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12th June 2019

Single Malts to Drive Whisky Sales in UK

British drinkers’ interest in single malt Scotch and American whiskey is expected to drive whisky sales to £2.44 billion in the next three years. In 2018, British consumers purchased 89.2 million bottles of whisky. It’s now predicted that figure will increase by 2.4m bottles by 2022, as blended whisky drinkers continue to ‘trade up’ to single malts and explore more premium American whiskeys.

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11th June 2019

The Rise of the Whisky Trail

With whisky tourism at an all-time high, Scotland’s distilleries are banding together to create dram-packed regional itineraries for the curious tourist. Kirsten Amor explores why this community spirit is good news for both the industry and whisky lovers alike.

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13th May 2019

Dalmore Scotch Whisky ‘L’Anima’ Sells for £108,900 at Sotheby’s Auction

A one of a kind bottle of Dalmore Scotch whisky, Dalmore ‘L’Anima’, has been sold at auction for £108,900. Sold by Sotheby’s in London earlier this month, the bottle was a one-off produced by The Dalmore and Massimo Bottura, the chef-patron of Osteria Francescana, which has twice been voted the world’s best restaurant.

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13th May 2019

Is Edinburgh the New Scotch Tourism Capital?

Edinburgh is cementing itself as a whisky destination with four new distillery projects and the multi-million-pound Johnnie Walker experience, but could the city become Scotland’s new whisky tourism capital? Becky Paskin reports.

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10th May 2019

Best New Whiskies To Drink This Spring

This spring is an especially auspicious time for whisky enthusiasts seeking something new. On shelf at your local liquor store are a parade of labels you probably haven‘t seen before. Many of them are worth taking home with you. And since these releases run the gamut of prices—ranging from the cost of two tickets to movie night all the way up to the re-sale value of a lightly used car—there‘s something to satisfy every budget. Here‘s a look at the season‘s most exciting offerings, and what you can expect to taste when you‘re ready to pour.

Coopers‘ Craft Barrel Reserve — $32.99

This unique offering from Brown-Forman (the same folks who bring you Old Forester, Jack Daniel‘s, and Woodford Reserve) collects its robust caramel and vanilla flavors courtesy of chiseled oak staves. Special barrels built at the brand‘s very own cooperage are scored with grooves, allowing the liquid to penetrate deeper into the wood, pulling out more flavors as it ages. Bottled at 100-proof, it‘s a sturdy sipping whiskey designed to showcase the artistry of barrel-making. It began a slow rollout in select markets this January, but you can expect to spot the label from coast to coast before year‘s end.

WhistlePig PiggyBack — $49.99

This April release marks the first from the Vermont-based producer since the passing of its legendary master distiller, Dave Pickerell. It‘s a younger variation on the brand‘s flagship rye—this one carrying a 6-year age statement as opposed to the original‘s 10. Designed to play well in Manhattans and Boulevardiers, the liquid maintains a strong cinnamon spice in the finish which also plays perfectly well when sipped neat. It‘s 96.56-proof in the bottle is a nod to Pickerell‘s birth year, 1956.

Bulleit Rye 12-Year-Old — $49.99

In the opposite direction, Bulleit just announced a rye with an older age than its popular flagship. Initially carving a name for itself in the bourbon category, the Diageo-owned brand has found great success delving into that other American whiskey. Expanding its presence there further still, this limited release is a dry and oaky offering that ends in toffee and graham cracker spice. Overall, an assertive entry point into the world of super-premium ryes. Bulleit has yet to announce this one as a permanent fixture, so you‘ll want to grab it before it goes away.

Starward — Nova Australian Single Malt — $55

Australian single malt is positioning itself to be the next big category of world whisky. This is the country‘s first major release in American markets, one that is largely shaped by maturation in ex-shiraz barrels from Down Under. It demonstrates a surprising degree of complexity and tongue-tickling astringency for a spirit that spent not much more than three years in wood. It‘s worth getting your hands on now; if Australian single malt goes the way of Japanese whisky, it won‘t sit on shelves for long.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 018 — $84.99

Barrell has earned a reputation as one of the country‘s premiere non-distilling producers. They don‘t have to make the stuff, when they‘re this good at sourcing and blending it. To wit, this 11-year-old gem just took home Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Billed as a ‘cinnamon bomb‘, Batch 018 is a careful combination of bourbons aged in both Kentucky and Tennessee. The younger liquid in the mix has bright tropical notes, balanced out by the structure of a spicier spirit—aged for upwards of 15 years in an American rickhouse. Together there is complexity and backbone in a full-flavored sipper, clocking in at a whopping 111.56 barrel-proof. Add a drop or two of water and enjoy.

The GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival — $89.99

Want to know why this highland scotch maker has amassed a cult following? In a word: sherry. Want to taste it for yourself? Procure a bottle of the recently re-released Revival. This one went away briefly in 2015 as old stocks dwindled but its return is a triumphant reminder of what we‘ve been missing. All of the distillate here matures in wood sourced from the sherry bodegas of Jerez, Spain. Revival spent time in butts that formerly held Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso. What rolls out of the wood is a rich whisky with dark and sweet notes of figs, dates and raisins. An exquisite sipper that could still be a bargain at twice the price.

Orphan Barrel Forager‘s Keep — $399.99

Orphan Barrel specializes in bringing to market notable whiskies from now-defunct distilleries. These shuttered warehouses were confined to North America, housing extra old barrels of rye, bourbon, Canadian whisky. Now they dive headfirst into the world of scotch with this 26-year-old single malt from Speyside. Pittyvaich closed permanently in 1993, and was not long for this world. In fact, this limited release now carries more age than its distillery ever did. Now available for pre-order, this gentle liquid meets the mouth with a pronounced creaminess and sustained notes cedar and citrus pith. It‘ll hit shelves, briefly, on June 3rd of this year.

The Last Drop Distillers 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky — $6,250

If budgetary constraints are of no concern, you ought to consider the newest release from The Last Drop. The London-based company is a connoisseur‘s dream brought to life; dedicated to the procurement of impossibly rare stocks of aged spirit that will never exist again. This month they unveiled a 50-year-old Speyside malt sourced entirely from two casks at the Glenrothes distillery. The first barrel yielded just 130 bottles of whisky. The second, 141. So an allotment of only 271 will make its way across the globe. If you‘re lucky enough to snag one you can expect smooth texture, light hints of cigar smoke, and the ineffable umami complexities that only half a century‘s worth of maturation can deliver.

22nd January 2019

Whisky Barrels — A Promising Alternative Investment

How much would you pay for a cask of rare Scotch whisky? For some, it seems, there is no limit when it comes to the liquid gold. Earlier this month, an anonymous buyer in Hong Kong paid an incredible, auction-record £285,000 for a sherry cask filled with a 30-year-old Macallan single malt. Its contents, if emptied, would work out at a whopping £1,000 per 70cl bottle. However, other individuals have paid even more for a cask of the prestige alcoholic spirit, with one Scotch whisky brokerage reporting a sale over £500,000. Some industry experts believe there are £1m casks out there waiting to be discovered.

So why are people willing to spend such extortionate amounts of money on the spirit? The answer isn't as straightforward as you may think. For some, casks are merely an investment, well suited for whisky enthusiast or simply an individual looking for an alternative investment. For others, such as connoisseurs and collectors, there's more significance on the experience - tasting a spirit that has been ageing in oak casks for decades upon decades. Although, rarity is also highly sought after. That may sound weird when an estimated three billion litres of the beverage is busy maturing in storage at one given time, which is enough to fill 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools. However, in reality, much of it is relatively new, keeping in mind that it requires at least three years of maturation before a spirit can legally take on the name Scotch.

Those operating at the top end, of the extremely rare whisky market, says “there is no shortage of interest from potential buyers”. Analyst and broker Rare Whisky 101 (RW101) has noted increased demand for "quality casks" from connoisseurs, collectors and investors in recent times. Along with, The Dunfermline-based firm, co-founded in 2014 by Andy Simpson and David Robertson, says its past deals with brands such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Macallan and Springbank have achieved an average cask price of more than £130,000.

So, is it worth investing in?

Current investors has this to say “whisky is an attractive investment opportunity due to being a slower, long-term industry like gold rather than a rapidly evolving one.” This style of the market is known to provide investors with high returns, and offers very little risk, due to the price of whiskies ever-increasing with age.

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