An open letter from John Glaser

Say NO! to Blended Malt Scotch Whisky: Sign the Petition!

Hello friends,

Pardon the interruption, but I simply want
to call your attention to an issue that is very important to our business and
to the Scotch whisky industry, and is something you can help us with.

Please help us tell the Scotch Whisky
Association (SWA) and the UK Government that we think their legislative
proposal to force companies such as ours to label our malt whiskies
“Blended Malt Scotch Whisky” (instead of simply “Malt
Whisky” as we do now) is a bad idea for the industry.  If this
proposal becomes law, it would cause further confusion for consumers around the
world regarding the labelling of Scotch whisky.  It would make people
think less of artisan-made malt whiskies, such as ours, because we would have
to put “blended” on our labels, a term people (wrongly, but
nonetheless) perceive to refer to inferior quality products.

It would also force us to redesign and reprint all our labels, and resubmit
them to label authorities around the world.  Which would be an expensive
pain and a waste of time.

This proposal has been widely derided by
people across the industry, including whiskymakers, marketers, retailers,
distributors and writers, including the late Michael Jackson, all of whom have
pointed out that the proposal will do exactly the opposite of what it is
intended to do, which is reduce consumer confusion about Scotch whisky.
But the SWA have buried their heads in the sand on this issue in order to push
through other legislative issues they feel are more important!

I could go on.  But instead I’ll point you to a petition on the web
that takes less than a minute to sign and which will help us send a message to
the SWA and the lawmakers that the “blended malt Scotch whisky”
legislation is a bad idea.  Just click the link:

Help us help the Scotch whisky industry!

John Glaser
Compass Box Delicious Whisky Ltd

Alas, poor Amber. I knew it, Horatio.

Simon Jones, reader and blogger was the first to give me the bad news . . .

Macallan Amber is being pulled.

It started out with Simon asking if I knew where he could get some in the UK, as he was told that it was no longer being produced.

I hadn’t heard this, but I haven’t exactly been keeping my ear to the ground lately.

In case you forgot, read about Macallan Amber here: Macallan & Boston

A quick inquiry to Caspar MacRae of Edrington, gave me the official bad news.

Hello Kevin,
Yes. Despite considerable positive feedback, Edrington decided in December that the test marketing of Amber probably did not justify the huge expense of a full brand launch.

This was a tough decision, but had to be taken in the context of considerable new investment at The Macallan distillery and the purchase of a significant interest in the (incidentally excellent!) Dominican rum, Brugal.

It is one of the hazards of being a relatively small company, that we simply cannot pursue every
interesting opportunity.

However we will continue to make Amber available in Japan, Canada and through the distillery shop in Speyside for some time yet.

Sorry the news is not better.

Best wishes,

I immediately placed an order for a case of the stuff to hoard; drink and hand out as very special gifts.

You should as well.

My friend Joe Howell up in Boston may have some:

Federal Wine Spirits
29 State St

(617) 367-8605

Atlanta, Georgia. Glenmorangie. Free.

Glenmorangie invites you to enjoy an exclusive event! The complimentary, invitation only event is open to all scotch and cigar aficionados in the Atlanta area.

Scotch & Cigars, a private Scotch tasting will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, March 27th at the Highland Cigar Bar at 245 N. Highland from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

Admission is complimentary and
will allow guests to experience 4 Glenmorangie Expressions: The
Original, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban and Nectar d’Or. Complimentary hors
d’oeurves will be served and early arrivals will receive complimentary
cigar samples.

For more information and to request an invitation send a
message to

Highland Cigar Bar
245 N. Highland
Atlanta, GA

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Highland Cigar Bar is located in Atlanta’s eclectic Virginia Highlands neighborhood, just east of downtown.

This is not a paid promotion.

Whisky galore! An English malt, please

I read this article in The Independent about the English Whisky Company, which I thought you’d also like to read. Enjoy.

Whisky galore! An English malt, please

Originally published March 10, 2008 and reprinted with kind permission of The Independent.

The sweet smell of ground grist wafts over the surrounding peat marshland as a one-tonne copper still boils and distils mash into the unmistakable dark liquid that will eventually become whisky.

The first run of single malt, meanwhile, lies maturing in hundreds of specially imported Bourbon barrels from the United States watched over by Molly, Bert, Oscar and Zeb, the distillery’s four Labrador dogs.

At first glance nothing in this particular distillery looks out of the ordinary. But to the factory’s founders and whisky connoisseurs worldwide what lies in those casks is not just whisky; it is history in the making.

For this is not just another new distillery to add to Scotland or Ireland’s already thriving industries. This is the English Whisky Company, the latest attempt to try and cash in on the unprecedented clamour for fine whisky worldwide and, also, the first company to produce an English malt whisky in more than 100 years.

Read the Rest of the story at The Independent site

'Allo Guv'nor

Here’s an ad you’re not likely to see anywhere else – as it was turned down by an unnamed financial periodical.

Have you NO sense of humor?

Here's the Deal

Today I am in England.

I’m here to serve as a judge in the International Wine & Spirits Competition. Then I’ll be seeing friends, and drinking in pubs.

When I get back next week, I’ll be back on the road – Spring is full of travel for me: Whisky Live; Whisky Fest, and miscellaneous speaking engagements and consulting.

In April I’ll be in Scotland at the World Whiskies Conference,  touring distilleries, and FINALLY – after all these years – wandering around Edinburgh like a stupid tourist.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be missing my Brother’s wedding. [Sorry, John.]

I’m just about to hit my 500th post. This is the 4th calendar year I’ve been writing in and I’m tired of meeting self-imposed deadlines.

SO I won’t be making any posts for a while – I won’t even make an attempt to put up some "BEST OF" stories – as I am without a portable computer and Apple has not yet sent me a free MacBook Air (and I’m not holding my breath).

SO, while I’m gone:

When I get back I’ll finally get around to writing about my trip to Maker’s Mark.

Any guest writers want to fill in the gaps? let me know…

How to Fake Whisky Color

Dear TSB

Sorry but I have an unusual request. I have one of those large bottles of Chivas Regal on the swing (4.5ltr). It sits on the bar. However I have drank all the scotch of course and wanted to fill it up with something that looked like scotch but wasn’t. I thought someone said some teas, but then that didn’t work. What else could I use that best looks like scotch?

Thanks, Adam

I had always heard the iced tea was used as a stunt double for whisky in movies when one of the actors had to take a swig.  (The next time some tough guy picks up a bottle and chugs, take a look and you can see how the liquid foams up…whisky doesn’t do that.)

I would think that tea would be a little translucent, but it might work if you used a more robust black tea. And maybe used red and brown food coloring to massage it?

Any ideas out there?

Since we are talking "fake" and "whisky" in the same breath, I wanted to remind everyone of Serge’s "War on Whisky Fakers".


2008 Scotch Whisky Extravaganza

For the fourth year in a row The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America
would like to extend discounted admission to the 2008 U.S. Single
Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Tour
for readers of The Scotch

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

Read on for the schedule and how to get the discount:

Continue Reading >>

WWW – the Weakening Whisky WoundTable

Here’s a good question, from regular reader Brendan H. which allows me to solicit the opinion of some friends…

Hey Kevin,

Another weird question for you, thinking as I kick a bottle of Cigar Malt.

Does the alcohol content of my whisky decrease as I near the bottom of the bottle?

I ask this because (1) there seems to be less alcohol burn as I wind
through the bottle and (2) because alcohol being a light, fairly
volatile liquid, could be in vapor form at the top of the bottle and
released when I remove the cork.

If so then it might seem wise
to swish the whisky around the top of the bottle to recapture any
vaporous alcohol before opening.

Thanks for the science lesson.


I responded to Brendan…

Theoretically, It COULD.
If it sits for a long time with a bad seal, the alcohol could evaporate…reducing the amount of Alcohol (by volume) in the liquid.

Once the alcohol has entered a gaseous state I don’t think it will recombine with the liquid by swishing…

But I thought I’d ask for input from some of my industry friends…

Chris Morris, Master Distiller, Brown Forman

You are correct. Every time a bottle is opened, a drink poured
out, and the bottle resealed you have created headspace. The headspace
will be filled with evaporate.

Keep doing this and the ever increasing
headspace will continue to sap the alcohol strength from the spirit
(very small amount overall).

If you desire to return the alcohol vapor
to the spirit you would have to chill the bottle to condense it. That
of course is not standard storage procedure. I wouldn’t worry about it.


Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller, Maker’s Mark

At the risk of being too technical … here goes.

If the bottle is tightly sealed, only a relatively small amount of alcohol will evaporate … and then an equilibrium condition will set up where alcohol evaporates and condenses at the same rate and the concentration of alcohol in the vapor state is constant throughout the space…. it will not stratify… The proof in the liquid will remain essentially unchanged.  Even if the bottle is opened and partially consumed, and then tightly re-sealed, this same equilibrium will be achieved, and there will be essentially no proof reduction … even as the liquid volume decreases.  (Theoretically, there might be a minuscule proof reduction here, but I don’t think you could notice it).

If the bottle is loosely closed … or not capped at all … The alcohol will continue to evaporate and will never reach an equilibrium because it will continue to escape from the open mouth of the bottle into the surrounding air space.  Thus, the proof will continue to drop.  This also explains why a non-chill filtered whisky bottled at a proof of 86 or greater will eventually cloud up if left for a long time with the cap off or the seal loose.  When the product reaches a proof below 86, a chill haze begins to develop, because some of the components become insoluble in alcohol and water mixtures below 86 proof … This haze can be anything from a little cloudy to something akin to river mud.

Mark Reynier, Bruichladdich

When reducing  to obtain the desired 46% vol that we like to bottle at, it is notoriously difficult to arrive at the precise
figure because the alcohol strength (in bulk) and at cask strength is so volatile. We have a legal  0.1 variance and a matter of 60 minutes is enough to reduce the strength by 01 or more.

Therefore, even at a reduced volume (a bottle) and strength –  and with exposure to air, I imagine that the strength would fall . . . albeit at a stultifyingly slow

The reduced alcohol burn referred to is probably reduced by the rasping cigar smoke in the throat.


Ian Millar, Glenfiddich

First off, why would you have a bottle open so long this could happen??? THAT wouldn’t happen in Scotland!

Secondly, yes – you could lose something in evaporation and the rate of loss would relate to the temperature of the room and was the bottle in direct sunlight or indeed artificial light.

(Never take a chance – store the bottle in a cool dark place, open with good friends and devour with joy).

All the best