The folks at BenRiach have announced the launch of BenRiach Dunder Peated 18 Year Old Dark Rum Finish which is a one-off bottling with only 1888 bottles available worldwide, 240 of which will be available in the UK.
This intriguing new Speyside expression comes from the same range as the BenRiach Albariza, Dunder is actually the unusual name from the residue of cane juice left in a still after distilling a batch of rum. Traditionally used as a yeast source in the fermentation process of Jamaican rum, it gives the rum a unique aroma and flavour.
Dunder, at 46% ABV, is distilled from peated malted barley and is initially matured in American oak casks and then finished in dark rum barrels.
It combines the distinct and contrasting aromas and flavours associated with richly peated malt whisky and the elegant style of wood selected for final maturation.
The Belfast Distillery Company has announced that The Great Whisky Company will be the sole UK distributor of its new premium blend; McConnell’s Irish Whiskey, when it launches in June this year.
Located in the historic Crumlin Road Jail, the Belfast Distillery Company is currently developing a £7 million malt whiskey distillery and visitor centre in the jail’s A-Wing. The Victorian prison closed in 1996 but in 2012 work began to transform part of this former jail into a working distillery and tourist attraction. On completion, this will be the first distillery in Belfast for 85 years.
The distillery will be home to three 3000 litre pot stills, commissioned at Forsyth’s, and will have the capacity to produce 480,000 OLAs of malt whiskey annually. Full planning permission and funding is in place, with in-house production set to commence in January 2016.
In the meantime the Belfast Distillery Company has acquired a large inventory of mature grain and malt whiskey in cask, from which it has blended a premium addition to the resurgent Irish whiskey category.
McConnell’s Irish Whiskey, will be the first expression from the company, taking its name from a historic Belfast brand that was produced not far away on Cromac Street up until the early 19th century.
This premium blend has been aged for a minimum of five years in American Oak and Oloroso Sherry casks and offers a high malt content consisting of eight and 10 year old malt. It is said to boast a full fruit nose and an unmistakable Oloroso aroma.
McConnell’s Irish Whiskey will be available in the UK through The Great Whisky Company from June 2015.
Bruichladdich today announced that its Master Distiller Jim McEwan is to retire in July after 52 years.
Jim joined the independent company that was to drive the renaissance of the then mothballed Bruichladdich Distilery, on Islay in 2000. Describing it as the “Cinderella” distillery, he released an innovative and thought-provoking portfolio of single malts that challenged previous perceptions in the category.
Jim has been the architect of a distillation programme of unparalleled complexity through which has explored barley variety, provenance, traceability and the concept of terroir. He leaves a legacy of over twenty different spirit styles maturing in the company warehouses sitting close to the shores of his beloved Loch Indaal.
He recently spoke with Mike Gillespie from Whiskycast about the upcoming retirement in which i heard him say one of the most delightful ways to say goodbye
"I have matured and I am ready to be bottled"
He leaves behind this wonderful distillery in good hands as it continues to give us some of Islays dramtasic whiskies
The highly anticipated Lakes Distillery in Cumbria officially opened its doors this week, revealing the fruits of the distillery’s £6m investment – a world class visitor centre, artisan bar and bistro.
The Lakes Distillery is England’s largest and is set to produce up to one million bottles of The Lakes single malt each year making it a veritable challenger on Scotland’s doorstep and the closest English whisky distillery to the border.
The state of the art visitor centre will take guests on an atmospheric tour of how the Lakes Malt, Lakes Gin and Lakes Vodka are made as well as including a visit to the distillery’s warehouse where the whisky matures.
Visitors will be taken on a high definition cinematic journey following the water used within the spirits from the River Derwent, as it flows down from Sprinkling Tarn through Keswick into Bassenthwaite Lake and on to the Irish Sea.
The Bistro at the Distillery will offer delicious honest food served in relaxed but chic surroundings. Overseen by nationally renowned chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne, the casual bar and bistro will be a vibrant eatery seating a total of 130 guests both inside and out. The bistro will also house the distillery’s Board Room, a stylish private dining area for 30 people where the casks of maturing whisky can be viewed.
Commenting on this week’s opening, Lakes Distillery Managing Director, Paul Currie, said: “The Lakes Distillery is set to be a key attraction for the Lake District and we estimate that we will accommodate approximately 55,000 visitors each year. It is wonderful to see everything come together, from the sympathetic renovation of our stunning Victorian farm and the formation of our highly skilled team, to the start of production of our spirits and the development of the menu and style of our bistro. We are so excited to open and can’t wait to see the response of our visitors.”
Perfectly dressed for the festive season with a 20ft Christmas tree, the Lakes Distillery will be open every day except Christmas Day. Standard tours will be priced at £12.50 for adults and £5 for 13-17 year olds accompanied by an adult. Bespoke tours hosted by the management team are available on request.
To find out more about The Lakes Distillery, visit: www.lakesdistillery.com
Japanese whisky pioneer Takeshi Taketsuru, adopted son of Nikka Whisky founder Masataka Taketsuru has died at the age of 90.
Following the atomic bomb hit on Hiroshima in 1945, which was situated near to his home town of Fukuyama, Takeshi moved to Yoichi where he lived with and was adopted by his uncle Masataka and his wife Rita.
After graduating from college in 1949, Takeshi joined the family Nikka Whisky business, where he then worked for most of his life. He eventually became Nikka’s Master Blender and was named Company President in 1985. After the business was acquired by Asahi in 2001, he stayed on as a key advisor right up until his death.
Takeshi’s pioneering role at Nikka, lead to a momentous growth of Japanese whisky across the world.
Born in 1924, Takeshi Taketsuru died on December 17th 2014. He is survived by his son Kotaro and daughter Minobu.
Chivas Brothers, has completed the construction of its new Dalmunach distillery in Speyside, reinforcing its long term growth prospects in the face of increased global demand for Scotch whisky.
Built using the latest innovations and environmental expertise such as heat recovery technology, the distillery is capable of producing up to 10 million litres of high quality Speyside style spirit per year to support the growing global demand for the bestselling blended whisky brands within Chivas Brothers’ portfolio, which includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Royal Salute.
Situated on the banks of the River Spey, the Dalmunach distillery will not be open to visitors but will be visible from the nearby Speyside Way walking trail. Great care has been taken to ensure the external façade of the distillery is in-keeping with its surrounding environment and the traditional architectural style of the region.
Commenting on the news, Laurent Lacassagne, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “As global demand for Scotch whisky increases year on year, our confidence in the long-term growth prospects for the category remains strong. The construction of the new Dalmunach distillery is a clear demonstration of our confidence and also of our commitment to invest to meet the significant growth potential”
The distillery architecture has been inspired by the shape of a sheaf of barley reflecting the core ingredient of single malt whisky. It houses eight unique copper pot stills, with a tulip shape used for the wash stills and an onion shape used for the spirit stills, replicating those from the Imperial distillery which was situated on the site until 2012. In a departure from distillery traditions, the stills have been positioned in a circular design that provides a unique aesthetic for the future.
Other original features from the previous distillery have been carefully incorporated to ensure a sense of heritage remains intact. Red brick from the original mill building has been reclaimed to create a feature wall in the new entrance area, and wood from the original washbacks has been used to form an entrance ‘drum’ and adorn the gable walls of the new tun room which contains 16 new stainless steel washbacks. A new 9.5m diameter mashtun has been installed which draws spring water for production from the site’s original distilling water sources.
The Distillery has already had a positive impact on the local economy with companies from the Speyside area heavily involved in the construction, while an additional eight permanent employees have joined the Chivas Brothers production team.
England’s biggest whisky festival outside London will return for a third year in 2015, with over 150 whiskies to be exhibited by a host of distributors including Pernod Ricard and Maxxium.
Organisers have now released 600 tickets for the one-day event at The Bond on 7th March, with over 100 tickets already snapped up in the Christmas gift-buying rush.
Whisky Birmingham 2015 will see whisky enthusiasts and novices gather to taste, try and buy from over 25 whisky brands and retailers at The Bond, a historic canalside venue in Digbeth.
This time the festival will grow to take over two exhibition spaces. Visitors will be able to sample over 150 whiskies from respected brands and distilleries, including Laphroaig, Buffalo Trace, Macallan and Chivas Regal.
Whisky Birmingham is the brainchild of Amy Seton, founder of the Birmingham Whisky Club. She explained the reason for expanding the event in 2015:
“ The festival has taken off brilliantly, and it’s thanks to the great reception Birmingham has given it. People are really interested in learning about whisky, exploring different drams and coming to have a relaxed time. The proof has really come in the run-up to Christmas – I’ve seen many more people buying tickets this year as gifts for whisky lovers.”
While Scotland may be the spirit’s traditional heartland, the festival will also play host to whisky from around the world, including Penderyn from Wales, and Paul John, distilled in India.
A series of whisky-matching masterclasses is due to be announced early next year. The 2014 festival saw local artisans pair whisky with chocolate, cheese and cigars.
A casual Beginner’s Guide session will provide whisky novices with an introduction to the drink, giving pointers on how to nose and taste a dram.
Birmingham’s whisky scene has seen something of a surge this year, with the launching of whisky collections by venues like The Plough, as well as the opening of Hard to Find Whisky, a specialist shop selling rare bottles costing up to £35,000.
Bacardi has expanded its Aberfeldy Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky brand with the launch of an 18-year-old global travel retail exclusive.
The new release joins the existing travel retail Aberfeldy variants, which comprises a 12-year-old and 21-year-old.
Rose gold in colour, the 18-year-old is described as a medium to full-bodied single malt, with citrus zest, honey and sweetness “akin to Moroccan cake”.
“Bacardi has an amazing opportunity with single malts. Our distilleries produce sublime whiskies,” said Mike Birch, managing director of Bacardi global travel retail.
“Single malts are enjoying a massive surge in popularity right now as collectors and connoisseurs seek out the new and the rare. We’re leveraging that power with a strong innovation pipeline for the category, gathering pace to craft a range of superb travel retail exclusives.
“Building on our success in white spirits, we are equally ambitious as a major player in the whisky category and our recent launches are testament to the energy and drive we’ll be injecting. We’re confident the Aberfeldy range is set for success.”
The Aberfeldy range has undergone a bottle and package redesign to “reflect the hand-crafted nature” of Aberfeldy Single Malt.
Gold lettering represents the birthplace of John Dewar and the whisky’s water source, the Pitilie Burn, a source of sedimentary gold.
The bottle itself displays the Royal Warrant, which has been held by John Dewar & Sons since 1893, the only Scotch whisky distiller to continuously hold a Royal Warrant since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Birch describes the Aberfeldy range as a key component in Bacardi’s strategic drive to create category differentiation, with an immediate pipeline of exclusive innovation and activations in brown and white spirits.
“Of course it’s not just about whisky. With our leading share in rum, vodka and gin we will also premiumise those categories with Travel Retail exclusive innovations,” added Birch.
“We’re nimble and flexible enough to act quickly and our door is open to any retailer with the shared vision and ambition to partner on innovation that sets this unique channel apart and creates a trajectory for sustainable growth.”
Port finishes added to Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky range
The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd has announced a change to the line-up of its core range of single malts. A 14 year old Port Wood Finish and a batch release 1988 vintage are being introduced, while the 15 year old and 30 Year Old expressions will be removed.
The 14 Year Old Port Wood Finish has spent around 13 years in the finest Bourbon oak barrels, with a further year in specially selected Portuguese port pipes which had previously held Tawny port for between 30 and 40 years. The result is an excellent dram which is soft and smooth with a port-influenced sweetness.
The 1988 vintage also takes on an element of port with its contents having been vatted from ex-bourbon and ex-port casks, resulting in a sweet yet surprisingly fresh dram. Presented in a wooden box with its own certificate, this expression will be released in batches, the first batch offering 2500 bottles.
These two new expressions join the brand’s non-aged “Legacy” – matured in a combination of Bourbon and Virgin Oak casks – and the 12 and 18 Year Olds, both finished in Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks. The 12 Year Old is now being sold at 43% alc./vol. in all markets (increased from 40%).
Stephen Bremner, sales director, said: “In recent years we have really started to make our mark in the single malt market with recognition for the high quality whisky on offer from the Tomatin Distillery. Most recently in March 2014 we were awarded Gold for Legacy and our 12 Year Old, and Double Gold for our 18 Year Old at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. I am confident these two new expressions will sit nicely within the range and, most importantly, will be enjoyed by our customers.
One of the world's largest private collections of Macallan single malt whisky will go under the hammer in a special auction in Glasgow next week.
The collection of 164 bottles, which has been built up over a period of 50 years by an Italian collector, could fetch £100,000 at the McTear's sale on Wednesday.
Amongst the lots on offer will be a bottle of 1938 Macallan, which could fetch £4000, and a rare expression that was bottled exclusively for Raffles Hotel in Singapore which has an estimate of between £1000 and £2000.
The sale will also feature a number of 80 proof Campbell, Hope & King Macallans from the 1950s and 60s with prices ranging from £600 to £3500.
McTear's whisky specialist, Stephen McGinty, said: "This is a quite stunning collection. The owner had a café in San Casciano, Tuscany, and over 50 years he acquired bottle after bottle for his restaurant. The first bottle in the collection was a Macallan that was given to his father just after the war and that led to his particular interest in the distillery."
The Teeling Whiskey Company said the distillery will be located in Newmarket Square in The Liberties.
A visitor centre is also due to open in early 2015.
The company said it is investing €10m in the project, which will create at least 30 full-time jobs.
Fifty jobs will be created in the construction phase.
The proposed Pot Still distillery will have the capacity to produce 500,000 litres of whiskey on an annual basis.
It will consist of three traditional copper Pot Stills, reviving the traditional style of the old Dublin distilleries.
Managing Director Jack Teeling said: "We are proud to be returning to our ancestral distilling roots, which trace back to 1782 in The Liberties.
"This project will bring distilling back to an area of Dublin long associated with world class whiskey, which at one stage had 37 different operational distilleries."
Irish whiskey has enjoyed a renaissance in the last five years, with sales growing from 4.4 million cases in 2008 to 6.5 million in 2013.
"It is unquestionable that there has been significant growth in the Irish whiskey market worldwide, particularly in the US, and we want to be the leaders in creating a bright new future for Irish and Dublin whiskey," Mr Teeling said.
I for one cant wait for it to be up and running as this whiskey is a joy to behold
Following Diageo’s announcement earlier today (16 January) of the investment at Clynelish Distillery, Glen Ord is now seeing the delivery and installation of new stills as part of the £25 million expansion plan for the distillery, which is seeing its capacity doubled to over 10 million litres per annum. The 10 new washbacks and 6 new stills will be housed in existing buildings at the distillery.
Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich Distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich.
In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area.
anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has today (15th January) announced the latest hand selected addition to its exceptional portfolio, the limited edition 1999 Vintage. Only 750 cases of this rare single malt will be available in the UK, Russia, Germany and Taiwan from January 2013 with a retail price of £49.99 per bottle.
The whisky, which has been matured in American bourbon and Spanish sherry oak casks at Knockdhu Distillery in Knock, Banffshire, has been bottled in its most natural form – neither chill-filtered nor coloured at 46% ABV. The exclusive liquid is amber in colour with a slight golden hue. It is an aromatic expression which is sweet to start with a touch of fruitiness and a long, smooth finish.
In true anCnoc style, the striking white and red colouring of the packaging mirrors the minimalist design of anCnoc’s core range and features an intricate illustration of the enchanting Knockdhu Distillery on the bottle and tube.
anCnoc, which is part of the Inver House Distillers portfolio, is a brand closely associated with the arts, having released a series of limited edition expressions in the past few years designed by the acclaimed Scottish illustrator Peter Arkle. It’s renowned the world over by malt enthusiasts for bringing a contemporary twist to the traditions of fine malt whisky, producing a single malt that is accessible and versatile for all occasions.
anCnoc Brand Manager, Gillian Gibson commented: ‘Releasing our 1999 Vintage marks the first in a series of fresh and exciting developments for anCnoc in 2014 which are sure to intrigue and delight fans of our range. This very special expression, with its distinctive characteristics, will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to anCnoc collections.’
WITH Scotch whisky maintaining its trajectory for world domination, it is no surprise to hear a tourism attraction dedicated to Scotland's national drink is thriving in Edinburgh.
The Scotch Whisky Experience, in the midst of celebrating its 25th anniversary, welcomes visitors from an increasingly broad geographical base, its growth reflecting the soaring performance of whisky in established and emerging markets around the globe.
The attraction on Castlehill, near the top of the Royal Mile, now cites China and Brazil as two its top five markets for visitors, though it reports that enthusiasts are steadily coming from former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan, as well as Africa and elsewhere in South America.
Julie Trevisan-Hunter, its deputy director and marketing manager, said almost every week a foreign film crew or journalist arrives to file a dispatch from the home of the "water of life".
This is partly because the Experience now houses the world's biggest collection of Scotch whisky, but also because it is arguably a more accessible venue than distilleries, where health and safety factors often come into play.
Yet although emerging markets are increasingly key to the Experience, the English market continues to be its biggest, accounting for between 16% and 18% of its visitors.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "This will be our biggest year ever.
"Everyone looks back at '95, '96 as the year of Braveheart and Rob Roy and talks about [the period] up to '98 as being the boom years of Scottish tourism. But we have seen growth in the last four years, which maybe sits against a lot of other things in terms of spend within the UK and other sectors.
"We have seen really significant growth in visitor numbers and income and profitability in the last four years, far more than in the past."
The export performance of Scotch whisky has undoubtedly helped drive visitors to the attraction, which reported pre-tax profits of £504,357 in its most recent accounts, but it is only part of the story.
The Experience, which enjoys a five-star rating from VisitScotland, raised £3 million to fund a major refurbishment in 2009, an investment that saw it revamp its whisky tours.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said it made such an impact the business has since been able to invest in other aspects of the attraction. The shop was then refurbished, during the financial year to November 30, 2012, to incorporate some of the tour's interactive features, while its tasting bar and restaurant were renovated last year.
Although the Experience was set up with industry funding and continues to be owned by 22 shareholders across the sector, it functions as an independent, standalone commercial entity.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "That [initial investment] was the thing that had the biggest impact in terms of visitor numbers and profitability.
"We have had quite a number of different events because it is our 25th anniversary and everybody who comes in says it is unrecognisable as an experience and a business from what it was - even six or seven years ago and certainly from way back 25 years ago."
Other touches, such as teaching its courses in Mandarin, have further boosted the centre's global appeal.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said the Experience has benefited as Scotland has come on to the radar of tourists from emerging markets, people who now have the resources to travel and are developing an appreciation of Scotch as a luxury product.
She explained: "Scotland has a lot of kudos and desirability to visit. We do very well in these emerging markets. China and Brazil, for example, are in our top five international markets, whereas five years ago they wouldn't have featured anywhere."
The rise in overseas visitors has fed through to the numbers attending the centre's one-day course, which presents the opportunity to gain a certificate of expertise in Scotch whisky.
While staff from licensed premises around Scotland dominated course places in the early days, Ms Trevisan-Hunter noted it was now attracting delegates from Canada and the Nordic countries.
Many make the Experience their first port of call when they visit Scotland, equipping themselves with some whisky know-how before going on to visit distilleries around the country.
They are also buying whisky from the centre's revamped shop, which Ms Trevisan-Hunter notes is selling increasing amounts of luxury products.
She said sales have risen by 25% each year since the shop's refurbishment took place, with aged and luxury whiskies selling increasingly well.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "It's up in a lot of higher-end products, which is interesting. More so than we have ever seen before.
"The whole point with the shop was to make it more experiential, with things people can engage in, find out more about the distilleries and look at flavour profiles so it has a feel of the experience within the shop. We have put as much as we can in there to bring everything to life, predominantly for the visitors that might not do for the attraction."
Meanwhile, as Scotland prepares itself for the events of this year, when it will finally host the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the tourism industry's year of Homecoming, it might be assumed that it will bring further visitors to the Scotch Whisky Experience.
But while Ms Trevisan-Hunter expects to see some uplift in visitors during Whisky Month in May, an event that will bring the curtain down on the attraction's 25th birthday celebrations, she suspects the full benefits will be realised in the long run. She noted: "A lot of things happen as part of Homecoming that happen in a guise or at a level on an annual basis anyway.
"It is just a really good way of profiling the product and getting a bit of buzz and excitement about it.
"We'd anticipate seeing more people, especially around May, but to be honest one of our issues during the summer months is that we are close to capacity now anyway"
As for her own position, Ms Trevisan-Hunter said she has lost none of her love for the role and an industry that has seen her spend the last 17 years with the Scotch Whisky Experience.
She noted: "Folk that get into whisky don't then get out of it and go and do something different.
"They stay in whisky and they love it. Similarly, people in the tourism industry maybe move up through the ranks, but they stay doing that.
"There's a real sense of community, camaraderie and sharing good practice and just helping one other out in both industries. There is just a really nice feeling about it."