Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review - Lagavulin 1991

This new whisky is the third and final limited edition released to commemorate Lagavulin's 200th anniversary in 2016.  The whisky was officially announced on December 31st to round off a year of celebrations for the Islay distillery.  This release is the rarest of the three and consists of just one ex-Oloroso sherry cask.  This cask was chosen during 2016 by a select group of people including Ivan Menezes, the CEO of Diageo, Georgie Crawford, the Distillery Manager of Lagavulin, and Iain McArthur, a veteran of over 45 years in the whisky industry and Lagavulin legend.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review - Ballantine's Hard Fired

Ballantine's Hard Fired is a blended expression created using a double-charred cask product process which produces an expression with enhanced flavours of sweet smooth vanilla and spicey smokiness.

The signature 'Hard Fired' process takes a specific selection of American oak casks which are then charred a second time to a specific level that is judged by sight by the highly experienced coopers. These best of these casks are then filled with a unique Ballantine's blend to rest.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (January 13, 2107)

Welcome to the first Inbox of 2017.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review - Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza

The Extravaganza celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the legendary Spice Tree release. This was famously banned by the Scotch Whisky Association due to un-traditional maturation methods when it was first released. The new expression is a blend of three single malts - Allt-a-Bhainne, Benrinnes and Glen Ord - and three pockets of 'Highland Malt Blend' (consisting of whiskies from Clynelish, Dailuaine and Teaninich) that have been matured in 'hybrid' casks.  This is a limited edition release and there are just 12,240 bottles available, which is presented in special commemorative packaging.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Playing To Your Strengths

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post UK on 5/1/17.

The current buzzword in the Scotch whisky industry seems to be experimentation. This year we have seen major brands releasing whiskies that have been matured in funky wine casks, creating new recipes and collaborating with craft beer brewers.

Experimentation has generally been seen as the realm of the craft or artisan distiller, especially those new to the scene. The major players argue that they have always been experimenting throughout their history and that this is simply taking it to the next level.

So what are the big whisky brands trying to achieve from this experimentation? Is it to simply diversify their range? Is it to make their product more attractive to a wider audience or new drinkers? Or is it to be seen as a ‘craft’ product themselves?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our Top 10 Whiskies of 2016

Well, it is that time again - the time when we reveal our Top 10 whiskies from the previous year.  This always proves to be one of the most fun posts to write and one of the most popular with readers.  It also allows us some time to reflect on what has happened during the whisky year.  Personally we attended nearly 60 events or whisky shows, numerous press trips and distilleries, and sampled and reviewed over 100 whiskies.

2016 seemed a year of innovation and experimentation that saw big brands and smaller producers alike pushing the boundaries and released a wide spectrum of products to an ever-growing consumer base.  Some of these products have impressed us and are included in our Top 10.  They sit alongside more traditional whiskies that could well become modern classics.

Any Top 10 is always subjective and ours is no different.  Our criteria generally include quality, value for money and availability.  We are sure that some will agree with our choices and some will disagree - after all, it has happened every year that we have been doing this.  This year's selection ranges in price from £25 to £16,000 a bottle.  Here is our Top 10 for 2016 in alphabetical order.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (December 16, 2016)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review - Rampur Select

Rampur Select is a new Indian single malt whisky that was launched in October.  It made and matured in the foothills of the Himalayas and has been influenced by the extremes of temperature experienced there - blazing hot Summers and bitterly cold winters.  The casks included have been hand selected by Anup Barik, the Master Blender of Rampur.  The Select is bottled at 43% ABV and is non chill-filtered.  It is available in specialist whisky retailers in selected worldwide markets including Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Uganda, the UK and the USA.  The recommended retail price is £41.95 per bottle.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review - Compass Box 3 Year Old Deluxe

The 3 Year Old Deluxe is a new limited edition that formed part of artisan whisky company Compass Box's Autumn releases.  It is a blended malt formed of just three components, one of which is just three years old. This makes up just 0.4% of the whisky but legally has to be named - the youngest whisky included must be shown if declaring an age statement.  The whisky is released to support Compass Box's Scotch Whisky Transparency campaign - to read more about that, click here.  This was launched after Compass Box were informed that they were communicating information about the components within their whiskies in an illegal way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review - Benromach Hermitage 2007 Vintage

This whisky is the latest expression to be released in the Wood Finish series from the small Speyside distillery of Benromach.  The Hermitage 2007 Vintage has been initially matured in ex-bourbon casks for six years before being transferred to casks that had previously held red wine from the Hermitage Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in the northern Rhône region of France for 31 months. Benromach is located on the outskirts of the town of Forres in the north of the Speyside region and was founded in 1898 under the name of Forres Distillery.  It was one of the last designed by the renowned Victorian distillery architect Charles Doig.