Archive for April, 2009

Laphroaig lets their Cask Strength “live”

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

I’m sitting at the Grand Cayman airport waiting for my flight back home. (Great vacation!) The airport has free WiFi, fortunately.

I got this info from Josh, a “Friend of Laphroaig” and WDJK follower. The Friends of Laphroaig email update he got from John Campbell, Laphroaig Distillery Manager said this:

Single Batch 10 year old cask strength
Those who saw my Christmas broadcast will have heard about the change. Rather than trying to match each batch that is bottled we are going to let each bottling “live”  as an individual in its own right. This is I think the more natural way as each batch is effectively bottled straight from the barrel. This means each bottling will vary but that is all part of single malts. Edition No1 will be bottled shortly and again I hope to make some available to you.

Very exciting. Since he calls it “Edition No 1,” I get the impression that this might be a different release than the standard 10 year old Cask Strength, but I’m not certain.  I’ll try to reach out to John, but in the meantime, maybe someone else out there knows the answer?

Pernod selling Wild Turkey to Campari

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

We knew Wild Turkey was up for sale. Sources inside Pernod confirmed it to me off the record, and Chuck Cowdery also blogged about it.

I’m on vacation so I will keep this brief. The Wall Street Journal has published that Pernod is selling Wild Turkey to Gruppo Campari, the makers of Skyy vodka.

Templeton Rye

Monday, April 6th, 2009

While in Chicago for WhiskyFest, I had the chance to spend some time with Scott Bush of Templeton Rye from Iowa. He shared some information with me about the rye whiskey he currently has on the market.

Like a few other whiskey entrepreneurs, he’s having another distillery make rye whiskey for him under his specifications until his distillery cranks out his own mature whiskey. He told me that he’s currently on his third batch, and a fourth batch is in the works for a future release.

When will he be bottling his own stuff? Will he blend in some of his own stuff with the rye he’s having made for him?

“Maybe,” Scott told me. Stay tuned…

Review: three Wemyss Vintage Malts

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I first wrote about Wemyss whiskies  last year here . Below are my reviews of them.

Wemyss Vintage Malts “The Peat Chimney”, 8 year old, 40%, $40
Aggressive earthy smoke, tar, fiery pepper, bath soap and ginger tamed by toffee and ripe malt. Lingering smoldering peat, anise and tobacco. For those who like smoky whiskies young, aggressive and unabashed.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 82

Wemyss Vintage Malts “The Spice King”, 8 year old, 40%, $40
Nectarine, tangerine, toffee and vanilla on the nose. There’s teasing smoke too, if you look for it. The sweet fruity notes start the beginning of the palate too. Then cinnamon, nutmeg, cut hay and smoke kick in. Lingering cracked pepper, clove and distant smoke. Good gritty texture. Dynamic stuff for a young whisky.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 82

Wemyss Vintage Malts “The Smooth Gentleman”, 8 year old, 40%, $40
Indeed, smooth and malty, with vanilla, shortbread, golden raisin and macadamia nuts. Light oak spice emerges in on a fairly quick finish. (It is only 8 years old, after all.) Pleasant and easy-going.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 79

Ashton Cigars gets into the Single Malt Biz

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

The good people behind those fine Ashton cigars were nice enough to produce two different whiskies to go along with their cigars. You’ll have to wait until September, though, to buy them.

I tasted them when I was out in Chicago for WhiskyFest, but they are still designing the bottle. Both whiskies are from Bruichladdich. There’s an 18 year old (1992 vintage) and a 16 year old (1994 vintage). They are finished (additional cask enhanced) in Amarone wine casks. Informally speaking, I thought both tasted pretty good. They’re rich enough to stand up to a cigar, but also enjoyable without a cigar.

I’ll have more details (and more formal tasting notes) in the near future.

New Springbank 18 yr. old is tasting pretty good!

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I enjoyed a wee taste of the new Springbank 18 year old while out in Chicago for WhiskyFest. Keep in mind that this was an informal tasting as I was working my way through many whiskies. That said, my initial thoughts of this whisky are that it’s pretty good.

I was told by the importer to expect it here in the U.S. in the next month and a half or so. I’ll be getting a sample then and I’ll review it formally and let you know my thoughts. I didn’t ask how much it was going to cost, but if you like Springbank I think you’ll enjoy this one. I’m told there will be 7,800 bottles available worldwide.

It’s mostly 18 years old with a small amount of 19 & 20 year old whiskies thrown in. Most of the whisky is sherry cask aged, but it’s not dominated by sherry like some bottlings have been over the years. That’s because a most of the whisky is from second and refill casks, according to Peter Currie from the Distillery. Indeed, I thought there was a good balance of flavors.

Here’s even more good news. Some of the stocks are being held back until they are bottled next year, so you will have another chance to buy some.

Their triple-distilled Hazelburn becomes 12 year old this year, and they will be bottling it in July, so keep an eye out for that.

And before you ask, yes, I also inquired about Longrow, the peated version of Springbank. The next bottling of Longrow 18 year old will not be until 2011. Patience, my friends. Patience.

On vacation beginning today, but still posting up cool info. while I’m gone

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

WhiskyFest was last night and I learned about a lot of cool new whiskies coming on the market. (And I am very tired.) Now I’m off to the Caymans for some R&R until April 8th.

However, I wrote up some blogs about what I learned at WhiskyFest and they will automatically post while I am away. So, please keep checking in. You can comment too, but remember that I approve all comments before they post. I’ll only be checking the blog sporadically, so if your comment doesn’t post up right away, don’t worry. It will eventually.

New Laphroaig 25 yr. old and Ardmore 30 yr. old

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Beam Global Spirits and Wines just announced today that they will be introducing a new Laphroaig 25 year old and Ardmore 30 year old to the U.S. market in early April. You’ll find the details below, which I took from the press release. This has to be the oldest Ardmore distillery bottling ever. I’ll be getting review samples in the next week or two and will let you know my thoughts.

Laphroaig® 25 Year Old (2008) – Laphroaig 25 Year Old makes its U.S. debut revealing the remarkable result 25 years of aging in the finest Oloroso Sherry and American Oak casks has on the world’s most distinctive malt. The whisky is a rare combination of bold peat flavor spiced with sweet sherry notes and rich oaky undertones. Creamy, smooth, full of character and complexity, the marriage of woods intertwines to form a perfectly balanced unity. Bottled in 2008 at cask strength (51.2% ABV), Laphroaig 25 Year Old brilliantly fuses two different styles into a single, remarkable experience. Suggested retail price: $499.99.

Ardmore® 30 Year Old – Masterfully crafted from the only Highland distillery that has consistently peated its barley since its inception, Ardmore weaves bold smoky flavor notes historically associated only with Islay malts into the rich Highland malt experience. Aged in former bourbon barrels and handmade quarter casks, Ardmore 30 Year Old bears the same name and pedigree as its predecessor, but reveals a distinctive finish and rich, complex flavor all of its own. Only 1,428 bottles, each individually numbered, are available. Suggested retail price: $449.99.