McTear’s Rare & Collectable Whisky Auction

Andrew Bell let me know about the upcoming McTear’s Rare & Collectable Whisky Auction.

The auction takes place on Wednesday, 4 November at 10:30 am, with viewing  taking place on Tuesday 3 November 3rd 2009 from 9am-5pm as well as immediately preceding the auction on Wednesday, November 4 from 8.30am-10.20am.

Click here to download a PDF catalog or check out the offerings online at

ENQUIRIES should be directed to Andrew +44(0)141 810 2880 or via email


Meiklewood Gate
31 Meiklewood Road
Glasgow G51 4EU

Spirit Safe Auction

Richard Joynson, proprietor of the World Famous Loch Fyne Whiskies (You can not – and must not – miss it on the pilgrimage from Glasgow to Islay), wrote to let me know they are offering an absolute one of a kind piece of whisky history – as well as the ultimate addition to your whisky memorabilia collection.

Kevin, I wonder if you would consider flagging up the Spirit Safe we are offering for sale by auction.

We are about to close offers but are aware that there has been no interest from North America and that someone may be disappointed they did not know about it in time. So, how are we going to tell the yanks? We thought, through the Scotch Blog of course!

Thanks for the compliment, Richard.

Of course, the dismal state of the US dollar, combined with the apparent imminent collapse of our economy may prevent we frightened Yanks from being ABLE to bid an appropriate amount – but what the hell, it’s only money and this would look pretty cool in your living room.

So get out your checkbook, and start thinking of what you’ll tell your significant other when this baby shows up.


Present highest bid:   £3800.00

Dimensions of the case: 1250mm wide, 425mm deep and 550 high, overall height 680mm. Add 60mm for the taps at the front right.

Price offered is for collected, Inveraray. No additional taxes or fees.

The safe lies here in Inveraray and the owner would like to see your bids for it, (starting at £2,000), to place a bid email us at, we will reply giving you a bidder reference, then keep checking the linked page to see if your bid is still top. No closing date at present, and no obligation to sell. Go take a look it is magnificent!!

How do we know where it’s from? The chap who bought and developed the old distillery in Fort William also owned Inveraray’s Argyll Hotel, he sold the safe to the current owner, we hope to have some more provenence for the buyer soon).

See more pictures here…

UPDATE: Richard let me know he plans to “sell to the highest bid received in 7 days time, something like
12.00 BST Friday 10th
” – so there’s still time to cash in what’s left of your 401K to fund your bid.

Pssst, Wanna buy some PC5?


Apparently the Port Charlotte PC5 is pretty tough to get – if you can find it.

Well, I’m here to hook you up.

The Wine Specialist (Washington, DC, USA) has a stash of 4 cases left (That’s 24 bottles).

    Oh wait. They have 23 bottles left now :).

And it’s selling at a great price – $125.99.

Contact my boy Matt to snag one of those remaining bottles:

You can order the PC5 through their website:; email:, or by phone: 202.833.0707.

OK. I did you a solid. Can anyone find me a god damned Wii, so my kids will love me again??

No, this is not a paid advertisement you cynical bastards. This is what we call a Public Service Announcement.

The Wine Specialist
2115 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Voice: 202-833-0707
Fax: 202-833-9507

Gift Pack Season

I love the Christmas season. Not for the reasons you are thinking (8 years in catholic school squeezed any faith out of me). No, I love going to the liquor store and seeing what gift packs have been cooked up by the liquor companies.

On a recent trip to my local VA-ABC (that’s the horribly named Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) to pick up bottles for an upcoming tasting (if you are curious: Famous Grouse, Scapa, Highland Park, Ardbeg and Old Pulteney).

Wandering around the shop I got to see what’s in this season:

Many companies stick with the easy way out and offer glasses: Herradura
Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, JW Black Label, Chivas
Regal, and Crown Royal all offer gift packs with one of two rocks
style glasses. Vodkas are big with martini glasses – Citadelle, Belvedere and Chopin; while
Stolichnaya takes a more Russian approach and offers 4 shot glasses. Corazon tequila decided to offer a choice of shot glasses OR rocks glasses.

Continue Reading >>

New Releases and Specials

It’s Thanksgiving here in America. Which means most American readers are watching football and eating turkey. Just another day to the rest of the world – and the stories are rolling in.

Arran offers Last Bottles of 2 limited editions

UnknownThe Arran Malt is offering up the last few bottles of both the Cream Sherry and Lepanto Brandy Finish limited editions.

Both are now available on the Arran website on a first come, first serve basis at 15% off their regular price. CLICK HERE – then go to "Page 2"

This offer is only open until 10am, Monday 27th November 2006.

BenRiach announces Wood Finishes

BenRiach announced the ‘Wood Finish’ Series, a collection of four new BenRiach expressions:

  1. BenRiach 15YO Pedro Ximinez Finish
  2. BenRiach 15YO Madeira Finish
  3. BenRiach 15YO Dark Rum Finish
  4. BenRiach 15YO Aged Tawny Port Finish

Continue Reading >>


Joep Van Drunen writes to tell me that Whiskybay has reached 250 users.

What is Whiskybay? Whiskybay is a whisky-auction site – think "eBay" for whisky collectors.

Joep tells us about Whiskybay:

The intention of Whiskybay is to get whisky-enthusiasts together to sell and buy for reasonable prices. In Germany there is A good, but expensive site – you also need a credit card to join.

Continue Reading >>

Who doesn't love Highland Park?

…Someone who hasn’t tried it yet.

Let’s talk about Highland Park

There are currently five standard
Highland Park bottlings – a 12 ($47), 15 ($60), 18 ($100), 25 ($269) and a
30 ($350, a special limited-time price – normally $380)*

There are differences in the younger Highland Parks that transcend
the time spent in cask – both the 12 year old and the 18 year old are
the products of approximately 10% bourbon casks and 90% sherry casks, with 40-50% of the sherry casks being first fill. Both expressions have dried fruit flavors (raisins) with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and the expected sweet toffee and sherry flavors. The 18 is less peaty than the 12, but you can taste the connection between the two. I prefer the 18 year old.

The recently introduced 15 year old, on the other hand, is more than
just a price point between the 12 and 18 – being the product of roughly
50% sherry cask and 50% bourbon casks. As a result the 15 is a very
different whisky than its younger and older siblings – with more
vanilla, citrus and floral flavors than the 12 and 18. Quite tasty.

The 25 year old is produced from 10% bourbon casks and 90% sherry casks, with 55% of the sherry casks being first fill. Dried fruit – more wood – and after 25 years in wood the peat has been overwhelmed by the other rich flavors in the cask. It is full bodied and surprisingly bright for something so long in the cask. 50.7% ABV.

The 30 year old, introduced just last year, has a higher percentage of bourbon cask whisky in the mix, and the result is more distinct vanilla notes than the 25, and quite a bit more mellow. – 48.1% ABV.

If you haven’t tried Highland Park, you should as soon as possible. Highland Park consistently makes the top ten list of whisky lovers
around the world, and has won numerous awards and accolades within the industry – with good reason – it is an incredible whisky.

Let’s talk about cask 3262

This past Wednesday I traveled to Washington DC to attend a dinner & tasting
to celebrate the imminent release of a very limited bottling of
Highland Park.

The tasting was led by the entertaining Caspar MacRae, brand ambassador for The Macallan – sister distillery of Highland Park – and included all of the Highland Park expressions mentioned above.

The Wine Specialist
(a Washington DC purveyor with the best
selection of Single Malts in the DC metro area) commissioned Highland
Park for a special single cask/cask strength bottling – the choice was
cask 3262 – a second fill sherry oak cask. Distilled in 1981 and bottled (very recently) in 2006, this 25 year old
yielded 84 bottles at 47.9% ABV. Very rich and intense, sweet with citrus, florals, and lots of spice. A hint of salt and a hint of smoke.

There are now only 83 bottles in existence as one bottle was ravenously devoured by the dinner guests.

Now here is the kicker – the Wine Specialist 25 year old single cask/cask strength bottling is going for $219 – not only is it less expensive than the standard 25, but in my estimation it is even better.

My sources tell me that Highland Park is seriously considering doing away with the single cask bottling program, so who knows how long you have to grab bottling like these.

Only available from The Wine Specialist – Buy one now. (Contact Information below)

Now let’s talk about food

For the "Foodies" out there: the dinner took place at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse and was absolutely fantastic. All of the course were created using single malt scotch, and each course was accompanied by one of the Highland Park expressions.

Appetizers: Smoked Salmon with Horseradish and Single Malt Jelly; Tuna & Watermelon cubes with a Honey Malt glaze; Chicken skewers with Basil and single malt rub

First Course: Scotch Eggs over a Frezzie of bacon salad with sherry vinegar single malt dressing

Second Course: Mango & Walnut single malt sorbet

Main course: Braised short ribs of beef; Stuffed tomato confit of eggplant with single malt scotch demi-glaze

Dessert: Single malt creme brulee

The Wine Specialist
2115 M St. NW
Washington DC 
Toll Free: (800) 832-0704   
Phone: 202-833-0707   
Fax: 202-833-9507   
Hours: Mon – Sat, 10 – 9

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse
1201 New York Avenue
Washington, DC
Phone: 202-589-1504

* prices from The Wine Specialist

FOTSB – The Whisky Exchange

Welcome to a new feature: Friends of The Scotch Blog: shops, sites and people associated with Scotch whisky that I’ve met along the way…

The Whisky Exchange & Sukhinder Singh

On my last trip to London, I had a chance to have dinner with John Glaser (Compass Box), John Milroy of Milroy’s fame, Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange, Nadi Fiori (Italian importer – High Spirits) and Jakob Bruhns, André Doerlit, & David Larsson (of Danish importer QualityWorld).

I got to sit next to Sukhinder and chat with him a bit.

The Whisky Exchange was established in 1999 primarily as a mail order business – offering a variety of spirits – with Single Malt Whiskies at the forefront.

Suhkinder is a collector and a purveyor, but above all, he is a lover of whisky. Says Sukhinder:

The Whisky Exchange came about due to my passion for Whisky and in particular for Single Malts.

I originally started collecting Miniatures at the age of 12. When I purchased a very large collection of minis I was faced with the dilemma of "where do i keep 8000 miniatures?"

I decided to specialise in Single Malt Whisky minis – I sold everything else and ended up with 300 or so minis. 20 years of collecting later and I have 4500 Single Malts in miniature and now the task is to find a place to display them all.

About 12 years ago, I started getting interested in the larger bottles and started with collecting only 1 bottle from each distillery.

I now have about 1000 different bottles, dating from the 1880’s.

The profile of the collection is a mix between drinking whiskies and collecting whiskies…

Whisky is of course for drinking; therefore I have set aside a large number of bottles, which I feel are very good drinking whiskies – to be drunk in the future.

On the collecting side, as with every other collector I would like to get an example from every distillery that has ever existed in Scotland. Many bottlings from distilleries which were easy to find a few years ago, are now getting difficult and of course pricey!!!!! (eg: Kinclaith ).

This will only continue to happen as stocks from closed distilleries are used up.

Original distillery bottlings are always better, but not possible in many cases such as Banff, Convalmore, Kinclaith, etc.

Limited Edition bottlings are usually interesting, with the best example being Black Bowmore.

My main areas of great interest are Ardbeg, Bowmore, Macallan, Port Ellen, Springbank and of course Lost Distilleries.

Some bottles from my collection may be seen in our Rare/Old Malts section.

Located in London, between Heathrow and Central London, close to the Boston Manor tube station. Sukhinder says that customers are welcome to visit their facility by prior appointment, and they’ll even pick you up from the station.

We have a large showroom with over 1200 new & old expressions of Single Malts to choose from with a price range to suit everyone from £10 – £20,000.

We can recommend drinking whiskies to suit your taste, help with collecting and advise for investment purposes.

If you are looking for something in particular, please check as we have many items arriving everyday and these may not have been added to our list as yet.
Sometimes special whiskies are kept back for customers making enquiries only.

Whiskyshop The Whisky Exchange also recently opened a satellite location - inside the incredible Vinopolis. Located close to the Borough Market under London Bridge, Vinopolis is a massive educational center – originally designed to highlight wines, the center was expanded to include  spirits.

With the addition of the Whiskey Exchange shop and The Still Room (set up by Diageo with an emphasis on Talisker and Johnnie Walker Black Label) Vinopolis now helps visitors appreciate whisky.

The guys from QualityWorld and I took a field trip to the Vinopolis shop.

At the Vinopolis location, The Whisky Exchange has a range of about 500 Single Malts, 200 other Whiskies, and about 150 other premium spirits including cognac and rum.

"We also have 5 casks on display, you can fill and label your own bottle. The spirits have not been filtered in any way so this is as close as you will get to drinking "Straight from the Cask."

The current choices are 3 Single Malts, a Bourbon and a Rum.
Wecask2 Longmorn 1990 from a Bourbon Barrel
Clynelish 1994 from a Sherry Butt
Caol Ila 1991 from a hogshead
A 6 years old Bourbon Whiskey and
Pampero 1992 Rum from Venezuela.

The also have a nice selection of books and whisky related gift items.

Next time you are in London, visit one of the two locations, I’m sure you’ll walk out with something interesting.

Highland Park in Highland Park

Attention Chicago.

This Thursday, April 27th, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Gerry Tosh (Highland Park Global Ambassador) will be at the Binny’s in Highland Park to officially roll out a new special 34 year old single cask bottling.

Distilled in 1971 and matured in cask for 34 years, this cask strength
(53% abv) is priced at $350 per bottle, but is available at $325
to celebrate the release.

Brett tells me:

This is pretty yummy stuff. It was being poured at the Highland Park booth at WhiskyFest Chicago, and was one of the hits of the show.

This is prototypical older HP, layers of flavors, chocolate, dried fruit, packing spice, pepper. I normally wouldn’t buy a whole cask of whisky that I have to sell for $350, but this one was worth the financial commitment.

There is a cost to attend the event, but it’s quite reasonable, and the fee will allow you to try a range of Highland Park expressions including the 15, the 18, the 1981, the Binny’s 24, and the 30. The tutored tasting also includes appetizers to complement each expression.

Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Call 847.831.5400 or email:

$15 for Binny’s Card Members; $25 for non-members.

Binny’s Highland Park location
153 Skokie Valley Highway
Highland Park, IL

Bruichladdich Sale

Elliott at Town Wine & Spirits is having an incredible sale on Bruichladdich, that I wanted to tell you about…(No, this is not a paid advertisement. I don’t accept advertising – Elliott has great prices, and I’ll be buying some of this stuff myself.)

For those of you who were able to attend our special evening with Jim McEwan, you now know why he’s the Whisky world’s de facto ambassador at large. If you couldn’t make it, you can still own a little piece of what was a REALLY fun evening…

Bruichladdich 10
Jim was kind enough to autograph a limited number of bottles of The Ten for our customers, and we’re happy to offer them at a discounted price.
Our Price: $49.99 44.99

What follows is a list of the other Bruichladdich whiskies poured at the tasting, some of which have never before been offered on this side of the Atlantic:

WMD II Yellow Submarine
(14 year-old enhanced in Rioja cask):
$ 65.95 59.95

14 year "Links" Series Turnberry 10th:

$ 69.95  62.95

3D Second Edition-"Maine Mhor":
$ 59.95 53.95

Second Edition 15 year
: (Finished in Sauternes casks from Chateau d’Yquem)
$ 69.95  62.95 (By the way, this stuff is INCREDIBLE!)

Second Edition 20 year "Flirtation"
(Mourvedre casks):
$ 159.95 149.95

1973 Vintage 30 year-old:
$ 259.95  219.95

To order, contact Town Wine & Spirits
phone: 401-434-4563
179 Newport Avenue
Rumford, RI 02916