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That Boutique-y Whisky Company New Releases

by Ben Ellefsen     13. November 2012 14:29

Well that last batch of Boutique-y whiskies certainly sold quickly. Terrifyingly quickly in fact.

Apologies to all those who didn’t get one from the first edition of the Ardbeg, Macallan or Caperdonich – but fear not – the second batches of all of these are now here, and available for purchase. You’ll notice that all three of them have the new batch number, new ABV, and a minor change to the illustration on each of the labels just to keep it interesting. You’ll also notice that the Caperdonich is cheaper than last time. Don’t say we never do anything nice for you.

We’re working on getting you another Port Ellen release* – more details on this as and when we’re successful.

So – now on to the next whiskies to be added to the series. It was pointed out to me today that completely by accident, we’ve selected 4 Speyside Whiskies, all beginning with ‘a’ and ‘b’. Not planned, just a weird coincidence…

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The Vesper Cocktail – An Open Letter To Commander Bond

by Ben Ellefsen     25. October 2012 12:33

Published today – an open letter from Tunbridge-Wells-Based manufacturer, The Handmade Cocktail Company to Commander Bond.

The letter reads:

Dear Commander Bond,

I write to you today in the gravest of circumstances.

It has been brought to my attention that you have been seen - in public no less - consuming that most un-gentlemanly of concoctions. Lager-beer.

The exact circumstances of this sighting I have been unable to ascertain - the employee in question ran into my office quite incoherent before crouching in the corner, and having to be chemically ‘calmed’ by our nurse. Contained within his ramblings however, there was definitely something about a train, a bar, and some arms made of ice?

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Old Pulteney 40 Year Old!

by Michael Orson     23. October 2012 12:21

Prepare your faces for glee and/or delight, for we bring glad tidings all the way from Caithness (the north-eastern tip of the Scottish mainland – presumably very wet and cold). We’ve had word from the Old Pulteney distillery that today (well, 11pm last night, to be precise, but today for most of us) we can, at last, announce the launch of the oldest official single malt the distillery has ever produced…

Earlier in the year, Pulteney 21 year old was named World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray’s 2012 Whisky Bible. It’s a pretty astonishing single malt, all things considered, but what else would you expect from the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland. That far north, the weather and the terroir play a huge part in the flavour of maturing spirit; a windswept seafront seasons the whisky and gives it real provenance. There’s also the effect of the unusually shaped spirit still, the U-shape and bulbous neck of which account for a particularly oily spirit. Dave Broom calls Old Pulteney “eccentric”, and I think we’re inclined to agree...

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Categories : News | Tasting Notes | Whisky


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New Product: Rumbullion! Navy Strength (or ‘how to nearly blow your fingers off’)

by Ben Ellefsen     18. October 2012 15:12

So. We launched our Navy Strength Bathtub Gin about a month or so ago, and it’s already doing really rather well. It’s kind of a given that we had to follow this up with a Navy Strength version of the incredibly popular vanilla-and-christmas-spices-laden spiced rum – Rumbullion! It’s almost* like there’s some sort of planning going on.

For the Navy Strength version of Rumbullion, we’ve taken the same basic recipe, and simply scaled up the vanilla, sugar and spice content in line with the ABV (ie – it’s not intentionally spicier and punchier, like the Bathtub is). The reason for this is pretty straight-forward – Rumbullion! is already a pretty aggressively spiced little number as it is, and the Navy Strength version was more than capable of standing up to the initial ABV at the same proportional concentration.

Incidentally - if you’ve not tried the Navy Strength Bathtub Gin yet – it’s sort of like being kicked in the face by a Gin-Soaked Santa Claus. Really quite fantastic, and absolutely laden with Christmas spices - it don’t ‘alf pack a punch.

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Categories : News | Rum | Tasting Notes


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FEW Spirits – Distilled in Evanston, Illinois

by Angus     10. October 2012 10:06

If there was ever a word so god damn awful it’s guaranteed to send a shudder down your spine it is the dreaded p-word – prohibition *a wolf howls in the background and you get the feeling you are being followed by a man with an axe*. 

This was the boozeless condition that afflicted the United States of America for thirteen parched years thanks to the tireless campaigning of the American Temperance Movement. 

The Movement advocated the ‘Noble Experiment’ to save society from the horrors of alcohol abuse throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and they succeeded in 1920 with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act which completely banned the sale of alcohol in the U.S.A. 

This led to a decade and three years of corruption and violence across America as mobsters and moonshiners sought to bring alcohol illicitly to the understandably thirsty public before the Amendment was finally repealed in 1933. 

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Tasting the Diageo 2012 Special Releases

by Angus     1. October 2012 23:19

It’s that time of year again - the weather has given up the pretence of caring, the trees are shedding their leaves like a sinking ship sheds ballast, and the sun can’t summon the energy to stay in the sky for longer than is absolutely necessary. Thankfully all is not lost as Diageo are about to release their much anticipated Special Releases Range.

Diageo is a multi-national drinks company that owns twenty-eight working distilleries and the remaining stock of a number of closed ones, and every year they release a selection of limited releases from some of these distilleries.

With such a large portfolio to draw from these whiskies tend to be the cream of the crop and get us whisky geeks slathering at their merest mention [go on, find a whisky geek and mention it, watch it slather…].

So this evening we all trooped to London to taste these high-demand whiskies in the warm and, more importantly, dry confines of The Deck at the National Theatre. Last time I was in this theatre I watched Benedict Cumberbatch (that guy off of Sherlock) prance around the stage as Frankenstein’s monster with nothing but his self-esteem to cover his modesty. This time I came armed with a notebook and pen - ready to record my experience of facing this enormous tackle of whisky. 

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Limited Release: Caskstrength.net 16 Year Old BenRiach

by Cat Spencer     21. August 2012 10:02

You remember our friends from Caskstrength.net? Bespectacled, dapper sort of chaps? They’re into whisky and Alan Partridge, do some events…?

Anyway, they’ve gone and teamed up with BenRiach to put together one of them there special bottlings, they have. And between you and me, it is a delight. Not just because it comes with a rockin’ cotton tote bag (well, only the first 50 bottles, mind you), not just because it has a pink label (I am a sucker for pink) [ed: don't you mean red?], and not just because it spent four years in a PX cask (I am a major sucker for PX). It is delightful because it was hand-selected by Joel and Neil themselves, only 296 bottles are to be released, and you can only buy it from us. What an expression of a beautiful friendship…or, marriage? More...

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Summer Fruit Cup from Professor Ampleforth

by Ben Ellefsen     15. August 2012 16:16

So – Summer’s here. Sort of. From time-to-time. When it’s not flooding or what-have-you.

With this in mind, Professor Cornelius Ampleforth has turned his attention to perhaps the most quintessentially British drink that there is – the Summer Fruit Cup.

Now – it’s worth noting that there are several other cups on the market, from the Ubiquitous Pimm’s, through several distillers’ own recipes (Chase is rather good – coming soon – watch this space) to the really rather excellent Sipsmith. There was one thing that the Professor had deemed to be missing from all of these concoctions though – pure, distilled Madness*. More...

Grant’s 1912 Stand Fast Whisky

by Cat Spencer     12. June 2012 16:05

In proper Indiana Jones-style, the lads at Grant’s have uncovered an ancient text (not the Book of the Dead) explaining exactly what William Grant had at his disposal in 1912 to create Stand Fast. Not to be outdone, they have taken it upon themselves to recreate Stand Fast—as much to a T as possible—exactly one hundred years later, to the day.

Blending has been a treasured and almost mystical art form for centuries, with master blenders handing down recipes verbally to apprentices like secretive sorcerers imparting wisdom to only their most promising pupils. With only six master blenders in its 135-year history, Grant’s hasn’t had too many sorcerers sharing information. So, the discovery of a whisky book is a magical one, indeed.

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Categories : Whisky | News | Tasting Notes


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The Martinez

by Gareth     19. March 2012 15:50

The handsome devils at The Handmade Cocktail company have mixed a very tasty martinez, the latest addition to a range of superbly convenient cocktails.

The origins of the martinez are mysterious. More mysterious than people who profess to enjoy Coldplay; more mysterious than the location of Mike’s passport; more mysterious even than the fact Greg Wallace keeps getting presenting jobs.

Stories as to the provenance of the martinez abound; some say it was created by legendary bartender “Professor” Jerry Thomas at The Old Occidental Hotel in San Francisco to satiate a thirsty miner on his way to the town of Martinez. More...

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Categories : Tasting Notes | Cocktails


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