St. Andrew's Day

Happy St. Andrew’s Day!

Laphroaig is recycling their St.Andrew’s site again, so I thought I’d recycle last year’s story.

Laphroaig seems to be developing quite a sense of humor. Is it new
owner Fortune/Jim Beam, or was it always there bubbling just below the
surface? Maybe Bruichladdich’s quirky sense of humor is coming cross island.

Who knows, but they make some damn fine whisky. Heck, there’s
nothing from Islay that I don’t like (nice double negative, huh?), but
Laphroaig just holds a special place in my heart.

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Scotch = Golf = Racism. WTF?

If the title of the story doesn’t make sense to you, that’s very likely because you are not an idiot. But apparently Billy Connelly IS an idiot because he very clearly sees the connection.

He thinks that Scotch is snobbish, Scotch Drinkers play golf, and golfers are Racist, Sexist and Anti-semitic.

I’m not making this up. Here is what he said in an interview with an arts magazine/site in Canada called

"There’s a snobbishness involved in it," says of
scotch connoisseurs…"And they all tend to be golfers, and that pisses me off. It’s so
racist, sexist, it’s anti-Semitic; it’s everything I dislike."

Listen, I don’t particularly like golf – but it’s more about the clothing and my lack of patience than anything else.

So, besides being incredibly unfunny, Billy Connelly hates two of the hallmarks of his native land. (I wonder if he says these things in Scotland to the Scottish press?)

Read on for more stupid statements about Scotch drinkers and a link to the full interview.

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Whisky Fest as a Holiday Gift

Whisky Fest tickets are now available for Chicago, San Francisco and New York 2007 events.

Don’t face disappointment by being shut out of any of the 2007 events. Tell your loved ones what you want for the holidays – a guaranteed spot at one (or all) of the Whisky Fest events.

Tickets can now be ordered for ALL 2007 Malt Advocate magazine WhiskyFest events. The events and dates:

  • WhiskyFest Chicago on April 13, 2007
  • WhiskyFest San Francisco on October 23, 2007
  • The 10th Annual WhiskyFest New York on October 30, 2007

To order online: click here

Expanded event information will be available in the near future.
Check the Malt Advocate site for updates.

Are you a MAWS member?
To order your VIP Chicago, San Francisco or New York WhiskyFest ticket at the regular admission price, go to our website Order your VIP ticket and in the discount code box type MAWS and type your MAWS membership number in the comment box. You will see your $40 discount – for your ticket only – reflected on your confirmation.

HP gets an extreme makeover

Hp_18smLast year Highland Park was selected "Best Spirit in the World" (though, of course, THAT accolade was granted by the same man who named Johnnie Walker the Distiller of the Year – so take such awards with a grain of salt).

But despite such silliness, Highland Park really is a fantastic whisky, and is easily in my top 5. The only problem with Highland Park, to my mind, was the packaging. I’ve always found it to be a little off-putting – all dark and moody like a teen goth girl, with obscure photos of meaningless scenery (which happened to be from Orkney, but could have been anywhere) – it likely wasn’t the first choice of a consumer not familiar with the brand.

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Announcing "DrinkShoot", a new concept in Spirit,
Wine & Beer writing – think of it as an "online magazine" for

We thought we’d gather some of the more interesting things going on
in the world of online adult beverage writing and gather them in one
place for your convenience.

Please check it out…

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

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Scottish Whisky Distilleries – New Edition

In January 2006, I reviewed a book called The Scottish Whisky Distilleries by Misako Udo.
Now, in November 2006, I am the proud owner of the new hard-cover edition.

Misako has been hard at work with her new publisher expanding the database and updating the book.
The new edition has been expanded by 133 pages (to a total of 610 pages) is even more useful than the original because of an improved lay-out.

I’m also honored that Misako included my name in her Acknowledgments section AND that my quote (along with quotes from Martine Nouet and Mark Gillespie) was included on the dust jacket:

‘The Scottish Whisky Distilleries’ is a fantastic achievement. The amount of information that Misako Udo has gathered is astounding and this a must-have book for anyone who has a passion for learning about the distilleries.

The Scottish Whisky Distilleries is absolutely the most referenced book in my library.
Kevin Erskine
Author of The Instant Expert’s Guide to Single Malt Scotch

The book is NOT available on Amazon US yet, but IS shipping from Amazon UK.

576 pages
Publisher: Black and White Publishing (Oct 2006)
ISBN: 1845021304

The house(s) that Johnnie built

No matter what I say about the Johnnie Walker Marketing campaigns, I can’t say a bad word about their charitable giving.

How’s this: You get something free. Katrina victims get new homes.

For every set of FREE personalized Johnnie Walker labels you order from, Diageo will contribute $5 toward building at least two new homes for displaced
victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

That’s right. YOU go to; YOU order FREE labels – which you get for free. Freely sent for Free. Did I mention they are free? And then DIAGEO contributes $5 for each order.

Math is not my strong-point, but multiply the $5 by each order; carry the 2; divide by 20…yes, just as I thought…everybody wins here.

Read more…

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WTO to deal with India


The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) announced that today the EU will be officially requesting the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address India’s failure to reform its discriminatory tax treatment of imported spirits and wines.

A recent EU investigation into the situation found ‘blatant violations’ of WTO rules. The system unfairly distorts competition by subjecting Scotch Whisky and other imported spirits to a much higher tax burden – of up to 550% – than faced by Indian distillers.

The EU report, delivered in July 2006, concluded that several aspects of the Indian fiscal regime are contrary to WTO rules, including an ‘Additional duty’ (25%-150%) on imported spirits and wine which
distorts competition by unfairly exceeding the taxation of local products.

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The 2006 Drammies

Everyone gives out awards this time of year – why not The Scotch Blog?

In what I hope becomes an annual tradition, I’m happy to announce:
The 2006 Drammie Awards

Go to to review the nomination categories, then send in your nominations.

Winners will be announced before the end of the year here on The Scotch Blog as well as The Drammies site.