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Chip Tate to set up New Distillery after leaving Balcones

by Jake Mountain     4. December 2014 12:09

Chip Tate & Co Distillery Balcones

Balcones' founder and builder Chip Tate and the venture capitalist group that invested in the Texan craft distillers back in February 2013 reached an impasse with regards to working together some time ago, and have finally parted company.

Having ended up in court in August of this year following disagreements that stemmed from the distillery expansion the investors were brought in to facilitate, a number of allegations were made and Chip was temporarily suspended. In November, however, Judge Jim Meyer of Waco’s 170th State District Court ruled that the board's actions taken without Chip in the intervening months were invalid, forcing them back to the negotiating table.

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Categories : Whisky | News


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William Grant Launches Glenfiddich Gallery

by Jake Mountain     25. November 2014 11:00

Glenfiddich Gallery

Well this one's been teed up perfectly really following last week's post on The Glenlivet, and specifically how they're catching the Glenfiddich in terms of sales whilst placing emphasise on their recent and historical innovation. So Glenfiddich, your move it seems. And here it is: Glenfiddich Gallery, a bespoke online whisky service where you can discover cask strength malts that match your personal tastes and also design the bespoke packaging your whisky will come in!

Whilst there is a certain award-winning online retailer that's provided the opportunity to personalise both the labels and the liquid of your whisky for some time now *ahem*, this is an incredibly exciting step for a leading single malt brand to take.

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The Glenlivet Passes 1m Case Milestone & Launches Founder's Reserve

by Jake Mountain     18. November 2014 17:23

The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

The Glenlivet has reached a considerable milestone in its quest to become the best selling single malt Scotch in the world (a position currently held by Glenfiddich), by selling one million 9-litre cases of whisky within a year for the first time in its history. Looking back to the end of the calendar year 2013, the global Scotch malt whisky market shares held by these brands were within a single percent of one another at 12% and 12.7% respectively. Competition for the top spot has rarely been fiercer.

Reporting double digit growth in more than 40 markets as well as 8% global value growth (net sales) and 2% increase in volume during the 2014 financial year, The Glenlivet reached the milestone of one million cases sold worldwide during the twelve month period up to and including September 2014. Given that back in 2006 (when Glenmorangie was Glenfiddich's biggest competition in terms of global sales) Glenfiddich enjoyed an 18% market share compared to The Glenlivet's 7%, their progress is all the more impressive.*

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Diageo Special Releases 2014

by Jake Mountain     7. November 2014 17:00

Diageo Special Releases 2014 Caol Ila 30yo

On Tuesday evening I found myself the nearest thing to a corner possible at a curvy and buzzing Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens on a cold, rainy November night. Here I would attempt to write some meaningful tasting notes for 11 limited edition cask strength single malts in a couple of hectic hours, including the time it would take to fight through the crowd each time I needed to move on to new whiskies, and the time it would take for the smell of prawn hors d'oeuvres to dissipate each time the diligent waitresses came over to offer them.

Meanwhile, our Spirits Buyer Toby Cutler (he's nice, you'd like him - he really enjoys a good picture of Kevin Costner, or Chris Tucker for that matter) was having no such problem as he enjoyed a range of whiskies, some quite valuable, in a leisurely fashion alongside some pleasant conversation. Add all of this up, and it can only mean one thing: it was the launch of Diageo's much-anticipated 2014 Special Releases!

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David Beckham Haig Club Single Grain Whisky

by Jake Mountain     22. October 2014 12:21

David Beckham Haig Club Grain Whisky

This is really a follow up to my previous post 'Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?', where I talk more generally about single grain and David Beckham as well as taste the Girvan 25yo. Since then a couple of things have happened. Firstly, the brand and the whisky are out there now - from teaser shots where you don't even get to see Becks' face back in July, to us having the whisky for sale on the site, to the Global Launch at the start of October through to the release of the UK television advert at the end of last week. The other thing that's happened is that I've actually got around to tasting it now, finally!

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Auchentoshan 25 Year Old 1988 Wine Cask Finish - "YEEAAAHHHH!!!"

by Jake Mountain     17. October 2014 16:18

Auchentoshan 1988 Wine Cask Finish

A 25 year old 1988 vintage. That's quite enough about me though. Feeling a little guilty that I haven't got to this whisky already (we received the package with the sample about a month ago), I'm now making a concious effort in these busy 'already-sort-of-started-but-also-still-building-up-to-Christmas-retailing' times to get to it before my birthday, after which I'll suddenly have a little less in common with it.

Everybody enjoys getting their hands on a whisky distilled in the year of their birth, it's fun. It's one of those things that shouldn't really matter perhaps, but many people are willing to fork out that little bit (or lot-a-bit) extra to get their paws on something from 'their vintage'. Something that's spent the same amount of time on this oblate spheroid as they have. Indeed, some whisky lovers go out of their way to secure these as often as possible. But if it's the same age as you as well? Better still, surely?

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Glenfiddich 18 Year Old's New Packaging and the 12-Pointed Antlers

by Jake Mountain     9. October 2014 16:45

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old New Bottle Launch

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old will soon be getting some new threads in the form of a new bottle, label and tin, thus differentiating it from the 12 and 15 year old offerings in the core range. Present at the unveiling of the new packaging, created with Here Design, we can confirm that the changes aren't drastic or overblown - it still feels very much like the 18yo rather than being anywhere near as grand as the 21yo, whilst nevertheless providing more of a bridge to the the older, more expensive offering. This approach is clear right from seeing the new square tin. (The price, by the way, isn't changing.)

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The Monkey Comp Winners Have Popped-Up In London!

by Jake Mountain     8. October 2014 14:21

The Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge

The Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge has been quite a journey - over 50 teams signed up back in March and April, but as Connor MacLeod has taught us (with alarming regularity on this here blog):
"There can be only one."

Having followed the competition on twitter and attended the grand bar-off last month, I can thoroughly recommend hunting down the competition's worthy winners at their London Cocktail Week pop-up in 7 Dials this week (as I did yesterday). To explain a little more about this cocktail competition that was totally unlike anything we've ever reported on before though, let me hand you over to Monkey Shoulder's new brand ambassador...

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2014 Advent Calendars and our Pre-Order Promotion!

by Jake Mountain     3. October 2014 10:48

Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendars 2014

You may have seen, but the fantastic Drinks by the Dram advent calendars for 2014 are now available for pre-order! (Estimated despatch date 5th November.*) Full of your favourite spirits rather than the usual naff chocolate fare, each one contains 24 different 3cl sample ‘drams’, one behind each window for your Christmas countdown! (Full contents can be found on the product pages for those who don’t want it to be a total surprise.)

So, what’s new for 2014? As well as exciting new lineups of specially selected contents, we’re also rather chuffed with the new boxes, illustrated by the brilliant Duncan Beedie. Let’s take a look at the 2014 Whisky Advent Calendar first (the one with the pre-order promotion attached to it…).

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The Glenlivet - The Winchester Collection, Vintage 1964

by Jake Mountain     24. September 2014 14:43

The Glenlivet The Winchester Collection Vintage 1964

Last week I was fortunate enough to taste an upcoming release from The Glenlivet, the second best selling single malt Scotch whisky in the world. It's a limited edition 50 year old vintage release - the first in a series of 50 year olds (!) that are to be called The Winchester Collection.

Matured in a single American oak hogshead (as far as I understand from my chat with Brand Ambassador Phil Huckle) this whisky was laid down back in 1964 by none other than Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the final distilling descendant of the distillery's founder, George Smith. The Winchester Collection therefore represents a special piece of history for The Glenlivet, a final liquid link with the family that started it all back in 1824.

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