It’s not often that here at The Whisky Shop Dufftown we all agree on how good a whisky is. There’s normally one of us whose opinion differs to the others. However that moment has arrived with the release of Kingsbarns Dream to Dram.
Kingsbarns Distillery has distilled, matured and bottled this single malt from some of the earliest casks it filled. It has been matured in two types of casks then married together: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels and shaved, toasted and re-charred barriques.
Kat was the first to try this and admitted she was very pleasantly surprised by it. Her tasting notes are as follows:
On the nose sharp lemon with malted milk biscuits and vanilla pods
On the taste hoppy, with burnt toffee background and dark chocolate digestive biscuit that's gone soggy from being dunked in coffee.
And the finish almost-but-not-quite medium length, lingers just long enough to warm the mouth.
This week Mike and I tried it and here’s what we thought:
On the nose lemon shortbread, lemon drizzle cake, marzipan and almonds. Sherbet lemons and Franzipan cake.
On the taste lemon meringue pie covered with cinnamon. Pear skins covered in pineapple juice (tinned) with a touch of cider vinegar. There is an underlying smoothness on the first mouth full.
The finish we found to be medium length with the flavours drifting in and out. Pleasantly warming.
So overall, a very drinkable dram and good value for money.
Buried at the back of the Morrison & MacKay warehouse, uncovered as they prepared to leave for their new premises, was found a small quantity of an exceptional whisky. To be bottled as a Celebration of the Cask this Strathmill 1990 was from an ex-Sherry Butt and originally put in to glass in 2015. It is a stonkingly good dram and we at The Whisky Shop Dufftown have agreed its escape plan.
Interested? Intrigued? Here are our tasting notes:
Nose: Garibaldi biscuits. Rich fruit cake. Raisin toffee. Dark treacle and dark cherries. It's all there on the nose.
Taste: Chewy raisin flapjacks. So moreish. Rum & raisin fudge. Malt loaf (not meat loaf of either variety). Bonfire toffee. The complete picture for a well balanced and complex sherry cask whisky.
Finish: Mint humbugs with warming spice. Warm Cointreau and a touch of menthol.
What's the price for this 25 Years Old masterpiece? Just £105. How do I get hold of one? Well here comes the twist. There will be only 60 of these Celebration of the Cask Strathmill's. It will be launched at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2017 but we want the guests that come along to Peter Mackay's tasting at 17:30 on Monday 1 May 2017 to be assured of getting a bottle so it will not go on sale until The Final Drop should there be any left after Peter's tasting.
What's more. Here is the another twist. If you go along to Peter's tasting you will get the whisky for £90 a bottle (£15 off). Limited to one bottle each if needs be to slate demand on the night.
Want to be sure of getting a bottle? Then click here to buy a ticket to Peter's tasting. Next best thing is to come along to The Last Drop. You may even get 10% off. Still cheaper than at Peter's tasting. Shame The Last Drop is sold out. Finally it will be available for £105 from 10am BST on Tuesday 2 May from the shop or from our website.
Here's a little teaser.
For those interested the background is an Ordanance Survey Explorer Select 1 : 25000 scale centred on The Dufftown Whisky Region.
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.
We 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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
The other Adelphi's are:-
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.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown has launched its first Gin - Tenacious
In the beating heart of malt whisky country lies the award winning The Whisky Shop Dufftown. It may come as a surprise therefore to learn that their latest exclusive release is a gin. Managing Director Mike Lord said,We wanted to do something different to add to our exclusive products celebrating our 10th anniversary year. I have been developing my own gin recipe for almost 2 years and the opportunity finally came to get it produced with our friends at Shetland Reel as part of our 10 Year Anniversary. It's Juniper led with citrus notes and sweet gentle spices from Pink and Szechuan peppercorns. It is a bit of a push back against the many floral gins that are out there. It is for people that really like a flavoursome classic gin.
It is a very unusual name for a gin. Mike Lord said,Its our tenth year in business so that is part of the reason for the â€˜ten in Tenacious but the gin coincidently contains 10 botanicals. We have certainly had to be tenacious to make it to ten years so the name seemed appropriate and matched our sense of humour.
The rise of craft gins, particularly in Scotland is phenomenal. Manager of The Whisky Shop Dufftown Vicky Keough, saidWe have taken the opportunity this year to expand our gin selection to over 50 expressions which are mainly Scottish but include some specially selected gins from elsewhere. We did this to reflect the demand from our customers for something different and we love our gins too. We have brought our style of selling whisky, friendly and informative, to gin. We like to help our customers make their next purchase with a conversation about what they like and what they want to explore. We can then help them choose their next purchase and may be even try a sip before they buy.
The journey for Tenacious started with a visit to Edinburgh Gin where at the end of the experience you have the opportunity to make your own gin. Mike says he was very inspired by his creation and spent over a year tweaking the recipe to finalise the perfect version.
With a new gin the producer is expected to say what theperfect pour is - the best way to serve the gin. Mike Lord said,We dont tell you how to drink your whisky. We have moved away from that. Drink it how you would like it. So we are not going to tell you how to drink our gin. We do recommend a good measure of Tenacious, some ice and a decent tonic. Then take it from there.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown was formed in 2006 by Mike Lord. He left a career in financial services in London to follow his passion.
Tenacious Gin is priced at £36.95. The ABV is 47%. The full list of botanicals are: Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Lemon Peel, Nutmeg, Burdock Root, Pink Pepper Corns, Szechuan Pepper Corns and Almond.
Having just received the new Ailsa Bay in today we decided to have our first team tasting session. Here are our tasting notes:
Vicky - Soft peat turning to freshly laid tarmac warming in the sun. Cardamon pods appear once it warms up.
Kat - Heather and damp moss. Rusty fence posts and used cooking oil.
Mike - Sweet gentle smoke, smouldering embers with a touch of solder. Singed peach skins becoming cinder toffee and hot dark treacle, caramel and well baked potato chips (scraps maybe)
Vicky - Sweet citrus peatiness leading to white pepper. The tarmac stays but in the background.
Kat - Soft toffee fudge bars, creamy with rich meat gravy finished with smoky leather. Sticky toffee pudding with a facefull of peat.
Mike - Sweet ash and coffee grinds.Becomes more toffee with time. Cinnamon, star anise and hot grill pan.
Mike - Cardamon and white pepper.
This is peatier than the ppm(s) would suggest but that is probably due to its youth which does show. Mike and Vicky were not bowled over but expectations were high. The youngest member of the team, Kat, by over 20 years (dam her) really liked it and the packaging so it is appealing to the market it is aimed at.
Just a few days a go we had our main party to celebrate 10 years in business. During the dinner I gave a speech. No surprise there. It was not a long speech. Quite a bit of surprise there. I spoke about what I had learned over the last 10 years. One thing I mentioned is that I am not a good businessman. This was no surprise to most people in the audience as they had met me before. I listed a number of reasons why this was the case: too honest; too principled; too lots of things. One of them is getting confused.
Today we took delivery of the bulk of our exclusive Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Craigellachie 2006 bottled to celebrate our 10th anniversary. The invoice duly arrived as well. I have got the price wrong. We are currently selling it at £45 until the end of February. This is a discount on the price I thought it was going to be sold at afterwards of £49.95. Well here is the thing. It will actually be on sale after this month at £54.95. I could sneak the price up now but I am true to my word so I would suggest filling your boots now. Even if you are coming to The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 and our "Last Drop Party" you wont be able to buy it cheaper! You can always buy on-line and select to collect from the shop. We will be happy to hold your money and your whisky until the festival or sooner if you are coming to Dufftown before then. Of course, we also ship round the world!
Buy thus whisky now before my wife finds out what I have done and puts the price up!!!!
Last week we received some fantastic Cognacs courtesy of The Great Whisky Company, which I think will make perfect after Christmas dinner drinks. Just imagine you are sitting by the fire, belly full of turkey (or nut roast for the vegetarians amongst us), happy and content, with a very fine cognac in your hand. What a perfect way to finish the day. All these are at 40% abv and in 20cl bottles. Great value for money they would also make great stocking fillers.
The first one is Chateau DeTriac Reserve De La Famille. This is what I would call their starter cognac. On the nose I initially got melted caramac bars, sweet sherry and dark morello cherries steeped in well aged rum and Demerara sugar. Following on was fresh Simnel cake covered in apricot conserve and marzipan.
The palate brought sweet caramel, burnt sugar (still Demerara) and baked oranges. This developed into well baked fruit cake with cherries and candied peel. A great way to start the evening.
The next one I tried was Tiffon Tres Vieille Reserve Fins Bois. This one was a tad deeper and richer than the first and is 60 to 70 years old. The nose gave up an old mahogany chest of drawers, fig pudding and steamed Christmas pudding. As strange as it may sound it had a very â€˜deep nose.
The palate was rich and warming with baked figs in syrup, and spicy marmalade on a fresh, warm panettone.
The final cognac is Tiffon Tres Vieille Reserve Grande Champagne aged between 80 to 100 years old and is definitely my favourite. The nose was silky smooth and rich with raisins and sultanas, dark plums and cherries. A sumptuous black forest gateaux.
The palate gives you an initial firey hit but this quickly fades out to smooth Galaxy chocolate (other chocolates are available) with a sprinkling of light spices on top. It caresses the mouth and as it travels down feels luxurious and definitely moreish. Warm nights on a tropical beach.
So as you may be able to tell I am a big fan of these new Cognacs, especially as I am not usually a cognac drinker but these will definitely be at my Christmas table for while the kids are doing the washing up!
We are going to show you some of the entries to our cocktail competition. There has been much clamouring for more detail on the winning entry as voted for by a panel of independent judges.
"Darth Mixer" by Katherine Keough-Jack
"Why this works for me - it not only looks fab, its a simple cocktail to make for a novice like myself. It includes two great whiskies which have worked better than expected together. Darth Mixer is fun and quick enough to make for those impromptu get-togethers that occur! The beginning of this cocktail has a taste of the 15 Years Old Glenfarclas, followed by a tropical storm then alcoholic tasting pineapples. Finished with a smooth but eye opening zing."
4measures pineapple juice
1 measure orange juice
2 measures Glenfarclas 15 Years Old
1 measure Glenfarclas 105
2 measures red Grenadine syrup (more if required to make it blood red)
2tbsp lime juice
2tbsp lemon juice
Slice of lemon
Sprinkle of sugar
Gently stir the pineapple juice, orange juice and Glenfarclas 15 Years Old together and strain into the cocktail mixer, removing any bits from the juice
Add the lemon and lime juice and shake (not stir!)
Add in the Glenfarclas 105 to the mixer and gently stir til your heart's content (and its all mixed together)
Add the Grenadine, 2 measures should be enough but more should be added if needed to create a blood red colour.
Shake well to spread evenly throughout.
Decorate the glass with a wedge of lemon and lime, and sprinkle of sugar around the edge.
Here is a round up of what's happening at The WSD.
We have had many new releases coming in to stock over the last month or two. Picking out just a few....
We have had a great new set of malts in from Wemyss. This is the usual Wemyss gig where they have a phrase that sums up the flavour profile of the whisky. You get the idea. Click the links for more detailed tasting notes. Just in case you have a brain like mine "Sea Haar Bound" is no more than what it it says on the tin (or in this case bottle). It's just stuck in the fog but more romantically phrased. It is nothing more sinister. If you have met the ladies at Wemyss then what else could it be? Having a soft spot for old grain then the "Toffee Apple Crisp" really appealed to us and the Glen Scotia is like no other.
Finding Imperial's is like finding the tooth from a hen who has been bare-back riding a Unicorn so this Imperial 1996 from Gordon & MacPhail is a real treat. It's a delicate sherry cask whisky with possibly more bourbon cask characteristics on the palate. Warning! The supply is very limited.
We have also obtained a small quantity of bargain priced single malts both from Provenance. It's always a good feeling to price a single malt below £30.
More of our new items can be seen by clicking here
Speyside Spirit Cocktail Competition
There is still time to enter our Cocktail competition to find the best cocktail featuring a Speyside Spirit. There's a great prize as well. Closing date is 1 September. Click here for the full details.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival
Tickets are still available for some events at our festival which runs from 24 to 28 September this year. You can see the full programme by clicking here.
It is rumoured that other festivals are available in the coming months but none are as fun and exciting as ours. But if you can't get to Dufftown at the end of September that why not consider relaxing a Maltstock. Go along to the quiz. It will be shorter and far easier than the last 3 years.
*** I would like to personally apologise for the mistake that was in the paragraph above. I of course meant to say Maltsock, *****