Archive for June, 2008

Two new Compass Box whiskies

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I just received an invitation to a Compass Box lunch with John Glaser later this month. The reason for the lunch? Two new whiskies which he will be releasing this Fall in the U.S. All I know are the names right now, but they look pretty impressive. This is straight from the invitation:

Yes, you guessed it — John is at it again!  Out of a passion and desire to make even greater Scotch whiskies — Compass Box is introducing two NEW releases for Fall 2008:  Hedonism Maximus and Peat Monster Reserve.

My mouth waters just thinking of these whiskies. It looks like I might miss the lunch, because I’ll be out of town. But, I wanted to pass on this info to you as soon as possible. And as I get more info, I’ll post it up here.

One way or another, I’ll get review samples and pass on my thoughts after I taste them.

New Auchentoshan whiskies, new packaging too!

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Auchentoshan is getting a new look. More importantly, the line is being extended with two new whiskies. I received the information yesterday, but I waited to get some answers to questions I had before posting.

The two new whiskies are Auchentoshan Classic and Auchentoshan 18 year old. My first question to the Morrison Bowmore folks is whether the Classic (their new entry level whisky lacking an age statement) is merely a renaming of Auchentoshan Select. Their response:

Classic is not just a new name for Select . It is a new creation from 100% Bourbon matured barrels-it is exceptional quality, especially for the price.

The 18 year old is also new. Yes, if you have been drinking Auchentoshan as long as I have, you may remember an 18 year old Auchentoshan packaged in those old short rectangular bottles with the metal screw top. That was probably 15-20 years ago, so I think it fair to say that this 18 year old is a new release, not a re-release.

Unfortunately, all of my U.S. readers will have to be a little patient. Here’s the launch schedule, as told to me this morning:

The launches are taking place in England, Scotland, Germany, other European countries last week, this week, next week.  But the U.S. is slated for September/October and is still in the planning stages.

I’m hoping to get review samples sooner than later and I’ll pass on my thoughts at that time. I’ll also update you to the exact launch date in the U.S. (and pricing) when I get it. Auchentoshan 12 year old , Three Wood, and 21 year old remain in the Auchentoshan portfolio.

Hirsch 16 yr. old bourbon gets a formal farewell

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Hirsch bourbon, which is the last formal bottling of bourbon from the old Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, PA, is going out with a bang. Henry Preiss of Preiss Imports (the owner and distributor of the last remaining bottles) told me this yesterday:

I am taking the last 900 plus bottles of export package A.H. Hirsch 16 yr. old in 700ml bottles and dumping them back into stainless. We ordered and now have on hand from France 1000 hand blow old fashioned glass bottles, custom made t-top corks, a custom made Cigar humidor (arriving late July early August). We will create an old fashioned scroll and then combine all the components the Hirsch rebottled into these great hand blown bottles in a Custom Cigar Humidor Gift Pack. Each one will have a unique number and be a slice of American History to put away or enjoy. The price will be approx $1,000 – $1,500 each depending on all our final costs for the project.

 The Hirsch 16 yr. old bourbon is a fantastic whiskey from a distillery with a lot of history. Yes, this is a lot of money for a bourbon, but it will help to give Michter’s the honor and respect it deserves.

Henry also has a couple of other whiskeys up his sleeve, including 25 and 28 year old bourbons he’s soon going to release. (250 cases of each.)

Status of Michael Jackson’s single malt scotch book

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I am back from vacation, and I wanted to shed some light on the fate of Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide To Single Malt Scotch (titled Malt Whisky Companion in the UK).

Fellow whisky writer (and a damned good one at that) Dave Broom and I have been in discussions with Michael Jackson’s literary agent for several months now about putting out a new revision of the book. We organized it so that I would review new releases to the U.S., and Dave would review whiskies released outside of the U.S. He and I would divide up the whiskies that go both places.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen. The main point if disagreement was the degree of revision to the book. The books publisher (DK) wanted to put out a relatively minor revision of the book (with a small budget to support it), while Dave and I wanted a major revision of the book to reflect the new releases since the last revision of the book. Essentially, we wanted a revision that Michael would be proud of, not just some patchwork effort.

That’s where we left it, and the discussions have broken down. I don’t know what will be the fate of the book now. All I can say is that I won’t be involved, and I don’t think Dave will either.

Every year I get offers to write a book, but have yet to write one. I turn them down because I have been focusing on my core business (Malt Advocate magazine and WhiskyFest). This is one that I seriously considered.