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Sunday 28 January 2024


 The Glenlivet’s 12 Year Old 200 Year
Anniversary Edition

“Scotch Whisky is a mystery, a magic of locality. The foreigner may import not only Scottish barley but Scottish water, Scottish distilling apparatus, and set a Scotsman to work on them, expecting wonders, but the glory evaporates: it will not travel.”
H. Charles Craig, The Scotch Whisky Industry Record, 1994

In eras past, more specifically 1630-1830, ordinary Highland Scots who distilled whisky were jailed arbitrarily, taxed unfairly and relentlessly hunted down by excise agents of the government. Many courageous Highland Scots, in the face of the unjust legislation by Parliament, sacrificed livelihoods and homes in the turmoil. A few even perished defending the right to make it. Nonetheless, Scotch whisky, both as a local libation and a national industry, flourished inside and outside the law. Because of Scotch whisky’s astounding international market success against the seemingly insurmountable odds of over-taxation, wars, Prohibition, fierce whisky industry competition, and temperance, Scotland has more than survived. It has prevailed while somehow miraculously retaining its special, innate national aura.

The 1823 Excise Act triggered an explosion in the whisky industry. After more than a century evading the King’s justice, the pioneers of Scottish distilling were bought the appropriate license to ply their trade. The required fee of £10, and the more agreeable rate of tax than ever before (of 2 shillings 3 pence per gallon), was enough to lure scores of whisky makers to the right side of the law. Once paid up, they could secure investment, expand operations and plan for the future. Among the first to obtain a licence in early 1824 was a tacksman named George Smith from Upper Drummin in the Livet valley – the Glen Livet, from Gleann-liobh-aite in Gaelic, “valley of the smooth flowing one.” His distillery was set up that year and in January 1825, George’s new distillery at Upper Drumin commenced rolling out The Glenivet whisky.

Typically, a Highlands tacksman leased scores of acres of arable tracts of land directly from the landlord and then sublet to lesser tenants the sections of the parcel that he and his own family didn’t farm or use for grazing land. George Smith had taken farmland from the Duke of Gordon, who, at the seat of power in London, would ultimately push for tax reforms and legalising distillation for a modest fee.

As a legitimate businessman, Smith became a leader in the emergent industry of Highland distilling. Even in those early days his spirit had a serious reputation among drinkers, who prized its fruity and elegant character. At this time there were many distilleries trading under the name ‘Glenlivet’ – the term having become a byword for illicit whisky from Speyside over the years. But in the 1880s the Smith family won a legal battle for their whisky to be recognised as the definite article: ‘The’ Glenlivet.

This celebratory single malt comprises 100% American Oak Matured first fill casks, hand-picked to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Glenlivet. This 12 Year Old Special Edition is presented at 43% ABV in honour of The Glenlivet distillery's 200th Year Anniversary. A unique take on their classic 12 Year Old, this Glenlivet whisky is a celebration of Glenlivet’s journey forever forwards.

As they initiated celebration of their exciting 200-year milestone, they invited artists to join them in breaking tradition to craft a commemorative Limited-Edition design of The Glenlivet. They partnered with an online crowdsourcing platform to source these independent artists from around the world. Across 3 weeks over 400 designs were submitted from artists in 42 different countries. The winner came from Bogota, Colombia showcasing a unique illustrative style with a design that mapped the 200 years of The Glenlivet.

A truly limited edition; this is an important whisky to collect for any fan of The Glenlivet.

COLOUR: Bright, vibrant gold.

NOSE: Fresh tangerines, marmalade, pineapple slices, hazelnut praline, sweet vanilla, crème caramel and subtle floral notes.

PALATE: Ripe, juicy pear, sweet orange marmalade, coconut shavings, creamy vanilla and toasted almonds.

FINISH: Silky and sweet with enduring sweet oakiness.


Thursday 25 January 2024


Bowmore Islay 2024 : Leap to Greatness

Ushering in the Year of the Dragon, Leo Burnett Singapore and Beam Suntory present a new, special edition packaging for Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, featuring a determined carp and its  transformation into a powerful dragon.

Bowmore is located in the centre of Islay and occupies a central role in the island’s whiskies. The distillery has retained its own floor maltings which account for 40% of its needs and when mixed with malt from the mainland results in a medium peated spirit.  Its smoke, reminiscent of beach bonfires, mingles with a distinctly saline note, flowers, cereal, citrus and underneath a touch of tropical fruit. It is this character which, when matured in refill casks for a long period of time, becomes the primary aroma, the peat seemingly disappearing completely.

A significant percentage of the make is aged in ex-Sherry butts which take Bowmore off in another direction – one of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, citrus and smoke. The extensive range picks and chooses between these extremes. A significant percentage of the distillery’s whisky is matured on the island, with the distillery’s No.1 Vaults being held to have the most extraordinary microclimate. This chill, damp environment – the vault is below the level of Loch Indaal and one wall makes up the town’s sea wall – is seen as ideal for long-term maturation.

For this Year of the Dragon 2024 limited edition packaging, Bowmore tells us the story of its journey to greatness through a legend deeply embedded in Chinese culture. Bowmore is a Scottish brand that is less known in Asia. However, there are parallels between the Chinese legend and Bowmore’s history, where a shared lesson emerges: that greatness belongs to those who persevere. The story of transformation is heightened by the pack mechanism itself which, when opened, reveals the majestic dragon at end of the journey, alongside Bowmore’s own triumphant creation: a Single Malt Scotch created over centuries of refinement.

With a rich legacy spanning over 240 years, Bowmore’s resilience and determination have been pivotal in shaping the distillery’s history. Even today, Bowmore remains dedicated to the art of handcrafted whisky, faithfully passing down the traditions, skills, and expertise forged in 1779 during the earliest days of Scotch whisky.

To capture this spirit of resilience, Leo Burnett Singapore found inspiration in an old Chinese proverb: “鲤鱼龙门 (The carp has leapt through the Dragon’s Gate).

The proverb tells of a humble carp’s journey to conquer the peak of a raging waterfall. Braving a turbulent journey, with waves cascading from above, the carp ultimately prevails in a final, triumphant leap at the peak, that miraculously transforms it into a majestic dragon – underscoring the enduring truth that only those who persevere can attain greatness.


Singaporean illustrator Kenn Lam captures the moment of the carp’s transformation into a triumphant dragon, revealed as the package glides open to reveal the Bowmore Single Malt nestled inside.

On the back of the box, an original spring couplet (a two-line poem traditionally written during Lunar New Year) tells the story of the carp and the dragon, written in hand-drawn, contemporary Chinese calligraphy.

The 2024 special edition packaging for the Lunar New Year features the Core 15-Year-Old bottle (available in Canada only), and an exclusive 18-Year-Old bottle (available exclusively in travel retail doors in  China, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Macau, among others). The pack is currently available for purchase, leading up to the Lunar New Year.

The 2023 special edition packaging was recently awarded the Bronze award for illustration by World Brand Design Society, and earned itself a shortlist at New York Festivals Advertising Awards, and several metals at other notable award shows.


Monday 22 January 2024


 The Famous Grouse Limited Edition
IN CelebratION OF 15 Years With RSPB

The Famous Grouse, Scotland’s No.1 whisky for over 40 years, has unveiled its limited-edition bottle design in celebration of the remarkable 15-year collaboration between The Famous Grouse and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Starting in 2008, the partnership with the RSPB has helped to plant 150,000 trees, improve 85,000 acres of land and, most importantly, create new homes for grouse, Scotland’s National Bird.

The limited-edition wrap has been designed by Edinburgh-based artist and animator Nuria Boj, whose works combine dense, highly detailed compositions with vibrant colours, dimension and movement. Taking inspiration from the iconic illustration by Phillipa Gloag, daughter of The Famous Grouse founder Matthew Gloag who drew the very first Grouse-named Gilbert- which adorns every bottle to this day, Boj has re-imagined the bottle design in her signature vibrant style whilst still incorporating The Famous Grouse logo, the landscape from Abernethy (home of the Grouse) and Gilbert, who features on every bottle.

For 15 years, The Famous Grouse has partnered with the RSPB to protect grouse habitats all over the UK. This limited-edition release tells a story of shared values, environmental stewardship, and a dedication to protecting our feathered friends, but most hunted bird.

Commemorating the commitment to wildlife conservation, the back label proudly displays the RSPB logo alongside a heartfelt copy underlining the 15-year collaboration. It also features a QR code offering an interactive experience for drinkers to learn more about The Famous Grouse-RSPB partnership. By scanning the code, enthusiasts can delve into the rich history and shared initiatives that have marked this decade-and-a-half-long commitment.

The bottle marks the first limited-edition wrap created with the RSPB and artist collaboration for the brand as The Famous Grouse seeks to warm the hearts of existing consumers while recruiting new consumers into the category. This is further supported with the new Berry Forager serve suggestion, inspired by the Scottish countryside. Consumers can visit their site to find out more about the RSPB partnership, Nuria Boj, and the sleeve recycling recommendations.

The collaboration between the RSPB and The Famous Grouse is one that marks 15 years of shared dedication to wildlife conservation in Scotland. Launching this limited-edition bottle commemorates a truly momentous milestone aimed at captivating the interest of whisky and wildlife enthusiasts alike and show pride in contributing to the ongoing support for a worthy cause held close to their hearts.

RSPB has worked with The Famous Grouse for over 15 years to protect species and habitats across the UK. This partnership focusses on restoring nature in the heart of the Cairngorms from the forest floor to the moorland tops and will benefit a wide range of wildlife including Black Grouse, Capercaillie and invertebrates. They hope to continue working together to protect Scotland’s most important species and habitats.


Each year 43 million bottles of The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky are enjoyed in no less than 94 global markets. Edrington's Annual Report for 2022-23 shows the brand at the No.1 spot in spirits sold online across all spirit categories in Scotland. But what is it that makes The Famous Grouse so popular? It is the story of six generations of Gloags, all named Matthew!


Matthew Joseph Gloag

Matthew Gloag I


Matthew William Gloag

Matthew Gloag II


Matthew Robert Gloag

Matthew Gloag III


Matthew William Gloag

Matthew Gloag IV


Matthew Frederick Gloag

Matthew Gloag V


Matthew Irving Gloag

Matthew Gloag VI


In 1770, Joseph Gloag set up business as a roving Warehouse Goods Carrier, dealing with the transfer of imported duty-paid goods like wine and rare groceries from outside Scotland to dealers, shopkeepers and grocers in Perth, the county town of Perthshire. His eldest son, Matthew, was born in 1797. At the age of 18 in 1815, he was employed for a minimum of 20 years as the official manager of the Sheriff Clerk’s cellar that was used to stock and then sell off or auction seized, impounded, confiscated and expropriated liquor, mainly whisky, gin and illicit hooch.

In 1817, he married Margaret Brown, daughter of John Brown, a mason, living in a first floor self-owned flat at 22 Athole (Atholl) Street, above a grocery run by one Peter McRorie since 1807 and serviced by 'dad' Gloag. McRorie died in 1824 and his store was bought by Brown, but run by Margaret Brown Gloag. She added a winery to her grocery in 1831 and was helped in the latter trade by her husband. Matthew joined the grocery/ winery in 1835 and started to trade in blended malt whiskies. Both he and his son, also a Mathew sold only blended malts, mainly those bought from Glenlivet and Talisker.

When Matthew Gloag I died in 1860 it was found that he had little stock of malted whisky in his cellar. He did have, however, copious quantities of grain whiskies and the more expensive than whisky Very Old Rum. His most expensive alcohol was Pale 1848 Cognac. An unenterprising Mathew Gloag II preferred status quo and refused to enter the home-blending business, even though his contemporaries like Walker, Usher, Ballantine, Teacher and the Chivas Brothers were raking in money hand over fist. He, however, invested profits in the North British Grain distillery.

When this Mathew died in 1896, his son, yet another Matthew, entered the home- grown blending business with his first blended Scotch, the 5 YO Brig o’ Perth, ABV ~65%. He followed his first launch with a number of other whiskies in quick succession over three years, bracketed under Gloag's Perth Whiskies, including the 7 YO The Famous "Grouse" Blend at 40 shillings a dozen quart bottles (1.132L). Gloag’s "Grouse" Brand Whisky, launched in 1897 would soon become The Grouse, a Blended Malt directed at the blue-blooded who came annually to Scotland to shoot grouse from Aug 12 for 121 days, The Glorious Twelfth.

On the stroke of midnight of August 12, 1905, Matthew Gloag III re-branded the Gloag’s Grouse as The Grouse, taking his name off the whisky. More importantly, as time would show, the seven-year-old Famous Grouse Brand grew into the 8 YO Famous Grouse Blended Scotch. The malts available to him then (also currently available & renamed) were Aberfeldy, Glenrothes-Glenlivet, The Glenlivet, Glengoyne, Tamdhu-Glenlivet, Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker, plus grain whisky from the North British Grain whisky distillery.

The Grouse family of whiskies weathered the storm of WW I, US Prohibition and WW II under successive Matthew Gloags. By the 1960s, the business had grown to such an extent that exports to America alone had risen to 12 million proof gallons. By 1968 it had risen to 33m. The future was looking rosy for Matthew Gloag V & Sons.

Tragedy struck in 1970. Matthew Gloag V and his wife died within two days of each other. Matthew Irving Gloag (Matthew Gloag VI, 1947-present) ran into unforeseen financial distress facing exorbitant Estate Duties and was forced to sell the company to Highland Distillers (for £1.25m), although he remained as a Director to continue the family’s involvement.


In 1979, the company breached the one million cases sales mark. By 1980 The Famous Grouse became Scotland’s brand leader and still is, a remarkable four decades later; it was awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984. A new record was set in 1989, with over two million cases shipped. Sales continued to rise, and during the 1990s, The Famous Grouse grew by a staggering 25% – twice the rate of the premium Scotch sector.

When Under Highland Distillers, The Famous Grouse released a series of 12-year-old Vintage Blended Malt Whiskies starting 1998. Highland Distillers was then fully absorbed into the Edrington Group in November 1999. After taking over, Edrington's Board allowed the releases of the Blended Malt Whiskies, but changed focus to Blended Scotch. Numerous successful expressions were launched since, all the while retaining top spot in Scotland.

The pace of premiumisation was stepped up in its unrelenting bid to give the brand a renewed thrust. There was an urgent necessity to do so, as brand sales were flattening, losing out to the onslaught of single malts. Its pole position in Scotland, however, remains unchallenged, while achieving its highest-ever market share in the UK. It is also the market leader in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Cyprus. Its progress outside the EU/Europe and the USA seems to lack the same intensity.

39 Ads Set To The Plink Plonk Theme


Saturday 6 January 2024



The Macallan Colour Collection 2023

The Macallan unveiled its new Colour Collection on 11 October 2023. This isn’t a limited edition–this range will become a familiar sight in many major sea and airports in the years to come. The brand's Global Travel Retail offerings has been overhauled, with the Colour Collection permanently replacing The Macallan Quest range, a series of non-age statement whiskies that have been a staple in Macallan’s GTR channels since 2017.

Authenticity lies in nature’s untouched beauty and The Macallan Colour Collection exhibition is dedicated to the visual qualities of fine aged whiskies. The new range comprises five age-statement single malts: 12, 15, 18, 21, and 30-year-old expressions. This is great news for those who habitually purchase The Macallan whisky at airport duty free stores, since it marks the return of age-statement Macallan whisky to such outlets after more than a decade; age statement Macallan whiskies had largely vanished from their repertoire since 2009. After a good 13 years of biding their time, the distillery now has a more robust supply of aged whiskies to allow age statement Macallans back in airports.

The Colour Collection’s launched its debut event in Singapore to provide a taste of the range and also learn a bit about the marketing concept behind it. The series highlighted two of the six foundational pillars of The Macallan brand, (1) the natural colour of its whiskies and (2) the quality of oak casks used in the maturation process.

For long-time Macallan fans, the twist lies in the casks used. While all the casks used here were Sherry seasoned – which fans would remember is a signature Macallan touch – this range has been almost entirely matured in American oak. A brand ambassador estimates that the expressions in this Collection were made with a proportion of 80% to 90% in American oak, a departure from the typical Macallan recipe which often leans towards heavy use of European oak. This focus on American oak, or Quercus alba means that there are much fewer tannins and wood extractives compared to European oak. Maturation results in a lighter gold colour for the whisky, and a more appley, floral and citrussy character.

Aesthetically, the bottles in the Colour Collection are slightly more minimalist with a bare back (normally the back is covered by a label), allowing the natural colours of the individual expressions to shine through. The paper packagings, too, have been designed with an undulating helix pattern said to mirror the unique roof design of the new distillery compound at Macallan.

Located alongside the vast Atlantic Ocean, Jerez de la Frontera is a captivating region known for its scorching summers, resilient vineyards, and exquisite wines. It is here that The Macallan meticulously seasons their oak casks with sherry, a crucial element in crafting extraordinary single malt whisky that boasts a deeply radiant, Natural Colour.

The Macallan's dedication to craftsmanship goes beyond the whisky itself. The exquisite presentation boxes for the 12, 15, and 18 Years Old expressions are crafted using eco-friendly materials and are entirely recyclable. For the 21 and 30 Years Old expressions, meticulously carved wooden boxes made from oak harvested from sustainable forests are used. These boxes serve the dual purpose of safeguarding the whisky and can be repurposed, showcasing their unwavering commitment to durability and environmental consciousness.

This collection is now available in The Macallan boutiques situated in key airports globally, starting with those of Singapore, London, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Dubai.

Macallan Colour Collection 12 YO 40% ABV

Appearance: Yellow gold.

Nose: Sweet, rounded and full. Opens with a pronounced vanilla scent, cream with honey just as present. Macallan’s signature cocoa notes also make an appearance. Throughout, it remains gentle and refined, not causing any discomfort to the nose.

Palate: Lighter in flavour and body than anticipated, leaning towards the watery side. There's a touch of light honey and vanilla, complemented by subtle apple undertones. As it sits on the palate, a mild woody character emerges, accompanied by dried lemon peels. However, there's a noticeable heat, almost spicy in nature, that momentarily intensifies to an almost painful degree, giving away a lack of maturity. There’s also a metallic, coppery note.

Finish: Short-lived, leaving behind traces of honey, hay, and dry oak. There's a lingering warmth at the back of the throat.

For a 12 YO, this is just nice. Perhaps a bit too young. And cost? Click on the preceding link.

Macallan Colour Collection 15 YO 43% ABV 

Appearance: Honey.

Nose: Bright and tropical, with soft pineapples being first to greet the senses, followed by vanilla and light coconut flakes. There is more depth here than the 12 Years Old; cocoa notes are more pronounced, with honey and beeswax coming through. There’s also a gradual progression to sweet orange oil and clementine peels, with a hint of caramel rounding it off.

Palate: Much, much more enjoyable on the palate compared to the 12 Years Old. This is richer and more flavourful, with a more viscous texture to boot. Light cocoa powder and honeyed notes alongside vanilla and apricots. The spices are gentle and well-integrated, and there's a mild sweet-savoury undertone that is reminiscent of butterscotch.

Finish: Short but clean. There's a presence of black tea and aromatic oak, ending with a toasty breadiness and a touch of vanilla icing sugar.

The 15 Years Old is a significant step up from the 12; it’s twice the price of the 12 Years Old! This has a flavourful, well-balanced and integrated profile. Honey, cocoa, and spices are all basic notes, yet they’re generous and harmonious, without any off notes whatsoever.

Macallan Colour Collection 18 YO 43% ABV

Appearance: Auburn.

Nose: Reminiscent of the 12 Years Old – vanilla, honey, and cocoa, but with a slightly richer and more complex quality to it. Some sticky date pudding that hints at the Sherry influence, with layers of more perfumed floral aromas. There's a distinct sweetness reminiscent of original-flavoured Japanese Ramune soda.

Palate: Noticeably thick and oily texture. Brown sugar and caramelised peaches come to the fore, followed by buttered sugar toast. Baking spices - notably cinnamon and nutmeg - present themselves without any accompanying heat. Milk chocolate, toffee, the earthy notes of pu'er tea and an unexpected umami mushroomy note.

Finish: Quite short. Lingering notes of honey, before dry oak and spices becomes more pronounced towards the end.

It's a testament to how a few more years in the cask can make a world of difference. All that seems missing is background subtlety.

Macallan Colour Collection 21 YO 43% ABV

Appearance: Copper.

Nose: A festive vibe with raisins, dried cranberries and Christmas cake taking centre stage. Dense date pudding follows closely, and there's a distinct scent of caramelised and fried banana, adding a very tasty touch of dessert.

Palate: The palate is cleaner and brighter than its predecessors. There's a dominant honeyed flavour accompanied by vanilla, and the taste of lemon cream biscuits is unmistakable. But surprisingly, the signature Macallan oaky-chocolatey note is absent. Instead, there's a much fruitier profile, with light apple notes, pineapples and a very light touch of fresh passionfruit making their presence felt, along with a freshness and subtle bitterness of camomile tea.

Finish: Short-lived once again. As louder flavours depart we get a vanillic sweetness and custard cream, and a hint of gristy oat bran. A gentle heat settles at the back of the throat.

An excellent whisky, though lacking that classic Macallan chocolate finish.

Macallan Colour Collection 30 YO 43% ABV

Years of maturation in exceptional oak casks, sturdy American oak casks beautifully accompanied by a delicate touch of European oak, has created a deep flavour profile of wood spice, tropical fruit and crème brûlée that Artist and Graphic Designer David Carson has rendered with juxtaposed cutouts of wood grain, stippled orange paint, and zesty yellow brushstrokes. For its age, it is quite light and relatively one-dimensional. It might have been a lot better if bottled at a higher ABV.

In the foreground, the 30 Years Old stands resplendent, crowned by a burgundy cap that hints at the influence of wine in this age statement, and across the Colour Collection and has been bottled at 43% ABV. With flavours of tropical fruits, nuts and spices, the whisky is a natural, deep chestnut colour.

Appearance: Deep chestnut.

Nose: Pineapple, dried mango, caramelised banana, crème brûlée with sweet aged oak and orange oil.

Palate: Tropical fruits with almond, touch of cinnamon and nutmeg intertwined with creamy baked custard and crystalised lemon peel.

Finish: Medium with sweet woodspice and tropical fruits.

Our Distillery, nestled within the rolling hills of Speyside, serves as an inspiration for the Colour Collection’s reimagined visual identity. The silhouette of the Distillery, with its five hills mirroring the curves of the River Spey, has shaped the visual elements found throughout the Colour Collection’s branding.

From the elegant wave patterns adorning the packaging to the distinctive arc of "The Macallan Scotland" icon, the visual identity harmoniously blends the natural surroundings with state-of-the-art technology, honouring the brand's rich heritage while embracing modernity.


Wednesday 3 January 2024



There are many factors which decide prices. In the whisky industry, demand and supply are not the only things that affect price, even though these factors are a big part of the equation. Cost of manufacturing, marketing cost, cask prices and logistic costs have a major role to play.                                                                     Noel Moitra

Whisky is on an upward trend in consumers preferences around the world since 2010. The last ten years had seen tremendous growth in consumers choosing whisky over other kinds of spirits. While there was a period where gin gained traction, it died down pretty quickly with the rise of more whisky choices. With the overwhelming preference from consumers globally, market forces began to act on the prices of whisky.

We saw rapid growth for particular brands of whiskies, especially those which won awards. An excellent example would, of course, be Yamazaki. The brand shot to fame overnight after its Sherry Cask 2014 won the converted award of Best Whisky in the World as did Indri Trini and Grant’s Balvenie. Since then, the prices of all their bottlings have rocketed northwards.

This worldwide phenomenon is seen by some critics as silly, but others, including investors, are willing to fight for a bottle of Chichibu for its perceived value. Such whiskies are mainly designed for collections.

Scotch whiskies are steadily increasing in prices. The demand for specific brands also shot the prices of these whiskies skyward, making them harder to find and difficult to afford. Some examples of Scotch whiskies that are getting too expensive include Clynelish, Oban, the LVMH group (Ardbeg and Glenmorangies), Lagavulin and to some extent, Ben Nevis. Nonetheless, the bottles that are going up in prices are mostly independent bottlings. The standard distillery bottles are still affordable, if only just!

Limited release special edition bottles are some of the most prized. They are also some of the most expensive. These in particular are not easy to get your hands on, but there are reasons why they are worth looking at more closely.

Retailers can price their product as they wish. It’s common to find limited edition whiskies selling as much as twice their suggested retail price, if you can find them at all.


Mortlach Midnight Malt 30-YO

The pinnacle of the Mortlach portfolio, this is the boldest, richest and darkest of their malts. A rich, deep, dark whisky to savour slowly in the darker hours.

When day transcends to night, as light changes and shadows emerge, senses are heightened, conversations take an intriguing twist and the deepest darkest secrets are revealed. Mortlach Midnight Malt captures the intensity of this moment; a rare & magnetic invitation into the boldest, deepest and most intriguing expression of their malt. This incredibly rich, full-bodied whisky is distilled in six stills a total of 2.81 times, split and finished in three casks—Bordeaux, Guatemalan rum, and calvados—then married in custom quarter casks. The result is intense, but with complex fruit notes, chocolates, caramel, and a long black pepper finish.

Mortlach bills itself as the “first legal distillery in Dufftown,” dating back to 1823 (with bootlegging rampant on site before that); the whiskies are elegant and complex and reflect their coastal origins with a bold intensity (the Mortlach 20-Year won Double Gold at this year’s New York International Spirits Competition). Only 350 bottles of this extra-aged spirit (49.1% ABV) are released annually. Cost US$5,000.

Appearance: Old gold, dull amber. Excellent beading.

Body: Full.

Nose: Classic Mortlach elements kick the experience off, featuring sultry roasted grains, sherry-like notes of oxidised wines, gentle sandalwood, and — with ample swirling — a spicy cinnamon apple character. A mellow nose with some initial prickle. This settles in time to reveal a savoury and faintly herbal top note, suggesting pork crackling sprinkled with dry sage. Beneath lies a deeper, more vinous note with intriguing and rich notes of dark rum, toffee brittle and drying traces of chocolate.

Palate: A richly winey, apple fruity and mouth-watering start delights the palate, backed by a long spicy intensity with a delicious black pepper note that really persists. Clove and nutmeg are surprisingly lengthy as the finish builds, though as they fade a wood-infused sweetness begins to take hold. Touches of rum-driven molasses are most evident here, with a pinch of black pepper giving the whisky some grip.

Finish: Long, sweet, and deep-flavoured with a light peppery spiciness. With water, still sweet and softer, with the spicy heat joined by a suggestions of mint chocolate in the lingering aftertaste.

Talisker Glacial Edge 45-YO 70 Cl 48.9% ABV

Talisker is one of those remote Scottish distilleries known for releasing bold expressions with tons of character. Glacial Edge is the latest release in Talisker’s Xpedition Trilogy. It’s the brand’s first ever 45-year-old bottling, and the third year partnering with Parley for the Oceans, an organisation to documenting and preserving marine ecosystems. Single malt Scotch was aged over four decades, and then finished in “ice-fractured oak casks.” The technique is a first for Talisker: a dozen heavily-chared American oak casks are transported to Canada’s glacial ice fields. The ends are removed and the wood exposed to freezing temperatures and high Arctic winds for four days, creating unique fractures in the wood. The idea is that there is additional surface area in each cracked stave to interact more intensely with the aged whiskey. The result is a dry, deep single malt with bright pepper spices. You’ll get tons of vanilla, oak, hints of stone fruit and green apple, and light smoke and earth. Cost:US$5,000

The distillery’s first-ever release of a 45-year-old Single Malt Scotch whisky, unearths new, resilient depths of the Talisker character. Revealing unexplored richness, complexity and a unique untamed flavour which is attributed to the whisky travelling deeper into the casks to obtain spicier and sweeter aromas from the American Oak ex-Bourbon barrels. Finished in ice-fractured casks to unearth a new depth of flavour, this exquisitely rare new Single Malt Scotch whisky from Talisker is the final release in a series of adventures in wild whisky making. This is not the oldest Talisker ever. A 46 YO was available in the fourth Diageo Prima And Ultima collection just released, a 70 CL bottle at 50.9% ABV.

Appearance: Glowing amber. Exceptional beading.

Body: Full and rich.

Nose: Rich, dry and mellow overall, with a light peppery prickle at first. Clear maritime top notes speak of tide-line seaweed, sand dunes, iodine; their mineral companions suggest slaked lime and salt crystals. Behind them a faint dried fruit complex with hints of fig, sultana, or prune lends body and richness. Light smoke threads the background, touched by aromatic sandalwood. A drop of water tends to close the aromas yet adds richness to the fruity sweetness, with notes of fruit salad coming through.

Palate: The texture is all-enveloping; smooth and mouth-filling. On first sip the taste starts richly sweet, while it becomes delightfully salty, smoky and increasingly peppery mid-palate; even at this age there is still a fine chilli ’catch’. A dash of water reduces the peppery note slightly and there is more attractive saltiness, suggesting salted caramels.

Finish: Very long, with a trace of candle wax in a glorious chilli pepper effect that grows and glows in the aftertaste. Saltier at reduced strength and slightly less peppery, now with faint scented smoke in the aftertaste.

The Dalmore Cask Curations Series: The Sherry Edition

One of the most exciting releases of the year has got to be The Dalmore’s inaugural Cask Curations Series, the first of which highlights and honors the distillery’s longstanding relationship with fifth-generation winemakers González Byass in Jerez de la Frontera—a city in the Andalusian region of southern Spain known for its centuries-long culture of sherry production.

Led by the charismatic master winemaker Antonio Flores and his daughter Silvia, González Byass (which, by the way, is the largest sherry producer in the world) worked with The Dalmore master whisky maker Gregg Glass and master distiller Richard Paterson OBE to select extraordinary sherry casks with which to finish Scotch matured north of twenty years in ex-bourbon American oak casks. In its own way, it’s a genuine collaboration between distillers and winemakers to find the perfect match to yield the best outcomes.

The result? An exceptional trio of collectible age-statement single malt whiskies worthy of any true Scotch aficionado who knows what’s what. First up: The 26-Year, which is the youngest of the bunch. This 48.2%  ABV (96.4-proof in the USA), straw-coloured whisky—first distilled in 1996—was finished in a 2002 vintage oloroso sherry cask (cask No. 4, if we want to be precise) that was home to 87% Palo Cortado sherry and 13% Pedro Ximénez for two years, after spending 24 years in ex-bourbon refill barrels. On the palate, the first sip is one of profound sweetness—without being overwhelming—with notes of honey, fruit-forward milk chocolate, and orange rind.

Then there’s the 28-Year that clocks in at 55.3% ABV having rested for an extensive 19 years in a 30-year-old Matusalem sherry cask that once held 75% oloroso sherry; with 25% Pedro Ximénez added midlife. As you can imagine, this particular expression brings on different waves and depths of flavor ranging from dried stone fruit and dark cacao nibs to manuka honey. Add a drop or two of water and it opens up with some flourishing tropical notes.

Lastly, the final and oldest whisky in the collection: a 46.8& ABV (93.6-proof in the USA), 43-Year that’s remarkably light in colour and on the palate, which was finished for 12 years in a 30-year-old Apostoles vinum optimum rare signatum (VORS) cask. Shorter in finish than the 28-Year, this four-decade-old expression is sophisticated in its lightness and is reminiscent of shortbread—with a hint of leather and salinity at the back palate.

The trio — magnificent as individual bottlings— can only be purchased as a complete collection, replete with a bespoke bright red leather travel case handcrafted in Florence. And competition will be fierce if you’re looking to get your hands on one: There are only 150 sets available globally and each one will set you back $37,000. (Pro tip: London-based Whisky Exchange may have some on hand.)

And if you’re not able to get your hands on this edition, The Dalmore will be releasing the second iteration of its Cask Curations Series next year—this time spotlighting its partnership with a well-respected Port producer.

The Macallan Colour Collection

Released in Autumn of 2023, The Macallan’s Colour Collection—which is sold solely a as travel exclusive in major airports around the world and The Macallan Global Boutiques in London, New York, Taipei, and Dubai—celebrates the brand’s dedication to the sherry-seasoned oak casks it’s so well known for.

Predominantly made with American oak casks and a “subtle touch” of European oak, the new line includes five age statement whiskies in varying price points: 12-Year ($80), 15-Year ($165), 18-Year ($350), 21-Year ($1,100), and 30-Year ($4,455). And as the collection’s name implies, each of expressions is the meant to illustrate how maturation in The Macallan’s choice casks strongly influences not just the flavour profile of its single malts, but its colours as well—from the light amber of the 12-Year to the deep ochre of the 30-year.

The Macallan Colour Collection is a visual celebration of commitment to natural colour and sherry seasoning, with each of the five distinctive whiskies taking travelers through a compelling sensory journey of the remarkable spectrum of natural hues derived from maturation in The Macallan’s sherry seasoned oak casks. It is these exceptional oak casks which are the single greatest contributor to the quality, flavours, and distinctive aromas at the heart of their single malts. Deepening in colour with age, each expression tells its own story and is a prism through which consumers can explore the unique characteristics which underpin the exceptional craftsmanship, renowned quality and rich character of their single malt whisky.

After a good 13 years of biding their time, the distillery now has a robust supply of aged whiskies to allow age statement Macallans back in airports. This isn’t a limited edition to be clear – in fact this range will become a familiar sight in many major airports in the years to come. This is a major overhaul of the brand's Global Travel Retail offerings, with the Colour Collection permanently replacing The Macallan Quest range, a series of non-age statement whiskies that have been a staple in Macallan’s GTR channels since 2017. The new range with its five age-statement single malts is a treat for those who habitually purchase The Macallan whisky at airport duty free stores, since it marks the return of age-statement Macallan whisky to such outlets after more than a decade; age statement Macallan whiskies had largely vanished from their repertoire since 2009.

The GlenDronach Annual Grandeur release — Batch 12— 2023

Every year since its inception in 2010, each limited edition batch of The GlenDronach Grandeur series has been highly anticipated and acclaimed, revered by connoisseurs, Gen Next and malt whisky aficionados all over the world for its character and full-bodied style and this is one of its most luxurious expressions to date…                                      Rachel Barrie

This limited-edition sherried expression is an annual ode to the brand’s signature sherry-imbued style. Grandeur Batch 12 hosts a 29-year age statement and is made of sherry casks hand-chosen by Master Blender Rachel Barrie. The whisky is bottled at 49.2% ABV, matured in Oloroso sherry casks and hit the shelves in select markets for the price of $830.

The GlenDronach’s commitment to creating Single Malts using time-honored methods passed down through the generations for almost two centuries, is encapsulated in this hand-crafted limited release, with each individual bottle sealed with wax and numbered by hand to reflect its rarity. Having matured slowly and deeply in Oloroso sherry casks for nearly three decades, this expression from one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland epitomises the richest rewards bestowed from the finest Spanish oak sherry casks.

Oloroso sherry is a nutty and slightly oxidative style of sherry. Oloroso sherries are aged primarily without flor. They go directly into the solera system with a higher alcohol content—a level at which flor does not grow—and are sweeter and fuller-bodied than other expressions like Fino. Oloroso means "fragrant," and, true to their name, these sherries are bursting with aromas and flavours that range from dried fruit to leather, tobacco, and wood. Though less dry than the Fino and Amontillado varieties, Olorosos are still dry overall, but with a rounder mouthfeel and light sweetness.  

The GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 12 Official Tasting Notes

Appearance: Dark mahogany.

Nose: Intensely nutty with overtones of coffee, rich and leathery with its enduring toasty, woody, vaguely floral qualities. Rich sherry aromatics with cocoa, damson plum and glazed cherry. Aromas of spiced bramble and luscious dates with walnuts and coffee.

Palate: the whisky is surprisingly gentle and mild, all of the above notes well-represented — and beautifully integrated. There’s more baking spice here than expected, with ginger and cinnamon particularly prominent. A sensuous blend of raisin and dark plum, with cocoa and dessert characteristics. Cherry brandy and espresso are interlaced throughout. The ABV of 49.2% feels just about perfect, tempering any sense of heat and leaving room for smoldering but elegant notes in the finish.

Finish: Rich with tobacco and sherry-soaked walnuts.

Bowmore Aston Martin Masters Selection 3

For decades, both Bowmore & Aston Martin have endeavoured to craft, create and curate, bringing beautiful whiskies and breath-taking cars to life. A perfect collaboration, each limited edition single malt is created by the Master Blender at Bowmore distillery and the Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin. By bringing these two worlds and these two creators together, they call on their shared experience and skills to create a whisky which tells the story of the synergy between the two iconic British brands.

Early in October 2023, Islay Scotch Whisky distillery Bowmore and luxury car company Aston Martin announced the latest whisky in their partnership: Bowmore Masters’ Selection Third Edition. The release hosts a suggested retail price of $400 in a global rollout. The 22-year-old single malt whisky was double-matured in European Oak casks seasoned with Oloroso Sherry and a mixture of American Oak hogsheads.

In the creation of every individual Bowmore, their Master Blender undertakes an endless search for depth; of character, of flavour and with every step they capture the very essence of the past 240 years. This unique whisky celebrates this defining constant which drives, inspires and immerses participants in this quest. The impressive Islay single malt pays homage to the definitive and constant character of Bowmore, presented at 51.0% ABV.

The brands have held a partnership since 2020, and several high-profile whiskies have been released throughout it. Some have fetched eye-watering prices at auction. In May, the companies released a unique decanter of whisky that went up for auction at Sotheby’s and sold for nearly $300,000.

The quest is without compromise and could be called obsessive, but that is what makes the team relentless in their approach. They push the bespoke nature of their craft to the limits in pursuit of perfection. They never stop short or settle for anything but the best to achieve the beauty which defines the brand. This whisky is a testament to their passion, talent and human skill.

Marking the fifth bottle collaboration in a series of releases since 2020, Masters’ Selection Third Edition represents a partnership driven by a consistency, inherent in each of the Masters’ own approach that comes to life, informed by beauty, knowledge, and inspiration.  Strength and depth unite, just as sweetness and intensity combine to create a powerfully rich and captivating symphony of flavours.

Crafted with consideration over 240 years, Bowmore has an inherent appreciation as to how each moment comes to bear on the character of the whisky, and how time past has shaped today. Rooted in intentionality, Bowmore’s whiskies are made with purpose, shaping every drop, adding depth and distinction of flavour to shape each single malt. It is this precise ethos which drives the collaboration: sharing the intention to manifest beautiful, timeless creations that define a collaborative legacy, with a firm eye on the future, inspiring what comes next.

The Aston-Bowmore brand describes the whisky as “powerfully rich,” and hosting a “captivating symphony of flavours; without doubt the most exhilarating and rewarding of collaborations.”

Laphroaig Honours Passionate Whisky Makers With 36-Year Scotch

On 20 Nov 2023, Laphroaig unveiled the inaugural bottle of The Archive Collection, which boasts a 36-year age statement. The expression was meant to celebrate the whisky makers of Laphroaig, who have been custodians of the scotch for three decades.

The Archive Collection: 36 Years Old was aged in American ex-Bourbon casks before being finished in a second-fill hogshead that once housed oloroso sherry. The scotch hosts an ABV of 40.2% and is bottled at cask strength. This 36 YO is a testament to their master distillers’ skills in ensuring that the peat and smokiness of a 36-year-old single malt is preserved and enhanced by age. In fact, its maturation has been overseen by six different distillery managers!

Just 400 bottles of the expression are available for purchase at a suggested retail price of £3,750 ($4,663).

The bottle for The Archive Collection: 36 Years Old is hand-blown, and meant to serve as a nod to the sea glass found on the beaches near the Beam Suntory-owned distillery. The level of liquid in each bottle may appear to be different, but will be filled to 70cl

As a whisky which has been shaped and rounded over decades, the bottle used to house the liquid is inspired by green Islay sea glass often found swept up on the island's beaches. The unique hand-blown glass design was meant to echo the sea glass with its bright green colour, sculpted curves and a textured neck. Laphroaig have done away with traditional printed labels for this one-of-a-kind collectors’ item, and have chosen to laser etch the text directly onto the bottle.

The whisky offers the distinctive flavour profile of Laphroaig, featuring the familiar peat, smoke and salt. The single malt reveals a surprising fruitiness in the glass, featuring tropical notes underpinned by dark toffee and vanilla. Subsequent releases will follow later in 2024.

Nose: Honey sweet with white peach and mango, creamy dark toffee, vanilla and cedar wood, subtle oil of wintergreen and hints of singed sage and liquorice root peak through.

Palate: Sweet with orange zest and tropical fruit, mouth coating initially then moving to mouth drying.

Finish: Warm and lingering which brings out the peat in the mouth and the salt from the sea on the lips.

Tobermory 23 YO Oloroso Sherry Cask


Mull's only Scotch whisky distillery produces both peated and unpeated whisky for use in the well-known Black Bottle and Scottish Leader blends, as well as for Ledaig and Tobermory single malts.

Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Tobermory is an Island distillery located in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Founded on the Isle of Mull in 1798, it is one of the country’s oldest distilleries, having been operating for over two centuries. Tobermory is one of very few distilleries that produce more than one whisky, sibling Ledaig itself a wondrous surprise. Yes it is peated, but completely different from its Islay cousins. Ledaig is very much in the Manzanilla mould: bright and fresh, with a wonderful salinity. The peat is a delicate whisper. Tobermory itself is an unpeated malt, delicate and fruity, with a lightly honeyed nuttiness. It is likely that in its earliest incarnation Ledaig was a peated malt, but in more recent times both peated and unpeated whisky has been made and bottled as both Ledaig and Tobermory. Thankfully, this has now been resolved with Ledaig now only being used for the heavily-peated variant. Equal amounts of both styles are currently being made.

This limited edition Tobermory 23-year-old Oloroso sherry finish is the first of five planned annual releases for the distillery's Hebridean Series. The fermentation time is relatively short, but it is the unusually shaped stills which lie at the heart of the Tobermory style. They have both boil bulbs and a strange S-shaped kink in their lyne arms, all of which increases reflux. Today, the single malt bottlings are non-chill-filtered and bottled at a standard 46.3% ABV.

Tobermory draws its water from a nearby private loch. This water is peated, which means they use unpeated barley (unlike the Ledaig, which uses peated barley) to ensure just a subtly smokey character. American oak casks are then used for maturation, with sherry casks often used for finishing. Interestingly, ageing takes place at the Deanston distillery.

After a two-year hiatus, the Tobermory 12 Year Old was released in 2019. This is the flagship bottling in the range, replacing the 10 Year Old. The distillery also offers a variety of limited edition finishes, as well as their Hebridean Series - which includes the stunning 23 year old single malt.

The ‘return of an old friend’, this spirit was originally the Tobermory 15 Year Old release. They left the whisky in their Oloroso casks for 8 more years to create this delicious new edition with a natural, deep rose gold colour to the core range. The result is an exquisite sherried malt without chill-filtration, which is entwined with numerous flavours and mouthfeel to satiate even the most demanding.

Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottling 70CL 46.3% ABV

Nose: The nose is sweet and citrussy, with vanilla, ripe oranges, toasted barley and rich fruitcake with a hint of cocoa.

Palate: Obvious sherry influence, salted toffee, vanilla fudge and spicy oak, with candied citrus and floral honey.

Finish: Caramelised walnuts with a subtle salty undercurrent that lingers on. Gorgeous.

Glenmorangie's Limited Super Rare Expression


Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation at both The Glenmorangie Company and Ardberg, created in 2020 another excellent limited edition whisky finished in Chardonnay casks hailing from renowned wine producer Sonoma-Cutrer in Sonoma Valley, California, which wines are similar to Burgundy’s Meursault wines. The 1000 bottles of this expression were released in early 2021.

Glenmorangie’s whisky makers are endlessly creative on their quest to bring delicious single malts to the world. In Scotland’s tallest stills, whose necks are as high as a giraffe, they distill a more delicate spirit, ripe for experimentation. Then they age their whisky in the finest casks, sourced from far and wide. The price tag is certainly not a low figure, either.

Most wine geeks relish Californian Chardonnay and during a visit there Lumsden persuaded Sonoma-Cutrer to sell him a few casks for experimentation. They agreed and in 2005, Bill filled those casks with ten year old whisky - some that was distilled in his first days at the distillery back in February 1995. The casks were then put away to mature and allow the flavours to mingle together over 15 years.

After numerous tastings, Dr Bill decided when the whisky was ready - and ready it most certainly tasted. The 50.4% ABV whisky is deep ochre in colour and with the same characteristic floral aromas and bready notes Glenmorangie is famous for, there is a wide range of citrus fun from grapefruit and fresh orange peel and to marmalade and lemon balm. A honey and lemon hot toddy as well as marshmallow, smoked pear, earthy biscuits and spicy ginger with a peppery kick on the tongue. It pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, such as pan-seared foie gras with caramelized figs, citrusy salmon tartare, or even a rosemary-infused roast beef.

All in all, it's super smooth and mellow, with a beautiful, buttery, sunshine finish reminiscent of the fruity, golden Chardonnay the casks once held.

This Sonoma-Cutrer Reserve whisky was created as part of an experiment, where only 1000 bottles exist, each one hand-signed by Dr Bill Lumsden himself. They have described it as Glenmorangie’s ‘most rare and unique creations’.

Tasting Notes

Colour: Burnished Bronze

Nose: Fresh and floral, with scents of carnations, roses and narcissi, heightened by a sweet waxy note. Glenmorangie’s hallmark tones of vanilla, pear and peach follow, with a gentle tang of mandarin orange. A splash of water reveals a flinty note and more mouth-watering mandarin, this time rich with Chantilly cream.

Palate: Almost sparkling textures bring a cascade of vanilla and Victoria sponge cake, laced with mandarin segments in syrup, zesty lemon and poached pears. Then a rounded oaky smoothness flows into bold buttery notes, coconut and almond, lifted by hints of pineapple and melon.

Finish: Subtle and honeyed, with final suggestions of cocoa powder, toffee apple and fudge.

The Glenmorangie Sonoma-Cutrer Reserve 25 Year Old Single Malt was released exclusively through the Moët Hennessy Private Client team. RRP £1,750 (US$2,440) per 700ml bottle, 50.4% ABV.