..Category Archives: New Whisky Releases and Bottlings

New single malts and other whisky at The Whisky Shop Dufftown

A Quick Look at 2 Benromachs

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Benromach 10 Years Old 100 Proof

This is a relatively new addition to the Benromach range.  They have opted for 57% ABV rather than cask strength version.  I guess this will lead to a more consistent product but it is more than a higher ABV version of the 10 Years Old in my opinion.  I really liked this whisky and it is well worth the extra money over the 10 years old.

Nose:  Initially there's treacle and demarara sugar sweetness backed by freshly baked biscuits, sponge cake crust and apples cooked so they have caramelised.

Taste:  Mouth coating.  Then there is a punch of wood smoke all the time getting sweeter.  There is also a saltiness like crisps.  A few drops of water boosts the impact.

Finish:  Long and very lingering smokiness.  Sweet.  Cracked pepper and chili spice add to the invigorating finish.

Benromach 10 100 Proof

Benromach Organic

Now in the new style Benromach packaging but also for my money a different liquid.  We used to fool people with this one as being from a sherry cask which it certainly was not.  I really do not think you could do that now.   A good whisk but I was disappointed with the apparent change in the liquid.  I probably need to retry this one.

Nose:  Boiled sweets and pear drops.  Peach skins and barley sugar.

Taste:  Sweet, spicy and light smoke.  There's also something like a dab of blackcurrant jam.  Interestingly the smoke gets more pronounced with time.

Finish:  Sugar water and golden syrup.

Benromach Organic 2014

Gordon & MacPhail Ultra Collection

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Four extremely rare Speyside whiskies chosen jointly by members of the third and fourth generations of the Urquhart family have been released under the prestigious Private Collection Ultra by Gordon & MacPhail and 1 of each is available from The Whisky Shop Dufftown priced at £6250.  They all have the same bottle number if the set is required.

The whiskies are:

• A 61 Year Old Linkwood, the oldest ever released, from cask No.279, selected by retired director Rosemary Rankin and her son Stephen Rankin, Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of UK Sales,

Private Collection Linkwood 1953









• A 62 Year Old Glenlivet initially matured in first fill Hogshead before being transferred to another first fill Hogshead in January 1969, selected by retired Managing Director Ian Urquhart, his son Neil, Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Logistics and Facilities, and daughter Jenny Houldsworth, who is a Non-Executive Director of the company.

Private Collection Glenlivet 1952









• A 63 Year Old Mortlach from the company’s last cask of 1951 Mortlach, selected by retired Joint Managing Director David Urquhart and his twin sons Stuart, Gordon & MacPhail’s Whisky Supply Manager, and Richard, Export Sales Executive

Private Collection Mortlach 1951









• A 57 Year Old Strathisla, the oldest ever released, selected by current Managing Director Michael Urquhart and his daughter Laura Urquhart, Gordon & MacPhail Brand Manager.

Private Collection Strathisla 1957








The four whiskies in the Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Ultra are presented in beautifully-designed decanters, individually numbered, with the whisky details engraved and in-filled with silver colour. A silver-plated neck collar and stopper adorns each decanter.

Wood, metal and glass are combined in a striking and innovative way to protect and display the whisky; the decanter nestles in a glass-bottomed pack, revealing a hint of the whisky colour.

Private Collection Ultra-9


A series of four books by whisky writer Jonny McCormick, one for each of the whiskies, tells the story of Gordon & MacPhail and the whisky and regales the reader with tales of origins and ancestry, of people, place and belonging.

Private Collection Ultra-11

New Releases - Adelphi

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We now have in the latest releases from Adelphi.  As usual they are bunch of crackers.  These include the whiskies featured in the Adelphi tasting during The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival.

Unfortunately these whiskies were shipped without the usual tasting notes so where we can we have included our own (my) tasting notes.  These were taken during The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn festival and were really only for my use never to see the light of day so they are not up to our (my) usual standard and may have been influenced by The Gang on my table at the tasting.  They are included anyway.

Click on the name of each whisky to see more details.

Adelphi Linkwood 1990 24 Years Old

This is a sparkling Linkwood from a refill cask which allows so much character to come through.

Adelphi Linkwood 1990 24









Adelphi Bladnoch 1990 24 Years Old

Unfortunately we have not been able to taste this whisky but we are assured it is a  top notch bourbon cask Bladnoch.

Adelphi Bladnoch 1990 24









Adelphi Longmorn 1992 22 Years Old

A real sophisticated and healthy breakfast bar buffet of flavours.  An exceptional Longmorn.

Adelphi Longmorn 1992 22









Adelphi Glenrothes 2007 7 Years Old

Do not focus on the age here.  For those that have had previous young Adelphi Glenrothes you will no why.  This is a full on sherry cask whisky.  It has real deep chocolate notes may be even rum and raisin ice cream.

Adelphi Glenrothes 2007 7









Adelphi Fascadale Batch 7 Highland Park 14 Years Old

This Adelphi describe this Highland Park as being a breather on the hill with lemon drizzle cake, Red Pippin apples, creamy highland fudge and peat bogs,  A little smoke to taste with lingering fresh apple skins.  For me it brought to mind lemon curd tarts on the palate and ashy mint imperials on the palate.  A cracking Highland Park.

Adelphi Fascadale Batch 7 Highland Park 14









Adelphi Ardmore 2000 14 Years Old

Lots of barley and nuts on this Ardmore and the consensus of The Gang was also Banana Nesquick and their knowledge of such things is unquestionable.

Adelphi Ardmore 2000 14









Adelphi Glen Garioach 1993 21 Years Old

Probably the star of the tasting at The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival this is already fast selling out.  We have Adelphi's tasting note from this one so take a look.  I will just add the combined summary of The Gang which was chocolate ragu.  Trust me.  It's great.

Adelphi Glen Garioch 1992 21









By Mike Lord

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2014 - The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers

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Again this year during the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival we laid down the challenge to find the best independent bottling in 2 categories: Speyside; and the Rest of Whisky.  The second category encompasses any type of whisky that cannot be defined as Speyside.

This was a fascinating competition this year with old whiskies up against some quite youthful ones with really surprising results.

Remember all of the judging was done by guests to the festival.

Rest of Whisky

The entries were:

Adelphi Bunnahabhain 89, cask 5788
Berry Bros & Rudd Bunnahabhain 2006
Old Particular Clynelish 17
Carn Mor Ben Nevis
Spice King 12 Years Old

In third place - Berry Bros & Rudd Bunnahabhain 2006

The runner up was - Old Particular Clynelish 17 Years Old

And the winner was - Spice King 12 Years Old



The entries were:

Adelphi Mortlach 87, cask 3103
Berry Bros & Rudd Longmorn 1992 46%
Provenance Aultmore 5 Years Old
Connoisseurs Choice Benrinnes 1997
Old Malt Cask Linkwood 16 Years Old
Carn Mor Mortlach 1998

In third place was - Berry Bros & Rudd Longmorn 1992 46%

The runner up was - Adelphi Mortlach 87, cask 3103

And the winner was - Provenance Aultmore 5 Years Old


The voting was very tight but a very young whisky just pipped on older one in the Speyside category and a blend won the rest of whisky.  As ever there was a whisky for everyone and every whisky had someone.

Thank you to all who took part.

Winner of the best tasting note to follow.

Spice King 12Provenance Aultmore 5

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Caol Ila 2004 9 Years Old Exclusive from G&M

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Our latest exclusive bottling arrived in the shop yesterday.  It's a big bang of a big dram!   This is a strong robust smoky Caol Ila.  What we have here is Islay's answer to a'bunadh!  Well ours anyway.

It's our first single cask bottling of a peated Islay and we are delighted with it.  We are also delighted that this will be our festival bottling - having an Islay for the Spirit of Speyside festival is what we are about - excitement and fun,  And before the Speyside police come knocking on the shop door it will be joined soon by a cracking Speysider.  More info to follow,

This is our 14th exclusive bottling and the search for it has not been easy.  We are absolutely fascinated by the way it changes with water so for once we are suggesting that you definitely try this whisky with and with out water.  It also came in at over 60% ABV. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Well actually don't.  That would be dangerous.

To find out more and hopefully buy a bottle click here.  We hope you enjoy it.  

WSD Caol Ila 2004

Family Cask Glenfarclas 1991 Exclusive to The Whisky Shop Dufftown

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We are very excited to announce our next exclusive bottling which we are doing in conjunction with our good friends at Glenfarclas.  This first fill ex-Oloroso sherry cask matured whisky was distilled on 19 June 1991 and was bottled today or will be bottled on Monday - yes, that's how on the ball we are with this launch.   It forms part of the new family cask range from Glenfarclas so it is presented in a wooden box.  A bit like this:

Glenfarclas Family Cask Collection

It should be landing in Dufftown shortly and we will be dispatching it from 4 April so you can have it for Easter to go with your chocolate.

This is so new we have not got any bottle pictures yet but here are some images of the labels which includes my most pretentious tasting note so far.  For that reason alone it must be worth spending £199.95?  In case you are in any way dithering we are offering the first 50 bottles pre-ordered at a reduced price of £179.95.  These prices are inclusive of VAT.  Click here to reserve your bottle.


Remember. if you are coming to The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival you can collect your bottle - just select collect from the shop when you check out and you will not be charged shipping!!

WSD Glenfarclas 1991 Front LabelWSD Glenfarclas 1991 Back Label

By Mike Lord


New Whiskies from the Scottish Liqueur Center

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Here are 4 cracking new releases from the Scottish Liqueur Center, 3 from the Strictly Limited Carn Mor range and 1 from the Celebration of the Cask.


Celebration of the Cask Glen Grant 1992

This Carn Mor Glen Grant was distilled on 22nd October 1992 and bottled on 10th February 2014 from an ex bourbon barrel which produced 205 bottles.

This is a stand out aged Glen Grant from a Bourbon cask.

Tasting Note

WSD - The nose fires straight in with tropical fruits.  Mango and lemon bon bons also feature.   Tropical fruit concentrate and Midori.  Fruit Salad sweets for those that remember them.
WSD - Lots of different fruit concentrates come through in waves like a waterfall of different J2O flavours with a touch of lava to get you warmed up.


Strictly Limited Braes of Glenlivet 1994 19 Years Old

his Carn Mor Braes of Glenlivet 19 Years Old from the Scottish Liqueur Centre was distilled in 1994 and bottled in 2014 from 2 bourbon barrels.  It is a release of only 486 bottles.

There are a few BofG bottlings around at the moment and they are all good.  This one certainly doesn't disappoint either.

Tasting Notes

WSD - The nose starts with peppery icing sugar sweetness.  Vanilla essence.  Quite syrupy in the mouth.  And then there is everything you have ever had on the top of a muffin or a fairy cake.  All that candy sweet goodness.  Water creates a new twist and brings out banana fudge.
WSD - Cointreau, orange bitters (may be Lochan Ora) and Armagnac.  Marmalade with hazelnuts.  Water brings out a fab pork pie crust note.


Strictly Limited Glentauchers 1996 18 Years Old

This Carn Mor Glentauchers 18 Years Old from the Scottish Liqueur Centre was distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2014 from 2 bourbon barrels.  It is a release of only 443 bottles.

A great example of a Bourbon matured Glentauchers.  This one is all about baked oranges.

Tasting Notes

WSD - A heavy dark brown sugar comes through first.  You can almost smell the granules.  Then comes cherry liqueur over baked flapjacks with the grease proof paper still round them.
WSD - Peach syrup with a nice woody edge.  Mandarins on baked cheese cake.  Cooked blood oranges and peppered orange Starburst.


Strictly Limited Inchgower 2000 13 Years Old

This Carn Mor Inchgower from Scottish Liqueur Centre was distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2014 from 2 bourbon barrels.  It is a release of only 466 bottles.

More fruit cocktail and spicy than the distilleries own bottling.  This is a real desert whisky.

Tasting Notes

WSD - The nose starts with light brown sugar sweetness (muscavdo) with an enticing black pepper edge.  Then comes lots of tinned fruit - pineapple, peaches.  A real fruit cocktail syrup concoction.
WSD - Lemon pepper and more fruit cocktail syrup on the palate.  Water adds the juice of mandarin oranges may be in a sorbet.

Carn Mor Group 20140312By Mike Lord


New Releases from Wemyss Vintage Malts

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By Mike Lord

The shelves are beginning to groan with all the new releases coming in and some right crackers have arrived in from Wemyss.

Wemyss Blair Athol 1986 Autumn Berries

Strawberry Starbusts and orange peel on the nose.  Very citrus.  For me distinct cognac notes and Grand Marnier on the palate.  Not my usual drink but I think that's what it is.

Wemyss Laphroaig 1998 Beach Bonfires

An outstanding Laphroaig for me.   Unusually sweet on the palate at first but has great balls of smoke from burning paper with a great citrus edge.

Wemyss Caol Ila 1996 Lemon Smoke

Very much starts with all that singed icing sugar I expect from Caol Ila but then has buckets (fruit baskets?) full of lemon and orange juice.  There's all great caramelised sugar which may have just started to catch in the pan and I definitely got Mars bars.

Wemyss Aultmore 1982 Sugared Almonds

For me lots more nuts that just almonds but there all definitely sugar coated.  And my Dad's Walnut cake.

Wemyss Tormore 1988 White Chocolate Torte

I didn't really get the chocolate on this but I did get lots of classic old ex-bourbon cask matured whisky notes.  Loads of melon, pastry and marzipan.  Also quite an unusual taste for me to identify which I in the end decided was the full on glass of fruit salad Pimms.

Johnnie Walker New Releases - Gold Reserve and Plantinum

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By Mike Lord

I was lucky enough to try the 2 new Johnnie Walker releases side by side last night.  Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum.  Not what you might think at a fantasy Diageo tasting  with wall-to-wall corporate entertaining but in my front room.  My assessment - these are damn good whiskies.

I am not a blend fan.  This is not a snobbery thing but I don't, generally, like the taste of young grain whisky which is what I think blights Johnnie Walker Red for me.  There is nothing like that in these two whiskies.  I can see the Johnnie Walker heritage more in the Gold but where did all this tropical fruit and honey come from which is prominent in both of them?  May be that statement from a few years ago that Diageo would become self-sufficient in the whiskies for its blends has disappeared in to the ether for good reason.

Johnnie Walker Green and Johnnie Walker Gold (not Gold Reserve) have been withdrawn.  These 2 whiskies are "replacing" them but I think they are very different in what they deliver to their predecessors.

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve:

On the nose this has spiced lemons, macerated peaches and wooden benches.  There is lots of class in the nose.  The taste has more peaches and mango all part of fruit cocktail.  Then raisins in the cocktail syrup and a nice bitter wood note to the finish.

Johnnie Walker Platinum:

The nose has peaches and mango with deep wood notes.  Melon balls and fruit cocktail. The taste has lovely spiced raisins in syrup with a nice touch of smoke.

The Platinum is my pick of the pair but you cannot argue with the price of the Gold.  I might argue about the packaging on the Platinum which is a bit crazy but the bottle is beautiful.  It would grace any bar and I think I will be collecting the empties for my flavoured oils.  But didn't I see that bottle in Battlestar Galactica?

These are great whiskies and I challenge any malt snob to say anything different - please direct those challenges to Diageo Plc, Lakeside Drive,Park Royal, London.
Thanks to David Sinclair for the samples.

The views in this article are my own and I freely admit to being insane.

The WSD Challenge for Independent Bottlers 2012

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This is the first in a series of blogs on the festival.

During this year’s festival we again held a challenge for Independent Bottlers to find the best independent bottling of Speyside whisky and the best from the rest of whisky. The competition was hotly contended with entries from Adelphi, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Cadenheads’s, Douglas Laing, Duncan Taylor, Gordon & MacPhail, The Scottish Liqueur Centre (Carn Mor) and Wemyss. Both Berry Brothers and the SLC were new to the competition this year.

In both categories we had whiskies from the same distillery but were very different highlighting the craft of the Independent Bottler in selecting unusual casks from that distillery. And again this year almost all of the whiskies had people voting for them as their favourite showing that there is a whisky for everyone and every whisky has someone – the flavours in whisky are as broad as people’s palettes are different.

This year, luckily for once, we had very clear winners in each category!

Speyside Category

We had 7 entries in the Speyside category:

Adelphi Glenrothes 1969 42 Years Old

Benromach 2001 Cask Strength entered by Gordon & MacPhail

Berry’s Glenlivet 1973 38 Years Old

Douglas Laing Old & Rare Glen Grant 1985 25 Years Old

Duncan Taylor Octave Linkwood 1991 20 Years Old

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 25 Years Old

Wemyss Cragganmore 1989 Lemon Grove

The results are:

Third – Berry’s Glenlivet 1973 38 Years Old

Second – Douglas Laing Old & Rare Glen Grant 1985 25 Years Old

First – Adelphi Glenrothes 1969 42 Years Old

Antonia Bruce of Adelphi

Rest of Whisky

We had a whopping 10 entries in the Rest of Whisky Category:

Adelphi Caol Ila 1983 28 Years Old

Amrut Fusion entered by Gordon & MacPhail

Berry's Bunnahabhain 1990 21 Years Old

Cadenhead's Royal Brackla 1992 19 Years Old

Carn Mor Bowmore 1996 16 Years Old entered by The SLC

Carn Mor Highland Park 1994 17 Years Old entered by The SLC

Douglas Laing Old & Rare Caol Ila 1980 30 Years Old

Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Cameronbridge 1979 32 Years Old

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla 1995

Wemyss Bunnahabhain 1991 "Honey Spice"

The results are:

Third – Douglas Laing Rare Old Caol Ila 1980 30 Years Old

Second – Wemyss Bunnahabhain 1991 “Honey Spice”

First – Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Cameronbridge 1979 32 Years Old

Mark Watt of Duncan Taylor

Congratulations to Adelphi and Duncan Taylor!!!

Best Under 18's

In previous years we have also given an award to the best whisky under 18 years old. We only had one entry in the Speyside category that met this criteria and unfortunately this was not an independent bottling so did not qualify but was very well received in the under 18’s as was the Carn Mor Highland Park and Carn Mor Bowmore who share the prize for the under 18’s in the Rest of Scotland category.

The Owner's Award

After analysing the voting and comparing that to price to obtain a measure of popularity for price The Owner’s Award (that’s me) goes to the Octave Linkwood as the best buy in the competition with a Crichton coefficient of 0.57. And a very special mention for the Berry’s Glenlivet as I am torn between this and the Adelphi Glenrothes for my personal favourites.

Best Tasting Note

As usual an independent panel reviewed the tasting notes to find the best ones. I stress they were independent and I had nothing to do with it. The winning tasting notes were from Teun van Wel and we will be featuring his tasting note in a later post. Well done to Teun who won his favourite whisky which was the Berry’s Glenlivet. The runner up yet again was Ed Velthuizen. Ed has been either winner or runner up so many times we have decided to appoint him judge for the best tasting note going forward.

Thank You

A big thank you to all the companies that entered and the hundreds of festival goers who took part. This remains one of the few competitions where all of the judging is done by members of the public!!

The Autumn Speyside Festival

For anyone coming to the Autumn Speyside Festival and wishing to attend our events at The WSD Autumn Festival 2012 then it is more than likely than tickets for our events will only be available from our website.  There will be no change for the Spirit of Speyside Festival 2013.