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New Product Range: Reference Series

by Ben Ellefsen     17. April 2014 14:15

The Reference Series

It’s fair to say that this project has been a while in the making*, but hopefully it’s been worth it. It’s a bit of a two-sided coin, this – one side of it is that there are 3 whiskies here that are utterly delicious and will be super-appealing to everyone. The other side is incredibly obsessive, probably super-geeky, and almost certainly not for everyone. If you’re still reading at this point, well done. You’ve passed the test, and you can be in our club.

I’ll explain the inspiration, before going into the mechanics and the way it’s going to unfold over the coming months and years. It’s a journey, and one which I hope you’ll all come on with us. Actually, I’ve just been sick in my mouth a bit because of how marketinggy that sounds. I’ll re-phrase. It’s a cool thing, and it will become cooler still over time. That.

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Ballantine's Brasil!

by Jake Mountain     11. March 2014 11:00

Ballantine's Brasil

You put the lime in the Ballantine’s, you drink 'em both together,
Put the lime in the Ballantine’s, then you feel better,
Put the lime in the Ballantine’s, drink 'em both up,
Put the lime in the Ballantine’s, and call me in the morning…

Flavoured whisky, eh? Obviously not that though. What I should say, of course, is flavoured whisky liqueurs and whisky-based spirit drinks, eh? This one’s a little different to many, however. First of all, it’s not honey flavoured (or even cherry flavoured). Secondly, it’s essentially made by actually steeping lime peel in Scotch whisky, in the cask.

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Irish Whiskey - Everything You Need To Know! (Part 3)

by Jake Mountain     14. February 2014 12:00

Ireland

Blimey, it's Friday already! A Valentine's Day Friday, no less! Well, today we only have eyes for delicious Irish Whiskey as we move onto the third and final instalment of this bumper blog post.

Back at the start of Part 1, I mentioned Teeling Whiskey Company's recently confirmed plans to build a new distillery in Dublin, the first in 125 years. This post will cover this and many other projects that could see the number of distilleries in Ireland double, treble, or perhaps even quadruple!

First though, I'll try to briefly run through some other news and developments, starting with the fact that in 2011 Beam Inc. bought Cooley, introducing another big player alongside the giants of Pernod Ricard and Diageo and leaving Ireland without an independent distillery once again (albeit briefly...).

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Irish Whiskey - Everything You Need To Know! (Part 2)

by Jake Mountain     13. February 2014 12:00

Ireland

Yesterday, I began my serialised guide to Irish Whiskey with a rundown of its turbulent history through some difficult times, becoming the most popular spirit in the world before nearly disappearing altogether in the 20th century! Fortunately, it has been on a road to recovery in the last few decades and is now thriving.

Despite this resurgence, which has made Irish Whisky the fastest growing drinks category in the world, Scotch whisky still comfortably sells 15 times more cases worldwide, and has about as many times more active distilleries too. With Scotch whisky's dominance since the 1930s, there's perhaps understandably still some confusion, even amongst whisk(e)y enthusiasts, surrounding the styles of Irish whiskey available.

Fret not, however! In this second instalment I'll be looking at each style in turn, complete with a number of yummy examples of each!

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An Alternative Burns Night with Monkey Shoulder!

by Jake Mountain     22. January 2014 14:08

Montgomery Burns

On Monday night I attended a Burns Supper with a difference, courtesy of the Monkey Shoulder Social Club. There was haggis, of course, and Scotch whisky too, but rather than Scotland’s favourite son taking centre stage, the star of this particular show was one Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber Burns, Sr. Oh, yes.

Monkey Shoulder, as I'm sure many of you will know, is a fantastic blended malt from William Grant that's made with whiskies from their three Dufftown distilleries: Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie.

The theme for the evening had been hiding in plain sight for some time as guests entered to win tickets to ‘A Celebrations of Mr Burns’, accompanied by a picture of Rabbie in a pair of shades that had apparently been enough to throw many off the scent. Upon arrival at The Caledonian Club, everything seemed perfectly above board... although... did I spot Groundskeeper Willy on my way up the street?.. Probably nothing, let’s just enjoy this Monkey Shoulder whisky punch (created by Roman Foltan of the Artesian Bar) in the library and speak to a couple of these nice people from the ‘Dufftown Burns Appreciation Society’.

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For Christmas this year…

by Michael Orson     4. December 2013 11:02

Dear Santa

With plans to make Christmas 2013 closely resemble a night out with Charles Bukowski during his downtime, I’ve been thinking hard about what booze I want. Historically, I would have written to Santa Claus, but I recently read a thought-provoking essay by biologist Dickie Dawkins and now no longer believe in his existence. This, then, is an open letter to anyone who knows me and wants to get me the boozes.

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Caskstrength and Carry On - 3D Whisky

by Jake Mountain     12. November 2013 14:25

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Christmas Mulled Cup

The 11th November 2013 will forever go down in the annals of history as 3D-Day, the day when the chaps off that there Caskstrength.net officially launched their fourth whisky bottling as well as a piece of cinema that may well prove to be the most significant televisual event since Quantum Leap, and I don't say that lightly.

A’ was for Arran, ‘B’ was for BenRiach and ‘C’ was for Cutty Sark. That leads us to ‘D’ in Neil and Joel’s epic A-Z series, and why have one ‘D’ when you can have 3? A tremendous blended malt constructed from the Diageo trio of Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie and Dufftown single malts was the result. It’s quite literally 3'D' malt whisky, and who doesn’t love a bit of 3D?

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Winner of The Gleneagles Competition!

by Sam Smith     6. November 2013 10:57

Dapper dolphin

There are people who are born winners. Other people become winners. Some people are born as dolphins, which means that they aren’t actually people at all. We’re not concerned about dolphins today (although we should all help save them from extinction!).

No, today it’s all about the lucky winner of our rather marvellous Gleneagles competition!

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Ballantine’s 12 Year Old Trip – Part Two

by Ben Ellefsen     19. September 2013 11:48

Ballantines helmet

So – with the distillery tour over and done with, it was time to move onto the main event; that which we had all been invited along to see. The deconstruction of Ballantine's 12 Year Old.

Before we get into all that though, I’d like everyone to take a second to behold the image below:

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Ballantine's 12 Year Old Trip - Part one

by Ben Ellefsen     17. September 2013 15:23

Ballantines selection

Okay. I’ll start here with an apology. This is possibly the most overdue blog post in the history of man (except my review of Dead Rabbit NYC, that’s more overdue). Things have happened since then, y’see. Things involving setting up new and exciting drinks distribution companies, developing a whole mess of new products, and the introduction of a mini sleep-terrorist into my house. These things have precluded me from doing what I should have done ages ago. The last one has also probably precluded me from spelling any words in this post correctly or being sure if my hands are, in fact, my hands. If you’re reading this, Ballantine’s-press-folk, you can have one free shot next time I see you, subject to the normal rules of course*.

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