Happy Birthday To Me.

Thanks, Kevin.
You’re welcome, Kevin.

And now there are 6

MPV6frontcvrBack in August '06, Jack Oswald did a 2-part piece for the Scotch Blog telling us about the history of 5 volume "The Malt Project".
On the Road with The Malt Project (Part 1)
On the Road with The Malt Project (Part 2)

Jack just wrote to tell me the 6th volume is now available.

The Coastal & Island Distilleries is a 2-volume set with segments on Orkney, Oban, Mull, Islay, Arran  & Campbeltown – visiting Oban, Tobermory, Bruichladdich, Old PulteneyH, ighland Park, Scapa, Kilchoman, Springbank and more.

A must have for any whisky lover.


Want Some of Ian's Port Charlotte?

Do you like Port Charlotte?

Of course you do. Which is why you’ll probably want to pick up a bottle of Ian Buxton’s bottling of his own cask of PC – which he had the foresight to purchase during Bruichladdich’s initial offering.

(I actually took this photo of Ian’s cask back in May 2006 while I was wandering around the Port Charlotte Warehouse).

Ian decided to share his cask with the world – which yielded about 439 bottles – 400 of which were made available exclusively for sale through Royal Mile Whiskies.


The whisky was distilled on June 12, 2002 and laid down in a refill
bourbon cask. Bottled on November 5th 2007.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot…

The notes that I wrote back in October 2006, when I tried the Port Charlotte out of the cask [NOT Ian’s cask] (please keep in mind that these notes are for a cask strength version that was likely pushing 65%):

The Port Charlotte has a very interesting nose – the peat is there all
right, but a sweet floral perfume quickly takes over – the DNA of
Bruichladdich is obvious – bright, floral and briny – proving
indisputably that the shape of the still has an astounding effect on
the resultant spirit.

The mouth-feel is dense and oily, and the flavors are a tasty mix of
dark chocolate (giving way to a more bitter chocolate), sea salt,
toffee, stewed fruit, nuts and a definite oak taste.

I believe the final bottling will be worth getting – and I will be interested to see how this matures.

All of the notes I mention above hold true for this 46% bottling – but with the additional delicacy you’d expect from more time in the wood.

The peat is still there, but really doesn’t overwhelm – this is not Laphroaig that cracks you across the bridge of the nose. The floral notes I mentioned are still here – but I think the sweetness on the palate has been amplified. Salt everywhere! The finish is long, tingly and is reminiscent of hard citrus candies. For a 5.5 year old whisky, this is some very smooth and refined stuff…

The 50cl bottle is sleek and attractive, and I love the simplicity of the label.

I have bottle 24 of 439 – open and half gone. Approximately 60 bottles remain. Move quick…

50 cl bottle
Single Cask bottled at 46% abv
Exclusive to Royal Mile Whiskies

Oskar Blues joins with Colorado whiskey maker

Back in December, we wrote about how Flying Dog Brewery’s move would create a void for Stranahan’s Whiskey wash-wise.

Today, I can announce that the problem has officially been solved – with Oskar Blues – makers of some damned fine beer – stepping in to produce "the custom-made distiller’s wash used to create the unique whiskey made by Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey."

Since it opened in March of 2003, the pioneering micro distiller has been making its all-malt, Straight Rocky Mountain Whiskey from a wash produced by Flying Dog Brewery. Stranahan’s is the first US micro distiller to use this novel method, one now embraced by a handful of other small-batch distillers.

Last December, when Flying Dog announced the moving of its brewing operations to its Maryland brewery, we got in touch with Stranahan’s founder Jesse Graber and offered to be his new brewery partner.

We’ll provide them with about 100 barrels of wash (about 3000 gallons) each week. They’ll double distill that down to about 300 gallons of spirit each week, which they then age for a minimum of 2 years in charred oak barrels in their facility in Denver.

We’re big fans of Graber’s trailblazing whiskey and his rule-breaking ideas.

Thanks to a handful of novel methods that Stranahan’s employs (including the brewery-made wash), they create an exceptionally delicious and smooth whiskey with an age-defying depth of character.

<Photo: Dale Katechis and Jess Graber standing before the barrels in the Stranahan’s aging room.>

Does that sound very Beer-oriented? That’s because it is – I got this story from Oskar Blues – via my friend & beer writer Stephen Beaumont.

“This is a very big deal for us,” says Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis.  “Jess and his team are whiskey mavericks, they’re doing for whiskey what craft brewers have done for beer. They’ve proven that with guts, talent and a blind eye to the status quo, one can make whiskey as good as any out there.”

The brewery-made wash is made for Stranahan’s from a recipe created by Jess Graber. After mashing in and fermentation, the wash is filtered prior to distillation. This filtering frees the wash of many of the harshness-producing characteristics found in traditionally produced whiskey mash.

“This cleaner, purer wash,” says Graber, ”gives us a really superior product to start with, and it reaches maturity much faster.”

Oskar Blues began canning its beers — two cans at a time on a table-top machine — in November of 2002. The company’s flagship, Dale’s Pale Ale, is the nation’s first hand-canned craft beer and the trailblazer for America’s growing micro-canning niche.

According to Oskar Blues the arrangement with Stranahan’s will also allow them to expand their barrel-aged beer capabilities in the months ahead. That means good news for beer lovers and whiskey lovers – and after all aren’t we both?

No Kid Hungry

Notice how I haven’t been writing here much? Yeah sorry about that.

Trying to have a personal life, combined with consulting and travel have really made "The Scotch Blog" a red headed step-child. It may be surprising to some of you, but The Scotch Blog is a side-line of a side-line – and NOT my primary focus in life.

ANYWAY, I wanted to give a shout out to a great charity "Save Our Strength" which has the noble ambition of trying to prevent any child from ever going hungry. If you don’t support that, you are a complete and utter bastard.

SOS also has a number of fund-raising initiatives. One of those is called "A Tasteful Pursuit":

Share Our Strength’s A Tasteful Pursuit® presented by
Lexus is a unique dinner series that features the nation’s hottest
chefs joining together to make sure no child in America grows up
hungry. As they tour the country, these amazing chefs create delicious,
multi-coursed dinners paired with ultra-premium wines at some of the
country’s finest dining establishments. Guests enjoy the company of
these chefs during their dinners and participate in auctions featuring
one-of-a-kind culinary, travel and lifestyle items.

In 2007, the culinary community’s collective talent, generosity and
dedication helped raise $600,000 for our efforts to surround children
with the nutritious food they need to learn, grow and thrive.

The 2008 tour will include award winning chefs from around the
country and make stops at some of the hottest culinary destinations.

This Thursday, I’ll be attending The Tasteful Pursuit taking place in Washington DC at Charlie Palmer’s. This one also happens to be co-hosted by my very good friends at The Balvenie.

Look for me if you are also attending, If not, see if there’s a Tasteful Pursuit event near you. If not, seriously consider supporting the charity

some other way.

New Swedish Distiller

This is from Ulf Buxrud – author & whisky guy extraordinaire.

Hven Distillery.


A new, the second in order, Swedish malt whisky distillery came on stream May 7, 2008.  The distillery adapted its name from the Norse spelling of the island where it is situated, ‘Hven’ .

The state-of-the-art distillery, which will thrive on local cultivated barley and water, is built on a small island in the middle of the strait which separate Denmark from Sweden.  The island is the former home of the medieval Scandinavian astronomer Tycho Brahe, but was also a stronghold for Vikings.

Initially the cereal is travelling back and forth from Scotland for process, including malting, peating and crushing. Casks for maturing will predominantly be made by US cooperage from selected stocks of American white oak. The micro climate on this ‘island-in-the-stream’ is expected to contribute with a maritime influence to the whisky during its maturation.

Heaven Hill Sets the Candidates straight. Why didn't you?

This is the type of Publicity Stunt that EVERY whiskey maker in the U.S. should have scrambled for.

You likely recall last month when Hillary Clinton committed the apparently horrendous faux pas – whilst trying to show how "down-to-earth" she is – of ordering a shot of Crown Royal.

Of course YOU all know that Crown Royal is a Canadian whisky – and apparently it’s the worst thing that any Presidential candidate could possibly do – imbibe ANYTHING but American whiskey.

Now, let me state for the record, that I see NOTHING wrong with Hillary ordering a Crown Royal whisky.

To me it simply highlights the general publics’ ignorance of the various whisk(e)y types and their origins more so than being an example of Hillary showing a disregard for the American whiskey industry.

 Let me also state for the record that I’d rather see a rabid wolverine stuffed in my pants than see Hillary Clinton as President.


The appropriate response was for one of the Bourbon companies to take the opportunity to "set the record straight" and get some press.

The appropriate response was to get some air-time at the expense of Hillary. Obama and McCain would have eaten it up.

It SHOULD have been done the next day.

Only Heaven Hill did it. And it took them almost a month (Likely to get it through the god-damned lawyers.)

The following is free advice.

If you produce whiskey in the U.S., and your marketing department did NOT suggest this – you should IMMEDIATELY FIRE YOUR MARKETING TEAM.

Ed. Note: I saw no mention of whether the beer was "all-American" Miller (owned of course by South African Brewing).

Continue Reading >>

Distillery future remains unclear

Thanks to Brian M For the alert.

Distillery future remains unclear   

CHANGES are afoot at Blackwood Distillers amid continuing uncer­tainty over its stalled six-year-old plan for a whisky distillery in Shetland.

Change in the ownership of the five Blackwood-related companies in recent months has seen several directors and prominent staff members leave. Annual accounts for all the companies are now up to five months overdue at Companies House and founder/chief executive Caroline Whitfield has not been responding to media phone calls for some time.

Shareholders used to regular updates have had no communication from her since September when she predicted that the loss-making company should move into profit from October under a refinancing deal.

Meanwhile, at Catfirth, site of the £5 million proposed malt whisky distillery, no work has been carried out since the plan was approved by the SIC three years ago.

Against this background it emerged this week that a deal is being
done by Ms Whitfield’s own firm, the Shetland Spirit company, which
will effectively transfer Blackwood’s gin and vodka products to a
London company called Blavod Extreme Spirits.

The two-stage deal will initially involve licensing Blavod to take
over production and distribution of Blackwood’s Nordic Dry Gin, Nordic
Vodka and Jago’s vanilla vodka cream and Jago Love but ultimately the
products will come to be owned by Blavod too.

Read the rest at The Shetland Times