Posts Tagged ‘Gibson’s’

Bruichladdich’s Octomore officially released

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

The wait for Octomore is finally over. Here’s a brief press release I received yesterday on it. With 131 ppm phenol barley and 63.5% ABV, if this whisky doesn’t remind you that you’re alive, I don’t know what will.

Bruichladdich distillery announce  the release today of the world’s the most heavily peated whisky ever.

The inaugural bottling of Octomore, a single malt Scotch whisky distilled at Bruichladdich from barley peated to 131 ppm, is three times more peaty than any other whisky ever produced.

6000 bottles were produced at natural cask strength of 63.5% ABV, selling at £79 a bottle.

Such was demand amongst ‘peat freak’ whisky aficionados that stocks were sold out before the whisky was released.

Scotland’s tallest stills installed at Glenmorangie

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

This is straight from the press release I was emailed today. The photo I included shows the bottom part of the still being installed:

Scotland’s tallest whisky still has been launched into place at the Glenmorangie distillery in Tain, Ross-shire today.

The five-metre-tall, swan-necked still is the last of four new stills being installed at the Gglenmorangie.jpglenmorangie Distillery. This will allow The Glenmorangie Company to meet the growing future demand for premium single malt whiskies from existing and emerging markets in the USA, Far East and central Europe.

Measuring 5.14 m in height, the stills are made from copper to exacting modern standards, but they follow exactly the same design of the original stills when the distillery opened in 1843.

The expansion of the Tain distillery is a key plank of The Glenmorangie Company’s recently announced £45m two-year investment programme to focus on building its highly successful, iconic premium single malt Scotch whisky brands – Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation at The Glenmorangie Company, said: “The new stills will allow us to significantly increase our production capacity and deliver long term growth for the Company as well as the local and Scottish economy.

“The installation of the new stills, which are each an exact replica of the current stills, will be a particularly closely supervised procedure, as the handcrafted quality of the spirit produced at Glenmorangie is always of paramount importance.”

The distillery – which is home of the world-renowned single malt Glenmorangie – was founded as Macdonald and Muir in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in its field uniting tradition with innovation.

Are there independent bottler “house styles”?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

We have many independent bottlers of Scotch whiskies, from the primary ones that have been around for a long time (Gordon & MacPhail, Cadenhead’s, Signatory) to the ones that followed in their footsteps. Some of the Indie-bottled whiskies have been great, while others not so.

But what about a house style? Wouldn’t it be easier to embrace (trust) a given independent bottler if you knew that, when you bought a bottle from them, there would be some consistencies you could count on?

I didn’t really think about it that much until I began tasting the Mackillop’s Choice whiskies the first few years they were released. I noticed a consistency–one of balance of flavors rather than eccentricity. No excessive sherry. No excessive oak. Even the usually aggressive Islay whiskies were balanced and toned down.

You might like this or you might not. But, I did see a pattern being established–one that you could count on if you were considering buying a Mackillop’s Choice whisky. Lorne Mackillop tells me it’s his wine background that aids him in his selection process.

So, what do you think? Do you see a house style from independent bottlers? If so, who? What’s the style? And do you like it?

White Bowmore Competition

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

You might not want to spend $6,000 for a bottle of White Bowmore, but how would you like a free one? They’re running a competition. I found out about it a week or so ago but finally have the time to post something on it.

Hey, give it a shot. What do you have to lose, other than a couple minutes of your time?

Pernod selling Wild Turkey?

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

It’s amazing how individual pieces of a puzzle are just that–pieces of a puzzle–until you start putting the pieces together and begin seeing the whole picture.

Back at WhiskyFest New York on November 11th, the Global Brand Director for Wild Turkey told me he was taking a new assignment for Pernod. (I forget what the position is, but I recall that it is not a whisky position.) I just thought they were grooming him for bigger and better things, as companies often do, by giving him experience with other brands.

Then, this past week, Pernod signed up for our WhiskyFest events for 2009. This will be our 12th year of WhiskyFests and Wild Turkey has been at every event. They signed up for Glenlivet, Chivas and Jameson booths–but not Wild Turkey. We thought that was very strange, as we have a strong and long relationship with the brand. (The same thing happened when Beam suddenly didn’t sign up The Dalmore for WhiskyFest a couple years back, and that was just before they lost the brand.)

Then, this morning I was reading Chuck Cowdery’s blog citing sources that Pernod might be selling Wild Turkey to help pay for other recent purchases that they made. (Can you say “Absolut Vodka”?) That’s when all the pieces of the puzzle started coming together to look like Wild Turkey might be on the chopping block.

My observations might be merely a coincidence, and I didn’t think much of them until I read Chuck’s blog. I’m posting this on Sunday morning, so I can’t contact anyone at Pernod to get an answer. But I have reached out to one of my contacts over at Pernod for an update. However, if it is true that Pernod might sell Wild Turkey, I doubt anyone in the company will be allowed to comment until a deal is done.

Your take on Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

We just got our shipment of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible (2009 Edition) into the Malt Advocate office, and they’re flying out the door. With the passing of Michael Jackson last year, Jim’s Whisky Bible really is the only “regularly updated” book with detailed numerical whisky reviews.

So, what are your thoughts on the book? What do you like about the book in general? What would you change? And what do you think about Jim as a reviewer?

Bruichladdich “progressiveness”: your thoughts?

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Since the new team took over Bruichladdich several years ago, they have been the most progressive Scotch whisky distillery, experimenting with peating levels, the number of distillations, barley varieties and, of course, a dizzying array of finished (“additional cask enhanced”) whiskies. Indeed, they have introduced more new whisky expressions than any other distiller I can think of.

I think it is fair to say that they have also been progressive in their marketing tactics, which included running a high-performance race car on 4x distilled Bruichladdich spirit.

Having visited dozens of Scotch distilleries and interacted with thousands of whisky enthusiasts on both sides of the pond during the past few years, I can’t think of a distillery that has polarized an industry so much in the 20 years I’ve been in this business.

So, what do you think about Bruichladdich and what they’re doing? What do you like? What don’t you like? Let’s get a discussion going.

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Take a moment today to celebrate by having a glass of something good to drink at a place of your choosing. If you already have this figured out, take a moment and tell is what you’re having and where you’re going to enjoy it.

(It’s 9:00 am, as I am posting this, so I still haven’t decided what I’m drinking. But trust me: I will be drinking something by the time 5:00 pm rolls around.)

A new Rye from Oregon

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I just received this email this morning:

John, I am a distillery consultant. In January this year I was hired by Cascade Peak Spirits in Ashland, Oregon. They wanted me to come out and help with their vodka production as well as start production of a rye and bourbon. I set the rye up to be made in the traditional manner, unlike what most of the micros are doing with making any whiskey they make from a wash, they were set up to ferment the whole mash and distill in a pot, on the grains.

It turned out very well. I put it in 10 gallon barrels with a light char. The mash was 85% rye and 15% malted barley. All organic. They are getting ready to release it.

I know that a lot of rye drinkers read this blog, so I wanted to pass this information on to you. Plus, I’ll be getting a sample of it and I’ll let you know what I think.

Scapa turns 16

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

scapa16.jpgFirst a 12 year old, then a 14 year old, Scapa is now being released as a 16 year old. A gap in production has forced its owners to release increasingly older stocks of whisky while its young stocks continue to mature.

A whisky producer has a few options when dealing with gaps in production like this. Chivas Brothers, the owners of Scapa, have chosen the most honest and direct route (which I applaud): increase the age statement.

They could have just been bottling Scapa as a 12 year old all these years. People don’t like change, and changing the age statement (and packaging) involves a certain degree of risk on Chivas’ part. That’s why Ardbeg 17 year old remained being sold as a 17 year old even after the actual age of the whisky inside the bottle was well into its 20s. A whisky producer is allowed to put a younger age statement on the label, just not an older age statement. (This practice also occurs in the American whiskey industry, by the way.)

Another option that Scapa will have in the future is to combine young Scapa with old Scapa, take the age statement off of the product, and give it a name instead. (Hey, we could have a contest on what to call it! Any suggestions?) This is occurring a lot in the industry now too. 

According to a write-up in Talking Retail, Scapa 16 yr. old is being released this month in several markets (UK, US, France, Scandinavia, and Travel Retail) for about $100.