Mar 282015
Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2015 - A Show to Remember

I want to start with a huge thanks to the Israeli Ministry of Finance. Yes, you heard me right! Almost two years ago, Israel reformed its alcohol tax imposing a uniform per liter tax on all alcoholic beverages, cancelling a ‘luxury tax’ that made single malts prohibitively expensive in Israel. Overnight, whisky became accessible, and [Read full post…]

Mar 242015
Kicking off Whisky Live Tel Aviv with the Macallan Fine Oak 21

The three day Whisky Live Tel Aviv is kicking off today, with a nice selection of whiskys and some really interesting masterclasses, including a sold out “Macallan Tea Party” with the always informative and entertaining Patsy Christie featuring the Macallan Fine Oak 18-21-25, Dom Roskrow who’ll be delivering two masterclasses, one on new world whisky [Read full post…]

Mar 212015
Sometimes Lactic Can be Good: Malts of Scotland Cragganmore 15

Cragganmore (great rock in Gaelic) is a Speyside distillery near Glenfarclas in Ballindalloch serving as one of the “Classic Malts” for Diageo. Cragganmore has the distinction of being the first distillery to have a direct rail connection to the distillery, and is today part of the direct gas line linking it with Glenlivet, Tormore  and [Read full post…]

Mar 162015
A Balblair 17 Masquerading as a Maritime Highlander in an Old Malt Cask

Continuing with the Old Malt Cask bottling with which we finished the series of the independent bottler masterclass reviews, we now turn to some other OMC bottlings, shared with me by my friend Manny, which will be reviewed over the next few weeks, not as a series, rather sprinkled over that period. If you want [Read full post…]

Mar 142015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 6 – A Great 1975 Ardbeg from a Great Bottler

The Douglas Laing firm needs no introductions, and while today the Old Malt Cask brand is held by Hunter Laing, it was the mainstay of the older bottlings made by the pre-division Douglas Laing Company. A bit of history: Fredrick Douglas Laing founded his independent whisky bottling company in 1948, and raised his two sons, [Read full post…]

Mar 132015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 5 – One of the First Longrows Ever

Longrow is Springbank’s peated line of whisky, which was begun in the 1973. It’s named after the old Longrow distillery, which operated next door to the Springbank distillery from 1824 through 1896. In fact, Springbank’s bottling facility is the warehouse of the old Longrow distillery. This masterclass is, of course, about the independent bottlers, and [Read full post…]

Mar 102015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 4 – A 30 Year Old Highland Park by G&M

Together with the old sherry Glenlossie, this Highland Park was the high point in this very special tasting. Of all independent bottlers, Gordon and MacPhail have a singular approach to wood management: They bring their own casks to distilleries, and have them filled there. Thus, they are probably the  independent bottler most involved in the [Read full post…]

Mar 092015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 3 – Springbank’s 1967 Barrel of Fruit

The third independent bottler to be examined was the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Founded in 1983 by Phillip “Pip” Hills’ group of friends who shared the cost of buying a cask of Glenfarclas (hence its being distillery number 1) in 1978, creating a growing syndicate of people sharing the cost of the casks. By 1983 membership [Read full post…]

Mar 072015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 2 - Signatory's Rare Bowmore

To the utter delight of the blogger sitting across from me at this tasting, I’m not a Bowmore fan…. But let me back up to the start of this story. The Jewish holidays come out consistently on the same weekend as The Whisky Show in London (yup, ’tis the season…), thus, I’m the only one [Read full post…]

Mar 062015
Best of Independent Bottlers: Part 1 - Cadenhead's Stunning Glenlossie

A highlight of every whisky expo is its lineup of master classes,  and naturally, the London Whisky Show draws some of the best of those. I was privileged to take part in a masterclass titled “I Did it My Way” led by Dave Broom featuring whiskys picked by Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange. The [Read full post…]