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Archive for the ‘whisky news’ Category

Singlemalt.tv and Highland Park teamed up to do a live webcast back on September 28th. Gerry Tosh, head of brand education at highland park, and his boss Jason Craig discussed (and tasted) the new Earl Magnus 15 year Cask Strength special release that is coming out by the end of the year. They also talked about the general plan for HP special releases in the near to medium term, and hinted at a possible addition to the standard HP lineup.

Check out the video here:
http://blog.singlemalt.tv/?p=444

[Update: The above link isn't working well for me right now. Here's a link to the High Resolution Video on singlemalt.tv]

Now, for those who don’t feel like watching the full 25 minute video, I thought I’d go ahead and summarize some of the most interesting tidbits:

  • Special Releases
    • HP looking to put significant effort into satisfying enthusiast/collector demand for special releases.
    • Earl Magnus is Edition 1 of a series of “affordable collectible” releases to come out in round bottles with darker glass.
    • Also looking at some high end collectible releases: Vintages, 50 year, etc.
  • Earl Magnus
    • 15 year old cask strength at 52.6% ABV.
    • To be priced in the 75 to 85 GBP price range. [Update: Looks like 85 GBP]
    • Just under 6,000 bottles to be released.
    • Will contain some older casks as well.
    • American oak and high ABV combines to make the smoke stand out. Not as sweet as the Hjarta.
    • Lemon/lime/coconut flavors due to the American oak.
    • Update [12/7/09] – Whiskyfun has now reviewed Earl Magnus. 90 points.
    • Update [12/15/09] – Check out a high resolution picture over at Edinburgh Whisky Blog.
    • Update [2/10/10] – My own unbottling and initial impressions, with lots of pictures and packaging details.
  • “Affordable collectible” Edition 2
    • The follow-up to Earl Magnus will come out next year.
    • Age not yet determined…could move to an 18 year or go back to a 10-13 year release.
    • If 18 year, probably closer to 4,000 bottles to be released. If younger, maybe 7,000 to 9,000 bottles.
    • Price will be 10-20 GBP higher or lower than Earl Magnus depending on age.
  • Vintages
    • Yet another bottle style. Jet-black glass with flared bottom.
    • 2 vintage releases per year.
    • Looking to release 10 vintages over the next 4-6 years.
    • 1964 and 1968 to be the first two vintage releases.
      • Coming in March/April 2010.
      • 290 bottles of 1964; 1,550 bottles of 1968.
  • 50 Year
    • They have some casks that will turn 50 in Jan. 2010.
    • Still planning the details of the 50 year release.
    • Look for it in Summer 2010.
  • New Make Spirit
    • Planning to make new-make spirit available, probably only at the Distillery (or possibly from web site).
    • Probably would come in smaller bottles.
  • 12 year Cask Strength core range bottling
    • Gerry and Jason both feel that they should do a standard 12 CS release.
    • Hjarta showed strong demand for higher strength.
    • Hoping for success with Earl Magnus…could play into the decision.
    • No commitment or details…just hinting that it’s very possible.
  • HP Packaging
    • Current flat bottle design based on some bottles they found in their archives from 1920s/30s. Not just dreamed up out of nowhere.
    • They also had some quality problems with the old bottle that led to the change.

Are these exciting times for HP or what? Apparently their traditional focus on primarily the standard 12 year bottling (up until 1997/1998) has allowed them to build up quite a stock of older casks. That’s why they’re now able to offer the 30 and 40 year as permanent releases. This also affords them quite a bit of creative freedom with these special releases.

Cheers,
Jeff

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Following on the previous Friends of Laphroaig email, John Campbell has sent out another letter with official details of the Distillery Live event on September 25, 2009 at Maker’s Mark Distillery. News since the last letter includes the creation of a web site dedicated to the event at http://www.distillerylive.us.com.

Update 9/26/09: For those who missed it, here is a link to a video of the event: Laphroaig Distillery Live

Here’s the official letter:

Dear Friend of Laphroaig,

I promised in my last e-mail that I would write to you again with all the final details for the live Webcast we will be doing at Maker’s Mark Distillery in Kentucky, so here they are.

The online event will be happening on Friday, September 25 at 8 p.m. Kentucky time, which I’m told is Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). I believe that works out to 1 a.m. on Saturday the 26th for the UK. I know this isn’t an ideal time for our FOLs in Europe, but the video will be available a week or so later on the Laphroaig Web site for you to watch at your leisure if you can’t tune in live.

I hope as many of you as possible tune in live to submit questions to the panel (Kevin Smith from Maker’s Mark, John Hansell who is the Editor of Malt Advocate and, of course, myself) during the show. Anyone whose question is read out during the live broadcast will be sent a special prize as well, so remember to include your e-mail address when you submit the question.

We also have a special Web page set up which has a countdown on it, as well as some further information on the event. Go to http://www.distillerylive.us.com and make sure you bookmark the page so that you don’t forget the address on the 25th.

As I mentioned in my last e-mail, we will be tasting a range of Laphroaig expressions, including the 10 Year Old, the new 18 Year Old and the 25 Year Old. There are also some special items I am really excited about. The guys over at Maker’s Mark have found a famous chef who is going to cook some lovely food for us – designed to complement Laphroaig and Maker’s Mark whiskies. Hopefully I can get hold of the recipes in advance so all you culinary experts can try out the recipes, too.

As I mentioned in the last e-mail, we will also have a cocktail section. Thanks go to everyone who has already e-mailed me their suggestions for cocktails. We’ve had a lot of fun trying out your recipes. Remember, anyone whose cocktail is made during the show will win a special prize. If you haven’t e-mailed your suggestion, you still can. Just drop me a line at info@laphroaig.com with the subject line: Distillery Live recipes.

In other news, I have created a Twitter account – I am still a bit of a novice but am really enjoying connecting with some more FOLs from around the world in real-time. If you would like to follow my “tweets” (as I have been told they are called) then go to http://www.twitter.com/laphroaigwhisky. I will be updating with news in the build-up to Distillery Live, and I will, of course, also be updating the FOL homepage.

Slàinte,
John Campbell
Distillery Manager

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Here’s a new press release from Bruichladdich announcing the release of Organic 2003 “Culblair Farm” edition, with a UK Retail price of £39. It’s bottled at 46%, and there will be 15,000 bottles made available. It says “Anns An T-seann Doigh” on the label, which is Gaelic for “in the traditional way.” All of the barley used is Scottish grown, with 50% produced at 15 farms on Islay. I’m not completely sure what to make of this one, but it will be interesting to see the reviews.

Would the fact that it’s organic and uses Scottish-grown (and lots of Islay-grown) barley influence your buying decision?

Organic Developments for Islay Distiller

The first ever organic Islay single malt whisky has been released to coincide with the opening of a new island barley facility for farmers and Bruichladdich distillery.

Bruichladdich has released the world’s first organic Islay single malt whisky on the day the Hebridean island’s first grain facility opened  – in time for this year’s barley harvest.

This is the ultimate “single”, single malt (single farm, harvest, variety and vintage) distilled from Chalice barley grown by William Rose at Culblair in summer of 2003.

This first organic bottling represents the direction Bruichladdich has been going since it was reopened in 2001. Unparalleled Scottish provenance, quality, variety and traceability.

Duncan McGillivray, manager of the privately-owned distillery, said: “it’s the way is used to be – ultimate authenticity – real people, real places, real character. That’s what we’re about”

All Bruichladdich whisky is naturally bottled at the distillery in the island’s only bottling hall at 46% alc/vol with Islay spring water – chill-filtration and colouring-free.

The Octofad facility (weighbridge, unloading area, drying house and storage) means each of the 15 Islay farm’s harvests can be kept separate until ready for malting later in the year.

“Being able to dry our barley “off the field” makes harvesting logistics less frantic, less risky and more efficient. With the current poor weather it is not a moment too soon”

“Environmentally too, by trucking one load of ‘green’ barley to the maltings at Bairds, and returning with one load of ‘malted’ barley means less of a footprint.”

“We’re very proud; it’s the culmination of a great team effort. People thought we were mad, perhaps we are, but the taste makes it all worth while; the proof is in the pudding.”

Bruichladdich Organic 2003

Bruichladdich Organic 2003

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Hot on the heals heels [Doh!] of the Port Charlotte PC8 release, Mark Reynier has sent out this press release for Infinity 3. This is another multi-vintage release, like the 3D3 that I recently reviewed. It’s bottled at 50%, and is said to have a slightly higher peating level than the Infinity 2 release, which I believe was in the 18-20 ppm range. So this is not going to be as peaty as the 3D3, and certainly not as peaty as PC8, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just different. I’m back to wanting a nice sampler of these latest Bruichladdich releases. :-)

If you happen upon this page and have tried either of the first two Infinity releases, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

To Infinity and Beyond


Infinity was created to showcase the great length of palate associated with Bruichladdich. This bottling, the third in the series, makes the ideal digestif.


Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich’s head distiller, started his whisky career 45 years ago as a cooper rising to be master of that trade; he knows all there is to know about casks.


That knowledge, together with his renown distilling experience, has led to the creation of Infinity 3, from casks specifically chosen out of over 35,000 maturing in our warehouses.


Quercus Alba, better known as American oak, is the standard for Bourbon production then whisky aging.  But unusually, in this case, the association is not US but entirely with Spain.


Only Spanish grown Quercus Alba – refill Sherry and Ribero (tempranillo) casks – were used for this multi-vintage Bruichladdich, drawn from several ages, styles and peat levels.


The peatiness has been upped slightly over the two original bottlings, stocks of which are now exhausted. This is a general release, stocks are expected to last until 2011/12.


The brief for this decidedly personal cuvée was to produce a complex, multi-layered malt with a provocatively infinite finish: the ideal digestif dram – mellow, rich, spice and fruit.

Infinity 3 - Multi-vintage release

Infinity 3 - Multi-vintage release

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Press release from Bruichladdich

This just came from Mark Reynier at Bruichladdich. I was impressed with Bruichladdich 3D3 (bottled in 2006) in my recent review, but thought it was a wee bit youthful. This just might be the peated Bruichladdich to win me over, and it’s available now from major online UK retailers. So tempting…

PC8 Wins By a Royal Mile

PC8 wins the ‘Spirit of Whisky Fringe’ award.

The annual Whisky Fringe tasting, organised by Royal Mile Whiskies, took place last weekend at the old church of Mansfield Traquair during the Edinburgh Festival.

Around 200 whiskies were available for tasting by members of the public and all visitors were given the chance to vote for their favourite spirit tasted over the weekend.

PC8, heavily peated Bruichladdich to the tune of 40 ppm’s worth, was voted by the general public as the Spirit of Whisky Fringe 2009, and awarded the trophy.

Bruichladdich has been well received by Edinburgh’s whisky fans. In the last three years it has won this trophy twice and came second once.

This achievement was all the more impressive as this 8 year old whisky was up against contenders that were considerably older, in some cases four times the age.

PC8 is the fourth and final release in the dramatic 6 tin image series. The picture tins, having featured the distiller, his team, Islay people, now showcase Islay’s heritage.

Ar Duthchas”, land of our fathers, portrays landmarks from Islay’s remote Rhinns peninsula, celebrating Mans’ long presence, the tangible heritage, of this special isle.

PC8, bottled on islay at 60.5%  should be compared to previous bottlings PC5, PC6 and PC7 that were rated at 95, 96 and 96.5 in the 2009 Whisky Bible by Jim Murray.

Port Charlote PC8 - Whisky Fringe award winner

Port Charlote PC8 - Whisky Fringe award winner

PC8 - Six tin designs

PC8 - Six tin designs

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John Campbell, Laphroaig distillery manager, has sent out the following email to Friends of Laphroaig. They’ll be broadcasting live from the Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky on September 25, 2009. You can check out previous Laphroaig Live broadcasts here.

Dear Friend of Laphroaig®:

I have been talking to you for some time about our plans for the next live broadcast. Well I am extremely excited to announce that we have finally confirmed everything and this year’s broadcast will be live from the Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky.

For those of you who know a lot about Laphroaig you will know that we mature our whisky in Maker’s Mark barrels so it is a fitting collaboration I think – plus it’s a bit sunnier there than here on Islay so it should be a lovely setting!

We will be holding the event on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m EST.  It promises to be an enlightening and entertaining good time for you and all your whisky-loving friends.

The broadcast will last around 40 minutes and will include a live question and answer session where you will be invited to put your questions to the panel. This will include Kevin Smith- master blender for Maker’s Mark, John Hansell – author of the famous Malt Advocate and of course myself. We will also have Simon Brooking, our US Ambassador on hand to answer any questions.

Those of you who have watched our last two broadcasts will know that we very much concentrated on tasting our range. This year as we are the guests of Maker’s Mark we wanted to do something a little different. We will of course be discussing what makes the Maker’s barrels so special for us at Laphroaig (and of course tasting some of the fine spirit) but we will also be trying a few food dishes that go well with Laphroaig and Maker’s Mark and also trying our hand at some cocktails! If any of you have any suggestions on dishes or cocktails please email them into me at info@laphroaig.com with the subject line: Distillery Live Recipes and any that we decide to make will win a special prize.

Pass this email onto your friends
As you know we always ask our ‘friends’ to help us spread the word about Laphroaig. This live tasting would be the perfect way to introduce all your friends to our unique single malt so please pass it on – unlike normal whisky tastings the web can accommodate everyone!

I’ll be writing to you again in the next couple of weeks with all the confirmed details including the website address but I just wanted to get the date and time firmly in your diaries.

I look forward to ‘seeing’ you on 25th!

Slàinte,

John Campbell
Distillery Manager

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