“The Scotch Blog”

Unfortunately I let the URL www.thescotchblog.com go…

Worse someone registered it – and worse yet – his name is (or he calls himself ) “Kevin”.

I hope that no one thinks  that Kevin is me – or that The Scotch Blog is related in anyway to this The Scotch Blog.

It’s not.



Quitting while you are ahead, isn’t the same as quitting

If you hadn’t all already figured it out. The Scotch Blog is effectively defunct… and has been for quite some time.

I actually wrote this in late 2008/early 2009 .. and never had the inclination to publish – instead choosing to fade away.

Cleaning up old files, I came across it – so here it is…My goodbye letter.


Dear TSB:

This is hard . . . but I think it’s time we said goodbye.

Oh yeah, we had some good times together but it took a lot to keep this relationship going – sometimes it felt like a job. An unpaid job.

I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to muster the energy to continue posting with the frequency required to keep you satisfied. You want me to perform two, three, even five times a week…while most whisky writers only have to deliver the goods on a monthly basis! I simply can’t keep up with you.

Let’s face it, if I don’t cut it off cleanly, now, I’d eventually just stop coming around…and it would trail off, slowly. Sadly. Like so many whisky blogs before. And in this “blog” business, it’s all about “What have you written for me lately”.

So instead of dragging this out, let’s just end it here. Like adults. We’ve grown apart, you and I. And I’ve always been a strong believer that while a relationship takes work, a relationship shouldn’t be hard work.

And baby, you have become hard work.

Wow. That was hard. But it needed to be done.

Will you see me writing in other places? Maybe…That’s up to the Editors and Publishers of the world.

Will “The Drammies” continue? I’d like them to…but we’ll see . . . Maybe no one will care.

People have told me that I made a difference in how people think (and write) about whisky. If that is true, then I am humbled and proud.

On the bright side, I am now free to pursue my dream of a cameo appearance on my favorite show – “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

See ya.

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die

Ian Buxton’s new book is nigh!
“101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die”

A fun and accessible guide to completing an education in whiskey from a man who knows his hooch.

Avoiding the deliberately obscure, the ridiculously limited, and the absurdly expensive, whiskey expert Ian Buxton has scoured the shelves of the world’s whiskey warehouses to recommend an eclectic selection of old favorites, stellar newcomers, and mystifyingly unknown drams that simply have to be drunk.

This witty, focused, and practical guide is not an awards list or a list of the 101 “Best” whiskies in the world in the opinion of some self-appointed whiskey guru. It’s simply a guide to 101 whiskies that enthusiasts really must seek out and try—love them or hate them—to complete their whiskey education.

What’s more, it’s both practical and realistic as it cuts through the clutter, decodes the marketing hype, and gets straight to the point; whether from India or America, Sweden or Ireland, Japan or the hills, glens, and islands of Scotland—here are the 101 whiskies that every whiskey enthusiast needs to try.

Pre-order now.

Scotch Whisky Glass.com

Fellow Richmond, Virginia resident Ken Blankenship wanted to let people know that he recently launched SCOTCHWHISKYGLASS.COM, a new GLENCAIRN Glassware website.

For a wide selection of GLENCAIRN whisky glassware, including the Traditional GLENCAIRN Tasting Glass in unetched and Distillery etched Logo form, Cut Crystal, Nosing Copitas, IONA Water Pitchers and Whisky Accessories.


Whisky Explorer’s Club

Doug Stone of For Scotch Lovers wrote to let me know about a new endeavour:

I wanted to let you know about a very exciting club I’m about to launch, called the Whisky Explorers Club.   The goal of the club is two fold: 1) to introduce members to exciting whiskies from around the world without any preconceived notions as to what they’re tasting and 2) to get them to share those experiences with other whisky drinkers.  There are going to be three membership levels to the club, but regardless of which level members choose, all will have the following core benefit which is aimed at achieving the club goals:

Six (6) times a year each member will receive four (4) tasting sample bottles of  whiskies from around the world. These whiskies will arrive in generically-labeled bottles, with no brand or age identity.  Members will also receive instructions directing them to our website, where they will be required to input their own tasting notes for each whisky, after which they will provided with the name of the whisky they tasted.

For more information click here

Brandy Library Special Whisky Tasting

Ethan Kelley from the Brandy Library let me know about a special event coming up next Wednesday November 18th.

I thought you should know about this little event we have brewing out here, it might be of interest to you.

As you know, the practice of pairing whiskies and food keeps gaining speed.  With that in mind I approached the French Culinary Institute with a challenge for the students.  I dropped off 6 bottles, and it was up to them to create a dish designed for each bottle.

We then had a panel of top chefs from around the city taste the finalists and select one dish per bottle, we did that today.  The results will be presented as a formal 6 course dinner, with each course having its own dram.  Let it be noted, I got a little squirrely selecting the bottles, and the results are awesome.  November 18th is the event.  Here are the bottles that were included, not in order, because that too is going to be a little unusual.

  • Springbank 10 year
  • Glenlivet Nadurra
  • Glenfiddich 15 year
  • Ardmore
  • Longrow CV
  • The Dalmore Gran Reserva

Unlike most of these events, this one I find appealing because the bottles will be able to attract the novice, and the expert.  In addition it is a non biased event so it is not a sales job in any way.

This should be a great event.

For online booking go here to for booking or call 212-219-3300.


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 >>

It’s Back. But Legal.

Months ago I alluded that John would be resurrecting his Spice Tree Whisky. That time is now.

If you are new to the world of Whisky you may be saying “The Spice Tree“? What the hell is that?

Read my original Story on The Spice Tree: The Spice of Life (October 2005)

The original Spice Tree created quite a following due to its flavour profile, so after the Scotch Whisky Association forced us to stop making it, I was determined to find a more “acceptable” way to achieve the same style,” explains whiskymaker John Glaser. “It’s taken almost four years, but we’ve done it.

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.


A snazzy black case showed up last last week.

In it were several bottles of whisky as well as an empty bottle, a mixing flask, a glass funnel and a tasting glass.

It’s part of the Johnnie Walker Black Label Centenary Journeyman Blending Event webcast I was invited to participate in tomorrow.

It’s great that producers are finally starting to embrace – and figure out how to use – the web as a marketing tool.

It opens up new opportunities for social connection and promotion. And of course, while this is an invite-only event (due to the physical components) webcasts allow for that one-to-many marketing reach – in a completely interactive way that print/broadcast and even viral videos cannot offer.

For the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Johnnie Walker Black Label, we’d love to have you join us as we blend single malt whiskies along with Johnnie Walker Black Label Master Blender via a by-invitation only webcast on September 29th at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time.

2009 marks the 100th Anniversary of Johnnie Walker Black Label. In honor of this momentous occasion one of the Johnnie Walker Master Blender’s – Andrew Ford – will be traveling from Scotland for a rare private event. He’ll be hosting a live webcast blending exercise and we’d love for you to participate in it.

You will be taken through a series of single malts, nosing and blending these fine spirits from around the various regions of Scotland, from the comfort of your home or office. You’ll even be able to submit questions via the webcast.

Sounds like fun. I may live blog about it over on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/realerskine), but I may be too busy mixing up my own bottle of JW Black.

It’s tomorrow at 3pm (Eastern Daylight Time)…and I’ll surely have a follow-up post here.