127.44: Cantina Mexicana – the SMWS return to Fèis Ile

It’s impressive how quickly 12 months can pass by. This time last year, I was trying to work out how to both get to the Islay Festival of Malt and Music – Fèis Ile to its friends and about 50,000 Scottish gaelic speakers – and travel around the island once I got there. My companion during this ‘planning’ was a dram from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, their first bottled in celebration of the festival. This year I can’t make it to Islay, so instead I’m looking at other people’s plans with a new whisky compantion – the SMWS’s second festival bottling, 127.44: Cantina Mexicana.

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Jim Beam Double Oak and Kentucky Dram – the opposite of bourbonisation

There has been much talk in recent times of the ‘bourbonisation‘ of Scotch whisky. There are a couple of different interpretations of what that means, and two of Jim Beam’s latest releases show that both may also be happening in the world of American whiskey, but in reverse – Jim Beam Double Oak and Jim Beam Kentucky Dram.

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The man who challenges the SWA – dinner with Dr Bill Lumsden

[A guest post from Moscow-based whisky fan Anton Karpov, a regular visitor to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s London rooms]

It is not always easy to have an interesting interview with a whisky brand ambassador. Quite often (but far from always) these guys are not much more than trained marketeers, equipped with a broad range of fact sheets and prepared tales, but with no deep insight into whisky industry. A master distiller, on the other hand, is a whole different story. And if you take a master distiller who puts real science behind whisky making, you’ll get a lot of fun for whisky enthusiasts.

So here we are today with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the man behind creations from Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. We relaxed in the cozy atmosphere of the Whisky Rooms private club in the heart of Moscow city. The chef did a good turn trying to match a three-course meal with a line-up of Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie Milsean and Glenmorangie Signet. Being whisky enthusiasts of Moscow, we enjoyed the rare chance to speak with Dr. Lumsden about all things whisky. Read More »

Bruichladdich Laddie Eight and Port Charlotte CC:01

Travel retail is a strange market. Not only are the shops in some of the strangest places on earth – liminal spaces constructed with a strange dual purpose of quick movement and opportunities to spend cash – but it’s a hard market. Bruichladdich are no stranger to the vagaries of travel retail and they’ve just unveiled a pair of new whiskies – Bruichladdich The Laddie Eight and Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01.

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Bootlegger Apple Brew – Prohibition Beer?

New year, new booze. And how better to start blogging in 2016 than a bottle from the shelves of my local Morrison’s.

In amongst the Chorley cakes – my new favourite thing – and packets of interesting bits of pigs, they have a very good range of drinks. However, there are some weirder things hidden next to the tasty beers, including today’s beverage of choice – Bootlegger Apple Brew.

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Whisky Advent Calendar 2015

On 1 December, at 7.30am, I decided to write 24 blog posts, one a day for 24 days, as a sort-of whisky advent calendar. Yesterday was the final post. It was much harder work than I thought…

Here’s what I wrote about:

Anyway, Happy Christmas, and all that kind of thing. As this goes live, I am almost certainly sat on the floor of my flat, drinking sherry and building a Star Wars Lego Imperial Shuttle. I hope you are having as productive a day as me.

Lagavulin 16 Year Old – Whisky Advent Calendar Day #24

It’s the last day of my advent calendar series. 24 posts in 24 days has more than doubled the number that have appeared on this blog in 2016, so expect radio silence for a little while – my liver needs time to regenerate.

For this last day, I thought I’d return to the beginning – the whisky that started me on the road to where I am now. Lagavulin 16 Year Old.

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Black & White by appointment to HM The King – Whisky Advent Calendar Day #23

Despite working in the whisky world, I don’t have that many impressive bottles in my collection. I don’t normally buy for investment, even if some bottles I have are now worth a bit of money, and apart from a handful of fortuitously purchased Karuizawas and  enough 1978 vintage bottlings to fuel a good 40th birthday party in two years and 73.5 days, there’s not much to turn heads.

However, I have one bottle that I am impressed by – the oldest whisky I own. Not old as in ‘was in a cask for ages’ but instead ‘probably bottled back when we had a king’ old. So, for my penultimate advent calendar post, I present Black & White, by Appointment to HM The King.

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Glen Ord 1973 Rare Malts – Whisky Advent Calendar Day #22

Today’s post is a bit of a cheat, as unfortunately I have a night where I can’t drink. Due to an incident involving a microwave and an ill-advised Ginster’s steak slice, I’ve burnt the roof of my mouth and am in quite a lot of pain. However, I am an obsessive tasting note writer, so it’s time to dig into my notebook and pull out something tasty from the past.

So, dram #22 is one I got to taste back in October, during a trip to Scotland and a visit to the distillery – Glen Ord 1973 Rare Malts.

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