One of the most coveted tickets of the yearly Islay Festival (Feis Ile) is the Bruichladdich Feis Ile Masterclass – a chance for a few hundred of the distillery’s biggest fans to try not only the yearly festival bottling, but also taste hidden delights from deep in the well-stocked warehouses. This year, I finally made it along.
The folks at Laphroaig are fans of the travel retail sector, and the latest launch has added a pair of whiskies to the range. While passing through Aberdeen airport recently, I grabbed the first of the two – Laphroaig Four Oak.
In case there’s anyone I haven’t told in person/on Facebook/by email/via carrier pigeon/etc: I’m going to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt this year. If you’re going, you should come and say hello.
While almost every news item that has popped up over the past few months has seemed like an elaborate ruse put together by bored copywriters, 1 April is the day where there is some vague excuse to actually make up a story or two. Here’s 2017’s crop:
Compared with most forms of transport, air travel is still quite new. But what planes miss out on to hovercraft and helicopters in novelty, they win in numbers of passengers and potential for classiness. These days Easyjet’s rip-top pouches of cut-price vodka have cut into that class, but look back to the 1960s and you’ll find a golden age of air travel, or at least adverts claiming there was one. Then as now, if you have classy travel, you’ll almost always find a drinks company trying to cash in – introducing the Old Crow Traveler.
American whiskey history is full of lost distilleries and historic names. Many distilleries have fallen by the wayside over the years, but the names of their whiskies have continued on, produced elsewhere. I recently tried a whiskey from one of those closed distilleries, which got me reading a bit about its history – you might have tried Old Crow bourbon, but it probably wasn’t made at the Old Crow Distillery.
With distilleries popping up across Scotland, it’s no longer uncommon to visit one that is shiny and new. One of those shiny newbies is a bit different to the rest, with almost 200 years of history behind it – Annandale Distillery.
It’s surprising how little French whisky is seen out in the wild. Long known as the largest consumers of Scotch whisky in the world, there has been little French-made spirit on the market until the past few years. Along with more established names, there is now a new kid on the block – Black Mountain.
When it comes to adding whisky to chocolate, the default serving method seems to be balls. From the canonical whisky truffle (all hail Delia) to the infamous WhiskyCast Bourbon Balls, when you combine whisky with chocolate you usually seem to end up with something spherical. But what about those of us with a minimal arts and crafts skills? Old Pulteney have our backs, with a recipe for Bitter Chocolate, Freeze Dried Cherry & Whisky Clusters. Aka Pulteney Balls.
While the lost distilleries of Scotland are often spoken about, their closures lamented and bottlings pored over, there is another group of distilleries that I think deserve attention even more – the ones that are working that we never hear from. The distilleries with no official bottlings and rare independent releases, which produce whisky that goes anonymously into blends or hides behind other people’s labels.
Every now and again one emerges into the light, and the latest is Tamnavulin.