will not miss - see the Events section.

BenRiach 10yo - Our Cask Master
[posted Aug-02, 2015]

Billy Walker and his South African colleagues were facing a unique change in the history of their company: They could introduce to the market their very first 10yo expression produced completely under their wings. A very challenging task and responsibility. Hence, they asked our cask-master to help them with the tuning of this unique liquid.
As a sign of gratitude, he is now depicted on the tube selecting the right casks for this formidable task!
(In our humble view: Taking into account his contribution, he should have been displayed much more prominently!)

Great update: This whisky has been rewarded the title Whisky of the Month (July 2015) by WhiskyExperts !!

Note: Our double-agent in the company (we call him by his real name - Donald) has made a fantastic career step and is now responsible for all the int'l sales at Loch Lomond. When asked if we should procure the whole "Cow Parade" for our Club, he quipped: "Wait, there are great things to come!" We can't wait ...

BenRiach 10yo NEWLogo 50OF5BenRiach 10yo NEW - Our man



Whisky Breeding 
[posted Aug-01, 2015]

It was a spur of he moment - We succeeded to grab the last five available bottles of the Compass Box's Canto Cask 124! Very rare breed brought to the market by the inventive John Glaser.
Apparently doomed to extinction! Or?

We decided to delve onto a seemingly lost journey to save the species of Canto Cask! To make a long story short - we seem to be on the right way!
Out of the original five bottles, we have succeeded to breed new expressions, albeit with a lower whisky-octane contents. Below you can see how far we have got with our absolutely ground-breaking method!

The rights for detailed whisky breeding method we have used have been acquired by Scientific American. As a consequence, we will be allowed to show detailed images of our Canto Cask pedigree later this year, after the publication. At the moment, we share with you the overall status of our program:

Note: Most importantly, we seem to have been lucky and identified the biggest risk element in the process. Every whisky needs time, and it is true for our method, too. And the most prominent danger comes from ourselves - we so much love the whisky that our thirst might be faster than our breeding process :-(

Whisky Breeding - Copyright <<50OF5>>


New Arrivals for Summer
[posted Jun-21, 2015]

There's a broad choice what to taste this summer! We have been pleased to be able to say 'hi' to some inspiring new expressions including, also thanks to our close friends traveling the world and being ready to carry some bottles around.

  • Ardbeg Perpetuum - Distillery and Ardbeg-Day editions
  • Kilkerran WIP-7 - again in two versions, Bourbon and Sherry - the former in Cask Strength! Accompanied by a small Rum Wood 9yo for the Open Day
    It is the last WIP edition, we will see the first official 12yo in 2016.
  • Octomore 7.1 (see 7.2 below)
  • Port Charlotte PC 12 (Travel Retail)
  • Kininvie 23yo Batch 3 (sold in UK again)
    - later this year, three versions of a Kininvie Single Cask will be introduced - we wonder if they come in 0,175l bottles ;-)
  • BenRiach Dunder - sibling of Albariza that we discovered at the Whisky Festival CZ; very few bottles produced only.
    BenRiach
    10th Anniversary seems to be sold out now.
    However, the new Benriach 10yo is available broadly with fantastic price/performance ratio - see the role of our Cask Master here
  • Large series of Kilchoman expressions: Usual yearly output of Machir Bay, Loch Gorm, 100% Islay, and the Feis Ile bottling. Complemented by the unique 10th Anniversary (3000 bottles only), Sanaig (for German market), and Saligo Bay (Travel Retail). And more coming in autumn.
  • Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 2 on the way - will it have so much info about the casks like last time?
  • White Stag - first bottling for Arran's White Stag Community (single cask yielded just 214 bottles)
  • Tamdhu Cask Strength - we like the whole new revamp of Tamdhu!

Note: With all these names like Tun 1509, 6.2, 12 and Batch 3, we feel like in computer software business, our home turf :-)

Kilkerran 
Kilchoman 10th Anniversary, Feis Ile 2015 
Perpetuum Distillery


Fruitful Spring (even before May)
[posted Apr-02, 2015]

First months of 2015 saw many new entrants, including the Arran 18yo as a successor to the younger siblings (9000 bottles only again); Tamdhu CS (called funnily Batch Strength); or Tomatin CS, the colour of which nicely matches our club's

We got hold of the four regional vats (sorry, blended malts) from the divided Douglas Laing blender: Already proven Big Peat in a line up with  Scallywag, Timorous Beast and Rock Oyster, vatting malts from Islay, Speyside, Highland and Island distilleries respectively. 

Our French friends from Islay output the "white"  Octomore 6.3 (most peated single malt so far) and Octomore 7.2, successor to the previous year's 6.2 for Travel Retail. We haven't seen the PC12 life yet, however we came across last year's PC Valinch Cask Exploration 01.

Glenmorangie brought just another NAS in the wall! Duthac is first of the newly created Legends series that is said to replace the current Travel Retail family. So another age-statement series will be replaced by more expensive NAS! Difficult to applaud!  (BTW, did you know that there was also a 15yo version of Nectar d'Or available for a short time period?)

From our Indian section: Amrut introduced their very first 10yo expression called - like the previous 8yo version - Greedy Angels.

Most importantly for us, two new Kilchomans popped up, namely Loch Gorm 2015 and Machir Bay, first time without a year statement. Looks like A. Wills starts a core range here, adding Sanaig right now.

Note: After the new Supernova SN2014 was sold out within an hour (on Moet Hennessy's website), another batch appeared at the distillery in March. Looks like the scarcity of Ardbeg is nurtured a bit artcificially :-(


Tomatin CS  Douglas Laing vats  Octomore 6.3, 7.2  Kilchoman 2015


Single Pot Still in Sherry
[posted Mar-07, 2015]

One of the poster children of the renaissance of the Irish whiskey is doubtlessly Redbreast. Members of the The Stillhouse Club have been offered a chance to acquire one of a bottle of the first ever sherry-only release, called Mano a Láhm, from the southern Ireland's distillery in Middleton. Output 2000 bottles and a very decent packaging. If the liquid is at least as good as the current expressions, we can't wait :-)

Redbreast Mano a Láhm

Glenmorangie's roll
[posted Feb-16, 2015]

In autumn 2014, the Cask Master web-sourcing project brought final results in the shape of Taghta, available from Glenmoragie's website and later from selected specialist UK shops. 

At the end of Novemeber, it was followed by a Travel Retail addition called Dornoch after the firth where the distillery lies. For first two months it was only available at UK airports - and that's where our bottle comes from.
And the next baby was the long-awaited sixth sibling into
 the Private Edition series, called Túsail.

Glenmorangie Dornoch, Túsail

Same Day Cuatro
[posted Nov-22, 2014]

The production of Jan-15, 2002 served only one purpose - provide equal Tomatin liquid for a sherry experiment!  Until Jun-29, 2011, it was all aging in the same wood. And on that day, the volume was divided into four different sherry casks to age for additional three years, more precisely until Aug-20, 2014. The Cuatro sherry types were Fino, Mazanilla, Oloroso and PX, and the three year influence makes a difference!

We were sad to see that many shops offered the bottles individually, which caused that of the as few as 1500 sets produced, only some will reach customers as a complete set to have fun with comparative tasting.

Tomatin Cuatro   


Ardbeg's Autumn
[posted OCt-20, 2014]

Ardbeg took care of our autumn (on top of all the events). First, on the occasion of the return of the Ardbeg sample from the International Space Station, new Supernova was bottled. And later on, Kildalton became available outside the distillery shop, too. 

We really enjoyed the first two releases of Supernova (2009 and 2010), and were looking forward to the new sibling. However, in was sold out very quickly through the public channels (distillery on-line shop, and The Whisky Exchange web shop later). Through some twist of fate, however, we were lucky enough and got hold of one bottle finally that we did not crack open yet ...
Note: Based on a sample in Edinburgh's Whiski Rooms, the Nova is extremely smoky on the nose, yet quite delicate and balanced on the tongue!  Wish we had more bottles :-)

          

As of Nov-24, Kildalton 2014 got available in Germany. We acted fast and got hold of a nicely - yet a bit impractically - packed bottle the proceedings of which support local development in Islay. We did not have a chance to taste the original Kildalton produced a few years ago, and are looking forward to go for this one at least.

 Ardbeg Kildalton leaflet                   
Ardbeg Kildalton


Kilchoman from Portugal
[posted Oct-20, 2014]

In 2012, Kilchoman produced the first Kilchoman Club single batch bottling that uses the single cask red-themed packaging. The batch was very limited and was sold within a day. In 2013, more bottles were made available for the Club bottling #2. And in Decemeber 2014, the bottling #3 survived a few hours before being sold completely.
As Kilchoman will always stay in our hearts, we were happy to get hold of a bottle, which is the first ever Madeira Finish by this Islay distillery!

Kilchoman Club #3           Kilchoman Club #3 Madeira


Tun 1509 - Ton of information
[posted Aug-11, 2014]

Yes, we admit - we are fans of Balvenie! We have been following their thread with the 2000-litre Tun 1401 (and the Asian sibling Tun 1858). 
So we were very curious about the replacement by a 4-times bigger vessel created on purpose, the Tun 1509
The first batch was brought to the shops in October 2014, and one of the biggest surprises was the art Mr. Stewart visualized the flavour profile of the liquid - the overall on the tube, and each of the 42 casks on a inserted leaflet.



All in all, Balvenie has got freaky in providing tons of information on their recent releases, including the new Single Barrel family of 12yo, 15yo and 25yo, also introduces in 2014. And, as we commented on WhiskyCast, the prices seem to be proportional to the amount of print!


Balvenie 50yo
[updated Oct-04, 2014]

In 2012, Mr. David Stewart, The Master Blender of William Grant’s, celebrated his fifty years with the company in 1962 - nice coincidence with our «50OF5» celebration. There had been rumours since beginning of the year 2012 that a special bottling will be introduced to mark this occasion. It happened so in September. Fortunately enough, the price for each of the 88 bottles was set far much higher above the limit we set for ourselves to acquire a bottle that we did not even need to think twice. The original selling price was £20,000 and two months later a bottle was on offer at the Frankfurt airport for €36,000 (that was the only moment when we saw it "live")!

Anyway, the Balvenie 50yo is beautifully packed with a decency so typical for this distillery. 
(You can also watch a short video about the production of the packaging for this unique expression.)

Two years later, in September 2014, Balvenie produced another "fifty". This time even two different casks from 1963 yielding 128 and 131 bottles respectively, same wooden packaging, and price £26,500 each :-)

There are things in life that you know you will never have!

Note: In January 2015, a bottle of the 1962 was stolen from Montreal's SAQ Sinature outlet. The price at that time was 49,500 Can$ !
And one blogger quipped:"I hope he will post tasting notes!"



Kilchoman 
«50OF5» Single Cask
[posted Dec-31, 2012]

It was back in 2012. The idea to organize one event for five people to celebrate half-century has been considered out-of-the-box. And getting a limited edition of a single malt Scotch whisky for this occasion was even further from the box.

However, we finally made it, and you can read more on the leaflet that has been produced together with the whisky!

BTW, you may want to watch a very informative interview by Charlie Maclean (SingleMalt.tv) with Anthony Wills from the early years ...


   



   
Kilchoman «50OF5»  
Kilchoman «50OF5»  
 
Kilchoman «50OF5»  

10 Years of Rollercoaster
[posted Mar-25, 2010]

There’s one more whisky that has played a special role in our Club, even before it was conceived. It is the Ardbeg Rollercoaster. Due to synchronized approach of all club members, no matter where they were at the critical moment and no matter how overloaded the Ardbeg’s server was on that day and night in February 2010, we finally succeeded to get hold of this special Ardbeg expression celebrating 10 years of new ownership of the distillery.

Rollercoaster




Other Favourites
[updated Feb-13, 2016]

  • Aberfeldy 12yo – honey and more (S)
  • Amrut Fusion  - what a richness! The guys in Bangalore suffer 12% angel’s share, so they be rather quick with maturation; the Fusion is a great result in beating the thirsty evaporation! (IN)
  • Ardbeg Supernova – the first one in 2009 – you cannot get more peat into whisky, even if Octomore went even farther - it is hard to sense a difference between 150 and 167 particles (S)
  • Balvenie 12yo Double Wood - its predecessor, Blavenie Classic, represented back in 1982 the first whisky that applied the today-so-ubiquitous method of finishing liquid in a different cask type (a few years later, Glenmorangie made the finishing / double maturation method famous); a typical Speyside  (S)
  • Balvenie 21yo Portwood – best port-whisky you can get; full stop! (S)
  • BenRiach 12yo Sherry Matured – you like sherried whiskies, here you go with a very fair price (S)
  • Big Peat – great vat of Islay peaty whiskies; and if 46% is not enough for you, go for the Cask Strength version produced for Xmas (V)
  • Bowmore 15yo Mariner – seaside whisky for sailing lovers – it has been discontinued in 2014 however; as an alternative try Old Pulteney 12yo (S)
  • Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten  - balanced, great price/performance, first 10yo Bruichladdich produced completely under Jim McEwan/Mark Reynier; available at distillery only since the takeover by Remy Cointreau (S)
  • Canto Cask - various versions of single cask expressions by John Glaser (also see our breeding effort)
  • Chivas Revolve - who said whisky cannot taste like a cognac?! (B)
  • Edradour Straight From The Cask Chateauneuf Du Pape Cask Finish - big mouthful of great taste at 58% (S)
  • Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary – for all those who believe Glenfiddich is boring (because it is ubiquitous) (S)
  • Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or – best combination with sweet Sauternes casks; this is a 12yo expression – a few bottles of 15yo have been produced, too, and are very hard to come by (S)
  • Glenmorangie 18yo – another whisky with great balance – 25yo goes even further, but the price difference is probably too high (S)
  • Grant’s Ale Cask - for all beer lovers, this is it! (B)
  • Highland Park 25yo – this is the bottle for the deserted island; it has everything you can dream of in a whisky – and more! (S)
  • Highland Park 18yo - if 25yo not available ;-) And if 18yo is not at hand, do not hesitate to have the 15yo !
  • Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18yo – for the love of balance, fantastic entry into whisky world; discontinued in 2013, and replaced by another 18yo called Platinum Label  (B)
  • Kilchoman European Tour 2014 - cask strength liquid, just a straight Kilchoman, proud sibling of our «50OF5»! (Looking forward to taste the official CS coming out now.)
  • Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition – amazing art of maturation finish in a different cask, pioneered by Balvenie and Glenmorangie (S)
  • Longmorn 16yo - and event more its predecessor 15yo - very well balanced, yet rich
  • Redbreast 12yo – mellow, balanced, smooth, rich – forget Jameson, forget Tullamore!  (P)
  • Six Isles – another great vat, this time marrying malts from different Hebrides and Orkneys islands (V)
  • Talisker 18yo - peated whisky in best balance (S)
  • Tomatin 18yo - very well balanced whisky from this large distillery
  • Harviestoun Ola Dubh beer – aged in casks after Highland Park 12yo, 16yo, 18yo and freshly also 21yo

Legend:

 (S)  Single Malt
 (B)  Blend (grain whisky + single malts)
 (V)  Vatted malt (blend of different single malts, no grain whisky) – should be called “Blended Malt” according to Scotch Whisky Association
 (P)  Irish Pure Pot Still
 (IN)  Indian Single Malt