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The-Eccentric-History-of-Berry-Brothers-and-Rudd-Part-III

by Michael Orson     3. July 2014 10:47

Berry Brothers and Rudd

In 1920, Berry’s was joined by Hugh Rudd, a lover of Bordeaux and German wines. Such an essential part of the business, Hugh Rudd’s name was officially added to the door when the firm became a limited company in the 1940s.

The Second World War raged on, and tragedy struck when two of the partners lost their sons: Francis Berry’s son George Gilbert died leading a charge against in the enemy in North Africa; and Hugh Rudd’s son Brian was killed in action in Italy at just 20 years of age.

No. 3 was never hit directly during the London bombings, though the top floors were badly burnt. The shop itself escaped too much damage thanks to the old wooden shutters which protected the shopfront. Years later, during the 2011 London Riots, these shutters were put to use for a second time (though, in my opinion, Pomerol probably wasn’t on the agenda).

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part II

by Michael Orson     2. July 2014 15:17

Berry Brothers and Rudd

The first George Berry was born in 1787 and, at the impressionable age of 16, made the two-day journey from Exeter to London, in which city he remained. He would become an extremely successful merchant, maintaining a clear focus on wine and spirits – a tradition continued by his sons George Jr. and Henry – the original “Berry Brothers” who took the helm in 1845.

Berry’s young life was not without event. In 1838, he signed up as a special constable during the Chartist riots, alongside his friend, the future Napoleon III. Years later, whilst in exile in London, Napoleon used the very cellars at No. 3 to hold secret meetings. Two storeys below terra, the marvellous stone-walled chamber bears his name, and is home to a collection of ancient bottles from centuries ago, back when a member of the gentry would have his own glass bottle stamped with his seal. The sealed bottles would be taken to No.3 to be filled with wine or spirit, and returned when they were empty. Napoleon’s own bottle still stands in one corner.

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Highland Park Dark Origins

by Jake Mountain     2. July 2014 10:04

Highland Park Dark Origins

When we received an invite to the launch of a new core Highland Park expression, we were naturally quite excited. The invite said that we were to be taken into the darkness for a whisky “dark by nature and character”. Having recently released our own Darkness! range we had a pretty good idea what this meant. (Hint: yummy Sherry!)

What amused us about the invite, however, was that there was a hooded chap printed in the background that looked suspiciously like the protagonist from the ’90s computer game ‘Thief: The Dark Project’ (emphasis added). Apparently it’s actually supposed to be Magnus Eunson, the butcher/church official by day, legendary whisky smuggler/illicit distiller by night of Highland Park foundation myth (dating back to 1798). Indeed, whilst other whiskies may have adopted the dark, we’re told that the Orkney single malt was very much born in it. BaneCat would be suitably impressed.

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part I

by Michael Orson     1. July 2014 11:03

Berry Brothers and Rudd

Earlier this year, I became rather enamoured with what is arguably the drinks world’s most prestigious address – No. 3 St James’s – home to the wine and spirits merchant, Berry Brothers and Rudd (known henceforth variously as BBR or Berry’s).

This springtime love affair all started with a ‘three martini lunch’ on a surprisingly balmy day in February. I arrived fashionably late at No. 3 and climbed a steep wooden staircase through a locked door at the back of the shop to meet a group of familiar faces from spirits retail. The event’s hosts were BBR’s charming spirits man, Doug McIvor, and Glenrothes’ brand ambassador and gifted raconteur, Ronnie Cox.

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Ardbeg Day

by Jake Mountain     1. June 2014 16:38

Tales From The Isle Ardbeg Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

In this final issue of Tales From The Isle everybody was very much in the mood for the upcoming football extravaganza. You must know about the huge sports competition that's now upon us and that everybody has been talking about all around the world - that's right, it's the The Ultimate Ardbeg Distillery Swamp Football Tournament!

Ardbeg Day is celebrated all over the world, not least at the distillery on Islay as part of Fèis Ìle. It's also fair to say that when Ardbeg do something, they do it properly, so there's an awful lot to tell you about here. I'd packed my yellow and blue havaianas and a Brazuca football, but there's always still time for a beastie or two as well...

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Bunnahabhain Day

by Jake Mountain     31. May 2014 11:04

Tales From The Isle Bunnahabhain Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

Today we travelled as far north as most ever venture on Islay. In this issue of Tales From The Isle I'll be telling you why we've made this arduous journey as well as sharing the tale (tail?) of the giant fire-breathing lizard of Islay. That's right, the isle was supposedly once home to a formidable and terrifying dragon! Fear not though, as in Game of Thrones, they say all the dragons have now been dead for centuries...

Herein we'll also be taking a look at Bunnhabhain's two Fèis Ìle bottlings and events as they unfolded throughout the day. The reason we were at this particular distillery though was the same reason as all those who take the long road north. We were there to take the black...

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Kilchoman & Jura Day

by Jake Mountain     30. May 2014 08:09

Tales From The Isle Kilchoman Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

In this special issue of Tales From The Isle - available with a choice of two covers - we visit both Kilchoman and Jura distilleries! Which cover will you choose? The Kill-choman option, which can be found to the right here (click on it to enlarge… if you dare…) features an ordinary farm scene (from films). After all, all sorts of exciting, terrifying, and actually quite horrendous and messed up stuff always happens on farms (in films). That's why I never stay overnight at a farm unless I've personally witnessed the one, single chainsaw that can always be found on a farm (in films) being grafted onto Bruce Campbell's arm well before bedtime.

The Jura cover, meanwhile... Well that comes from a chilling personal experience...

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Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?

by Jake Mountain     30. April 2014 11:32

David Beckham

Ah, David Beckham. What a fine figure of a man. And now one who’s set to join the whisky industry as the face of Haig Club single grain whisky (from Cameronbridge distillery) as well as becoming actively involved in the marketing of the brand along with his manager Simon ‘Spice Girls’ Fuller. A couple of stories here then – massive celebrity endorsement of a Scotch whisky, and the planned launch of another single grain following William Grant & Sons’ Girvan Patent Still.

You may have seen the Girvan range launch at the end of last year – it’s the first single grain from William Grant, or the first official bottling from Girvan, or the first bottling “under the emblem” of the Girvan still... or something.

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The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso

by Jake Mountain     24. April 2014 16:22

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

The Glenlivet is one of most popular single malts in the world, selling around 11 million bottles a year (they’re second only to Glenfiddich in terms of overall sales) and is owned by Chivas Brothers (i.e. Pernod Ricard). It is perhaps because of these facts that Nàdurra was such a welcome addition back in 2006 – here was a very big player willing to extoll the virtues of bottling whisky at cask strength without using chill filtration, or adding caramel (Nàdurra being the Gaelic for ‘natural’). It was also (and still is) matured exclusively in first-fill Bourbon barrels, with the batch number displayed on the bottle. The fact that it was/is a great whisky helped too, of course.

Fast forward to 2014 and The Glenlivet are giving the Nàdurra range a bit of a shake up with new permanent editions. Why only release a bourbon cask edition when they’re filling spirit into other cask types? And so, last night, I came to be in front of a glass of The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso, matured exclusively in first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez. This first batch is bottled at 48% and will be available exclusively in travel retail (just as the first ever Nàdurra was back in 2005), but the real cask strength deal should be available around September/October time. Suffice to say we’ll be stocking it as soon as we can! Excluding the Rare Single Cask Editions (which were second-fill), this will be the first exclusively Sherry cask matured Glenlivet “in living memory”. And it’s a Nàdurra. If you’re thinking “that’s pretty fucking cool” right about now, then you, Sir, are correct.

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The Singleton Whisky Night Market with Tailfire and Sunray

by Jake Mountain     16. April 2014 13:38

Singleton Tailfire and Sunray

The Singleton of Dufftown recently launched two new NAS expressions. You may have seen them, they’re the ones named after hot rod car paints fishing flies (in keeping with the Singleton logo): Tailfire and Sunray. The colours correspond to the flavour profiles of the whiskies, which makes it a little easier for folk who may otherwise find choosing from a shelf of single malts a daunting proposition.

The new releases are set to be celebrated at The Singleton Whisky Night Market on Thursday May 15th (18:30-22:30) down at Southbank, where they will be paired with specially made chocolates (Cocomaya), cheeses (Pong), and whisky marshmallows (The Marshmallowists) alongside theatrical presentations (no doubt involving the one and only Colin Dunn), comedy (Tom Sandham* off of Thinking Drinkers), some top grub (Forza Win and Mark Hix) and whisky cocktails from the excellent Andrea Montague (of Callooh Callay fame, now Diageo’s in-house ‘malt mixologist’).

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