Limited Edition Macallan Fine Oak 21

The guys over at For Scotch Lovers are selling a very limited version of a Macallan 21 year Old Fine Oak.

So I decided to commission Inner Light Crystal to produce a limited edition of exactly twenty-one (21) engraved bottles of Macallan Fine Oak 21 years old whisky. Each bottle is signed by the artists and individually numbered and will be accompanied by a pair of CelticMalts Spirits Glasses, engraved with wonderful quotes, and a certificate of authenticity signed by the artists.

The combination of this breathtaking engraving, on a bottle of incomparably delicious and enjoyable Macallan Fine Oak 21 whisky, creates an artistic combination that will be enjoyable for a lifetime (the bottle can always be refilled). And while there are no certain predictors of future values of artwork like these bottles, other designs by Inner Light Crystal Studios have commanded top-dollar at recent auctions/ galleries  like the Napa Valley Wine Auction, the Wine Spectator Auction, at the ACA Gallery in Chelsea NYC as well as the Heller Glass Gallery in NYC.

Read more here.

The 750 ml bottles are going for $2,500 each. So if you have anything left in investments, take it out of the stock market and go with the always steady whisky collectible market.

HopScotch Festival – Limited Tickets Available

VANCOUVER, BC, October 28: The Hopscotch Festival is Canada’s Biggest Scotch, Whisky and Premium Beer festival. Running from November 11- 16th, Hopscotch brings industry experts and brand ambassadors from all over the world into Vancouver to celebrate the “whisky of life”. Tickets to this year’s events have been selling out faster than ever, making the Hopscotch Festival a serious player in Vancouver’s larger festival circle.

Some of the events that still have tickets available (although limited) are as such:

The Grand Tasting:  Thurs. Nov. 13th, 6pm – 10pm at The Rocky Mountaineer Station (1755 Cottrell St). The Friday night version of this event is already sold out. There are more than 50 exhibitors and 200 products. Each ticket is $40 and includes a souvenir glass tasting cup as well as 5 tasting tokens.

Highland Park Whisky Pairing Dinner:  Wed. Nov. 12th, 6pm – 9:30pm at Coast Restaurant (1257 Hamilton Street). Guests will indulge in a delicious 4-course meal paired with 4 different and exclusive Highland Park Malts. Marc Lavadiere, Highland Park’s Brand Ambassador will be on location to educate guests about whisky and specifically, Highland Park. $90 includes Food, Whisky, Tax, Tip, and Valet.

Morrison-Bowmore Whisky Pairing Dinner:  Wed. Nov. 12, 7pm – 9pm at Watermark On Kits Beach (1305 Arbutus St.). Attendees will enjoy a delicious meal while learning about and enjoying 4 different types of Bowmore whisky. Jamie MacKenzie, North American Regional Manager for the distillery will be leading the dinner. $79 includes Food, Whisky, Tax, and Tip.

Malt Special Release:  Sat. Nov. 15th, 6pm – 8pm at The Shebeen (210 Carrall St.) By far one of the most exciting events Hopscotch has ever produced. Michael Nicolson, an ex-master distiller from some of the world’s biggest distilleries will be on location to help sample some of the most exclusive and rare whiskies the LDB has ever offered. $150 includes Snacks and Whisky.

Ticket purchasing and information is available at or by calling 604-742-1706.

RIP: The Scotch Whisky Review

Today’s story comes from Ian Buxton and was originally posted on the foremost whisky community The Whisky Channel.

I very sad to have to report a death in the whisky family. The Scotch Whisky Review is to “suspend publication” — a fig-leaf of a euphemism for “close down” about as convincing as an executive and their employer parting company “by mutual consent” (read “he was fired, because his face didn’t fit any more”).    

SWR was originally established by Richard Joynson of Loch Fyne Whiskies and provided an irreverent; some would say downright scurrilous commentary on the Scotch Whisky scene.   But the effort in producing regular bulletins as well as compiling a price list and running his business eventually told on Joynson who, in early 2006, handed the SWR on to new proprietors.  

The title was taken on by publisher Marcin Miller (formerly of Whisky Magazine) and editor Dave Broom who planned to develop SWR as a stand-alone publication independent of Loch Fyne. Initially, all went well. The quality and size was improved; new writers recruited and an effort made to persuade readers to pay a modest annual subscription.  

But, despite the excellent ‘Ray Snyde Whisky Guru’ cartoon; the short-lived, offensive and highly-amusing ‘Mrs Hewitt’s Diary’; Caleb Bann’s ‘Hot Air News’ and Charles ‘Walrus’ MacLean’s bulletins from the front line of viscimetric research it seems that these efforts have failed and the Winter 2007 edition of Scotch Whisky Review is to be the last.  

There will be a “re-launched” web version at but somehow it doesn’t feel the same.  

So, farewell then, Scotch Whisky Review. You wanted to be whisky’s Private Eye but turned out to be its Punch!

A real shame, as I thoroughly enjoyed the Scotch Whisky Review.

Once More with Woodford

Today’s story comes from beer Guru & writer Stephen Beaumont <> who recently traveled to Kentucky to get a sneak preview of the new Master’s Collection whiskey, 1838 Sweet Mash.

Being a Canadian, even one who travels regularly south of the border, there is many a special edition whiskey that comes and quickly goes before I have a chance to get my hands, and palate, on it. Such was the case with the first two editions of the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, the much ballyhooed Four Grain and only slightly less celebrated Sonoma-Cutrer Finish.

So when the opportunity arose to travel to Kentucky for a preview of this year’s entry, courtesy of Brown-Forman, no less, I jumped at it. Along the way, I suspected, I might even be able to score a sip or three of the first two, as well.

I was right. Following a first night reception at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, and a couple of post-prandial cocktails in the Seelbach Hotel Bar with Woodford Master Distiller, Chris Morris, it was up at the crack of dawn and off to the distillery in nearby Versailles. There, I was promised not just a preview of the new edition bourbon, but also a sampling of the Four Grain and Sonoma-Cutrer.

Those two whiskeys arrived first, beginning with the spicy, big bodied Four Grain, a whiskey I thought exceptional but also quite at odds with the relative elegance of my favorite Manhattan bourbon, the regular Woodford Reserve. The Sonoma-Cutrer came next, less impressive to me with its softly herbal, honeydew melon nose and buttery, soft fruit body, and of a character I thought best described as feminine. I took a lot of ribbing for that comment from the women in the room, but I stand by it.

Finally, we got into this year’s entry in the Master’s Collection, the 1838 Sweet Mash. As the name implies, this is a non-sour mash bourbon, which was, of course, how all whiskeys were once made, hence the 1838 designation. (The best guess, we were told, is that sour mashing took hold sometime around the mid-1800’s.) Given a different environment in which to feed, the yeasts naturally behave differently and produce different compounds, even though the recipe remains the same as that of the regular Woodford, and herein resides the “specialness” of this bourbon. As per the Master’s Collection tradition, this is a limited edition brand that will premier in the U.S. on November 1, and in Canada on December 1, and is not expected to be seen again.

Not surprisingly, given that only the mashing method has changed, the color of the Sweet Mash is identical to that of the Woodford Reserve. The aroma, on the other hand, I felt was significantly sweeter, with notes of plum, raisin and stewed peach predominant, and a peppery spice lurking in the background. Similarly, the front end of the taste I also found sweeter, with more fruit, including a hint of cherry, less vanilla and a rounder, “fatter” overall character. Towards the end of the taste, however, the whiskey does a full back flip and suddenly becomes drier than its better known cousin, leaving only a lingering sensation of brown spice.

Overall, I’d place the Sweet Mash somewhere between its predecessors, less spectacular and spectacularly different than the Four Grain, but more successful an experiment than the Sonoma-Cutrer Finish. That said, it is a piece of liquid history, and who wouldn’t want a sip of that?!   

In An Absolut World…sue everyone.

Today’s story comes not from the world of whisky – but from the wacky world of Swedish Vodka Lawyers.

The Guardian reports that Vin & Spirit (now referred to as V&S Group) believes it owns the word “Absolute” simply because of its ownership of the Absolut Vodka brand. Since Pernod Ricard owns Vin & Spirit does that mean the Pernod owns the word?

The owner of Swedish vodka brand Absolut has launched legal proceedings against Absolute Radio, the rebranded Virgin Radio, for infringement of its trademark.

Drinks company V&S Vin & Sprit (sic), which owns the Absolut vodka brand and Absolut Tracks music project, has issued a writ against Absolute Radio for trademark infringement and “passing off” – misrepresenting its services as those of Absolut.

The firm has claimed that consumers are likely to be confused over the use of the similar names and that Absolute Radio could be detrimental to its vodka brand.

A spokeswoman for V&S Vin&Sprit confirmed it launched proceedings.

“The reason for this is that we consider there is a risk of confusion,” she said. “We have a well known brand and there is an obvious risk of confusion between Absolut vodka and Absolute Radio.

How absolutely asinine.

Even sillier is their demand that Absolute Radio International abandon its trademark on their name – despite having held the trademark since 2003.

Absolutely ridiculous.

By the way, Vin & Spirits also owns Level Vodka & FRÏS Vodka – FRÏS is pronounced “Freeze” – so perhaps they in turn own the words “level” & “freeze” as well?

Hell, maybe they even own “Vodka”.

Absolutely pathetic.

Read the whole story here.

How to Blend

Here’s a rare opportunity…A “How to Blend” masterclass with the one and only Richard Patterson.

Richard is not only one of the most skilled blenders in the world (just ask him); he’s funny, entertaining and interesting. And a damned snazzy dresser.

And here’s a chance to learn from the master in a very intimate setting. No, not THAT intimate, but with only 30 seats available, it’s close.

Hosted by Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte and Mackay.
Join Richard ‘the nose’ Paterson – Master Blender for over 35 years – masterful raconteur for many more years.

Taste the finest whiskies from his award-winning portfolio.

  • Dalmore 15
  • Dalmore King Alexander III
  • Dalmore 1974
  • Jura 1974
  • Jura Elements Earth
  • Jura Elements Fire
  • Jura Elements Air
  • Jura Elements Water

Where: Milroy’s of Soho Tasting Cellar

3 Greek Street, London W1D 4NX

When: Monday 3rd November

6.30pm – Cocktail Reception

7.00pm – Tutored Tasting

9.30 pm – End

How Much: £95.

Contact: Cathy Flowers T. 07909 843 732

Spirit Safe Auction

Richard Joynson, proprietor of the World Famous Loch Fyne Whiskies (You can not – and must not – miss it on the pilgrimage from Glasgow to Islay), wrote to let me know they are offering an absolute one of a kind piece of whisky history – as well as the ultimate addition to your whisky memorabilia collection.

Kevin, I wonder if you would consider flagging up the Spirit Safe we are offering for sale by auction.

We are about to close offers but are aware that there has been no interest from North America and that someone may be disappointed they did not know about it in time. So, how are we going to tell the yanks? We thought, through the Scotch Blog of course!

Thanks for the compliment, Richard.

Of course, the dismal state of the US dollar, combined with the apparent imminent collapse of our economy may prevent we frightened Yanks from being ABLE to bid an appropriate amount – but what the hell, it’s only money and this would look pretty cool in your living room.

So get out your checkbook, and start thinking of what you’ll tell your significant other when this baby shows up.


Present highest bid:   £3800.00

Dimensions of the case: 1250mm wide, 425mm deep and 550 high, overall height 680mm. Add 60mm for the taps at the front right.

Price offered is for collected, Inveraray. No additional taxes or fees.

The safe lies here in Inveraray and the owner would like to see your bids for it, (starting at £2,000), to place a bid email us at, we will reply giving you a bidder reference, then keep checking the linked page to see if your bid is still top. No closing date at present, and no obligation to sell. Go take a look it is magnificent!!

How do we know where it’s from? The chap who bought and developed the old distillery in Fort William also owned Inveraray’s Argyll Hotel, he sold the safe to the current owner, we hope to have some more provenence for the buyer soon).

See more pictures here…

UPDATE: Richard let me know he plans to “sell to the highest bid received in 7 days time, something like
12.00 BST Friday 10th
” – so there’s still time to cash in what’s left of your 401K to fund your bid.

The Winners of the Rebus Book Package

A few hundred entries. 5 winners. I’ve already sent your names & addresses to the publisher who will send the books directly to you.


Roberto Di Fazio
Ontario, Canada

Dan Lehmann

Owen Salava
Alberta, Canada

Dave Bessom
Virginia, US

Cory Booth
Minnesota, US

The Whisky Picnic

Alex Nicol of Spencerfield Spirit (Producers of Sheep Dip & Pig’s Nose) wrote to tell me about the growing Edinburgh Mixologist scene and their plans for the most unusual picnic:

Edinburgh is really buzzing with cocktail bars and young enthusiastic professional barmen/mixologists – most of them from Australia, the US, and various European countries (with a few English thrown in for luck).

I’ve been doing a bit of work with them – mainly Sheep Dip (ed: a Vatted Malt), and they have come up with a great concept – a “Whisky Picnic”.

Whilst looking through old Scottish books a few of them came across Victorian gentlemen on a highland moor with a spread of food BUT a bigger spread of whiskies.

So they, this group of young barmen, have got together to have a whisky picnic on Nov 2nd.

This entails taking a venue over for the day in central Edinburgh and celebrating whisky by making cocktails – not meant to be a competition but simply, a picnic.

There are no tickets for sale and it is by invitation only.

I have given them four cases of Sheep Dip, they have cases of Auchentoshan, Yamazaki, Bulleit Bourbon, Bushmills and even some J.W. Black. So not they are unsupported in this endeavour.

The food they will bring along but it must be Victorian – and Scottish and everyone has to wear lots of tweed and a moustache (real or otherwise).

I believe that it may be the start of opening up whisky as a cocktail ingredient, but also tasting the wide variety of malts and appreciating the flavours.

Whatever happens it will be fun.

All the best, Alex.

Nick Ravenhall, one of the organizers, let me know:

In honour of the tweed wearing men of our past, to come to the Picnic you have to wear your own take on tweed and a moustache or beard – and bring a bottle of your favourite dram to share.

As for what we are doing:

Both Dunc and I get a bit sick of the perceptions whisky has to overcome – you’ve heard it before no doubt – ‘it makes you fight’ or ‘its an old mans drink’ plus the perception we heap on it to make it to make it inaccessible to non drinkers i.e. it smells like cows breath is one ubiquitous quote I recently heard….


We want people to love whisky; not because it makes you feel superior to others but beause it is such an amazing versatile liquid with huge character (hence we’ve put whiskies of the world into thid gig)… we’re both bartenders by trade if you hadn’t guessed!

So hence the Whisky Picnic… bring a bottle / get dressed up/ to let your hair down… we’ve got some amazing DJs coming…. as well as some very fun and cool people…. having signature cocktails for each brand being whipped up buy some of the best guys and gals in the business…Who are by the way Australian, Kiwi, Scots, Irish, Thai and Italian…. unfortunately no Poms or Yanks on the stick in this one.

Hit me back if you’ve got any questions…

Hell you should come along!!!

I’ve included our Aberdeen picture that inspired the whole thing and our invite.

So, if you are in Edinburgh – and in the mixologist scene, see if you can score an invite to this excellent idea.

And if not, then take a cue from our Scottish mixologist friends and start your own “Whisk(e)y Picnic”!