..Category Archives: Whisky Tastings and Events News

News on up and coming whisky events including festivals and tastings

What is the Best Single Malt to Have with Haggis?

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This is probably the other greatest question in life so to find out what is the best single malt to have with haggis we have been asking guests to our festivals to take part in a blind tasting to vote for their favourite.  We have had our guests try over 50 different single malts over the years we have been doing this experiment.  This is just haggis, neeps and tatties.  No additions or substitutions allowed.  This is pure science!

At this year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival the reigning champion from the previous festival, Glen Scotia 15 Years Old, in fact the winner from the past 3 festivals, was pitched against 3 whiskies we had not tried in the competition previously.  The full line up was:

  • Balvenie 12 Single Barrel
  • Glen Moray Classic Sherry
  • Glen Scotia 15 Years Old
  • Glenrothes Peated Cask

And oh dear, yet again Glen Scotia 15 Years Old romped home as the clear winner.  Is this the final answer?  We give a special mention to Glen Moray Classic Sherry which came in as clear second place.

Glen Scotia 15

Haggis, neeps and tatties

Haggis, neeps and tatties

What is the Best Single Malt to Have with a Bacon Roll?

This entry was posted in About Dufftown, Blog, Whisky Tastings and Events News and tagged , , , , on by .

This is probably one of the 2 greatest questions in life so to find out what is the best single malt to have with a bacon roll we have been asking guests to our festivals to take part in a blind tasting to vote for their favourite.  We have had our guests try over 50 different single malts over the years we have been doing this experiment.  No sauce this is pure science!

At this year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival there was no reigning champion from the previous festival to put in as Arran Lochranza which had won the last 3 competitions has been discontinued so we had a fresh start.  The 4 we picked were:

  • Glenturret Triple Wood
  • Glenallachie Distillery Edition
  • Glenrothes Vintage Reserve
  • Glen Moray 15 Years Old

This was a hard fought contest and we were very surprised to have a tie at the top with 2 clear winners.  All you need to know is when you next have a bacon roll then pour yourself a dram of Glen Moray 15 Years Old or Glenturret Triple Wood!

glen-moray-15-years-oldglenturret-triple-wood-edition-batch-2WSD Image Bacon 01

The experiment will continue in September.

 

Saturday Tasting Programme

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This Spring / Summer we are doing something a bit different with our Saturday's.  We are inviting different distilleries and independent whisky merchants to come along to our shop and host a free in-store tasting.  Just drop in at the shop any time between 1pm and 5pm to sample some great whiskies, gins or whatever else we come up with.

Below is the list of events we have so far arranged.  Keep an eye on our events page as we update our programme.

Saturday, 27 May 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Antonia Bruce of Adelphi (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 03 June 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Mike Patterson of Gordon & MacPhail (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 10 June 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Vicky Keough of The WSD & World Gin Day (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 17 June 2017:  In the Shop Tasting: Hunter Laing (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 24 June 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with David Ferguson of Douglas Laing (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 01 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Tim Pryde of Marussia Beverages & American Whiskey (13:00 to 17:00)

Sunday, 02 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Hudson Bay (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 08 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Peter Mackay of Morrison & Mackay (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 15 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with TBC

Saturday, 22 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with TBC

Saturday, 29 July 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Jonny McMillan with whisky from Berry Bros & Rudd (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 05 August 2017:  In the Shop Tasting with Alasdair Stevenson of Benriach, Glendronach & Glenglassaugh (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 12 August 2017: In the Shop Tasting with Persie Gin (13:00 to 17:00)

Saturday, 19 August 2017 In the Shop Tasting with TBC

Saturday, 26 August 2017 In the Shop Tasting with TBC

WSD Shop Front 20170415

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers

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This is the first of our articles following The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2017.

Once again this year we laid down the challenge to independent whisky merchants to find the best independent bottling in two categories: Speyside Whisky; and the Rest of Whisk(e)y.

We run our challenge throughout the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and it is judged by guests who come in to our shop in a blind tasting.  It was fun and relaxed and people really enjoyed the experience.  We had over 300 guests of the festival  sample the whiskies in the challenge and nearly 200 voted for their favourite.

Speyside

The Speyside Category was fiercely contested but we had a clear winner in Aultmore 2008 6 Years Old from Stilnovisti which gained a third of the votes.  Stilnovisti have recently set up an office in Dufftown and it was great of them to find some whisky for us.  Particularly as they stole the show with a young whisky which beat off some much older competition.  This proved yet again that it is the liquid that counts the most and not the age.  We consider this to be a win for the Dufftown whisky region!  Second place was taken by the Adelphi Breath of Speyside 2006 10 Years Old and third place by Old Particular Craigellachie 1995 21 Years Old.

Stillnovisti Aultmore 2008 6 Years Old

Rest of Whisk(e)y

We had a runaway winner in the Rest of Whisky category with 40% of the votes, Old Particular Strathclyde 2005 11 Years Old.  We are hoping to get more stocks in shortly.  The rogue entry from Gordon & MacPhail, The English Whisky Co English Peated Single Malt came second and Old Perth came third.

Old Particular Strathclyde 2005 11 Years Old

Note:  We define the rest of whisky to be any alcoholic beverage which is derived from any grain, distilled and then matured in oak casks. It can be a blend or blend of malts. It does not have to be distilled, matured or bottled in Scotland. However, it cannot be defined to be from Speyside. Should there ever be a grain distillery in Speyside then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

A big thank you to Adelphi, Douglas Laing, Gordon & MacPhail, Morrison & MacKay, Stilnovisti and Wemyss Malts.

Best Tasting Notes

We also have a competition for the best tasting notes submitted by one of our guests.  This year the best tasting notes came from Will Burtt and he wins a bottle of the Stilnovisti Aultmore which he voted for as his favourite.

Here is a flavour of some of Will's comments:

  • "like a distant steam train"
  • "like the very first taste of fresh Cornish vanilla ice cream"
  • "who would you give your last Rolo too?"
  • "lying in a field of lavender with a big spoon of honey"

 

A big thank you to all the guests who took part.

See you all next year!

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Newsletter - March 2017

This entry was posted in Blog, New Whisky Releases and Bottlings, Newsletters, Whisky Tastings and Events News on by .

With Spring coming up and snow on the ground in Dufftown it is about time for an update.

 

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2017

We are busy preparing for Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2017 which starts in 40 days time at the time of writing.  We are now hosting 44 events.  There is one new one which is an in-store tasting on Thursday 27 April from 12pm to 5pm which is looking at American and Swedish whiskies which have deep connections with Speyside.

spirit-of-speyside-cyclonesWe have sold nearly 70% of our tickets for our events and 10 are already sold out.  If you are coming to the festival then please make sure you have all the tickets you want.

 

 

Exclusive Festival Bottlings

For each of our festivals we try and have some new exclusive to The WSD whiskies on the shelves.  This year's first confirmed new exclusive is something a bit different.  Working with Morrison & Mackay we have found some old stock which has been in glass since 2015.  This is an excellent whisky and we just had to rescue it from the dark and dingy corner of their warehouse where it had been forgotten.  It is a Strathmill, distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2015 from a refill ex-Sherry Butt.  It has been bottled at 53.6% ABV.  It is an absolute cracker.  It is full of sherry but not over powering, giving it a wonderful complexity.  The shelf price will be £105.  The first 60 bottles are being launched at the festival with those attending Peter MacKay's tasting getting the first chance to buy them and at a discount, only £90, so you better get along to that tasting!  They will then be on sale at The Last Drop and from Tuesday 2 May in the shop and on-line.

WSD Image MM 02

Another bottling for the festival is being created by Glenfarclas.  Always popular at the festival this special whisky is only available from the visitor centre.  Be sure to get your hands on one by coming on our 5 Decades Tour on Thursday 27 April - well it would have been a good opportunity but while preparing this newsletter the tour has sold out.  You snooze, you lose!

 WSD 2017 SofSWF Timetable 20170201

New Releases

Many of you are probably not attending Spirit of Speyside this year but this does not mean that the next 6 weeks are not important to you.  This is the time when we start getting in new bottlings on a weekly basis so keep an eye on the new products section of our website.  We already have the following new lines in from Hunter Laing and Douglas Laing.

Hunter Laing

Old Malt Cask Braeval 2001 15 Years Old
Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1995 21 Years Old
Old Malt Cask Tormore 1988 28 Years Old
Old Malt Cask Mortlach 2005 12 Years Old
Hepburn's Choice Dufftown 2007 9 Years Old
Hepburn's Choice Inchgower 2008 9 Years Old

Douglas Laing

Old Particular Port Dundas 2004 12 Years Old
Old Particular Tamdhu 1998 18 Years Old
Old Particular Blair Athol 1998 18 Years Old
Old Particular Bunnahabhain 2001 15 Years Old
Old Particular Longmorn 1996 20 Years Old
Old Particular Glen Elgin 1995 21 Years Old
Xtra Old Particular Garnheath 1974 42 Years Old
Provenance Dailuaine 2007 9 Years Old

New Ranges

We are also extending the range of whiskies that we stock with new Bourbons and Swedish whisky lines coming to us that we have not stocked before.

 

Returning in to Stock

We had a surprise offer from Adelphi to re-stock some lines that we thought were long gone.  Pick of those is the highly sort after and collectable The Glover 18 Years Old.  There is not much of this left so don't delay.

Adelphi The Glover 18 Years Old

The other Adelphi's are:-

  • Clynelish 1996
  • Glenrothes 1991
  • Linkwood 1990

Also back in stock but very limited are:-

  • Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 15
  • Gordon & MacPhail Linkwood 15

 

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2017

We also hope to have our master class programme for The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2017 (21 to 25 September) completed shortly so keep an eye for that to launch.

WSD Postcard WSADF 2016

25 September 2016 @ 15:30 - Whisky Tasting: Speyside Whiskies from the Past

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What is the best way to describe this tasting?  Time travelling the whisky way?  Definitely it as an exceptional opportunity to taste whisky that was bottled decades ago in the 70's and 80's.  You will be able to experience how whisky has changed over the  years.  Nothing to do with maturation but how whisky was created in those decades for drinking back then.

This tasting will be hosted by Angus MacRaid who is a whisky expert vastly experienced at sourcing bottlings from the past.  This will be a real treat and a true experience.

Angus has announced his line-up for the tasting:

  • Aberlour 9 Years Old bottled early 1970's
  • Tormore 10 Years Old bottled late 1970's
  • Glenlivet 8 Years Old 100 Proof bottled in the 1970's by Gordon & MacPhail
  • Balvenie 10 Years Old Founders bottled in the 1980's
  • Glen Grant 12 Years Old bottled late 1970's
  • Glen Moray 10 Years Old bottled 1970's

 

If you have not bought a ticket you should do so now by clicking here.IMG_1137

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2016

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TWSDAF 22 to 26 September 2016

WSD Postcard WSADF 2016

Here is our programme as it stands. We are very sorry but everything is not finalised. We want to get the best tours possible and ensure the companies that help us put on the festival have given us their full authority. This can take time and has been particularly difficult this year. The traditional date for the Autumn festival has been the last weekend in September and this always clashes with Whisky Live Paris which takes priority over Speyside although we do not know why. We are now free to choose our own dates for our festival so we will look at a more practical date for 2017. Tickets will go on sale on 17 July at 6pm BST. Click here to buy tickets but only from 17 July!

Thursday 22 September 2016

11:00 to 15:00: Blind Blends (The Shop) -  Our annual competition to find the best blended whisky.  The current champion Adelphi's Glenborrodale (if we can get some) will go up against 4 specially selected challenger which have not been in the competition before.

18:00 to 19:00 The First Drop (St James Hall) -  Mike's traditional opening to the festival with a fun look at some of the new releases from the whisky industry which have caught his interest for good or bad reasons.

Friday 23 September 2016

09:30 to 13:00: Five Generations of Glenfarclas (The Shop) - We travel from The Whisky Shop Dufftown to Glenfarclas Distillery for a guided tour and then to sample 5 Glenfarclas from 5 different decades

11:00 to 15:00: Blind Blends (The Shop)

12:00 to 17:00: In-store tasting with Angels' Nectar - Come to the shop for a free tasting of some great whiskies from this new independent company.

13:30 to 14:45: Masterclass (St James Hall) - Slot currently open.

15:00 to 16:15: Masterclass with Fred Allan of Murray McDavid (St James Hall) - A local character and down right honest bloke, "Fred's Enterprises" will show case some samples from independent bottler Murray MacDavid..

17:00 to 18:15: Materclass with Rick Drysdale of Douglas Laing (St James Hall) - Rick will take you through a selection of the very best of the latest releases from Douglas Laing.

19:30 to 23:15: Whisky Dining at The Dowans Hotel (The Shop) - We travel from The Whisky Shop Dufftown to The Dowans hotel in Aberlour to experience a fabulous dining experience with dishes paired with whisky.  Working in Progress at the moment to get the right unique magic.

 

Saturday 24 September 2016

09:00 to 13:30: Distillery Visit to Glenlivet (The Shop) - We depart from the shop to Glenlivet for a specially arranged event.  We will have a special tour of the distillery and then we stay on for the legendary Legacy Tasting Experience.

10:00 to 10:30: A Bacon Roll and 4 Nips (St James) - Our annual attempt to find the best whisky with a bacon roll.  Arran Lochranza, the current reigning champion will be pitted against 3 specially selected contenders who have not been in the competition before.

11:00 to 15:00: Blind Blends (The Shop)

12:00 to 17:00: In-Store tasting with Spey Craft Brewery (The Shop) - Come along to the shop for a free tasting of the range of beers from this excellent brewery.

12:00 to 12:30: Haggis and 4 Nips (St James) - Yet again we will be trying to find the best dram to go with Haggis.  Neeps and tatties will be around but they are only there for support.  The current reigning champion, Glen Scotia 15 Years Old, will be challenged by 3 specially selected single malts.

13:30 to 14:45: Masterclass (St James Hall) - Slot currently open.

15:30 to 16:45: Masterclass with Antonia Bruce from Adelphi ( St James Hall) -  Antonia will take you through a selection of the very best of the latest release from Adelphi.

17:30 to 18:45:  Masterclass with Mark Watt (probably) from Cadenheads (St James Hall) - Mark will present the latest from the oldest independent bottler in his own inimitable style.

20:00 to 22:00: Bollywood Comes to Dufftown with Vicky Keough of The Whisky Shop Dufftown and David MacDonald of Spey Valley Brewery (St James) - In essence this will be the most extraordinary tasting you will have every been to.  This tasting will pair in sets, whisky and beer and curry in an amazing fusion of flavours.

 

Sunday 25 September 2016

 09:00 to 13:30 - Distillery tour to be confirmed

10:00 to 10:30: A Bacon Roll and 4 Nips (St James) - Our annual attempt to find the best whisky with a bacon roll.  Arran Lochranza, the current reigning champion will be pitted against 3 specially selected contenders who have not been in the competition before.

11:00 to 15:00: Blind Blends (The Shop)

12:00 to 17:00: In-Store Tasting with Wemyss Malts (The Shop) - Come along and try the range of blended whiskies from Wemyss for free.

12:00 to 12:30: Haggis and 4 Nips (St James) - Yet again we will be trying to find the best dram to go with Haggis.  Neeps and tatties will be around but they are only there for support.  The current reigning champion, Glen Scotia 15 Years Old, will be challenged by 3 specially selected single malts.

13:30 to 14:45: Masterclass (St James Hall) - Slot currently open.

15:00 to 16:15: Masterclass: Vintage Speyside with Angus MacRaid (St James) - You may have been to a tasting before with old whiskies but this is different.  This is old whiskies, bottling's of whisky from the past so you can experience how whisky has changed over the decades.

17:30 to 18:45: Masterclass with Jonny MacMillan of Berry Bros & Rudd (St James) - Jonny will take you through the best of the new releases from BBR and a touch more.  Intrigued?  Come along and find out!

20:00 to 21:45:  Music, Songs and Laughter with Robin Laing (St James) - Robin will entertain with his singing and a few good drams.

 

Monday 26 September 2016

09:00 to 13:30: Distillery Tours - One company to confirm week commencing 18 June.

11:00 to 15:00: Blind Blends (The Shop)

12:00 to 17:00: In-store Tasting (TBC week commencing 25 June)

13:30 to 14:45: Masterclass with Alastair Mutch of Tomatin Distillery (St James) - This will be a great opportunity to try a number of expressions from across the Tomatin range.

15:15 to 16:45: Materclass with Lucy Whitehall of Glenturret Distillery (St James) - Lucy will be a long with a selection of whiskies from the new Glen Turret range and a few surprises.

17:30 to 19:00: Masterclass with Peter MacKay of Morrison & Mackay (St James) - Peter will present the a selection of the latest releases from the indepencent bottler Morrison & MacKay

20:00 to 22:00: The Last Drop (The Shop) - The traditional close to the end of the festival with a fine array of odds and end of whiskies from the last six months and a selection from the tasting for you to try. The shop will also be open for purchases.

WSD Postcard WSADF 2016

 

 

The Whisky Shop Dufftown @ The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016

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Now that the festival dust has well and truly settled it is time to recap the results of our various competitions.

 

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers: Speyside

The Whisky Shop Dufftown threw down the gauntlet and challenged the independent bottlers to find the best Speyside Single Malt.  Our guests at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 voted for their favourite in blind tastings. The winner was Old Malt Cask Speyside 1993 21 Years Old from Hunter Laing.

First Place:

  • Old Malt Cask Speyside 1993 21 Years Old (£86.95)

Second Place:

  • Adelphi Glenrothes 1991 25 Years Old (£189.00)

Old Malt Cask Speyside 1993 21 Years OldAdelphi Glenrothes 1991 25 Years Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers:  Rest of Whisky

The Whisky Shop Dufftown threw down the gauntlet and challenged the independent bottlers to find the best whisk(e)y not from Speyside - it could be any whisk(e)y just not a single malt whisky from Speyside.  Our guests at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 voted for their favourite in blind tastings. The winner was Adelphi Bunnahabhain 2005 11 Years Old.  We should also mention the Old Perth Sherry which coming in second place and at that price is amazing!

First Place:

  • Adelphi Bunnahabhain 2005 11 Years Old (£75.95)

Second Place:

  • Old Perth Sherry cask from Morrison & MacKay (£29.95)

Adelphi Bunnahabhain 2005 11 Years Old

Old Perth Sherry Cask Blend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year, Mike as Chairman of the awards, has a look at the whiskies that did not win to see if there is another one that did really well with the public but also shows value for money considering how highly it was placed.  If he sees one then he will award it The Chairmans Award for a Cracking Dram.  This year he has decided there is a deserving dram and that is the Old Perth Sherry which to beat off competition from much older more expensive whisky to come second place in the Rest of Whisky category makes it worth £29.95 of any ones money.

 

The Best Tasting Note

 As part of the Challenge for Independent Bottlers we ask our guests taking part in the judging to write tasting notes for the whiskies as well as picking their favourites.  At the end of the festival we pick the best tasting notes and the winner receives a bottle of their favourite whisky from the competition.

This year it was won by Ruth Ball and she wins a bottle of Old Malt Cask Speyside 21 Years Old.

  

What is the Best Single Malt to go with a Bacon Roll?

According to the Guests of The Whisky Shop Dufftown during The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 it is Arran Lochranza which has won at 3 festivals in a row now.  Could this be the ultimate companion to a bacon roll?  Please note that the bacon was unsmoked.  There was no sauce.  This is science!

WSD Image Bacon 01

 

 

 

 

 

First Place:

  • Arran Lochranza (£33.50)

Second Place:

  • Glenrothes Vintage Cask (£40.95)

 Glenrothes Vintage ReserveArran Lochranza Reserve


What is the Best Single Malt to go with Haggis?

According to the Guests of The Whisky Shop Dufftown during The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 it is Glen Scotia 15 Years Old which has retained its title from the last festival.  Please note that neeps and tatties where involved but the voting on the pairing was done just with the haggis!

Haggis, neeps and tatties

Haggis, neeps and tatties

First Place:

  • Glen Scotia 15 Years Old (£50.95)

Second Place:

  • Singleton of Dufftown Spey Cascade (£38.95)

Glen Scotia 15Singleton Spey Cascade_edited-1

 

Next Festivals

The first Spirit of Speyside: Distilled festival will be in Elgin from 9 to 11 September.  We will be running the retail shop at the event an we will also have a few drams for you to try. The aims is to get all the Speyside distillers under one roof with our Speyside beer and gins.  It's going to be great.

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival run's from 22 to 26 September this year.  We hope to launch the programme on 1 July with tickets on sale from 8th on our website.  We will have masterclasses and distillery tours as usual.

On 12 of November we are off to Osby in Sweden for an all day tasting with Whiskygastronomerna.  Tickets are available from them right now.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in 2017 will be from 27 April to 1 May.

On the 8th and 9th September 2017 we will be making our return to Maltstock as they can't do with out us apparently.  Tickets will be available from them later in the year. Not sure when as they are very relaxed about these things,

Whisky Tasting: The Renegade Whiskies of Speyside with Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley

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Some people think of Speyside as not just a region but a particular style of whisky.  For this tasting Neil & Joel have sourced some indie bottlings that just don't seem to fit within this general landscape of Speyside.  The whiskies they have already announced for this tasting are insane.  They are including two of the whiskies that they have liberated from the darkest forgotten corners of the industries warehouses - the widely acclaimed Trojan 25 Years Old and their latest release BenRiach 16 Years Old Single Cask plus a 25 Years Old Macallan single cask from the Boutique-y Whisky Company - yes... that's a 25 Years Old Macallan.

The tasting takes place during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival on Monday 2 May at 15:30.  Do not miss this extraordinary tasting.  Book your tickets here.

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