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The Latest Scotch Whisky Industry News

September 2015 Scotch Whisky News

10 Sep

Rare Antiquary Release

The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd has released a rare bottling of 35 year old blended Scotch Whisky under its premium brand The Antiquary.

The Antiquary is of one of the oldest Scotch whisky brands on the market. John & William Hardie began their quest to create the perfect Blended Scotch Whisky in 1880, using only the finest and rarest Scottish malts. In 1888 they succeeded in creating what was considered to be superior to all other blends - The Antiquary - available only to a small circle of friends and family. This rare and limited release of just 800 bottles pays homage to The Antiquary’s founders – it has been crafted from Scotland’s most outstanding malt and grain whiskies, all of which have been matured for over thirty five years.

Stephen Bremner, Sales Director, said: “Following a brand refresh earlier this year, we have seen growing interest in the Antiquary whiskies in both existing and new markets. Much like the original recipe created by the Hardie brothers back in 1888, this 35 Year old is a truly remarkable blended Scotch whisky of which the founders themselves would be immensely proud.”

The Antiquary 35 Year Old will be sold only in selected markets and will retail at £299.99 / EUR350.

09 Sep

Macleod’s Scotch Whisky Trail Pack set for relaunch at TFWA Cannes

Ian Macleod Distillers is set to relaunch their popular Macleod’s Scotch Whisky Trail pack at this year’s Cannes Tax Free World Association (TFWA).

The Macleod’s Scotch Whisky Trail pack has been renamed The Macleod’s Six to emphasise the 6 whiskies contained in the redesigned beautifully packaged double sided, burgundy and gold gift box.

Commenting on the new design, Andy Lane, Travel Retail Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “Our newly designed Macleod’s Six pack represents not only the premium quality of the product but also the journey of Clansman Ian Macleod as he travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, seeking out the finest malts and grain whiskies from each region.”

The contents of the pack reflects Scotland’s celebrated whisky regions and famed trails, explaining the intricacies that give whiskies their distinct and flavoursome characteristics. This exclusive tasting gift pack includes 5cl bottles from around the whisky producing regions including Speyside, Highland, Islay and Island single malts with a Lowland Single Grain Malt Whisky and Isle of Skye 8yo Blended Scotch Whisky.

The newly designed pack makes for a perfect gift to help celebrate any special occasion and encourage consumers to learn about and try a variety of Scotch whiskies.

Taking place between the 19- 23 October, TFWA is widely regarded as the world’s biggest duty free and travel retail association providing the industry with high-quality exhibitions, acclaimed conferences and workshops, and in-depth market research.

Ian Macleod Distillers is one of Scotland’s leading independent family owned distillers, blenders and bottlers.

The gift pack will be available from April 2016 and will retail at £26.00/€35.90/USD$39.95. The Macleod’s Scotch Whisky Trail pack can be found at stand number L7 Red Village at TFWA Cannes.

For more information, please visit

04 Sep

GlenDronach Launches Limited Release Octaves Expression

GlenDronach’s reputation for creating superb whiskies of uncompromising quality is underscored once again with the release of its new Octaves expression.

Master Distiller Billy Walker has selected five Pedro Ximenez Sherry Octaves from GlenDronach’s Aberdeenshire distillery to be bottled as the GlenDronach 20 Years Old Octaves.

An octave cask is made from staves of a previously used sherry butt and is approximately one-eighth the size of a butt. A smaller cask allows for more interaction between the wood and the spirit, giving the whisky a greater depth of flavour and aroma in a shorter period of time. This means a bold, complex dram with astonishing multi-dimensional character, making each and every bottle a sublime example of Highland whisky at its very finest.

Distilled on September 23 1994, this unique full-flavoured whisky was first matured in sherry casks and thereafter finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry Octaves. The result is a rare combination of heavyweight sherry Octave maturation and robust rich Highland whisky characteristics.

This is a very limited, exclusive bottling, with only 371 bottles produced. Individually numbered by hand, each bottle is a one-off and truly unique.

Appearance: Rich, red maple leaf in dark amber.

Nose: An intense concentration of chocolate fondant, candied ginger and glacé cherries, all perfectly balanced with a warming grind of black pepper, rich oak spices and a slight touch of liquorice.

Palate: Full-bodied sherry characteristics give dark molasses, enriched Christmas cake, sour plum syrup and delightful cigar box spices. A subtle combination of dark espresso and a nutty dryness gives the finish tremendous depth.

Conclusions: A rare combination of heavyweight sherry Octave maturation and robust rich Highland whisky characteristics capturing the darkest depths to the most delicate spice.

For more information, go to

04 Sep

Glengoyne is the perfect match for Let’s Eat Glasgow

Some of Glasgow’s top chefs are joining Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky this weekend (5-6 September) to offer the ultimate whisky food pairings at the Let’s East Glasgow festival.

To help celebrate the first event of its kind, Glasgow’s top chefs are expertly matching the powerful flavour credentials of Glengoyne malts with home-cooked dishes from popular city eateries.

From mouth-watering lamb meatballs from Ox and Finch paired with the Glengoyne 18Year Old, to Roast Renfrewshire wood pigeon from The Ubiquitous Chip joining the Glengoyne 15Year Old, whisky aficionados need look no further for the perfect food pairings.

Located just outside the city, Glengoyne Distillery is the event’s only whisky sponsor. Featuring over 40 top artisan producers and social enterprises, Let’s East Glasgow is the first pop-up restaurant and food market of its kind to take place in the city under one roof.

From meat and poultry and fish to cheese and alcoholic beverages, Let’s Eat Glasgow looks set to be a food lover’s dream. Neil Boyd, Commercial Director of Malts for Ian Macleod Distillers who own Glengoyne, said: “Let’s Eat Glasgow is the ideal event for us to showcase how successful pairing Glengoyne with food can be.

“Glengoyne food pairings work so well because of its versatility, with each of its seven expressions having different flavour characteristics.

“We’re delighted to be working with some of Scotland’s most talented chefs at Let’s Eat Glasgow to pair some stunning dishes with their perfect malt partner. We’re confident that we can inspire food and drink lovers to find their favourite whisky pairing and start experimenting with food and whisky at home.” For more information, visit:

03 Sep

The Deveron: The Calm From The Storm

John Dewar & Sons Ltd. has announced the release of The Deveron single malt which hails from MacDuff distillery, located on the northern edge of Aberdeenshire.

The new expressions of THE DEVERON® 10 year-old, THE DEVERON® 12 year-old and THE DEVERON® 18 year-old have never been released before now and will be available from October 2015.

Located where the river meets the sea, Macduff distillery sits near the mouth of the River Deveron, shortly before its cool waters join the restless surge of the North Sea. Sheltered from the worst of the seaboard storms and winter winds, this tranquil spot has seen the creation of The Deveron malt whisky for many a decade.

A comparatively modern distillery – its spirit first began to flow in 1960 – Macduff was brought into being mainly for the purpose of supplying malt whisky to the blending industry. It was commissioned by a consortium of four businessmen, who called themselves Glen Deveron Distillers Ltd.

Emanating from five small copper pot stills, and unusual horizontal condensers that gently coax extra character from the spirit, The Deveron is an approachable dram which has a tang of coastal air about it. The distillery is set up for a light, fruity spirit that’s replete with apple tones and nutty notes.

Stephen Marshall, Bacardi’s Global Marketing Manager – Single Malts remarks: “The final one. We’ve done it and it tastes great. People underestimate the quality of whisky that can be made at a comparatively modern distillery, this is really top notch stuff. Get yourself up to Macduff, or if you can’t then stick Local Hero on the telly and pour yourself a dram”.

The new portfolio consists of three age statements, each bottled at 40% ABV: The Deveron 10 Years Old (only available in France), The Deveron 12 Years Old and The Deveron 18 Years Old. Each expression has been launched in selected markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United States and United Kingdom.

03 Sep

BenRiach Extends Its New Heavily Peated Range With 18 Years Old Latada

From the heart of Speyside, BenRiach today (September 3, 2015) launches Latada, a brand-new limited edition 18 years old peated single malt finished in Madeira casks.

It’s the Elgin distillery’s third offering in its range of peated wood finishes, joining the BenRiach Albariza and Dunder on the shelves.

Bottled at 46% abv, at natural colour and non chill filtered, Latada is distilled from peated malted barley matured in American oak casks before enjoying a finishing period in fine Madeira casks selected by Master Distiller Billy Walker.

The unusual name comes from the traditional “Latada” or trellised vine system on the island of Madeira where the vines are laid out horizontally above the ground on low trellises.

This unusual single malt cleverly combines the distinct and contrasting aromas and flavours associated with richly-peated malt whisky and the elegant style of wood selected for final maturation.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Rich antique gold.

Nose: Torrents of campfire peat smoke infuse heather honey and ripe pear. Hints of cantaloupe and candied citrus add to a luscious, crisp balance.

Taste: A mouth-watering sweet peat character floods through delicious ripe fruit syrup. Dried apricots combine with warm oak spices and gentle citrus zest, giving a contrasting depth to the long finish.

The heavily peated range continues to be warmly welcomed worldwide, showing there is strong demand for our innovative peated cask finishes.

In this case, the Madeira casks bring remarkable depth and balance to the whisky; Latada intriguingly pairs the earthy, smoky notes of peat with delicate hints of pear, honey and citrus, making a stunning, luscious dram. It’s one to savour on a cool autumn evening, perhaps accompanied by some fine dark chocolate.

With only 4,001 bottles in this unique bottling, BenRiach Latada will be available from whisky specialist shops.

For more information, go to

03 Sep

Single Malt Whisky Distilling Returns to Edinburgh after a 90 Year Absence

Single malt whisky distilling is poised to return to Scotland’s capital after a 90 year absence, following the City of Edinburgh Council’s decision to enter into a lease with a new distillery at the Engine Shed near Holyrood Park.

Whisky expert and former Master Distiller for The Macallan, David Robertson, is behind plans to open the Holyrood Park Distillery – a £2 million boutique micro-distillery and visitor experience at the Engine Shed building in the heart of the city.

The proposal is now subject to a planning application.

David Robertson, project lead and master distiller of the Holyrood Park Distillery, said: “We are very excited by the prospect of resurrecting the proud tradition of distilling single malt whisky in Edinburgh, following a 90 year absence of whisky distilling in the capital.

“The production and export of whisky is perhaps Scotland’s most iconic industry, supporting huge numbers of jobs, and visiting a distillery is a must for most visitors to Scotland. It seems to us that the one place missing a single malt distillery is Edinburgh, the capital of the country known for the world’s most famous whisky – Scotland. We hope to be able to create an immersive and entertaining visitor experience, supporting the local economy through jobs and training opportunities, while reinforcing the capital’s position as a world class tourism destination.

“Most importantly, our goal is to create beautiful, hand-crafted single malt whiskies which will stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great single malts that are now being produced in Scotland and elsewhere. The Engine Shed building is the ideal location for us to realise this ambition. With its history dating back to the 1830s, it will provide a fantastic home for us to create a small, but world class distillery and tourist destination of which Edinburgh can be proud.”

The Holyrood Park Distillery will be developed with the visitor experience fully integrated into the design of the facility. Visitors will be able to follow the distillation process from start to finish, experiencing at first hand the creation of Edinburgh’s only single malt.

The boutique distillery will also host an education facility to be used as a community and school resource for learning about whisky distilling and the rich history of the site. Visitors will be able to enjoy locally sourced food and drink at an on-site restaurant and bar and ambitions stretch to establishing a weekend market for local crafts and products in the courtyard. Subject to final design and receipt of planning permission, there are also plans to provide facilities for community events.

Holyrood Park Distillery will initially employ up to 25 staff at varying levels, from trainees right up to experienced distillery operators, tourism and production managers. The business aims to start distilling whisky by Summer 2016 and release a single malt whisky within four years. Due to the small scale of the operation, it will produce only 100,000 litres of alcohol per year, resulting in around 250,000 bottles of mature single malt in 8 to 12 years’ time.

Edinburgh has a long and proud history of whisky production. Back in the late 1700s there were eight licensed distilleries and it is estimated that there may have been as many as 400 illegal stills in Edinburgh. Urban production fell out of fashion but is currently enjoying a boom, with urban distilleries popping up in some of the world’s iconic cities including New York, London, Dublin, Glasgow, Portland, Nashville, New Orleans, LA, Detroit, San Francisco and Austin.

Glen Sciennes was the last single malt whisky distillery to operate in Edinburgh, and was also located in the St. Leonard’s area. The distillery’s maltings were sited near the Engine Shed before its closure in 1925 and later demolition.

The Engine Shed building was built in the 1830s as a goods warehouse for the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway, also known as “The Innocent Railway”. Under the ownership of Lothian Regional Council, the building was renovated and, most recently, leased by a social enterprise providing a supportive living and working environment for people with learning disabilities.

02 Sep

BenRiach Releases Newest Batch Of Its Single Cask Bottlings

BenRiach has released Batch 12 of its renowned single cask bottlings.

This batch comprises nine remarkable casks from its Elgin distillery that were bottled in June this year.

Ranging from 38 to 14 years old, the magnificent nine perfectly capture the unique, award-winning BenRiach character.

The variety of expressions is utterly amazing. Sublime whiskies matured in the traditional, classic Speyside style are accompanied by expressions finished in exciting wood types such as Tawny Port, Pedro Ximenez sherry and Oloroso sherry casks as well as several peated whiskies.

Individually hand-numbered, non chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour, each single cask is truly a one-off. The new BenRiach packaging reflects the supreme quality of these single casks.

All nine casks have been hand-selected by BenRiach’s Managing Director and Master Distiller Billy Walker who described them as “extraordinarily fine” and added:

“Every single cask bottling is an exclusive limited release. I have selected these nine casks as I believe they are especially noteworthy – highly individual, rounded, full of personality and ranging in fascinating characteristics. ”

Amongst them are some real highlights. The 38 years old whisky is from cask number 541, an excellent bourbon barrel. This peated gem suggests baked apples spiced with vanilla and cinnamon combined with a gentle, sweet peat reek to create a long barley sugar finish.

At the other end of the scale, the youngest, a 14 years old from cask number 69116, is a classic Speyside malt, balancing oak spices, green pears and ripe gooseberries combined with a crisp citrus twist and long barley grist finish.

And unusually for BenRiach, one expression – the 1998 cask number 6394 – has been triple-distilled and finished in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon, and the taste is sensational – white pepper and crisp citrus notes soften to plum juice followed by apple sponge with a dusting of fresh ground barley.

Other expressions in the range boast the taste of “herbal bog myrtle”, “papaya and ripe melon”, “juicy cranberries submerged with crisp citrus” and “chocolate-coated rum raisins and roasted coffee beans”.

The cask details are as follows:

1976 cask # 541 / 38 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Peated / 48.8% vol. 

1979 cask # 517 / 35 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Peated / 46.9% vol.

1985 cask # 10318 / 29 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Peated / 49.0%vol. 

1987 cask # 3825 / 27 years old / Tawny Port Hogshead / Tawny Port Finish / 52.9% vol.

1990 cask # 4936 / 25 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Classic Speyside / 50.4% vol.

1995 cask # 74743 / 20 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Classic Speyside / 58.9% vol.

1998 cask # 6394 / 17 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / Triple Distilled / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish / 57.5% vol.

1999 cask # 8687 / 15 years old / Oloroso Sherry Puncheon / Oloroso Sherry Finish / 56.1% vol.

2000 cask # 69116 / 14 years old / Bourbon Barrel / Classic Speyside / 56.3% vol.

All nine casks will soon be available at retailers worldwide.

25 Aug

Royal Brackla®Single Malt: The First Whisky Fit For A King

John Dewar & Sons Ltd. has unveiled a new range of proprietary bottlings from Royal Brackla distillery, one of Scotland’s oldest and most venerable distilleries.

The new expressions of this regal single malt, ROYAL BRACKLA® 12 year-old, ROYAL BRACKLA® 16 year-old and ROYAL BRACKLA® 21 year-old will be available initially in 10 markets from September 2015; a regal opportunity to savour whisky fit for a King.

Standing on the fertile farmland of the Cawdor Estate, Royal Brackla Distillery was established in 1812 by the fiery Captain William Fraser who returned to the family farm after military service and took advantage of the fine barley it grew. Within 25 years his distillery’s reputation for spirit of sterling taste received its crowning moment when King William IV bestowed ‘Royal’ status to Brackla, in 1835. It thus became the first ever Scotch to garner a royal warrant, a revelation that led to its nickname: ‘The King’s Own Whisky’.

Traditional production techniques help to protect a distilling heritage that spans more than two centuries and preserves the unparalleled quality of a rather special spirit. To allow for the development of intriguing complexity and fruitiness, extra time is taken at the fermentation stage, which acts for up to 80 hours; far longer than most Scottish distilleries.

The notably tall stills run at an unusually slow pace. Their height allows plenty of reflux, with the leisurely nature of the operation increasing the contact that the spirit shares with copper, thus filtering out unwanted sulphury notes. Instead, delicate and lightly perfumed notes of grass and green foliage develop, alongside inviting fruity aromas. Crucially, the whisky is finished in premium first-fill sherry casks, enriching it with notes of muscovado sweetness and dates, alongside opulent walnuts.

Stephen Marshall, Bacardi’s Global Marketing Manager – Single Malts says: “This is the one that was described as ‘The Drink Divine’ by the Royal household in the 1830s, that’s no small claim, so we had to take our time and the entire team have done an amazing job that really does justice to Royal Brackla’s incredible heritage. There’s only one whisky in the world that can be the first Royal whisky, I feel privileged to have worked on this”.

The new portfolio consists of three age statements, each bottled at 46% ABV: Royal Brackla 12 Years Old, Royal Brackla 16 Years Old and Royal Brackla 21 Years Old. Each expression has been launched in 10 initial markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Global Travel Retail.

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