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Bowmore: The Darkest Night

by Gareth     4. May 2012 15:58

Magic happens on the darkest night according to Bowmore, and to prove it the company recently employed some of the dodgiest Scottish accents in North London to guide a group of slightly bemused drinkers through “a sensory-filled journey of exploration that conjures mystery, myth and legend.”

Some things are better in the dark. Nightclubs, hiding from people, sleeping… being Fred West… It’s an exhaustive list. Bowmore’s exploration of darkness and/or novel marketing strategies didn’t include any of these things, but we did get to try Bowmore 15 Darkest (do you get the theme yet? Do you?).More...

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Blending at Compass Box

by Gareth     27. April 2012 12:40

I’m a big fan of Compass Box whiskies, particularly Flaming Heart and Spice Tree, so the chance to blend my own concoction under the expert tutelage of John Glaser was like offering chateaubriand to a starving dog.

You may have noticed we’re also running a competition to win several bottles of Compass Box, and giving away a free dram with each bottle bought, so it was good to go up and sample some of the company’s whiskies and meet the team at their office in Chiswick. More...

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Compass Box competition

by Gareth     20. April 2012 10:33

If you haven’t yet discovered Compass Box whisky it’s high time you did because the company produces some of the best Scotch blends on the market today.

And this month, the raptor-retinaed among you will have noticed we are running a really rather brilliant competition, and all you have to do is buy a bottle of Compass Box to enter!

The prize is superb – a bottle of the original, illegal Spice Tree, plus two very different whiskies from the company’s intriguing Canto Cask Range; Canto Cask 48 and Canto Cask 20 to be exact. 

And even if you don’t win, every bottle of Compass Box you buy will be accompanied by a free dram of another Compass Box whisky. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just off to buy a bottle of Flaming Heart and… what’s that? I’m not allowed to enter? 

Ok, unfair as that seems (there are only 250 chances after all) instead I’ll tell you a bit about Compass Box.

The company launched in 2000, the vision of American blender John Glaser, ex-marketing director at Johnnie Walker. 

John started his career in the wine trade where blended products are celebrated as much as their single varietal cousins. With whisky however it was, and to an extent still is, single malts that get all the glory.More...

Ardbeg Space Whisky

by Gareth     11. April 2012 10:26

We had to double check this first to make sure it wasn’t late April Foolishness, but it seems Ardbeg really has boldly gone where no other whisky has gone before.

Yes… they’ve sent Ardbeg to the International Space Station at 25,000 mph, which we believe is just short of Ludicrous Speed. 

Well, to be strictly accurate they’ve sent new make spirit, so it’s Ardbeg, but not as we know it…at least not yet.

Because the point of this extra-planetary excursion is not to make the lives of the crew more bearable by providing them with delicious peaty whisky, but to explore the effects of zero gravity on the mysterious maturation process.

Along with the new make, samples of oak have been blasted into the earth’s orbit where the reactions between the two will be noted and closely compared to control samples back on earth.

A US team will closely monitor the experiment both in Houston, Texas, at the NanoRacks' facility, and also in Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery. More...

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Master of Malt win ‘Online Retailer of the Year’ at the World Whiskies Awards 2012

by Ben Ellefsen     2. April 2012 11:44

Well - last week was quite a week. Further to staying up unfeasibly late on Tuesday drinking Hot chocolate and Lemonade into the wee hours with the lovely folk at Glenfarclas and Pol Roger, I was invited to judge the World Whiskies Awards on the Wednesday evening (an amazing showing all round, the results of which can be found here). .

Following that, I was up bright and early (ish) to present at the World Whiskies Conference on Thursday afternoon (I didn’t say any rude words during the course of my speech. I am proud of this).

After the world whiskies conference was the World Whiskies Awards, whereupon myself and another couple of directors were left at a table, unsupervised by any kind of grown-ups, in the presence of a bottle of Kavalan Solist, and a Batch 30 bottle of Aberlour a’Bunadh. More...

Tullamore Dew returns home

by Gareth     2. April 2012 11:35

Tullamore Dew is returning to its spiritual home after 58 years with the announcement that William Grant & Sons will be building a new distillery in Tullamore town itself. 

The company, which also owns Glenfiddich and several other brands you’ll be not unfamiliar with, acquired Tullamore Dew in 2010. Second only to Jameson in the popularity stakes, sales of the Dew are growing by 15% annually according to William Grant & Sons, and production from the new distillery is intended to sustain the long-term demands.

Work on the new distillery is scheduled to begin later this year, subject to planning permission, and from the sound of it, it’s intended to be something of a showpiece for Irish whisky. More...

New expression - The Famous Goose

by Ben Ellefsen     1. April 2012 00:01

A rather interesting package came in the post yesterday.

Now, we've seen several new expressions from The Famous Grouse in recent years - from the rather deliciously smoky Black Grouse, to the silky smooth grain whisky, the Snow Grouse and more recently the unbelievably popular Naked Grouse, which also won a prestigious world whiskies design award for the really rather beautiful bottle.

This, however, is the first time that another avian has been brought into the flock (sorry). More...

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Japan rules at World Whisky Awards 2012

by Gareth     23. March 2012 14:51

Japanese distillers made a fine showing last night at Whisky Magazine’s 6th annual World Whisky Awards.

Yamazaki scooped the coveted Best Single Malt Whisky award for its 25 Year Old expression, while Nikka won the Best Blended Whisky category with its Taketsuru 17 Year Old.

This marks the second year in a row Yamazaki’s has triumphed, with their sublime 1984 vintage taking home the best single malt prize in 2011.More...

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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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World Whisky Day

by Gareth     13. March 2012 10:53
World Whisky Day

Maths, hepatitis, civil aviation… what do they have in common? Obviously they should all be avoided wherever possible but there is one more thing – all have their own day.

In fact, through detailed research conducted over the course of two entire minutes I've found the list of things that have their own day is longer than the queue at a Greek job centre.

So it was a travesty, nay an outrage, that whisky did not have its own day… until now. Yes, at last whisky has joined the exalted ranks of things that have their own day – left handed people, pirates, children, left handed pirate children… the list goes on. More...

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