Have Ratings/Tasting Notes Gone Too Far?

I don’t think it is a secret that I have never been a fan of published whisky ratings. Perhaps it’s the aura of objectivity concealing the raw subjectivity that raises my ire.

Ratings along any scale: 1-10; 1-100; A-F; 1 – 5 stars; it doesn’t matter- all carry with them the appearance of some application of "science" behind their bestowment. If, in fact, there were any way to truly assign a score to a whisky (or anything else for that matter) truly based on scientific discovery and a true absolute scale (think temperature), I’d have no issue with it.

The problem is that the scores are granted not on an absolute scale, but on a relative scale – and not a consistent relativity at that – even when scored by the same reviewer.

Ask any renowned whisky maven (or drinking buddy) his or her favorite dram, and you are likely to be given (if you’re lucky) a short list, along with a litany of exclusions and limitations, about how "favorites" depends on the time of day, time of year, food accompaniment, mood or present company. And all that is quite fair.

How then can the same person give, what to all intents and purposes is a score based on an apparently absolute scale? I believe they simply cannot.

Continue Reading >>

The 2005 Numbers are In!

The 2005 Scotch Export Numbers have just been released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and they are great!

Global demand for Scotch whisky grew in 2005, with exports of both Malt & Blends rising 4% over 2004’s figures – the overall dollar amount was £2.36 billion – the industry’s third best annual export performance ever.

The number of bottles shipped saw increases as well – with almost 990 million bottles of Scotch whisky exported worldwide – this represents an increase of 34 million bottles – a 4% increase over 2004.

The Americas are putting a lot of cash in the UK treasury with the U.S. remaining the industry’s largest market (by value) – up £35 million to £373 million (a 10% increase), while in South America, the market grew by 19% overall – driven by an increase in imports to both Brazil (+5%) and Venezuela (+48% to £73.7 million).

Asian exports were up as well (+24%) with significant developing markets in China (+86% to £46 million) and Thailand (+25% to £48 million). South Korea maintains it’s position as Scotch Whisky’s top Asian market (+24% to £156 million), with Taiwan close behind (+24% to £102 million).

Even troublesome India was up (+89%), though in global terms the numbers are quite small and continue to be constrained by tariff & tax barriers, as well as a rampant black and forgery market.

Exports to the rest of Europe were down 11% with the still strong Spanish market down 18% to £240 million, and Germany down 24% to £59.2 million. Even sales in the UK were down (-6%).

France, the industry’s top market by volume, was the only major European market to see an increase (+3% to £255 million).

Top 10 Exports by Value

Top 10 Exports by VolumeExportvolume

New. News Feeds.

In a continuing attempt to become your one-stop shop for Scotch whisky industry news as well as the usual blunt commentary, I’ve decided to include news feeds from accredited news sources.

At the bottom of the left column, you’ll find the 5 newest stories from each of the sources.

Currently I’ve added feeds from The Scotsman and from Yahoo News. Enjoy.

Whisky Week: Not your Daddy's Whisky Bar

Chicago. February. Delilah’s.

The Cashed Johnnies are on the small stage belting out a
speed-freak, rock-a-billy version of Johnny Cash’s "Cocaine Blues".
Mike Miller, the owner, has just put a glass of Scotch in front of me –
one that I can’t identify.

It’s a Wednesday night, but the place is packed with an interesting
selection of hipsters, rockers, mods, punks, Bettie Page look-a-likes,
and members of various other counter-culture sub-groups. Most of them
are here to celebrate Johnny Cash’s birthday, listen to the band, and
take advantage of the $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon special.

I’m here to celebrate Johnny Cash’s birthday, listen to the band,
talk to Mike and bask in the glow of an incredible Scotch selection.

"What was that Scotch, Mike?" I ask.
"Sheep Dip" is the reply,
as Mike smiles, turns, and walks over to fill the order of a girl with
dyed dreads and her pierced male friend.

Mike returns and gleefully starts pulling bottles off the shelves
and placing them in front of me for comment. I uncork a bottle of Ardbeg Very Young
and take a big whiff. I get some strange looks as other patrons lean
over me to place empty bottles of PBR on the bar and signal the
bartender for yet another round.

Mike and I start to shout over the music of the band about the
upcoming Whisky show season, and I discover that he’ll also be at
Whisky Live London – Delilah’s has been nominated as one of the Great Whisky Bars of the World by Whisky Magazine.

That’s awesome. As you might have surmised, Delilah’s is not your
average whisky bar. It’s not a Scottish/English pub. It’s not Brandy
Library-type upscale lounge. This is what I lovingly refer to as a
"dive bar". And coming from me, that’s not a disparaging remark – some
of my favorite bars are dive bars. Most of them however specialize in
cheap beer and well drinks.

Delilah’s is no slouch when it comes to tossing cheap beer and
shooters down the throats of  Generation X – but they also cater to the
tastes of good beer lovers, rum snobs, and oh yeah, Scotch drinkers.

A girl in fish net stockings, pancake make-up and pony-tails slams
into my bar stool, careens into a group of people finishing a round of
mixed drinks, and stumbles off into the frigid Chicago night.

The next bottle Mike hands me is a Lagavulin Distiller’s edition. Meanwhile,
a particularly attractive girl sitting next to me deftly deflects the
advances of two drunk English guys while simultaneously (and
surprisingly) ordering a La Fin Du Monde.

The Miller Lite drinking English guys don’t have a chance.


My last story had all of the events that Diageo was sponsoring in conjunction with Whisky Week.

Mike Miller has his own Whisky week going on. That’s right, every night that week you can put your ass on a barstool and be entertained by Chicago’s funnest whisky bar:

Monday, March 27

We are hosting Whisk(e)y 101 with Diageo Master of Scotch Gregor Cattanach.
Gregor will be showing Bulliet American Bourbon, Canadian Crown Royal, Bushmill’s Irish Whisky and a range of blended, vatted and single malt Scotches –  at least one from every region of Scotland.  We will then be discussing all aspects of Whisk(e)y – perfect for the novice and expert alike, and free.

Tuesday, March 28

We will be hosting John Glaser, owner and master blender of the Compass Box range of Vatted Malts. John’s firm is quite small and he is doing something that no one else in the world is doing presently. 

Jim Beam Brands and Delilah’s host a special Whiskey and Pool Playing event with Jim Beam Great Grandson – Fred Noe and Delilah’s owner – Mike Miller taking on all opponents to win great prizes and learn a thing or two about making and living American Whiskey.

Wednesday, March 29
A special meeting with Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell – he’s been there for 51 years, where we will be tasting 10 different expressions of Wild Turkey, many extremely rare editions and learning from the most infamous man in the industry.

Thursday, March 30
Our fourth annual Whiskeyfest After Party.  An excellent opportunity to share some whiskey with the people who make and sell every brand, with Bourbon legend Julian Van Winkle guest bartending.

Friday, March 31
Our favorite Canadian Brewery, Unibroue, kicks off its latest release Chambly Noir, a wonderful black Belgian style beer – first pour in the USA.

Whisky Week: The complete list

This just in from Amy Westlake, Director of WhiskyFest.

A fairly comprehensive list of the events surrounding Chicago Whisky Week next week.


Friday, March 24th:
Scotch Dinner at The Palm Restaurant with Master of Scotch Martin C. Duffy featuring Johnnie Walker & The Classic Malts
The Palm Restaurant
2000 Northbrook Ct.
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 239-7256 RSVP to Matthew Smith
7 PM
Monday, March 27th:
Whisk(e)y 101 with Gregor Cattanach of The Classic Malts and Mike Miller of Delilah’s
A tasting of whiskies from all major producing countries, discussion of the ins and outs of the industry and tips on having the best WhiskyFest experience.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
7:30 PM

Bottle Signing and Tasting with George Grant of Glenfarclas
Sam’s Wines & Spirits
1720 N. Marcey
Chicago, IL
(800) 777-9137
3 to 7 PM
Tuesday, March 28th:
The Whisk(e)y Forum at Kitty O’Shea’s (Hilton Towers) with Martin C. Duffy (Bushmills), Gregor Cattanach (The Classic Malts) and Tom Bulleit (Bulleit Bourbon)
Kitty O’Shea’s
720 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
$20.00 for ISAS Members / $25 for non-members
For more information, contact Apryl Niksch, Director of Events, (708) 447-5092 ext. 359

Johnnie Walker Night at Jilly’s featuring all five marques of Johnnie Walker
1007 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 664-1001 RSVP to Scott
8 to 11 PM

Jim Beam Pool Tournament
Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s Great Grandson, and Mike Miller, proprietor of Delilah’s will take on your team at Delilah’s upstairs pool room. If you can beat ‘em at pool, you can win some special Jim Beam prizes.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
11 PM

Midwest Single Malt Appreciation Society featuring a talk with Compass Box’s John Glaser
Open to the public
Duke of Perth
2913 N. Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 477-1741
7 PM
Nominal Charge

Meet John Glaser of Compass Box at Delilah’s
Learn (and of course taste) what running a small artisanal vatting company is all about. A complete portfolio tasting plus some special guest samples.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
8 PM

Gordon & MacPhail Newest Cask Releases with Derek Hancock
Clark Street Ale House
Food will be provided; $20 per person
742 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 642-9253
7 to 9 PM
Wednesday, March 29th:
Binny’s Whiskey Night in the Catacombs
3000 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-9400
5:00 to 8:00 PM

Wild Turkey night at Delilah’s
Meet Jimmy Russell, master distiller at Wild Turkey for 51 years and taste the most complete range of Turkey ever compiled anywhere in the world – nine different Turkeys, and maybe some extremely one night only samples.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
10 PM

Legends of Bourbon
Join Fred Noe, David Pickerell of Maker’s Mark, Julian Van Winkle, Jimmy Russell, Craig Beam and others for smoking, drinking and talking about bourbon
Twisted Spoke
8:00 PM – 2:00 AM
3369 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: (773) 525-5300
Cost: None

The Classic Malts’ All You Can Eat Fish & Chips Night
Duke of Perth
2913 N. Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 477-1741
8:30 to 11 PM

Rocks’ Whiskey Night featuring The Classic Malts Selection
Rocks Tavern
1301 W. Schubert Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-7738 RSVP to George
7 to 10 PM
Thursday, March 30th
6th Annual WhiskyFest Chicago sponsored by Malt Advocate magazine
More than 200 of the world’s finest whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Japan, the U.S. and Canada are available for sampling in the Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom. Twelve of the industry’s leading distillery managers and master blenders will be giving whisky seminars in adjacent breakout rooms. Ticket includes all this plus a gourmet buffet all evening and a Glencairn Scottish crystal nosing glass.
Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom
151 E. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
6:30 to 10 PM
$95 for general admission; $135 for VIP (one hour early entry)
(800) 610-6258 or www.maltadvocate.com

Bottle Signing and Tasting with Simon Brooking of The Dalmore
Sam’s Wines & Spirits
1720 N. Marcey
Chicago, IL
(800) 777-9137
1 to 3 PM

Delilah’s WhiskyFest After Party with a Bushmills Ceilidh
Complimentary food, whiskey samples and live music
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
10 PM to 1 AM
Friday, March 31st
Bottle Signing and Tasting with Peter Curry of Springbank and Alistair Walker of BenRiach
Sam’s Wines & Spirits
1720 N. Marcey St.
Chicago, IL
3 to 7 PM

Unibroue Chambly Noir Kick-Off Party

Brand new and fabulous new beer from our favorite Canadian brewery is introduced to the U.S. tonight
2771 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 472-2771
8 PM
Saturday, April 1st
Single Malt Scotch Seminar with Jim McEwan
The House of Glunz
1206 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL
7 PM
Space is limited and reservations must be prepaid.
Cost: $50 and will be credited against any Scotch purchase of $100 or more
(312) 642-3000 or wine@houseofglunz.com

Whisky Week: Binny's Whiskeys of the World

In Chicago for Whisky Week?
In Chicago?
Near Chicago?

Then you may want to free your calendar for Wednesday Night (and very likely all day Thursday ) to attend the Whiskeys of the World Expo.

Taking place in the Catacombs Tasting Room at Binny’s Beverage Depot‘s Lakeview store (3000 N. Clark) from 5 PM – 8 PM, this is Binny’s yearly
prelude to the Chicago Whisky Fest (which takes place the next night.) 

$25 in advance, $35 at the door gets you entrance and access to over 100 whiskies, and a preview of what’s in store the next night at Whisky Fest.

Damn, you Windy City people are lucky!

3000 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
Contact Brett at 773-975-6188
$25 in advance & $35 at the door (Charitable cause)

Whisky Week: Diageo Events

Attending Whisky Fest Chicago next week (March 30th)?

You may not know it, but Chicago becomes a Whisky town for the entire week, with numerous whisky-related events, kicking off on Friday, March 24th.

Marty Duffy, Master of Scotch, was kind enough to send me a list of all the events sponsored by Diageo. These events are open to all – even if you aren’t attending WhiskyFest.

Friday, March 24th

Scotch Dinner at the Palm Restaurant
Featuring Martin C. Duffy, Master of Scotch
Johnnie Walker Green Label & The Classic Malts
The Palm Restaurant
(847) 239-7256
2000 Northbrook Ct
Northbrook, IL 60062
Please RSVP to Matthew Smith
7pm –

Monday, March 27th

Whisk(e)y 101 at Delilah’s
Complimentary Whisk(e)y Class on Scotch, Irish, Bourbon & Canadian Whiskeys
With your hosts Gregor Cattanach & Mike Miller
(773) 472-2771
(773) 472-2982
2771 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(Please RSVP to Mike)
No fee

Tuesday, March 28th

The Whisk(e)y Forum at Kitty O’Shea’s (Hilton Towers)
Featuring Martin C. Duffy ~ Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Gregor Cattanach ~ The Classic Malts of Scotland & Tom Bulleit ~ Bulleit Bourbon
Kitty O’Shea’s
For more information, please contact Apryl Niksch, Director of Events at 708-447-5092, x359 or visit www.chicago-scots.org.

Johnnie Walker Night at Jilly’s on Rush St.
Featuring all five marques of Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky
Jilly’s Bistro
(312) 664-1001
(312) 664-0009
1007 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(Please RSVP to Scott)

Wednesday, March 29th

Binny’s Whiskey Night in the Catacombs
Featuring Martin C. Duffy & Gregor Cattanach
Sampling – Caol Ila 12yr & 18yr, Clynelish 14yr, Talisker 18yr, The Distiller’s Editions of The Classic Malts And other surprises!
3000 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
Contact Brett at 773-975-6188
$25 in advance & $35 at the door (Charitable cause)

Rocks’ Whiskey Night
Featuring The Classic Malts Collection
Have a scotch ambassador walk you through the whiskies of Scotland.
Flights of Classic Malts available!
Rocks Tavern
(773) 472-7738
1301 W Schubert Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
Ask for George
No fee

Thursday, March 30th

Featuring Johnnie Walker, The Distiller’s Editions of The Classic Malts Collection, Bulleit Bourbon, George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash, Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, and Bushmills Irish Whiskey
With a Master Class by Martin C. Duffy on Talisker 10yr, 18yr,
the Distiller’s Edition, 25yr and the 175th Anniversary Edition (7:30pm)
151 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(Please go to MaltAdvocate.com for more details)

Delilah’s After Party
With a Bushmills Ceilidh
Complimentary food, whiskey samples & live music
(773) 472-2771
(773) 472-2982
2771 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
10pm – 1pm
No fee

Saturday, April 1st

Johnnie Walker’s Illinois St. Andrew Society Pub Crawl
The Taverns of Southport Ave.
4:30 – Midnight
For more information, please contact Apryl Niksch, Director of Events at 708-447-5092, x359 or visit www.chicago-scots.org.

Palin's Pillage for Charity

Michael Palin – Monty Python and globe trotter – is supporting the 2005 Islay Pillaged Malt Charity Bottling.

The bottling is a mix of whisky from all the distilleries on Islay: Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin as well as from the Isle of Jura distillery

Each distillery was ‘raided’ by crew of modern-day Vikings – who pillaged 40 liters of 12 year old cask strength whisky from.

Once they were done, the crew rowed and sailed with their precious cargo to Ireland’s Antrim Coast, 20 miles away, in a force eight gale across the treacherous North Channel to claim another 40 liters from the Bushmill’s distillery in Northern Ireland.

Michael Palin commented:

This is the drink that gives pillaging a good name. There are few things I’d row though Force Eight gales for, but a malt whisky from Islay, Jura and Ireland are three of them.

The whiskies were left to marry for several months at Lagavulin before being bottled at the Bruichladdich Distillery this week.  The proceeds of all 500 numbered bottles go to the Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland and of Northern Ireland.

Palin, tasting bottle number 1, added:

This Pillage Malt is terrific stuff.  Forget Ambrosia, this is what the Gods should be drinking.  Never has more trouble been taken to provide a fine whisky. Do whatever you can to pillage the 2005 Pillaged Celtic malt. And make a lot of children very happy too.

The Pillaged Malt 2005 is certain to become a collector’s favourite. Event organiser Kevin Campbell hopes to raise £50,000.

Bids start at £100. You can place your bid on a bottle by downloading a bid form.

Read more here.

Glenlivet: Cellar Collection 1972 & More!

Wandering the floor at Whisky Live, I noticed that Neil Macdonald (Brand Director for Malt Whiskies from Chivas Brothers) was manning the booth at The Glenlivet. I trotted over to say hello and ask what was new.

"Something very special" was the reply. "Give me a moment, and I’ll meet you back here."

I headed off to the Royal Mile Whiskies booth to grab a bottle of the 10 year old Black Bottle, a bottle of RMW’s Young Peaty Islay (3rd batch, only 308 bottles, and bottled at a nice mind-numbing 61.5%). I also picked up a copy of Jim Murray’s 2006 Whisky Bible (finally!).

I ran into Jakob Bruhns, André Doerlit, and David Larsson (of the Danish Importer QualityWorld). David, Jakob, André and I had bonded with Frank Boer (Munich Whisky Festival) and Gerd Schmerschneider (of German importer Prineus) over a bottle of Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte that Gerd had brought to share at the Compass Box party the night before. The Port Charlotte was aged for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days in an ex-sherry blood tub (A very small cask with a volume of about 35 liters) and bottled at 63% abv. Now THAT was an ass kicker. But I digress.

We headed over to The Glenlivet to try something "Very Special."

The something special was very special indeed. A bottle of the 1972 Glenlivet Cellar Collection.

I knew this was a limited edition, only 2015 individually numbered bottles, drawn from 10 casks – and here was Neil opening a bottle to give me a sample. Now if that doesn’t make you feel special, I don’t know what does.

Neil started to tell us about it as he pulled the bottle from it’s beautiful wooden container.

1972_cellar_collection_label_2 NM – Bottled in August of last year, about to go on sale in the U.S. Taken literally straight from the cask and bottled at full strength. It has not been chill-filtered – which I know a lot of people are pleased to hear. Obviously no artificial colouring – it’s  come out at just over 52% abv and been about 32 years in the cask.

KE – What’s the cask make-up? Any sherry…

NM – No, it’s taken from 10 traditional Oak Hogsheads that were all distilled on the same day at Glenlivet.

KE – And how many bottles were produced?

NM – 2015. And this is bottle 972 – Let’s hope it’s a good one…

At this point we took a picture before Neil commenced pouring

KE – And you said it will be available in the U.S. How soon?

NM – Literally in the coming weeks – we started shipping in January.

KE – And how many are allocated for the U.S.?

NM – 800 bottles – the U.S. is such a big market – there are so many specialist retailers out there, who all have a number of buyers looking for these kind of bottles

KE - What’s the expected price point?

NM – The retail’s going to be somewhere in the region of $700 per bottle.

KE – Any idea of the geographic distribution? I’m assuming a good number to New York…

NM – Yes. East and West Coast – Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Denver and Dallas are also two cities to look at. San Antonio and Austin…

KE – Wow, Texas must be becoming a big Scotch state…I’ve heard Austin is a big whisky town…

NM – Yeah, I understand there’s a strong I.T. connection there.

KE – Well I think we’re going to try it now…

Let me tell you. This stuff was GOOD! – Incredibly complex – the flavours kept coming and coming –  and changing. You get a sense of the age in the nose, but it’s certainly not over the top…And for something in the cask for 32 years – it was crisp and fresh – citrusy.

It opened up very nicely with just a bit of water. The citrus notes grew – almost a marmalade – very lively and orangey. It continued to change in my mouth, along with a pleasant gum-numbing.

NM – We’re very fortunate at Glenlivet because we mature most of the whisky in the warehouses there. And it’s relatively high up compared to the rest of Speyside – about 900 feet above sea level. So it is a much colder and damper climate up there.

What that means is that it minimizes extraction from the cask. Yet it allows the oxidation process to really carry on so you just get a lovely…I’ve very rarely tasted overly wooded Glenlivet, where I have with other brands where you get this bitterness…too much of the tannins.

DL – You have no bitterness taking over here.

NM – This really is a whisky you can enjoy all night. Jim Murray said a great thing about the cellar collection – he said if you can find one from the year you were born in, buy a bottle. Every year on your birthday, have a small dram. And if you’re lucky, you’ll finish the bottle.

KE – Well this is VERY, VERY nice. Do you have anything new at perhaps a lower price point?

NM -We just relaunched the 21-year-old…

KE -What about the Nadurra? Is that still only duty-free, or are you planning to expand it?

NM – At the moment, that is just in Duty Free. We introduced it actually about a year ago, and it’s been very, very successful. So I think it’s an idea we are quite keen to do more of…

KE – Well, tell me more about the Nadurra…

NM – Nadurra is actually Gaelic for natural – we said "Let’s make as natural a Glenlivet as we possible can." So, it is not chill-filtered. Also, we bottle at a higher strength – 48% abv. Duty Free doesn’t like cask strength products, so we can’t do it at cask strength. It’s matured in first fill American Oak casks.

And it’s 16 years of age. So we get those oak lactones, you know the marshmallow, coconut, creamy vanilla notes very, very accentuated – but a lot of oak body behind it as well. Sharp, citrusy notes. And last, but not least, we bottle at natural colour, so we add nothing to it.

It is very different than the rest of the Glenlivet range. If you try it with the 12 or the 18, it certainly goes off in a slightly different direction. Lovely mouth-feel – it’s very creamy – not one to drink with ice.

KE – This was also the first chance I’ve had to try the French Oak 15. Which I thought was a great  take on the standard 12 – this is a very different whisky – more than just a mere finishing.

NM – Yes, we don’t actually call this a "finish" because not 100% of the whisky has been in new French oak casks. We put a portion of it into French Oak, leave it there for about two years, give or take – then they’re all vatted together with other 15 year old Glenlivet, and then put into the bottle. You are quite right. It IS very different than the 12. I was talking to one of my colleagues at Martell (cognac)- and she was amazed at how reminiscent it is of Martell, because of that brandy style coming from the Limousin Oak. It gives a much richer, spiciness to the whisky – there’s a great complex aroma as well – but it’s nice because it’s not a complete tannin overload. Very subtle flavours coming out of the French Oak itself.

What I like about it is that there are all these whiskies out there talking about obscure Madeiras, Ports, what have you, and we are not talking about that – we are talking about the actual organic nature of the wood itself which magnifies the whisky.

The theme of Glenlivet is simplicity – we’ve got a classic whisky here – and being true to that style, in as simple a way as possible, is the way that we can showcase that to it’s best advantage.

Even I have let my snobbishness get the best of me on occasion – passing up the Glenlivet as being somewhat pedestrian. The three whiskies I talked about with Neil prove that I have been quite wrong.

If you, like me, have sometimes snubbed Glenlivet in the past, it’s time to take a second look.

New Macallan/Bruichladdich in Rhode Island

New Macallan announced yesterday

The Macallan extended its Fine Oak range of single malt highland Scotch whiskies with the introduction of The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Years Old.

This expression joins the Macallan Fine Oak 10, 15 and 21 Years Old, which the distillery introduced in November 2004 and Fine Oak 30 Years Old, just launched in June 2005.

The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Years Old will be available beginning in the spring of 2006.

The Macallan Fine Oak family of single malt Scotch whiskies breaks the distillery’s 180-year-old tradition of maturing new make spirit exclusively in European oak casks that previously held sherry.  The secret of The Macallan Fine Oak lies in its maturation in carefully selected European sherry casks and American oak casks that have previously held bourbon. The result of this unique cask combination produces a lighter, more stylish, yet modern single malt. 

Official Tasting Notes: Boasts a light amber color and a heady exotic floral aroma with hints of jasmine, tropical fruits and peat. The soft, rich palate expresses notes of citrus, spice and wood smoke.  Its finish lingers with a suggestion of orange zest.

Bottled at 43% abv, with a suggested retail price of $120.

Daniel Goodwin, senior brand manager – The Macallan, Rémy Cointreau USA, Inc., exclusive U.S. importer of The Macallan, believes that:

The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Years Old will broaden the unique appeal of The Macallan Fine Oak range.  The lighter, more modern flavor expressions of the Fine Oak range resonates with whisky connoisseurs and novices alike. Fine Oak 17 expands upon a completely unique line of super-premium single malt Scotches.

Some have called the Fine Oaks a bastardization of the Macallan range. I call them an interesting example of brand extension. The other Fine Oak expressions make for a pretty good dram,but I haven’t tried this one yet.


Rhode Island/Boston area alert!

Town Wine & Spirits will be hosting a special tasting with Jim McEwan of Bruichladdich!

Elliott (The owner of Town Wine & Spirits) says:

I believe that Jim is at this point the most talented distiller working, with an outlook for the future that goes way beyond the next dozen years. He is a most inspiring speaker, presenting single malts at all stages: from distillation to marketing!

We here at Town are absolutely thrilled to be able to present an opportunity like this to our customers. Seating is somewhat limited, so act quickly to reserve your place today.

Jimmce What can we say that hasn’t already been said about Jim McEwan? From his legendary work at Bowmore to the revival of Bruichladdich’s once-silent stills, no one has done more than Jim to make the modern Scotch Whisky industry a paragon of excellence and tradition.
Please join us at the Wanamoissett Country Club (Rumford, Rhode Island) on Tuesday, April 4 from 7 to 9 PM as we taste malts from Bruichladdich, including some never-before tasted in the United States!


I can guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself. Jim McEwan is one entertaining SOB.

To reserve your spot, contact Town Wine & Spirits:

email: malt@townwineri.com
phone: 401-434-4563