Ask The Collector – March


And now another installment of our very popular “Ask The Collector” column in which Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange answers questions about the value of collectible whisky.

The Collector is usually published on the last Friday of each month. We generally respond to questions within a day or so (completely
dependent upon Sukhinder’s schedule).

Remember, when you are in London, you can visit The Whisky Exchange in Hanwell or at their satellite shop at Vinopolis near the Borough Market. And of course you can always visit The Whisky Exchange on-line.

Ground Rules

Still getting way too many questions without pictures or posted as comments. These emails/comments will not be answered. Sorry!

  1. Before emailing, please look through the
    old “Ask The Collector” stories, to see if a similar bottle has already
    been appraised. If we get another question about the value of a bottle
    of White Horse from 1990, I’m going to put my head through the screen.
  2. Some people have been leaving questions
    for Sukhinder in the comments. This is a no-no. I will assume any
    questions left in comments are for other readers to answer and NOT for
    Sukhinder – If you want Sukhinder’s expert opinion please use the “…Ask the Collector” email address in the link to the right.
  3. No questions will be considered without an included picture. I spend too much time asking people for pictures. Starting in 2007, I’m afraid we can’t respond to any questions which don’t include a picture of the bottle. In
    you don’t include a picture, you won’t get a response. Make sure your
    pictures include the fill level as well as the label and any
    distinguishing characteristics!
  4. If Sukhinder makes an offer to buy your bottle, please do him the courtesy of responding whether you accept his offer or not.
  5. Please visit The Whisky Exchange – either in person or via their website. Let’s support Sukhinder, as he is providing this valuation services for free!

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WhiskyFest Chicago Sold Out

Amy Westlake just emailed to let me know that the tix for the event are gone.

I’m really stoked about spending the entire week in Chicago…hopefully you already have your tixkets and will be there on Friday Night to see what all the fuss is about.

The Soap Opera Continues

Unless you are in the industry (or a lawyer), you likely do not share my morbid fascination with the ongoing pissing match between India and the world’s alcohol producers.

Although we focus on whisk(e)y here, it may not surprise you that I am
a fan of all things fermented and/or subsequently distilled. And although I have many friends who hail from that exotic sub-continent and I love me some Indian culture – in a gang fight I’m going to side with alcohol.

Make no mistake, this issue with discriminatory taxes goes far beyond Scotch whisky – it’s a punitive tax on all alcohols that are non-Indian. This is not a sin-tax – it’s a protectionist-tax.

Come on kids, learn from those crazy Soviets – 1. Protectionism doesn’t work. 2. Free-market economies shall prevail. And most importantly 3. People want access to alcohol. Those three market forces alone say "Put away your dicks and do the right thing."

Of course this is all for show. As soon as Mallya completes his
acquisition of Whyte & Mackay, the ice will mysteriously begin to
break; the Indian gov’t will decide to re-examine their position – all
so Mallya can more easily import the (soon-to-be-Indian-owned) Whyte
& Mackay products. Now, if there is a way to keep some of the taxes in place – while letting W&M in at a different rate, I’m sure they will figure out a way to do so. Am I alluding to some level of political corruption within foreign governments? Of course not - (plus who am I to cast aspersions? – I live in the US). I’m just sayin’…

Want to read more of my incoherent ramblings on the "Indian Situation"? Of course you do:

Just because you keep saying it, it doesn’t make it true… (May 2006)

The Issue with Tariffs (June 2006)

SWA + EU + WTO vs. India (August 2006)

Indian Ownership? (August 2006)

WTO to deal with India (November 2006)

You can also read the latest salvo (in the form of yet another press release) from the SWA:

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Chicago 2007 Whisky Week Events

The events surrounding the Chicago Whisky Fest are starting to roll in – below you’ll find some of the things Binny’s, Diageo and Sam’s have already told me about. I’ll have more events for you as I learn about them.

I’ll be in Chicago the whole week and hope to see you at some of these.

Monday, April 9th

Classic Malt Seminar
Master Distiller Emeritus, Evan Cattanach 
Where: Delilah’s – 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago
Time: 7:00 pm –
Cost: Complimentary

Tuesday, April 10th
Spirits Night at Sam’s
Over 150
Spirits in all.  Plus, meet some of the industry’s finest: Tom Bulleit
of Bulleit Bourbon, George Grant of Glenfarclas, Ian Millar of
Glenfiddich, Simon Brooking of Dalmore, Martin Duffy – Master of

Whiskey Knowledge, Fred Noe/Jim Beam and others!
 Sam’s Lincoln Park Location – 1720 N Marcey St Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 664-4394
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Cost: $40 in advance $50 at the door

Duke of Perth Fish & Chips & Singletons
With Evan Cattanach & Marty Duffy
Where: Duke of Perth
Time: 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Cost: Complimentary

Wednesday, April 11th
Bulleit Bottle Signing with Tom Bulleit
Where: West Lakeview Liquors – 2156 W Addison St Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 525-1916

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Cost: Complimentary

Classic Malt Dinner
Evan Cattanach conducts a six course dinner paired with the six Classic Malt whiskies.
 The Palm Restaurant – 323 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, 60601 – (312) 616-1000

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Cost: $85

Delilah’s Bourbon Forum
Tom Bulleit w/Fred Noe, Bill Samuels, Jimmy Russell & others
Where: Delilah’s – 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL. 60614

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Cost: Complimentary

North American Whiskey Tasting
Where: Rocks Tavern – 1301 W Schubert Ave, Chicago, 60614 – (773) 472-7738

Time: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Classic Malts Tasting
Where: Red Lion Pub – 2446 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 348-2695

Time: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Gordon & Macphail Seminar
With Export Director Derek Hancock and Brett  Pontoni, covering handpicked casks and new G&M offerings.
Clark Street Ale House – 742 N. Clark St.

Time: 8:00 pm -

Cost: $20

Thursday, April 12th
Binny’s Whiskies of the World
Where:  Binny’s – 3000 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL. 60657

Time: 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Cost: $30

Chief O’Neill’s Bulleit Pig Roast & Whisky Festival
Various Whiskies, live music & complimentary buiffett.  Whisk(e)y
Debate between Tom Bulleit & Evan Cattanach. $10, with
proceeds going to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation

  3471 N Elston Ave. Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 583-3066

Time: 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Cost: $10

Friday, April 13th
Whisky Fest
The main event
Where: Hyatt Hotel   

Time: 5:00 pm -10:00 pm

Cost: $105, $145 for VIP ticket

Delilah’s Bushmills After Party
Upstairs with food & live music
Where: Delilah’s – 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL. 60614

Time: 10:00 pm – 1:30 am

Cost: Complimentary

Best of: The Big Fellow


Developed by Sidney Frank with the partnership and whiskey production expertise of the Cooley Distillery,
Michael Collins has been released in two versions, a Blend and a Single
Malt. Michael Collins was developed for the U.S. market, but will be
available at select upscale retailers as well as Duty Free in Ireland.

The whiskey is named
in honor of "The Big Fellow" who spearheaded the fight for Irish
independence and who was assassinated in 1922 at the age of 31. Both
are bottled at 40% and aged in small oak casks to accelerate the
maturation process.

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A Bush(mills) in the hand…..

I recently returned from a trip to Northern Ireland. Growing up, as I did, during the 70’s, Northern Ireland was a mythically dangerous place. If you’d told me then that one day I’d be drinking in pubs in Derry & Belfast, I’d give you the same answer I’d give you if today you invited me to grab a pint and go for a stroll in Fallujah.

Are you out of your mind?

But today, Northern Ireland bears no resemblance to the place I remember hearing about – where bombings, the IRA and Sinn Féin were daily news items. No, this was a very different place. Derry was an interesting, if quiet, walled city, with obvious reverence for the past. Belfast could be a major city in any country – the streets filled with tourists and locals, the bars and restaurants packed, and the "troubles" seeming to be as foreign to the citizens of Belfast as the Vietnam war is to any American under the age of 40.

I enjoyed my tourist time there – visiting the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce castle and enjoying the natural beauty of the Antrim coast. But of course, the real reason I was in Northern Ireland was to visit Bushmill’s Distillery.

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Baileys. Still Irish.

Ahh Baileys…

First launched in Ireland 1974 – and brought to the US soon afterwards, as a young pup – I remember the women in my family drinking it for no other reason than it was "Irish".

But unfortunately, it’s lost much of its "Irishness" along the way…using hipster marketing to make the  metamorphosis from "a taste of the  Emerald Isle", to hip lounge/club drink.


OldbaileysOnce labeled:

Original Irish Cream

Baileys is now labeled (more or less):

The Original Irish Cream


I’m here to bring back the Irish, mofo.

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Winners of the Irish Toast Contest

Announcing the winners of the Bushmill’s Irish Toast contest!

Each winner will receive a Bushmill’s Irish Rugby jacket; baseball cap and Rugby Ball!
All courtesy of my friends at Old Bushmill’s distillery. Not bad.

Thanks for all the submissions. Some were great and some sucked – several made absolutely no sense, but at least people tried to be creative.

The final winners were chosen by two random girls in an Irish pub. Though neither of the girls were Irish, both were pretty hot.

My tip of the year: Want to talk to hot girls in an Irish pub? Ask them to be the judges in an Irish Toast contest.

And without further ado… here are your winners (in no particular order)…

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Cooley Distillers and Connemara mini-flasks

The first new Irish distillery in over 100 years, Cooley Distillery PLC was formed in 1987 – and their first Malt Whiskey was distilled in 1989 – but it wasn’t until 1991 that Cooley’s
distilled a peated single malt. Yes, that’s right. I said peated.

Cooley’s whiskies are all distilled at the Cooley distillery (named for
the Cooley peninsula on which the distillery sits) and matured at the
warehouses at Locke’s Distillery (also owned by Cooley Distillery PLC)
in Kilbeggan – the oldest licensed distillery site in the world (1757) per Monday’s story, Cooley plans to begin distilling  at Kilbeggan, next week. To this point, the distillery has only been used for warehousing and the Cooley cooperage.
Cooley Distillery is not only independent, it’s the ONLY independent in
Ireland AND the only Irish owned distillery.

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Coffee. But better…

Today’s story comes from guest writer L. Borger.

Before there were double frappacinos and caramel macchiato, there was Irish Coffee, perhaps the first popular flavored coffee drink.  Each year since this creamy concoction was invented new consumers discover it as a delicious way to warm up a cold winter day.  In fact the drink was invented back in the  1930’s to welcome-and to warm up the first transatlantic travelers.

It was the dawn of transatlantic plane travel, when a trip from America across the Atlantic was only possible on an 18-hour flight by “flying boat.” On landing, passengers were ferried from these early seaplanes, arriving chilled and damp at Foynes Airport in County Limerick, Ireland.  By 1942, a restaurant had been established at the airport to welcome the travelers, which by then included such VIP’s as Humphrey Bogart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edward G. Robinson, Ernest Hemmingway and Douglas Fairbanks.

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