World sessions Number Twelve

Elch Whisky ‘Auflage 6’ (52.7%, OB, Germany, 1200 bottles, 2020)

Mackmyra ‘Motorhead’ (40%, OB, Sweden, +/-2015)

Daftmill 2007/2020 (58.2%, OB, for Kirsch Import, first fill bourbon, cask #26, 226 bottles)

Liber 10 yo 2010/2020 (59.9%, OB, Spain, Spanish Whisky Club, 1st fill PX, cask #110, 300 bottles)

Heaven Hill 11 yo 2009/2020 (67.5%, C. Dully Selection, USA, cask #3440929, 246 bottles)

WOLFBURN WHISKY IS CROWNED “BRAND OF THE YEAR” – Scotch Whisky News

WOLFBURN WHISKY IS CROWNED “BRAND OF THE YEAR”  

Up against stiff competition from long-established whiskies from both Scotland and Ireland, Wolfburn has scooped top honours by being voted the Whiskey Committee’s Brand of the Year 2020.

The Whiskey Committee is an independent UK-based association of 133 respected whiskey aficionados. Spokesman Dale Scott commented: ‘We’ve been constantly reviewing whiskies throughout 2020. There’s been no particular theme – everything from major blue-chip brands to small independent producers has been included, and competition has been incredibly tight. Although Wolfburn has only been selling for five years, their brand is increasingly visible and they do a consistently excellent job. They don’t have the widest range of whiskies, but the focus is on quality, and their passion shines through everything they do. Our congratulations to the whole team!’

Whisky Committee administrator John Slasor added: ‘Wolfburn first came to our notice back in 2018, and we were highly impressed with their single malts. Their core range follows a defined theme of different flavour variants and is cleverly augmented with annual small-batch releases. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reviewing them and look forward to additional new releases in 2021.’

‘A welcome surprise and a cracking start to the year!’ said Wolfburn’s Brand Ambassador Mark Westmorland. ‘It’s really humbling to hear such lovely comments about our brand and our whisky. Our sincere thanks to the Whisky Committee for honouring us with this award.’

FULL TEXT OF THE AWARD:

🥃 The Whiskey Committee’s BRAND of the Year 2020 🥃

So while we ponder which Whisky will take our Whisk(e)y of the year 2020 crown, we also mentioned in previous vids/posts that we would be considering a BRAND of the year 2020.

Now over the past year we have had numerous tasting sessions (mainly via Zoom, cheers COVID) of lots of brands and tried various expressions they each offer.

To name a few:

* An Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky  experience where we sampled the American Oak, 12 year old, Triple Wood, Sauvignon Blanc and the Bartenders Malt. A fantastic range that offered very contrasting drams that were either rated very highly by all or had a few looking to move on quicker than others.

*Jameson Irish Whiskey blind tasting session via Zoom was a great night had by all. We sampled the Original, Black Barrel, Caskmates Stout, Caskmates IPA and the Crested edition. These all went down surprisingly well given the overall cost for the 5 bottles came in at around £100, however some did tend to have very similar notes and finishes which some of us struggled to distinguish between one or the other.

*Another range we have sampled throughout the year is Laphroaig We still have a way to go with this brand as there are higher end expressions we are yet to explore but so far this year we have enjoyed the Select, 10 year old, Quarter Cask and ‘The Old Malt Cask” 12 year old edition. All hold the beautiful heavy smoke/peat you expect from a Laphroaig with subtle fruit hints or smoother finishes here and there. We have all enjoyed each one but for some it can be an acquired taste at times and its very much a whisky that requires some bedding in at first, not for the faint hearted!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

*Bunnahabhain Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a brand we have enjoyed from time to time but separately. We have all possibly had different expressions at any one time but not all together. There are some we have tried while others we haven’t but this one can be marked down for a strong contender in 2021 as it will be on the list for a tasting event I’m sure.

Another that follows a similar pattern is The Dalmore, again we have all sampled the base 12 year old expression but others have explored the 15 or 18 year old, the Cigar Malt or Port wood, the Valour or the Dominium, however it’s a brand we will be taking into consideration for next year’s sampling.

Therefore with all those considered we have have come to the unanimous decision that The Whiskey Committee’s BRAND OF THE YEAR 2020 is…………

Wolfburn Whisky 

Yes, our pick for 2020 is to follow the wolf.

This increasingly popular brand seems to have quietly crept out of the cold North shadows as its namesake would and sank its teeth into our Committee, leaving a lasting reminder of its bite, but a mark one would proudly show off.

This year we have further explored a brand that came to our attention back in 2018 and has since gone from strength to strength in a very short space of time. It’s not a brand you will likely see on any supermarket shelves but is one that should be sought at every opportunity.

Originally the distillery was founded by William Smith in 1821 on the outskirts of Thurso and was ran by the Smith family before dwindling into ruin by 1872. Then in 2011, Wolfburn awoke from hibernation and work began to release the beast once more. After a lot of hard work and care Wolfburn was back with its first bottling of single malt in 2016, it was named ‘Northland’. And since then the distillery has churned out many fantastic expressions and small batch exclusives all over the world.

Courtesy of their Brand Ambassador, Mark Westmorland we enjoyed a fantastic tasting session during lockdown via Zoom and we were able to enjoy their four core expressions (Northland, Aurora, Langskip & Morven) plus their No.155 small batch. Although they are only a young brand these non-age-statement drams are a thing of beauty and could easily go up against some of the powerhouse age statements.

Wolfburn’s blood, sweat and tears have gone into each bottle and their aim is to ensure all have core notes that is a hallmark of their brand, whilst expressing unique traits in each expression that we were absolutely blown away with. There has been not one bottle we have tried that has disappointed us, the list is quite large and includes a number of the small batch releases and that is testament to Wolfburn and their hard work, it has paid off in bucket loads guys. Bravo and Thank you!

So there you have it, Congratulations

Our Brand of the Year 2020 – Wolfburn Whisky

ABOUT WOLFBURN:

The original Wolfburn Distillery was founded just to the west of Thurso by William Smith in 1821.  In its day it was one of the largest distilleries in Scotland, producing, according to HMRC records, 28,056 “gallons of proof spirit” in a single year.  Taking its name from the stream that provided the water – the Wolf Burn – the distillery operated until around 1870.  The reasons for its closure are lost in time, but by 1877 the newly produced Ordnance Survey maps showed it being in ruins.

In 2011 plans were laid to resurrect the old distillery. Construction began in 2012 and in January 2013 the new Wolfburn Distillery commenced production, thereby becoming the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland.  Situated 300m from the site of the original distillery, the new Wolfburn operates in much the same way as the old: craftsmen use traditional methods to produce fine spirit, which is laid down in best quality oak casks to await the day when it is bottled as single malt scotch whisky.  Wolfburn’s single malt scotch whiskies are now available in 27 countries globally.

Wolfburn Distillery, Henderson Park, Thurso, Caithness KW14 7XW

www.wolfburn.com 

www.facebook.com/wolfburn

Diageo North America is founding contributor to the ‘Raising the NYS Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund

Diageo North America is founding contributor to the ‘Raising the NYS Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund

New York’s Empire State Development announced that more than $3 million in grant funding will be available. Eligible businesses can receive up to $5,000 for COVID-19 related measures.

The restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurants in New York State have had to significantly adapt their businesses to keep their employees and customers as safe as possible under the current environment. Many of these changes require considerable financial investment, further straining small businesses. Diageo is committed to supporting restaurant owners, particularly those in underrepresented communities, who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.

To help these restaurants adjust to COVID-19 requirements during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited, Diageo North America is working with Empire State Development (New York’s chief economic development agency) and has provided financial support, along with Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits (a division of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits), to the non-profit National Development Council (NDC), which will implement the “Raising the NYS Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund. Diageo’s vision is that this fund will provide much-needed relief to such an important industry that serves as a vital part of the economic engine of local communities.

Grant funding will be dispersed independently, by NDC, an experienced national economic non-profit that has been in operation since 1969.

“Raising the NYS Bar” grant funding can be used for COVID-19-related improvements and equipment that will allow businesses to comply with social distancing guidelines, expand take-out/delivery operations, or accommodate outdoor dining such as plexiglass barriers/partitions, signage promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols, heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades and insulated delivery bags; improvements that will allow the business to continue operating through the winter months such as filtration system upgrades and food heaters to maintain temperature for to-go orders, and purchasing PPE and sanitation supplies necessitated by the pandemic; and COVID-19-related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.

Eligible businesses can apply to the “Raising the NYS Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund beginning Monday, January 11th, 2021. To learn more about the fund and the application process, visit https://esd.ny.gov/raising-nys-bar-restaurant-recovery-fund

Loch Fyne Whiskies “Say it with an engraving!” – Whisky Engraved News

 

Say it with an engraving

Whether you want to wish someone a happy birthday, celebrate a special anniversary or say thank you to a loved one, our bottle engraving service allows you to personalise selected bottles (including The Macallan, Oban, Loch Lomond and more) with a thoughtful, hand-engraved message.

Your recipient is guaranteed to love the personal touch, and they can keep the bottle long after the liquid is gone!

Engrave a Bottle ›

New Release! Aberlour 14 Year Old Batch 0001 at Hard To Find Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

Aberlour 

Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Batch 0001 | 14 Year Old | 40% ABV | 70cl

Introducing Aberlour 14 year old. A new expression, produced in individual batches, that celebrates the best that nature has to offer and a belief that sometimes, less is more.

Aberlour’s artisanal philosophy combines the makers’ careful craft with a deep understanding and respect for the natural maturation process. This approach allows the finest, now locally sourced, barley and pure Birkenbush spring water to retain their inherent character; imparting soft and gentle hints of blackcurrant and citrus to the unique new make distillate. Signature flavour notes that are still discernible in the final aged product.

The Whisky is then nurtured for 14 years in only the very best handpicked Oloroso sherry casks for aromatic ginger notes, and a higher proportion of first fill American oak casks for a deep, rich, creaminess.

What emerges from the cask is rich yet rounded.
Subtle yet spicy. Bold yet elegant.

This is Aberlour 14 year old, a delicate balance of nature and nurture.

£54.95

 

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 363: Auchentoshan 24 Year Old 1992 Signatory for La Maison du Whisky – Scotch Whisky News

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 363: Auchentoshan 24 Year Old 1992 Signatory for La Maison du Whisky

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky vlogger, has another Auchentoshan. Figures. La Maison du Whisky does not need an introduction. Very regularly they select casks that are bottled exclusively for their shops. This is one from Mark’s favorite Lowlander. It was distilled in 1992 and bottled as a single cask for them by Signatory in those beautiful but very-hard-to-pour-from decanters in the Cask Strength Collection. It was part of Mark’s line-up of his 50th birthday dinner in a Belgian whisky restaurant… and with good reason!

https://youtu.be/gyhyKHc1Xds

RAISE A DRAM TO THE YEAR OF THE OX WITH THE ROYAL SALUTE 21 YEAR OLD LIMITED EDITION GIFT PACK – Scotch Whisky News

RAISE A DRAM TO THE YEAR OF THE OX WITH THE ROYAL SALUTE 21 YEAR OLD LIMITED EDITION GIFT PACK

The luxury Scotch whisky’s 21 Year Old Signature Blend gets a new look to celebrate the Lunar New Year  

Royal Salute, known for its exceptional portfolio of rare and precious whiskies, reveals a limited edition to mark the Lunar New Year; an artistically illustrated gift pack for the whisky’s 21 Year Old Signature BlendThe vibrant red, creative outer packaging tells an intricate story of the traditions of the spring festival, intertwining symbols of good health and prosperity to create the ultimate gift to share with loved ones to welcome the Year of the Ox. 

Gift giving is the foundation of Royal Salute, being first created as a gift for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Since its creation 67 years ago, the 21 Year Old Signature Blend has kept the same flavour profile; sophisticated and opulent in character with a majestic composition of ripened fruits complemented by hints of spices.  

To this day, the luxury blended Scotch continues to celebrate creativity and culture in contemporary ways, with a spark of artistry and sophistication that is signature to Royal Salute’s refined and wondrous world, and this limited-edition 21 Year Old Signature Blend Lunar New Year gift pack is no exception. This vibrant red gift pack brings to life the celebratory festival that sees cities around the world transform into bright and colourful displays of red and gold, with visions of lanterns, dragon puppets and firecrackers; an enthralling atmosphere that resonates perfectly with the enchanting world of Royal Salute.  

The limited edition Royal Salute 21 Year Old Lunar New Year gift pack is available at selected luxury retailers, at RRP $135 USD. For more information on the enchanting world of Royal Salute, follow @RoyalSalute and #RoyalSaluteNY or visit royalsalute.com  

Please Enjoy Royal Salute Responsibly 

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Very Fine Rare Bourbon Review

By Richard Thomas

Rating: A

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Very Fine Rare Bourbon
(Credit: Brown-Forman)

Despite a 15 year track record, Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection stands as arguably the best kept secret among American Whiskey’s regular, limited edition releases. I’m basing that purely on anecdotal evidence, but on that footing there are newer limited edition series from smaller brands that generate more buzz among enthusiasts. The reason cannot be pinned on the large brand (Woodford Reserve is rather popular) or on the largely experimental or exploratory nature of the Master’s Collection (Parker’s Heritage follows a similar path).

For my part, I’ve pointed to the lack of an ultra-aged Master’s Collection whiskey. Although I’m definitely with the folks who say that, by and large, American Whiskey hits its sweet spot at middle age (say 12 to 15 years), that doesn’t stop people from being obsessed with high age statements. Witness the mania surrounding Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old, which has always been over oaked. Another point might have been the lack of cask strength expressions, which are prized by most enthusiasts; Woodford addressed this just a few years ago by making a Batch Proof expression part of the annual Master’s Collection. Now they have come around to the ultra-aged part, and revamped the look of Master’s Collection while they are at it.

This late 2020 Master’s Collection release, Very Fine Rare Bourbon, is a 17 year old whiskey, distilled back around the time when Master Distiller Chris Morris first took the reins. The Master’s Collection has evolved entirely under his stewardship and his very much his project; even if 17 years is an odd number, it’s appropriate to make the first very old expression in the line an anniversary statement for Morris.

In addition to breaking into ultra-aged territory and revamping the bottle and look of Master’s Collection, this release has one more new point to it: Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall has her name on it. In keeping with Woodford Reserve’s standard, though, it is bottled at 90.4 proof.

The Bourbon
One gets the age of this middle amber bourbon at the first sniff, because a current of airy, spicy oak is right there on the top, something absent from Woodford Reserve Small Batch. This sits atop a creme brulee, very bourbon base, with further study putting a toasted graham cracker crumble and butterscotch drizzle atop that.

The palate has a complicated, yet delicate structure. While following in the same vein as the nose, it’s a touch spicier and woodier, and superbly balanced. All three aspects–a mild, extra-aged and tannic woodiness; airy spiciness; rich sweetness–come out hand-in-hand and in equal measures. This is so much the case that I found it necessary to give each leg of this triad attention in its own due course, because no leg kicks at you and the triangle as a whole is too big to take in as a whole and capture any detail.

It’s an excellent example of how going a few years beyond middle age can yield great things, and is truly a Very Fine Rare sipping whiskey. This Master’s Collection installment commands you to sit a spell and study its pleasant, but fascinating character. I hope to find a bottle, because I’d gladly pay the asking price and perhaps a little more to have one.

The Price
The official price is $130, and at that price point this is a real bargain.

Blended Scotch 2006 / Caol Ila 2008 Super Bottle (Whiskay)

Whiskay (together with likeminded retailers) has bottled a second and third bottling in the Super Bottle series. One is a Caol Ila 2008, the other one is… well, maybe also Caol Ila (?) turned into a blended Scotch.

 

Blended Scotch 13 yo 2006 ‘Super Bottle’ (57,6%, Gleann Mór for Whiskay and others 2020, hogsheads, 548 btl.)

Nose: a nice combination of different elements. On the one hand there seems to be an Islay component (Caol Ila style) with smoke, linseed oil and very subtle iodine. On the other hand there’s a (bigger) sweet side showing coconut cream and plenty of vanilla, sweet peach or maybe pineapple. Quite uncommon but I have to say it’s working really well.

Mouth: now the peaty side is bigger. Lemons, acrid smoke, hints of chalk and grapefruit juice. After a while this makes place for the typical creamy vanilla fudge / coconut combination, which is caused by the grain whisky of course. Sweet apples, maybe some sugarcane syrup underneath.

Finish: long, sweet, still mostly on vanilla and coconut, with very faint smoky notes.

Caol Ila mixed with a creamy grain whisky? This is funny and it feels slightly botoxed in a way, but it works because neither side dominates. Also there’s no roughness whatsoever from the grain whisky. Interesting and affordable, around € 110 from Whiskay.

 

 

Caol Ila 11 yo 2008 ‘Super Bottle’ (56,5%, Gleann Mór for Whiskay and others 2020, hogshead #14, 348 btl.)

Caol Ila 2008 'Super Bottle' - Whiskay

Nose: a very fine nose, with wet dogs, seawater, gherkin juice and some waxy notes. Soot and fumes, also hints of fabrics and antiseptic. It’s quite wide and smoky, not as sharp and chiselled as some others at this age.

Mouth: quite a fatty texture, with nicely oldskool soot and petrol, then smoked kippers and great ashy notes. Medicinal touches again, herbal tea and grapefruits. Very classic, again less vertical than others.

Finish: really long, very ashy, with brine and black pepper.

I like the deep sooty notes and fatty texture of this Caol Ila – a good selection which manages to stand out from the endless stream of CI bottlings. That said, I see it was sold for € 200, which is clearly too much. Hard to recommend at that price. Now discounted.

This is 2021 and we keep looking for malternatives

Mount Gay ‘XO’ (43%, OB, Barbados, +/-2019)

Foursquare 10 yo (64.99%, Torrisdale Castle Estate, Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Ltd., Barbados, 2020)

Tamosi ‘Port Cask’ (55%, Levy Lane Rum Co., blended rum, 2020)

Caroni 1998/2020 (57.1%, RumSponge, Trinidad, 258 bottles)

Jamaica 2010/2020 ‘Secret Distillery – WPL’ (55%, Barikenn, Jamaica, bourbon)