Compass Box Transistor and Punk IPA

Compass Box Transistor and Punk IPA

The boilermaker. An annoying name for a tradition as old as modern whisky – drinking it alongside a beer. With BrewDog having expanded into spirit-making and continuing to grow its bar estate, it was only a matter of time before it got in on the action. While this isn’t the first time they’ve done whisky and beer stuff, it’s certainly the most concerted effort – three whiskies, from three producers, each matched with a BrewDog beer. I’m not a big fan of two of the three, but the third I’m quite partial to: Compass Box Transistor paired with Punk IPA.

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Caperdonich 18 Year Old – Peated

Caperdonich 18 Peated Secret Speyside Collection

Travel retail, the artist formerly known as duty free, is a strange place. From the ridiculously high-end to the cheap and cheerful, you normally have to do a bit of digging to find something that is both of interest and in your price bracket. It’s a useful place for companies to try out new ideas, and I tried one of those on my most recent trip through Heathrow. It was part of the new Secret Speyside range of whiskies from Pernod Ricard: a rare official bottling of Caperdonich 18 Year Old with a twist – it’s peated.

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Glen Grant 1956 62 Years Old – Mr George Centenary

Glen Grant 1956 Mr George Centenary

Gordon & MacPhail is well known for having some of the best stocks in the whisky industry. The company’s Elgin warehouses are filled with ridiculous whiskies from over the past at least 75 years, with rumours abound of more ancient things hiding in the darkness. This is all thanks to the Urquhart family’s long-standing approach of laying things down for the future, which really came into its own under the stewardship of George Urquhart, son of John, the first member of the family to run G&M.

This year, 2019, is the centenary of his birth, and to celebrate Gordon & MacPhail have released a new whisky, from George Urquhart’s favourite distillery and with enough tie-in numbers to make the most jaded marketing twitch with joy – Mr George Centenary Glen Grant 1956 62 Years Old.

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Iron Root Republic Icarus 2019 Straight Corn Whiskey

Ironroot Republic

Ironroot Republic is a distillery that I have been much impressed by. From its Texas Legation bourbon, bottled specially for Berry Brothers & Rudd, to Hubris corn whiskey, I’ve not had a bad drop. However, despite generally offering a Texan twist on more traditional styles of American whiskey, they’re not afraid to experiment. This is definitely one of those experiments: the 2019 release of Ironroot Republic Icarus.

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Heaven Hill 2001-2015 Sherry Cask – Malts of Scotland

Malts Of Scotland

Scotch whisky and American whiskey have an interesting relationship. Ideas have bounced back and forth for years, with emigrants from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England taking whisky to the new world, and everything from grain and casks to tips and tricks flowing back across the Atlantic in the years since – a process sometimes called bourbonisation. But sometimes it needs an outside influence to make something a bit different – step forward German bottler Malts of Scotland and this whiskey, part of a series finished in non-traditional casks: Heaven Hill 2001 matured in a sherry cask.

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The Glenlivet Capsule Collection – this is why we can’t have nice things

Glenlivet Capsule Collection

Despite its often staid appearance, the whisky industry is interested in doing new and exciting things. At the beginning of October 2019, Glenlivet embraced that and launched something a little bit different – cocktails served in edible pouches: The Glenlivet Capsule Collection. I went to the launch, drank/ate some great cocktails and went home happy that I’d tried something new.

The internet, however, was having none of it.

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Diageo Special Releases 2019

Diageo Special Releases 2019

It’s that time of year again: Diageo has released the line-up for the yearly shiny-fest of The Special Releases. It looks like it might be a more egalitarian stack of drams than in some previous years – even after the Port Ellen and Brora fell out of the range last year, the prices started feeling a little pushed.

Anyways, this year’s announcement gave us the distillery and age of each whisky, along with a vaguely cryptic comment about it. Below are my predictions of what each of the hints means, and an update with what they actually meant, once we found out…

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