Some secrets are meant for sharing.

A mysterious box showed up  this past week. I finally got the courage (and time) to open it up this morning.

Inside was a dossier, 2 tasting glasses, a very cool memory card and best of all…a bottle of the newly released Benromach 10 year old whisky.

More on the package in a bit, but first a little history on the Benromach distillery:

Purchased by Gordon & MacPhail in 1993,  the Benromach distillery was not immediately ready to move into production:

An opportunity to buy Benromach Distillery presented itself and we grabbed it with both hands!” says Ian Urquhart.

But when we purchased Benromach there wasn’t a great deal left behind by the previous owners,” adds David Urquhart, Ian’s younger brother. “Indeed the buildings, spirit receiver, wood from the larch wash backs and the distilleries distinctive near 100-foot chimney, were virtually the only things remaining.”

Before beginning the project of re-equipping the distillery we carefully considered the amount and indeed style of single malt we wished to produce. This involved a great deal of planning and research before we started,” continues Ian.

Continue Reading >>

Glenglassaugh 250 Club

I received a beautiful packet inviting me to participate in the Glenglassaugh 250 Club.

This is the opportunity to participate in the growth of the newly re-opened Glenglassaugh distillery by purchasing a newly-filled cask.
(I‘ve previously written about the upside & downside of cask purchases inA Wise Investment?)

A maximum of 250 memberships will be available each year – once the 250 annual memberships are sold, the list will be closed until the next year.

Membership does not simply include the cask (details below) but also:

  • A personalized VIP Distillery Tour for the member & 3 guests.
  • A Bottle of Glenglassaugh new make spirit.
  • Unlimited free use of the @%) Club private facilities during the maturation period.
  • A signed copy of the Glenglassaugh – A Distillery Reborn by Ian Buxton
  • A limited edition print of the distillery
  • A 10% discount on distillery purchases

Ok. Onto the details.

The following casks are available

  • 1st fill ex-Port Pipe (580 litres) @ £6,500
  • 1st fill ex-Sherry Butt (500 litres) @ £6,250
  • 1st fill ex-Sherry Hogshead (250 litres) @ £3,000
  • 1st fill ex-Port Hogshead (250 litres) @ £3,000
  • 1st fill ex-red Wine Barrel (210 litres) @ £2,500
  • Re-charred Wine Barrel (210 litres) @ £2,500
  • ex-Bourbon Barrel (190 litres) @ £2,500

For more info (and your own ownership prospectus) contact the distillery

Glenglassaugh Distillery Company Ltd
Portsoy, Aberdeenshire,
Scotland AB45 2SQ.
Tel +44 (0) 1261 842367
Fax +44 (0) 1261 842421
A vertical tasting of 3 Glenglassaugh whiskies is coming.

Glenglassaugh Octave Cask Offer

Glenglassaugh Distillery started producing spirit again on the 4th December 2008 after a silent period which lasted for 22 years, a change of owners and major refurbishment of the buildings and equipment.

We have now started selling aged exclusive whiskies which we have bottled from the remaining stock, which was purchased at the same time as the distillery and we are bottling 2 new Spirit Drink products.

We have also started selling octave casks filled with our new make spirit which will be stored in our warehouse for a minimum of three years after which time the spirit can be called single malt scotch whisky and can be bottled.

These octaves will yield around 60 bottles in 5 years time.
We would chose your cask and inscribe it with your company name or anything else that you wished, you could come and visit it during its maturation and also bring guests. We will provide you with samples from your cask on an annual basis so that you can monitor it’s maturation. We will help you to chose the right time to empty your cask and to bottle the whisky, which we can do at the distillery. We will also help you to design the label which will be unique to you and personalised as you wish.

The cost to purchase one of our octave casks is £500.00, which excludes the duty and bottling both of which will be due after the bottling has been finished and you are ready take your bottles away. If you wish any more information on this opportunity then please contact me by email ( or at the distillery.

"Ruin" Scotch Whisky? I Don't Think So.

Almost 3 years ago, someone asked me about the requirement to bottle Scotch Whisky in Scotland.

I told them that there was, at that time, no requirement for Scotch Whisky to be bottled in Scotland. That was a true statement then and it is a true statement now.

Even at that time, the SWA was working on some legislation to ensure that Single Malt Scotch Whisky would have to be bottled in Scotland, but that would not affect the bottling of other categories of Scotch Whisky overseas. That legislation has never made it to law.

David Williamson of the SWA expanded:

As you are aware, there has never been a requirement in the legal definition of Scotch Whisky for it to be bottled only in Scotland. As Scotch Whisky has grown in popularity around the world over the last century, we have therefore seen Scotch Whisky, principally Blended Scotch Whisky, shipped for local bottling in certain export markets.

Over the years, overseas bottling developed in some markets because it was the only way in which imported spirits, such as Scotch Whisky, were allowed to operate on a level playing field with domestic spirit drinks. In contrast, bottled imported spirits would face tariff or tax discrimination, distorting competition in the market and denying local consumers choice. In other markets, Scotch Whisky has been imported in bulk for blending with domestic whiskies.

While it is likely that there would therefore be considerable legal difficulties in requiring that all Scotch Whisky now be bottled in Scotland, the situation is very different for Single Malt Scotch Whisky, as only very small quantities have been exported for local bottling in the past and any requirement to bottle in Scotland would only impact on trade to a limited extent. SWA members are therefore supportive of introducing such a requirement as part of the wider package of proposals that are currently being brought forward.

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

But all of a sudden, Diageo’s VERY REASONABLE, if not happily accepted, plan to move bottling operations from Kilmarnock to Fife is being attacked.

Yes, jobs will be lost in Kilmarnock…But new jobs will be created elsewhere. And Fife isn’t exactly China, is it?

In this economy*, lost jobs are not often replaced in other areas of the same country, are they?

When written as “DIAGEO’S plan to end Johnnie Walker’s historic links with Kilmarnock could be the beginning of a process that will destroy the Scotch whisky industry,” it sounds quite alarmist, doesn’t it.

“A spokesman for Diageo accused the MPs of overreacting. “We fully appreciate that emotions are running high, but we reserve our right to have undertaken a major review of our business in Scotland,”

I whole-heartedly agree.

As Douglas Fraser, business and economy editor at BBC Scotland, correctly states

Already, between 10% and 20% of Scotch Whisky – leaves Scotland in bulk rather than bottles. Diageo sends less than half that proportion.

So articles such as Diageo plans ‘could ruin Scotch whisky’ are alarmist and unnecessary – and fueled by a political over-reaction to the necessity of consolidating jobs in a down economy – which is ANY employers prerogative.

I am sure Diageo has been dreaming of moving more bottling “off-shore” and has a perfect excuse In this economy*. And nothing in the existing OR PLANNED law prevents them from doing so. But they aren’t doing that here, are they?

The politicians got caught with their pants down and the people whom they represent who may be losing jobs will not be happy – but when the only argument the opposition has is that Diageo is laying the ground-work for ruining Scottish historical significance of a whisky brand, they’ve already lost the battle.

When will people realize that Diageo isn’t a foundation of Scottish culture – it’s a large multi-national company – that exists to bring share-holder value. And while I have been an outspoken commenter against a number of their marketing practices, as a Diageo shareholder, business consultant and MBA, I understand and accept operational review and elimination of redundancies.

That’s Business, folks.
* Vastly overused term.


Both Rob Allanson and I are motorcycle buffs. But that lucky bastard gets to take a trip around Scotland visiting distilleries on a Triumph Bonneville SE.

From tomorrow, Thursday 4th June through Wednesday 10th June, they’ll be traveling to the farthest reaches of Scotland collecting whisky for a one of a kind bottling.

Distilleries to be visited:
Highland Park – Orkney (north)
Kilchoman – Islay (West)
Bladnoch – Lowlands (South)
Glen Garioch – Highlands (East)
Glenturret – Highland (central point)

Two men and two Triumph motorbikes will set off today (Thursday June 4th) from the most northerly distillery in the British Isles on an epic whisky road trip.

Using the compass points, Whisky Magazine Editor Rob Allanson and BBC Scotland’s Tom Morton aim to visit the most extreme distilleries collecting whisky to create the ultimate bottling. A third rider, using another classic British bike name, Royal Enfield, will be providing photographic coverage.

Journey’s Blend will take the intrepid pair nearly 1,000 miles through some of Scotland’s finest landscapes and towns as they select the ingredients for this one-off special blend.

The journey will see the duo leave Orkney to head to one of Scotland’s newest producing distilleries on Islay, Kilchoman, then travel to Bladnoch in the south before heading north east to Glen Garioch; these distilleries represent the furthest points on Scotland’s distilling map. The trip ends at Glenturret Distillery, home of the Famous Grouse and Scotland’s oldest and most central distilleries, forming the hub of the compass.

Whisky guru and master blender for the Edrington Group John Ramsay will meet the pair there and has agreed to create the final bottling, one of the last projects he will work on before retiring later this year. A proportion of the proceeds will be going to the Parkinson’s Society and the bottling will be launched at Scotland’s greatest whisky tasting event, Whisky Live Glasgow, on Saturday 12th September at The Thistle Hotel, Glasgow.

For more information and interviews with the team please contact Whisky Magazine Editor Rob Allanson on +44 7595 936 766 or email

Abhainn Dearg

I get a lot of Press Releases and random eMail…and as you’ve noticed, I haven’t been so good with the postings lately.
I’ve been writing a new cocktail guide for a vodka company – but mostly I’ve been busy doing all sorts of other things.
But the occasional email sparks my interest.

Like one I received from Abhainn Dearg distillery today:

Hi Kevin,

Found your website and thought you might be interested in the first legal distillery from the Outer Hebrides in almost 170 years.

This is a tiny distillery and we are trying our best to promote it to the World, maybe you could help by posting the URL. If anyone would like an adventure to see us on the Isle of Lewis, they would be welcome!

Kind regards,

You know what I really like? getting an email from someone at a distillery and not some fancy PR firm (apologies to my friends at fancy PR firms).

It has been nearly one hundred and seventy years since the last legal bottle of whisky was produced in the Outer Hebrides. Now a new era and a true Outer Hebridean Whisky has arrived, we think once you have sampled it, you will agree it’s been worth the wait, but it’s not quite ready yet! In May we will unveil the first of our range, just keep an eye on this website for further information, or register your interest via our enquiry form.

Abhainn Dearg is a new distillery we don’t have any of the history, or grand old buildings associated with the famous named brands, you won’t find a visitor centre or shop here, you might have a hard time just finding us, but if you do visit, you wont’ be disappointed. We are the most westerly distillery in Scotland, based in Uig on the Outer Hebridean Island of Lewis and although we’re remote you can travel here in just a few hours from London.

Although it’s been a long time since whisky was legally produced on our shores, our history in making whisky was recorded as early as the 1600’s, the last legal distillery in Stornoway (Shoeburn Distillery) closed down around 1840, but distilling didn’t stop, let’s just say it went back to its roots.

Old traditions die hard in the islands and that’s what you will find here at Abhainn Dearg. Whisky distilled in the traditional fashion using copper and wood and eventually home grown organic barley. Other ingredients are passion and commitment, old fashioned values of producing the finest whisky we can, not just for commerce, but for the love of distilling and taking a pride in what we do, for those who came before and our children who will hopefully carry it on for future generations.

Check out their site while you wait for the stuff to mature.

The Spirit of Speyside – Glenfarclas Distillery events

Considering a trip to Speyside? Why not wait until early May when you can experience the Spirit of Speyside festival in all its glory.

Our friends at Glenfarclas have announced their schedule of events, but all of the distilleries will host events during the festival.

Glenfarclas celebrates The Spirit of Speyside – 1st to 10th May 2009

This year the festival is the anchor for Homecoming’s Whisky Month, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, and runs for ten days from the 1st of May. The Glenfarclas program will include tours for the distillery, tutored nosings and tastings, a Glenfarclas Dinner, a walk to the distillery’s water source and a Glenfarclas Race Night for charity.

New Spirit to Glenfarclas 105
Friday 1st May 2009 11.00 – 12.30
Zero to Glenfarclas 105 in ninety minutes: After a tour of family owned Glenfarclas, George Grant will lead you through a tasting. Starting with new spirit and then a series of eight cask samples, you will experience how Glenfarclas matures over time. To finish, a dram of legendary Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength. £18.00.

Glenfarclas Tasting at the Mash Tun, Aberlour
Saturday 2nd May 2009 15.00 – 1700
Informal Glenfarclas tasting at the Mash Tun in Aberlour with George Grant.

Glenfarclas Dinner at Craggan Mill Restaurant, Grantown-on-Spey
Sunday 3rd May 2009 19.00 – 22.00
Enjoy a four course Glenfarclas Whisky Dinner at Craggan Mill Restaurant, Grantown-on-Spey. Graham Harvey and Sheila McConachie, chef/patrons of Craggan Mill, and co-authors of the award winning book The Whisky Kitchen, will present a four course dinner, with each course inspired by an expression of Glenfarclas. To start, the Velouté of Haggis with Glenfarclas 15 Years Old, which featured in Graham’s winning menu for the 2007 Spirit of Speyside Chef Competition. Robert Ransom, of family owned Glenfarclas, will introduce an expression of Glenfarclas to accompany each course. £37.00.

Glenfarclas Lottery Tour and Tasting
Monday 4th May 2009 11.00 – 12.55
After a tour of Glenfarclas, George Grant, Brand Ambassador, and sixth generation of the family that own and manage the distillery will present a tasting of six whiskies of the same age as the winning numbers in the previous Saturday’s National Lottery draw. All those of 12 years and older will be selected from The Family Casks, a unique collection of single cask whisky, with at least one cask bottled for every year from 1952 to 1994. For those younger than 12 years old, George will select cask samples of the appropriate age to present. Keep your fingers crossed for high numbers! £30.00.

Glenfarclas Tour & Tasting
Tuesday 5th May 2009 14.00 – 15.55
Enjoy a tour of Family owned Glenfarclas, after which Kate Wright will introduce you to a selection of four of her favourite expressions of Glenfarclas, including one of The Family Casks. £15.00.

Glenfarclas Tour & Tasting
Thursday 7th May 2009 – 14.00 – 15.55
Enjoy a tour of Family owned Glenfarclas, after which Ian McWilliam will introduce you to a selection of four of his favourite expressions of Glenfarclas, including one of The Family Casks. £15.00.

Glenfarclas Walk to the Water Source
Friday 8th May 2009 – 11.00 – 14.45
Enjoy an afternoon walk to the Glenfarclas water source, on Ben Rinnes, with Robert Ransom. Where could be better to enjoy a dram of Glenfarclas 105? This is a hill walk over rough ground, so bring walking boots, waterproofs, warm clothes and a packed lunch. Weather permitting you should be rewarded with a fantastic view of Speyside. Relax after the walk with tea and shortbread at the distillery visitor centre. Please do not bring dogs. £6.00.

Glenfarclas Charity Race Night, with The Whisky Shop Dufftown
Friday 8th of May 20.00 – 22.30
To celebrate the sponsorship of a series of cross country races at Cheltenham by Glenfarclas we are off to the races. During the evening there will be 6 races for you to flutter on. And between each race Kate Wright from Glenfarclas will hold a whisky tasting. Proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research UK. £15.00.

For full details on the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival visit and

Glendronach plans for the future.


Work starts today (Monday December 29, 2008) on a £250,000 development of the GlenDronach malt whisky brand.

The Aberdeenshire distillery, one of Scotland’s oldest, was bought earlier this year by the Larbert-based BenRiach Distillery Company.

BenRiach Managing Director Billy Walker:

“This is the beginning of our strategy to re-package and re-launch GlenDronach in markets worldwide. We will take Glendronach back to how it was originally, promoting it as one of Scotland’s original sherried whiskies.”

Mr Walker and his colleagues purchased GlenDronach from Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard.

Regional Sales Director James Cowan:

“GlenDronach is a bit of a sleeping giant and was not part of Chivas’s expansion plans, But we have great plans for it in our markets in the UK, Germany, USA, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, amongst others.

“We’re looking forward to breathing new life into it and giving it the attention and commitment it deserves.”

Industry veteran and Master Blender Mr Walker revealed that GlenDronach will release a new core range in March 2009 which will comprise twelve, fifteen and eighteen-year-old malts. It will also release a non-aged product, single cask bottlings and some incredibly rare vintage malts.

Marketing Executive Kerry White:

“Tradition will play a significant role in the new branding. The current packaging, design and logo have been retained but are being enhanced with a few changes. A new proprietary bottle will also be incorporated later in 2009.”

But a major part of the quarter million investment is the development of a new Visitor Centre at the distillery.

Alan McConnochie, GlenDronach’s Distillery Manager:

“We aim to create an educational and vibrant visitor attraction where both connoisseurs and those new to whisky can learn more about GlenDronach and engage more fully with the brand.

As part of the development, we will also be hosting corporate evenings at which guests can stay overnight at Glen House, the distillery’s country house. The package will include an evening’s stay, a special tour and master class tasting and fine dining.”

The investment also includes a brand-new website where customers worldwide can use it as a first port of call to find out more about GlenDronach and the maturation techniques that make it so special.

“GlenDronach” is Gaelic for “the valley of the brambles” and takes its name from the Dronach Burn which winds its way through the grounds of the distillery. Founded at Forgue, Aberdeenshire, in 1826 by James Allardice, one of the original whisky entrepreneurs, GlenDronach Distillery produces a series of single malt whiskies ranging in age from twelve to thirty-three years old and currently has the capacity to produce almost one and a half million litres of whisky a year.

In Ireland

Hi Everyone.

In Ireland for the next few days. Today toured Locke’s distillery – the oldest licensed distillery in the world. Tomorrow going to visit Cooley Distillery. Saturday a tour of Guinness and a visit to the “Old Jameson Distillery”.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to see something in Dublin that isn’t alcohol related. Nah.

Glen Moray gets sold reports that Glenmorangie Company will be selling its Glen Moray distillery  to French spirits company La Martiniquaise.

La Martiniquaise markets brand name look & sound-alikes such as:

  • Label 5
  • Glen Turner
  • Old Virginia Bourbon
  • Sam Barton Canadian Whisky
  • Gibson’s Gin
  • Poliakov Vodka