£1000 a dram!

Having just read about Johnnie Walkers new 1805 super, duper, premium blended whisky, I don’t think that I will be lucky enough to taste it. Whilst producing a whisky from long closed distilleries that have been aged way in excess of 45 years is a noble and enterprising achievement, it is certainly one that is beyond the reach of most whisky lovers.

These few hundred bottles will probably find there way into collector’s hands and will never see the real light of day and the purpose for which they were made. Unlike a grand master painting, to appreciate a bottle of vintage whisky you have to taste it, just looking at it seems almost masochistic.



Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Well the recent tropical storms to hit the UK mainland have left even more areas of the country flooded under several feet of water. What a crazy summer this is turning out to be! I only hope that the ‘normal’ sunny weather returns for July and August and we can all get to sit outside and fire up the old barbecue again.

Just on that point do any of you have a particular favourite tipple for the summer, apart from the ubiquitous bottle of beer? I must admit that I enjoy a nice tall glass of bourbon mixed long with lemonade and ice. My current favourite bourbon is J.T.S. Brown 10yo from the Heavenhill stable.



Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

What’s round the corner?

What’s round the corner? Well for the whisky industry it seems that there is going to be an unprecdented increase in the demand for Sctoch over the next few years. With the massive markets of China and India finally loosening their import restrictions, its seems that the Far East & Sub-continent are going to literally swallow up the old whisky lake.

This is obviously a good thing for everyone concerned with the Sctoch whisky industry, as it will ensure that the industry in Scotland remains vibrant and viable. However, it does also mean that more and more of the good stuff is going to be exported out of the home market. This is the unfortunate down side of such rapid growth in the export market, volume and value are both much higher than in the dormant UK market.

Lets hope that the big whisky companies don’t forget about home, after all if Scotch begins to drop off the radar here, why would aspiring Indians or Chinese want to drink it?



Published in: on June 25, 2007 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whyte & Mackay finally sold

After what seems an eternity Whyte & Mackay has finally been sold to United Breweries of India, who paid £595 million for the company. With W&M one of Scotland’s under performers in the global market it will be very interesting to see how the company grows over the next few years, especially now it has access to some fo the biggest emerging markets in the world. It will be even more interesting to see how Scoland’s other big whisky companies react too.

Published in: on May 16, 2007 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rumours of another new distillery?

I have recently returned from an interesting day out in Edinburgh, visiting a very informative trade show. At this show I discovered that noted whisky merchants Duncan Taylor & Co are in the initial stages of designing and building a brand new distillery near Huntly. Although details are sketchy it seems that construction may begin in the very near future. I will try to keep you updated with any further details as soon as they emerge.



Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Two new innovations bite the dust!

I was sad to read that the Edrington Group has decided to pull it’s John, Mark & Robbo range of products from the UK market. Apparently the returns available in the UK are too small to justify the continued support on the range. It will still be available in the US, where the signs for growth look more positive.

This, along with the news that Diageo have dropped their J&B -6C whisky as-well, is a bit of a knock for the domestic market. Whilst sales continue to growth at fantastic rates overseas, the industry is struggling to develop the mature home market.

Hopefully, this will not put the big whisky companies from trying to introduce new developments in the UK, because it would be a tragedy if all the best of the whisky industry was simply dispatched overseas.



Published in: on May 10, 2007 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Get me another dram!

Well, the suspense is killing us at the moment, who is going to come out on top Jack or Alex? I need another dram to keep me going.

Published in: on May 4, 2007 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Phew, what a scorcher!

Here at the Whisky Connoisseur offices the mercury is beginning to rise as this wonderful sunny spring weather continues.

When it is hot like this it can be difficult to decide what to quench your thirst with, and whisky is usually the last thing you would think of. It doesn’t have to be so, there are a number of different ways to enjoy your favourite tipple during the warm weather.

A favourite trick of mine, one that I discovered a few years back, is to put a bottle of whisky in the freezer, the alcohol level prevents it from freezing completely, but don’t leave it in there too long. Once nice and cold, take it out and pour into a glass, before you take a sip of the whisky drink some cold spring water, then take a sip of the whisky and let it slowly warm up on your tongue for as long as you can. As the whisky warms up it releases subtle flavours that will change as it reacts to temperature and the spring water that is left on the sides of your mouth.

Another, simpler way is to simply mix any good whisky with ice and a mixer, I prefer lemonade, add a few sprigs of mint and it really gets the taste buds going.

The real message is that there doesn’t have to be one ‘proper’ way to drink malt wisky, enjoy it the way it suits you.



Published in: on May 3, 2007 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Great Glengoyne!

It was with some trepidation that I ventured out into the icy wind yesterday, to visit the picturesque waterfall that cascades down the hills behind the Glengoyne Distillery, located just few miles north of Glasgow. Guests of the distillery owners, the cold chill of the air was swiftly subdued by a generous dram of Glengoyne 17YO single malt whisky, poured by our hosts Stuart Hendry and Iain Weir. This delicious warming spirit was just a foretaste of what was to come on a day full of exploration and information.

Returning inside we were all put through our olfactory paces in the distilleries brand new Sampling Room. This proved quite a tricky challenge as some of the aromas that we had to identify proved quite difficult. Although not a wining score,  my of 66 out of 100 feel into the field of good, though the winning 78 was rated extremely good. After all this exertion it was outside again, this time for a tour of the distillery itself.

With its gleaming whiste washed walls and black painted brick work, the Glengoyne Distillery is was of the prettiest in Scotland. With only one wash still and two spirit stills, it is one of the smaller distilleries, yet it produces a single malt of exceptional quality. A quality that Duncan the Stillman was eager to impress on us.

After a very informative and detailed tour of the distilling complex, we were once again presented with a selection of some very fine single cask, natural strength whiskies, as chosen by some of the distillery workers. I must admit of all of them the Pedro Ximenez aged 19 year old was my favourite, full of wonderful aromas and a taste that seemed to go on forever, sheer bliss.

The final event of the day was a detailled tour through the bonded warehouses and an insight into the wood policy at the distillery. It seems remarkable that so much time and money is invested into oak barrels to ensure only the finest flavours develop in the whisky whilst it is maturing.

All in all it was a thoroughly pleasant day and if you wish to experience the unique environment of a working distillery, you will find it hard to beat Glengoyne.

Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to offer you access to some of the gems that we unearthed there yesterday.


Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

What a busy couple of weeks!

Well where has all that time gone? The last few weeks have passed in a bit of a blur, I have been involved in discussions to acquire some interesting new single cask bottlings for The Whisky Connoisseur, hopefully, all being well, it won’t be too long before you get the opportunity to try them.

It has also been a rather interesting few weeks for the whisky world in general. Diageo recently announced that it is to invest a considerable amount of money into its scotch whisky business and build a brand new distillery at Roseisle, where they currently have a malting plant. This is great news as it reinforces the current position of scotch whisky as one of the world’s biggest selling spirits and one where demand is likely to increase in the future. This is especially true of the emerging markets of China and India where whisky is just beginning to make inroads into these massive economies. This along with the news that Vijay Mallya is in negotiations to buy the whisky firm of Whyte & Mackay means that there are going to be some interesting times ahead.

One word of caution to all this excitement is that for drinkers in the U.K. there could be an impact on the choice of single malts available, as the big distillers gear up for the increase in demand overseas. However, despite this the Whisky Connoisseur will still strive to bring you the best that there is of Scotland’s national drink. You can find a great choice at www.enjoywhisky.com and if you have any queries or comments then don’t forget to ask and I will try to help.


Published in: on February 21, 2007 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment