Village of the Drammed

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La Fête Nationale! A Whisky Celebration with Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask.

It seems last month I missed the launch of the new limited edition Auchentoshan. Aged for the entirety of it's life in a Bordeaux Cask.

These French oak casks from the region that produces extraordinary wines, such as Chateau d'yquem and Château Lafite Rothschild, generally offers up big spiced elements, cream, hints of woodiness and a depth of caramel sweetness not always attributed to whisky.

Released on Bastille day (July 14th) this dram has been recieved well by some of the blogs which have reviewed it already.

Earlier this evening myself, Billy and Jason B Standing had the opportunity to try it while recording the second offering of "Village of the Drammed".

In retrospect, I think this is the sort of dram I'd personally have to revisit or spend a little more time with. Initially I wasn't won over, but have found it to be the case with most other caskstrength Auchentoshan's I've tried! 

The Vital Statistics

Age: 11 years old

ABV: 58% ABV (Caskstrength),


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Who is Number One? Karuizawa Whisky Stock Sold!

The second whisky tasting I ever organised was a Japanese night called "Lost in Translation", back in 2007.  

The idea was simple!

I managed a small restaurant in Newcastle upon Tyne, which had a 50 seater Cinema attached, so we decided that a Japanese film (Lost in Translation) and whisky combo would be fitting.  In the lead up to the actual evening I discovered a set of Japanese whiskies sold as Ichiro’s Malt Card Series, being distributed by a drinks company called Number One Drinks.  I ended up buying a bottle of the Ace Of Spades, a thick heavily sherried 1985 Hanyu, bottled at 55% Abv. It left me hooked to most things Japanese!   

Since then Number One has continued to release and distribute amazing Japanese whisky, and has in my opinion really opened the European market to companies like Suntory and Nikka

Then a couple of weeks ago I heard rumours that the gents at Number One might have got their hands on all the remaining stock of Karuizawa whisky. This proved to be true as 10 mins ago the following press release popped up in my mailbox:

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"Brown Drink"! The Ultimate Whisky Cocktail?  

"We got a little rule back home: if it's brown, drink it down; if it's black, send it back".

Homer Simpson - Homerpalooza

I'm sure you'll agree that the name "Brown Drink" may not be the most appealing, but it does make you think what is it and should I really drink that?! Well... that's what I thought back in July when I saw them eagerly in the process of product development.

In true Master of Malt style they are continuing to do whisky things a bit different.

"Brown Drink" is a cocktail of different spirits taken from the leftovers of their "Drinks by the Dram" production. Rather than pouring the dregs away they decided from the start to gathered them. Over the last 12 months they managed to accrue 37 bottles. This is a vatting of 500 individual spirits.

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Bramble, Edinburgh, launches barrel-aged Glenmorangie Cocktail

The vogue for barrel-aged cocktails gains momentum with the launch of Glenmorangie ‘Affinity’ at Edinburgh’s leading bar, Bramble. Glenmorangie, pioneers of the concept of extra maturation, is perfectly-suited to play a lead role in this on-trade phenomenon.

The success of Bramble, Class Magazine’s Classic Bar of the Year 2010, is largely down to the innovative approach of co-owners Mike Aikman and Jason Scott, who have created a barrel-aged, single malt whisky cocktail using Glenmorangie 10 Years Old.

Glenmorangie Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, produced four bespoke 5-litre casks for Bramble, each with a different level of toasting to allow for experimentation. The cocktail has been in barrels for a minimum of six weeks. Bottling will be done by hand at Bramble, with labels indicating the date the cocktail was poured into the cask and date of bottling. When a Glenmorangie Affinity is ordered at Bramble, the well-chilled wax-sealed bottle is presented with a frozen glass, garnished with a twist of lemon zest and a fresh cherry, in which to pour the cocktail.


Dr Lumsden observes; “As with malt whisky, the key is to gauge the perfect length of time in wood, and the Bramble team have done just that with their cocktail, giving the perfect balance of flavours between the other ingredients and the wood.”


Tasting notes: Batch #1 Glenmorangie ‘Affinity’ Cocktail

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Press Release IWSC - Cooley on a Gold Run.

Cooley Distillery, the multi-award winning Irish whiskey distiller, continued its phenomenal success at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) by claiming a further 8 IWSC Gold medals in London yesterday.


Cooley’s medal haul included a record 4 Gold Medals for its Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish whiskey range including two Best in Class honours reaffirming its place as the most honoured Irish Single Malt of all time at International Spirits Competitions.

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Press Release: Glenfiddich Ambassadors select distilleries vatted 1974 Vintage Reserve.

Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich Malt Master, today unveiled this year’s Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve, a 1974 Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky. The whisky is Glenfiddich’s first ever vatted Vintage Reserve and celebrates the pioneering spirit and adventurous career paths of Glenfiddich’s highly skilled Brand Ambassadors, who joined Brian as part of the selection panel.


Chairing Glenfiddich’s largest ever Vintage Reserve selection panel, Brian Kinsman was joined by 13 of Glenfiddich’s Brand Ambassadors, Glenfiddich’s Global Brand Ambassador and the owner of the world’s largest collection of Glenfiddich whisky – with participants coming from all corners of the world, including South Korea, USA, China and R.S.A. 


The panel nosed and tasted three exceptional vatted vintage casks dating from 1973, 1974 and 1975, marking an adventurous change to the selection process.  After careful consideration and in-depth debate, the panel selected Vatting Number 2 – a 1974 Glenfiddich.

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The future of Oak? 

I bought that shirt from the Van store last year!

Last weekend I read an article in the Scotsman relating to the Asian plant intruder Rhododendron and it got me thinking about oak.

When I worked as a Cocktail Bar Manager to pay my way through college, training as a Arborist, there was a mention of "sudden oak death" effecting trees in America.  A poorly chosen name, which plays on PR and the general love of oak. The organism that is to blame mainly effects other types of host tree/shrubs such as Rhododendron

Most whisky drinkers know that whiskies/whiskey's & bourbons are aged in oak, but don't general know to what extent. The legal requirement under The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 is that UK distilleries, those in Scotland, England and Wales have to age their spirit for a minimum of three years in oak before it can be classed as whisky.

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Update: Glenrothes Whisky Makers Comes To A Glorious Close! 

The World Cup of the whisky world - also known as The Glenrothes Whisky Maker contest - reached its thrilling conclusion in June, with amateur whisky aficionados from Taiwan, England and the USA coming together in Speyside, Scotland, to tough it out in a series of challenges and tastings that would have tested the nerves of famed Scottish outlaw Rob Roy, let alone a malt expert.

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Press Release: House Spirits Distillery, Portland announces new funding and company structure

House SpiritsHouse Spirits, one of America's leading craft distilleries, has announced a new round of funding that will enable the company to expand into new markets and add to its line of artisanal spirits.

Over the next two years, House Spirits plans to build on its initial success in the West Coast and New York, bringing the unique taste of the Northwest to spirits connoisseurs in all major U.S. markets, the United Kingdom, Australia, and several other key export markets. Production for all House Spirits offerings will remain in Portland, Oregon where the company has been in operation since 2005.

With the new funding comes several changes to House Spirits' executive and operating team. Founder Christian Krogstad is now joined by Thomas Mooney, the company's new CEO and formerly a senior executive with FIJI Water, and by Arturo Litwak, the new CFO and previously the co-founder of Milagro tequila. Tom Wilen, formerly COO of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide and President of Allied Domecq North America and now an advisor to spirits sensations Leblon and Ty Ku, has joined the board. He will serve as an advisor to House Spirits.

Aviation Gin"This investment round brings an exciting group of global investors to what is a quintessentially Portland company. These include NFL legend Joe Montana, the Leal family from Guatemala and the Junco family from Mexico, and individual investors from Portland and beyond," said Thomas Mooney, CEO, House Spirits.


Event: Irish whiskey at ISES UK 

Ice Sculpture by IceBox LondonSo, last night I was out at the summer party for the International Special Event Society UK Chapter (ISES) on the HMS President.  If you thought you knew how to throw a party, wait until you meet these guys!

Imagine having all the people who make Glastonbury or any major event happen, from the stage designer/building crews, catering to band management. They all put a little bit of something toward the party and that was last night! Also, Visit Ireland was there to support the Riverdance themed evening and the team at Cooley distillery had helped me out with some great drams.

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Orcadian Fire - Rocking out with Caskstrength Creative, Highland Park 18yo whisky and Arcade Fire

Let's be under no illusion that the sole reason Arcade Fire planned a show in Hyde Park, London, was not toAn extremely limited edition Highland Park 18yo play to a sold out audience of 60,000+ fans during the busy festival season. It was to actually collect the extremely limited edition Orcadian Fire bottling Highland Park had created for them with the help of's whisky agency Caskstrength Creative.

Not being sold via retail, there are only 75 bottles of the 18 yo which features a subtle bespoke Arcade Fire "The Suburbs" label.

Being based in Montreal, the band is more than acquainted with the fact that Canada is famous for the strict rules on importing alcohol and its sale. Scotch fans are limited to the selection made by the provincial liquor boards, which is generally meagre. To top this off, retailers outside Canada are finding products are blocked at the border and rarely make it to the customer who is waiting eagerly for that something special!

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Vintage or just a classic? The Glenrothes know what great whisky is with the 1995 vintage.  

Updated on Thu, July 7, 2011 by Registered CommenterThe Glenrothes

Last year I was lucky enough to join the chaps from The Glenrothes for an evening in Speyside at the distillery house.  It was a fantastic trip in which I came away with a bottle of the 1985 vintage and was just blown away with its depth of flavour and ease of drinking.  

Glass sculpture at its best! Sarmiento Invasion Paranoia

So, last weekend I was both happy and sad when myself and glass blowing friend Jeff Sarmiento finished it while enjoying a curry (The Glenrothes 1985 whisky worked very well paired with a chicken Patia and rice).  With the departure to the bottle to the recyling bin you can imagine I was naturally excited to recieve a sample of the 1995 vintage whisky, and was not dissapointed in the slightest! 

Heres my tasting notes.

The Glenrothes 1995 Vintage Scotch Whisky

ABV: 43%vol

Distillled: 26/10/1995

Bottled: 06/09/2010 

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Press Release - Master distiller announces global finalists for ‘whiskey world games’

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, has today announced the eleven pairs of friends who will represent their countries at ‘Bushcamp’, the global final of ‘Make it 2 Bushmills’, a competition hosted by BUSHMILLS™ Irish Whiskey.

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Grant's Takes to the Global Podium

Oldest family owned Scotch becomes world’s third largest.

Grants world famous blended Scotch whisky has turned a new chapter in its 124-year success story as it takes to the podium of standard Scotch whiskies, becoming the world’s number three in retail value.

The move onto podium, confirmed by IWSR results released last week, reaffirms Grant’s’ credentials as a key player on the world whisky stage.  Over the last five years, Grant’s has consistently grown ahead of the category, achieving in 2010 worldwide sales of 4.8 million cases and retail value of over $1bn.

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The eagle has landed: Caskstrength and Carry on! official Arran Whisky

Updated on Thu, June 30, 2011 by Registered CommenterDarren

Before I start the blog properly I have to say that if your familiar with Arran whisky or, simply go to and try to buy a bottle of this before it sells out (this is most definitely a collectors piece or simply a great dram)! Okay now on with the blog post... If you do a google search for terms "whisky+blog" the chaps at Caskstrength will undoubtedly rank in the top three. The duo formally worked in the music industry as A&R men at competing record companies (believe Island and Warner). Both gents, Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison, now make a surprising complimentary tag team writing their anecdotal whisky blog

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Isle of Mull Whisky- Press release.

Updated on Thu, July 28, 2011 by Registered CommenterIsle of Mull Whisky

OUR STORY SO FARImage from Made on Mull

Isle of Mull Whisky was born in August 2010 by Neil Morrison and Calum Maclean. There were months of organising, maxing out credit cards and lengthy tasting sessions. The idea came to them one night when Neil and Calum were out for a few drams. Mid-session they hatched their plan:

to bring out their own unique whisky, a perfect blend which would be smooth enough for any palette and not just another bottle for gathering dust. Their whisky needed to be eye-catching and superior quality however still sensibly priced.

They toured the country and were successful in finding the best of Scottish nectar. Their good friend and local designer, Ewan Leckie (my creative), then helped them develop a prominent and unique branding. They were almost there.

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Coming of age at Kilchoman with a 100% Islay whisky.

Updated on Mon, June 20, 2011 by Registered CommenterKilchoman Distillery

Some of you may rightly argue that Kilchoman had already came to age two years ago.

However, the aspirations of Distillery Founder and Director Anthony Wills were only fully realised last week with Caskstrength bottle (Distillery only)the release of the first of Kilchoman 100% Islay whisky, which opens the question is this the true Kilchoman single malt whisky?

Before the small farm distillery opened in 2005 Anthony had a simple dream to make a whisky that was 100% made on Islay. A single malt produced from barley, grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at the distillery.

Prior to 2005 it took four years of chasing investment and hard work to get things going. Followed by the move to an Island of only 3000 people it was a journey he shared with his family, so much so that on graduating University Peter Wills (Anthonys son) will become Kilchomans' first official brand ambassador, and newest member of the team from September 2011.
Inaugural Tasting notes:
Retails at 69.00 and 11,300 bottles have been released.

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Jim Beam Whiskey Establishes Revolutionary Bourbon-Making Process with Release of Devil’s Cut™

Clermont, KY (May 25, 2011)

Continuing to push the envelope in the bourbon category, Jim Beam® debuts the latest innovation in its portfolio – Devil’s Cut™. The new, premium bourbon whiskey is created using a proprietary process that extracts the liquid trapped inside the wood of the bourbon barrels. The product is a robust premium bourbon with a deep color, aroma and character that showcases notes of wood, oak and vanilla derived from the barrel wood.

Devil’s Cut plays off the notion of “Angel’s Share” in the bourbon-making process. As bourbon ages, a portion of liquid is lost from the barrel due to evaporation – that’s the Angel’s Share. After aging, when the bourbon is dumped out of the barrel, a certain amount of whiskey is left trapped within the wood of every barrel—it’s that liquid, and the rich flavors from deep within the barrel wood it contains, that has been extracted and put back into extra-aged Jim Beam Bourbon to create Devil’s Cut.

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Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases One of A Kind Millennium Barrel Bottling

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (June, 2011) – It was Dec. 31st, 1999, and the new century was dawning as the  employees at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY gathered around to watch the  last barrel of the twentieth century roll into Warehouse V, the world’s only bonded single barrel aging warehouse.

      Now nearly 12 years later, this Buffalo Trace Millennium Barrel bourbon has filled 174 beautifully handwritten and individually numbered bottles.  Each Millennium Barrel bottle has been packaged in a numbered hardwood showcase box that includes a piece of this historic barrel’s charred oak stave and a brochure explaining the significance of this collector’s edition.

      Endeavoring to do something special with this milestone barrel, the company will offer all 174 bottles to charitable organizations across the country free of charge to auction off and raise money for their worthwhile causes.

       This commemorative bottling of the Buffalo Trace Millennium Barrel will not be available in stores. Bottles will only available to non-profit organizations wishing to raise funds for their charity. To be considered, organizations must submit an official U.S. non-profit tax ID number and auction the bottle within the 2011 calendar year. Applications will be taken online only, at Recipients of these bottles shall be notified by email on August 1st. Bottles will be shipped free of charge in August and recipients will have until Dec. 31, 2011 to auction the bottle.

      “This was special barrel of barrel of whiskey and we want to do something with the bottles to help those in need,” said Kris Comstock, Buffalo Trace Brand Manager. “We really hope whiskey enthusiasts and collectors will help some deserving non-profit groups raise serious money. These 174 bottles are beautiful and the bourbon tastes amazing. Our goal is to raise $200,000 for charity!”

      Non-profit organizations can submit their request for a bottle online beginning today. The cutoff date to submit an online application is July 26th.


Glenmorangie malt whisky launches Father’s Day campaign

This Father’s Day, Glenmorangie is unveiling its first significant above-the-line programme since 2007/2008 with an exciting national advertising campaign. Using the line: Unnecessarily Well Made and stunning original pencil renderings by artist Vince Verma, each execution tells the story of the unseen lengths that Glenmorangie goes to in crafting their single malt whiskies.

Glenmorangie whiskies aren’t like other single malts: its whisky is still made using local spring water, from Scotch barley, by local craftsman. The tallest whisky stills in Scotland are used at the Tain distillery, so that only the finest vapours are captured to create an exceptionally delicate spirit. This is carefully aged in bespoke American oak casks that are only ever used twice to ensure the smoothest of flavours. Unnecessarily Well Made brings to life the expertise, precision and passion that go into creating Glenmorangie.

The initial national campaign in June will focus on two executions by Verma: the first is a snapshot inside the cask house as one barrel is being rolled away (this, demonstrating Glenmorangie’s strict twice-usage policy).

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