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.
Glenglassaugh is a distillery I have a love/hate relationship with. Their older drams are marvellous, with not only their own releases but also those from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society consistently punching above their not inconsiderable price. However, since reopening in 2008, their new whiskies have not made me a happy man. But, in my whisky pile was a sample of Glenglassaugh Torfa, so it’s time to give them another chance.
Loch Lomond is a distillery that hasn’t got much love in recent years. Fortunately, that’s been changing and the newly revitalised company is beginning turn heads. Its latest release looks to continue that trend – Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky.
[You can find the first part of this series about Inchdairnie here]
Inchdairnie distillery bills itself as ‘taking a bold, forward-thinking approach to producing Scotch malt whisky, while remaining respectful of tradition’. However, it’s the first half that is most noticeable when you see the distillery – with stark, Scandinavian influenced buildings, it’s certainly not a place where you’d expect to see a traditional pagoda roof.
Lagavulin’s 200th birthday celebrations continue to roll along. The launch of an 8-year-old expression at the beginning of the year – and a second release mentioned for later on – and events at the distillery during Feis Ile have started things off, but there’s been rumours of another release since the end of 2015. That release has now been revealed – a Lagavulin 25 Year Old.
How times have changed. Even a few years ago, the opening of a new distillery in Scotland would be huge news, but with a new project being announced every couple of months, more recently the novelty has started to wear a bit thin. However, a new distillery that quietly started up without making a big fuss, and only revealed themselves after six months of operation? That’s something a little different. Introducing Inchdairnie Distillery.