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.
It’s impressive how quickly 12 months can pass by. This time last year, I was trying to work out how to both get to the Islay Festival of Malt and Music – Fèis Ile to its friends and about 50,000 Scottish gaelic speakers – and travel around the island once I got there. My companion during this ‘planning’ was a dram from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, their first bottled in celebration of the festival. This year I can’t make it to Islay, so instead I’m looking at other people’s plans with a new whisky compantion – the SMWS’s second festival bottling, 127.44: Cantina Mexicana.
There has been much talk in recent times of the ‘bourbonisation‘ of Scotch whisky. There are a couple of different interpretations of what that means, and two of Jim Beam’s latest releases show that both may also be happening in the world of American whiskey, but in reverse – Jim Beam Double Oak and Jim Beam Kentucky Dram.
[A guest post from Moscow-based whisky fan Anton Karpov, a regular visitor to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s London rooms]
It is not always easy to have an interesting interview with a whisky brand ambassador. Quite often (but far from always) these guys are not much more than trained marketeers, equipped with a broad range of fact sheets and prepared tales, but with no deep insight into whisky industry. A master distiller, on the other hand, is a whole different story. And if you take a master distiller who puts real science behind whisky making, you’ll get a lot of fun for whisky enthusiasts.
So here we are today with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the man behind creations from Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. We relaxed in the cozy atmosphere of the Whisky Rooms private club in the heart of Moscow city. The chef did a good turn trying to match a three-course meal with a line-up of Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie Milsean and Glenmorangie Signet. Being whisky enthusiasts of Moscow, we enjoyed the rare chance to speak with Dr. Lumsden about all things whisky. Continue reading “The man who challenges the SWA – dinner with Dr Bill Lumsden”