Three New Editions from Bruidchladdich

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

John Hansell at Malt Advocate has the details on three new releases, the Resurrection Dram 2001, the Golder Still (which follows the Blacker and Redder Still offerings) and the  Sherry 21.

From the Resurrection Dram release (the date refers to Bruichladdich’s revival year):

Company founder and MD Mark Reynier: “This is a celebration bottling – our first Bruichladdich, the resurrection of a legend, the realisation of a dream. Our Resurrection Dram is a testament to the inspired  – the Harvey brothers, their avant-guard distillery design and today’s vibrant team of distillers. It is the embodiment of a new era, returning to a  more artisanal, old-fashioned, quality way of doing things – like Jim McEwan’s ‘trickle-distillation’.”

In contrast to heavily-peated Port Charlotte and the mighty peat of Octomore, Bruichladdich itself retains the traditional, minimal peat level of 3-5 ppm.

However,  casks for this first bottling alone  were surprisingly selected from a small, one-off distillation of lightly-peated barley, at an experimental 10 ppm.

And from the Golder Still and Sherry 21 release:

“Golder Still”  was aged in rare “squat-hogsheads”, novel casks tested in the late 70s by US coopers seeking the optimum cask shape for modern storage. Fortuitously, the extra whisky-to-wood contact  in these stumpy, Disney-like, experimental bourbon casks, imparted greater colour and flavour to the spirit.

Mark Reynier: “There’s not much and  it’s unrepeatable –  but it’s a glorious, old-style whisky; a classic Laddie, all barley-sugar flavours with a golder hue.”

The “Sherry 21”  also comes from the last of a line.  Since 1981 sherry is only Spanish bottled, so UK bulk shipments ceased and cask availability dried up. A larger scale bottling, it replaces the successful Twenty series of bourbon matured Bruichladdichs, and stocks are scheduled to last until 2010.

“Decent condition,  authentic Oloroso butts are now almost as rare as hens’ teeth.  Sadly, you can see why E150 has become so standard in the industry. This is the natural, real deal –  rich, mellow, and warming whisky; an ideal  winter night-cap with it’s hints of orange, apricot, plum, fig, and dates. For connoisseurs, these are two delicious extremes of Bruichladdich.  For us, they are  the end of a run. For both, they represent the end of an era.”

Balblair Announces New Rare 1965 Edition

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

From the release:

Multi award-winning Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has unveiled its oldest and most exclusive vintage release to date – Balblair 1965, which will be one of the finest additions to the Balblair portfolio. Just 350 bottles of this rare and limited edition vintage will be released and each bottle will retail at £1250. The vintage was distilled on 23rd March 1965 and slowly matured in Single American Oak ex Sherry casks. …

Balblair Highland Single Malt Whisky is one of the whisky world’s finest and most exquisite products. The malt is ‘devoted to detail’ in every sense: its contemporary and award-winning design, perfectly crafted taste using only the finest ingredients, its careful selection and production, the expertise of Distillery Manager John MacDonald and its association with the finest, contemporary brands and luxury markets all contribute to Balblair’s continued global success amongst discerning consumers.

Diageo Unveils 2008 Rare Editions – Linkwood, Brora, Talisker, Unpeated Coal Ila, Lagavulin and Glen Elgin

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Each year Diageo releases special limited edition bottlings from is ageing stocks. This year, it has unveiled 10 special single malts, consisting of three contrasting finishes of a 26 year old Linkwood, a 25 year old Coastal Highland single malt Brora, a 25 year old and 30 year old Talisker, a young 8 year old unpeated Coal Ila, a 12 year old Lagavulin and finally a 16 year old Glen Elgin bottling from ex-bodega European Oak casks.

Read the press release here.

Glenglassaugh Distillery Poised to Reopen

•October 31, 2008 • 2 Comments

Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, is gearing up to get back in business and will be officially re-opened on Monday, November 24, reports The Press and Journal.

Glenglassaugh was built in 1875 and was subsequently owned by Highland Distillers.

The plant had spells of production and periods of inactivity throughout the 20th century and was mothballed in 1986.

It was bought in March this year in a £5million deal by Dutch investment firm, the Scaent Group.

We’ve written about the relaunch before.  Now subscription-only site Just Drinks has some details about the distillery’s whisky line-up, but I couldn’t read it. If anyone has any info please let us know in the comments.

Chwisgi.com also has historical info.

New Talisker Gift Pack Sets Aside Funds for Sea Rescue Service

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

From the press release:

Proceeds raised from sales of Talisker in the new limited edition nautical themed gift pack, will be helping to save lives at sea this Christmas, with two pounds from every sale of the pack being donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The gift pack from Talisker, the only single malt Scotch whisky from the Isle of Skye, will contain a 10-year-old bottle of the award winning Scotch and is contained within a stylish blue nautical case. It is the perfect charitable Christmas present for whisky connoisseurs and is available nationwide at Sainsbury’s from 1st November 2008.

Talisker and the RNLI both share an affinity with the sea. Distilled by the edge of the sea on the shores of the Isle of Skye since 1830, the Talisker distillery attracts thousands of sailors each year. The RNLI was established in 1824 and its lifeboats help to rescue thousands of people each year. Today, visitors to the rugged coastline of Skye are assured by the presence of the RNLI lifeboat station in Portree.

The cost to run the RNLI is approximately £339,000 a day. The charity is reliant on voluntary donations and legacies.

Indian-Made Armut Single Malt Whisky Gets a Nod

•October 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

Geoff Last has a good write-up of some new single malt releases in the Calgary Herald, including an interesting couple of grafs on a single malt distillery in Bangalore, India, called Armut:

Scotland produces the lion’s share of single malt whisky, but it doesn’t have a monopoly. Several weeks ago, I tasted a lineup of single malts from Amrut, a distillery in Bangalore, India. The Amrut distillery was founded in 1948 and began producing malt whisky in the early 1980s.

The barley is sourced from Punjab and Rajasthan and dried over fires fuelled by imported Scottish peat. They offer three whiskies — a non-peated malt ($55), peated malt ($80) and cask strength ($105). These efforts are almost indistinguishable from their Scottish counterparts and I was impressed with the peated and cask versions. I would have preferred a more noticeable departure from the traditional Scottish malts rather than an attempt to emulate them, but they are worth trying nonetheless. Cheers!

Oddly, I can find nothing about this distillery on Google. If anyone has more info, please post in the comments.

Glenlivet Sales Spike

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Scotsman has the news on Pernod Ricard earnings, fuelled by Scotch whisky sales:

Sales of Glenlivet leapt 27 per cent year-on-year, those of Chivas Regal were up 11 per cent, while Ballantine’s Scotch was 9 per cent higher.

WhiskyFest Review! Glenmorangie Signet

•October 17, 2008 • 3 Comments

It seems from my blog search stats that the only Scotch anyone really wants to know about these days is the Glenmorangie Signet. So here is some new intelligence, straight from WhiskyFest in San Francisco (apologies for the delay in posting, I needed a day to recover from the event itself and then I had to make a business trip immediately after.)

After an hour tasting some very old Scotches during the VIP portion of the night, Dramfun and I approached the Glenmorangie table. They were displaying an empty bottle of Signet, affixed to a base making it look like something like a trophy. We inquired and were gently rebuffed – sorry not yet available in the U.S.

But then I mentioned Scotchtalk and miraculously the server knew about the blog, despite its short life span. Apparently Scotch distillers have nothing better to do than Google their brand names daily for any mention howsoever humble.

We hit it off, and he finally reached below the table with a conspiratorial look and “secretly” poured a generous dram for each of us. It all felt very exclusive, but it turned out to be a bit of an act, because another guy walked up behind us two minutes later and got the exact same treatment.

The real secret of the Signet is its use of so-called chocolate malt – the same stuff that’s used to make stout beer, including Guinness.

I will state right now, for the record, that Glenmorangie master distiller and Signet creator Bill Lumsden  is a genius. Glenmorangie has been taking lots of risks lately, leading the way in experimental bottlings based on numerous wood finishes and recasting its flagship recipes to great reviews.

The first thing that you notice with the Signet is the rich, dark reddish-amber color. The nose is redolent of old leather, with some citrus tones and possibly apple. The weight and texture in the mouth was the most striking feature to me, it is quite simply to die for. Not terribly spicy, extraordinarily complex, with a long smooth finish.

We were drinking some exceptional Scotches at the WhiskyFest including a 35yo Glenfarclas and a 31yo Stronachie but the Signet was certainly a highlight even among this rarefied company, particularly at the suggested retail price of about $185 per bottle.

Glenmorangie has announced availability in October but I have yet to see it in a store – if anyone comes across a retail source please let us know in the comments.

Glenmorangie Original, Ardbeg Take Top Marks in ‘Whisky Bible 2008’

•October 10, 2008 • 2 Comments

LVMH-owned Glenmorangie has taken lots of chances lately, tinkering with its brand and recipes to great effect as it revamps its business.

The risks appear to be paying off, with rave reviews of its flagship 10 year old expression, which was rebranded as Glenmorangie Original (10 years old), as well as its Ardbeg Islay brand. Both have won top marks in the Whisky Bible 2008, Glenmorangie reports:

The Original “remains one of the great single malts: a whisky of uncompromising aesthetic beauty from the first enigmatic whiff to the last teasing and tantalizing gulp”.

Another stellar ranking awarded to The Glenmorangie Company includes naming Ardbeg 10 Years Old as the “2008 World Whisky of the Year” citing it as “the most complex malt on earth” and bestowing a score of 97 points, higher than any other Island Malt Whisky.

Glenmorangie is reportedly the most popular brand of Scotch in its native Scotland. Under master distiller Bill Lumsden, the company has been on the forefront of experiment, and has produced a wide variety of wood finishes.

Glenmorangie is reportedly really shaking things up this fall with several new bottlings from both Ardbeg and its eponymous brand. It is also moving its HQ to Edinburgh from Broxburn, and agreed to sell its Glen Moray distillery to the French firm La Martiniquaise.

The Glenmorangie Signet, made from roasted and chocolate barley, is meant to be its new flagship bottling.

It also revamped its bottles and launched a “signet” logo based on the Cadboll stone, an old Pict carving from the 8th Century found on the site of the Glenmorangie estate.

More recently, it has replaced its Artisan Cask with a new cask strength bottling dubbed Astar.

WhiskyFest Prep Notes

•October 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Malt Advocate’s WhiskyFest touches down Friday Oct. 10 in San Francisco. Dramfun – my supposed blogger in crime – and I are ready with VIP passes and charity tickets to sample some of the special bottles from The Macallan, The Glenlivet and Glenfarclas. These run $20 per ticket so we won’t get to all of them, unfortunately.

I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve been three times to Whiskies of the World in SF, and that show seemed to be getting a bit repetitive, with no-shows from some of the major distilleries. This one promises to have 200 different Scotch whiskies represented, and as VIPs we will get a chance to sample some very old ones:

Glenfarclas 35 yr.

Glen Spey 30 yr.

Strathmill 31 yr.

Stronachie 31 yr.

Among the highlights promises to be a seminar with Lincoln Henderson on Suntory’s Yamakazi whiskies. We’ll be weighing in with a show review and tasting notes as best as we can manage.