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Deal Of the Month
70cl / 64.1%
Japanese Single Malt Whisky
Out of Stock
£154.74 Inc. VAT
(£128.95 Ex. VAT)

Share your news, write about upcoming events in your local area and we will be glad to publish such materials in this section. If you have any insider info you're desperate to share, if you know of another brand about to be lumbered with some disastrous new packaging, or if you simply want to announce a tasting in the back of your local hostelry, please get in touch and we'll send the word out for you.

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April '08 21st Monday

A new release from Bushmills to mark the 400th anniversary of the original license to distil spirits in Antrim.  Now, most of you will know that the connection between the granting of the 1608 license and the actual Bushmills distillery (founded over 175 years later in 1784) is, to say the least, pretty tenuous; but if this marketing whim results in a party to celebrate 400 years of Irish distillation and the release of some nice new whiskey from Bushmills, then where's the harm? 

We haven't tried this new 1608 yet, but the reviews have been almost universally good, with many people saying that it resembles a deluxe version of Black Bush due to the generous proportion of sherry casks used in the blend.  The whiskey itself is made with a special type of malt called crystal malt designed to deliver an exceptional smoothness to the final product, and the malt content is said to be very high, with only around 10% grain whiskey used in the final assemblage.

This release is 'limited' to 10 000 cases globally (with about half of that allocation going to the States), but will apparently only be widely available this year, after which it will mostly be sold through travel retail and at the distillery itself.

You can read more about Bushmills 1608 in this excellent article by Ian Buxton for Kevin Erskine's equally excellent Scotchblog.

In other news, we are all looking forward to the release of a new book about many people's favourite Islay distillery, Ardbeg.  Entitled "Ardbeg - A Peaty Provenance", the book is apparently a weighty tome and is due to arrive on discerning coffee tables sometime around the end of May, priced at £30.

70cl / 58%
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery Bottling
A new (and highly potent) cask-strength release from Arran, this is from a single ex-Bourbon cask.
Out of Stock
70cl / 51.7%
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Adelphi
A single cask of Old Lochnagar at an impressive strength for its age, this is from Adelphi and has a great label with a tiddly-looking cherub astride a barrel.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Blended Irish Whiskey
A special bottling to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the license to distil aqua vitae in Antrim originally granted in 1608 to Sir Thomas Phillips. Bushmills 1608 has already won 'Best Irish Blended Whiskey (No Age Statement)' at the World Whiskies Awards 2008 and 2012.
World Whiskies Awards 2012 - Best Irish No Age Statement Blended Whiskey
£58.95 Inc. VAT
(£49.13 Ex. VAT)
70cl / 64.1%
Japanese Single Malt Whisky
Another single cask release from the Karuizawa distillery, this time very old and of quite incredible strength. An epic dram.
ONE BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER
Out of Stock
April '08 11th Friday

This just crossed our desk, so we thought we should put it up...

The World’s Most Expensive Cocktail


The cocktail named “27321”, was first sold on Wednesday the 16th of April 2008 at the Burg Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. The cocktail was created by Felix Hartmann, the Bar Manager at the Skyview Bar, on the 27th floor at the prestigious 7 star hotel.

The name of the cocktail represents that the Skyview Bar is on the 27th floor, each floor being double levelled and that the height of the hotel is 321 metres. The price of the drink is also in its name, with a price tag of 27,321 Dirahms, which equates to around £3650.

The cocktail which is based on an “Old Fashioned” uses the Macallan 55 Years Old Lalique, of which only 420 bottles were produced, using two casks from 1945 and 1949.

The cocktail, designed by Felix Hartmann, comprised of 60ml of the Macallan 55 Years Old, two bar spoons of a specially made bitters, one large sugar cube with a passion fruit infusion, The Macallan Bore hole water ice cubes and a stirrer made of an oak cask which had matured The Macallan and hand crafted to represent the Burg Al Arab Hotel. The cocktail was served in an 18 carat gold coated glass with the Burg Al Arab hotel logo, which the purchasers took away along with a certificate to authenticate their purchase.

Martin Murdoch, Area Director Western Europe & Middle East for The Macallan, has worked closely with MMI the local distributor and the Bar Manager Felix Hartmann, to put together this exceptional cocktail.

The cocktail was introduced to the menu on the eve of the first purchase, which was by two American businessmen on holiday, who bought one each.

Only ten of these cocktails will be made available and now that the first purchase has been witnessed, the Burg Al Arab hotel will be placing their application with the Guiness Book of World Records.

So.  Expect the usual frothing about obscene displays of wealth, and a frenzy of garment-rending and general gnashing of teeth over the vulgar mug punters adulterating the precious nectar etc. etc. 

This is, of course, a very old story.  Go into any hotel in Speyside or Islay and you’ll hear the one about the three American (they're always American) golfers who ordered glasses of the most expensive dram in the house "two with Coke and one with ginger ale".  It makes us mere mortals feel better if we can laugh at people who think nothing of dropping thousands on a single drink.

Of course, the obvious counter-argument to all this is that it doesn't matter to the men that bought the "27321" that they could have had a whole bottle of Macallan 55yo for less than what they spent on a couple of cocktails.  Why should it?  It's their money and their free will. Who are we to judge how they use either?

And it doesn't matter to Macallan what happens to their product after someone has paid for it. Why should it? Gold-plated glasses and applications to the Guinness Book of Records are what get the column inches.  People concerned with questions of morality and dubious personal taste are unlikely to be the kind of people who would consider splurging on a Macallan Lalique.

It certainly doesn't matter to the Burg Al Arab what anyone thinks about their style.  Why should it? Selling two of these cocktails pays for the bottle, and the money's in the till.

The reality here is that these tales of ludicrous cocktails come along every now and then when there’s a slow news day, and they serve a purpose for both the brands and the bars that create them.

In any case, it’s not surprising that a very high-up Macallan bigwig "worked closely" to get it set up - perhaps what’s more surprising is that this fact was included in the press release? Normally the brands do not reveal complicity in these cases, for fear of falling foul of the 'precious nectar' brigade.

For most of us, the morality of an Old-Fashioned constructed with a passionfruit sugarcube and a fabulously expensive malt whisky on the twenty-seventh floor of a seven star hotel is not something we are ever going to have to struggle with.  Perhaps turning our noses up helps us get over our jealousy.

70cl / 46%
Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery Bottling
A NAS Longrow to accompany the 18 year-old that most of us will never get a bottle of. Subtle it aint, but fans of peaty, citrussy young drams will not be disappointed. Picked up the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010, and another gong at the Malt Maniacs awards in the same year.
Malt Maniacs Awards 2010: Best Peated Malt Award (Daily Drams)
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A feisty, fruity Bruichladdich from our friends in St. James's St. Luscious exotic fruit, delicately smoked cereals and a whiff of seaspray: delightful.
Out of Stock
70cl / 56.4%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A single-cask, cask-strength malt from the little-seen Craigellachie (most of which goes to the Dewar's blends).
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A single-cask bottling by BBR of this classic Speyside distillery. Well-aged Glenlivet from a decent cask is always a treat, and this is no exception.
Out of Stock
70cl / 56.4%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A cracking cask-strength Mortlach from Doug and the team at BBR. Luscious sweet sherry with a hint of smoke.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A mouth-watering, incredibly lively PE from the noble yeomen of St James's. This is a belter.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Milroy's
The Milroy's share of casks 2030 & 2035, also bottled by Berry Bros. Only the labels are different.
Out of Stock
April '08 2nd Wednesday

WORLD-FAMOUS SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ADDS TONE TO NEW GUITARS

An oak cask from Lagavulin distillery on Islay has been given a second life in the form of three hand-crafted guitars. They were unveiled at last month's Frankfurt Music Fair (12-15 March, Frankfurt am Main, Germany).

The special edition guitars have been built by a long-established Italian bass and guitar maker and whisky lover, Andrea Ballarin, whose firm Manne Guitars was founded in 1987 in Schio, in north-eastern Italy.

The cask was donated by the distillery, and arrived in the Manne workshop earlier this year still drenched with the complex peat-smoke aromas that are the hallmark of this single malt.

The flat round ends of the cask were carefully dried, treated and sanded and became the backs of the guitar bodies, preserving much of the distinctive distillery identification markings.

The curved staves, which originally formed the sides of the cask, were flattened and glued together to form the tops and bodies of the guitars. Andrea was careful to preserve some of the distinctive charring marks from the inside surface of the staves: all whisky barrels are toasted and charred on the inside before being filled with whisky.

Three instruments have been built from the one whisky cask: two Guitars and one Bass. The two Guitars incorporate the cask heads, while the Bass is made entirely from the oak staves.

The guitars have been finished with an oxidised patina and typical rust marks from the hoops of the barrel, and the wood was finally treated with a preparation containing some Lagavulin Distillers Edition from 2007, which won the ultimate Whisky Trophy at last year's International Wine and Spirit Competition. This ensures that the guitars will always preserve some of their native Lagavulin fragrance.

The idea that Andrea should create a whisky guitar came from his distributor in Germany, Alex Mühlbauer, a fellow malt whisky lover following Andrea's visit to Islay in 2007.

They got in touch with Johannes Van Den Heuvel of Maltmaniacs and Serge Valentin of Whiskyfun, two well-known passionate experts on single malt whisky, who helped Andrea to contact Nick Morgan, global marketing director for Diageo's Classic Malts Selection. Nick arranged to liberate an empty Lagavulin cask and have it delivered to Italy.

In due course, two of the guitars will be put on sale, and the third will go back home to Lagavulin in time for this year’s Islay Festival. 

This is an exclusive collaboration  -  no further instruments using Lagavulin wood will be made.

 

70cl / 58.4%
Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Auchentoshan from Signatory. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 45.4%
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Hogshead of the deceased Banff from Signatory. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 55.7%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength malt from the little-seen Braes of Glenlivet. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 58.6%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength malt from the little-seen Benrinnes. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 55.3%
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Hogshead from the defunct Glenlochy. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 56.5%
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Sherry Butt from Highland Park. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 56.1%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Bourbon Barrel from Laphroaig. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 59.7%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Hogshead from Mannochmore, home of the notorious Loch Dhu. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 49.9%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Bourbon Barrel from Mosstowie, made with Lomond Stills at Miltonduff. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 61.3%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Refill Butt from Speyburn. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
£72.35 Inc. VAT
(£60.29 Ex. VAT)
April '08 1st Tuesday

SWA ANNOUNCES NEW CLASSIFICATION TERM

In a brazen attempt to appeal to the 'yoof' market, and following concerted attempts from all interested parties within the industry to clarify the labelling and marketing of different kinds of whisky, the SWA have today announced a new term for the classification of Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.

"Clarity and efficiency are our watchwords, and we are known throughout the industry for our swift and relevant responses to issues affecting our members", said the SWA's spokesman Hugh Hee.

"With this in mind, it has been decided to scrap the 'Blended Malt' classification as it is clearly obvious that it has only increased the confusion surrounding this category of Scotch malt whisky" continued Mr Hee.

"We've never been known for navel-gazing or failing to act, and we don't intend to start now. In order to kill two birds with one stone and clarify the category while attracting younger drinkers to whisky, it has been decided that from today, 1st April, Scotch malt whiskies containing malt whisky from more than one distillery will be known simply as 'Brown Bull'."

70cl / 51.8%
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single cask cask-strength Sherry Butt from Tomatin. Just about everything in this 'Cask' series has been very good and several have been exceptional.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A heavily-peated single Hogshead of Benriach for Signatory's 'Un-Chillfiltered' series.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
A single Sherry Butt of Ben Nevis for Signatory's 'Un-Chillfiltered' series.
Out of Stock
70cl / 46%
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Signatory
Out of Stock


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