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'Appy' Christmas to all Whisky Lovers

Whisky drinkers across the world are today celebrating the launch of world's most comprehensive whisky mobile app ever produced; Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Pro 2012.

Written by whisky doyen Jim Murray, the app features a staggering 4,500 whisky tasting notes, 1,500 of which have been individually tasted and rated by Jim Murray over the past four months.

Designed to harness Jim Murray’s experience and status as the leading whisky writer and author, the app provides quick, honest, and independent whisky advice to users; a feature that will enable anyone, irrespective of their whisky experience, to walk into a shop or bar and be confident of what it is they are buying.

‘People can be intimidated by the high price of whisky, particularly at this time of year when the sheer number of whiskies made available, increases significantly’, comments Jim Murray. ‘ Add the many styles, country of production; finishes and ages on offer, and it’s easy to why people don't want to take a risk on a unknown bottle which can cost upwards of £50’, he continues.

Launched in a Standard and Pro versions, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible app is available now through Android Market and iTunes App Store.

In its standard format, the app offers outstanding value and choice for those who are simply looking for quick independent guidance on what to expect from any individual whisky. Featuring short-form tasting notes, this format will be of particular use to the inexperienced whisky buyer and those wishing to build their whisky knowledge in ‘bite-sized’ chunks. Featuring 13 individual sets of tasting notes from the key whisky-producing regions of the world, the standard Whisky Bible is priced at £1.39 for each of the regions purchased.

The Pro version of the app is a full-blown mobile version of Jim Murray’s highly rated Whisky Bible 2012. Priced £12.99 this version carries Murray’s full set of tasting notes for all 4,500 entries in the 2012 Whisky Bible, making it the most comprehensive and detailed collection of tasting notes available anywhere on the planet!

Both Whisky Bible app formats feature an easy to use search mechanism enabling users to explore the world of whisky by type, distillery, or brand name. Searches can also be carried out using country, region, and age or by using a single word search facility that enables users to identify whiskies that have a particular taste or flavour profile.

“If I had been a given a Pound, Dollar or Euro for every time I had been asked to give advise on what whisky to buy, I would be a very wealthy man indeed; but sadly I’m not. And whilst I would truly love to be able to answer these questions on an individual basis, I can’t, which makes the launch of the Whisky Bible app such a rewarding exercise. For the first time ever whisky buyers will be able to draw upon my experience, knowledge and my vast collection of tasting notes at a time and place where it matters most; when faced with ubiquitous wall of whisky in a bar or in a retail store. I hope that once armed this app, consumers will be encouraged to explore the rich and diverse world of whisky with confidence“, concludes Murray.

 

Old Pulteney Takes 2012 World Whisky Crown

The most northerly distillery on mainland Britain and one of the most remote in all Scotland has won the coveted title of World Whisky of the Year in the 2012 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The Pulteney distillery in Wick, Caithness, scored a record-equaling 97.5 points out of 100 for its 21-year-old Old Pulteney single malt. It is only the third time that a single malt has ever won the prestigious award, and just the second Scottish distillery to do so.

This year Jim Murray tasted over 1,200 new whiskies plus many more re-tastes for the latest edition of his best-selling annual whisky guide.

Pulteney distillery, which dates back to 1826, is located in the heart of Wick and is much prized as a blending whisky. It is still relatively unknown as a single malt.

But Mr Murray, who has long admired the Highland malt, hopes that will now change - though he is the first to admit that even he was surprised when he encountered the 21-year-old.

He said: “I was on the home straight after four months of continuous tasting. By that time I was pretty sure I knew what the winner was going to be. With what I still had to taste it needed something exceptional to knock the leader off its perch. But that’s exactly what happened. To be honest, I was amazed. I knew the Old Pulteney 17-year-old was likely to be exceptional, and it was. However, I had never come across a Pulteney 21-year-old like it. Talk about coming out of leftfield…

“I first went to Pulteney nearly 25 years ago and I have never known them to produce anything other than top rate malt. Owned by a relatively small company, without the financial muscle of the major whisky barons to market their malts on the global stage, I hope that this award helps Pulteney to become better known around the world; that is the whole point of my Whisky Bible, after all”.

Second and third Whiskies of the World went to went to US bourbons George T. Stagg and Parker’s Heritage collection Wheated Mash Bill Bourbon Aged 10 years, respectively.

In picking up the second placed title with its bourbon brand, George T. Stagg, Buffalo Trace distillers continues to outperform all other competitors in the World Whisky Awards, which were first presented in1994. Since this date, Buffalo Trace has won no fewer than seven top awards including three World Whisky of the Year titles and this year’s runner up place for its George T. Stagg bourbon. “Buffalo Trace continues to be one of the greatest distilleries in the world today”, continues Mr Murray. “Their ability, drive, and passion to produce whiskies of the highest quality year in, year out, without exception is truly and unreservedly astonishing’.


 

 

 

 

 

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2012

The final touches have been added to the ninth edition of the world's best selling annual whisky guide.

After the longest production period to date, during which Jim Murray has tasted his way through a staggering 1,210 new whiskies and retasted over 200 core brands, the latest edition of the Whisky Bible has finally been signed off to the printers and will be available to the public from early October this year.

This year's Whisky Bible sees a record number of high scoring brands spread out over (or rather squeezed into) a pocket friendly 384 pages. The retail price remains £12.99 and the Dram Good Book Shop is still the only place to buy a personally signed copy directly from the author himself. To ensure your copy is among the first fresh off the printing press, pre-orders can be made now.

 

Proud Grandy Jim Presented With a New Islay

Hebridean whisky champion Jim Murray is rarely short for words when discovering a beautiful new Islay.

But he was literally speechless yesterday (Mon) when he became a grandfather for the second time with the birth of...... Islay-Mae Underwood.

Jim was laid up in bed with a heavy cold and had actually lost his voice when he was given the wonderful news.

This morning he had recovered sufficiently to croak: “My step-daughter Tabitha and her husband Simon had made a great job of keeping secret the name of the new baby until she was born. Now I can see why. What a fabulous surprise!

“I was feeling down and frustrated as this cold had stopped me writing the 2012 edition of the Whisky Bible....a writer’s worst nightmare. But the news of Islay-Mae’s birth has lifted the gloom in the most amazing way possible.

“So far I have seen only pictures, and she is a little stunner. I will wait until I am over this cold before I visit her...I don’t want my first gift to her to be a raging sore throat!”

Jim – “Grandy” to his grandchildren - first visited Islay some 30 years ago and made a former worker’s cottage at Bunnahabhain his annual holiday retreat. His neighbour was a lady born at the distillery: her father was one of the original workers there when it was opened in 1881.

“In those days 95% of the visitors to the island went there for birdwatching or island-hopping. The other five percent were split between divers and those going for the whisky, with a far greater number of divers. Islay-Mae’s grandmother and I used to spend entire days at Ardbeg and not see another living soul. Can you imagine that now?

“My last-ever holiday was in 1991. On Islay, naturally....I haven’t had time for one since. That was the first time I took the kids. It obviously stuck in Tabitha’s mind.

“Twenty years ago I decided to write widely about Islay in a very personal way. I knew that by doing so I would probably be letting out one of the great secrets of the whisky world, and I would find it hard to continue my annual sojourn to Bunna. I was right: I was never able to get back there again...whenever I tried it was booked out!

“But when she is old enough to appreciate it, I would love to be there with Simon and Tabitha to introduce Islay-Mae to one of the most special places on this planet: a mystical, horse-shoe shaped piece of land which has a unique place in my heart. For me, the arrival of this little girl means life turned full circle.”

The current 2011 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible is dedicated to Jim’s first grand-child and Islay-Mae’s elder brother, Finlay.

And it has certainly been a big family week for the Murray clan. On Tuesday July 5th Jim’s mother, Mary, celebrated her 90th birthday with a series of events held in her native London.

“Islay-Mae was due on the 2nd. We thought she might try and gatecrash my mother’s celebrations. But, like the very best Islays, she certainly has been worth waiting for.”

 

 

Proud parents Tabitha and Simon with new arrival
Islay-Mae Underwood, weighing 8lbs 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whisky is a Moving Experience

Anyone who has read Jim’s tasting notes knows just how emotional he can get over his whiskies.

Now we are all moved.

For Dram Good Books headquarters has upped sticks and has a new address and new easy to remember telephone number.

We have left our crumbling home of over a decade to smart, newer premises. So, if you are contacting us by post or phone or sending samples to Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible please, from immediate effect, use our new address below:

Head Office:
Dram Good Books Ltd
9 Edison Court
Wellingborough
Northamptonshire
United Kingdom
NN8 6AH
Telephone: +44 (0)117 317 9777

Marketing and Design Departments only:
Dram Good Books Ltd
1 Harley Place
Clifton
Bristol
United Kingdom
BS8 3JT
Telephone: +44 (0)117 317 9830

Whisky Samples:
The Sample Room
Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible
9 Edison Court
Edison Close
Park Farm North
Wellingborough
United Kingdom
NN8 6AH
Telephone +44 (0)117 317 9777

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

The Whisky Bible Team.

 

Cover Story

For some people there is nothing more comfortable than an old jacket.

So, as promised, we have made available an alternative cover for the Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2011... in the classic style.

As was sure to be the case, our new clean-cut design has wowed the public and the industry alike. But we were always aware that some traditionalists out there would lament the passing of the whisky label design that had been in use since the first ever Bible was produced way back in 2003.

If you want to have your 2011 Whisky Bible lined up on your shelf in the same style as the previous editions just visit the Dram Good Book Shop and you can purchase a copy for just 99p plus postage and packing. Or you may wish to buy a copy of the Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 with the old-style cover to beautifully contrast the new design: that is available at £12.99 plus postage and packing.

In the meantime, our designer James Murray is currently working on the new design for the Whisky Bible 2012 cover. For James, a semi-professional musician, is always in search of the ultimate cover version...


Miyagikyo Distillery Survives Earthquake

The team at Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible are relieved to announce that we understand that are our friends at the Miyagikyo Distillery, Sendai, have escaped unharmed from last week’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

In the immediate news blackout in the area following the devastating events, it had been feared that the distillery – which sits close to the epicentre - may have been damaged either by the 8.9 tremor or the subsequent flooding.

However, we have heard via our contacts in Japan that the distillery escaped relatively unscathed with no loss of life.

Jim Murray, who has visited the distillery on his trips to Japan, said: “The moment I heard the news my thoughts were immediately with the staff of the distillery. I am sure that I am not the only one to breathe a huge sigh of relief with this good news. Even so, my heart goes out to my many friends in Japan who have been affected by this almost incomprehensible tragedy.”

It is understood that that the Yoichi Distillery, which sits close to the sea on nearby Hokkaido island, has also reported no damage or fatalities.

There has been no official word from most of the other distilleries in Japan, although no reports of either loss of life or major damage to distilleries have been made.

Meanwhile Ichiro Akuto from the Venture Whisky said: “The Chichibu Distillery staff and their families are all OK. There has been no damage to the distillery to either cask stocks or distilling equipment and just some minor damage to bottled stock. We appreciate the concern from overseas.”

 

Caperdonich 1972 Raises Funds In Charity Auction

The following is from a press release provided by Matisse:

A rare bottle of whisky has been presented to Scottish Parliament First Minister Alex Salmond who then auctioned it to raise money for charity.

The limited edition bottle of Matisse Caperdonich 1972 was jointly presented by Jim Murray, world famous whisky writer, and Edward Drummond, Master Blender for Matisse. The bottle, which is not available to buy in the UK, scored 95 points in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, achieving Liquid Gold Status.

The whisky was auctioned at a special event in St Andrews on 11th February and raised £1,000 to further benefit the First Minister’s 2010 Christmas card charities which included the Teenage Cancer Trust, Bethany Christian Trust, Quarriers and Maggie's Cancer Centres.

Jim Murray, world renowned whisky expert and author of the Whisky Bible 2011, jointly presented the bottle to First Minister Alex Salmond. He said: “Matisse Caperdonich 1972 is a great example of what may lie hidden behind the doors of Scotland’s whisky warehouses and Matisse need to be rightly applauded for their skill and ability to unearth such hidden gems.

“Matisse selected three exceptional casks from Caperdonich’s 1972 collection, yet the casks from which this charity bottle has been drawn stands out in terms of its sophistication. When first nosed, it seems fairly simplistic showing exotic fruit and extra spice; taste it and the true rich spices really seer through. The barley is clean, rich and salivating with sugared almonds and vanilla filling whilst the finish is elegant with a slow denouement of light smoke and golden syrup. This is, without any doubt, a superb whisky and one that should realise a substantial sum for the First Minister’s charity."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am delighted to raise a glass to Matisse and its success with its 1972 Caperdonich. I welcome the chance to offer this valuable whisky to support charities to which I am very close and I wish the company every success in the next stage of its development. Scotland is rightly proud of its whiskies and Matisse’s mission to present some of the less well known but highest quality whiskies is to be celebrated by whisky lovers around the world.”

 

 


From left to right: Master Blender Edward Drummond,
Scottish Parliament First Minister Alex Salmond & Jim Murray

A Tribute to Jimmy Johnson

The following is from Buffalo Trace's Mark Brown, in memory of much loved Buffalo Trace veteran Jimmy Johnson, who sadly passed away on January 19th 2011.

Dear friends,

Jimmy Johnson, our longtime friend, historian, and supporter, lost his brave battle with cancer on January 19th. Jimmy’s title upon retirement from Buffalo Trace Distillery was Warehouse Supervisor, but as we all know, his lively manner and sense of humor made him so much more to everyone who met him.

With the exception of a five year tour in the Army Air Corp during WWII where he was stationed in Guam, Jimmy spent 42 years with us. He came to us in 1936 as a Warehouse Yard Person, responsible for hauling aged bourbon barrels to be dumped for bottling. As a second generation employee, Jimmy was following in his father’s footsteps. Jimmy’s father, James Sr., worked here from 1912 to 1964 so Jimmy had not only his father’s reputation to live up to, but also his father’s watchful eye making sure he was doing a good job.

While at the Distillery, Jimmy spent many years learning and understanding the effect different warehouses had on barrels of aging whisky. As a Leak Hunter/Stopper, Jimmy was selected as part of a crew to inspect barrels at various storage facilities including Bardstown and Lexington, Ky, and Cincinnati, Ohio locations. Through this role Jimmy mastered the ability to repair leaking barrels while the whiskey was still in the barrel, a very valuable skill to have to protect our precious whiskey.

Jimmy also partnered with Elmer T. Lee in identifying where exceptional single barrels of aging bourbon (or “honey” barrels) could be found in the warehouses. He later became Warehouse Supervisor, the first African American to hold this position, and remained in that role until his retirement in 1978.

After retirement, Jimmy remained active, coming back to the Distillery in 2008 to roll out the 6 millionth barrel of bourbon produced since prohibition. Jimmy had rolled out every millionth barrel of bourbon this distillery had ever produced since prohibition. In 2009 Buffalo Trace Distillery dedicated the “James B. Johnson, Jr. Room,” located within the employee clubhouse, to Jimmy.

Jimmy would have been 95 years old in just a few weeks. His son Freddie carries on the family tradition as a tour guide in the Visitor’s Center and is the third generation of the Johnson family to work here.

Jimmy was one of the original members of the Old Stagg Group of retirees who retired from the Distillery but never really left us. Anyone who knew Jimmy knows that his spirit and his stories will live on forever through not only his son Freddie, but through the thousands of visitors who have been touched by their family’s stories.

In addition to Jimmy’s activities at Buffalo Trace Distillery, he also was an Honorary Kentucky Colonel, served as the Treasurer of the Senior Citizens Group for Frankfort, and was an active member of First Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky.

Sincerely,

Mark Brown

 

 

Jimmy Johnson. 1916-2011

A few words from Jim Murray...

"To say that the passing of Jimmy Johnson is the end of an era is far too simplistic.

Jimmy was at the vanguard of a new age of reason, enlightenment and discovery in the bourbon industry. And the work he carried out at Ancient Age, now Buffalo Trace, with Elmer T Lee has a powerful resonance in the whiskey world today.

Not just in Kentucky and the USA, but far beyond. For it should be remembered that Jimmy was around at the time bourbon barrels first began to be used by the Scotch industry. So the myriad achievements of his life and work should be celebrated internationally.

Jimmy seasoned and matured way beyond any of the many hundreds of thousands of barrels of whiskey that were under his care. Which is how it should be.

For he was, after all, alongside Elmer as Mr Ancient Age.

-Jim M"

BenRiach Launch Two Winter Warmers

BenRiach have launched two new whiskies to coincide with the winter solstice.

The appropriately titled BenRiach Solstice, a 15 year-old heavily-peated port finish and BenRiach Horizons, a 12 year-old triple-distilled malt were released on December 21st, the shortest day of the year.

BenRiach's Marketing Manager Kerry White explained: "BenRiach Solstice is distilled from heavily-peated malted barley, the whisky has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Aged Tawny Port pipes sourced from Portugal's Douro region. The overall maturation period, across both styles of wood, is a minimum of 15 years.

"Horizons, the 12 year-old triple-distilled BenRiach, is one of the most unique whiskies to be released by the distillery. Traditionally, most single malt whiskies are distilled twice, but during the late 1990s BenRiach experimented with some limited production runs of triple-distilled whisky, and we have allowed the whisky to mature for a minimum of 12 years."

Both have been bottled at 50% ABV and are available in 70cl bottles cased in a rigid gift box. A limited quantity is available worldwide.

For more information and stockists, go to www.benriachdistillery.co.uk
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Tomatin Announce New Single Casks

Tomatin Distillery have announced the release of two new single cask expressions selected by Master Distiller, Douglas Campbell.

Matured in a refill Bourbon cask the 1973 is limited to only 184 bottles and will be available to consumers worldwide although the majority of the stock is expected to be sold in Western Europe. Bottles are expected to retail at £450.00.

The 1982 expression comes from an Oloroso sherry Puncheon. Bottled at a natural strength of 57%abv and limited to 560 bottles this bottling will again be offered to Tomatin distributors throughout the world. The 1982 is expected to sell for around £340.00

Both of these whiskies are presented in a heavy weight glass bottle which is sealed with a wax coated glass stopper. Each bottle is protected with a velvet lined wooden box designed by Breeze Creative and manufactured by Mount Gabriel.

Dalmore Offers Bespoke Whisky Creation

The Dalmore Distillery is offering the chance for people across the world to create their own whisky.

The first 1263 people that sign up to the brand's new website will be offered the opportunity to purchase a "Custodian" special edition whisky from the distiller. The program allows the buyers to select spirit that was first set to cask at the turn of the Millennium, and will then decide when they want their whisky bottled - 2012, 2015 or 2018. The buyers will then choose from two different wood finishes chosen by master distiller Richard Paterson.

Buyers will pay between $80 and $242 per bottle depending on the age and finish chosen.

In addition to receiving a bespoke bottle of Dalmore whisky numbered and signed by Richard Paterson, the 1263 buyers will have their names etched on the walls of the distillery when the new $1.4 million visitor center opens next year.

Salmond Toasts Whisky Deal With China

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday hailed China's announcement that Scotch Whisky is to be given new legal protection with Geographical Indication of Origin (GI) status.

The deal means that any product labelled as 'Scotch Whisky' in China must come from Scotland.

Mr Salmond toasted the announcement at Glenglassaugh Distillery in Portsoy with Madam Tan Xiutian, Consul General for the People's Republic of China in Scotland, and distillery managing director Stuart Nickerson.

The First Minister and Madam Tan signed a small cask (an Octave) of commemorative whisky for bottling in five years with the final sale proceeds going to charity.

Mr Salmond said:

"This is a long-awaited and very welcome announcement from China. It provides a great boost for our world-renowned whisky industry, strengthening efforts both to increase exports in a key market and to secure jobs across Scotland. I'm grateful to the Chinese Government for working with the SWA and the Scottish and UK Governments to deliver the designation, which provides discerning Chinese consumers with confidence that when they buy Scotch Whisky they're buying a high-quality product from Scotland."

Mr Nickerson said:

"China is a key target market for Glenglassaugh and today's announcement means that we can re-focus our efforts with renewed confidence, knowing that our products and customers will be protected. I'm delighted that the First Minister and Consul General are marking this important day at Glenglassaugh."

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) applied to the Chinese Government for GI status in 2007 and last year Mr Salmond led a delegation with the SWA, Scottish Enterprise and UK Ambassador to progress the application with China's Minister of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Mr Wang Yong.

During a further visit to China in July this year the FM discussed the application again with AQSIQ Minister Mr Zhi Shuping to help secure the designation.

Chicago's First Whiskey Since Prohibition

Koval is this month launching the first whiskey to be legally distilled and bottled in Chicago since before the days of prohibition.

The family run distillery opened in Ravenswood last Spring and has since been producing liqueurs, brandies and “white whiskeys”: grain-based spirits bottled after just a few days of fermentation. These spirits have now matured in wood long enough to legitimately earn the title whiskey according to American whiskey standards.

The launch will be heralded by a party at Delilahs this Saturday (Nov 6th) where the first two varieties will be unveiled, each of oat and rye (one regular and one dark). Millet, wheat and spelt versions are set to follow in the coming months to create an entire line of new whiskies.

The whiskies will be named Lion’s Pride in honour of Koval co-owners Sonat and Robert Birnecker’s first born. “It’s a very honest spirit,” Sonat said. “We feel this is a great Chicago product, and we feel like Chicago deserves a whiskey.”
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Woodford Reserve Release 'Maple Wood Finish'

Woodford Reserve has this month announced the latest release in it's Master's Collection series. The 'Maple Wood Finish' will be a first for the whisky industry being the only bourbon to be finished in barrels made from sugar maple wood.

The new release is the fifth in the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection series following the Four Grain, Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, Sweet Mash and Seasoned Oak offerings. Released periodically at the master distiller's discretion, the Master's Collection whiskeys are extremely limited in quantity and bottled only once, in packaging inspired by the copper pot stills of The Woodford Reserve Distillery.

"Sugar maple trees have a complex natural chemistry, rich in calcium, potassium and other minerals, but they are best known for their flavorful sap which contains as much as 3% sugar," said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. "Though it was thought that whiskey barrels could not be crafted from sugar maple wood, our Brown-Forman Cooperage has done just that."

Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish will be sold in 45 U.S. markets, and a limited quantity will be available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and presented at 94.4 proof. Available in major metro markets, only 1,676 cases are available with a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.
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Glenfiddich Launch 'Snow Phoenix' Whisky

Glenfiddich is releasing a new whisky, Snow Phoenix, to mark the dramatic events of January this year when heavy snow caused some of its warehouse roofs to collapse.

On January 7 2010, a number of warehouse roofs gave way under the weight of four feet of snow, leaving the maturing oak casks exposed. In temperatures of -19˚C, distillery staff swung into action, working round the clock to clear the snow.

"Standing amongst the wreckage and exposed casks, we were working out our next steps and assessing the situation." said Glenfiddich's Malt Master Brian Kinsman. "I was thinking about how the casks, some of which were very old, contained some beautiful whisky and it occurred to me that they would create a fantastic non-aged single malt. A limited edition bottling from the whiskies in the damaged warehouses would be an appropriate way of celebrating the pioneering spirit of the distillery team at this moment in Glenfiddich's history. "

Snow Phoenix uses natural strength and non-chill filtered casks of different ages and finishes, including American oak and Oloroso sherry. One thousand bottles will be made available exclusively to members of the online club, Glenfiddich Explorers, with the remainder available in from mid-November, ABV 47.6%, priced £49.99 RRP for a 70cl bottle.

Glenfiddich has dedicated Snow Phoenix to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and has made a special contribution to their funds.

 

Compass Box Releases 10th Anniversary Whisky

Compass Box have announced the third limited edition release of Flaming Heart in celebration of the company's 10th anniversary.

The new bottling is a combination of single malt whiskies from six distilleries located in the northern Highlands and Islands including those located in Brora, Port Askaig and the Isle of Mull. Bottled at 48.9% with no chill filtering or colouring, it has been matured in a mixture of 40% refill American oak casks, 31% first-fill American oak casks and 29% new French oak casks.

A limited release of 4,186 bottles with a finely detailed label illustrated by Alex Machin will be available later this month heralded by a special tasting event hosted Compass Box founder, John Glaser.

More information about the event can be found here.

Buffalo Trace Remembers Ronnie Eddins

The following is an email from Buffalo Trace's Mark Brown, paying tribute to legendary Warehouse Manager, Ronnie Eddins, who sadly passed away this week.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I share with you that Buffalo Trace Distillery has lost one of its key family members, Ronnie Eddins, on Oct. 13th due to cancer.

Ronnie’s official title was Warehouse Manager, but he was actually so much more. He was an innovator, a creator, a perfectionist, sometimes even a barrel detective, and most of all, a friend. He joined our family in 1961 and actually applied on a lark – his brother-in-law was applying for a job here and asked Ronnie to come with him. Ronnie decided to apply as well and was hired just a few days later. And for nearly 50 years we had the pleasure of his company. So much so, that I talked him out of retiring at least twice!

Ronnie was an innovator in the industry before innovation was “cool.” He actually visited the Ozarks several times to hand select trees for barrels based on their growing location. He was instrumental in the Buffalo Trace Experimental Whiskey Program, heading up numerous experiments for more than 20 years.

Ronnie was the well-deserved recipient of many awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Malt Advocate Magazine in 2008. Just last month, he was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame.

We will sincerely miss Ronnie’s leadership, knowledge, dedication, pioneer spirit, and most of all, his friendship.

Sincerely,

Mark Brown



Bottle of Whisky Sold For Six Figure Sum

The first bottle of whisky in the world to break the six figure price barrier was revealed today by The Dalmore distillery which has sold two bottles for £100,000...each.

The 64 year old Trinitas, named because there were three bottles produced, was acquired by a luxury whisky lover in the US and a renowned whisky investor in the UK.

The third bottle will be sold at the Whisky Show in London at the end of October. But organisers are keeping the exact details of the exclusive sale under wraps for the moment.

Industry experts claim that if the bottle was sold by the glass in exclusive restaurants and clubs, it could fetch up to £20,000 for a typical 50ml dram.

Trinitas was created by Dalmore’s master distiller Richard Paterson using some of the rarest and oldest stocks of whisky in the world, some of which have been maturing in the distillery on the shores of the Cromarty Firth for more than 140 years.


Richard Paterson, The Dalmore’s master distiller
pictured with his record breaking creation

Diageo Unveils Brand New Distillery

Diageo has officially unveiled its new £40 million distillery at Roseisle in Speyside, Scotland.

Chief Executive Paul Walsh declared Roseisle open at a grand ceremony held yesterday during which 14 copper stills were revealed.

The following article is from the Scotch Whisky Review pages at LFW.co.uk and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Richard Joynson.

A TOUR OF ROSEISLE DISTILLERY - October 2010

Your Correspondent was able to tag onto the back of a group of assorted journos, hacks and bloggers during a get-to-know-us tour of the new Roseisle Distillery. YC is delighted to report that he is very impressed and that the future of malt distilling is safe; the doomsayers will have to make up some new conspiracies.

BACKGROUND

Diageo is the largest producer of Scotch and is enjoying very strong growth in demand from it's new markets, so much so that, having checked their sums with a calculator, they are convinced they need a further 20m litres annual production of malt whisky for their blends. Malt Production supremeo Brian Higgs has managed to whip their existing 27 Diageo distilleries into eeking out half that volume but three years ago he also got the go-ahead to build new capacity which is now built and producing as Roseisle Distillery.

THE MALTINGS

Roseisle shares infamy with Glen Ord and Springbank - they are the only distilleries to malt all their requirements of barley on site! The distillery shares its site with the 1980 built maltings and will consume all of the malt produced.

THE DISTILLERY

Roseisle is one of Scotland's biggest distilleries, at 10m litres Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are as big, Clynelish and Caol Ila are, for example, about 4m, while tiny Edradour's volume for the year can be yielded at Roseisle in less than 4 days.

THE WHISKY

The distillery will produce one style of malt whisky - Speyside - which is the biggest component of all blended Scotch. The seven pairs of stills are medium sized and six have a mix of both copper and steel condensers (like Dailuaine); the option to reduce the proportion of copper contact results in a heavier Speyside malt (like that produced by worm tubs).

Since production started at the beginning of 2010 they have produced all copper condensed spirit (light character) but soon will divert some of the vapour through the steel condensers for a season of heavy Speyside character make. It's like having a Cardhu Distillery with Cragganmore's stills in the cupboard!

For any professors of distilling reading this; they will make clear worts (lauter tuns) and over 75 hours fermentation (in steel washbacks) - resulting in more 'flavour bits'.

A couple of road tankers take the new spirit away every day to be filled into refill hogsheads - soon to be produced at the company's new cooper-friendly super-cooperage, another part of their £100m investment in more malt whisky.

LFW.co.uk plans to investigate the Diageonesian investments in grain distilling soon.

THE BIG ANSWERS

Will Roseisle cause the closure of smaller distilleries?
No, Roseisle is only half the investment in more capacity; Diageo really believes they have customers for much more Scotch Whisky.

Will we see it bottled as a single?
Yes! Although a blend producing company, since Dr. Alan Rutherford's day they have bottled all their malts for the workers (see page 3, SWR2 - Autumn 1994). Once considered ready, the single malt will be bottled but it is not expected to become one of their Classic Malts Selection, LFW.co.uk will be able to supply it, but you'll have to wait!

Can I visit?
Not as a drop in visitor but there will be open day(s) during the Spirit of Speyside Festival, so prepare your trips carefully.

THE MECANNO

Roseisle is a modern distillery. The building, while lacking the charm of a 19th century Doig design fits in the surrounds of the maltings. It's certainly big, but that's so you can get a crane and other big kit in there for maintenance and stuff.

The attention to detail, comfort and efficiency is fascinating; routine access is all on one level - its two duty workers can see and run the plant from a central control point - yet the production is unchanged from traditional methods, they really did get it right 100 years ago. A visitor to Roseisle can appreciate that malt distillation is essentially a simple process, it's all very clear here with very little clutter- mash, ferment, boil - simples!

THE TREE HUGGING

The distillery is on course to becoming carbon-neutral and given the huge amounts of energy required to make malt it's a phenomenal achievement.

Draff and pot-ale by-products are squeezed dry and burned to produce steam to heat the stills (plus the ash from the fire is a fertiliser).
Methane biogas produced from the wet squeezings is also burned.
Hot water from the coolers and condensers is piped to the maltings to pre-heat the drying air required there.
All process water is treated on-site and is to be used by the maltings to steep the barley, there will be no final discharge footprint left by the distillery.


The 14 copper stills at Roseisle
Photo courtesy of Diageo

 

 

 

 


Roseisle Distillery's impressive exterior
Photo courtesy of Diageo

 

 

 

 

 


Work is already underway to produce future malts
Photo courtesy of Diageo

Ballantine's Takes Top Honours

A blended scotch whisky has swept aside all single malt rivals to take the prestigious Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Award for 2011.
Ballantine’s 17 Year Old has topped all other whiskies in this year’s publication, which includes 4,500 different brands – of which over 1,000 new entries were tasted by Jim Murray in six months.

Single malt scotch, often a whisky preferred by whisky lovers, failed also to take either the runner’s up or third spot. Second place went to Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof) ahead of William Larue Weller (134.8 proof), both from the same distillery: Buffalo Trace.

Speaking at the publication of the Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 Jim Murray said, “Blends are seen by many as the poor relations to single malts. Ballantine’s 17 proves, quite spectacularly, what many of us have known for a great many years: it isn’t. A blender has the chance to create something unique and quite beautiful by putting together many whisky styles. With Ballantine’s 17, the blender has done his job in glorious, quite majestic fashion.”

Giving the blend 97.5 points out of 100, Jim Murray describes the whisky as “one of the most beautiful, complex and stunningly structured whiskies ever created.”

And in another boost for unsung whiskies, the own label Irish whiskey Sainsbury’s Dún Léire Aged 8 Years Single Malt, won Irish Whiskey of the Year, the first time a supermarket brand has gained top country honours in The Whisky Bible. Produced by the Cooley Distillery for Sainsbury’s Jim Murray said, “this is Cooley at its best and a very astute and masterful piece of whiskey buying".

Last year, the World Whisky Award went to Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Rye. This year, younger sibling Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof) secured second place, whilst William Larue Weller (134.8 proof), a bourbon, came third. Both brands herald from last years World whisky winner Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Conducted over a four month period, whilst writing the 2011 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray tasted in excess of 1000 whiskies to reach his final decision.

In the end, it was a Scotch blend which scored highly in previous editions which took the top prize.

Added Jim: “Ballantine’s 17 Year Old has always been one of the world’s premier whiskies: its consistency over the years has been quite remarkable. But this year it just progressed that extra notch to leave all other whiskies in its shadow. This currently marks the epitome of great blending, indeed, great whisky: nowhere else can you find balance, texture, and content come together in such a sensual, graceful way. It really is the nectar of the gods, except even they might struggle to get to the bottom of its labyrinthine complexity. It needed something out of this world to see off the two Buffalo Trace whiskeys…and this was it.”

Of the Buffalo Trace brands Jim Murray said, “Having tasted and been overwhelmed by both whiskeys at the Buffalo Trace early this year, tasting them again in the confounds of UK based tasting room, devoid of the romance of the distillery and in the wake of some tough competition was a tough challenge for these two newcomers” said Murray. “But wow how they delivered. These are two of the best American whiskies the best I have ever tasted and for very different reasons.”

 


Ballantines 17 Years Old: World Whisky of the Year


Sainsbury’s Dún Léire becomes the first supermarket
brand to win a Whisky Bible Award

© 2010 Dram Good Books Ltd.