Great Malt Whisky Race

WHAT: An open forum examining the history of the globalisation of malt Scotch whisky and other world whiskies/whiskeys, and a debate around the future flavours of Scotland’s finest.

WHY: This year is the 100th anniversary since Scotch whisky was first defined in UK law and much has changed since 1963, when William Grant’s descendents took the brave decision to repackage Glenfiddich and market it around the world – a step recognised as having started the worldwide popularity of single malt Scotch whisky.

Today, malt distilleries are now found all across the globe as entrepreneurs capitalise on discerning drinkers’ demands for the ultimate ‘water of life’.

To complement its support of the Scottish Diaspora Forum at the Scottish Parliament (, Glenfiddich is hosting an open forum examining the history of single malt Scotch whisky’s popularity abroad and how new malt whisky producing nations have been inspired by one of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world.

While the Scotch whisky industry is governed by strict laws to ensure the integrity of Scotland’s national drink remains intact, many other malt whisky producing nations don’t have the same heritage to protect and so more relaxed legislation allows them innovate further.

As such, the evening’s talks will look at the benefits the single malt Scotch whisky industry enjoys from its protection, the innovations taking place beyond Scotland and debate what we can learn from them for the future development of our own industry’s flavours. The evening is for whisky novices as well as enthusiasts.

WHO: Panel members include: Whisky Magazine Japan editor, Dave Broom; SWA’s Campbell Evans; Glenfiddich’s Ian Millar and is chaired by Whisky Shop’s Ian Bankier.

WHERE: The Raeburn Room, Old College
University of Edinburgh
South Bridge

WHEN: Friday 24th July
5.00pm Registration
7.15pm Ends

HOW: Free, although places are limited. Reservations in advance through

Picture: Pioneers of world malt whisky – Glenfiddich; its founder, William Grant; forefather of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru; ‘godfather’ of Australian whisky, Bill Lark – illuminate Edinburgh’s Salisbury Crag.

Orangerie is coming back

One of my favourite drinks, Compass Box Orangerie is coming back after a hiatus of several years.

I got to try it back in March when I met up with John in DC, but I decided to keep my mouth shut until he got closer to launch.

Whereas the old version was available only in 375 ml, the new bottling will only be available in 750ml in the US and 70cl in Europe.. Luckily I hoard and still have an unopened bottle of the old bottling. Which, like all Compass Box special editions, I will likely not open until the day before I decide to quit drinking.

To make Orangerie we begin with great whisky. We use a soft, sweet blend of Highland single malt and single grain whisky from Fife. Secondly, we use only the freshest, highest quality oranges and top class aromatic spices. Importantly, we zest the fruit by hand and use only fresh zest in our infusion. Only the hand-zested peel of really fresh Navalino oranges gives you the lively, vibrant flavours that are the hallmark of Orangerie.

This is my original posting about Orangerie from November 2005:

Compass Box Orangerie a “Scotch Whisky Infusion”
OK, this stuff is simply delicious.

Think of a creamy, sweet Scotch whisky infused with tiny shavings of fresh orange peel & spices. Imagine it bottled once a year for drinking in cold weather. This is Compass Box ‘Orangerie.’

I shared this with family the night before Thanksgiving, and the response was overwhelming. This is something to be shared. It’s warming, smooth, citrusy and was the perfect accompaniment to the warm turtle brownie sundaes that gourmet Julie whipped up.

Not everyone at the table is a Scotch fan (I know, I know, but they ARE family) but everyone tried it, and everyone loved it.

Orangerie isn’t cheap at anywhere from $33 (Sam’s & Binny’s in Chicago) to $40 (Park Avenue Liquor in New York) for a 375 ml bottle. But what do you expect from a hand-crafted once a year Scotch?

If you want to kiss up to your a-hole boss, need to make sure that government witness will keep his mouth shut, or if you’ve been disinherited and want to get back in good with the aged patriarch of your family, Orangerie will do the job.

I have no doubt that you’ll like the new version just as much.

Look for it in the US starting in September 2009.
40% abv.
No information of SRP for US yet.
Selling for £27.00 in the UK.

Oh, BTW John sent me 2 of the Limited Release “Inaugural Release Poster”. One for me and one for you. Mine is in the process of being framed as we speak.

*YOU* are whomever gives me the best reason to give you the poster. And you pay the postage. (eMails of scantily clad women and other salacious entries should be emailed to kevin at thescotchblog dot com).

This closes …uh let’s say Sunday July 5th.

If you don’t win, you can buy one here. There are only 500 available – aside from these 2).

Please note: The one you may win is NOT signed by John. Sorry.

Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza – Spring 2009 Schedule

Continuing our tradition. . . for the fifth year in a row The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America would like to extend a  discounted admission to the 2009 U.S. Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Tour for readers of The Scotch Blog.

That’s right, Once again readers of The Scotch Blog pay the same admission price that members of the SMWS pay.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is once again happy to offer a discount for tickets to our Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2008 Tour.

“Member’s Price” is $115.00 per ticket. (Our Non-member’s ticket price is now $130; therefore, this offers a $15 discount on tickets for
this year’s events) This price will be honored to anyone who calls in for a ticket and mentions that they saw the event advertised on The
Scotch Blog

All Events 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Registration begins at 6:30 pm

Seattle & Dallas Require Jackets (No denim or Athletic Wear) – All other events are Business Casual and no denim or athletic wear are requested

Society Members/The Scotch Blog readers: $115
Non-Member Guests: $130


You MUST mention The Scotch Blog when placing your ticket order. Tickets by advance purchase only: 800-990-1991.

WWW.SMWSA.COM Must be 21 years of age.

Spring 2009 Schedule

THURSDAY, March 12
The Intercontinental Club
3315 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

FRIDAY, March 20
The Rainier Club
820 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
Jackets Required (No denim or Athletic Wear)

THURSDAY, April 16
JP Morgan Chase Tower Building (40th Floor – Sky Lobby)
2200 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201
Jackets Required (No denim or Athletic Wear)

THURSDAY, April 30
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Jackets Required (No Denim or Athletic Attire)

The Roosevelt Hotel
Madison @ 45th Street, New York, NY 10017

The Winners of the Rebus Book Package

A few hundred entries. 5 winners. I’ve already sent your names & addresses to the publisher who will send the books directly to you.


Roberto Di Fazio
Ontario, Canada

Dan Lehmann

Owen Salava
Alberta, Canada

Dave Bessom
Virginia, US

Cory Booth
Minnesota, US

Last Day to sign up for the Free Books Drawing

The title says it all…

You have until 11:59 pm (EST) to email your interest. Sorry. If you indicated interest in the Comments, you are not eligible.

(People have to learn to read :))

Free Books? Yes Indeedy.

I was recently contacted by Hachette books who asked if I’d be interested in giving away five of the  John Rebus books by Ian Rankin.

What’s the Scam? Nothing. I am NOT getting paid to do this, nor is this a paid placement (But I DID get my own set of books), I just like you guys to share in the wealth. I THINK they are trying to promote the books in the New World, so this offer is just open to those living in Canada & America.

What’s the connection to The Scotch Blog? This month, they are publishing EXIT MUSIC, the last book in the Rebus series.

Rankin is a Scottish writer whose main character, Inspector John Rebus is one of the most well-known characters in the UK. He’s also a great drinker on top of being a solver of crimes. Every book has multiple scenes in his favorite bar: The Oxford Bar in Edinburgh. Brits are so mad about him that they have an Inspector Rebus walking tour in Edinburgh, there’s a TV show, etc. He’s a bit less well-known in the U.S.  over here.

SO, in honor of Rebus’ exit and his love of the finer things in life, I wonder if you would be interested in hosting a giveaway of some of Rankin’s books on

What’s the catch? Nothing. Send me your name and address. I’ll pick 5 of you randomly, pass your details onto the publisher, and the books will show up at your door. Each of the 5 winners will receive ALL of the books below.

PLEASE NOTE: I will not give any information about anyone but the winners to the publisher. The “lottery” goes until September 30th, at which point I’ll do the drawing.

About Ian Rankin & John Rebus

Ian Rankin has been writing about Detective John Rebus since 1985. Here’s your chance to win five Rebus novels, including the final installment in the Rebus series, EXIT MUSIC. For 20 facts about John Rebus, visit:

When a former soldier and recluse murders two 17-year-old students at a posh Edinburgh boarding school, Rebus immediately suspects there is more to the case than meets the eye. Army investigators show up to snoop around the scene of the crime, and links between the killer and a local group of “Goths” (a morbid clique of black-clad teens who listen to heavy metal music) begin to surface. But just as Rebus finds himself in the thick of the murder inquiry, he’s threatened with suspension from the police force: a man who had been menacing his partner and friend, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, dies in the same house fire that has left Rebus with horrible, painful burns. Rebus is immediately suspected of foul play. Now Rebus is faced with two harrowing missions: He must get to the root of the boarding school killing even as he tries to clear his own name.

Inspector John Rebus has confronted Edinburgh’s most hardened criminals, its bloodiest crime scenes, and its most dangerous backstreets–but nothing could prepare him for what he finds on Fleshmarket Alley.
In the city’s red-light district, men go to live out their fantasies, and women with no other choice sell their bodies to make a buck. It’s a neighborhood of lost inhibitions, scruples, and dreams. In its seediest clubs, refugees seeking asylum in Scotland are subjected to the whims of the most ruthless characters in the crime world–men Rebus knows all too well.

With his singular knack for making crime captivating, Ian Rankin delivers his most explosive mystery to date, fulfilling the promise millions of readers in the United Kingdom and America have seen throughout his accomplished career.


Like Edinburgh inspector John Rebus, the resurrection men of the title
are treading on thin ice–they’ve all been sent to a short course at
the Scottish Police College because they’ve failed in some way,
generally “an issue with authority.” Rebus has been known to have
issues of that nature before, which only boosts his credibility with
the other cops in attendance, suspected by their bosses of being on the
wrong side of the fence, on the take, or even guilty of murder on
several previous occasions. The dour Inspector’s agenda aims to bring
the higher-ups proof of the so-called Wild Bunch’s nefarious
activities; in the process, his own conduct in the old case he and his
college classmates must rework and revisit comes under scrutiny. A
solid police procedural whose protagonist, the hero of 14 other titles
in this internationally acclaimed serie, continues to grow on readers who are just discovering him.

The leaders of the free world descend on Scotland for an international conference, and every cop in the country is needed for front-line duty…except one. John Rebus’s reputation precedes him, and his bosses don’t want him anywhere near Presidents Bush and Putin, which explains why he’s manning an abandoned police station when a call comes in. During a preconference dinner at Edinburgh Castle, a delegate has fallen to his death. Accident, suicide, or something altogether more sinister? And is it linked to a grisly find close to the site of the gathering? Are the world’s most powerful men at risk from a killer? While the government and secret services attempt to hush the whole thing up, Rebus knows he has only seventy-two hours to find the answers.

It’s late in the fall in Edinburgh and late in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he is simply trying to tie up some loose ends before his retirement, a new case lands on his desk: a dissident Russian poet has been murdered in what looks like a mugging gone wrong.
Rebus discovers that an elite delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, looking to expand its interests. And as Rebus’s investigation gains ground, someone brutally assaults a local gangster with whom he has a long history.
Has Rebus overstepped his bounds for the last time? Only a few days shy of the end to his long, controversial career, will Rebus even make it that far?

Back. But for how long?

Yes I am back. But life has been crazy.

Returned from the World Whisky Conference a week or so ago…and like any good friend, I brought gifts.

For you, I have these very special hats.

The "[e]" will mystify your friends until you tell them that that [e] represents the "e" in American whiskey. The hats are brought to you courtesy of my friends at Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

I see no indication that the general public has access to these hats, so they are [e]xtra sp[e]cial.

I have 5. I’m keeping one for myself, so the other 4 are up for grabs.

You know the deal.

First 4 emails to claim their hat get the opportunity to pay $3 (shipping & handling). Once you’ve paid, the hat will be on its way to you.

PLEASE NOTE: that $3 is ONLY applicable to US citizens… If you are not in the US, let me know where you live, and I’ll let you know what the shipping cost will be.

If I see any of these hats on eBay, I’ll cut you off from any future give-a-way.

If you aren’t quick on the draw, I’ll give the next 6 people the opportunity to grab one of the Macallan hats.

And yes – I have some stories I am working on.


  • An explanation of the new Scotch Whisky Regs.
  • A chat with Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh
  • A review of the Highland Park 40 year old, which I got to try while visiting Edrington.
  • My visit to Maker’s Mark
  • Whatever else I have.

I have to warn you…a very hectic schedule combined with a profound case of writers block have limited the number of stories in the pipeline – but with a liberal peppering of freebies, you’d be daft to not keep reading…

UPDATE: All 4 hats were claimed almost immediately… as of right now only 2 have been paid for, but I like to give people a little time. If the last 2 are not paid, I’ll contact the next 2 people to email me….

Macallan Hat Day

When I was but a lad, one of the most exciting things in my life was "Hat Day" at Yankee stadium.

My friends at the Macallan have sent me a metric assload* of fine Macallan caps to distribute as I see fit. So I thought I’d have a year-long "hat day".

I’ll be saving some of said hats for distribution at tastings and birthday presents (j/k).

But I want to shower you, The Scotch Blog readership with the lion’s share.

Ah this brings back fond memories of the great 2006 Spring hat give-a-way.

So, how do you claim yours?

In any number of ways.

  1. Order a copy of my book and I’ll throw one in for free (offer only valid at DoceonPress).
  2. I’ll give away 10 at a time on random days. As usual, be the first to respond when I announce a give away, and claim yours (You pay for postage). THIS IS NOT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A GIVE AWAY.
  3. Make an outstanding comment and you may be gifted with a hat. (What constitutes an "Outstanding Comment" is up to the sole discretion of the judging panel [uh, me]). I pay for postage, unless you are overseas… Also making a comment on a past story does not count.
  4. Give me a good reason to give you one. (What constitutes a "good reason" is up to the sole discretion of the judging panel [uh, again, me]). <Just an example – I’d REALLY like to get my hands on a DVD of the 3rd season of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia" wink, wink>
  5. Send me a great story about the Macallan. Submission of any story equates to your granting me permission to post said story on this site, regardless of "hat remuneration" (f’ing lawyers make me say that).
  6. Reasons to be named at a later time. I can be fickle and unpredictable. Deal with it.
  7. OH, and by the time you read this, those fine folks who have signed up for the Mailing List have ALREADY had their whack at the first 20 hats.

I’ll be distributing the hats over the course of the year – until I run out, or I tire of going to the post office.

This offer may be with drawn at any time.

* That’s a lot of hats.

No. this is not a paid promotion. The guys at Macallan love me, and I love you. In a totally hetero way.

12 days of Scotchmas: Calendar

Continuing our "12 days of Scotchmas" gift guide.

Yes I originally talked about this one in October, but it IS a great gift…and there’s more…

Scotchcalendar 2008 "Malts of Scotland" Scotch Calendar.

Think of the calendar as a 12 month tasting notebook, as each month
features a large shot of the featured bottle along with tasting notes,
some information on the distillery, maps of the distillery and
factoids. The pictures are large, clear and attractive. The layout is
great and best of all it’s informative.

The calendar should make the whisky geek in your life (uh, I mean you) quite happy. 

Suggested retail is USD $12.99 (CDN $17.99; GBP £10.99) – though of course it’s available cheaper through Amazon: 2008 Scotch Calendar


Yep, I have another one to give away, which I will again give free of charge (that
includes postage) to the second person person to send in a picture of
themselves wearing the new The Scotch Blog or Free Scotland shirt.

This is NOT a paid promotion.

12 days of Scotchmas: Whisky DVD

Continuing our "12 days of Scotchmas" gift guide.

A few years ago in London I picked up a great little DVD called "Scotch Whisky: C4_1_bThe Myth and the Magic"

Produced by HeeHaw Publishing who specialize in Scottish interest.

Our products present engaging and informative portraits of Scotland, concentrating on popular Scottish themes and significant eras in Scotland’s fascinating history. They present an entertaining and in-depth view of Scotland’s turbulent past and unique culture and are sold throughout the UK, Europe, the US and Canada.

Why are you telling me about a 4 year old DVD?

released in 2003, the DVD has received a cosmetic makeover (the
actual documentary is the same). This means that if you have the
version with the old cover, there’s no need to pick this one up.

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